|“||Quit staring. What, you’ve never seen a talking bird before?||”|
Similar to many “species” of hobgoblin, the term Hedge Beast is more a descriptor than a race or breed. Within its far-reaching descriptor are included the vast majority of those hobgoblins who appear largely as mundane animals but have human (or greater) intellect and the ability to speak. They are sometimes helpful, in their own way, to the Lost. But it can also be risky to trust a Hedge Beast too far. Their appearance is deceiving; they are neither ordinary animals given intelligence nor creatures of pure symbolic personality. The hobgoblin formed like an intelligent lion is not guaranteed to react with a pure lion’s instinct, or to be nearly as noble as mythical lions are said to be. Hedge Beasts are what they are, and just as all hobgoblins, what Hedge Beasts are is often quite capricious.
Most Hedge Beasts are difficult to distinguish from their mundane kin until they open their mouths. Their physical statistics vary wildly from species to species Unlike their non-fae kin, however, Hedge Beasts have the ability to speak in human tongues and most are gifted with human (at least) intelligence. Hedge Beasts come in an almost infinite variety of “species”: birds of the air, fish of the sea and rivers, beasts of the land. There are predator and prey Hedge Beasts, and everything in between. Even small crawling vermin might have intelligent reflections in the Hedge. There is only one limit to their size, shape or species: by definition, Hedge Beasts are intelligent hobgoblin analogues of mortal animals. A briarwolf is not a Hedge Beast, for there are no canids like a briarwolf in the mortal world.
Similar to humans or changelings, Hedge Beasts run the gamut in personality, intellect and ability. Some are wickedly cunning and delight in mischief, while others are more charitable in nature, and might be given to assist changelings freely if some measure of fair recompense is offered. Unlike many hobgoblins, Hedge Beasts have little problem traveling outside of the Hedge, because they are protected by their physical resemblance to mundane animals. While an ursine Hedge Beast might have trouble passing easily in a downtown urban area, a feline or canine one will not, especially if it has the wit to avoid the mundane animal collectors.
Other than their human (or better) intellect, Hedge Beasts usually have only very weak supernatural abilities, putting them at a disadvantage to many other hobgoblins in fae realms. Because of this, many either befriend or at least cooperate with other hobgoblins, especially hobs and sprights, in order to gain additional protection from the oft-dangerous world they dwell within. They may similarly seek out the Lost or humans in this capacity. Changelings can represent a Hedge Beast companion by purchasing the new Merit listed below.
Hedge Beast CompanionEdit
This Merit represents a positive relationship between the changeling and the hobgoblin in question. The Hedge Beast is not a servant or slave, although it is likely to aid the character in whatever reasonable ways the Hedge Beast can in exchange for the changeling's aid, support, and protection. The hobgoblin is not likely to put itself into overly hazardous positions; safety and support are a large part of why Hedge Beasts take companions in the first place. Especially in the human world, however, people tend to ignore animals, allowing the Hedge Beast opportunity to witness or overhear many things that might otherwise be hidden from the hobgoblin's Lost companion.
- •: Beast with attributes 15 points total, Skills 18 points total, Merits up to five points, two dots of Contracts, Wyrd 1.
- ••: Beast with attributes 18 points total, Skills 21 points total, Merits up to seven points, four points of Contracts, Wyrd 2.
- •••: Beast with attributes 21 points total, Skills 24 points total, Merits up to nine points, six points of Contracts, Wyrd 3.
Sample Hedge BeastsEdit
Statistics are given below for two different “breeds” of Hedge Beasts. Just as mundane animals, Hedge Beasts use the highest of their Wits or Dexterity for their Defense, rather than the lowest.
Feline Aide-de-Camp (Companion 3)
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 2
Physical Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 3, Composure 2
Mental Skills: Academics 1, Investigation 3, Politics 2
Physical Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Larceny 1, Stealth 1
Social Skills: Empathy 3, Expression 2, Intimidation 1, Persuasion 4, Subterfuge 3
Merits: Common Sense, Fast Reflexes 1, Inspiring
Speed: 10 (Species Factor 6)
Contracts: Hearth 2, Vainglory 2
Glamour/per Turn: 12/3
Insect Advisor (Companion 1)
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 2, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 0, Dexterity 2, Stamina 1
Social Attributes: Presence 1, Manipulation 2, Composure 1
Mental Skills: Academics 2, Investigation 2
Physical Skills: Athletics 1, Stealth 2, Survival 2
Social Skills: Empathy 4, Expression 2, Persuasion 3
Merits: Encyclopedic Knowledge
Speed: 5 (Species factor: 3)
Contracts: Dream 1; Eternal Autumn 1
Glamour/per Turn: 10/1
- Autumn Nightmares, p. 130-132