Hippogriff Eggs- an amusing explanation
I’ve actually been batting around the idea of this adventure for a very long time. When I was in high school, my friend ran us through an adventure where we were rescuing pegasii colts from an evil fire giant. Ever since then, I’ve periodically thought about having an adventure that centered on the rescue or liberation of some creature that is commonly used as a fantasy mount.
Think about it: practically every fantasy-based game has media out there that depicts heroic knight riding (or flying) into battle astride a Griffon, or a Pegasus, or even a Dragon! What imagery of an evil knight (anti-paladin, anyone?) would be complete without said knight being mounted on a fire-breathing Nightmare? Any way you slice it, fantastic mounts are one of the threads in the fabric of high fantasy.
What about the supply side of fantastic mounts? Where do all the knights, heroes, and bad guys get those exquisite mounts? Are there pet stores that sell them? Breeders? Even divinely granted non-magical mounts have to have some material source. Maybe the rolling plains of Elysium are home to the Pegasus ranchers? According to the monster manual, quite a few fantastic mounts must be trained from birth to allow them to bear riders in combat. This means that many of these mounts are born into the role of hero-bearer. For wild animals, this means that they are probably stolen or kidnapped from their parents, since most non-captive wild animals would probably not be too keen to allow their young to be handled by humanoids. The implications of breeders raising fantastic mounts, depending on your thoughts on puppy mills in the contemporary world, would be even more abhorrent to nature-loving folks.
What does this have to do with the adventure? (Well, apart from the obvious tie to the return of a kidnapped egg?) As I mentioned, I’ve been thinking about this adventure for a very long time; apparently longer than 5th edition was in planning. Truth told, I’ve been kicking around the plot for the adventure for well over two decades before I ever put this adventure to paper. And therein lies the humor of this adventure. For four versions of the game, AD&D Hippogriffs were born from eggs laid in nests that were perched high in the mountains. Undeniable. Unrefutable. Monster(ous) manuals going all the way back to 1978 confirm it. Rescuing a Hippogriff egg has been at the center of this adventure since it first started swirling around in my teenage brain.
According to the 5th edition monster manual: Hippogriffs (now) give birth to live young. It seems, according to official 5th edition canon, our adventurers no longer need to rescue a Hippogriff egg, as they no longer exist. I suppose I could have swapped the Hippogriff for a Griffon, or a Dragon, or for some other egg-laying, in-demand-for-a-mount creature, but this adventure has always been about Hippogriffs to me.
Rules be damned: In “my” Forgotten Realms, Hippogriffs still lay eggs, and heroes, from time-to-time, are still called upon to rescue one when it is egg-napped.