One of my favourite monsters since I was a child because its a mixture of so many things that still fits together.
A manticore is a Persian monster with the body of a lion, face of a man and the tail of scorpion.
There are few stories of this monster, most just talk about what it looks like, not what it does, but I have found a few a story telling of how the young were hunted by men on elephant back, since the elephant is the only animal whose hide could not be puncture by it spikes, and the youngsters lacked the deadly venom in their tails. There are also stories told of it being given as a gift to kings in the middle east.
A Greek story tells of how the manticore was driven into the underworld to be watched over for all eternity by Hades.
Many theories suggest it was an over exaggerated tiger, given features that a tiger could never have to make people more scared of it. The name itself means man-eater which we know big cats like tigers do, and they do come from that part of the world, they are also seen as an omen of bad luck.
Sadly this chimera of a monster is not seen much in books or film today but is mainly featured in games both computer and table top, games like D&D where it is treated as a big beast for you to kill no more than that.
- The face of a man with grey or blue eyes and a moth that gose from ear to ear with 3 set of teeth like a shark.
- Sometime shown to have horns or tusks
- The body of a large cat, broad and stocky with a mane like that of a lion.
- They sometimes have wings coming from their back, they can be like the wing of a birds but are more often those of a dragon or a bat.
- It is usually depicted with the paws of a big cat but sometimes the manticore has monkey feet instead.
- It usually has the tail of a scorpion with a large poisonous stinger but there are some images of it with a tail of dragon or a big cat, with barbs coming out of it.
- It can turn this tail 180 degrees, allowing it to attack all around its body, and can shot out barbs as well as stinging someone in melee.
- It is usually furry all over, except the tail, and it can be anything from a pale or golden yellow like that of sand, or brown or red like the fire.
- It can be anything from the size of a large dog to that of four elephants, but is most often sized such that it is the same height as a man with the proportions of a lion.
- They can be found anywhere in the wild, hunting large prey – will often not bother with an individual human, only attacking groups.
Ideas for stories
Have it be the monster that other monsters flee from – when a town comes under attack by monster after monster the heroes must find out what is driving them from their homes.
Since it has the face of a man you could have be as smart as, make it able to talk, have it be the big bad with some elaborate scheme or the warlord head of its army.
You could have it be some kind of primal beast like in d&d 4e, trying work their way up to godhood, representing all of nature’s predators.