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by Jamie Baty

Large Animal
Hit Dice: 3d8+9 (22 hp)
Initiative: +1 (+1 Dex)
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), swim 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armour Class: 15 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +5 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+11
Attack: Bite +6 melee (1d6 +5)
Full Attack: Bite +6 melee (1d6 +5) and 2 claws +1 melee (1d4 +2) and 2 foreclaws +1 melee (1d6 +2)
Space/Reach: 10 ft. /5 ft.
Special Attacks: -
Special Qualities: Low-light vision
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +1
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 12, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 4
Skills: Hide -1*, Listen +4, Spot +4, Swim +13
Feats: Alertness, Endurance
Environment: Temperate and Warm forests, marshes
Organisation: Solitary, Pair, Family (2-5), or Ride (5-20)
Challenge Rating: 1
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 4-6 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment: -

Swampmares are large, water-loving creatures related to tapirs. The gurrash of the Bayou use them as war mounts, beasts of burden, and occasionally as food. The swampmare is just big enough to carry a single gurrash rider. Swampmares can swim and walk through water, swamp muck, and the overgrown swamp jungle.
Swampmares live in dense rain forests and swamps. When threatened, they squeal and flee to the water for safety; their squeal seems to be a means of communication with other members of the family group.
The swampmares used by the gurrash are domestic, carefully bred strains. A large number of these are bred as warbeasts, and are tougher than the average swampmare.
Swampmares feed primarily on leaves, fruit, and other vegetation. They need a minimum of two hours of sunlight per day in order to stay healthy. Also, a swampmare that spends three or more hours in tree-form in strong sunlight gathers enough energy to "feed" itself for a day. The gurrash often take advantage of this ability during times of war. They simply encourage their swampmare mounts to turn into trees for a few hours each day, eliminating their need for food.
All swampmares have tough, leathery skin with a greenish coloration. This coloration allows it to blend into the background in vegetated areas. They also have webbed, clawed feet to aid them in swimming through deep swamp muck. Its head is characterised by a short snout, beady eyes, and short ears.

In combat, the swampmare delivers a vicious bite and can attack with its claws. In the water, the swampmare can also lash out with its clawed forefeet, using all four of its claw attacks.
If a swampmare is overmatched and fleeing appears to be impossible, it turns into a tree and attempts to wait out the trouble. The tree form, while not invulnerable, is considerably tougher. Treat the cypress-tree form as AC 20 with a hardness of 10. This plant form does not bleed or otherwise reveal that it is an animal in plant form.

Skills: A swampmare gains a +8 racial bonus to any swim check. It may always take 10 on a swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line. *A swampmare gains a +12 racial bonus to all Hide checks in areas of thick vegetation.

Carrying Capacity: A swampmare can carry 459lbs as a light load, 460 to 918lbs as a medium load and 919 to 1380lbs as a heavy load.

The Red Curse
Swampmares do not require cinnabryl, but they do have the Plant Form Legacy, which they use to take the form of a bald cypress tree. A swampmare in cypress-tree form is indistinguishable from a real cypress. They may use this legacy 3/day and may remain in tree form for up to six hours. The transformation process takes one round. Swampmares found in rain forests transform into more appropriate tree forms.