by Halgren the Hunter
When I first took this book to the printers, they told me they’d be messing with it, correcting my spellings and whatnot. Well, I told them they could do what they like, but if they changed any of my words, I’d tan their hides – and I know a thing or two about tanning, let me tell you. So you can be assured the words written here come from old Halgren himself and not some pansy quill pusher. Without further ado, let’s have a good look at all the big beasties in Solstheim.
Aye, the beasties of Solstheim are a nasty bunch, and hunting them is none for the weak. It takes a skilled, strong hunter to take one of these critters down, and I aim to tell you how. Keep your eye out while traveling through the wild country. You’ll come out the better for it if you don’t let yourself get mobbed by a pack of beasties. A good bow and hefty axe are your best friends when traveling through this land. The snows are thick, so creatures are easy to track, or even avoid if need be. Most of these beasts are large and easy to spot, so make sure you spot them first. Remember to always shoot first, and you’ll be on the better end of a fight.
I’ve been told that this book will sell better if I talk about alchemy, so I’ll make sure to mention whatever alchemical whatsits these critter’s hides have. Old Halgrin here never found much use for potion mixing, but a couple of potions have saved his hide, and I just happen to be pretty educated so here goes.
The grizzly bear is big, furry, and ferocious. It can tear even the hardiest hunter to pieces if he’s not careful. This critter has a nasty temper, but a few good arrows and a hefty axe can make short of one in no time. Just make sure to watch out for them claws. Bears are big, lumbering lugs, so chances are if you’re a good marksman, you can take one of these critters down before their claws get you. Bears will avoid a camp if there’s too many folks around, but they have no problem picking off stragglers. Bears can be found roaming about, but mostly sleep in dens. A good hunting party can come back with enough pelts for the winter by raiding one of these. Also, their cubs make great pets. Raised old Huggie here from a wee furball, and he’s been my best friend ever since. Friends tell me, “But Halgren, what about that time he nearly skinned you alive?” Well, I can assure you he means me no harm, just gets a bit rowdy when playful.
This one time, me and old Huggie were out a walking. The skies were clear that day, but there was a wind that’d freeze even a nord’s nipples off. Huggie caught a whiff of something on the wind, and tore right off. Nearly tumbled down the hill trying to keep up with him. You know, bears can run pretty fast when they got someplace to be, which ain’t usual. Anyway, I found Huggie mounting a young she-bear, and boy did I laugh. Seems you can take a bear out of the wild, but can’t take the wild out of a bear. I suppose old Huggie’s got a cub or two by now.
The plague bear is the nastiest of the bunch. Most hunters will avoid them rather than risk catching ataxia from one of these critters. They’re stronger than the average bear too. The plague bear has a lighter coat than the grizzly, so you’d better be able to tell the difference. Ataxia’s a nasty one. It’ll drain your strength and make you weak and whiny. It hurts like a som-bitch too. I had a big old book about diseases around here once, but I lent it to a Skaal shaman and the bugger never gave it back. I got a plague bear head mounted on my door. Its big, nasty face scares the rieklings away. Boy are they stupid – good thing though, because they keep stealing my danged cauldron.
The snow bear is prized for its fluffy white coat. It’s the strongest bear I know of, and will throw a couple nasty frost spells your way, so look out. Experienced hunters use fire enchanted arrows to take these beasties down, and a good frost resistance enchant will do you well too. Their pelts are thicker than the average bear’s, and will keep you warm on even the coldest nights. I got a snow bear head mounted in my lodge as well. Got a lot of bear heads actually. They don’t seem to bother Huggie none. Maybe all those bear eyes on him makes him feel more at home. He sleeps on a big bearskin rug in front of the fire most of the year. Lazy bugger. He should be out guarding my cauldron from rieklings.
The pelts of bears are more useful to the hunter for making warm clothes to go bear hunting with, but it’s got a few alchemical whatsits too:
- Drain Fatigue
- Fortify Strength
- Resist Common Disease
- Night Eye
The snow bear’s alchemy whatsits are pretty much the same excepting it fortifies speed instead of strength, so make sure you know how to tell the difference if you’re doing any mixing. It’s easy, really – snow bear pelts are the white ones. A good night eye potion will make you a better hunter, so make sure you take one of these pelts to a good alchemist and get some. Resist common disease potions will also help you out if you happen to run into any plague bears.
