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Yora
2013-05-19, 10:47 AM
There are lots of animals in nature that have outright freaky abilities. And that's not just bats and dolphins with internal sonar and shrip who laugh at the three visual modes of Predator-vision with it's 16 types of light sensing cells.
There is stuff out that more weird and crazy than anything fantasy and sci-fi writer have come up with, and I think it would be awesome to collect some of these as inspiration to create truly new and bizare critters that put ilithids to shame.

Cuttlefish - Hypnotic Pattern body
Cuttlefish (basically mini-squids) have their entire skin covered in cells that are filled with collored substances, which it can expand and contract. When a cell is contracted, the color inside it is just a tiny dot too small to see, but when it expands the color is easily visible. By contracting all cells except those of a specific color, the cuttlefish can make its skin look any color it wants. However, the control it has over the cells is mind-blowing. It does not simply change the whole body to a different color, but can actually replicate the pattern of pretty much any background it tries to hide on, including stripes and chessboard patterns.
Some cuttlefish even know how to use this power as a weapon. By having it's skin pulse rapidly between bright and dark colors, it can cause a kind of sensory overload in other animals that see it, allowing it to come close enough to simply eat it without any resistance.
Warning: Might not be suitable to people with epilepsy. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-zodF-XrSE)

Octopus - Meld into Stone, Tree Shape
Octopuses have the same mechanism, but some species have abilities of camouflage that go way beyond what would seem possible. They can take any shape or color (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAvZo4WoyGA) that they find in their natural surroundings. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSq8nghQZqA) They also happen to be really smart and can survive outside of water for a time. There is one known case of an actopus in a zoo that would open the lid of its tank at night, walk to other tanks to eat the fish inside them, and then return to its own tank and close the lid again to hide the fact it ever got out.

Mymic Octopus - Disguise Self
Instead of looking like rocks or plants, this one turns into completely different animals (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8oQBYw6xxc). Usually highly dangerous ones.

Malaria
Technically a virus, but it has one really nasty trick up its sleeve. Malaria is not only transmited by mosquitos. It actually has evolved to cause human bodies that have been infected and reached a state in which they can transmit the disease to other to produce a smell that is irresistable to mosquitos. It calls the insects to be picked up once the disease is ready to move on to a new host.

Gall wasp
The gall wasp injects its larvaes into the flowers of trees. The flower will then mutate and instead of producing a fruit will grow around the larva as a protective shell while it grows. And to make sure that really nothing gets through the shell at the larva, it also secrets a substance that attracts ants and the ants will then chase away all other insects that might try to take away this food source.

Suicide Bees
I forgote what species it is, but there is a type of bee that can move its muscles so quickly that it expends a lot of energy, causing it's body to heat up. When small predators make it inside the bees hive, they will swarm the intruder and burry it under their bodies, then make themselves heat up to the point where they die from overheating, basically roasting the intruder alive.

Platipus - Radar
Bats and dolphins have sonar, but platipuses have something much better. Their beaks include an organ with which it can detect tiny differences in magnetic fields. Differences as tiny as those cause by the electric activity of nerves inside an animals body. It does not need to see you, hear you, smell you, or even notice differences in how soundwaves travel through the ground or water. Holding your breath won't help either, they simply sense your presence.

hamishspence
2013-05-19, 11:06 AM
Suicide Bees
I forgote what species it is, but there is a type of bee that can move its muscles so quickly that it expends a lot of energy, causing it's body to heat up. When small predators make it inside the bees hive, they will swarm the intruder and burry it under their bodies, then make themselves heat up to the point where they die from overheating, basically roasting the intruder alive..

Japanese honeybee- some die of overheating in the process, but not all:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apis_cerana_japonica

Amaril
2013-05-19, 11:20 AM
This is why I often get kinda annoyed at settings that have two billion types of mythical creatures and templates for each one--you don't need all that stuff to make your world's wildlife fantastical and interesting, real life is like that already!

Except for dragons. I mean, you have to have dragons. Otherwise it's not real fantasy, now is it?

Geordnet
2013-05-19, 12:32 PM
Malaria
Technically a virus, but it has one really nasty trick up its sleeve. Malaria is not only transmited by mosquitos. It actually has evolved to cause human bodies that have been infected and reached a state in which they can transmit the disease to other to produce a smell that is irresistable to mosquitos. It calls the insects to be picked up once the disease is ready to move on to a new host.
Actually, Malaria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaria) isn't a virus, it's a cellular parasite. It's a protist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protist) that can only breed inside other cells.

