D&D Basic Monsters: Giant Vulture (and Vulture)

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Unlike most other monsters in the 5th edition Basic Rules, the Giant Vulture does not really have a long and proud history in the previous editions of Dungeons and Dragons.  While it is true that a giant version of the common vulture did appear in the Monster Manual II, this creature did not possess the "advanced intelligence" nor the "malevolent bent" of the modern version.

Not surprisingly, a prehistoric, real life counterpart did exist. This bird, called Argentavis magnificens was a relative to modern day "new-world vultures" (or condors), was among one of the largest flying birds ever known to exist, with a wingspan of between 5 and 6 meters (16 to 20 feet), and a height of somewhere between 1.5 and 2 meters (5 to 7 feet).

Less frightening, but still ominous, is the common vulture. These scavengers are usually harbingers of death and doom.

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