Forgotten Realms Artifact Hunters: Reassembling The Avatar of Torm
The slug-like scathebeasts are grassland herd creatures. They are found in small wild herds on
the tallgrass plains in Returned Abeir, though a few have found their way to Faerûn (especially Tymanther).
These creatures slide along the ground on acidic slime, leaving a trail of withered, flattened
grass in their wakes. Dragons hunt them, but lesser creatures generally stay clear. A lone scathebeast is dangerous enough, but a herd can charge in a crushing stampede when aroused.
Though they are ornery, lone scathebeasts can be captured and, with effort, trained to work with other creatures, such as dragonborn or humans.
Old Abeiran myths claim that scathebeasts were created from dragonborn slaves by dragons long ago in a great magical transformation. Sages who have examined both dragonborn and scathebeast corpses say this belief is almost certainly untrue, but it persists, making many dragonborn highly reluctant to attack scathebeasts.
Scathebeasts have strong family bonds based on scent. They attack any creature that injures or kills kin, or that threatens the herd. Generations of depredations by dragons (who relish their flesh) cause scathebeasts to instinctively fear anything large that swoops down from the sky, and
especially any source of fire. Adventurers around campfires have often been slain by stampeding herds of scathebeasts. Sometimes a dragon attacks creatures that molest its preferred herd.
Scathebeasts eat by dissolving food and absorbing it directly through their slimy skin. A scathebeast’s slime changes according to its food source. It is usually a gentle acid that doesn’t kill the roots of the plains grass on which the creature normally feeds. Some scathebeasts have developed a taste for meat. If a scathebeast is hunting live prey or is defending itself and its herdmates, the caustic secretion can dissolve flesh in seconds.
Sustained attacks by a particular kind of damage might actually heal scathebeasts, some claim. Even if that assertion is not true, repeated attacks with the same damage type do seem to have less and less effect against a given scathebeast.
Scathebeast herds rarely number more than five to eight individuals. The creatures instinctively avoid destroying grassland through excessive grazing.