Pellucidar Bestiary

public-domain
Tags: #<Tag:0x00007fa58ea80210>

#1

Ive been meaning for a while to try and pull all of the descriptions of animals monsters and plant life from just the public domain Pellucidar books by Edgar Rice Burroughs as the start of a kind of hollow earth bestiary. Wikipedia identifies the creatures and which books, but aspects of their ecology behavior and somtimes even their names span multiple books and id like to cleanly limit this to just the purely public domain data on them. I like to eventually one day work this into a Fudge RPG or D&D retroclone campaign that would be legally distributed.

I’ve started “At the Earth’s Core” and if this is interesting to others, ill start logging everything I come across in this thread for everyone’s enjoyment.


#2

Awesome! And you know I’m gonna DB those in all the ways!


#3

Animal: Dyryth
Close Surface Cousin: Megatherium
Source: At The Earth’s Core, Chapter 2
Environment: Forest

Emerging from the forest was a colossal beast which closely resembled a bear. It was fully as large as the largest elephant and with great forepaws armed with huge claws. Its nose, or snout, depended nearly a foot below its lower jaw, much after the manner of a rudimentary trunk. The giant body was covered by a coat of thick, shaggy hair. Roaring horribly it came toward us at a ponderous, shuffling trot…

It was evident that the massive beast pursuing us was not built for speed…

It was the great size of the thing alone that saved me. Its enormous bulk rendered it too slow upon its feet to cope with the agility of my young muscles, and so I was enabled to dodge out of its way…

The accompanying roar was all but drowned in Perry’s scream of fright…

And then the brute did that which froze us both anew with horror. Grasping the tree’s stem with his powerful paws he dragged down with all the great weight of his huge bulk and all the irresistible force of those mighty muscles. Slowly, but surely, the stem began to bend toward him. Inch by inch he worked his paws upward as the tree leaned more and more from the perpendicular…

I saw now why the great brute was armed with such enormous paws. The use that he was putting them to was precisely that for which nature had intended them. The sloth-like creature was herbivorous, and to feed that mighty carcass entire trees must be stripped of their foliage. The reason for its attacking us might easily be accounted for on the supposition of an ugly disposition such as that which the fierce and stupid rhinoceros of Africa possesses. But these were later reflections…

…I raised myself upon my hands and glanced around I saw what it was that had distracted the DYRYTH, as I afterward learned the thing is called, from my trail…


#4

Where possible im going to link to depictions of the real life counterparts of the animals and creatures; sticking to public domain images and as close to the the book’s copyright year as possible.


#5

Animal: Jalok
Close Surface Cousin: Hyaenodon
Source: At The Earth’s Core, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 ; Pellucidar , Chapter 8
Environment: Forest

It was surrounded by a pack of some hundred wolf-like creatures—wild dogs they seemed—that rushed growling and snapping in upon it from all sides, so that they sank their white fangs into the slow brute and were away again before it could reach them with its huge paws or sweeping tail.

Then a wolf-dog was brought—hyaenadon Perry called it—and turned loose with us inside the circle. The thing’s body was as large as that of a full-grown mastiff, its legs were short and powerful, and its jaws broad and strong. Dark, shaggy hair covered its back and sides, while its breast and belly were quite white. As it slunk toward us it presented a most formidable aspect with its upcurled lips baring its mighty fangs.

David domesticates one and learn’s its propper name in the second book Pellucidar. People are mostly creeped out that he has one:

I explained that all my belongings had been stolen from me, and that the robber must have taken the token too; but they didn’t believe me. As proof that I was one of Hooja’s people, they pointed to my weapons, which they said were ornamented like those of the is-land clan. Further, they said that no good man went in company with a jalok—and that by this line of reasoning I certainly was a bad man.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hyaenodon_and_Leptomeryx.jpg#file


#6

Animal: ??? (Nicknamed goatlike animals)
Close Surface Cousin: ??? (I would say goats, but a Hyaenodon isn’t a close cousin of surface dogs or wolves.)
At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 3
Environment: Domesticated livestock

here were a number of the same vicious wolf-dogs which we had left worrying the dyryth, and many goatlike animals whose distended udders explained the reasons for their presence.


#7

Reading the wiki article, and having never heard of these stories, I already know half the details. That is how hard Mystara ripped from these stories, omg!

