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Bulette

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The creation of some unknown arcanist in millennia past, the bulette has bred true to become one of the fiercest predators of the hills. Burrowing rapidly through the earth just beneath the surface, sometimes with its armored fin cutting a distinctive wake behind it, the bulette launches itself free of stone and soil to tear into its prey without remorse, giving rise to the common appellation “landshark.”

Bulettes are notoriously foul-tempered, attacking far larger creatures with no regard for personal safety. Solitary beasts except for the occasional mated pair, they spend most of their time patrolling the perimeters of territories that can stretch up to 30 square miles, hunting game and punishing interlopers with a fury that shakes the hillsides.

Bulettes are perfect eating machines, consuming bones, armor, and even magical items with their powerful jaws and churning stomach acid. Lacking other food, the bulette might gnaw on inanimate objects, yet for unknown reasons no bulette voluntarily consumes elf flesh—a peccadillo many point to as evidence that elven wizardry was involved in its creation. Dwarves are also rarely eaten by the beasts, though the bulette still slaughters members of either race on sight. Halflings, on the other hand, are among the beast’s favorite meals, and no halfling with any sense ventures into bulette country casually.

The bulette is a cunning fighter, surprising foes with its impressive agility. One of its favorite tactics is to charge forward and launch itself into the air in order to drop on its prey with all four razor-sharp claws extended. Folklore claims that the flesh behind the beast’s dorsal crest is particularly tender, and that those willing and able to wait until the fin is raised in the excitement of combat or mating can target it for a killing blow—yet most who have faced the landshark agree that the best way to win a fight with a bulette is to avoid it entirely.

While ancient apocrypha may persuade us that the bulette was an arcane creation from the flesh vats of an ancient wizard, little is ever said in the ancient texts about the lengths his one-time apprentice went to in order to outstrip his master. By creating and adding a planar loom to his own vats, this mad apprentice was able to bind fixed threads of extraplanar energies to the already potent essences of snapping turtle, armadillo, and demon ichor. Thus were born the polychromatic bulettes.

At least six rare types are known, and each is unique in its coloring, temperament, and abilities. While technically immortal until killed, they are also thankfully few in number and cannot breed. Each polychromatic bulette is a singular creature issued forth from the chaotic apprentice’s flesh vats and planar looms. As to how long even a mad wizard lives and where his island retreat can be found, none can say. But it is known that examples of his crazed experiments have escaped to the mainland over the course of time.

Each type of polychromatic bulette resembles its lesser cousin species in general shape and form but comes in a surprising array of relative abilities and color markings. Because of their dual-plane origins, polychromatic bulettes are always detectable by divination spells that detect the presence of magic.