I am going to inform an area of Stoneshadow by defining some of the local creatures and then connecting them geographically and culturally.
I tried out the “Creatures Drawing Deck” today. Here was my draw:
So yes, this is a challenge. Here is the result.
I used the caterpillar as the body base, with a T Rex head and raccoon feet. (Besides the attitude, the feet are the most distressing part of the raccoon.) For texture, the waxy/fleshy/chitinous texture of a caterpillar is a challenge, especially with two kinds of camouflage going on at the same time. Adding a furry underbelly (that’s filthy dragging through muck and brush) and hard sinewy little paws, along with dramatic spines, makes for a weird and difficult set of ideas to get across. Especially without colors or graphite gradients. The one thing from the cards that I didn’t really get worked in was “muscles” but we can’t win ’em all. I figured the result was sufficiently alarming.
So what is this thing about? Consulting the handy quick-reference for statting up monsters on p. 203 of Under the Mountain, this is what I come up with.
This form starts out about ten feet long, growing to about thirty before spinning a steel-silk cocoon and gestating for a few years, emerging a young dragon. It is a scavenger and ambush predator that haunts mountain valleys choked with scrub brush and stunted trees, where its camouflage gives it a hunting advantage. (The stats here are the base for a 10 footer, add 1 increment to every 10 feet as per p. 117.) They start in pods of six, but usually only one survives to the cocoon stage.
Combat 7. Bite 12.
Armor 2 (waxy flexible shell, tough hide). Vitality 30.
- Special: Ambush Predator. Prefers to hide, possibly partially buried. Head is extended out up to 8 feet, often surprising the target (if a risk test is not passed to detect the hidden predator.) If the target is surprised, the humpercruncher gets 2 attacks this round only, against a single target.
- Active: Locking Jaws. If the humpercruncher inflicts a Wound, the humpercruncher can lock down and hold the victim, automatically inflicting 8 damage a round. The victim can attempt to escape with a move AND defend action, taking 6 Vitality damage in the attempt. Others can assist as normal.
- Special: Pressurize. Takes a round with no other actions, can be done even if defended against. Bolsters with intake of air. Halves incoming ranged attack damage, and humpercruncher speed; expands torso by about 1/3, retracts head halfway into shell.
- Special: Compact. Takes a round with no other actions, can be done even if defended against. Regains 15 Vitality. Expels air through wounds and/or vents, spraying ichor on all those in melee range. Those sprayed must pass a risk test or be poisoned. The effect does no damage but simulates 2 Wounds for purposes of turning all tests to risk tests (lose 2 Vitality each time you don’t pass, in addition to Vitality from other Wounds) and healing time. Multiple doses do not stack. Can only be done once an hour, or twice if pressurized first.
- 1-2: Retreat. Compacting in the process, if appropriate, even if defended against.
- 3-4: Puff Up or Lock Down. Pressurize or Compact, as appropriate.
- 9-10: Wand Surge. The spines flex, if an energy manipulator is within about 30 feet. Energy manipulators (Adepts, Enchanters, Chosen, human wizards, all elves) feel a hideous crawling sensation in their veins, and they must pass a risk test or spend the round clawing at their flesh and shuddering; if they manipulate energy the following round, they take 3 Vitality damage per magical effect used, and Armor cannot decrease that damage.
- 11-12: Refit. Drawing on its alien vitality, the humpercruncher can do 2 of the following: regain 15 Vitality, gain an additional free attack, or sprint for up to 15 feet.