[At the Gates] Creatures of Gaia

Gaia hosts countless creatures of all sorts, minuscule and massive, fragile and mighty. Some are people just like player characters are, while others are portentous beings wielding the very same energy of the world they inhabit. Ever since the arrival of daemons, though, the concerning truth none of Gaia’s native species are immune to the Void’s corruption became evident: The sight of daemon-warped beings bearing resemblance both to their original shape and the primordial nature of the void spawn becomes more and more common, with scholars wondering if the contamination can he healed or, at the very least, stopped.


The sight of a dragon is the kind of event that happens once in a lifetime, one you’ll tell stories about for generations to come. Among the oldest creatures in existence, legend has it the dragons didn’t come to be as other beings — us included — did. No, dragons are manifestations of Gaia itself, arising from the world we inhabit to defend its sacrality and strike down its enemies. Way more than mere winged reptilian beasts, dragons wield the very same power they’re made of to dutifully perform their role as keepers of nature’s balance.

Legend and wonder given great and terrible shape, dragons act as Gaia’s guardian, protecting the world and its creatures on a scale smaller beings can’t even perceive, loyal as they are to the very same primordial imperative that defines their existence.

Dragons embody the circle of seasons in ways both literal and abstract. While the four dragon species follows a given duty they believe with absolute certainty comes from Gaia itself (a notion raising many questions about the nature of the world), each dragon is an individual of their own, with a definite personality and an unique perspective on life, other beings, and how to better perform their role shaped by their own quirks and experiences. A truly destructive dragon might stop their rampage in a matter of minutes and become a force of peace for the generations to come, answering only to Gaia when the matter of morals comes up, while other come to learn how to relate with other sentient creatures and even enjoy the occasional chat with those who demonstrate an understanding of nature, if perhaps a flawed yet endearing human one.

Dragons are solitary beings, known to be both allies and — especially when dragons of opposed seasons are involved — even rival or enemies. The land near a dragon’s lair takes after its master, changing according to the shape of their nature, meaning that two different dragons competing over the same region’s dominance literally fight over every inch of soil.

Spring Dragons

Nurturers, loving custodians, and guardians both fierce and kind, spring dragons embody life and rebirth. Wherever they thread, plants grow and bloom, clean water comes forth the soil while rejuvenating rains anoint the land, and animals find a safe haven from dangers. Although people often find spring dragons to be the most approachable of their kind, they better not mistake their attitude for weakness: Spring dragons strive to safeguard life and prompt renewal. Anyone who dares to interfere soon discovers the floral dragons are terrible foes to provoke, capable of triggering deluges with a thought and wield plants like an extension of themselves.

Spring dragons are a beautiful sight to behold. Flowers adorn them from their horned head to the tip of their tail, and it’s unclear where their scales end and feather-like foliage begins. Their splendid gossamer wings shine with all the colors of a triumphant nature, dripping with blessed dew and life-giving pollen.


Better scholars than me have tried to unveil the secret of Gaia’s nature and the mysteries of this world’s past, without success. Even when answers evade us, though, some certainties remain. The incarna are one of them. Echoes of the ancient legends stating in remote times every plant, animal, or rock could listen and talk, the incarna manifest as proof of Gaia’s essence. In every corner of Everend and beyond, you’ll find stories of creatures born out the very features of this world or entities embodying the very primordial concept of the shape they assume. Those are the incarna: As diverse as the people inhabiting this continent and, I suspect, ultimately more than we are, a portentous reminder this world has a soul of its own.

Rather than a single kind of creature or people, “incarna” defines all the entities bound to a given an aspect of Gaia, acting as sources of resonance and protection for the concepts, species, or natural features they were born from. Whether consciously or not, each incarna reaffirms the wonder of their own existence in ways that reinforce Gaia itself and show people a glimpse of their world’s miracles.

In one shape or another, incarna are omnipresent on Gaia, although their power varies wildly. The creatures maintain a stronger presence in places away from civilization where nature unveils its most triumphant demonstration of self, but it’s not too unusual to find smaller incarna wander near farms, small woods, and a few sometimes even appear — or sneak — into towns. Incarna can prove dangerous and ferocious, but most of the time only hurt those showing disrespect to Gaia’s balance. Those inhabiting the Outlands make for a notable exception, if only because the corruption of the Void strikes at the very heart of their being and triggers unpredictable reactions in them.


