The aurumvorax (pronounced: /ɑːrʌmˈvɔːræks/ a-rum-VOR-æks listen; see plural for the plural form), sometimes known as the golden gorger, is a small, shaggy hole-dwelling creature with eight legs that is able to eat gold. It is sometimes used to locate gold, able to detect and find its veins in the ground. It is not fearful and can become vicious, able to defend itself against formidable creatures like chimerae.
When fully grown, an aurumvorax measures around 3' (1m) in length and 18" (0.5m) in height. It has a hide of 3"-long, golden fur which is highly prized, capable of fetching 15,000–20,000 gold pieces. It weighs around 500 pounds (227kg). Its eyes are silver, with bronze whiskers.
Its claws and teeth are copper-colored.
The aurumvorax is found in light forests or near the timberline of mountains. Although it occasionally lives at the bottom of ravines, it is more usual to find an aurumvorax burrow in the side of a hill. The burrow will normally extend through the top soil and into the rock beneath where its enormous weight can be supported. Where possible, the aurumvorax will burrow into rock rich in gold ore. The burrow normally contains a small reserve of ore nuggets as a food supply.
Except when mating, the aurumvorax is solitary, patrolling an area of around ten square miles. They only seek mates once every eight or nine years, spending three or four weeks with a partner. The female usually gives birth to around half a dozen offspring.
The aurumvorax must eat gold in order to survive (except the Cormanthor aurumvorax), although it will also eat meat and other metals. Without gold, it will become ill and die in around a week, unless it has access to platinum, which may prolong its life by three weeks. The gold in its diet gives the aurumvorax the color in its golden fur.
The young of the aurumvorax are called kittens and are born hairless, with their eyes closed for the first two weeks. Most will die due to lack of gold, but the survivors stay with the mother for up to six years before becoming fully grown and independent, although they can reach full maturity much faster if their diet is rich in gold, not normally an option in the wild. It is not unknown for the mother to eat its own young when gold is scarce.
The aurumvorax can hibernate, usually during the winter, and during this time it buries itself in the ground. Although it usually breathes through its nostrils, while hibernating it breathes through its skin, a small patch of which it leaves exposed, above the ground. This can easily be confused for gold. It can be woken easily at any point during its hibernation, reacting fiercely and angrily to any disturbance.
An aurumvorax's saliva is highly corrosive to metal. The aurumvorax is immune to all normal toxins and cannot be poisoned, and blunt weapons do it very little damage as a consequence of its high density. It also has an extremely high tolerance to heat, able to survive all but the largest of fires.
The meat of the aurumvorax is highly toxic to other creatures, resulting in metal poisoning. Aurumvorax can eat their own kind safely. If its corpse is incinerated, up to 200 pounds (91kg) of gold can be left behind.
Aurumvorax hide can also be adapted to be worn as armor, which provides near-immunity to gold, but the intricate and time-consuming process of turning its hide into armor is very costly. Hide is sometimes made into a bed fur or a cape for a dwarven wedding. Parts of the aurumvorax, due to their combination of bone and metal, can be made into decorative objects or jewelry.
The aurumvorax will usually tolerate small animals and creatures that do not pose a threat, but will become wary and possibly aggressive near humans and other larger creatures. Its jaw muscles are incredibly strong and once it has a grip, it will not normally let go until its victim is dead. Despite its small size, it is capable of dragging a creature up to its own body weight.
When the aurumvorax attacks, it will first lock its powerful jaws onto an opponent, then rake with its claws. Its death is usually the only thing that can unlock its jaws once gripping a victim. If it attacks from its den, it will likely catch its opponent by surprise. The creature is immune to all poisons and gases. It can withstand all but the largest or magical fires.
There appears to be a contradiction as to the plural form of 'aurumvorax'. Mark Feil's The Ecology of the Aurumvorax in Dragon magazine #132 uses 'aurumvoraxes', but the Cormanthor book from the Elminster's Ecologies boxed set uses 'aurumvorax'. Powers & Pantheons claims that the plural is actually aurumvorae.
The Cormanthor aurumvorax can be found in the rimwood and midwood areas of the forest. It was introduced to the forest in the 1000s DR by a group of treasure hunters from Ylraphon, in an attempt to discover gold in the area. Although the aurumvorax found gold, they became very protective over it, and devoured their masters when they tried to get to the gold.
Although the aurumvorax thrived in the plains of the rimwood east of the River Lis, making many holes in the ground in that area, the gold on which their diet was based was gone within a decade, and they were forced to adapt to a different diet. It adapted its digestive system to allow it to eat iron ore, onyx and other minerals. Its hide also changed as a result, becoming mottled with dull red and blue streaks. As a result, they only fetch 7,500–10,000 gold pieces, about half that of a regular aurumvorax hide. Cormanthor aurumvorax claws are usually bright green or purple, and can fetch up to 100 gold pieces and 1,000 gold pieces, respectively.
Like the regular aurumvorax hides, Cormanthor aurumvorax hides can be turned into armor, although the type of near-immunity granted varies depending on the diet of the aurumvorax. It could potentially provide near-immunity against azurite, copper, gold, jade, onyx, opal, silver or turquoise.
As a strange side-effect from the Cormanthor aurumvorax's non-native surroundings, about one in five suffer from allergies during the spring, causing them to sneeze, expelling their highly corrosive saliva up to 10' (3m).
- Mark Feil (April 1988). “The Ecology of the Aurumvorax”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #132 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 46–48.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Steven E. Schend (2000-12-22). Monster Mayhem: Aurumvorax, the "Golden Gorger". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2015-09-19.
- ↑ Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- ↑ Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 25.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 11. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
- ↑ James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Explorer's Manual”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- ↑ Steven E. Schend and Dale Donovan (September 1998). Empires of the Shining Sea. (TSR, Inc), p. 86. ISBN 978-0786912377.