The Rotterhorn griffon is a breed of griffons native to the Rotterhorn, the highest mountain in Immoren, located in the Bloodstone Desert northeast of the Protectorate of Menoth. Their hunting grounds extend across the Bloodstone Desert and the Bloodstone Marches. Thought for centuries to be mythical, griffons are very dangerous flying predators that combine the lean strength of a terrestrial hunter with the speed and ferocity of a bird of prey.
A griffon’s raptorial head has a wicked, hooked beak, and each of its four limbs ends in razor-sharp claws. The hands are better for grasping, but the legs have stronger and sharper talons. The wings, attached at the scapula, are powered by incredibly strong sinew and muscle. An adult griffon stands over nine feet tall, and its long, thick tail allows it to move bipedally at a remarkable speed.
A keen-eyed hunter, the Rotterhorn griffon stays aloft on thermal currents washing off the desert floor for most of the day, barely visible in the sky as it scans the desert below. When it spots prey, the Rotterhorn griffon dives down at incredible speed, lashing out with its talons and beak. Smaller prey is consumed on the spot, while larger animals are butchered and brought to the griffon’s nest. A slash from a griffon’s talons disembowels creatures as large as a horse, and a snap from its beak can sever a human limb.
The Rotterhorn griffon’s shriek is extremely potent, and those who hear it are wracked with agony. Shrill enough to carry for miles across the desert, it can cause trauma such as burst eardrums and internal bleeding to those close by. Creatures not killed outright are left reeling and have difficulty warding off subsequent attacks.
These griffons make their nests in the narrow cracks that line the Rotterhorn, typically on sheer cliff faces near the peak of the mountain. Six or more mated pairs will nest in close proximity, building small flocks of related individuals. These flocks exhibit no clear hierarchy, unlike those of the Scarsfell griffon.
The precipitous location of Rotterhorn griffons’ nests ensures that the roost is exceedingly difficult for other creatures to disturb. Anything attempting to approach is either attacked as it scales the cliff wall or hurled to its death on the rocks below. The adult griffons have little patience for intruders and work in tandem to drive off threats. They become even more aggressive during and for a short period after the mating season, battling even members of other flocks in wheeling combat high above the mountain.
The Circle Orboros has taken great pains to tend to the Rotterhorn griffons despite the extremely remote nature of their nests and the challenge of reaching them. The blackclads have established carefully tended roosts and small encampments where they can watch over the flocks and cull weak members while the adult griffons are out scouring the desert for food. The Circle has made some effort to transplant Rotterhorn griffon nests to other mountains, but its success has been limited, so the vast majority of these creatures still originate from the Rotterhorn.
Rotterhorn griffons are more aggressive and stubborn than their northern cousins and often require more time to train. Angering a griffon during training usually drives it to loose its deafening shriek, and the druids must take great pains to teach these creatures to withhold their lethal scream until they enter battle. Once engaged with the enemy, the griffon is allowed full expression of its rage, leaving a bloody trail of victims that fell to its piercing shriek and slashing talons.