The Patterson field guides to paranormal animals annotated on Shadowland make for an excellent introduction to the more dangerous sorts of beasts that one may have worrisome encounters with, but give very little impression of the more benign creatures that have come into the world with the Awakening.
An occasional recessive trait crops up among the common housecat, felis domesticus, that renders them dual beings. Such beasts seem to enjoy the astral emanations of active magicians and spirits. Many attempts have been made to train these cats as guard animals, but the market on astrally defended food dishes and litterboxes is too small to create a market.
Another recessive among canines crops up most often in the working-dog breeds that gives them a limited astral sensitivity; magical investigation of the sensoriums of these beings suggests that this is strongly tied to their senses of smell, like an unusual form of Empathy. Such beasts are not capable of assaulting astral entities, but can serve as a warning system to “catch the scent” of magical intrusion, and are occasionally used in low-budget security operations that cannot afford any better source of astral defense.
An Awakened version of the standard house mouse, mus musculus?, with a minor power of illusion. These mice, when threatened, become perfectly still, and cover themselves with a static mana illusion that causes them to blend in with any irregular cover they might be among. They cannot hide in the middle of a well-lit white floor, but can easily become drifts of leaves, piles of lint, and other such minor terrain features. The power seems to cloak even scent, as long as the mouse remains still.
(The Felux, from Earthdawn.) An Awakened lion with huge eyes, the
size of a human hand. As the animal chooses, the eyes can glow, up to
the level of a blinding glare or strobe, shooting 30 meters straight
ahead and spreading out to a 45° angle at 10m. The glare provides
ordinary glare penalties and can be deal with with flare compensation.
The stroboscopic effect is more dangerous: it can induce epilepsy in
most mammals. (Flare compensation, again, negates.) The animal makes
an opposed test of its Essence to the the Willpower of anything within
the area of the strobe effect; if it has any successes, the target
goes into epileptic seizures (lasting longer with more successes by
the strobe lion).
B 8 Q 8×4 S 9 I 3/4 W 5 R 7** E (6) 9S Claw, 10S bite.
(The Preces, from Earthdawn.) An Awakened hare, about 2’ long, with sharp incisors and eyeteeth, and unusually long forelegs. The animal runs on its “elbows”, as the forelegs contain venemous barbs (5M poison, injected, instant onset). The prayer hare is normally herbiverous, but turns into a carnivore around harvest time, when the males attack each other to vie for the attention of the females. This is the only time that a prayer hare will attack a human being. At this time, the females hunt in packs of half a dozen or even more. 5M bite, 4M claws.
(The Granlain, from Earthdawn.) The horse breed called the Rhine
descends from a group of Percherons bred in the Rhine Valley in
Germany. Recently, they began birthing unusually large foals, which
have grown into monstrously large horses: 7’ tall at the shoulder, and
ten feet in length. These beasts can actually carry a Troll well.
(Normally, Trolls have to ride very tough Percherons and Shire
horses.) They are stubborn as mules.
B 12 Q 4×4 S 12 I 2/3 W 6 E 6 R 3 10S trample?
(The thundra beast, from Earthdawn.) An Awakened form of rhinoceros
with a thick, scaly hide. They stand 2.1m at the shoulder, are 3.5 m
long, mass over a ton. These beasts sport a large horn in the middle
of the forehead that does 8S damage (8D when charging) with +1 Reach,
and their trample does 12D.
B 15/3 Q 4×4 S 30 I 2/4 W 4
The charmingbird is an Awakened variant of the hummingbird. It is dual natured, and usually larger than the hummingbird, with an average length of four inches. It gets its name from effect the sound it’s wings has on most other animals. The “hum” of the charmingbird’s wings (with the aid of magic) “charms” any animal that hears it (and fails a Willpower (4) roll) into a dreamlike trance. Parabiologists believe that this is a defense mechanism which works by incapacitating any predators that may be near. The effect disappears when the subject can no longer hear the charmingbird, so the effect is relatively harmless. In the case of (meta)humans, however, those suffering from the charm are highly susceptible to suggestion, as it they had been hypnotized. (Submitted by Michael Sims.)
A variety of the soft-shelled crab, with nearly translucent flesh. The meat is incredibly spicy, and is a favorite in sushi bars, especially among Orks and Trolls.
