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Author Topic: Khepri Swarm  (Read 3479 times)
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Kane
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Spell Energy / Taint +12/-3
Posts: 715


« on: April 20, 2010, 04:46:52 AM »

Off to the Aruun today and a creature type I rarely use, a swarm.  Enjoy.

Kane

Khepri Swarm

You ask questions, accuse me with your eyes and your contempt, yet you know nothing.  You weren’t there, you haven’t seen what I did; watched as warriors I had fought with for years were eaten alive. I will tell you my story and then you can either kill me or send me north. I will not go into that swamp again.

We were sent into the swamps a little more then a moon ago, seeking the fey and a series of ruins of interest to the legates. In that time we had pushed maybe eighty miles into that fetid hole with nothing to show for it.  The fey struck quickly and then melted away into the swamp. They could move much faster and knew the ground. Every day, we’d lose a handful of warriors to their arrows, disease, or poison. We were constantly wet, having to keep the rust off our weapons, and had barely enough dry wood to keep the most minimal of fires. There was nothing of value here; the fey could keep it while we burned them out further north.

Garuck, our war leader, had taken the largest amount of dry land we’d found and made it into a temporary camp. He had stakes driven into the soft soil, the underbrush cleared, and the largest downed trees pulled out of the water to form a crude wall. From our base, he’d send out patrols of 20-40 seeking signs of fey villages, any trails, or the ruins the legates sought. Even with a half a dozen or more patrols out, Garuck would keep at least forty warriors behind to defend the base and care for our wounded. I was in charge of this force.

The patrols could last for days and it wasn’t strange for them to come and go throughout the day. When the patrols returned they were sullen, carrying their injured and sick, seeking hot meat and clean water. Tempers were always short and Garuck had to separate patrols to prevent bloodshed. Meals were the only time the the war band came together and showed any form of unity. I’d told Garuck that we needed to leave soon, before all discipline was gone. He refused until he had completed his mission.

About twenty days into our mission, I suspected something was wrong with Darkuk’s patrol, but didn’t act on it.  They’d been out days longer then usual, and when they returned they were unnaturally quiet.  They stayed well away from the rest of the war band, camping at the water’s edge.  They had no care for their weapons and ate from their own supplies. It went on this way for three days before they came as a group to the evening meal. Their movements were strange; unsteady and clumsy. I started toward them when I saw them raise their weapons as one and prepare to attack. 

I grabbed my own weapon and led several fists against them. They didn’t try to defend and our weapons bit into them. Instead of blood, hordes of insects flowed from the wounds, swarming over my warriors. The orcs from Darkuk’s band had been eaten away from the inside and were now filled with thousands of insects. My warriors screamed as their weapons had no effect. I fell back toward the fire as the flesh of warrior after warrior was stripped away before my eyes.

I was backed almost all the way into the fire before the swarms stopped their advance. They wouldn’t approach the flames. I was able to dump our supply of oil near the fire, building a wall of flames between my remaining warriors and the seething mass of insects. In less then a double handful of minutes, over a hundred of us were dead; consumed. The few remaining stayed behind the fire and sought a means of escape. We raced toward the water and several more died. I stayed in the water for days, afraid to step on dry land.

Khepri Swarm
Diminutive Vermin (Swarm)
Hit Dice: 8d8+16 (52 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 20 ft.
AC: 16 (+4 size, +2 Dex), touch 16, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/-
Attack: Swarm (2d6 + infest)
Full Attack: Swarm (2d6 + infest)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./0
Special Attacks: Distraction, Infest
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., Immune to weapon damage, swarm traits, tremorsense 60 ft., vermin traits
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +2
Abilities: Str 1, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 0, Wis 10, Cha 2
Environment: Aruun, Druid’s Swamp
Organization: Solitary, tangle (2-7 swarms), colony (8-18 swarms)
Challenge Rating: 4
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: -

