This is a new one to me, chosen because… well there aren’t many monsters beginning with “x” other than Xenomorphs from the alien moves.
The Xiezhi is a goat like creature from Han Dynasty (206 BCE) of China, it was said it could find wrongdoers and see evil and injustice better than any man.
Over the centuries many stories have been told all over china about how it used its horn to point out who had started a fight or argument. It horn would glow and it would point at whoever was at fault in the argument and, if the fault was sufficiently severe it would charge, ramming at them with its horn, gouging holes in them. If the wrongdoer tried to escape the Xiezhi would kill and eat them.
The stories tell of how the emperor would use one as judge of crimes and criminals, and that he trusted its word so much that he declared it the only thing which could judge the emperor himself.
Because of this unique power over the emperor, it was the ultimate symbol for law and justice – and it remains so even to this day, it can be seen in buildings of law and order like the law schools, police stations, courthouses, and some police uniforms even feature them.
Over the centuries as this creature fell into myths its shape has shifted and changed, to a point where the statues of it look vastly different from one location to another. Some show a simple goat with one horn other have features of dragons or lions as well as some form of horn.
From horn to tail.
- It has a long horn on it head which can find evil and wrong doer.
- The head is sometime that of a goat, but more often that of a lion or dragon.
- It stands on all fours and has a stocky body which can be depicted in scales, fur, or a mixture of the two.
- It can have hooves or clawed feet.
- Lastly it has short stubby tail like a goat’s.
- Why does it change its form?
- Perhaps its a sign of age, or perhaps it has one form for battle and another for peace.
- Is the horn useful magically?
- If so, how do you get the horn? Can the Xiezhi be killed and the horn cut out, or does it have to be freely given – or does it lose its horn/antlers and grow (a) new one(s), like a deer, so you just have to wait for it to fall out – although the dead antlers may be less potent in their effects.
- What allows it to see who is a wrongdoer? Is it the horn or eyes or brain or is it some other part of the body?
- Do the scales or hide have any powers?
- Perhaps a cloak made from Xiezhi skin would hide signs of evil from all magical senses
- Could it be used to hunt people down over long distances?
- Can it be wrong? And if so what are the causes (and consequences) of this?
- What other powers do they have?
- Can they hurt demons since they can sense evil?
- If you’re in a fantasy setting it could be some kind of god or a steed of one.
- Since its form shifts maybe it is a shapeshifter – in D&D it could be a form taken by Gold Dragons.
- A wild west story where a Xiezhi help a Sheriff find criminals.