A wild Griffon.

Griffons are fearsome beasts that have the heads of birds of prey combined with leonine bodies and massive feathered wings. Their beaks are hooked and can easily sever a man's limb. Their claws, which are reminiscent of a hawk’s talons, they keep sharp by regular scoring against stone.[2b]

Overview

Despite being large and monstrous creatures, Griffons have reputations as noble beasts. This is in part due to their proud and regal bearing – Griffons are not ravenous and frenetic like Manticores. Instead a Griffon strikes with swift and precise grace, its motion poised and controlled. Yet this elegance in no way undermines its deadliness, for a Griffon is more than capable of using its talons and razor beak to rip a foe apart. Skilled and efficient fighters, Griffons do not kill indiscriminately, although they show no reluctance when hunting or protecting their territory. They are fierce and merciless, but never cruel.[3a]

Griffons prefer their meat raw and screaming, though they'll scavenge if no other prey presents itself. This is fairly rare, though, as their hunting grounds tend to range for hundreds of miles around their chosen mountain aerie. Their eyesight is a sharp as the raptors that they resemble and they can see motion from miles away. Their war cry causes fear in all but the hardiest souls and Griffon mounts must be forcibly restrained from hunting down fleeing opponents, as it is in their nature to rend all foes that flee from them.[2a]

Feral Griffons are canny creatures and expert hunters, able to anticipate their prey's every move. Once a likely target has been spotted, a Griffon will relentlessly stalk it, waiting days if need be for the correct moment to strike. The ear-splitting shriek of a diving Griffon is highly feared and had been known to send entire armies ducking for cover, lest one of their numbers be the beast's chosen quarry.[3a] Griffons swoop down on their prey, screaming war cries as they come. They continue to attack until no opponent is left moving. Survivors of Griffon attacks often have dreams of being hunted down and rent limb from limb for years afterwards. These mighty predators dwell amidst the highest peaks of the World's Edge Mountains, occasionally flying to the lowlands when food is scarce.[2b]

Griffons can be ranked amongst the most intelligent of beasts. If captured relatively young and subjected to suitable training, they make for incredibly loyal mounts, and can even be taught to obey and even anticipate a wide range of commands. So had the Griffon become the steed of choice for many great heroes across Ulthuan and the Old World. Deathclaw, the Emperor Karl Franz's Griffon, is legendary for his dedication to his master, and many Elector Counts can boast a Griffon in their menageries.[3a] A rare few serve as mounts for the richest and most powerful Imperial nobles, who are willing to pay vast sums of gold for a single egg or chick. Griffons are fierce and wild creatures, never entirely tame, no matter how many years of domestication they’ve endured.[2b]

Imperial Griffons

Elector Counts prize Imperial Griffons above all other mounts, and years of selective breeding have produced noble beasts that are notably stronger and larger than their wild counterparts. Brave Empire adventurers seek out Griffon nests and steal their chicks to raise in captivity, singling out the strongest, cleverest and most ferocious for their lords. Once trained to carry a man in battle, Imperial Griffons are incredibly dedicated to their riders, and many Elector Counts prize these ferocious beasts as loyal mounts.[4a]

Other than depictions of the mighty Warhammer of Sigmar, no symbol holds as high a place in the Empire's esteem as that of the Griffon. The renowned Griffon Standard of the Empire rests in the Cathedral of Sigmar and it is said that no unit that ever carries it in good cause can be broken. The Grand Theogonist of Sigmar's badge of office is carved from green jade in the likeness of a Griffon. Indeed, to the citizens of the Empire, the Griffon is a sacred beast.[2a]

Ulthuani Griffons

The Griffons of the Annulii Mountains are creatures of noble bearing and keen intelligence. Such is the Griffon’s wild appearance, that a stranger to Ulthuan might deem it merely another savage beast of the mountains. Yet all Elves know that Griffons are seldom given to cruelty – at least, so long as you do not offer harm to those they think of as kin.[1a] In their own language, the High Elven word for Griffon can also translate as "savage perfection", which aptly captures the creature's deadly grace.[3a]

For an Elf to have any hope of mastering a Griffon, the beast must be captured and trained while still young, forging a bond that only death can shatter. Griffons are particularly favored by those who fight in the thick of the fray. Indeed, many a battle has been won at the moment a shrieking Griffon descends into the heart of the enemy army, leaving a trail of dismembered and disembowelled bodies in its wake.[1a]

Famous Griffons

Gallery

Sources

  • 1: Warhammer Armies: High Elves (8th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 51
  • 2: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Old World Bestiary
    • 2a: pg. 55
    • 2b: pg. 98
  • 3: Storm of Magic (8th Edition)
  • 4: Warhammer Armies: The Empire (8th Edition)
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