The hugag (HU-gag) is a huge animal of the Lake States. Its range includes the northern area of Mishipeshu Province. In size, the hugag is comparable to the moose, which it somewhat resembles. Noticeable differences include its jointless legs, which compel the animal to remain on its feet, and an upper lip so long that attempting to graze results only in trampling it into the dirt. The head and neck of the hugag are leathery and hairless. Its strangely corrugated ears flop downward and its four-toed feet, long bushy tail, and shaggy coat give the beast an unmistakably prehistoric appearance.
When fully grown, a hugag stands about 13 feet high and weighs around six hundred pounds. The legs of a hugag lack knee, fetlock, or hock joints, so the hugag can't lie down and must keep standing up. Usually, a hugag braces its splayed feet and leans against a tree to take a nap, and such sleep-trees are often badly or permanently bent.
The hugag never stays in one place for long, and the few magi who have attempted to trail it have failed to find the beast and, in some cases, can travel all day, browsing on twigs, flopping its lip around trees, and stripping its bark as occasion offers. At night, it leans against a tree and braces its legs to sleep. A steady diet of pine knots can make a hugag ooze sap from its pores.
The most successful hugag hunters have adopted the practice of notching potential sleep-trees so that they are unstable enough to come down when a hugag leans against them. Trapped under the fallen tree, the hugag is easily dispatched.
The hugag is a gentle animal that does little harm, save when they lean against buildings. Flimsy structures and camp sights are often ruined when a hugag decides to take a rest by leaning on one.
A juvenile hugag is called a calf. The collective noun for a group of hugags is a herd.
The hugag lives in central North America, primarily around the Great Lakes region and parts north. They require woodlands to live as they cannot graze or lie down.
Hugags most closely resemble moose, although without antlers and with a gentler disposition.
Hugags are herbivorous and their diet consists mostly of tree bark, leaves, berries, and twigs. They are very fond of pine knots and will gorge on them until they extrude sap from their pores.
Hugags cannot be domesticated, although some magi have successfully managed to use them for transport or as a food source. They make poor familiars. Their pelt can be fashioned into damage resistant leather armor. Their bones can be made into wand cores for very powerful tools specializing in defensive and strength-based magic. Their teeth can be fashioned into necklaces that provide extra magical power. Sap exuded by a hugag (commonly known as hugag juice) may be harvested and is useful in many herbal concoctions. The Fairbanks family chain of gourmet eateries are known for their chupacabra steaks with glazed hugag juice, among other things.
Hugags are not aggressive, but their incredible size makes it dangerous to be in their vicinity if they become alarmed. Merely putting some distance between yourself and the hugag will put you out of danger.