Also, it isn't unique in affecting the host; in fact, it's rather mild.

Toxoplasma gondii (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasma_gondii) travels from rats to cats and back again: studies have shown that it actually removes the rat's instinctive avoidance of cat urine. It also has a disturbingly high infection rate of humans...

Spinochorodes tellinii (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinochordodes_tellinii) causes grasshoppers and crickets to commit suicide by jumping into water, so that the mature worm can swim out and breed.

Leucochloridium paradoxum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leucochloridium_paradoxum) infects snails and then makes their eyestalks look like worms to lure birds into eating them. It may also affect the snail such that it is more likely to expose itself to birds.

And I'd think everyone has heard of what certain species of the fungal genus Cordyceps can do... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuKjBIBBAL8)



I'd also add Assassin Spiders (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPrXO5bPLZ0) to this list. I mean, just look (http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7209/6978482269_95a364b099_z.jpg) at (http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6042/6296246449_e32a3d25d6_b.jpg) them (http://cdn-www.cracked.com/articleimages/randall/assassin_spider.jpg)! They're like ****ing spider mindflayers! :smalleek:

...Only, they're real. :eek:

Rhynn
2013-05-19, 12:55 PM
Well, this thread is bookmarked.

Cordyceps
Fungi that take over the brain and make you behave in a way that infects others. Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o57imEfknMQ). The husks sprouting fungi are completely effing terrifying to me. I've adapted this as an AD&D monster already: a fungal infection that gets in a human(oid)'s brain, makes them climb up to the highest point nearby where they burst forth from the head and send spores everywhere (or, underground, to seek a source of water, where the victim then kneels before it and releases the spores, which float around waiting for someone to drink them up). The idea actually came from a friend of mine.

Langford Basilisk
Hey, if viruses etc. are game, then so are memes. This is the idea that a specific fractal image (http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/parrotTB.jpg) is a sort of "brain virus" that makes you insane by viewing it, or primes you to go insane when you later view any other repetitive pattern. I've made it into an Ethereal Monster, a strange shifting fractical imagescape that causes insanity in viewers on a failed save.

Termites
Some termite species do really weird stuff. Like explode (http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0726/Exploding-termites-Aging-termites-become-suicide-bombers-finds-study-video). With poison (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/blue-termites-spew-poison-toxic-goo_n_1710026.html). This is just too good not to use.

Radar
2013-05-19, 01:42 PM
Pistol Shrimp
They snap their claw to produce a sonic blast capable of stunning other creatures.

Mantis Shrimp does the same thing with just swinging their limbs really fast. Since they do it at point-blank range, it can sometimes kill the target (if their claws don't do it earlier).

Amaril
2013-05-19, 02:22 PM
I can't remember exactly what it's called (I'm pretty sure it's a form of crab spider), but there's one particular spider species that steals food from pitcher plants by creating a bubble of air around its mouth, then diving into the plant's fluid, grabbing a dead bug, pulling itself back up on a strand of web, and enjoying an easy meal. That's the best I can think of right away--I'll come up with more stuff some other time.

Kol Korran
2013-05-19, 03:24 PM
I once saw a great show about the largests wasps in the world, giant japanese wasps. (Though I don't remember the name) who specialize in taking down bee hives. they produce special kinds of wasps for specifics tasks (which is not that special), but I was intrigued by one of their creations: Once a beehive has been located, they create a special Assassin wasp- a wasp that can live for only few days, have no digestive system, limited function of other system, but they are made EXTREMLEY tough, including being able to survive the over heating and stings of the suicide beesYora has mentioned.

They can sense the hive's queen from a distance (pheromones? I don't remember) They act as a one use disposable guided assassin- they fly in, get through all the defenses, kill the queen, and then die.

Freaking scary!

Yora
2013-05-19, 03:30 PM
There are some insects who plant their larvaes in the center of an ant colony and then trick the ants to recognize it as one of their own and feed it.

There also is a wasp (of course), that implants its eggs in these larvaes. But to do that, it needs to get inside the ant colony without being killed by the ants. It does that by releasing a chemical that causes all ants nearby to go berserk and kill each other.

Grinner
2013-05-19, 03:50 PM
Cymothoa exigua: Conventional parasites just latch onto their hosts and start feeding, right? Not this fella. He eats his host's tongue off and then grafts himself onto the bloody stub.

Jewel wasp: When it reproduces, this wasp starts by injecting venom straight into a cockroach's brain, turning it into a zombie of sorts. After leading the victim back to her nest, she then lays her eggs inside the cockroach, where they hatch and eat it alive from the inside out.