These nasty piggies have grey pelts, with a stripe that runs down their fat white backsides. They’ve got a pair of tusks that’ll gore you good if you’re not careful. They don’t have a lot of speed behind their charge, but they’ve got a lot of power. They’re actually tougher than bears, and got nastier tempers to boot. You can use that power to your advantage easily. Just stick a spear in the ground and let the boar charge himself right onto it. Chances are it won’t be able to turn before it spits itself. The rieklings keep them as pets, and don’t take too kindly to hunters picking them off. The less the better, I say, and they’re good eating too. I kill one of their bristlebacks every time they steal my cauldron. That’ll learn them.
Bristleback leather makes good boots for the ladies, and it’s got a few alchemical whatsits as well.
- Frost Damage
- Resist Frost
The horker is a big blubbery critter that lives in the water. It’s got little flippers, and tusks coming out of its big ugly maw. When hunting the horker, just remember that they know the water better than you. You’ll need a good spear to hunt these critters. They don’t see too well, but they’ve got keen hearing, so try not to splash about if you’re swimming in their territory. It’s better to harpoon them from a boat. They come up to surface every once in a while and spray all over the place. The coastal hunters know all the good places to go looking for them, so if you’re after a big catch, it’s best to go on an expedition with a local group.
There’s a bunch of horkers in the lake near my house. I make sure to go out on hunting expeditions during their mating season, because I can’t get any sleep with all of them bellowing like foghorns day and night. I use a riekling spear to hunt horkers, which I stole off a dead riekling after I caught him trying to steal my cauldron. Why the heck are they so obsessed with my cauldron anyway?
Horker blubber is used in local tallow, and a single horker can supply a small village for a whole month – but don’t tell that to a Skaal. They get pretty mad if you make noise about killing horkers. They revere those honking blubber bags for some reason. Couldn’t tell you why. I’m a more of a Thirsk nord myself. Horker blubber doesn’t have many alchemical whatsits though, so I’ll get to the point. What you want are the tusks. The locals don’t have much use for these except to make fishing hooks and the like, so you can probably pick them up cheap from the local hunters. Their tusks have these alchemical whatsits apparently:
- Drain Alteration Skill
- Fortify Intelligence
- Fortify Maximum Magicka
- Detect Animal
There’s many types of wolves out there, and none of them care for humans too much – well, except for the Skaal, but even they need powerful shamans to control them. The wolves of Solstheim hunt in packs, and they’re not afraid to pounce on a well armed hunting party in the middle of the night. The most common type of wolf is the grey wolf. It’s relatively weak but relies on numbers, so hunters should still be careful about stumbling into their territory. They have good night vision, so that’s when they prefer to hunt. These beasties take every advantage they can.
The plague wolf has a red pelt and carries yellow tick disease. Yellow tick will make you weak and stiff, and causes painful bruising, so be careful of these critters. It’s best to shoot them from afar if you ever run afoul of them. I dare say even the Skaal won’t mind you thinning their numbers. They’re nothing but mangy pests.
The snow wolf is light grey with white patches and legs. It can freeze a hunter solid with its bite. Like the snow bear, a good set of enchanted fire arrows will take care of this beasty. They are rare and revered around Solstheim, so don’t shoot one anywhere near Skaal village, or they’ll tan YOUR hide.
The pelt of the wolf makes for good fancy outing wear and is reasonably warm for hunting too, though not as warm or sturdy as bear hides. Snow wolf pelts are real prized, especially by Skaal shamans. Makes you wonder how they get them if they’re so busy worshiping nature instead of out hunting. Wolf pelts have got a few alchemical whatsits too, which I’ll list for all you alchemy buffs out there. They’re pretty much the same as white bear hides actually.
- Drain Fatigue
- Fortify Speed
- Resist Common Disease
- Night Eye
Nasty Beasties to Avoid in Solstheim
There’s a few beasties out there that are not good hunting, but will certainly hunt you if you’re ducking into caves or traveling through the wilds of Solstheim, so I figured it best to warn you about them. Some of them have got alchemical whatsits as well, so they might be good hunting if you’re into that kind of thing.
The draugr are nasty fellows with black skin and red eyes. They were once strong and proud nord warriors, but don’t let that stop you from killing them when you see them. They’re cursed, undead critters, and like the taste of human flesh. They tend to hide in caves, and like to sneak up on people in the dark. They also like the cold, so don’t try hitting them with frost enchantments and whatnot. Shock, paralysis, and poison don’t effect them either. They snort kind of like pigs when they attack, and like to use their claws. Though they look like men, they’re not very smart or fast, but they are strong and have a nasty grapple.
These nasties ooze a sticky black blood called gravetar. If you dare touching the stuff, it apparently has some alchemical whatsits you can use. It stinks like Dagoth’s bum, but if you rub it into your clothes it’ll protect you from the cold.