Khepri Host
Medium Humanoid
Hit Die: 3d8 (14 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 20 ft.
AC: Varies by armor (-2 dex)
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/-
Attack: Slam (1d6) or by weapon
Full Attack: Slam (1d6) or by weapon
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Swarm
Special Qualities: Fire vulnerability
Saves: Fort: +3, Ref +0, Will +0
Abilities: Str 9, Dex 5, Con 10, Int: 0, Wis: 5, Cha 5
Environment: Aruun, Druid’s Swamp, southern Erenland
Organization: Solitary, band (2-5)
Challenge Rating: 4
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: -

A man stumbles into the light of your campfire. As his body hits the ground, it bursts open releases thousand of beetles who swarm toward you.

The Khepri are a rare type of beetle found in the demon haunted ruins of the Aruun and Druid’s Swamp. They feed of both living and dead flesh and seek living hosts to conceal and nurture their eggs and transport them to new feeding grounds. The Danisil have lived with this danger for Ages and know and avoid those areas of the Aruun that are infested. They often lure Shadow patrols to infested areas and allow the khepri to feed.

A humanoid infected and controlled by the khepri loses one point of dexterity and wisdom per day as the creatures begin to destroy the host’s nervous system. A host can survive for a little more then a weak if he was in good health before the infestation. After that time, the host “dies” and the khepri continue to consume him from the inside out.  The khepri can move the host body using it to protect the vermin and pass into inhabited areas. Without a host, the khepri can not cross water.

Over the centuries the Danisil have developed medicines that can kill the eggs and larva inside a host.  Once cleansed of the khepri, a host regains lost dexterity and wisdom at the rate of one point a week.  There is no way to speed the healing.  The Order of Shadow has no such cure and if a group is acted by khepri, the survivors are usually executed and burned in fear of the khepri spreading. 

Combat: The khepri attack by swarming into the same space occupied by their target. They will seek to consume their targets one by one, trying to retain at least one potential victim to be a host for a new swarm. The khepri hate fire and can be driven back by a large amount of flames (bonfire or larger). The vermin also can not cross water, so flooding the area in front of the swarm will at least temporarily divert them.  Khepri Hosts will attack the closest target and fight until “killed” when the khepri host swarms out.

Distraction (Ex): Anyone in the same space as the swarm must make a a Fort save (DC 11) or be nauseated until they can break free of the vermin.

Infest (Ex): Anyone successfully attacked by the swarm must make a Fort Save (DC 14) or become infested. The infestation takes 1d3 days to take affect. The host will not realize they are infested until the vermin’s eggs hatch and the larva attach themselves to the host’s nervous system.  At that point the vermin are in control and the host will lose 1 point of Dexterity and Wisdom per day.
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Luiniel Blades
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"Inch towards daylight"


« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 04:03:08 PM »

Terrifying.  This reminds me of a nightmare I had as a kid.  That being said, well done Kane.  Once again you have given me another nightmarish creature to throw at my party.  And good timing too, they were just entering the Druids swamp.  twisted
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Currently reading: Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series; The Hero of Ages.
Dirigible
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Oh, the humanity!


« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2010, 07:55:26 PM »

Hmm, they eat dead flesh... can they infect fell? The only thing worse than an ungral is a voracious-scarab-infested ungral.
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Kane
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Posts: 715


« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2010, 08:06:58 PM »

Dirigible,

I thought about that for a while but wasn't sure how you take over a fell. I agree that it would make them even more frightening.

I've got a couple more critters left.  Next up is something for the good guys.

Kane
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Harrowed
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Posts: 1,856



« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 08:56:59 PM »

Hmmm ... Fell eh?
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Kane
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Spell Energy / Taint +12/-3
Posts: 715


« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2010, 04:55:07 AM »

Harrowed,

No, no, no, no!!!

Kane
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Harrowed
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Spell Energy / Taint +6/-1
Posts: 1,856



« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2010, 05:59:30 AM »

Chuckle

Nah, I got enough bad shit planned for you lot already.
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