The abrian is an carnivorous Abyssal flightless bird.
- 1 Description
- 2 Abilities
- 3 Ecology
- 4 Society and culture
- 5 Treasure
- 6 History
- 7 Publication history
- 8 Creative origins
- 9 References
Abrians are tall flightless birds which closely resemble ostriches, but with a pair of clawed small arms similar to a tyrannosaurus rex or velociraptor instead of wings, and a much larger head and beak. An adult abrian stands around 7 feet tall.
An abrian is covered in black and red spiny feathers. Its head and legs are bare of feathers, but covered in a scaly gray hide.
The upper underside of their long neck and their limbs are bare, while the rest of their body has black plumage, with red plumage at the tail and the bases of their strong legs.
Personality and alignment
Abrians are more intelligent than animals, though relatively dull by human standards. They are extremely clever pack hunters, able to use tactics such as hit-and-run maneuvers and ambushes, communicate with each other, and lay traps for prey. They tend toward arrogance and will often take on an enemy who is too strong for them, though if outnumbered or overwhelmed they are quick to flee.
Abrians generally consider most other species to either prey or a threat to their young, and are quick to attack. In rare occasions, when their bellies are full and they are far from home, parties of abrians have been known to conduct trade, although they have little understanding of civilized behavior. Attempts to conduct diplomacy with abrians often fail disastrously.
The abrian also has a supernaturally loud piercing shriek, which it uses to disorient opponents. When used by a group in unison, the sound is deafening. The abrian is itself unharmed by the shriek of abrians.
In the Great Wheel, abrians originated in Carceri or the Gray Waste. Due to their nomadic nature, they are common throughout the Lower Planes and the Outlands, and are occasionally spotted in the Upper Planes. They are known in the Barrens of Doom and Despair and Fury's Heart of Faerûn.
Abrian flocks establish communal nests. Their favored locations are caves, ruins, dense forests, or thickets. The abrian's voracious appetite means that a flock will soon deplete the local resources, and a nest will be abandoned after 4 to 6 months. Abrians are nomadic, and will travel up to several hundred miles to reach a new hunting grounds, after which they will establish a new nest.
A flock uses its nest to protect its young, its eggs, and any treasure it has collected. Although abrians are usually quick to flee when outnumbered, they are fiercely protective of their nests, and will fight to the death to defend it.
Abrians hatch from eggs. A single clutch may include between one and six eggs. Abrian eggs are not particularly valued by poachers.
Abrians are carnivorous. In settled areas, they frequently raid livestock, while in wilderness they pose a threat to travelers.
They have voracious appetites, with a single flock able to lay waste to a large area. Abrians arrange hunting parties numbering half or more of their flock, while the rest remain to guard the nest. Such hunts can take several days, and are typically led by the males of the flock. They will often use tactics such as dividing into two smaller groups, with one making a head-on attack while the other makes a sneak ambush from the rear. They will also spread out to surround a target before darting in.
A typical hunting pack is between 4 and 10 members.
Society and culture
Abrians live in small flocks of around 11 to 40.
Unlike their hunting parties, abrian society at large is matriarchal. Flocks are led by a more intelligent and older female. In around half of flocks, the second-oldest female serves as a shaman, a sort of cleric whose powers focus on animal, plant, and guardian magic.
A typical flock has a number of young equivalent to around 25% of the adult population, and at any given time may have between 1-6 eggs for every ten members.
Abrians are capable of speakling language, usually Abyssal.
While they are unable to wield manufactured weapons, an abrian can occasionally use its arms to hold and use magic item such as rings or wands.
Abrian flocks keep any treasure they acquire in their lair.
Abrians have been known to lay in wait for planar travelers, including in the Outlands.
AD&D 2nd edition
Abrians appear in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II (1995), p.8-9. They are mentioned in Faces of Evil: The Fiends (1997), p.88 and Planes of Conflict (1995), p.6 as evil creatures of the lower planes.
Abrian eggs are listed in Polyhedron #133 (Dec 1998), as an ingredient in a recipe for "shepard's pie".
D&D 3rd edition
The abrian is detailed in the Fiend Folio (3e) (2003), p.12. It is given mentions in Player's Guide to Faerûn (2004), p.142,144,153 and in monster tables in Frostburn (2004), p.220 and Planar Handbook (2004), p.189.
Design of the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II (1995), in which the abrian first appears, is credited Rich Baker.