The scourge of the modern garden. These snails eat your plants like their mundane cousins, but also ingest a fair amount of earth for its silicon content. Their shells are grey, almost impossible to crush, and somewhat roughened compared to an ordinary snail’s; they can easily be mistaken for river-smoothed granite pebbles by the untrained eye. They are somewhat resistant to the pesticides that kill ordinary slugs and snails, but a number of products now on the market can control them. Occasional rock snails will produce very elegant shells, and such beauties are occasionally in demand by talismongers.
A clam with an ordinary-looking shell but luminescent flesh. The glow seems to serve no evolutionary purpose, but merrows are known to cultivate them in their underwater hideaways. Check on merrows and other sea life...
This variant of the European honeybee glows at night like a firefly— not to attract a mate, but as a warning display. Their sting contains a powerful psychotropic poison that will completely incapacitate any animal of less than 50kg and leave larger ones in a dangerously distracted state (+5 to all TN’s as they deal with sudden fear reactions to everything in the vicinity and have occasional nasty hallucinations). These bees seem to be astrally sensitive, and particularly attracted to certain flowers that create their own background counts. Their honey contains a mild amount of their same poison, and is occasionally used in magical initiation rituals to provide experience in confronting one’s own fears.
A five-petalled European wild yellow rose, very thorny, that creates its own background count of euphoric emotions. Mammalian dual beings find their wills sapped in the presence of these roses; reptiles and insects seem unaffected. Sentient beings can shrug off the effects with a Willpower (4) roll. Botanists speculate that Awakened beings near these roses are easier for predators to catch off-guard, and their deaths will provide extra fertilizer for the roses. They are pollinated in particular by the glimmerbee.
A medium sized member of the orchid family, with white petals with black and green flecks toward the center of the flower, found in Hawai’i and Polynesian islands. Discovered two years ago by a free spirit called Dion Kimber, this Awakened orchid has rapidly infused the magical community, especially magical security companies, and is grown greenhouses everywhere. Although rather commonplace for an orchid, it possesses a pleasing, brilliant (but non-active) astral aura. It is mainly harvested for its ability to raise the background count in areas in which it prospers. The extraneous astral patterns created by a room full of these plants has been called extremely beautiful, and compared in intensity to that within major cathedrals [Background Count = 4]. (Borrowed from Wordman’s list of plants in the Neo-Anarchist’s Guide to Everything Else.)
Initially, the conversion from Earthdawn to Shadowrun seems fairly simple: starting humans in Earthdawn, have attribute steps going from 2 to 7, and starting humans in Shadowrun have them going from 1 to 6. While the “subtract 1 from the step” algorithm works as a first crude step, it is not an entirely balanced conversion.
For one, the average starting human PC in Earthdawn can easily have stats better than those of a bear; the average pedestrian could have attribute steps of straight 6’s, where a human pedestrian has straight 3’s. The metatypes from Shadowrun don’t have quite the same attribute modifiers. The Earthdawn stats probably don’t represent quite the same things as the Shadowrun stats. (Though perhaps all the ED Adepts have priority A on stats, B on Magic, and C on race in a “more metahumans” game...)
|4||3 (1-3)||3||4||3 (3-4)||2 (2-4)|
|5||4 (4-5)||4 (3-4)||5 (3-7)||4 (3-4)||2 (2-4)|
|6||5 (4-8)||4 (2-6)||5 (3-5)||4 (3-5)||3 (2-4)|
|7||6 (3-9)||5 (4-5)||9 (8-9)||5||4|
|8||10||6 (4-5)||9 (9-10)||5 (4-6)|
|10||12 (9-12)||8 (8-25)|
Note that large creatures in Shadowrun have very impressive Strength
scores, out of proportion to their other stats. When converting a
creature from Earthdawn, make sure to look at a creature of similar
size and build in Shadowrun when picking basic physical stats.
Other conversion notes:
A hellhound bite at step 10 is 6M; a warhorse trample at 14 is 6S; a unicorn gore at 20 is amazingly just an 8M with +1 Reach.
Dragons in Earthdawn are even more frightening than in Shadowrun. Their powers include Regeneration, a flaming breath that starts flames that won’t go out as long as they’re within a kilometer, and the ability to use their karma to make you reroll your attacks entirely.