I knew of “hollow earth” as a genre, I just presumed they did more than add stats blocks. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

@tim, in case you are not enthused by this idea, ahem:

Pellucidar is revisited by Tarzan and is the central location of the Dark Horse Comics crossover Tarzan vs. Predator at the Earth’s Core where Tarzan faces off against the alien Predator species in Pellucidar.

Fuxk. Yes.


#8

MAN I always wanted to go back and play in a Mystara game. I know a guy with the box sets; but he keeps getting distracted by other games and not running it.


#9

If you ever want to deep dive the community (they have produced some cool stuff!), check http://pandius.com/. I think it is actually “official”, and is obviously not as organzied as I would want.

We gotta figure out this gaming thing. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#10

Race: Mahar
Close Surface Cousin: Rhamphorhynchus
At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 8
Environment: Primarily dwells in their own underground cities.

She described the Mahars largely by comparisons. In this way they were like unto thipdars, in that to the hairless lidi.
About all I gleaned of them was that they were quite hideous, had wings, and webbed feet; lived in cities built beneath the ground; could swim under water for great distances, and were very, very wise.

Involuntarily I shrank back as one of the creatures approached to inspect us. A more hideous thing it would be impossible to imagine. The all-powerful Mahars of Pellucidar are great reptiles, some six or eight feet in length, with long narrow heads and great round eyes. Their beak-like mouths are lined with sharp, white fangs, and the backs of their huge, lizard bodies are serrated into bony ridges from their necks to the end of their long tails. Their feet are equipped with three webbed toes, while from the fore feet membranous wings, which are attached to their bodies just in front of the hind legs, protrude at an angle of 45 degrees toward the rear, ending in sharp points several feet above their bodies.

“A rhamphorhynchus of the Middle Olitic, David,” he said, “but, gad, how enormous! The largest remains we ever have discovered have never indicated a size greater than that attained by an ordinary crow.”

The method of communication between these two was remarkable in that no spoken words were exchanged. They employed a species of sign language. As I was to learn later, the Mahars have no ears, not any spoken language. Among themselves they communicate by means of what Perry says must be a sixth sense which is cognizant of a fourth dimension.

I never did quite grasp him, though he endeavored to explain it to me upon numerous occasions. I suggested telepathy, but he said no, that it was not telepathy since they could only communicate when in each others’ presence, nor could they talk with the Sagoths or the other inhabitants of Pellucidar by the same method they used to converse with one another.
“What they do,” said Perry, “is to project their thoughts into the fourth dimension, when they become appreciable to the sixth sense of their listener. Do I make myself quite clear?”
“You do not, Perry,” I replied. He shook his head in despair, and returned to his work.

“Life within Pellucidar is far younger than upon the outer crust. Here man has but reached a stage analogous to the Stone Age of our own world’s history, but for countless millions of years these reptiles have been progressing. Possibly it is the sixth sense which I am sure they possess that has given them an advantage over the other and more frightfully armed of their fellows; but this we may never know. They look upon us as we look upon the beasts of our fields, and I learn from their written records that other races of Mahars feed upon men—they keep them in great droves, as we keep cattle. They breed them most carefully, and when they are quite fat, they kill and eat them.”

The dominant race of Pellucidar, David, have not yet learned that men converse among themselves, or reason. Because we do not converse as they do it is beyond them to imagine that we converse at all. It is thus that we reason in relation to the brutes of our own world. They know that the Sagoths have a spoken language, but they cannot comprehend it, or how it manifests itself, since they have no auditory apparatus. They believe that the motions of the lips alone convey the meaning. That the Sagoths can communicate with us is incomprehensible to them.

“Once the males were all-powerful, but ages ago the females, little by little, assumed the mastery. For other ages no noticeable change took place in the race of Mahars. It continued to progress under the intelligent and beneficent rule of the ladies. Science took vast strides. This was especially true of the sciences which we know as biology and eugenics. Finally a certain female scientist announced the fact that she had discovered a method whereby eggs might be fertilized by chemical means after they were laid—all true reptiles, you know, are hatched from eggs.
“What happened? Immediately the necessity for males ceased to exist—the race was no longer dependent upon them. More ages elapsed until at the present time we find a race consisting exclusively of females…"

Edit: towards the end of Chapter 8 (“At the Earth’s Core”) we get pretty good description of them swimming and hypnosis powers. Hypnotizing victims into following them under water, where they nibble whole limbs off.


#11

In this thread we are including sapient species which could be NPCs but not player characters. I’d like to do a second thread for “The Peoples of Pellucidar” capturing cultural facts from the public domain books.

