In honor of the Lunar New Year, we have released the Jinshu Niu! This publication includes a detailed D&D 5E description and stats for the “Metal Ox” of the Asian Zodiac, along with details for two variants and the effects of particular years on them. It is the perfect addition to anything from a traditional fantasy campaign setting to one with East Asian or Wuxia elements.
Jinshu Niu are creatures from the Elemental Plane of Earth that look like oxen made of metal, silver in the case of males and gold in the case of females, and which have eyes that appear to be spheres of semi-precious stone. They are very rare on the Prime Material Plane and those present on it will likely be found in isolated places like ancient bamboo forests or places where they can indefatigably perform the sorts of labor they love so much.
Such creatures do, in fact, thrive on physically demanding undertakings that would be onerous even to beings bred for such things, and are often kept by Earth-dwelling beings like Dao as draft animals; by Dragons, which tend to view them as living treasures that can double as tireless guardians of their hoards; and by people that include great landowners and master architects, builders, and craftsmen. They also sometimes dwell in the temples of various deities, where they typically serve as companion animals or guardians.
In cultures that observe the Lunar New Year and adhere to the Asian Zodiac, spellcasters often summon Metal Oxen to take part in annual celebrations. Such creatures are then displayed, marched in parades and used to pull things like immense juggernaut carts or mobile shrines; doted on; and otherwise honored for the duration of their stays. Powerful spellcasters and other beings also sometimes summon Metal Oxen to perform prodigious or even legendary tasks, such as tilling unplowable fields, moving structures like palaces or temples, destroying gates or walls of enemy citadels, and the like.
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