Arcanum 1780: A New World
Domesticated Beasts of the New World
Alternative Names: House Cat
Description: More and more, reliable evidence is being presented that ordinary house cats can see and interact with the supernatural world. Seeing spirits, detecting magical fields, cat’s seem to have a natural ability to observe the supernatural. It is not confirmed that all cats have this ability, but it seems most certainly do. It is quite possible that cats not reacting to magical stimuli are simply being cats and ignoring it, thus frustrating research efforts. Some spirits have shown a fear of cats, and the Royal College of Magic in Albany is attempting to breed a more trainable subspecies of cat to be used as a supernatural “watch dog”, but being cats, success has been limited.
”Psh, Cats. The other day, mine was grooming itself, just licking it’s paws like nothing was amiss. Pure banality. Then all of a sudden, it stops. It just stares intently at a empty space and narrows it’s eyes. After a moment of staring, the cat lets of a small, quiet hiss, like a warning, then stares some more and goes back to grooming itself like nothing happened. For the briefest instant, I saw the spirit – a horrible vision, I assure you – looking terrified of the cat as it faded through the ways and out of the house. Judging by the way it moved, I hazard to guess that the thing was a good halfway to through the parlor, near the cat’s bed, when the cat reacted. Had the spirit avoided the cat’s belongings, I doubt I would have any warning that the thing was in my house at all. Damned Cats. Needless to say, I called upon the services of an exorcist first thing in the morning.” – Sir Reighly, Boston.
Alternative Names: Noble Pig, Bright Swine
Description: The Clever Hog is a large pig that is obviously cleaner, smarter and more trainable than others of it’s litter. While still of animal intelligence and by no means sapient, Clever Hogs are far smarter than most animals, and easier to train than even a dog. A Clever Hog is born to a litter of “normal” pigs, about 1 in 12, and it soon becomes obvious that the animal is different. As large beast (weighing well over 400 lbs), the Clever Hog makes a fine beast of burden, able to handle as much weight as a large donkey. A single Clever Hog might be seen plowing a field or pulling a cart of goods to market without guidance, or a small team pulling a light wagon. As long as they are kept well fed and clean, a Clever Hog has a cheerful, eager to please personality. Breeding programs of Clever Hogs are showing great promise, and some people think that before the end of the century, Clever Hogs may be more common than horses as a means of travel.
”Ah, the Clever Hog, what a creature! See them around town more and more – the Allens use one to plow the fields, sweet little Mabel Lane gets toted all over town in that Hog-Cart of hers. Heck, even those devilish Parish boys have gotten in on the trend, getting folks to bet on races every Friday night. Times are a changing, mark my words.” Councilmen Meyers, Farmington New Hampshire.
Alternative Names: Barn Griffin, Owl-Cat
Description: Resembling the Griffin of ancient myth, the House Griffin combines the features of an owl and a house cat, instead of the eagle and lion of mythology. Weighing in at an average 15lbs, the House Griffin is a remarkable hunter – stealthy, cunning, and with phenomenally acute senses, and of course, they fly. Besides their use as mousers, House Griffins are becoming a popular as “watch-dogs”, able to warn of intruders with their screeching cries, or if the mood suits them, attacking in a flurry of airborne claws and beak. Territorial, adult male House Griffins will not tolerate another of the same in their territory. House Griffins are independent and aloof, they are notoriously hard to train, but their natural instincts still make them the perfect mousers/watch-beast.
”So, there I was – bein’ all sneaky like an scaling the walls of the house, when I hears it screech – a horrible sound to be sure, only I’m not a’scared ‘cause I knows the whole household is out of town and this here town has a nightwatchmen that hasn’t been sober since the war. No worries, I thinks, it’s just their danged watch-beast making it’s noise, neighbors aren’t coming out for that. Then it hits me – it t’weren’t even 20 pounds, but is hist me right in the face with a raking of it’s nasty beast claws. I hit the ground hard, screaming through the blood, and the damnable monster swoops back down an’ I loose an eye it’s it razor beak. The last thing I saw before I passed out was the wretched little bastard perched on the window sill licking my blood of’an it’s paws, just grooming itself like I was a mouse and of no more concern.” – ‘Faceless Freddy’ Morse.
Description: Straight out of mythology, the unicorn is a horse with a lion-like tail, goat-like beard and their most distinctive feature – a single horn growing from their head. Unicorns are born to normal horses, but at a little less than one-in-a-thousand, and as such have been restricted to nobility by Royal Decree. All unicorns as of yet have been a solid color – white or black, and always males. Breeding programs have been showing slight progress in tracing bloodlines, but it’s progress on the less. More so than even the infamous Spanish Mustangs, Unicorns are aggressive and ill-tempered, but can be trained to focus that aggression, and make terrifying beast of war. Unicorns heal at a supernatural rate, and lend an aura of awe to their riders, but despite the hundreds of theories as to the magical properties of their blood and uses of their horn, law prohibits cutting the horn or otherwise mistreating a live Unicorn.
”I remember the day well, the men were at the end of their strength, but they knew a cavalry charge had next to no chance at catching them in this forested land. Every man had the plan to fire a volley from their muskets and run for the trees, but then we saw him. Leading the charge was Lord William Howe, riding upon his Unicorn steed. When he commanded a surrender, not a man fired a shot – some fled, some stood where they were, some bastards even genuflected, but not a single man fired on the Lord of the Unicorns when he commanded their surrender.” – Sgt. Trousand, formerly of the French Army.