|Natural Habitat:||Pentland grasslands|
|Average Size:||5.6-7' to shoulder and 11-12' long snout to tip|
|Average Weight:||150-250 lbs|
|Coloring:||Drab muddy brown to blotched with vivid colors|
|Distinguishing Features:||Broad stumpy tail with a clubbed end, short arms, muscular hindquarters, dark padding along their back|
Raptors are one of Pentland's symbols and rampant raptors figure prominently on many banner-poles. Of the once numerous dinosaur population the region once had only a few varieties are left. The Kargaan raptors are among the smartest and tamed for use by Calvary units.
The raptors are medium sized dinosaur remnants with females standing right around 6' tall and males towering at 7' at the shoulder. They're horizontally built and longer than they are tall, nudged by some selective breeding, to enable riders. The short, thick tail counterbalances the raptors' head not only with its bulk but also the dense club made of bone plates. Females weigh around 150 pounds and the larger males go up to 250.
They have tough scales covering their entire body except for on their back. Over time and careful breeding a patch of padded skin has been developed to improve a rider's comfort and is located on the upward arch of spine between the fore and hind limbs. Their club tail started off as a mere thickening of skin that evolved to include bone plates. It has little use in combat but instead provides something for the raptor to lean on in order to allow front kicks for defense. They thump the ground if someone tries to provoke them and to communicate with nearby raptors.
Raptors have very strong fast-twitch muscles. They chase down their prey with bursts of speed, long and high jumps. The added weight from growing larger have made sustained runs slower and more difficult and has been mitigated by enlarging the chest to a small degree. Most of their bulk is located in their hindquarters with their arms too short to be of much use. Jaw strength is quite strong and they are capable of crushing bone while the serrations on their teeth aid in slicing through flesh. Sharp claws can easily pierce the hide of their usual prey items.
It takes some time to bring a raptor's temperament in line to take commands but the Calvary makes a fearsome addition to the Empire's standing forces once fully trained and armored up. The Kargaan rangers tame the raptors as part of their usual activities. Fully trained mounts fetch a high premium both on the open and black markets.
Coloration is naturally a drab brownish green during the wet season when the grass is lush but loses more color during the dry season. Specially bred raptors have had more color added to their hides from selective breeding. Splotches of color have been introduced over the years and have a variety such as: piebald, stripes and fades. These sell at a premium rate and the eggs of pedigree raptors are often sold with decorations painted on.
The Kargaan raptors call the open grass of central Pentland home and have for millenia. They have been known to migrate on occasion but that's rare. Breeders have been reported to have successfully carried on work on foreign soil.
Mating season starts up once a year when the dry season is just about to end and the fruitful spring is about to arrive. Fresh color tints the raptors a greenish hue. Males are distinct with the blood red painted on their cheeks like blush. Great battles play out on the savannah as the senior males fight to determine a pecking order. Deep bass thumps and grunts echo through the Pentland landscape as challengers announce their willingness to participate in duels. In time the strongest male claims his spot as the head bull and takes the spoils of war as helping to build another generation of raptors.
Females spend time between the mating period and laying eggs getting fattened up for the month they'll be staying in their nest. A dugout is made in some damp soil and the expectant mother lays her clutch. In three to four weeks spent patiently waiting her young will hatch and she'll take good care of them for one month longer. After that they're on their own. For the first year of their life they feed on carrion, insects and small mammals. In five more they'll be ready to start participating in the rut.