Roc'a are massive birds of prey primarily found in the Felnovian country of Alubria, though have since spread abroad. Split into three types - greatwings, midwings, and slightwings - they are larger than many other sapient creatures, and were initially created to hunt and kill dragons. However, despite their strength and size, roc'a are incapable of using magic and all offensive magics are toxic to them.
Average Lifespan:: 300 years
Average Height:: N/A
Average Weight:: Unknown
Location Found:: primarily the country of Alubria, but otherwise abroad.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Breeding and Young Successful breeding between two roc'a is somewhat rare, and only one to two eggs bearing young are laid in every clutch. Any others in a clutch of three to seven are duds, and are often cast off the side of the aerie said roc has chosen when the single offspring has hatched. Chicks are born around the size of a small horse, black-skinned and completely featherless. These chicks must be cared for by the parents for up to two years, and will be protected by their family and Clan for their first ten years. Once old enough, they must undertake the Ordeal to stay in their Clan - or they must leave.
Craftsbirds Roc'a who are able to use their talons for building, crafting, or the delicate manipulation of objects are rare, as their talons are simply too big for a variety of tasks. However, roc'a artisans are rarely found, often possessed of more patience and skill than their fellows. Otherwise, any individual roc without these qualities must visit a settlement with one or more species that has dexterous hands or paws for any feather-dye, jewelry, or items they wish to wear. However, this may result in widespread panic if the city or town in question is not used to such visits, especially where knowledge of the Ordeal is widely known.
Location Though native to Noctis, roc'a can be found in great numbers in Alubria, the continent due west of Vystriana; however, some loners choose to travel great distances, and can easily be found in any of the Felnovian countries. Legends of giant birds rise wherever a lone roc has settled, and though few - if any - settlements of roc'a can be found in other Realms, their subspecies are found everywhere strong in their aligned element.
Strigine Owl roc'a of the midwing variant are commonly confused with the strigine species, both being very large owls. However, though the two races do not share animosity towards one another, both find being referred to as the other as distasteful and ignorant. Despite their similarities, hybrid offspring between the two is rare, though not entirely impossible.
Diet This is what this species, and any variants, may eat at any given time.
very large prey; commonly elephants, wild horses, and other large ungulates.
medium prey and other large predators; sometimes large aquatic prey, like smaller whales and dolphins. large carrion or battlefield remnants.
large sapient prey, such as dragons or atlantean. very rarely humanoids.
The roc'a are obligate carnivores who cannot subsist on anything but meat. They hunt almost specifically large game and animals smaller hunters will not touch, such as elephants and horses that dwell in their territories. Thus, roc'a clans almost always dwell in areas where such large game is plentiful, and cannot be found where prey is small or scarce. If desperate enough, a roc may hunt a sapient creature, as their overwhelming strength allows them to disable and kill even the great dragons. However, this is very rare - most sapient prey will have the use of some sort of magic, which is immensely toxic to any purebred roc.
Of the roc'a subspecies, their diets differ per type, region, and individual size. However, all are obligate carnivores except for the rainbird, which is an omnivore. Firebirds tend to hunt medium game, such as deer and antelope, and often cook their food before devouring it. Thunderbirds will hunt anything they can get their beak or talons around, but tend to prefer fish over any other. Rainbirds will hunt small game, eat fruit and berries, though tend to target larger fish over anything else. Galebirds prey on larger non-sapient birds, though will attack any medium game they come across when hungry. Horrorbirds are the outlier of all of these subspecies - they will hunt anything that moves, sapient or not, often when not even hungry; some may cannibalize other horrorbirds, or eat carrion no matter how old.
Species info credited to Verridith.
Appearance Though their general appearances can vary, roc'a are massive birds of prey at the most basic of levels. Their size is often measured via wingspan, ranging anywhere from twenty to seventy feet. Their plumage can come in any color, though pure white and pure black are very rare. Eye color ranges across the rainbow, and heterochromia and Roc'a are also prone to hatching with unusual mutations - such as horns and/or spikes, extra wings, unusual feathers, toothed beaks, and more. Otherwise, general body type is dictated by one of three variants listed below.
