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"Many of my fellows would say that the Pegasus is the grandest mount that any knight could ever aspire to. They speak of the Pegasi's grace, beauty and speed, extolling these as the greatest virtues to be had in any beast. But the only virtue I see in speed is if it gets me to the battlefield quicker, there is grace enough for me in the clash of arms and I forgot how to perceive beauty years ago. I don't expect tricks from my mount, I expect carnage and I get it from Eiiaos, my Hippogriff. Let other knights have their elegant winged horses, I prefer my savage friend."
Lord Gildas Frangeau, Bretonnian Noble.[3a]

A Hippogryph.

A Hippogryph is a hybrid animal that has the head and winged features of a bird of prey, the forequarters of a mountain lion and the rear end of a horse, complete with tail. Their unusual appearance speaks of their chaotic origins.[3b]

Overview

Hippogryphs inhabit the upper reaches of the Grey Mountains, occasionally prowling the green lands below for sheep and cattle, although they also hunt Men, Orcs or any creature than can't hide quickly enough. Hippogryphs are savage and attack with little or no provocation. When roused, Hippogryphs are almost berserk in their reckless fury, and only tearing their foe to ribbons of flesh will sate their aggression. In this manner, a Hippogryph will destroy an entire herd of animals, wantonly slaughtering every beast in sight.[4a] Hippogryphs' desire for warm flesh is so great that those around them can literally sense their terrible hunger. Survivors of a Hippogryph's attack often keep a sharp lookout skywards for years afterwards.[3b]

The Hippogryph possesses ferocious instinct, rather than fearsome intellect. Whilst hunting, its uncomplicated mind naturally assumes that a prey out of sight is a prey that has evaded it forever. Thus a Hippogryph inevitably prefers to swiftly close the distance between itself and its chosen prey before there is even a chance of escape. Victims that do elude a Hippogryph are quickly forgotten and the beast will look elsewhere for a more immediate gratification.[4a]

They are unrelentingly territorial and will fight to the death against any creature that strays into their chosen domain[4a], whether it be a lost peasant or roaming dragon[1a] - so it is of little surprise that Hippogryphs tend to give each other a wide berth.[4a] They compete with Pegasi for eyrie space, though they wisely leave the Great Eagles alone.[3b] When Hippogryphs do meet, they are likely to come to blows, typically in a violent and bloody battle that will last until the death of one or both creatures. It is certain that neither Hippogryph will voluntarily back down or retreat.[4a]

The Hippogryph's famed ferocity ensures that such a creature is often a wizard's first choices as a bound servant. After all, once the creature is entraged and amidst the enemy's ranks, what matter if the binding magic fails?[4a]

Bretonnian Hippogryphs

Hippogryphs are the favoured mount of Bretonnian knights who want a creature with a more vicious nature than the gentle-tempered Pegasi,[3a] although only a small number of Bretonnian knights use them as mounts.[3b] Only the most committed of Men can ride one of these beasts for Hippogryphs are strong-willed and ill-tempered, more than willing to fling their rider from his saddle should he prove lax upon the reins.[1a]

Taming a Hippogryph presents a challenge that many Bretonnian Lords cannot turn down, and this has made them into much sought after steeds. To successfully train a Hippogryph, the animal must be captured and broken at a very young age but, given the relentless territorialism of adult Hippogryphs, acquiring a chick or an egg can prove to be a very dangerous proposition indeed. Occasionally, the task of appropriating such a beast is given to a Knight Errant as a way of proving himself. More often, a duke will find suitable "volunteers" from the peasantry, promising a huge reward to any survivors that return with a healthy, young Hippogryph.[1a]

Those Grail Knights who have captured and tamed a Hippogryph are commonly gifted with the King's Royal Insignia. On the battlefield, these living saints will often band together as elite Royal Hippogryph Knights.[2]

Famous Hippogryphs

Gallery

Sources

  • 1: Armybook: Bretonnia (6th Edition)
    • 3a: pg. 56
  • 2: Total War: Warhammer
  • 3: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Old World Bestiary
    • 3a: pg. 56
    • 3b: pg. 99
  • 4: Storm of Magic (8th Edition)