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Stirges were a type of a tiny magical beast that fed upon the blood of other creatures.[3]

Description[]

A stirge with feathered wings.

The bodies of stirges could be summed as resembling a monstrous cross between a large bat and an oversized mosquito,[1] or an oversized mosquito and a bird.[6] On average their bodies grew to be 1 foot (0.3 meters) in length, with a wingspan of 2 feet (0.61 meters).[3] Males and females were outwardly identical in appearance.[7]

Their bodies were short and furry,[3] though some described them as being covered in feathers that ranged in shades of rusty red to reddish brown. Their eyes had a yellowish hue.[4][5][8] Their wings were membranous and bat-like,[3] interlaced with thin-walled blood vessels.[9] They had four legs that were eight-jointed[3] and ended in sharp pincers,[1][3] which were sometimes said to have a similar hue to their eyes.[4][5] Their most prominent feature was their long, sharp needle-like proboscis,[1][3][4][5] which was pink at the tip and faded to grey at the base.[3][4][5]

Newborn stirges were only capable of gliding, not flying, and thus spent the first four months of their lives being carried on their mother's back.[7] Stirge mothers were capable of carrying up to two of their young on their backs.[10]

Behavior[]

Stirges had an average animal-level of intelligence.[4] The scent of blood often drew stirges to battles[2] and even into the fatal grasp of such things as vampiric mists.[11]

Abilities[]

The eyes of a stirge were capable of seeing in areas of total darkness,[1][2][3][4] in areas with low-light conditions,[3] and even heat sources within 200 feet (61 meters) of them. They also had an acute sense of smell.[4]

While alive, their bodies produced a clear liquid that acted as an anti-coagulant and was stored within the tip of their proboscis. They drew small quantities of the blood they ingested into lesser cavities just beneath their backbone. Within these cavities blood sugar was converted into body energy and ingested blood into plasma balanced for its own bodily use. This allowed a stirge to replace its own blood when needed, hastening its recovery.[9]

Combat[]

Stirges feeding on an unfortunate adventurer.

During battles, a stirge typically would indiscriminately attack any creature that was wounded.[2] In small numbers they were quite manageable for most adventurers, only becoming formidable threats when in large groups.[1][3]

They used their pincer legs to latch on to their prey and then looked for a vulnerable spot of flesh to plunge their probosci into.[1][3] Their legs themselves were not strong enough to be effective weapons. And due to their diet, their probosci were liable to transmit some disease,[9] typically those related to blood.[7]

Once attached to its prey, a stirge would feed until it was sated. Once sated, it would attempt to fly away to digest its meal. It was difficult to remove a feeding stirge, with some saying the only way was to kill it.[1][2][5] They were so persistent, that a swarm of ravenous stirges would chase their prey for miles if need be.[2]

History[]

In 1357 DR, stirges were known to be occasionally encountered in the sewers of Waterdeep[12]

Circa 1358 DR, Lord Hund's Tomb had skeletal stirges as part of its defenses. These undead creatures were immune to being turned as long as they remained in the tomb.[13]

In 1374 DR, the Shadowscale lizardfolk placed captured stirges inside sealed clay pots, which they would then hurl as grenades at their foes. The angry stirge would then attack the nearest living being, ignoring the undead Shadowscales.[14]

Ecology[]

Singular stirges were rarely ever encountered, as these creatures tended to live and hunt in large groups. These were known as flocks,[2] colonies,[4] or "thirsts".[citation needed] On average these consisted of around three to thirty specimens.[9] The territory of a colony generally extended out for only 1 mile (1,600 meters) in diameter. Their presence in area was often discovered long after they had migrated to a new territory, making it difficult to track them.[4]

Much like a bat, stirges hung upside down when sleeping.[4] They breed freely year round and reproduced by live birth, in litters of one to three, with a gestation period of six months.[7] These young were known as "stirgelings."[10]

Diet[]

Most stirges were content with feeding upon large mammals such as cattle, deer, and mooses. Though some species preferred to dine particularly on the blood of humans.[4] A fully nourished stirge could subsist on its digested blood for a period of seventy two hours, and could go on for another twenty four-hours without food before starving to death.[10]

Habitats[]

Stirges were typically found in forests, underground,[5] in caves, in ruins,[2] or in marshes in areas with a warm climate.[3]

In the Dalelands, stirges inhabited Velarswood near the center of Harrowdale,[15] Mistledale, Shadowdale, and around the Pool of Yeven.[16]

In northwest Faerûn they could be found in the Ardeep Forest[17] and Gaustar's Creek.[18][19] And in south Faerûn they could be found in the Duskwood of the Lake of Steam region.[20]

In the Unapproachable East, stirges inhabited the Umber Marshes of Aglarond.[21]

In the Underdark, stirges frequented the Bonewatch Pass.[22]

Cormanthor[]

