On the Ecology of the Cockatrice

"Those are stone hens up in that den. You'll be a work of art coming out." -Ophid, Country rustic

Nomenclature: Cockatrice, Stone Hen, Rockbird, Cocatris, Calcatrix, Ichneumon, Basilicok, Basilikos, Cocatriz, Velchukruk ("lil peckers" in Stone Giant), Skoffin

Description: Advanced reptillian arcane hen

Things that are known:

  • Their gaze or touch can petrify people, even after death
  • They can fly short distances
  • It is immune to poison
  • A cockatrice has the head and body of a rooster, bat wings, and the long tail of a lizard.
  • A male has wattles and a comb like a rooster
  • The much rarer female appear the same, lacking wattles and a comb only
  • It has red or black eyes
  • It is about the size of a goose or turkey
  • They lay eggs

Rumors and other whispers in the dark:

  • A cockatrice is actually a dragon, possibly born from a dragon mating with something other than a pure dragon
  • Once it has caught the sent of prey, it can unerringly track
  • Any toad or snake incubating an cock egg will produce a cockatrice
  • The weasel is immune to their petrifaction
  • The sound of a roosters crow will kill a cockatrice dead.
  • A mirror will not stone a cockatrice, but they will violently attack the reflection (or any other live cockatrice) until dead or exhausted
  • Its hiss can route all serpents, reptiles, and vipers
  • It doesn't actually petrify, but withers plants, scotches grass, and bursts stone from heat and its deadly breath
  • Its blood is poison that spreads when struck, up the weapon into the body of the person holding it
  • The bite doesn't kill, but passes on hydrophobia to the victim.
  • They are impossible to kill by stabbing. Perhaps this is due to poison or perhaps their skin is resistance to piercing weapons
  • The beak and claws of a cockatrice are made of iron
  • A cockatrice has three tails, not a single snakes tail
  • It is the mortal enemy of the crocodile
  • They are filthy, stupid, and vicious animals
  • If in a city, they can kill many with their poison breath. A cockatrice that has done so, can only be ousted with the power of the gods
  • The cockatrice doesn't actually turn anyone or thing into stone. It has venom that causes calcium to multiply and crystallize, replacing flesh. The stoning that results from this causes a porous appearance versus the statue-like look caused by a medusa or gogon. It is this calcium that they eat
  • The crowing of a cockatrice will curdle the milk inside a cow
  • A pregnant sow will birth deaf piglets if exposed to the crow of a cockatrice
  • The feathers are quite magical, and useful for arrows, quills, bu they must be used quickly
  • The cockatrice is actually a passive grazing animal and not a predator at all. Their deadly gaze is for insects, not man
  • A cockatrice grinds the stone it eats using hard diamonds stored in its stomach. 
  • Sometimes called the "excuse bird" it is often credited with ills it did not cause. They have never been known to eat homework or cause a late snow or poor harvest
  • This name offends them and they retreat into their study of geology, hiding in caves
  • Cockatrices are actually very wise and know many profound and secret thoughts of the origin of things, learned from the earth itself
  • They often correspond with wizards under the guise of being a geothaumatologist or ignohistorian. They pay for their research by providing the locations of gems and raw magic.
  • These locations are the subject of many treasure maps
  • They are not natural creatures, they are created from a rooster of superior chickens and a still living snake plucked from the head of a medusa
  • They don't actually consume stone, but eat it in order to help them digest food. They don't eat rocks like a reasonable animal because they have very tiny brains
  • It is actually a being of extra-dimensional origin. It is a normal hunter and scavenger on its home plane, but on ours it is deadly. It has a envenomed beak and its feathers contain toxic material. It petrifies organic matter, leaving behind crystallized salts
  • Cockatrices are quite fecund, but poisoned easily by toxins in this planar environment  Those that survive all learned to bury their crystalline eggs underground
  • They have a particular vulnerability to strong acids, sonic vibrations and metal poisoning
  • It has a strong affinity for natural forces
  • Cocksatroises was once widely accepted as the plural of cockatrice, now there is debate that it refers to an intelligent breed of cockatrice whose eggs were incubated by tortoises
  • Victims do not turn to stone, but are nearly instantaneously fossilized. The tap from the beak pulls the victim out of sync with its time frame, stealing all the motion from the targets life. This motion is lost to the universe, funneled into another somehow
  • The result of this is every time a victim is refleshed and recovered, that is stealing energy from another dimension. Do that enough and you might be noticed
  • They are used to herd stone giant children and keep them safe
  • They were designed by the wizard Vora Elgath, a wizard and friend of the stone giants who found them peaceful company
  • A cockatrice is not a separate creature, but is in actuality an infected chicken  This mutated form can only survive on venom, kept on hand by their stone giant keepers
  • They are actually the cursed offspring of Ur Kardar, a dragon foolish enough to attack a god. He lost and his eggs were all turned to chicken eggs. A trickster god coaxed the dragonish to the surface by changing how they hatched, becoming his favorite assassins
  • That trickster god's clerics can attune to the cockatrice and command its actions; possessing it for a time and petrifying their foes
  • The flesh of a cockatrice is quite delicious
  • They are vain, bullying creatures and constantly battle for status among themselves
  • Females lay 1 to 2 eggs a month at the waxing of the moon. The eggs are brownish-red, flecked with rust-red speckles and have hard brittle shells. They hatch in 11-19 days.
  • They love to line their nests with shiny sparkly items. The more shiny their nest, the higher the status among cockatrices
  • Cockatrice have the option of petrifying, it does not automatically petrify by touch.
  • The feathers of a cockatrice can turn creatures to stone for a long time after their removal or the death of the cockatrice
  • The females keep a harem of males and kick their young out at six weeks
  • They are the damned combination of a basilisk and its mortal enemy, the rooster.
  • They grow a crowstone inside their vestigial gizzards ranging in size from a grain of sand to marble size. This cloudy colorless gem is a potent cure for poisons and venom  Swallowing the rank tasting stone is the most effective application. The larger the crowstone the more effective it will be
  • Cockatrice feathers are useful as magical quills because of their durability against caustic substances
  • Cockatrice do not always turn you to stone. Some turn you to gold, disintegrate you, liquefy your bones, or turn you into a thrall. Some change your alignment, or polymorph you
  • Cockatrice flesh is a delicacy
  • The saliva of a cockatrice can turn stone back to flesh


Pyrolisk is a cockatrice that causes opponents to burst into flame
Cyrolisk is a cockatrice that freezes opponents solid
Aqualisk is an aquatic cockatrice that eats coral and breaths water
Perfidalisk is a cockatrice that causes wounds that do not heal
Regalisk is cockatrice the size of an elephant
Bicockatrice, a cockatrice with two heads
Somnolisk causes a deathless sleep
Miasmalisk breaths a killer venom that spreads out like a fog

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