They are small, round, greyish pests that run surprisingly quickly. Unless you are sure of your combat capabilities, try to hunt them down if they run or they'll block your only escape route in the worst imaginable moment. They have very sharp spines so if you punch them without gloves or a weapon, they may damage your arm. The first time you'll meet them in any new game it's best to attack them with any weapon, anyhow weak, rather than unarmed. They also have a nasty tendency for critical bites.
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Hedgehogs are small mammals with spike covered back. They are harmless and feed with tapeworms and such.
However, the IVAN reality is somewhat different. You will become familiar with them soon after you start your first game and after that, nothing will be the same. Alas, many new players will perish before knowing what hit them.
Hedgehogs are known to open doors, drink from bottles and can kill even decently protected adventurers, which leads to the conclusion that they have either always been or became pretty smart freaks. Also, their sharp teeth match and outshine even many rabbits (see Monty Pythons and the Holy Grail for example rabbit). Their protection is also pretty damn good and their spikes make them inflict severe damage or even dismember the attacker when the hedgehog is hit bare-handed or kicked without decent boots.
In conclusion, hedgehogs are one of the most troublesome creatures you will come by at the early stages of your adventure. They bite deep and accurately, dodge at ease, follow you wherever you go and consume all the precious food and drink lying on the floor. If you manage to hit them bare-handed, you are a great risk of injuring your arm badly, and they take multiple hits to put down, so you might end armless. From the early beginning, it's often smarter to run than confront them, though they easily outrun even the swiftest travelers.
Have a good fun.
History of Hedgehogs
Long time ago, Dulcis created the hedgehogs, at first just for fun. At these times they were what they seem, cute and harmless. Soon people began to worship these critters in the temples of Dulcis and it became the sacred animal of its creator.
Then the Great Divine War broke up and many things changed. In the later stages of the war, the followers of Scabies, the goddess of mutations and disease, altered a single hedgehog by the foulest of magic. This change was dramatic; the helpless, innocent creature was turned into a fierce menace which attacked everything it saw but for its own kin. Then the monstrous hedgehog disappeared and the followers of Dulcis rejoiced.
Few years later, the War was over and the newly created Attnamese Empire brought order where there was none before. However, all the people slowly realised the hedgehogs were different now. The old and cute ones were gone, crowded out by the fierce spawn of the first dire hedgehod. Followers of Dulcis noticed this but were unable to prevent their sacred animal from turning into a horrible beast and many worshippers perished in their attempt to break the curse and bring back the holy hedgehogs. This all led to great hunts where brave men attacked the nesting grounds of the hedgehogs, with numerous casualties on both sides.
At the present, hedgehogs have gotten rare and have taken residence in small caves and underground places. They are almost never met outsides any more, where they brought joy into the hearts of men once.