Mooan are large, wingless birds of the Daendroc grasslands. They eat insects and seeds, are endlessly preyed upon, and are generally considered useless, stupid creatures.
The head of a mooan appears disproportionately small when compared to their large bodies, lengthy necks, and incredibly long legs. They stand slightly shorter than the average man, most standing at five and a half feet and weighing 125-150 pounds.
Mooan are fairly consistent in their appearance. However, the southern mooan do not have feathers adorning their necks or heads, whereas northern mooan are covered from the head down to the upper reaches of the leg. It is assumed that the southern mooan do not have feathers due to the warmer temperatures in the more southerly areas.
Habitat and Behavior
Mooan inhabit the grassy plains of Daendroc. They sometimes travel in large flocks of up to 100, although it is more common for them to number around 30. They eat insects and seeds, a plentiful food source in their habitat. They also supply a ready source of meat for the predators of Daendroc. While stringy and thin, they are exceedingly stupid, and known for a peculiar adaptation where one or two of the flock will faint during an attack, allowing the others to flee to safety. Countering this survival tactic is their excessive birthrate—one mating pair may produce up to twenty young for each year of their pairing.
Though a native predator can feed itself for a week simply by travelling alongside a flock of mooan, the birds are rarely considered a desirable food source by more intelligent races, due to their notoriously fibrous and gamey meat.
First Recorded Encounter
It is unknown when the mooan were originally discovered, but ancient Seraph texts show that they hunted them for sport long before the birth of the Elven Empire. The first widely-documented account of a people meeting mooan came much later, when a group of Dwarven historians explored the old Elven ruins of Daendroc. They discovered a several large groups of strange bird-like creatures seemingly penned within the ruins. After further exploration, it appeared to have been an Elven farm. It is theorised that once the empire had fallen, the mooan colony thrived within the large, predator free field that was allotted for them, while their free brethren were driven to near extinction by unchecked predation during the post-empire period.
Years later, a decline in the overall populations of predatory species in the greater area allowed those colonies of a few hundred to swell to countless thousands. Sighting after sighting now confirms that they are sustaining heavy numbers.
Seraph would go out in large groups and chase down flocks of mooan, frightening them to death and stabbing the remainder with spears. Salted meat would be prepared upon return to their settlements. The Elves followed their ancestors, although mostly hunting mooan for sport and never in great numbers. Humans of Regalia also hunted mooan, though they did not know enough about the species to even consider the efficiency of the Seraph/Elven method. Instead, they would keep their distance, spearing the group individually.
After the fall of the Elven Empire and the subsequent Dwarven liberation of the mooan trapped within the ruins, they recovered fully from the brink of extinction. Aside from natural predators, the greatest threat to their numbers has come with the discovery of ‘mooan rope.’ Elves have recently discovered that preserved mooan tendon makes an extremely strong, although somewhat disgusting, form of rope. Their feathers too are useful, filling pillows and low-quality furniture.
- The name ‘mooan’ may have been a cruel joke by the Seraph derived from the sound they make when fainting.
- Mooan may not be much good to eat, but some uncivilized peoples in northern Daendroc consider them to be sacred animals that guard the innocent from harm, due to the way large flocks of mooan may choose to follow a group of people, seemingly without reason. Others attribute this quirk to the general stupidity of the creatures.
- Some excluded sects of Elves believe that rancid mooan flesh has healing properties, likely due slight but inexplicable numbing qualities the flesh has when applied directly to the skin. However, such usage is often, and rightly, ridiculed by members of proper society, in part due to the risk of infection.