the earliest known image of an owlbear, recovered from a woodcutting in the libraries of Axis. Runes carved beneath the image translate to ,“Today Lars and Boris killed one of these [creatures] after it ate their horses and a tent.”
Owlbears are one of the earliest recorded instances of Nibelung in The Mandate. Their omnivorous diet and fierce nature combine into a very successful species, as they can forage nearly anywhere and have no natural predators.
The most widely accepted scholarly works on Owlbears are the the writings of a naturalist named Vincent Compton. A close friend of Tim McFleur, Compton traveled extensively with McFleur while the latter was the Blade of the Empire, cataloging all the many varied creatures they encountered. Below are several examples from his collected works; Claw, Blade, Stone, and Hide: Natural and Unnatural Encounters in the Mandate.
“Here we see the common Barn-Owl-Bear frolicking in the waters near its nest. It is named after its tendency to lay claim to large, spacious man-made structures for nesting purposes. Barn owners in this case are encouraged to steer clear and clean up the owlbear pellets as best they can.
“A common folk-remedy against the incursion of nesting owlbears is to spread recently worn clothing, hot peppers and bells around unoccupied outbuildings.”
“The Great Horned Owlbear, so named for its horn-like crown feathers, it perhaps the best-known of the owlbear subspecies despite being much less common than other types. The incredibly brutal aggression of this species accounts for its fame (or infamy).
“While still technically omnivorous in nature, this species appears to greatly prefer a meat-rich diet. Some experienced trackers claim that the longer an individual is deprived of fresh meat, the more aggressive it seems to become. All but the largest and most heavily armed hunting parties is advised to steer clear of these brutes, as they have been known to be unfazed by anything less than a stone wall or triple wooden palisade.
“Trackers can easily tell if a Great Horned Owlbear in the area by examining any pellets (”castings") they discover – Great Horned Owlbear castings, in addition to normal food scraps, are also full of bits of old clothing, hot peppers, and tiny bells."
“Holy fucking shit! What the fuck was that? Dear sweet tapdancing David, was that an owlbear with wings?!? What? It got Terry? No – no, fuck that. Fuck Terry. He’s gone. Let’s get the fuck outta here.” – Tim McFleur, during his tenure as Blade, upon his first (and only) encounter with the Winged Owlbear.
It is unknown if this creature represents a single beast with atavistic wing features or a new, rare species of flying owlbears.
“Pictured above is the Eastern Longtailed Owlbear, or more commonly – the Cougowl. While superficially similar in appearance to the general owlbear, this particular species may or may not be directly related to that population.
Generally weighing in at only 200(!) pounds, the common cougowl is only a fraction as dangerous as an actual owlbear. Unfortunately, the cougowl more than makes up for this deficiency by always hunting in packs of 5 or more."