On that topic Edgar Rice Burroughs also has a few peoples who I am going to omit. To be upfront about it; there is a culture undercurrent of racism and sexism in his time which bleeds over into his work. I’ve got some ideas how id like to scrub it out for most (but not all) of such examples. However my thoughts on the subject are still simmering; and im going to save them for the thread on peoples/cultures.

Sagoths are probably going to be excluded or heavily reworked.


#12

Animal: ???
Close Surface Cousin: ???
Source: At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 4
Environment: Water / Ocean / Marsh / Swamp

After passing over the first chain of mountains we skirted a salt sea, upon whose bosom swam countless horrid things. Seal-like creatures there were with long necks stretching ten and more feet above their enormous bodies and whose snake heads were split with gaping mouths bristling with countless fangs.


#13

Animal: Tandorazes, or Tandors of the Sea (As opposed to Tandors of Land or Air?)
Close Surface Cousin: Plesiosaurus
Source: At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 4
Environment: Water / Ocean / Marsh / Swamp

There were huge tortoises too, paddling about among these other reptiles, which Perry said were Plesiosaurs of the Lias.

Dian told me they were tandorazes, or tandors of the sea, and that the other, and more fearsome reptiles, which occasionally rose from the deep to do battle with them, were azdyryths, or sea-dyryths—Perry called them Ichthyosaurs. They resembled a whale with the head of an alligator.


#14

Animal: Azdyryths
Close Surface Cousin: Ichthyosaurs
Source: At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 4
Environment: Water / Ocean

Dian told me they were tandorazes, or tandors of the sea, and that the other, and more fearsome reptiles, which occasionally rose from the deep to do battle with them, were azdyryths, or sea-dyryths—Perry called them Ichthyosaurs. They resembled a whale with the head of an alligator.

Image is a little more pre-1914 than I would like; but seems to fit the conception of what it looked like around ERB’s time.


#15

Animal: Thipdar
Close Surface Cousin: Pteranodon
Source: At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 6, Chapter 14
Environment: Airborn, temperate climates?

…and on either side of her waddled a huge thipdar, while behind came another score of Sagoth guardsmen.

Note: Thipdars have been mentioned once previously but always in passing and have yet to be described meaningfully here in Chapter 6 though the text mentions their present. ERB does this sort of thing kinda a lot. They are however featured on the cover of the first printing of the book; so I guess we’re supposed to just know what they look like?

Note: Here we go eight chapters later, like theyve never come up before.

And at the first glance there broke upon my horrified vision the most frightful thing I had seen even within Pellucidar. It was a giant dragon such as is pictured in the legends and fairy tales of earth folk. Its huge body must have measured forty feet in length, while the batlike wings that supported it in midair had a spread of fully thirty. Its gaping jaws were armed with long, sharp teeth, and its claw equipped with horrible talons. The hissing noise which had first attracted my attention was issuing from its throat, and seemed to be directed at something beyond and below me which I could not see. The ledge upon which I stood terminated abruptly a few paces farther on, and as I reached the end I saw the cause of the reptile’s agitation. Some time in past ages an earthquake had produced a fault at this point, so that beyond the spot where I stood the strata had slipped down a matter of twenty feet. The result was that the continuation of my ledge lay twenty feet below me, where it ended as abruptly as did the end upon which I stood.

Once more the dragon was sweeping toward us, and so rapidly that I had no time to unsling my bow. All that I could do was to snatch up a rock, and hurl it at the thing’s hideous face. Again my aim was true, and with a hiss of pain and rage the reptile wheeled once more and soared away.

“I hate you,” she said, and then, as I was about to beg for a fair hearing she pointed over my shoulder. “The thipdar comes,” she said, and I turned again to meet the reptile. So this was a thipdar. I might have known it. The cruel bloodhound of the Mahars. The long-extinct pterodactyl of the outer world.


#16

Animal: Thag
Close Surface Cousin: Bos
Source: At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 6
Environment: Jungle

Presently a door in one side of the arena wall was opened to admit a huge, shaggy, bull-like creature.
“A Bos,” whispered Perry, excitedly. “His kind roamed the outer crust with the cave bear and the mammoth ages and ages ago. We have been carried back a million years, David, to the childhood of a planet—is it not wondrous?”

With the advent of the Bos—they call the thing a thag within Pellucidar—two spears were tossed into the arena at the feet of the prisoners.

