Scarecrow
Animus stipulae
Family: Animata
Classification: Non-sapient
Manifestation: Corporeal
Pronunciation: SKĀR-krō

A scarecrow is an artificially animated guardian. They are typically dressed in discarded clothing and may be made out of straw or rags (in which case they are called ragmen). Once brought to life they are set to defend a certain area from specific intruders. Scarecrows get their name from the mundane mannequin set in fields to discourage birds from eating crops, but magical scarecrows may be placed anywhere and instructed to repel any kind of being.

Part of the ritual to make a scarecrow does involve stuffing rags or straw into clothing, but the final product can take any shape the creating wizard chooses. One thing that remains constant for all scarecrows and ragmen is the more stuffing they posess, the more powerful they are.

Scarecrows are animate, and they may move quite quickly. Those with legs can walk or run, and those without can glide across flat survaces. Scarecrows are easily defeated physically, but the warding spells they contain cause a violent fright and flight reaction in their targets. This fear attack is especially effective on non-sapient creatures.

When a scarecrow is created, the Wizard breathes life into it. In that breath, the Wizard must tell the scarecrow the general area to be protected, and a general description of the creatures it is to repel. For example, a scarecrow on a farm might be able to protect the field from squonks.

Care must be taken when instructing the scarecrow as it follows the letter of the instructions given rather than the intention. For example, an order to guard against all wizards will turn the scarecrow on its creator, and one to guard against all enemies may mean the scarecrow chases any and all threats indiscriminately. Likewise, the area a scarecrow is given to patrol must be proportionate to its ability to cover the area at any time; given too large an area to patrol, it may not have time to get to its target before the damage is done.

A well-made scarecrow can last about a year or two; a ragman can last a bit longer. The enchanted straw loses its power when it falls out of the scarecrow and cannot be replaced. Over time, the scarecrow becomes weaker and slower and eventually just becomes a mundane scarecrow. No spell has yet been developed to allow a scarecrow to be refreshed.

There is no such thing as a juvenile scarecrow. The collective noun for a group of scarecrows is a gathering.

Habitat

Scarecrows are created around the world. They have no natural habitat, although they are most commonly used to defend fields from pests.

Biology

Scarecrows are made entirely of old clothes stuffed with straw or rags. Any physical features (such as arms, legs, or faces) present at their creation become functional once animated. Their shape, size, and mobility is determined by the creating Wizard. Scarecrows with faces are particularly effective with their fear effect. They generally walk or glide. Scarecrows may be planted in place by a long wooden pole, but often they can lift this pole from the ground and move around at will.

Diet

Scarecrows are animated by the magic of the creating Wizard, and do not require nourishment. Over time, this magic wears out and the scarecrow simply falls apart.

Magical Uses

Scarecrows are used as magical guardians, especially against non-sapient pests.

Defense

Fire is especially effective against a scarecrow or ragman. There are spells such as "kagàzonge" (kuh-GAHN-zohn-gay), that can protect you against a scarecrow's fear attacks.

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