Touched by inscrutable energies and fates, every now and then a plant, tree, or even the soil where their root extends awakens into sentience, developing a semblance of limbs and a simulacrum of eyes and mouth to move around and interact with other creatures. The people of Everend call these beings “sylvans”, keepers of the woods and inhabitants of the green wilderness. Most sylvans are little more than living shrubs and flowers walking on their own roots or bundles of dirt with rocks for limbs, but some take the shape of humanoid guardians made of wood and branches.


Among the mightiest of all incarna, gargants are giant beings of vague anthropomorphic shape who begin their existence as natural features. The moment they awaken into independent beings, gargants emerge from the landscape like colossi moving their first step out of their cradle, wandering across the land while blessed by immense might and primordial wisdom. Even in their portentous nature, gargants are heterogenous, each a striking sight different from others. A waterfall gargant might appear as a rocky giant with roaring stream of water springing from their very being cutting their body in half, while an oak gargant takes the looks of an animated tree instead. Many gargants have stranger features, like multiple limbs and heads or disconnected bodies floating together like parts of a single whole.

The vast majority of gargants comes to be only in the remotest wilderness, where nothing save the mightiest creatures can hope to oppose their strength, but stories of gargants emerging from houses and palaces are told across the entire continent for a reason.


If you value your life, should you ever stumble upon a flower the size of a small house during your pilgrimages, avoid any unnecessary risk and turn around. Or better yet run, because if the thing’s a malaphose then it will have both the means and intentions to come after you. Not that you’ll have any doubts, in case: Those horrors don’t limit themselves to move on their roots with the attitude of the bloodthirsty predators they are, but being grabbed by one of their vines is a sure way to get dropped into the massive, fanged mouth they hide among their petals. Provided the poisonous fumes they spew with perfidious glee don’t kill you first, that is. 

Despised and feared alike, the malaphose earned a dreaded reputation as some of the most terrible creatures roaming Gaia’s surface. While certainly powerful, malaphose owe their fame both to their aspect, which combines floral features with predator ones in a horrible combination of fanged mouths, lashing vines, and feculent petals, their insatiable hunger, and the noxious miasma they vomit upon their prey at the earliest occasions. The stench of a malaphose’s miasma blisters the skin, sets eyes and lungs on fire, and confuses the mind, a torment the monsters celebrate with noises bearing an eerie resemblance with giddy laughter.

While malaphose are most often found in the wilderness, they also enjoy lurking in unexpected damp places such as caves and sewers, a quirk experienced adventurers know to keep an eye out for. Their appearance bears resemblance to flowers of all kinds, from large and seemingly beautiful roses to putrid rafflesia, but their wide rows of needle-like teeth surrounding their immense maw prove to be omnipresent across all subspecies.


Seems like the gods had some plans for oozes, because these strange creatures can be found all over Everend. Sure, theories stating the slimes are a primal expression of the Well of Creation’s generative power as old as the divinities themselves and at least one insisting oozes survived where the catastrophes of the past killed or forced to hide everything else exist, but in the end all that matters is that oozes endure everywhere, adapting and changing like their somewhat fluid shape demands. Fire-imbued ones on the mountains near Talpidium, huge masses roiling through the waves near Selacha, odd slimes bouncing across Orydonia’s fields…the list just goes on. 

The name “ooze” describes a vast variety of creatures that share traits such as semi-solid bodies, lack of discernible organs save for imitations meant to replicate or mock their inspiration’s purpose, and a frequent connection with the elements of this world. While an uncommon sight when compared to the vastness of Gaia’s creature, oozes demonstrate a formidable adaptability that finds them a home in all environments, no matter the circumstances.

Befitting creatures seemingly dating back to the earliest manifestation of life in this world, the majority of oozes shows no trace of any actual self-awareness to speak of, but some varieties are indeed sentient beings, if strange and difficulty to relate to.

Laughing Dews

Oddities whose existence and purpose leave both adventurers and scholars puzzled, laughing dews take the shape of droplets of brightly colored slime, ranging from the size of a fist to that of a dog. Their name derives from their peculiar characteristics: Not only do laughing dews keep a stylized semblance of wide eyes and large mouth, but they smile and giggle most of the time, bouncing around the place with carefree abandon. Laughing dews seems to have no other purpose than playing with whoever comes nearby, although their idea of doing so also includes pushing people and crashing against them with all the strength their soft bodies can muster.


