“O sublime beast,
With silken wing and ancient eyes,
With warrior’s talon and mother’s patience,
Have the gods created a more divine creature?”
– Bartholomew Tess, ‘The Sophiornelle’
Bounding from limb to limb and soaring through wooded mountain glens, the sophiornelle live quietly and serenely in isolation. These graceful and beautiful owl-like creatures rarely show themselves to humans, but when they do many people view encounters with these sublime creatures as blessings from the gods.
The following creature was designed for use with the philosophy that steeds are discovered and bound to the caster, as opposed to summoned as spirits. Casters still use the find steed spell to create the bond, with the following changes:
* the steed retains its normal type.
* when the steed drops to 0 hit points, it dies and cannot be summoned again.
Sophiornelle live in small groups called sonnets, that make their home in the farthest reaches of the world. Although they prefer lush forests, their inherent elusiveness and need for isolation have led them to inhabit mountainsides, valleys, and many other exotic locals that meet their required distance from humanoids. Despite their disdain for living in proximity to civilization, they are immensely empathetic and caring creatures and the rare sightings that people have had of these majestic beasts generally come from their tendency to swoop in and save travelers or adventurers in need.
Peaceful and intelligent, sophiornelle sonnets work together seamlessly to hunt whatever game dwells in their territories and avoid the threats that might wander into them. Although their placid dispositions lead them to evade danger rather than face it head-on whenever possible, Sophiornelle will fiercely defend their sonnetmates and young from predators much larger than themselves, using their intellect and teamwork to overcome whatever obstacles they may face.
When raised from a hatchling, sophiornelle can be trained into excellent mounts and companions. Their training isn’t difficult, given that they’re as smart as humanoids, but that in and of itself can cause other problems. Sophiornelle will not serve cruel or evil purposes and have even been known to disobey or impede lawful orders that they personally find to be too mean-spirited, specifically when directed toward a physically weak individual. This singular quality makes them unsuitable for many people, who would prefer a mount with less personality and empathy. Training or “breaking” an adult sophiornelle as a steed is practically impossible, although there are stories of Sophiornelle willingly partnering with a brave hero after witnessing them perform a particularly selfless act.
Despite whatever issues their insight and compassion may cause, gaining a sophiornelle as a companion is a lifelong bond, one that the Sophiornelle would die to defend and one that any adventurer lucky enough to encounter should treasure.
Large beast, chaotic good
Armor Class 13
Hit Points 59 (7d10 + 21)
Speed 60 ft., fly 60 ft.
|16 (+3)||17 (+3)||16 (+3)||10 (+0)||17 (+3)||15 (+2)|
Skills Perception +6
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages understands Common and Sylvan but can’t speak
Challenge 2 (450 XP)
Flyby. The sophiornelle doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks when it flies out of an enemy’s reach.
Keen hearing and sight. The sophiornelle has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or sight.
Beak. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage.
Talons. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) slashing damage.
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Featured Image: Sophiornelle by Anderson Maia
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