roleplaying suggestions for a crocodile Bjornaer

I am introducing an elderly NPC Bjornaer with a crocodile heartbeast as a visitor to the PC's Covenant. He followed the Covenant's monster, a Bjornaer Great Beast when it temporarily left and returned through a network of river regios, hoping to be initiated into the Bjornaer inner Mysteries.

How much should the cold reptilian HB affect his human personality?
If he had a touch of Greed, how likely is he to use the name "Ptolomey Palamedes Pythagoras Parasobek the Plentiful"?
How would he react to an English winter?
Any other suggestions (for someone who hasn't run a Bjornaer yet?

The Heartbeast should have some influence on the human personality, but how much depends on the one running the Magus.
He could be slow to act, or he can embody the lightning strike of the crocodile.
He could hate the cold, or he could find it novel.

Think of his personality, and goals, and play him according to them.

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But at least it's not Scotland, no?

Donning his necklace that keeps his body temperature stable with CrIg.

The perception of crocodiles has greatly changed since the middle ages.
In the middle ages, crocodiles were seen as a good omen. They were known to share their food with weary travellers, and rescue drowning civilians.

I may have some self interest in this portrayal.....
Say the word and I'll stop reading the thread.

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I think we are good. I was always going to pick and choose the best answers for saga purposes.
Remember Darryl got 12+ on his Artes Liberales roll. A lot of what appears on this thread will be stuff his mage recalls from various tomes.

A crocodile in England reminds me of the Ipswich dragon - apparently a dragon was seen menacing the rivers of Suffolk, so some knights hunted the beast down. I can't find the original article on the internet, but I remember reading the skeleton turned up in Ipswich and it turned out to be a very large Egyptian crocodile. Your crocodile should avoid being seen in heartbeast form to avoid scaring the locals.

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A crocodile with wings is about the closest you will get to a dragon. Only animal closer is the crocodile skink and they wouldn't be known in ME.

I remember hearing somewhere that in medieval bestiaries crocodiles where classified together with dragons.

There was the belief that crocodiles wept for the victims they ate (it's where we get the expression "crocodile tears"). From that I get:

  • a cynical character, who harms others and then feigns remorse;
  • a character that hurts others but does get truly remorseful about it.
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Medieval Bestiary : Beasts : Crocodile might be useful



For what it's worth, consider that the crocodile has somewhat different associations in Egyptian myth than in European bestiaries. And the name does indeed suggest such a character. Ptolemy was Alexander's general put in charge of Egypt; Palamedes was a hero of the Trojan war descended from the king of Egypt Belus; Pythagoras, the famous Greek philosopher, had strong associations with Egypt and allegedly studied with the priests of Thoth; finally, Sobek is the name of a crocodile god in Egyptian myth - for which both "the Plentiful" and Greed would be appropriate (incidentally the greek prefix "Para", roughly "side-by-side", if combined with Sobek suggests a crocodile "second nature" i.e. heartbeast).

Sobek is first and foremost a god of fertility (the root SBK is thought to come from "to impregnate") and by extension of healing, aspects it inherits from the Nile. It is a fierce warrior, including one with protective aspects. Rather than cold and sluggish, it is hungry and lusty, and from a certain point on it was often seen as an aspect of Horus first (sky, sun, protection, rulership), and Ra afterwards (sun, rulership).


The dragon being killed on the pillar in the Piazza of Venice is literally an Egyptian crocodile statue.

Well ... sort of. The tail looks a bit like that of a crocodile. The head and paws not at all.

Here is the statue Timothy Ferguson is talking about for those who do not know it -- saint Theodore (San Tòdaro in Venitian) killing the dragon. It's one of the two statues on a pillar in Saint Mark's square in Venice, the other being the more famous winged lion, the symbol of the Venetian Republic.

To be really a pedant, the one on the pillar is a modern copy. The real statue, a mix of Roman and (European) medieval pieces, is held at Palazzo Ducale.

The statue is literally a statue of a crocodile, though. I mean, the physical object a sculpture of a crocodile.

I am not sure I can parse the second sentence - I can't figure out the verb!

But I do not agree with the first one. Look at the head. It' more like a doggish head, with two small horns or ears, on what many would consider a "typical" dragon neck. If you looked at that in isolation, you'd never think of a crocodile. The tail looks like that of a crocodile, sure ... but ... if someone told me "of course dragons have crocodile-like tails" it's not as if I could say "obviously not!" :smiley:

As often with medieval Bestiary, Drawing and sculpture are based on description and some cultural biases (like having big round eyes for monsters).
There is no doubt that the goal was to depict a dragon under St Georges Boots but inspiration probably came from previous drawings and descriptions and one of them could definitely be one of a crocodile (the tail is indeed very similar).

Oh, that's not George. That's Theodore.

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How many Frikin saints killed a Dragon with a spear?

Not that many.
The authentic, original dragon slayer is - of course - saint Theodore.
People then tacked dragon-slaying onto saint George too, but relatively late, around the 11th-12th century - possibly mixing up his legend with that of saint Theodore (both were roman soldiers; as late as the 10th century George killed people, not dragons).
Saint Michael the archangel is also a dragon slayer. A master of both spear and sword, it's not clear which one he uses against dragons (he's depicted using either).

On a related note, Saint Philip has been reported to drive away dragons - through a mix of exorcism and diplomancy. Saint Patrick too, I guess, assuming there was at least one dragon in Ireland when he drove away all serpents.
That's all as far as I know :slight_smile:


I may just use this as his Casting Sigil.