Zorsal (4e Creature)
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The zorsal is a furry, batlike predator. A full-grown adult is small enough to ride on a person's shoulder.
DC 15: Zorsals are quite intelligent for animals. They can sense the emotions of other beings around them and judge fairly accurately whether a being is trustworthy. They communicate using patterns of soft clicks. Characters can learn to mimic these sounds to give simple commands to the creatures or understand basic concepts that they are communicating: hunger, danger, and so on. Zorsals are also social and help each other out; for example, a zorsal will bring food to a wounded companion.
DC 20: Zorsals can be trained, but it is difficult to do so. If the owner is psionically gifted, he may have a mental connection to the zorsal ranging from a weak empathic link (only basic emotions are transmitted) all the way up to telepathic contact (the owner can transmit visual imagery to the animal to give it simple commands) for powerfully psionic beings.
Zorsals typically attack only to defend themselves or their territory or when hunting prey.
A zorsal has a smooth face with a pointed snout, leathery wings, and four paws. The large eyes, which have much keener vision than a human's and can see well in very dim light, are ringed with darker-colored fur. On top of the head are feathery antennae that serve as sensitive sensory organs. These point toward the object the zorsal is examining. When the zorsal is frightened or sleeping it lays its antennae flat against its head.
This creature can be domesticated and is highly valued for its ability to eliminate larger vermin from buildings. Zorsals are also useful as watchdogs and are often used to guard storehouses. When the owner is travelling, his zorsal will often fly high above, keeping watch for enemies. However, these creatures are very independent and training a zorsal to obey specific commands is widely considered impossible.
The front paws are sometimes used for manipulating objects. For example, the zorsal may use them to shovel food into its mouth until the cheeks bulge alarmingly.
Zorsals make a wide variety of sounds, including clicks, chattering, croaks, honks, hoots, squawks, grunts, whimpers, and cries. These generally indicate the creature's mood. In darkness, zorsals use their cries for echolocation. Since these cries are audible to characters, unlike those of bats, this gives their positions away to potential enemies.
These creatures dislike loud noise, crowds, and bright light such as direct sunlight. In the summer, they like to lie on their backs in pools of water for hours to cool off. Considerate owners will provide bowls of water for this purpose.
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Zorsals in Combat
Their claws can shred flesh. Their powerful jaws and sharp teeth can crush the bones of a small animal or sever an adult human's finger. Two of the zorsal's teeth are hollow and can inject venom into a victim on a successful bite attack. This poison is not powerful enough to kill a medium sized creature such as a human, but causes him severe pain for 1d6 hours. It is lethal for creatures of up to small size.
In combat, a zorsal will attempt to attack weaker areas such as the face, eyes, and throat.