People’s reaction the first time they see a struther is often one of fear. Which is understandable, mind you: With the body of a great feline as big as a horse, large, feathered wings, and a scaly elongated neck ending in large serpent-like head — venomous fangs included — they sure make an impression! Still, whether bred in captivity or a wild specimen running with its herd, struthers are some of the most loyal creatures in this world. Earn the trust of one and you’ve got yourself a friend for life. It’s no wonder why Vitrumaria uses them as cavalry, especially with how fast they are.

Struthers are a breed of chimerical creatures combining reptile, feline, and avian traits. Wild struther herds can most commonly be found roaming Orydonia, Vitrumaria, and Selacha, but some are sighted even in the southern Outlands. While their wings only help them leap across great distances rather than fly, struther reach outstanding velocities when running, especially on open fields. A charging struther herd makes for a fearsome spectacle few can hope to run away from.

Despite the struthers being predators, all the nations of Everend learned to appreciate them either as mounts or beasts of burden. Tamed struthers or those raised in captivity demonstrate both heartfelt affection and incredible courage for their owners, making them perfect companions for whoever treats them with respect. Handling these animals comes with its own kind of challenges deriving from their combined attitude of snake and cat.


Vulpards make for a very rare sight, although a memorable one. They look like fox-people, most no taller than a child, made even more extraordinary by their deer-like antlers. Vulpards can be as good or as bad as anyone else, especially if the legends about magnificent heroes and terrible villains among their nobles are to be believed, but those making their way into human communities often do so while carried by curiosity or hunger for adventure, becoming beloved — if unusual — members of any place they come to consider home. 

Vulpards aren’t high in numbers, but their existence represents a well-known source of wonder for the inhabitants of Everend. Depending on their local customs and traditions, some vulpard tribes live in settlements while others are nomadic, but all communities enjoy their isolation, to the point legends about them having access to secret paths or magical dimensions are a staple of fairy tales and conjectures told across Gaia. Those curious — or restless — vulpards venturing away from their people to explore the world make for notable exceptions, albeit still frequent enough that larger cities host at least a few, often living in little spaces out of people’s sight. 

While older vulpards and noble ones never leave their communities (or perfectly hide their presence when doing so), and the young vulpards’ ignorance about etiquette and laws of other societies gave them an undeserved reputation for deceitfulness. Even with the suspect the independent ones happen to be their society troublemakers, most vulpard don’t go beyond harmless pranks or violations made while unaware of rules — provided they even get there. Nowadays, after years of vulpards emerging from the wilderness to explore the human world, most people don’t hold any suspect against them, the fact they tend to be both extremely cute and endearing certainly being factors there. 

Vulpard nobles, on the other hand, are never seen in public: Stories about their power and beauty travel far and wide, but for each inspiring tale of nobility a dark cautionary story of cruel curses and fiendish schemes reminds people vulpard hold within themselves the potential to do good or evil like everyone.

Void Warped Creatures

Animals, monsters, and people who have spent too long in Outlands eventually become void warped. While most people realize the dangers and leave before anything more happens, animals find themselves trapped in the Outland for far too long to avoid their fate. Void warped creatures can be anything, often lesser creatures, who live in an area that has become an Outland.

Warped Puma

The plains of Orydonia have long been home to the puma, over-large carnivores built for stealth and speed. In recent memory, the Orydonians have domesticated this animal, keeping them as companion animals and mounts. An Orydonian national symbol of progress and strength, the puma is protected and revered. Since the advent of the Blight, we’ve seen a rise in void-tainted puma. These vile creatures are twisted versions of the noble animal, with glowing indigo eyes, violet scales rippling along their backs, and barbed, poisonous tails.

Most Orydonian pumas are domesticated, but wild ones still venture the far north and far south plains where the lands are less fertile. Pumas are pack animals, hunting together and taking care of their own.  Other nations see a relative of the puma in mountainous regions, though they tend to be solitary animals. Where these animals enter the void, they become extremely dangerous and should be approached with caution. Thankfully, they do not roam looking for a kill, and instead become extremely territorial.

2 thoughts on “[At the Gates] Creatures of Gaia”

  1. The laughing dews made my day. My slime plushie is now a game prop.

    The seasonal take on dragons is fabulous. Can’t wait to see them represented in the art.

  2. Interesting take on dragons; I’ve never seen them associated with seasons before, and they sound glorious. Also, nice to have an update with dragons after they consistently didn’t win excerpt polls for The World Below.

    Nice Easter egg to reuse the term “incarna” from the World of Darkness.

    The malaphose remind me of Final Fantasy’s marlboros, but even nastier.


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