As the animal approached the two, bellowing and pawing the ground with the strength of many earthly bulls, another door directly beneath us was opened, and from it issued the most terrific roar that ever had fallen upon my outraged ears.

And now, as the two stood frozen in terror, I saw the author of that fearsome sound creeping stealthily into view. It was a huge tiger—such as hunted the great Bos through the jungles primeval when the world was young…


#17

Animal: Tarag
Close Surface Cousin: Saber-tooth Tiger
Source: At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 6 ; Pellucidar , Chapter 5
Environment: Jungle

And now, as the two stood frozen in terror, I saw the author of that fearsome sound creeping stealthily into view. It was a huge tiger—such as hunted the great Bos through the jungles primeval when the world was young. In contour and markings it was not unlike the noblest of the Bengals of our own world, but as its dimensions were exaggerated to colossal proportions so too were its colorings exaggerated. Its vivid yellows fairly screamed aloud; its whites were as eider down; its blacks glossy as the finest anthracite coal, and its coat long and shaggy as a mountain goat. That it is a beautiful animal there is no gainsaying, but if its size and colors are magnified here within Pellucidar, so is the ferocity of its disposition. It is not the occasional member of its species that is a man hunter—all are man hunters; but they do not confine their foraging to man alone, for there is no flesh or fish within Pellucidar that they will not eat with relish in the constant efforts which they make to furnish their huge carcasses with sufficient sustenance to maintain their mighty thews.

Upon one side of the doomed pair the thag bellowed and advanced, and upon the other tarag, the frightful, crept toward them with gaping mouth and dripping fangs.

I think the snarling visage of a huge, enraged, saber-toothed tiger is one of the most terrible sights in the world. Especially if he be snarling at you and there be nothing between the two of you but bare sand.


#18

Animal: ??? (Tiny whale ?)
Close Surface Cousin: ??? ( Whale ? )
Source: At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 7
Environment: River

Beside me frolicked a laughing brooklet, hurrying upon its noisy way down to the silent sea. In its quieter pools I discovered many small fish, of four-or five-pound weight I should imagine. In appearance, except as to size and color, they were not unlike the whale of our own seas. As I watched them playing about I discovered, not only that they suckled their young, but that at intervals they rose to the surface to breathe as well as to feed upon certain grasses and a strange, scarlet lichen which grew upon the rocks just above the water line.

I waited until one of the diminutive purple whales rose to nibble at the long grasses…


#19

Animal: ???
Close Surface Cousin: ??? ( Hydrophidan ? thats not a real thing ? )
Source: At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 7
Environment: Ocean

His hand was reaching upward for the stern when I saw a sleek, sinuous body shoot from the depths below. The man saw it too, and the look of terror that overspread his face assured me that I need have no further concern as to him, for the fear of certain death was in his look. And then about him coiled the great, slimy folds of a hideous monster of that prehistoric deep—a mighty serpent of the sea, with fanged jaws, and darting forked tongue, with bulging eyes, and bony protuberances upon head and snout that formed short, stout horns.

The monster seemed to be but playing with his victim before he closed his awful jaws upon him and dragged him down to his dark den beneath the surface to devour him. The huge, snakelike body coiled and uncoiled about its prey. The hideous, gaping jaws snapped in the victim’s face. The forked tongue, lightning-like, ran in and out upon the copper skin.

With a wrench I tore it loose, and standing upright in the wobbly log drove it with all the strength of my two arms straight into the gaping jaws of the hydrophidian.


#20

Animal: Sithic
Close Surface Cousin: Labyrinthodon
Source: At The Earth’s Core , Chapter 9
Environment: Swamp/Marsh

As I turned, romance, adventure, and discovery in the abstract took wing before the terrible embodiment of all three in concrete form that I beheld advancing upon me. A huge, slimy amphibian it was, with toad-like body and the mighty jaws of an alligator. Its immense carcass must have weighed tons, and yet it moved swiftly and silently toward me. Upon one hand was the bluff that ran from the canyon to the sea, on the other the fearsome swamp from which the creature had sneaked upon me, behind lay the mighty untracked sea, and before me in the center of the narrow way that led to safety stood this huge mountain of terrible and menacing flesh. A single glance at the thing was sufficient to assure me that I was facing one of those long-extinct, prehistoric creatures whose fossilized remains are found within the outer crust as far back as the Triassic formation, a gigantic labyrinthodon.
As we talked we had been walking up the canyon down which I had come to the great ocean and the sithic.