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Prior to the War of Ruin, Calomandria was a home for the only Foringean dragon species, the Tarascos. Based on old depictions it was otherwise like the Dahaka, but recognizable for its thickly armored hide and two prominent brow horns unlike any seen in other dragon species. When elves recolonized Calomandria at the end of the Cold Aeon, they were half disappointed, half relieved to find the mighty dragon of old was no more.

Not long after the Tarascos was declared extinct reports of a vaguely similar reptile started arriving from the Alphorian colonies in North Eibaria. This rarely sighted and reportedly enormous creature gained the name Tarrasque in the local parlance. It seemed to roam the arid wilderness of the great Nadangi desert far from human habitation, mainly appearing to lost travelers delirious from thrist and hunger. While the stories were widely believed at first, the discovery of petrified remains of several large armor-backed creatures sticking out of the local sandstone caused most to dismiss a living Tarrasque as a mere hallucination.

A few centuries later expeditions deeper into Eibaria discovered that giant armored reptilians were an important part of the continent's fauna. Known as river and savanna behemoths, these massive creatures were cousins of the mole dragons, distant relatives of true land dragons and crocodilians. While mole dragons and true dragons were predators, behemoths proved to be exclusively herbivorous. The massive barrel-shaped creatures were so covered in thick natural armor they were practically impervious to attack. Their heads sported horns, their backs were decorated with spikes and the tail of the savanna behemoth even sported a knobby mace-like tip that, together with its bad temper, made it particularly dangerous to approach.

The behemoths didn't quite fit the description of the Tarrasque, however. While river behemoths could weigh up to five tons and grow to be over 5 meters long, they were far from the enormity of the supposed desert monster. What's more, the fossilized remains found in North Eibaria did not belong to behemoths at all, but to extinct beaked creatures more closely related to gryphonids.

Serious naturalists were just about ready to write off the existence of the Tarrasque entirely when an expedition to Nadangi returened with tremendous news: not only was the monster real,  its hiding place had been found. While searching for ancient pre-Ruin cities of Urabar Alphorian explorers had discovered the Netwer oasis, an ancient nexus of trade. Now the fertile valley had become the nesting place of an enormous beast, an armor-clad monstrosity nearly 20 yards long and 7 yards tall.

While the explorers themselves did not dare yet utter the name fearing ridicule, it was obvious that beast of Netwer was no ordinary behemoth. It was at least twice as large, and had a larger and differently shaped head with forward-pointing horns, and its plated back was full of long spikes while behemoths had only a few of them. What's more, the animal was obviously not a clear-cut herbivore. When a member of the expediton had approached the motionless and apparently dormant creature, it had  sprung into life and taken a huge bite of his camel. The man only escaped thanks to some quick thinking and fast pair of legs.

Following the news, three ill-fated hunting parties the Netwer oasis were organized to slay the famed beast. The first one failed to locate the intended destination and the following two failed miserably, leaving many party members dead or severely injured, with nothing to bring home but tales of terror. People began to jest about Tarrasque hunts, but the Kyrkos took the issue very seriously. Alphoria's magical elite were keen to collect the Tarrasque for study, or at least bring back samples, before someone else beat them to it and ruined the unique opportunity. To this end they hired a famed hunter and explorer Daenobelion.

The Daenobelion expedition was a success, largely thanks to magolt-powered weapons provided by the Kyrkos, including an arcane device that reportedly "made the beast's heart to explode causing a veritable river of blood to gush forth from its mouth". The Tarrasque was far too large to transport, so instead many tissue samples were collected, including blood, teeth, scutes, a horn, several back spines, the tip of the tail and an enormous eye. Some of them were kept as trophies by members of the expedition, but most were shipped to Alphoria for study.

A year later a follow-up expedition left for Netwer in the hopes of collecting more remains such as the skeleton. Only two survivors returned with horrific news: the Tarrasque was alive, fully intact and extremely hungry. It had quite literally eaten every form of vegetation around the oasis and once it got wind of the expedition's arrival, it charged towards them with the clear intention of killing and eating them as well. The survivors had fled to the desert where they were hit by a sandstorm that proved fatal for the majority of the party.

While there were many that questioned this story - including Daenobelion himself - a follow-up expedition verified what the survivors had told. While the valley was again lush with vegetation, having had time to regrow, all the trees and large scrubs were gone, with some uprooted stumps remaining to tell a grim tale. They also found enormous dried up droppings that upon closer study contained remains of metal objects that had been worn or carried by members of the last expedition. The Tarrasque itself was long gone.

During a failed attempt to track the beast, this final expedition eployed the help of local Djaraphi tribes that had much to teach the Alphorians. They recongized the Tarrasque as the mythical World Eater, a monster that slept for decades at a time and then woke up one day and ate everything it could find, including entire villages. Many had tried to slay the beast, but it just returned to life stronger and more ravenous than ever. While the Djaraphi did not manage to find the beast either, they had stories of how the World Eater would sometimes disappear for centuries only to resurface unexpectedly to attack some unwary caravan.

