Ever since we started keeping animals for food, we’ve been domesticating different breeds. Fantasy worlds are no different, and I have done my best to bring you three domestic animals for your game or story: The Giant Junglefowl, the Silver Yak, and the odd Bookbinder’s Bee.
In the real world, Gallus Gallus, or the Red Junglefowl, is considered to be the ancestor of the domesticated chicken. Gallus Gigas is similar, except it stands 10 feet tall, has talons the size of a man’s arm, and frequently attack jungle settlements in search for food.
Mating season can be especially deadly, as the chickens use people as their preferred food during their mating dance. As they rhythmically bob back and forth, they repeatedly pick up, drop, and peck the victim, before finally offering it to their potential mate. Once the mate accepts the morsel, they devour it together before mating.
Hill giants tend to keep these semi-savage beasts as pets or guard animals, although they’re not above eating them when hungry. Some giants have trained them exceptionally well and use them as attack animals when hunting humanoids, adding to their considerable damage capabilities by attaching razor sharp metal spikes to their talons.
Domesticated by the Dwarves in the highest and coldest mountains, the Silver Yak is well known for its dark fur with silver edges. This silver accumulates slowly over time, only becoming prominent when the Yak reaches full adulthood. Dwarven artisans then shear the silver fur and spin it into a high value fabric. Silver Yak herds are fiercely guarded and are rarely, if ever, sold to non-dwarves.
Silver Yaks in the wild tend to stray far from civilization, fearing contact with most humanoids, although Druids seem to have better luck. Herds can range in size from just 2-4 adults, to over 100 adults and young. Should a herd this size be encountered, it’s best to avoid them entirely, as they can easily be stirred into a stampede.
Bees have been used domestically for centuries, but one special bee has unique properties that make them especially valuable. Like most bees, Bookbinders create both bee’s wax and honey from the flowers they feed on. However, these bees also produce a third substance that gives them their name: glue. A mixture of thick honey and bee’s wax, as well as a bit of wood pulp from their homes, bee’s glue is used by many Elven and Gnomish artisans to bind their books.
Sensitive to temperature and altitude, Bookbinder’s Bees are cultivated using the rafter method of beekeeping (pictured below). Long wooden poles are used to mimic the bee’s natural habitat of tree limbs, and the combs they make can become truly massive. Once the hive has created enough honey to sustain itself, the ‘honey head’ is removed by beekeepers, leaving behind the hive itself. This sustainable method of beekeeping is relatively new to the area, but has since gained massive popularity.