The traditional gryphon (or griffin) is a symbol of strength and unity, and a fearsome creature. Though many varieties exist, the most traditional is of an eagle’s head and wings on the body of a lion.
The traditional gryphon is the mix of a lion and eagle, who are both considered kings of their domains (lands and air). Therefore, the gryphon is believed to be the king of all beasts by many legends. They are strong, proud creatures and are often associated with guardians of treasure and precious metals.
Gryphon feathers are believed to confer that protection to the holder, and are often used in amulets and jewelry.
Traits and Behavior
Gryphons are a creature with the appearance of being half bird, half feline. The split between cat and bird traits varies, but they will always have four feet (often the front limbs are bird-like, the rear two feline), and a single set of wings. Most have a bird-like head with a beak, both for grooming and for hunting. They will have feathers on their front two limbs and wings, fur on their rear legs, and a feline tail. Some species will have feathers along the length of the tail, but the structure remains feline.
Gryphons have a very light skeleton and muscle structure, but are not fully hollow boned, and their wings can inflict severe damage if they strike out with one. They prefer this attack over using their talons or rear claws as it allows them to remain distant and gives them an opening to fly away if needed.
While the most famous version of the gryphon is the lion-eagle, a large variety of them do exist. The lion gryphons are the largest variety, and they live in mountainous regions, making their homes in airy high cliffs and caves. Despite being the most well-known, these types of gryphons are rarer than their relatives, possibly due to a history of being hunted for their feathers. Some will try to raise gryphon fledglings as guardians, but gryphons will never be loyal to a human in this manner, and they are generally killed while the gryphon escapes. All gryphons are carnivores; they hunt a large variety of species depending on region, but will not eat serpents of any kind. They will kill them on sight.
Gryphons are born from eggs, the shells of which often appear veined in gold. Pieces are often sold as an ingredient to protective charms. Once hatched, gryphon fledglings will quickly learn to walk, and are talented climbers from a very young age.
Lion gryphons are the fiercest of their species, and are very territorial. A colony of gryphons will often claim an entire mountain range as their home, settling a number of nesting and flight areas amongst the cliffs. Their eagle wings are often flecked with golden veins and spots that catch the light. The light shining off their wings is used as a threat display warning predators of a gryphon in the area, and can also be used in mating dances. These gryphons live in large groups with complex social structures, and raise their cubs communally. The cubs cannot fly for their first 5 months, and are closely guarded by all members of the group for their first 3 years. At that point, they may leave to find another flock. Lion gryphons are the longest lived of their species, and can live up to 150 years old.
The most common of the gryphon species are of the small-cat varieties. Ocelots, pallas cats and even house cat species make up the majority of these types, and are generally mixed with song birds. They live in large colonies and can be found all over the world due to human intervention, as they are popular pets in many regions. Many make their nests in large trees or woodlands, but they largely prefer tall rocky areas to live in. Domesticated species are generally friendly and social, and need consistent grooming. Some need specialized attention due to their complex grooming needs, such as the Persian/Macaw gryphon. They primarily eat small rodents and insects, but will occasionally consume fruit or nuts. They do not offer a nutritional benefit, but they enjoy them as a treat.
Medium gryphon species, of the lynx and puma varieties, are the shyest of the species, and are rare to observe. They thrive in less populated areas, and rarely interact with humans. They are most often combined with hawks, falcons and eagles, and primarily live in remote, mountainous areas. They live in smaller social groups due to their reclusive nature, and primarily hunt rabbits and other rodents.
Gryphons share a hatred of snakes, and will kill them on sight. Larger species of gryphons have been known to fight Nagas for territory, and they cannot remain in the same area peacefully.
Due to the delicate nature of their wings, a broken bone for a gryphon can mean lifelong damage. A broken leg is also an issue, but the wing bones are more prone to healing crooked or not at all. Gryphons that can’t fly usually live in their flock as a caregiver to the cubs, if the flock can get them to their territory safely.