Creatures & Monsters – A to Z: A is for Alicanto

A creature from the folklore of Chile, the Alicanto is a large nocturnal bird found in mountainous regions that devours sliver and gold in various forms. The Alicanto is similar in appearance to a vulture but it is significantly larger, and its peculiar diet has given its feathers and flesh a metallic sheen and its eyes, talons, and a beak appear to be made of solid silver or gold. It looks for sliver and gold ore veins, as well as treasure or jewelry to feast upon. The ages have taught the Alicanto that humanoid beings usually carry such items, and sometimes the Alicanto will stalk or attack adventurers and travelers in order to feed upon their valuables.

The Alicanto is a fearsome creature, that is both ferocious and treacherous. It has razor sharp talons capable of ripping through wood and thin metal, and its beak is capable of pecking apart stone in order to reach silver and gold ore. It has a sort of natural armor as well, again due to its peculiar diet. The most dangerous weapon in the Alicanto’s arsenal though is that by flapping its wings it can mesmerize a person who sees shimmering sliver and gold visions just out of the charmed person’s reach. The Alicanto will then slowly lure its victim to a cliff’s edge in the hope that the victim will walk straight ahead to his or her doom. The Alicanto will then feast upon the victim’s valuables even if the victim is still alive but incapable of defending itself.

Alicantos are rarely seen together as they will attack each other upon sight except for during mating season. During this time the males of the species will reserve some of their food in order to attract a mate with it. The Alicanto will grind up silver and gold bits in its beak and drop these pieces onto the rocks below as it flies in search of a mate. The females hear the distinctive sound of the metal as it lands and will leave her nest in search of the tasty snack. If the female is pleased with the offering the Alicantos mate, else she will drive off the male until another offering is made to lure her out.

This also means that occasionally female Alicantos looking to mate have attacked travelers walking in metal armor amongst the rocky terrain and sometimes even those people with coins clinking about in their purses while travelling in the mountains. Male Alicantos also have attacked humanoids foolish enough to pick up the offerings they have dropped for the purpose of attracting a mate.

An Alicanto’s nest is a very rare thing to find, and it often has jewels and gems that the Alicanto does not eat when ripping apart treasure for a meal. If a nest has eggs they will also appear to be made of silver and gold as the shell is the first meal that a young Alicanto will feed upon. The eggs of an Alicanto are quite valuable as they are sought out for both decor for the extremely wealthy and by alchemists to be used in spells and formulas, but where Alicanto eggs are to be found the mother is sure to be nearby.

Alicanto hatchlings mature very quickly. They devour and digest their own shells immediately, and will then devour the shells of their siblings if they have not yet hatched killing them. It is very rare for two Alicantos to come from the same nest. The hatchling is often capable of flight within mere hours of being born, and it will take flight as soon as possible as its parent will kill it if it comes back to find the hatchling still within the nest (yet another reason why Alicanto are so rare). The Alicanto will then seek out silver and gold ore in the rocky terrain that it inhabits, and within a week will be fully grown and mature.

While encounters with an Alicanto are fearsome, local prospectors and treasure hunters actively seek the bird and track it in order to locate silver and gold deposits and treasures. Hunters will also track the Alicanto, for while the bird is inedible it usually has a small amount of treasure in its stomach.

Stats

Speed: Ground (Poor), Flight (Mediocre)

Scale: 0

Attacks: Talons & Beak (Fair)

Defenses: Natural Armor (Fair)

Special Abilities: Mesmerizing Flash (Good) – The Alicanto hovers by rapidly beating its wings causing a mesmerizing effect as moonlight and other light sources shimmer off of its wings. The target will move at its normal pace where ever the Alicanto leads it unless the charm is broken by an appropriate trait check.

Treasure: Silver and Gold nuggets within the stomach of the bird of Fair value collectively.