Swamp horrors are monstrous, amphibious, ravenous cephalopods that dwell in the foggy, unexplored regions of the Widower’s Wood around Corvis. They are hostile toward even their own kind and are almost always found alone.
Adult swamp horrors grow as tall as six metres, although the reach of their tentacles extends considerably farther. Much of the creature’s body is covered by overlapping chitin plates that provide remarkable protection, and the remainder is made of thick muscle. Its vital organs are protected by the most heavily armoured portion of its mantle, making them very difficult to reach.
The swamp horror's enormous armoured head has several sets of eyes that give it excellent vision both in and out of the water, and its multiple tentacles allow it to swim, pull itself forward, maintain its balance, and reach for prey all at the same time. Each tentacle ends in a sharp chitinous spur which can be used to impale smaller prey, and the spur’s inner edge is sharp enough to slice cleanly through a man’s leg with a single lash. A swamp horror can use these tentacles to propel itself across mud and solid ground.
A swamp horror's skin excretes a thick, sour substance that protects it from parasites and prevents it from drying out while out of the water. This substance smells strongly of uric acid or vinegar and is often the only warning that a swamp horror is lurking somewhere nearby.
Swamp horrors are voracious generalist predators. A hungry swamp horror will consume every living thing it encounters, even smaller swamp horrors. Prey ensnared by a swamp horror's tentacles are dragged alive into the beast’s maw to be ripped apart by lacerating teeth.
Swamp horrors lair in deep underwater pits beneath the roots of massive mangrove trees. A swamp horror’s lair can be identified by the corpses of other creatures strewn outside the entrance with radial tooth marks left on the bones. Because of the creature’s violent nature and indiscriminate appetite, it does not share its territory. Swamp horrors will attack and consume potential rivals that intrude on their hunting grounds and only knowingly venture into another’s territory to seek a mate or kill off a competitor.
Mating occurs after a brutal combat that leaves both swamp horrors marked with sucker wounds and long lacerations. Only the strongest survive this ritual. The young are born in batches of over twenty. As they develop, stronger juveniles kill and consume their siblings until only a few remain.
Swamp horrors crawl over land to move from one pool to another, but they do not hesitate to attack land creatures. A swamp horror will pursue its prey onto boats, onto beaches, and even up trees. Swamp horrors disappear back into the depths of the swamp after claiming their prey, leaving behind only a film of blood upon the waters and the echo of snapping bones.
The swamp horror is one of the most sought-after creatures among swamp warlocks. Their minds are alien, almost unnatural, and only the most exceptional bokors and shamans are capable of subduing them. To gatorman warlocks, swamp horrors are more than just beasts of war; they are symbols of status and power revered as devouring forces of the untamed swamp.