rating: 0+x

If I were a cassowary
On the plains of Timbuctoo
I would eat a missionary,
Cassock, bands, and hymn-book too.

—Samuel Wilberforce

Basic Information

The Cassowary are large, omnivorous flightless birds, native to the rainforests of New Guinea, north-eastern Australia, and other nearby Southeastern Asian islands. They range between five to over six feet tall, and sport interesting physical features, such as their exotic coloring and spongy crests known as casques.

These birds have earned the title of "Most Dangerous Bird", and for good reason; cassowaries are equipped with a unique set of strength and skill, capable of running up to thirty miles an hour, leaping up to five feet, and have a kick strong enough to break ribs. With a dagger-like claw on their inner toe, capable of growing up to five inches, they make for a formidable opponent, and have been known to pose a threat to people and animals alike, should they feel threatened.

However, cassowaries also play an important role in their jungle ecosystem. As they feed primary on fruit, several hundred species of plants are spread throughout their environment in the form of seeds, which pass through the digestive system of the cassowary and are left behind in their droppings. Cassowary are known to travel great distances, and with it, the seeds are dispersed across a great distance. Evidence also shows that germination rates of plants increase after passing through the bird's digestive system.

The cassowary can, allegedly, be eaten - some New Guinea tribes are said to raise them for the purpose - but the traditional advice for their preparation is to cook them in a pot with a stone. Traditionally, when the stone is ready to be eaten, so is the cassowary. Their plumage was said to be quite valuable at one stage, serving as a form of commodity money for indigenous peoples.



Game and Story Use

  • They might make for an interesting and humorous turn of events in a snipe hunt.
  • Your jungle adventure might have a threatening pack of cassowary, who aren't too pleased with your players.
    • Maybe they took or accidentally broke one of their eggs.
  • They would appear to be a perfectly reasonable combat encounter in a game set in the appropriate area (or wherever they occur in your setting) … assuming a vaguely realistic combat system.
  • What if there were still cassowary that could fly?
    • And they still have those impressive legs to boot.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License