Mundane Freaks from the Medieval Bestiary: The Hyena

Sometimes it’s easy to skip over the normal every day creatures in life, in part because we’re used to them and also in part because we don’t grow up with mythology surrounding them. The campaign wiki give us stats on the average every day hyena and then a giant version. A nice mean pack animal to throw at our players sure, but what about the mythology that surrounds hyenas? This is where the medieval bestiary comes in with its entry on hyenas. In particular two pieces of lore make for excellent RPG fodder. First and foremost is the note that a hyena’s eye (or stomach) may carry a stone that allows a person to predict the future if placed under the tongue. The second and perhaps more intriguing is the rumor that a hyena might circle the outside of a home or village calling a person’s name and killing those that investigate. Combine with the rumor that they dig up graves and consume the corpses and you have a classic mysterious disappearances and grave robbing without the classic were-beast, vampire or zombie. Just a simple hyena, a perfectly mundane freak.

P.S. Be sure you check out the sources listed below the main entry for other tidbits such as hyenas paralyzing other animals with its gaze.

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