In honor of everyone's favorite holiday, and to kick things off, we'll be posting a monster every day this week. Today, we have a bizarre cryptid from the Bavarian forests, turned into a small but potentially deadly threat. Whether they are a natural phenomenon or were cobbled together by some mad wizard is up to you.
Illustration by Leigh Petersen
When a ranger stumbles across the fresh corpse of a fawn in the gloom of the deep forest, if he is wise, he examines the neck for tiny punctures. If blood still flows, he'd best distance himself and hope his aim is true, for the wolpertinger is fast and easily agitated.
Murky Woodland Predator. A deceptively cute creature that resembles a rabbit with a tangle of antlers between its ears, the wings and plumage of a pheasant, and the fangs of a mongoose, the wolpertinger haunts dark forests where it uses its speed and agility to wear down much larger prey, lapping up the blood when it is done. They are generally nocturnal, but where the canopy is thick enough to block out the sun, they may be active at any time of day.
Autumnal Terrors. Adult wolpertinger dwell together in small burrows at the bases of trees, but they generally hunt alone and avoid humans, whose ranged weapons pose more threat to the wolpertinger than a bear's mighty claws. As they prepare for winter hibernation, however, they become more aggressive and more willing to risk attacking humans. Sometimes mothers can be seen flying with their kits, litters of 6-10, teaching them how to harry and exhaust prey from above.
And of course, all furry creatures must have a dire version. At roughly the size and weight of a large dog, the dire wolpertinger can put its ungainly antlers to work, but trades its nimble grace for a studier body.
Note that we at Monster Darlings will not be held responsible if your adventurers befriend one of these things and mount a halfling or gnome on its back (though that sounds like a really memorable town guard for a black forest settlement, or for bloodletting cultists).