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Armordillo

Powerfully built and immensely strong for its size, the Armordillo is a solitary animal that can be found all throughout wilderness areas of Eletreus, especially near mines and natural deposits of minerals. While not carnivorous, the Armordillo can pose a special danger to unwary armored travelers.

For the Armordillo has a voracious appetite for metals, especially iron and steel, and can smell metal from many miles away, be it in an underground deposit or be it the armor of a hapless traveler, and will become extremely excited when it senses a suitable meal.

Usually found burrowing beneath the surface snuffling around for mineral deposits, its metal claws and maw are incredibly strong and able to burrow through and crunch up even solid rock, but when it senses more refined steels, it will often change course and burst from the surface, rushing forward and yelping like an excited dog as it makes a beeline towards the closest and largest metal object it can get to first – making it especially problematic for heavily armored protagonists.

For if the nearest suit of armor happens to have someone in it, the Armordillo will attempt to strip away the armor but in the process may inadvertently kill anyone who cannot get out of their armor quickly enough as its bite can crush through steel and bone with ease. Fighting the creature is no easy task, as its metallic carapace is all but impervious to all but the most powerful non magical melee or ranged attacks, and is also highly heat resistant.

Furthermore, it has a muscular spiked club tail which it will use to swat at anything that gets in its way or attempts to interfere with its feeding frenzy. Additionally, the incredibly sharp spines that protrude from its back can also easily cause terrible damage, and if the creature IS hard pressed or actually gets injured, will tend to curl up into a metallic spiked ball.

Despite its fearsome reputation, it is not intrinsically hostile to humans and will ignore and not bother unarmored parties, though it can still be a menace for if it catches even the most subtle scent of steel or iron, it will investigate and attempt to eat swords, arrowheads, etc. For this reason, most armed patrols in areas where Armordillo are known to frequent often carry a spare set of armor or two that they throw down in front of it, as it will always eat the closest available meal – and doing so will, it is hoped, buy enough time to quickly leave the area before it finishes, for after devouring a full set of armor, it is normally saited and will burrow down back into the earth to digest it.

While it is a menace, the creature’s hide is highly sought after, and is farmed to a limited degree on the outskirts of Batrion in the Badlands, where the outer layers can be removed without killing the creature using spells taught at the Imperial Academy of Magic at the Notarikon. The carapace thus harvested is both flexible yet extremely strong, with a melting point around 3 times higher than normal steel, and is used to make specialized heat proof armor by skilled artisans based in and around Batrion and can be alloyed based on the diet of minerals the animal is provided.

Miners also seek out the animal, and by avoiding the use of any metal or steel in their possession, can monitor it and track it to new previously unknown mineral deposits. Those who handle the creatures find them generally to be quite placid and not aggressive unless provoked, but they are impossible to control if they sense refined minerals near by. The only exception is Troggs, which have a natural enmity and will seek out and attack them mercilessly, and handlers are often called in to deal with Trogg infestations of the mine, using strategically placed refined steels to lure the Armordillo back from the ore deposits to its original location.

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