That’s not incredibly imaginative perhaps, but I like to sprinkle some little fantasy elements here and there in SiT.
Unlike the normal bird, the cockatrice (MM) doesn’t attack with its talons but instead, it bites (+ 3 to hit, 1d4 + 1 dmg). Upon a hit, the target must a make a DC 11 constitution check or become restrained (and petrified on their turn if failing again).
Now, let’s assume that the cockatrices are, somehow, evolved(1) creatures and as such, likely to fight each other if left to their own devices, shouldn’t they be resistant (at least) to each other’s petrifying bite? Let’s say, to keep it simple, that they have advantage vs petrification (2).
- their owners have thick leather gloves
- their wings are clipped so they don’t fly away
- champion cockatrices may have a little bonus to their attack or save or both
- For better uses of this : http://themonstersknow.com/
- Just so the combat goes on a round or two more, for the sake of bloody spectacle and gambling fever.