Stirges in Cormanthor lived in colonies that had a roaming area of around one square mile, and they slept by day. At night, they picked on weaker or smaller animals such as dogs, goats, or pheasants and sucked their blood. Female stirges outnumbered the males ten to one, and would fly to a distant area, usually the rimwood, to lay their eggs so that their young would not provide them with competition for food. The eggs were laid in a shallow hole in the ground and covered with dust or plants. The females then hibernated. Around ninety percent of the eggs were lost to predators such as badgers or wild pigs because they were unprotected and poorly disguised. When the remaining eggs hatched, the young would usually fly up to a hundred miles to establish their own territory.[23]

The inside of broken or hatched stirge eggs contained a green foul-smelling jelly that would deter stirges from attacking for up to a whole day if it was rubbed on the skin.[23]

Languages[]

Stirges communicated with each other being wagging their probosci,[9] to indicate that food or a dangerous enemy had been found. As well as the direction, size, and strength of said creature.[7]

Relationships[]

Stirges were capable of being bred in captivity.[4] Some people were known to have them as familiars.[24]

Both goblins and kobolds were known to sometimes capture stirges and use them in traps.[2]

Some stirge colonies were known to live in symbiotic relationships with evil dragons[4] or webbirds.[25] They also tended to lair near bloodthorns in hopes of preying upon their ensnared victims.[26]

Usages[]

If properly treated their proboscis could be used as a stabbing instrument. Goblins were often known to utilize them in this way.[9]

The Librarium on the first level of Undermountain contained a recipe book that described dishes that could be made with freshly killed stirges.[27]

Rumors & Legends[]

The origins of stirges were a mystery. Sages who specialized in the zoology of fantastical creatures speculated that they were created by vampiric wizards to throw hunters of the undead off their track. Others believed that they were created by a group of evil wizards, who gathered them in the millions and then sicked the beasts on enemy armies that were arrayed against them.[6]

Trivia[]

  • In the city of Arabel, there was an inn known as the Red Stirge.[28]
  • Experienced druids and rangers were usually capable of recognizing the traces of a stirge colony.[4]

Appendix[]

Appearances[]

Adventures
Dungeon #18, "Irongard"WaterdeepDungeon #29, "Nymph's Reward"Dungeon #30, "...And a Dozen Eggs"Haunted Halls of EveningstarDungeon #39, "Below Vulture Point"The Sword of the DalesUndermountain: Maddgoth's CastleCormyr: The Tearing of the WeaveDungeon #206, "Eyes on the Ball"War of Everlasting DarknessGhosts of Dragonspear CastleHoard of the Dragon QueenOut of the AbyssCurse of StrahdThe Tortle PackageWaterdeep: Dragon HeistWaterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad MageDungeons & Dragons Essentials KitBaldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
Novels
Azure BondsExtinction
Video games
Pool of RadianceGateway to the Savage FrontierMenzoberranzanIdle Champions of the Forgotten Realms
Board Games
Battle for Faerûn
Card Games
AD&D Trading Cards
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
Oubliette of Fort Iron

Gallery[]

Further Reading[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins (2014-09-30). Monster Manual 5th edition. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 284. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 248. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 236–237. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 332. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Gary Gygax (December 1977). Monster Manual, 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), pp. 92–93. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Tim Richardson (September 1997). “The Ecology of the Stirge”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #239 (TSR, Inc.), p. 43.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Ed Greenwood (March 1984). “The Ecology of the Stirge”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #83 (TSR, Inc.), p. 21.
  8. Tim Richardson (September 1997). “The Ecology of the Stirge”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon #239 (TSR, Inc.), p. 44.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Ed Greenwood (March 1984). “The Ecology of the Stirge”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #83 (TSR, Inc.), p. 20.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Ed Greenwood (March 1984). “The Ecology of the Stirge”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #83 (TSR, Inc.), p. 22.
  11. Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 254. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  12. Ed Greenwood (1987). Waterdeep and the North. (TSR, Inc), p. 27. ISBN 0-88038-490-5.
  13. Ed Greenwood (1991). “Campaign Guide to Undermountain”. In Steven E. Schend ed. The Ruins of Undermountain (TSR, Inc.), p. 67. ISBN 1-5607-6061-3.
  14. Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (March 2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 82, 98. ISBN 978-0-7869-4119-3.
  15. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 131. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  16. Random encounters table included in Ed Greenwood (1989). Tantras (adventure). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-88038-739-4.
  17. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 293. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  18. Eric L. Boyd (2006-05-03). Environs of Waterdeep (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 9. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  19. Ed Greenwood (December 1987). “Welcome to Waterdeep”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #128 (TSR, Inc.), p. 14.
  20. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 151. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  21. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 199. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  22. Joseph C. Wolf (1999). Skullport. (TSR, Inc), p. 64. ISBN 0-7869-1348-7.
  23. 23.0 23.1 James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Cormanthor”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 26. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
  24. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 35. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  25. Jon Pickens ed. (1995). Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two. (TSR, Inc.), p. 113. ISBN 0-7869-0199-3.
  26. Rob Heinsoo, Stephen Schubert (May 19, 2009). Monster Manual 2 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 204–205. ISBN 0786995101.
  27. Ed Greenwood (1991). “Campaign Guide to Undermountain”. In Steven E. Schend ed. The Ruins of Undermountain (TSR, Inc.), p. 41. ISBN 1-5607-6061-3.
  28. Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.