Meanwhile in Alphoros the archsarcomancer Peloskopos, the main funder of the Daenobelion expedition, had been hard at work studying the tissue samples. From the eye he was able to determine that the Tarrasque was over a thousand years old and had probably began its life around the time of the War of Ruin. He also found some tell-tale signs that it was a teratoid mutant created by exposure to high levels of raw magic, similar to trolls and hellhouds. In the world of sarcomancy, this was a grounbreaking discovery. Goblinism had been observed in practically all vertebrates, but only mammals were thought to advance to teratoid forms.

As expected, Peloskopos managed to extract still living dormant cells from the tissue samples that he could easily induce to divide and even change into different cell types. To him this proved that like trolls, Tarrasque was effectively immortal, capable of regenerating even after apparently fatal injuries. Like trolls it would also have the ability to remain dormant for very long periods of time, to revive when the environment became more favourable. Unfortunately these findings came too late for the follow-up expedition that verified Peloskopos' conclusion with tragic results.

Once the news of the beast's disappearance eventually reached the shores of Alphoros, Peloskopos resumed the study of his cultured Tarrasque sells. He mused that with the right substrate and nutrient balance, it would be possible to coax these cells to develop into a whole new Tarrasque. However, when he presented this idea to the Kyrkos, he was immediately shot down and forbidden from moving forward with this sort of project. The cells collected by Peloskopos were confiscated and have been kept to this day in a magical stasis in the vaults of the Eumageion of Thalassos. The whereabouts of the original Tarrasque remain unknown.
When it comes to iconic D&D monsters, many would agree the Tarrasque is right up there with owlbears and illithids, so I had to adapt it to Magestone as well. I wanted to stay more true to the D&D version rather than the mythical Tarasque that I had largely based the Aren version of the beast. This meant keeping it as a singular individual rather than an entire species, and making it a truly terrifying creature rather than an ordinary animal with layers upon layers of exaggeration built upon it. I couldn't go quite as deep into kaiju territory as D&D did, but I thought I managed to find a balance between a plausible naturally evolved creature and an impossible abomination.

There's also an illustration to go with this: fav.me/dazvl6p
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:icondeli-sammich:
Deli-Sammich Featured By Owner Edited May 31, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wait, what is goblinism? from my perspective it sounds like some kind of evolutionary thing...
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Professional General Artist
Goblinism is a weird phenomenon I need to write in great detail at some point. The short answer is that it's a condition resulting from the reaction of eucaryote cells to high doses of magical energy. In humans goblinism tends to produce greenish skin, pointed ears, enlargened nose, sharpened teeth and lithe frame, to name a few obvious ones.
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:icondeli-sammich:
Deli-Sammich Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Huh...
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:iconlediblock2:
Lediblock2 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2017
Will we be seeing a picture of the equivalents to dinosaurs in this world? Ooh, maybe instead of the dinos that we all know and love, they could be retrosaurs! It would fit the whole 'animals that never really existed' theme quite well.
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2017  Professional General Artist
I have some ideas for Magestone mesozoic creatures, but they will not be retrosaurs. Why? Because the false dragons have a couple of retrosaur taxa. You'll see once I get to sketching them.
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:iconlediblock2:
Lediblock2 Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2017
Nice!
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:iconzaubererbruderasp:
ZaubererbruderASP Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Really awesome story. What gave you the idea that the Tarrasque is bigger than a Behemoth? Is it like that in D&D?
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thanks. :) D&D doesn't really have a well defined Behemoth. In recent editions the name has been used as a synonym for "dinosaur", so Stegosaurus would be a Bloodspike Behemoth, Ankylosaurus a Macetail Behemoth, and so on. I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think the Tarrasque might be the largest non-dragon monster in D&D.
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:iconzaubererbruderasp:
ZaubererbruderASP Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ah, okay. I wondered because from what I know about the mythological Behemoth and Tarrasque, one would think that the former is bigger.
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:iconhublerdon:
HUBLERDON Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
A fantasy world Gojira!
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2017  Professional General Artist
Part Gojira, part Anguirus, all kaiju.
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:iconlediblock2:
Lediblock2 Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2017
Nice to see you're still working on this! Will beholders be next?
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2017  Professional General Artist
That's a definite no. Beholders are where I realized there's no way I can brute force every D&D monster into Magestone as plausible organisms, and still have enough of the original left. Stories of beholders are told in the world of Gea, but they aren't based on natural organisms, not even outsiders.

As for what is next, it's probably going to be something crurotarsan.
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:iconlediblock2:
Lediblock2 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2017
Why not as a sort of giant toad with fleshy tendrils branching off of its body? The tips could end in bioluminescent 'eyespots,' while the body is bloated and floats with the help of a mixture of gases and magic. They could also just be a wizard's experiment or something like that.
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:iconosmatar:
Osmatar Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2017  Professional General Artist
I want to avoid "a wizard did it" as the whole explanation. Sometimes it's okay to explain things with sarcomancy, if it's not just an arbitrary handwave but actually goes deeper into the reasons behind the species' continued existence. For example giant spiders were created for the elven silk industry, and familiars were originally intended as test subjects for magical experiments because the use of human subjects was banned. Besides, I didn't say beholders didn't exist at all, they just aren't organisms.
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:iconzgerken:
Zgerken Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2017
Very very interesting!
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