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Noble Gazelle

Antelopes and gazelles (referred to here as antelopes for brevity’s sake) are a diverse group of typically hollow-horned, slender-built, and swift plain and savanna dwellers. All antelopes have long, slender legs and powerful muscles where the upper legs meet the body, providing leverage and increasing leg stride and speed. Antelopes are fast runners, although they are not the fastest animals in the world. They are good at quick, precise turns, and they can run very fast for extended periods of time. This gives them an advantage over many predators, such as the cheetah, which relies on sprinting and can be tired out by the antelope’s greater stamina.

Antelopes bear a dense coat with short fur. Most antelopes have fawn or brown-colored fur, which makes them harder to see. There are some exceptions, including the rare zebra duiker, which has dark vertical stripes, and the gemsbok, which has gray and black fur and a vivid black-and-white face. A common feature of the gazelle is a white rump, which flashes a warning to others when it runs from danger. One species of gazelle, the springbok, also has a pouch of white brushlike hairs running along its back. When a springbok senses danger, its pouch opens up, and the hairs stand on end.

Antelopes are ruminants. Like other ruminants, such as cattle, goats, and sheep, they have well-developed cheek teeth or molars, which grind cud into a pulp. They have no upper incisors or canines; in order to tear grass stems and leaves, their lower incisors press against a hard upper gum pad when they bite.

Antelopes rely on their keen senses to avoid predators. The word “antelope” comes from a root word meaning “brightness of eye.” Their eyes are on the sides of their heads, and their pupils are elongated horizontally, giving them a broad view of danger from both the back and front. Their senses of smell and hearing are also acute, giving them the ability to perceive danger while out in the open where predators often prowl after dark.

Both sexes of most antelope species grow horns, with the males’ horns generally larger. The dik-dik and klipspringer, two species where the male mates with only one female, have horns that are little more than spikes. However, in species where males compete to mate with several females, horns may grow as long as 5 feet.

Species Descriptions

Noble gazelles and antelopes, while sharing many traits with noble deer, find themselves completely at odds with their cousins over the serve or challenge issue. Noble gazelles see deer essentially offering themselves up to humans, and they call it suicide. While a noble gazelle does not begrudge any predator the right to eat, he will certainly not make it easy for them.

Oddly enough, the noble gazelle’s steadfast commitment to challenging humanoids serves as an inspiration to many of the two-legged folk, leading to poetry, art, and music dedicated to their grace. And so, noble gazelles end up serving through challenge. Which is exactly what the gods intended in the first place.

Noble Gazelle Species Traits

  • Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Dexterity.
  • Size: Medium.
  • Base Speed: 50 feet. +8 speed bonus to Acrobatics checks made to jump.
  • Natural Armor: +2.
  • Natural Weapons: horns (1d8) and bite (1d2).
  • Senses: Low-light vision (Ex), scent (Ex).
  • Bonus Feat: Alertness.
  • Family: Mammal.
  • Noble Animal Type: Noble gazelles have the noble animal type except where superseded by other species traits and features.
  • Social Group: Herd.
  • Automatic Languages: Herdspeak and High Fauna.
  • Bonus Languages: Bat, Camel, Canine, Common, Crocodilian, Elephant, Equine, Feline, Hyena, Lizard, Monitor, Raptor, Rodent, Serpent, Simian, Songbird, Ursine, and Woodland.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Noble Wild. Copyright 2009 by Lee Garvin and Skirmisher Publishing LLC.