Creature Profile: The Sleevak

Let’s take a closer look at the intimidating sleevak from The Adventures of Keltin Moore.

Physical Description

A sleevak is roughly the size of a mountain lion and is reptilian in general appearance. Its long, low body is supported by six thin, long legs and a tail that makes up a third of its total length. This creature’s torso and shoulders are covered in semi-soft armor plates and its large head has a hard frill surrounding its vulnerable neck. The sleevak has six eyes with three on either side of its slightly pointed snout. Its teeth are long and sharp, and remain somewhat exposed when the creature closes its jaws. The sleevak’s scale-less skin is typically a mottled green but can range from muddy brown to a bruise-like purple.


Sleevaks are native to the bogs of lowland Malpin, though they are hardy creatures which can survive a variety of climates. They prey on coiling creepers, barb tails, and other smaller beasts, as well as more mundane creatures. They have no natural predators.


Sleevaks travel in loose packs with an alpha female leading a group of four to five breeding males and their young. They use little strategy in their hunts, relying upon brute strength and fierce tenacity to bring down their prey.

Lore and History

The sleevak has only recently been utilized as a “domesticated” beast for the purpose of beast hunting. Like a ferret released into a rabbit hole, the sleevaks are released into the territory of its prey and then recaptured again after the hunt is finished. Handlers use a combination of strong cages, sharp goad-sticks, and drugged meat to corral and control these savage creatures. While there are some humans that own and use sleevaks, most sleevak wranglers are Heteracks. These large, fierce humanoids have a long history with the sleevak in their native marshes and moors, and the current relationship between master and beast might almost be considered a sort of retribution for the Heteracks after centuries of living in fear of the deadly creatures. The frill of each sleevak owned by a handler is notched with a distinct pattern to identify its master.


When I started work on The Beast Hunter, I studied all kinds of hunting techniques that have been used over the centuries. I was intrigued by cultures and societies that use animals in their hunts, and learned that there were two basic schools of thought; those that use trained animals and those that used untrained animals. Trained animals include dogs and horses, while untrained animals could also be dogs but were often smaller creatures such as ferrets and cats. I liked the idea of wranglers who had a living weapon they could barely control, and decided to create the Heteracks and their deadly sleevaks. For the sleevak’s basic anatomy and characteristics, I imagined something like the greater basilisks in the classic computer strategy game Heroes of Might and Magic III, which had the multiple eyes, six legs, and reptilian body that the sleevak would eventually possess.

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