||Fresh or salt water depths
|No. of Attacks:
||H (18' long)
The hippocampus is the most prized of the marine steeds, a creature that
combines features of a horse and a fish.
The hippocampus has the head, forelegs, and torso of a horse. The equine
section is covered with short hair. The mane is made of long, flexible fins. The
front hooves are replaced by webbed fins that fold up as the leg moves forward,
then fan out as the leg strokes back. Past the rib cage the body becomes
fish-like. The tail tapers 14 feet into a wide horizontal fin. A dorsal fin is located
on the rump. Coloration is that of seawater. Typical colors include ivory, pale
green, pale blue, aqua, deep blue, and deep green.
Hippocampi are usually peaceful creatures. They do not attack unless cornered
or if another hippocampus or an ally is threatened. They are fast enough to
out-swim most anything that would want to attack them.
The hippocampus attacks with a strong bite. It suddenly extends its head,
chomps down with a crushing bite, and then releases. Hippocampi do not hold onto
Hippocampi also butt their heads against targets. Such attacks may stun an
opponent or break his bones.
Their firm, powerfully muscled bodies provide a strong protection against
attack. The blood coagulates quickly on exposure to water, thus minimizing blood
loss that could both debilitate the hippocampus and attract sharks (sharks have
only a 20% chance of going into a feeding frenzy if the only bleeding creature
is a hippocampus).
Hippocampi are the prized steeds of the sea. They can be found in deep waters
anywhere, in freshwater lakes and oceans. They are able to breathe fresh and
salt water with equal ease. They can also breathe air but require frequent gulps
of water to keep from drying out. They are unable to move out of water.
Despite their radically different environments, horses and hippocampi are very
similar. They have approximately the same sizes, life spans, and
personalities, although hippocampi are blessed with much higher intelligence.
Hippocampi are herbivores. They normally graze on seaweed and other soft
vegetation. If their usual fodder is unavailable, their strong teeth can chew up
mollusks and coral.
Wild hippocampi roam in herds of 2d4. These are usually a stallion, 1d4 mares,
and the rest young hippocampi of either sex. Hippocampus mares lay a single,
large egg. After six months, the egg hatches a single foal. Twins are extremely
rare (1% chance). The foals grow quickly in two years. The yearlings are
physically the equals of the adults. Hippocampian tales speak of a "Great Herd" of
hundreds or thousands of hippocampi that roams the uncharted reaches of the far
seas. No non-hippocampi have ever seen this spectacle.
Hippocampi may be "domesticated" by water-breathing humanoids, especially
tritons. In truth, the intelligent hippocampi cooperate with the humanoids. The
hippocampi provide their services as steeds and allies while the humanoids provide
protection. The benevolent hippocampi may assist surface dwellers who are
visiting the aquatic world, whether voluntarily or by accident. Many a shipwrecked
sailor has been saved from drowning by a passing hippocampus. Hippocampi are
good judges of character; they will not assist an evil being or anyone who acts
in a hostile manner toward them. Sometimes a hippocampus's offer of a ride can
be more trouble than it is worth. Young hippocampi often forget that most
surface dwellers breathe air, not water.
Hippocampi do not accumulate treasure. Most spurn even ornamental gifts such
as collars or leg bands. They simply have no use for these gewgaws. They do
appreciate delicacies, however, in the forms of tasty foods not available in the
Hippocampi are one of the most successful of the intelligent, good-aligned
marine monsters. They maintain ties with mermen and sea elves, as well as surface
dwellers who make their living in the water. They provide valuable services as
steeds, guides, and allies. Hippocampus eggs sell for 1,500 gp. Young
hippocampi are worth 2,500 gp. However, surface dwellers who have been saved by
hippocampi remain so grateful to their former rescuers that they may attack any
merchant selling eggs or foals in a public market and attempt to return the hippocampi
to the sea.
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