This is why I often get kinda annoyed at settings that have two billion types of mythical creatures and templates for each one--you don't need all that stuff to make your world's wildlife fantastical and interesting, real life is like that already!

I heartily agree.

Yora
2013-05-19, 04:48 PM
The common bear, which really seems to be just a big animal with big teeth and claws, actually has the best sense of smell of all mammals, and possibly of all animals. They can smell meat and follow the scent from 30 kilometers away if the wind is right.

Rhynn
2013-05-19, 05:14 PM
This thread is basically going to provide me a Monstrous Compendium's worth of original monsters for my Dark Sun campaign.

Not very fancy, but these made it into my Dark Sun a long while ago:

Andrewsarchus
A prehistoric tiger-hyena-wolf-lion (http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs21/f/2007/233/8/3/Andrewsarchus_by_SSJGarfield.jpg). They were huge (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_r88eJOrzhes/SmvPI_2hrEI/AAAAAAAAACM/8_i0PRNNB0w/s320/andrewsarchus+tama%C3%B1o.gif). I made them pyrokinetic (because Dark Sun!) and called them "pyrosarchus."

Basilosaurus
A prehistoric cetacean (http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/IMAGES/Alabama/Basilosaurus-cetoides.jpg) - basically a pre-whale. 60 feet long and looks like a horrifying monster.


There also is a wasp (of course)

There's that Darwin quote (that we're probably better off not quoting here)...

Yora
2013-05-19, 05:24 PM
Certainly interesting, but do they have special powers?

Ashtagon
2013-05-19, 05:27 PM
Bola spider
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TW6p4Sufhc

Because waiting for your prey to blunder into your web takes longer than whacking then with your web.

Hagfish
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21954779

The original inspiration for aboleth mucus.

Xefas
2013-05-19, 06:19 PM
Much like the Valkyrie, the common domesticated dog has natural Tiger Claw initiation.

http://i.imgur.com/DzKQ86B.gif

Amaril
2013-05-19, 06:42 PM
Basilosaurus
A prehistoric cetacean (http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/IMAGES/Alabama/Basilosaurus-cetoides.jpg) - basically a pre-whale. 60 feet long and looks like a horrifying monster.



This thing has given me nightmares ever since I first saw a picture of it. Freakin' terrifying :smalleek:

Grinner
2013-05-19, 09:01 PM
Langford Basilisk
Hey, if viruses etc. are game, then so are memes. This is the idea that a specific fractal image (http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/parrotTB.jpg) is a sort of "brain virus" that makes you insane by viewing it, or primes you to go insane when you later view any other repetitive pattern. I've made it into an Ethereal Monster, a strange shifting fractical imagescape that causes insanity in viewers on a failed save.

I'm not sure what to think of this. On one hand, it's a really cool concept. On the other hand, no such picture has ever been produced as far as I can tell, excepting the contents of various shock websites. In fact, given that everybody processes information in slightly different ways, it seems downright ridiculous.

I guess it doesn't matter where gaming is concerned, but I was hopeful for a moment.

ngilop
2013-05-20, 02:13 AM
Tiger Pistol Shrimp in addition to the whole brekaing the sound barrier deal.. don't they also produce a steam bubbles that is as hot as the surface of the sun? or is that the Mantis Shrimp?


either way.. these small animasl should prove that mundane can have nice things, LOL

Rhynn
2013-05-20, 03:30 AM
Tiger Pistol Shrimp in addition to the whole brekaing the sound barrier deal.. don't they also produce a steam bubbles that is as hot as the surface of the sun? or is that the Mantis Shrimp?

I was like "come on, you've got that wrong"...

But apparently not really. The sun's surface/photosphere is 5,778 kelvins. When the mantis shrimp snaps its claw, the collapsing cavitation bubbles reach temperatures of "several thousand kelvins," producing a burst of light. It's not a steam bubble, though, it's a cavitation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavitation) bubble. (Plus the heat is too short-lived to affect anything, and neither the heat nor the light can be detected without special equipment. Of course, once you make the shrimp 10' long and put it in a RPG, that can change...)

As a bonus, mantis shrimp look completely freaky (http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m31xond1e91ru6kxco1_500.jpg)! :smalleek:

Salbazier
2013-05-20, 07:06 AM
This is thread freaking scary. :smalleek: *bookmark*

Some of the stuffs can almost be used by itself in a campaign. Not with D&D maybe something like World of Darkness. Or Call of Cthulhu (never play or read it). Or up their sizes and make a zombie apocalypse style games, but with, uh, Cordyceps, cymothoa, or Jewel wasp instead of T-virus. Plus giant assasin spiders and land-adapted Octopus. Better if held IRL instead of PbP, since the GM can then show large-sized printed photos and/or videos of this beauties.