Greatwings: Largest of the roc'a variants. Greatwings commonly have builds similar to eagles, condors, and vultures; their wings are broad and often rounded, of both active and passive soaring type. Naked faces - similar to various types of vulture and condor - are common, though it is sometimes seen as a sign of ugliness (especially to smaller individuals). Feather-dyeing is common among greatwings of any color, and permanent tattoos that affect feather coloration are popular. However, most greatwings do not wear jewelry or armor; any roc who is seen with such unnecessary trinkets may become the object of intense ridicule.Midwings: Mid-range in size amid the roc'a variants. A midwing roc will commonly have a build similar to hawks, harriers, or owls. They often have broad, passive-soaring wings though other wing types are uncommonly noted. Most midwings are hawklike in shape, with harriers and owls much less common; owl-roc'a are seen as exotic and beautiful to other midwings. Unlike their greatwing cousins, midwings do not shun limited armor and excessive jewelry. However, they are not as prone to feather decoration as the larger variant, especially tattoos on owl-types that may damage feather shafts and prevent silent flight.
Slightwings: Smallest of the roc'a variants. These roc'a are most attuned to the shapes of falcons and kites with delicate features and small builds, though other bird types have been rarely recorded. Wing type and shape are almost always built for speed and maneuverability, and they often have long - sometimes forked - tails to help with sharp, swift flying. Slightwings may don both item decoration and/or dyed and tattooed patterns, though not in as much frequency as the other two variants.
Culture While many roc'a choose to live solitary lives away from others of their kind, the majority dwell in small flocks or cities that they have either conquered or found, as they cannot build very well themselves. All roc'a cities are led by a single Lord presiding over his Clan, and Clans rarely congregate together. Most Clans consist of a single variant, though mixed Clans have become more common over the years.
Roc'a Clans in cities generally have their own cultural tendencies, often dictated by the Lords they serve. However, all roc'a who dwell in such Clans must undertake an Ordeal at the age of ten, at the point they become an adolescent. This Ordeal is a task generally involving hunting large, sapient prey - though whether or not the young roc must kill such prey depends on the Clan in question. These tend to be creatures such as the various humanoids, lions, and equus, though bigger Clans (and more ruthless Lords) may send an adolescent after a dragon or gryphon to test their mettle. Most often, these Ordeals are watched over by adult roc'a who may intervene if the young fails, preventing great injury or death.
Greatwings: Proudest of the roc'a, greatwings often see themselves as superior to all other variants, often forcing their way into leadership positions in any Clan they find themselves a part of. Solitary greatwings are also common, and seen as very dangerous to both roc'a and non-roc'a races alike. They detest the weak and may cull sick or malformed offspring, offering them as sacrifices for the good of their species. Mixes between greatwings and other variants are uncommon, and often exiled by greatwing Clans.
Midwings: Most accepting of the roc'a variants. Midwings are known to be the least likely to live in Clans, with solitary individuals making up the majority of the population. Breeding pairs of midwing roc'a may stay together longer than other variants, rarely pairing for life. However, midwing roc'a are those known to live alongside civilizations of other races without trouble, and are the most likely to allow humanoids (or other intelligent species) to ride them. They are fond of trade, especially involving shiny items and trinkets of any kind.
Slightwings: Perhaps due to their small size compared to other roc'a breeds, slightwings are most wary of other species and even the larger variants of their race. They tend to dwell in small family groups or solitary individuals, and it's very rare to see a slightwing in any city - roc'a or not - for any great length of time. However, most slightwings love to be challenged to races and feats of speed and skill. They may flock to such events in great number, much to the alarm of the surrounding countryside.
Abilities All roc'a are very large and quite physically strong. While specific abilities depend on the variant, all roc'a share a common weakness to magic; magic, both elemental and not, is very toxic to them. Not only do they have no defenses against such magical attacks, but the contact of magic itself - even magic used to heal wounds - can make them ill, disrupting the balance of their bodies in various degrees. Though this alone rarely results in death, the illness can incapacitate a roc for days to weeks while they recover.
Greatwings: Most powerful physically of the roc'a, though slowest in overall speed and agility. They have great stamina and can fly for incredibly long distances without tiring. Most greatwings have keen eyesight, but poor senses of smell compared to the other variants.
Midwings: While not as physically strong as greatwings, nor as fast as slightwings, midwing roc'a are creatures possessed of a variety of balanced skills. They are known to learn new tasks very quickly, and are able to adapt easily to whatever situations they find themselves in. Owl roc'a are unique in that their feathers provide them with near-silent flight. On the other hand, most midwing roc'a are the most susceptible to magical illness and/or death compared to the other two variants.
