Sunday, September 13, 2015

An Elf's Best Friend

The Cooshee, or elven dog, was first introduced to 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the adventure The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, published in 1982. It subsequently reappeared in 1983 as an entry in Monster Manual II. Then it returned in the Monstrous Manual (1992) and the Complete Book of Elves (1992). The Cooshee has most recently turned up in the Pathfinder game, first in Forgotten Foes by Tricky Owlbear Publishing, Inc. in 2010 and then in Tome of Horrors Complete by Necromancer Games, Inc. in 2011.

The Cooshee would appear to be heavily inspired by the Cù-Sìth, the mythological hound of Scottish legend. It was the size of a young bull and bore a strong resemblance to a wolf, with a shaggy coat that was usually green, though was occasionally white. It could hunt silently, but would sometimes let out three bays that could be heard for miles. The baying could fill a person with such terror that he or she could potentially die.

The Cù-Sìth was feared as a harbinger of death, thought to carry the soul of the recently deceased to the afterlife. The Cooshee is a little less supernatural than that, being a very long-lived dog bred by the elves to serve as a guardian & hunting companion. It is most frequently encountered with elven war bands.

The Cooshee will probably make an official appearance in D&D 5th Edition eventually, but in the meantime, here is my take on an elf’s best friend.

Medium beast, unaligned
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 16 (3d8+3)
Speed 40 ft.
STR                  DEX                  CON                 INT                   WIS                  CHA
14 (+2)             15 (+2)             13 (+1)             3 (-4)               13 (+1)             6 (-2)
Skills Perception +3, Stealth +4
Senses passive Perception 13
Challenge ½ (100 xp)
Camouflage. The cooshee has advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks when in forested terrain.
Keen Hearing and Smell. The cooshee has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
Pounce. If the cooshee moves at least 20 ft. straight towards a creature and then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the cooshee can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.
Sprint. Once per minute, the cooshee can move 4x its current speed for 1 round.
Bite. Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (2d4+2) piercing damage.
Claws. Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4+2) slashing damage.

Cooshee, also known as elven dogs, are large dogs only found in the forests and meadows frequented by elves. They are most commonly encountered in the company of elves and rarely on their own. They are quite large, typically weighing between 170 and 200 lbs, with some occasionally reaching up to 300 lbs. Their coat is green with brown spots, and their paws are large with heavy claws. Cooshee usually avoid other dog species.

Loyal Guards & Companions

Elves typically use cooshee as guard animals and hunting companions. This extraordinarily long-lived breed is completely loyal to its elven masters, immediately following any command and unafraid to put itself in danger to defend its master. Cooshee only bark to warn their masters of danger, and their bark can be heard up to a mile away.