|Climate/Terrain||Desolation of Shidar|
|Frequency||Common (during Horde season only)|
Any (for 3-4 weeks out of the year)
The Horde is a large swarm of aggressive, carnivorous creatures that have vaguely insectoid characteristics. It is confined to the Desolation of Shidar and the Chaddamar Theocracy is the only nation that generally has to deal with it.
Best estimates put the horde at approximately ten million creatures. The Horde hibernates in underground cocoons for 11 months out of the year and is active for one month each summer. For one month each year, the Horde ravages the Desolation and attacks Garreon's Wall. Thousands of soldiers stand on the wall and battle the Horde back. The battle that rages between these Chaddamarrian soldiers and the Horde each year is one of the greatest spectacles on Khoras.
The yearly period of activity occurs about the same time each year. However, because the exact period of activity varies by a week or two each year, it is impossible to know exactly what day the horde will be spotted on the horizon. Through some unknown mechanism, all horde creatures emerge from hibernation "cocoons" at almost the exact same moment. The horde moves across land consuming anything organic and replenishing their strength. Many of the horde creatures then travel south and attack Garreon's Wall. During the month, about half the horde attacks the Wall while the other half roams the peninsula in hundreds of separate groups. Sometimes groups will merge and later separate. Sometimes additional groups of horde creatures will travel south to the wall to join the battle there. Whatever intelligence guides them can only be guessed at. At the end of their active month, all surviving horde creatures return to the center region of the Desolation where they cocoon themselves and enter hibernation.
All types of horde creatures have difficulty seeing the color red. In general, red does not show up in their field of vision. It appears as a "hole" in their vision and is ignored. Most tribes of the omarin will carry red cloaks with them and, during Horde season, will wrap themselves from head to foot in red, to remain unseen by the horde.
Sight is only one method by which the horde hunts. They also track prey by smell. Each horde creature excretes certain pheronomes to identify themselves. The omarin have learned that if this gland is removed from a dead horde creature, the oils can be squeezed from the gland and used to coat themselves and thus "hide" their scent from the horde creatures.
The Chaddamarian soldiers have not discovered the benefits of coating themselves in horde gland oils. And while it is known that the color red is invisible to the horde, the Church considers it a matter of disgrace to "hide" when battling evil and orders its soldiers to NOT conceal themselves in the color red.
Horde creatures spend their hibernation cycle in massive cocoons. These cocoons are huge black, shell covered things buried in the ground. They are oblong, about 20 meters long and 10 meters in diameter. Each cocoon contains approximately 100-150 sleeping horde creatures. Thousands of these cocoons are buried out in the Desolation. Each cocoon is itself a semi-sentient creature. If disturbed or attacked, the cocoon will dig itself out from the ground and walk away on its eight legs to protect those that sleep within in. It will move until it no longer perceives danger and then will rebury itself. If greatly damaged or continually attacked, a cocoon will open releasing all of the horde creatures within.
There are five known types of horde creatures. In general, all five types have subtle insectoid characteristics. They are multi-legged and have a black, chitinous exoskeleton. They are known by the common slang terms given to them by Chaddamarrian soldiers.
Jumper (approximately 90% of the total horde)
Jumpers are the smallest and most common horde creature. They get their name from their ability to leap about 7 meters. They are vaguely beetle shaped and weigh only about 35 kilograms. They have voracious appetites and will scour the land of plants and grass. They are fairly mindless and will attempt to overwhelm prey by sheer numbers. They attack with a bite. The other types of horde creatures will usually herd the jumpers by the thousand.
Tank (approximately 9% of the horde)
Tanks vaguely resemble hulking beetles that walk upright, but hunched over. They walk on four heavy segmented legs and attack with two large crab-like pincers. Tanks weigh about 300 kilograms and stand erect about 2 meters tall and 2.5 meters broad. They are known for having very thick armor and being particularly difficult to kill.
Ripper (approximately 1% of the horde)
The ripper is probably the most feared of all the Horde creatures. These tall, spindly creatures stalk on four long legs and attack with four long arms that each ends in a single long curved claw. The creature has a number of long spines that sprout from its shell. This type of horde creature is particularly dangerous because it has fast reflexes, is a very fast runner and can slash at opponents with multiple claws at once. A single ripper can take on three armored soldiers at once and seems to be able to see in all directions simultaneously. Rippers stand approximately 2.5 meters tall, have a 3 meter reach, but weight only 100 kg.
Banger (Less than 0.1% of the horde)
The banger appears as a huge, hulking upright beetle-like thing that walks on two massive legs and has a massive shell on its hunched over back. The Banger has only one attack method. It walks into a crowd of enemy soldiers and explodes, sending globs of green goo in all directions. This substance is highly corrosive and burns fiercely when exposed to air. While burning, it can dissolve through metal, wood, bone and some types of stone. The banger itself dies in this attack. Bangers weight approximately 500 kg and detonate with a blast radius of 50 meters.
Flyer (Less than 0.1% of the horde)
Flyers are, as the name implies, the only type of horde creature that can fly. A flyer appears as a cross between a beetle and a dragonfly. It has two pair of large, broad semi-transparent wings. It is a strong flyer and is able to carry very heavy loads. In fact, one tactic that the horde employs a great deal is to have flyers carry rippers over enemy groups and drop the rippers into the midst of their enemy. However, flyers are not strong enough to lift bangers or tanks. Less than one in a 1000 horde creatures will be a flyer. Due to their scarcity, Garreon's Wall is still a very effective detriment to the horde. Every year a few dozen flyers will attempt to soar over the wall and attack people on the other side. Most are shot down in flight by soldiers on the Wall.
Despite the deaths of tens of thousands of Horde creatures each year, the Horde always seems to be renewed to its full size each year. Some question this. The official church position is that the Horde is the physical manifestation of evil and their numbers are infinite. However, many outside of the Church believe the Horde to be a natural classification of animals. Mutated by dark magic perhaps, but nonetheless, a product of nature. They believe that there is something out in the Desolation that is laying eggs... a Queen perhaps. If there is such a creature, it has never been seen.
It is also unknown how the cocoons come into being and theorists believe that they may be grown from laid eggs or perhaps "built" from organic materials created by the horde creatures themselves.
This website was last updated March 31, 2021. Copyright 1990-2021 David M. Roomes.