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Noble Wolverine

The wolverine, also referred to as glutton, carcajou, skunk bear, or quickhatch, is the largest land-dwelling species of the weasel family. It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other weasels. The wolverine has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times larger than itself. The wolverine can be found primarily in remote reaches of the Northern boreal forests and subarctic and alpine tundra of the Northern Hemisphere.

The wolverine is about the size of a medium dog and resembles a small bear. It has a broad, sturdy body, short legs, and feet armed with heavy, curving claws. Wolverines grow 3 to 3 1/2 feet (0.9 to 1 m) long and weigh 35 to 60 pounds (16 to 27 kg). Shoulder height is reported from 12 to 18 in (30 to 45 cm). The males are as much as 30% larger than the females and can be twice the females’ weight. They are blackish-brown with broad bands of light brown fur extending from the shoulder to the base of the tail. Wolverines have thick, dark, oily fur which is highly hydrophobic, making it resistant to frost. This has led to its traditional popularity among hunters and trappers as a lining in jackets and parkas in Arctic conditions. A light-silvery facial mask is distinct in some individuals, and a pale buff stripe runs laterally from the shoulders along the side and crossing the rump just above a 25–35 cm (9.8–14 in) bushy tail. Some individuals display prominent white hair patches on their throats or chests.

Armed with powerful jaws, sharp claws, and a thick hide, wolverines, like most members of the weasel family, are remarkably strong for their size. They may defend kills against larger or more numerous predators such as wolves or bears. Prey mainly consists of small to large-sized mammals, but the wolverine has been recorded killing prey such as adult deer that are many times larger than itself. Smaller predators are occasionally preyed on. Wolverines often pursue live prey that are relatively easy to obtain, including animals caught in traps, newborn mammals, and deer (including adult moose and elk) when they are weakened by winter or immobilized by heavy snow. Their diets are sometimes supplemented by birds’ eggs, birds (especially geese), roots, seeds, insect larvae, and berries. A majority of the wolverine’s sustenance is derived from carrion, on which they depend almost exclusively in winter and early spring. Wolverines may find carrion themselves, feed on it after the predator is done feeding (especially wolf packs) or simply take it from another predator. Whether eating live prey or carrion, the wolverine’s feeding style appears voracious, leading to the nickname of “glutton”. However, this feeding style is believed to be an adaptation to food that is scarcely encountered, especially in the winter.

Wolverines exhibit a low population density and require a very large home range. The range of a male wolverine can be more than 240 mi2 (620 km2), encompassing the ranges of several females which have smaller home ranges of roughly 50–100 mi2 (130–260 km2). Adult wolverines try for the most part to keep non-overlapping ranges with adults of the same sex. Individual wolverines can range hundreds of miles in a few months. Female wolverines burrow into snow in mid-winter to create a den, which is used until weaning in early spring. Areas inhabited nonseasonally by wolverines are thus restricted to zones with late-spring snowmelts.

Successful males will form lifetime relationships with two or three females, which they will visit occasionally, while other males are left without a mate. Mating season is in the summer, but the actual implantation of the embryo (blastocyst) in the uterus is stayed until early winter, delaying the development of the fetus. Females will often not produce young if food is scarce. The wolverine gestation period is 30–50 days. Litters of typically two or three young (“kits”) are born in the spring. Kits develop rapidly, reaching adult size within the first year of a lifespan that may reach anywhere from five to (in exceptional individuals) 13 years. Fathers make visits to their offspring until they are weaned at 10 weeks of age; also, once the young are about six months old, some reconnect with their fathers and travel together for a time.

Species Descriptions

Described by some humans as “100 pounds of mean in a 50 pound bag,” noble wolverines are the very embodiment of unchecked rage. Their ferocity serves them well; predators several times their size would rather face a gang of armed men than a mother noble wolverine protecting her young. Quick to anger and slow to forgive, noble wolverines nonetheless have a high regard for creatures able to keep their rage in check.

Noble Wolverine Species Traits

  • Ability Score Modifiers: +2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, -2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom.
  • Size: Small.
  • Size Threshold: 3rd Hit Die.
  • Base Speed: 30 ft., Burrowing: 10 ft., Climb: 10 ft.
  • Natural Weapons: 2 claws (1d3), 1 bite (1d4).
  • Senses: Low-light vision (Ex), scent (Ex).
  • Natural Talent Track: Skill Focus (Perception), Toughness.
  • Skills: +8 racial bonus to Climb checks. Noble wolverines can always take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.
  • Family: Mammal.
  • Noble Animal Type: Noble wolverines have the noble animal type except where superseded by other species traits and features.
  • Social Group: None.
  • Automatic Languages: High Fauna and Woodland.
  • Bonus Languages: Bat, Camel, Canine, Common, Crocodilian, Elephant, Equine, Feline, Herdspeak, Hyena, Lizard, Monitor, Raptor, Rodent, Serpent, Simian, Songbird, and Ursine.

Noble Wolverine Class

Hit Die: d8

Class Skills

The noble wolverine’s class skills are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Wis), and Survival (Wis).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Noble Wolverine
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +2 +2 +0 Ability increase (Dex +2), rage
2nd +1 +3 +3 +0 Natural armor +1
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Ability increase (Dex +2), natural armor +2

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the noble wolverine species class.

Ability Increase

Your Dexterity score increases by +2 at 1st and 3rd levels.

Rage (Ex)

At 1st level you gain the Rage ability. If you take damage in combat you fly into a berserk rage on your next turn, clawing and biting madly until either you or your opponent is dead. You gain +4 to Strength, +4 to Constitution, and -2 to Armor Class. You cannot end this rage voluntarily. Note that you do not gain the barbarian’s +2 to Will saves. If you ever take any levels in the barbarian class, the class ability Rage replaces this racial ability, as you learn to control your rage a bit more at the cost of some of your natural fury.

Natural Armor

You gain a +1 Natural Armor bonus at 2nd level, going up to +2 at 3rd level.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

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