A chimera (pronounced: /kaɪˈmɛərrə/ ky-MAIR-ruh or: /ˈkɪmʌrʌ/ KIM-u-ru listen or: /kɪmˈeɪrʌ/ kim-AYR-u listen or: /tʃɪmˈeɪrʌ/ chim-AYR-u listen or: /ˈtʃɪmʌrʌ/ CHIM-u-ru listen) was a large magical beast that was a combination of several different creatures, namely a dragon, a goat, and a lion. Although typically unintelligent, chimeras were self-aware creatures, with a limited capacity for language, often Draconic.
A chimera had the hindquarters of a goat, the forequarters of a lion, and a set of dragon wings. Additionally, a chimera had three heads, that of a horned goat, a lioness, and a dragon. The goat head was often white or black in color, though in both cases it was marked by red eyes while the lion head exhibited green eyes.
All chimeras had access to an array of various abilities. Each of the heads was capable of a unique attack, but the most dangerous by far was the dragon breath of the chimera's draconic head. The exact attack varied from one individual to another, as in dragons, with the type varying based on color. For instance, a chimera with a white dragon head would cast a breath of cold air, while one with a red dragon head would bellow forth scorching flames.
Mating usually occurred annually in late spring, with the females being extremely reluctant to perform the act, and even attempting to hide. They typically struggled against the more powerful males, breathing fire from the dragon head. The pregnancy would last around a year, with the average birth consisting of six offspring, which she would abandon after only a few days. The excess milk produced by the female chimera after abandoning its offspring would be released while she slept. It was a thick, black liquid, which acted as an intoxicant for orcs and could be highly prized.
Chimeras' dragon-like natures often led them to attack intelligent beings for their treasure and to live solitary existences in caves, though some took after the lion and lived in prides.
A chimera did not usually perceive humans as a threat, but would normally attack the easiest source of food, and would leave humans alone if an easier source was available. They would not hesitate to withdraw from combat if they became injured, and would not seek vengeance later. A chimera preferred to attack by swooping from the sky, attacking with its claws and its jaws, but they would also charge along the ground, leading with their lion head. Once entered into combat, they would use their dragon head to defend against attackers while their lion head will attempt to grasp its victim's neck in their jaws and snap it. It was not wholly uncommon for the goat head to sleep throughout the entire battle.
Other than variants based around which type of dragon a chimera imitated, there were other species of chimera to consider:
- The gorgimera was a variant of the chimera, with the hindquarters and third head, of a gorgon instead of a goat. A gorgimera's gorgon head likewise had their respective breath weapon.
- Cormanthor chimerae
- The chimerae in Cormanthor were nomadic rather than territorial, and as a result, had a beneficial impact upon the ecology, choosing to prey on weakened or sick animals all over the forest.
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- Ed Greenwood (February 1985). “The Ecology of the Chimera”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #94 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 24–26.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 43. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Wizards RPG Team (2014). Monster Manual 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 978-0786965614.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet and Monte Cook (October 2000). Monster Manual 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 34–35. ISBN 0-7869-1552-1.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 34. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
- ↑ Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 14. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
- ↑ Dungeons & Dragons FAQ (HTML). Wizards of the Coast. (2003). Archived from the original on 2017-07-09. Retrieved on 2018-05-22.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 26.
- ↑ Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
- ↑ Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 43. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Cormanthor”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 20. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.