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Vargr

“The Vandar call it moonsong and you’ll not hear it anywhere south of here. It’s beautiful, but it’s also a warning and no less dangerous for its beauty”
-Varga Blackskull talking about the howl of the Vargr

Also Known as: Reidwulf, Dire wolf, Protowulf, Axvrkas, Rathwulf, Borophaginae
Habitat: Northern forests, Plains
Hazard Level: High

Summary
The Reidwulf or Vargr is the largest specimen of canid found in Aeldos; a highly aggressive species that hunts much of Svertheim, Granden, and Vandar and is a well known threat to the people of the north. Reidwulf populations have been limited by competing predators, and few specimens have been found south of Granden. Vargr are dangerous and clever pack hunters, averaging 1.6 meters long and weighing between 120 and 140 kg. Their fur is almost always black or dark grey and their temperaments are universally aggressive. Lifespans are between 15 and 20 years, shorter in the wild. Vargr compete for habitat and prey with a dozen other northern hyper-carnivores including Wara, Urpan, Faeles Thule, Carvers, Arctos and many more. As a result they are considered by many to be, on balance, a lesser threat of the north.

Description
Reidwulves are agile and adaptive pack hunters. Most packs have three to eight members, but there are records of packs much larger, up to thirty members in size. The species is hyper-carnivorous, and few species can be considered safe from their voracious appetite. Vargr possess acute senses and are capable trackers and have an uncanny ability to find and track injured individuals and prey. They are also able to communicate with their pack over vast distances using howls that can be heard hundreds of kilometers away. Vargr are common species in the north but rare in the south; most specimens found south of Granden are ill conceived pets, imported fighting animals, or escaped variations of either.

While many attempts have been made to tame Reidwulves, none have been successful. The species is highly aggressive and temperamental and most attempts to tame them lead to the death of the handler. The more genially tempered Clanbar is the preferred guard animal, and many Svertans have only survived their encounters with the Vargr due to well trained Clanbar.

Lesser ‘Wolves’ are found in pockets throughout Aeldos and a few even persist in the north but most are hunted by Vargr. There have been some reports of Reidwulves and Lesser Wolves coexisting in the same pack, but these are mostly considered rumors and tall tales.

Matriarch: The most dangerous Vargr is the female or ‘Matriarch’ of a breeding pair, generally considered to be the leader of the pack. Matriarchs are not as large as Patriarchs but they are often more aggressive and apt to pursue prey in order to feed the pack.
Patriarch: Vargr Patriarchs are the largest type of Vargr but are more easy to frighten off. Patriarchs tend to act as scouts and guards for the pack while Matriarchs and pups do most of the hunting.
Pup: The term ‘pup’ is used to refer to any member of the pack which is not part of the breeding pair. These can range from newly born Reidwulves to secondary adults. Where Matriarchs and Patriarchs can both be found separate from the pack, pups are almost always found as a group.