Thursday, July 10, 2008

Neither Bug nor Bear

Tirapheg Week will resume, but the topic of the day seems to be pumpkin-headed bugbears, whether in the Driver's Wilderlands where they mix freely with their more hirsute brethren (Gob' maiden to father, "Da, this is my new mate, Gordie"), or in Sham's Solstice where they grow from seeds in a weird kind of goblin horticulture.

While at first I was all for the Pumpkin-Heads, today I had a terrible thought. I saw a glimpse of the (mutant) future, and it has convinced me that the bugbear is a menace that must be stopped, indeed, a weed of the very vilest sort...

Bug Burr

No. Enc: usually 1
Alignment: Neutral
Move: As host creature
Armor Class: As host creature, but at least AC 6
Hit Dice: As host creature + 2hp per die
Attacks: Bite or caustic pulp, plus any other attacks of host creature
Damage: 2d6, or 1d6, plus other attacks as host creature
Save: L7
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: Usually none

Bug burrs are invasive symbiotes, carnivorous mutant gourds that hunt and reproduce by taking root in the bodies of other creatures. The body of a creature that is overgrown by a bug burr is encased by tough greenish fibers and may sprout leafy tendrils. Its nervous and circulatory systems are completely entwined by innumerable tiny roots, and a brightly colored pumpkin or squash-like fruit with a toothy maw and sunken optical pits replaces the host creature's head.

Bug burrs are skilled, intelligent predators but not sentient. They attack with a vicious bite in addition to whatever other natural weapons their host creature possesses. Up to three times per day they can spit a gout of caustic pulp and seeds in a 20" cone. All creatures within range take 1d6 damage and must save versus poison or be implanted with bug burr seeds. Those affected will not feel any immediate ill effects, but after 2d6 hours they will suffer severe pains as the seeds begin to sprout. The seeds do not inflict any damage, but are so agonizing that victims take a cumulative -1 per day penalty to all attack and melee damage rolls, and a 10' per day penalty to their movement rates. After 1d4+4 days they will be barely able to move at all, and will seek a secluded place to finish their transformation into a new bug burr.

Bug burrs do not use technology, weapons or tools, nor do they value treasure. On occasion a humanoid victim may still carry goods or coins if its gear and clothing have not yet rotted away. They are solitary and agressive, but are sometimes tamed by pumpkin men (Mutant Future, p90), who have learned to control their seed growth.

Physical Mutations: As host creature plus Accumulated Resistance, Moderate Natural Armor (Plant)
Mental Mutations: Nil

Example: Cave Bear Bug Burr

No. Enc: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Move: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 7 + 14
Attacks: 3 (2 claws, bite or caustic pulp)
Damage: 1d4/1d4/2d6 or 1d6
Save: L7
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None
Special Attack: Bear hug for 2d8 damage if both claws hit

MP3: Andrew Hill, Pumpkin (Compact Disc - Download)


Sham aka Dave said...

This is brilliant! You'd think it was Halloween with all the pumpkin posts.

Edsan said...

Another cool critter for MF, I've already copy pasted this one into my "New Monsters" folder.