(Info on beasts, age, size, Runestones, etc.)
The animals and beasts of the wilds of Blackvynn grow their entire lives. The relative growth from newborn to adult an onwards slows as the beast gains in years, but even so any creature of an advanced age will grow to be a potential threat for men, dwarves, and elves alike. The mysterious nature of beasts, their connection with the land and with magick, and the bizarre Manifestations witnessed in some old and ancient beasts has led to endless speculation, fear, and even worship in the peoples of Blackvynn.
The fauna of Blackvynn are no more aggressive than those creatures with which we are typically familiar, but nevertheless they do pose many threats to the denizens of Blackvynn. As creatures grow, so too do the flora of the wildlands: thick trees tower densely in the woods hundreds of feet into the sky, vines grow thick, fast, and strong enough to choke out the oldest of these mighty skytouchers, and the grasses of the great plains block out the sun for travelers as they grow above the heads of even the tallest elf. These megaflora provide much sustenance for the ever growing beasts but this may not be enough. A hungry predator may tire of stalking herbivores of its own size, and so the lone traveler or remote farmhand provides an easy meal.
A megabeast which sets its sights on a settlement may cause the abandonment of a town, as people go missing and tensions grow. Not even the sturdy wooden palisades of larger settlements can stop a determined beast, which may be of a size to leap stories or level a well-constructed barricade or wall. A stampede of startled beasts is no minor threat but can lead to the loss of entire fields of crops or the destruction of entire villages as even the strongest warriors are trampled beneath hooves as large as a boulder.
As if the above did not present enough danger, ancient beasts often grow in intellect beyond their natural cunning. These intelligent beasts often attract a cadre of lesser members of their own species, controlling a territory and demanding deference of the beasts and denizens which fall within. A settlement which angers such a beast can expect a coordinated campaign against their lives and livelihood, while a friendly megabeast may provide boons and protection to the same settlement. Such friendly arrangements are not uncommon in the outskirts of civilization, and some peoples even stoop to worship of these beasts as gods. Unlike the distant patronage of the Divine Empire or the traditional offerings to long-dead ancestors, beast gods are undoubtedly real and powerful. Some beast gods are rumored to possess potent powers, though civilized peoples often dismiss these claims as ravings of savage fanatics or confused travelers.
See Mouseguard size categories, with men (& dwarves & elves) at the level of Mouseguard Mice.
It is known that ancient beasts can develop growths within their enormous bulks which over the decades and centuries harden into Runestones. This makes the older and dangerous beasts a worthy prize for daring hunters. Which beasts might harbor a given Runestone has been the topic of many scholarly endeavors, and many believe the presence of Runestones in a beast often leads to strange Manifestations. Unfortunately for the erstwhile hunter, these Manifestations often make their targets all the more deadly.
Manifestations among megabeasts range from the benign and superficial to the shocking, hideous, dangerous, and awesome. A two-story tall black bear in the area is often dangerous enough for a settlement to organize a hunt, but left alone that bear may manifest