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The aurumvorax (pronounced: /ɑːrʌmˈvɔːræks/ a-rum-VOR-æks listen; see plural for the plural form), sometimes known as the golden gorger, was a small, shaggy hole-dwelling creature with eight legs that was able to eat gold. It was sometimes used to locate gold, being able to detect and find its veins in the ground. It was not fearful and could become vicious, able to defend itself against formidable creatures like chimerae.
When fully grown, an aurumvorax measured around 3' (1 m) in length and 18" (0.5 m) in height. It had a hide of 3"-long, golden fur, It weighed around 500 pounds (227 kg). Its eyes were silver, with bronze whiskers.
Its claws and teeth were copper-colored.
The aurumvorax was found in light forests or near the timberline of mountains. Although it occasionally lived at the bottoms of ravines, it was more usual to find an aurumvorax burrow in the side of a hill. The burrow would normally extend through the top soil and into the rock beneath where its enormous weight could be supported. Where possible, the aurumvorax would burrow into rock rich in gold ore. The burrow normally contained a small reserve of ore nuggets as a food supply.
Except when mating, the aurumvorax was solitary, patrolling an area of around ten square miles. They only sought mates once every eight or nine years, spending three or four weeks with a partner. The female usually gave birth to around half a dozen offspring.
The aurumvorax had to eat gold in order to survive (except the Cormanthor aurumvorax), although it would also eat meat and other metals. Without gold, it would become ill and die in around a week, unless it had access to platinum, which could prolong its life by three weeks. The gold in its diet gave the aurumvorax the color in its golden fur.
The young of the aurumvorax were called kittens and were born hairless, with their eyes closed for the first two weeks. Most would die due to lack of gold, but the survivors stayed with the mother for up to six years before becoming fully grown and independent, although they could reach full maturity much faster if their diet was rich in gold, which was not normally an option in the wild. It was not unknown for the mother to eat its own young when gold was scarce.
The aurumvorax could hibernate, usually during the winter, and during this time it buried itself in the ground. Although it usually breathed through its nostrils, while hibernating it breathed through its skin, a small patch of which it left exposed, above the ground. This could easily be confused for gold. It could be woken easily at any point during its hibernation, reacting fiercely and angrily to any disturbance.
An aurumvorax's saliva was highly corrosive to metal. The aurumvorax was immune to all normal toxins and could not be poisoned, and blunt weapons did it very little damage as a consequence of its high density. It also had an extremely high tolerance to heat, being able to survive all but the largest of fires.
The meat of the aurumvorax was highly toxic to other creatures, resulting in metal poisoning. Aurumvorax could eat their own kind safely. If its corpse was incinerated, up to 200 pounds (91 kg) of gold could be left behind.
Aurumvorax hide could also be adapted to be worn as armor, which provided near-immunity to gold, but the intricate and time-consuming process of turning its hide into armor was very costly. The hide was sometimes made into a bed fur or a cape for a dwarven wedding. Parts of the aurumvorax, due to their combination of bone and metal, could be made into decorative objects or jewelry.
The aurumvorax would usually tolerate small animals and creatures that did not pose a threat, but would become wary and possibly aggressive near humans and other larger creatures. Its jaw muscles were incredibly strong and once it had a grip, it would not normally let go until its victim was dead. Despite its small size, it was capable of dragging a creature up to its own body weight.
When the aurumvorax attacked, it would first lock its powerful jaws onto an opponent, then rake with its claws. Its death was usually the only thing that could unlock its jaws once gripping a victim. If it attacked from its den, it would likely catch its opponent by surprise.
The Cormanthor aurumvorax could be found in the rimwood and midwood areas of the forest of Cormanthor. It was introduced to the forest in the 1000s DR by a group of treasure hunters from Ylraphon, in an attempt to discover gold in the area. Although the aurumvorax found gold, they became very protective over it, and devoured their masters when they tried to get to the gold.
Although the aurumvorax thrived in the plains of the rimwood east of the River Lis, making many holes in the ground in that area, the gold on which their diet was based was gone within a decade, and they were forced to adapt to a different diet. Their digestive systems adapted to allow it to eat iron ore, onyx, and other minerals. Its hide also changed as a result, becoming mottled with dull red and blue streaks. As a result, they only fetched 7,500–10,000 gold pieces, about half that of a regular aurumvorax hide. Cormanthor aurumvorax claws were usually bright green or purple, and could fetch up to 100 gold pieces and 1,000 gold pieces, respectively.
Like regular aurumvorax hides, Cormanthor aurumvorax hides could be turned into armor, although the type of near-immunity granted varied depending on the diet of the aurumvorax. It could potentially provide near-immunity against azurite, copper, gold, jade, onyx, opal, silver, or turquoise.
As a strange side-effect from the Cormanthor aurumvorax's non-native surroundings, about one in five suffered from allergies during the spring, causing them to sneeze, expelling their highly corrosive saliva up to 10' (3 m).
- There appears to be a contradiction as to the plural form of 'aurumvorax'. "The Ecology of the Aurumvorax" in Dragon #132 uses 'aurumvoraxes', but the Cormanthor book from the Elminster's Ecologies boxed set uses 'aurumvorax'. Powers & Pantheons uses the plural aurumvorae.
- Mark Feil (April 1988). “The Ecology of the Aurumvorax”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #132 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 46–48.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Steven E. Schend (2000-12-22). Aurumvorax, the "Golden Gorger". Monster Mayhem. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved on 2015-09-19.
- ↑ Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- ↑ Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 11. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
- ↑ Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 25.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 11. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Cormanthor”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), pp. 16–17. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- ↑ James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Explorer's Manual”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 86. ISBN 978-0786912377.