The Matter of the North
The Callufrax is a legendary monster found in cultures around the world. In most traditions, Callufraxes are malevolent tricksters who animate the dead and prey upon travelers and livestock. Long believed to be merely stories, their existence was confirmed in the year 48. Several specimens are in the collection at the Taradonian Museum, and Sir Edwin Sharptooth has written a monograph on the subject.
Callufraxes are creatures exhibiting qualities of both the living and undead. They are predators, and they hunt by shapeshifting into innocuous form to lure prey to their lair. The Callufrax then resumes its original, skeletal reptilian form and breathes a white powder on the victim, magically removing all flesh, leaving only bone. This turns the victim into an undead creature who is killed when the Callufrax crunches their bones to consume the bone marrow. Callufraxes have been known to consume their own kind, but they would prefer to eat anything else besides another Callufrax. Because they can go long periods of time with no food, they almost never have to resort to cannibalism. Callufraxes are poor disguise artists and can be recognized by their repetitive speech patterns and insistence on removal to a second location.
The Callufrax is a solitary creature, although a high concentration of Callufraxes has been documented in one instance. However, even in this instance the Callufraxes roamed independently of one another. (The passage from the surface to the cavern where these Callufraxes live was recently blocked by an earthquake). Callufraxes produce a brood of three young once every 70 years. Although Callufraxes take care of their young, as soon as the infant achieves any size it is expected to set out on its own. Callufraxes often lair in caves, but they are happy to live in other locations. They often sleep in a hole in their burrow.
The Callufrax does not like to be surprised and especially dislikes people showing up in its lair whom it did not deliberately bring to that location. Callufraxes have a good attention span but are very single minded, and they are smart enough only to make the most basic of plans. This means that a Callufrax cannot be easily swayed from its purpose, but it also means that while a Callufrax is pursing its objective it will generally ignore anything else you do.
The means of making friends with a Callufrax are generally unknown. When the Callufrax Calum was asked what he likes, his only reply was, “bones,” and in this instance giving bones to the Callufrax allowed the group of adventurers with whom he was speaking to avoid being eaten. Calum also seemed interested in magic and in eating the bones of those whose magic is innate rather than learned. In addition, the charm person spell can be cast successfully on a Callufrax.
This page approved by His Majesty Boffin Barrow, and sponsored by the Taradonian Museum to promote Callufrax awareness. Callufraxes do exist, are dangerous, and should be killed on sight.