- Resist Frost
- Drain Health
- Fortify Fatigue
- Drain Luck
Grahl are rare beasties, and like to hide in caves, but if you ever run afoul of one, you’d better be prepared. These things have foot long claws and foot long tusks, which’ll rip right through the toughest armor. No one’s really sure what they are or where they came from. They’re grey and spiky all over, and they’re bloody huge! The “fearsome grahl” are actually not as tough as they look – compared to most of the beasties in Solstheim, they’re actually pretty weak. A good strong axe’ll take care of them in short order. Watch out for the deadly grahl however – they’re immune to frost, shock, poison, and paralysis. They’re also a lot stronger than their cousins. They’ll attack you alone or in packs, the circumstances don’t really matter to them.
One time I fought a grahl barehanded. Tried to jump me in the middle of the night while I was camping out. Had my pants down around my ankles, just doing my business, and the bugger jumped right on my back. At first I thought it was another damned riekling, but this thing was way pointier than any riekling I’d ever seen. I fell on my back, and the damn thing nearly gored me. With my weight on the beasty, I turned around and stuck my thumb right in its eye. It howled the moon, and that’s when I went for my trusty hunting knife. Skinned it clean alive, then slit its throat from ear to ear. Ugliest critter I’ve ever seen.
The grahl’s eyeballs apparently have alchemical whatsits, and their tusks make good trophies. If you’re willing to put one of those eyeballs in your mouth it’ll protect you from the frosts. I’m not suggesting it. I’m just saying is all.
- Resist Frost
- Night Eye
- Drain Magicka
- Fortify Strength
These forest girlies don’t like outsiders very much. They look kind of like ladies wearing tree trunks as corsets and have greenish skin. They’ve got a nasty set of claws and they’re a lot stronger than they look, so look out. They’re even more dangerous after you’ve killed them a couple times. Damned things keep coming back to life, and every time they do, they get stronger. I wouldn’t suggest one for a date, that’s for sure.
I got nothing against spriggans really. They get a little uppity if you’re out chopping trees. Actually, they pretty much assume that’s what you’re after and attack without provocation of no kind. It’s that kind of attitude that makes me feel all vindicated when I am out chopping wood, because then I feel like they got an excuse for being so danged unfriendly. At least they don’t go around stealing a hardworking man’s cauldron when he’s not looking.
The Spriggan’s heart apparently has some alchemical whatsits, but I ain’t never pulled one out. I asked a local shaman about it and he told me heartwood is real precious. Now I’m wishing I looked harder in that little tree lady’s guts after I brought her down, because with as much money as the guy was offering, I could have bought a brand new cauldron.
- Restore Magicka
- Fortify Agility
- Drain Strength
- Weakness to Fire
Rieklings are nasty squat little ice goblins with bad tempers and blue skin. They’re not very tough, but some of them ride boars and can run you right down. They’re not as dumb as they look either. They’re cunning little buggers, and will help each other out in a fight. They’ve got no alchemical whatsits on them, but it’s good to know about them if you’re traveling far north.
I really want to know where the little buggers keep coming from. Every time I turn around, they’re off with my cauldron again. One of these days I’m going to gather up everyone in Thirsk and hit those damned rieklings where they live. I swear, if they steal my cauldron one more time, I’m going to wipe them off the face of Nirn.
Now we come to the nastiest nasty of the bunch – the werewolf. They were all human once, and still are for most of the day, but if you ever run into one, you’d better have a good bow. These beasts are the toughest fight you’ll find in Solstheim, and they’re not scared of anything. Their claws may be nasty, but even worse, getting bitten by one of these beasts will give you the curse, and no God-fearing soul wants that to happen. Luckily it’s curable, so long as you catch it in the first three days before the change happens. A good cure potion is what you would need in such a case. They’ve almost been hunted to extinction, but I ran across one way back when, and there’s always a chance that they’ll spring up again. People still don’t believe me when I say I’ve killed one. People don’t want to believe they exist anymore, but my grandpappy was a werewolf hunter way back when, and we all owe our survival to good folk like him. It was NOT a wolf I tell you, the damn things are unnatural and you can tell the bloody difference when you see one. They stand on their hind legs for one. You ever seen a grey wolf do that? No sir, it was a werewolf I tell you, and I was just lucky to be carrying silver. The guards around Solstheim still carry silver weapons, and for good reason. Make sure you’ve got a few silver arrows on you when you’re hunting. You just never know.
And that’s all there is. If you’re a fellow hunter and found this book helpful, feel free to come over and shoot the shit with old Halgren. I got a nice little house in the middle of the woods here in Solstheim. Lots of good game to go around, and I got plenty mead. Why don’t you stop by?