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Seattle, Washington, United States
I'm an old time roleplayer who became a soldier who became a veteran who became a developer who became a dba who became a manager who never gave up his dream of a better world. Even if I have to create it myself.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Awesome Historic Creature: Aurumvorax

-vorax is Latin for voracious, and Aurum is a type of Italian liqueur - ever seen a ferret act like a mean drunk?  Courtesy of the 2nd edition D&D Monstrous Manual, this is the 'roid raging gym rat of the animal kingdom.
In 2nd edition D&D, the ferret keeps you as a pet

It's 3 feet long and weighs 500 pounds.  Let me put this in scope - a pomeranian of this density would weigh the same as an average adult American female.  Their primary diet is gold, and they scratch with their sharp claws - all very similar to the aurumvorax.

This walking pile of loot is most famous for its death.  It can be turned into a golden fur coat that's roughly as protective as Field Plate, and the rest of its body can be melted into a paltry stack of ten thousand gold pieces.  By comparison, that's significantly more treasure than a dragon of the same XP value.  Not bad for a mutant ferret.

As a teenager, I wondered why the game designer would encourage players to kill a fur-coat wearing gold-digger laden with riches.  Don't worry though, I figured it out when I was older.


  1. So you're saying that the average American female is 500 pounds?



    1. No, thats if it was the size of a pomeranian, this thing full grown is 3 feet long.

    2. No, thats if it was the size of a pomeranian, this thing full grown is 3 feet long.

  2. Huh, in AD&D, 1st edition, it was merely a gold-colored super wolverine, not a metal-eating monster. It made its debut in S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. It showed up like all of those S3 specials in the MM2, but still didn't eat gold.

    Weird how it went from "gold colored gorger" to "gold eating gorger," though.

    1. I had to go check my 1e MM2 on that... you're right, it is an interesting choice of additions. Maybe they were concerned about how a creature came to be cloaked in gold, if it didn't eat gold?

      The aurumvorax is clearly inspired by the Nemean Lion, from Heracles/Hercules mythology, and all I can find is that it had a voracious appetite - nothing about eating gold specifically.

    2. The bit about making armor out of it is a later addition, too. Everything escalates edition to edition!

    3. I don't think it was edition escalation, I believe the gold-eating concept was first mentioned in the Ecology of the Aurumvorax article, and certainly that's where the idea of burning the body to get the gold inside came up. So the goal was perhaps "interesting reading" more than an game purpose or balance.

      On the other hand, it was called aurumvorax to begin with, and that certainly sounds like gold-eater, and it had that dense weight, so it wasn't a big leap. Though the also article mentioned using the fur as armor, and that may have been a new idea, as it is not clearly implied by the name.


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