To those that have seen the hippopotamus, and the hippotaun, there can be no doubt that the two species are related. A hippotaun has the same head, skin, and general behavior as a hippopotamus. However, a hippotaun walks on its two rear legs, and has a massive fat-filled tail as a counter-balance to its bulk. Its front two forelimbs are rather vestigial, and it can barely use them to help lift itself up from lying down, or clean its teeth.
Native only to Rakore and parts of the Banoc Forest, most people think that the hippotaun is a hippopotamus relative that was changed by one of the left-over pockets of magic from the Storm Wars. This notion has been reinforced by general research conducted at Lok Magius.
They are relatively peaceful herd animals that move through the hills, stripping them of vegetation as they go. They eat continually as they travel, unless they're migrating. Migration patterns vary from herd to herd, but they often travel to wetter climates to birth their young (they are mammals). Females hippotauns have one to four (1d4) young, once each year, with a gestation period of ten (10) months. Even in domestic environments, only one in four hippotaun calves reach adolescence. The young are fully aquatic, complete with a blow-hole on the tops of their heads.
Hippotauns make excellent cavalry mounts, and work fairly well as travelling mounts -- though they are relatively stupid, even for animals. They can eat just about anything, and so are easy to feed. They can also swim relatively well, even with mounts. The disadvantage to them is that they are difficult to control, and must have a constant, round-the-clock vigilance, lest they eat their tethers, ropes, saddles, leathers, and everything around them. They also must eat a considerable amount of food, relative to their size.
Trample (Ex): Hippotauns have a retractable dew-claw on the inside portion of their feet, and it is retractable. When leaping on an opponent, or running him over, the dew-claw extends; this, coupled with the eight-to-ten-ton weight of the animal, can cause 3d8+11 points of damage.
Tail Swipe (Ex): As a free partial action, any time the hippotaun changes attack opponents, a hippotaun can perform a tail swipe that deals 2d6 points of stun damage, and can propel opponents up to twenty feet away.