Slightwings: Fastest of the roc'a, and most maneuverable in the air. Slightwing roc'a are able to reach diving speeds almost unknown amid other races, using their deadly speed and accuracy to bring down prey or deal a blow to an attacker before the other can react. However, they are also the most fragile of the roc'a variants physically, and they may break or damage bones and feathers more easily than the others. Any individual slightwing roc may heal more quickly from magical illness than their fellows, though this is not found in every slightwing (though it has been theorized to be genetic).
In the early days of Noctis, after the dragons arrived, they grew in pride, viewing themselves as masters of the skies. Eventually, their hubris drew the attention of Albion, and he resolved to see them humbled, and their position as masters of the skies challenged. To start with, he took an eagle captive, and withdrew into his own hidden domain.
Under his influence, the eagle grew in size and strength until it surpassed the dragons, and gained a true mind of its own. Still a captive, it regarded its maker with a keen, piercing intellect and savage gaze. Albion instilled within it a burning hunger for the flesh of dragonkind, but decided he didn’t want his new creation set free without some sort of challenge of its own to overcome.
The secrets of magic will be forever beyond your reach, and its power will be anathema to you. You will have to make use of your unrivalled strength, ferocity, and pure cunning to overcome your foes, he dictated, instilling a deadly weakness to harmful magics into his creation, before setting the great bird free.
To his great pleasure, the first roc by itself challenged the draconic mastery of the skies, rending and tearing many of them with its great hooked beak and wickedly sharp talons, overpowering them with its enormous strength. He crafted more, and sent several flights out to other Realms beyond Noctis, where they settled, and increased in number.
To this day, the dragons will only reluctantly venture into skies where the roc’a fly. Few would dare to challenge the great birds with magic being their only advantage, for though the roc’a are weak to it, they are more than capable of overcoming several dragons by themselves. Fewer still ever dared venture anywhere close to the first roc’s chosen domain.
Classification: lesser roc; bird of flame. Location: volcanic regions.
Related to the phoenix, the firebird is a roc of lesser size aligned with the element of fire. With plumage consisting of reds, golds, browns, oranges and whites, they're bigger than their fiery cousins and smaller than the traditional roc. More often than not, they'll have jagged beaks and hawklike builds, with longer proportions and wider wings. These birds are prone to randomly giving off sparks or having a feather or two catch fire, though it doesn't harm them. They don't share the ability of the phoenix's rebirth.
Classification: lesser roc; bird of lightning. Location: high mountain peaks, where storms are common.
Biggest of the roc subspecies, the thunderbird is a creature more built like a swan or heron, with long legs, long legs and sharp, tapered wings. their feathers hold a spectrum of colors ranging in blues and greens, yellows and whites, and the rarer blacks and greys. These birds enjoy flying in storms and being struck by lightning, giving them the electrical charge they're known for. Oftentimes, those around a thunderbird will have their hair stand on end, and sparks can be seen arcing from between one's feathers.
Classification: lesser roc; bird of water. Location: oceans, rivers, primarily mountain waterfalls.
Smallest of the elemental roc'a, the rainbird is a creature with a prominent crest painted in bold colors, whereas the rest of their plumage is blues and greys, greens and teals, rarely muddy browns and blacks. They have upwards of four trailing feathers that follow them as they fly, and have very long wings, beaks, though are otherwise fairly short in stature and build. Expert fishers, the rainbird loves water, and can summon a rainstorm at will. They most often make their nests in pockets behind large waterfalls.
Classification: lesser roc; bird of wind. Location: primarily canyons and plains.
Build like a falcon with a longer, more jagged beak, the galebird specializes in speed and the swiftness of the wind. Able to ride the sky's currents better than any other known flying creature, these birds are known to sometimes even fall asleep midflight, able to sense distortion on the air to waken and avoid any collision or danger. Their coloration is usually whites and greys, sky-blues, and pale yellows.
Classification: twisted, flightless roc. Location: Anquil, Evylon.
Around the size of a horse, the horrorbirds of Anquil are large, flightless creatures who are dark in color and very vicious. Their wings have grown quite small, and hold a series of long, sharp, barbed claws beneath the feathers, filled with a toxic venom. They have developed large legs and ripping talons, as well as large, crushing beaks and sharp, glowing eyes. Though they have no magic to speak of, they are exceptionally fast and gifted with incredible strength. A tame variant that has been raised and calmed in other Realms, is said to exist.