Not an Air Shark
I’ve loved the idea of Air Sharks ever since I found them in my battered copy of All the Worlds’ Monsters volume 2 by Jeff Pimper and Steve Perrin (of Runequest fame). What’s so great about them is that no description is required; just say the name “Air Shark” and the players know immediately what they’re facing, and just how to react. It’s a perfect name for a perfect monster. They’re also very, very easy to stat; just check the Shark stats from the D&D Monster Manual, the SRD or wherever, add “Fly 40ft.” and you’re done.
Here’s the original description of the Air Shark by James Hargrave (yep, the one who wrote the Arduin Grimoire. ATWM2 is that old). I love the writing style; it’s pure late 1970s stilted gamer prose:
- Looks like an ordinary shark but it has a hydrogen gas filled bladder and it swims through the air instead of through water. Its skin is very rough and is use by the shark as a weapon as if closes and scrapes itself along the victim.
- The shark is very dumb and will continue to fight until killed. It is 100% fear proof and will attack anything it sees. Any one of the same size as the shark or smalled will be bowled over by its charge.
- The hydrogen bladder makes the shark very susceptible to fire. If it is successfully attacked with flame there is a chance that the hydrogen will explode doing (#HD)d6 damage to all those within (#HD) x 5 feet.
They weren’t just Air Sharks, but exploding Air Sharks! Woot! I’m not going to be quite that cruel for Chariots & Champions; these Air sharks won’t go bang but they will fill the same niche as motorcycles in Car Wars; picture Orc biker gangs riding Air Sharks across a blighted countryside. Cool, or what?
Oh ok then. Here’s the stats for the Air Shark, for D&D:
Large Animal, CR 2
Init +6; Senses Listen +8, Spot +7
AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 13
hp 38 (7d8+7 HD)
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +3
Speed Swim 60 ft., Fly 40ft.
Melee Bite +7 (1d8+4)
SQ Blindsense, keen scent
Face 10 ft. Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +5; Grp +12
Abilities Str 17, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2
Feats Alertness, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative
Skills Listen +8, Spot +7, Swim +11
There you go. Just add a rider and you’re done. Use the Medium and Huge Shark stats for greater and lesser threats.