Striding Vulture
By: Jan Willem v.d. Brink
Type: Magical Beast
Difficulty: CR 3
Game: Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)

Medium Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 4d10+4 (26 hp)
Initiative: +2 (+2 Dex)
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
AC: 14 (+2 Dex, +2 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+4
Attack: Bite +6 melee (1d6 plus dehydrate)
Full Attack: Bite +6 melee (1d6 plus dehydrate)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Dehydrate
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +2
Abilities: Str 11, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 4
Skills: Hide +4*, Jump +4, Listen +4, Move Silently +3, Spot +4, Survival +3
Feats: Alertness, Weapon Finesse, RunB
Climate/Terrain: Warm deserts
Organisation: Solitary or flock (2-6)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Advancement: 5-6 HD (Medium); 7-12 (Large)
Level Adjustment: -

These large, flightless birds of prey look like a cross between an ostrich and a vulture. They have the neck, body, and strong legs of an ostrich, but the head of a vulture. The feathers of striding vultures range in color from light brown to dark grey, and they have a pale head, neck, and legs. A striding vulture stands about 7 feet tall.
The inside of the beak of a striding vulture is serrated, making it look as if the creature has teeth. These long 'teeth' are hollow. When a vulture bites a creature, it sucks blood and other fluids out of the body of the victim, though these hollow notches, into its throat.
Striding vultures cannot speak, but communicate by clicking with their beak and making gestures with their short wings.

Striding vultures often follow potential prey for days through the desert, waiting for their victims to become exhausted in the harsh environment. The sight of these creatures in the distance has driven many travelers in the desert mad. Sometimes striding vultures hide in a mass of rockwork and ambush any creature that wanders too close.
Dehydrate (Ex): When a striding vulture hits with its bite attack, it quickly sucks fluids out of the victim's body. This deals an additional 1d4 nonlethal damage, and the victim must make a Fortitude save (DC 15) or become dehydrated (treat as sickened, see the DMG). The character takes a -2 penalty on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.
Each time a character is bitten, he adds a -2 to these penalties if he fails the save. The save DC is Constitution-based and includes a +2 racial bonus. Creatures that don't have fluids in their body, or don't rely on them, are immune to this attack.
Skills: Striding Vultures have a +4 racial bonus on Jump checks. *Striding vultures have a +4 racial bonus on Hide checks made in areas with sand and rocks.

Habitat/Ecology The carnivorous striding vultures are well adapted to life in the desert. They survive on the meat, blood and water from their prey. When it's getting too hot even for these desert dwellers, the vultures hide in the shadow of large rocks, or cover themselves with sand.
A flock of striding vultures consists of one male and one to five female birds. Male and female vultures look alike. Females bury the eggs in the hot desert sand and let the sun hatch them. Hatchlings must fend for themselves, which causes a lot of early deaths. Only one out of every twenty hatchlings survives the first year. The main source of food in the first week is other hatchlings.
Striding vultures prey on all sorts of creatures, even vultures of other flocks. Vultures of one flock even turn on each other if they're hungry.
Striding vultures like to hunt intelligent beings. They like to drive creatures not native to the desert mad by tailing them at some distance, and will do so even if they're well fed. They suck the blood and water from travelers in the desert and leave them while they're conscious, but doomed to die beneath the burning sun.

Adventure Seeds
Good/Neutral Party: Striding vultures have attacked several caravans lately, and all the goods from those transports were gone when others found them. Since the birds have no use for wealth or items, the merchants suspect the vultures are taking orders from someone else. Maybe a blue dragon found a way to force the vultures to do his bidding, or perhaps the leader of the flock is not really a striding vulture but some kind of shapechanger.
Whoever or whatever is causing the unnatural behaviour of the vultures, the merchants want it to stop. They hire the PCs to protect them, and put an end to the attacks.

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