THE CIRCLE OF LIGHT
Large Fearsome Hounds
The gate hound is an aberration not of Nature, but of certain Namegivers’ meddling with Nature. In the last few years before the Scourge, many magicians searched frantically for ways to protect the Namegiver races from the Horrors. The sensible ones built the kaers and citadels. A few mages attempted to lower the magic levels around their city of Chasteyn so that the Horrors would never arrive there. However, this was a monumental task—halting the natural cycle of magic is far beyond the ability of any magician in Barsaive, or anywhere else in the world. To achieve their goal, the magicians chose to create a creature that could drain magic. Their experiment failed to produce the desired result; instead, it produced the gate hound, a creature of limited ability to drain magic and an enormous appetite for warm flesh.
The gate hound resembles a giant dog or wolf, often standing 6 feet tall at the shoulder. Stocky and thick-muscled, they are covered in dull red fur that seems to soak up the light. Their eyes glow with a fierce white light, not unlike a basilisk’s. They have huge jaws crammed full of sharp teeth, and hunt in packs large enough to bring down almost any living creature—eight to ten hounds at least, sometimes more.
Gate hounds can drain magic, though nowhere near as well as their creators hoped. They store magical energy drained from another creature in an organ just below their thick, ugly necks. The drain is short-lived, however, wearing off within a few seconds.
More than a few magicians—perhaps the latter-day descendants of the fools who created these beasts—have attempted to harness the power of the gate hounds. Thus far, all have failed. One rumour tells of a magician who tried to use a hound’s magic draining organ to lower the level of magic around his house. He failed and drained his own magical ability; worse yet, he made the effect permanent.
DEX: 7 STR: 10 TOU: 7
PER: 4 WIL: 6 CHA: 4
Physical Defense: 9
Spell Defense: 10
Attack (2): 9
Social Defense: 7
Bite (5): 15; Claws (2): 12
Physical Armor: 4
Mystic Armor: 6
Recovery Tests: 3
Wound Threshold: 12
Legend Award: Second Circle
Durability (1), Enhanced Senses [Listen,Smell] (2): 6, Great Leap (2): 9, Magic Drain (2): 8, Tracking (2): 6
Magic-draining organ worth 500 silver pieces (worth Legend Points)
In combat, gate hounds can bite or rake an opponent with their powerful claws. Their favorite tactic is to clamp their jaws down on an opponent and shake the hapless victim back and forth in an effort to break his neck using a Bite and Shake attack (p. 147). The hound can use its Magic Drain power only against other creatures; it cannot drain areas. Trying to tame or otherwise use a gate hound is impossible. The power’s range is 4 yards (2 hexes).
Attracted to Magic:
Like Horrors, gate hounds are drawn to magic-rich places. The two species often meet and attack each other savagely. Some secret animosity seems to exist between them; even intelligent Horrors renowned for savoring their foes’ slow death over many years do not retreat from battle with gate hounds until either they or the gate hounds die.