Yora
2013-05-20, 07:10 AM
There is one critter that lays its eggs in the brains of animals where they hatch and then start to eat the brain. Including humans. I think it was some kind of wasp. :smallbiggrin:

The African Lungfish has basically the ability of aboleths to survive on land. When their lakes dry up, they burry themselves in the mud and go into a state like hybernation. Once one was lost during transport and the box was found only half a year later. Once they opened the completely dried out and almost airtight box and added water to it, the fish recovered just fine.

The Eucalyptus Tree also has a great mechanism to get rid of other plants that grow next to it and take away water and nutrients from the soil. During summer, the trees allow the eucalyptus oil to evaporate from their leaves, creating a cloud of oily haze around them. Eucalyptus oil happens to be highly flamable and it will not take a lot for grass and small shrubs next to the trees to catch fire from the heat of the sun. Since dry grass and shrubs burn very fast, they are usually burnt out very quickly before the flames can produce enough heat to set the eucalyptus trees on fire. In the worst case, the bark near the ground gets a bit singed, but that's nothing that does actual damage to the trees.

Did anyone already mention the fungus that infect ants and then starts to cosume their interior organs? It leaves the muscles for last, so the brain-dead ant can still crawl to an exposed location where it will then burst open spraying fungus spores everywhere.
It's the zombie apocalypse of ant colonies.

Salbazier
2013-05-20, 07:29 AM
There is one critter that lays its eggs in the brains of animals where they hatch and then start to eat the brain. Including humans. I think it was some kind of wasp. :smallbiggrin:

Seriously? Less scary, but I remember watching some documentary about flies that put their larva inside animals (presumably the the larva eat the host flesh but I forgot the details/of this were true but how else said larva can have food?). The documentary includes an interview of someone who had infested by one larva as such. Just under the skin on the arm, but still. It didn't give actually give me nightmare but it was close to.

Not a real animal, but this is also remind me of this (http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-439)

Rhynn
2013-05-20, 07:42 AM
Salbazier, you may be thinking of the mango fly (Cordylobia anthropophaga), an African fly. It lays eggs in, say, the ground. After the larva hatch, they crawl in the soil until they come in contact with a mammal's skin (such as a bare foot, or an animal lying down in the dirt), at which point they (quite unnoticeably) crawl through the skin and begin to pupate, growing into maggots.

Among the things that mango flies lay eggs in are wet clothes (say, drying on a line, or just lying somewhere), apparently.

If you search for "mango fly" on YouTube, you will be beyond disgusted. Don't do it if you've got a weak stomach.

Then there is, of course, the South American human botfly (Dermatobia hominis). The females capture mosquitoes and attach their eggs to them. The mosquitoes then feed on humans, and the larvae burrow into the human's skin where they pupate.

That's right, the human botfly doesn't even lay its eggs in or on people, it makes a mosquito do the carrying, because mosquitoes are specialized in not being noticed feeding, whereas flies are usually less stealthy.

Yora
2013-05-20, 07:43 AM
Oh, one that I forgot: Some spiders are large enough so they can build webs to catch birds and bats.

warty goblin
2013-05-20, 10:34 AM
The real take-away from this thread should be that if you want the most terrifying RPG ever, just play as insects.

Yora
2013-05-20, 10:43 AM
Being a wasp is not always messy fun and violent play, though. There is a parasite that bores into the bodies of wasps and somehow hijacks their nervous system. And from then on they fly around with these wasp as their tiny living airplanes. And once per year, those bugs all fly their wasps to a central meeting point for mating.

Those would be exactly like neogi.

Which reminds me. Several species of fish can grow as large as the amount of food they find allows them. The bigger they are, the less predators can threaten them, so they live longer than most smaller fish and can grow even bigger. Some catfish grow big enough to eat ducks and pigeons. To catch ducks, they just sneak up to them from below when they are on the water. With pigeons, they jump out of the water to snatch them from the shore, then wriggle themselves back into the water.
There has been at least one report of a catfish trying to eat an 8 year old girl.

Moogleking
2013-05-20, 10:47 AM
I vaguely remember reading a while back of a special type of parasite that attacked the reproductive organs of whatever it infected.

But it didn't shut down or damage them in anyway; It changed the gender of those it infected. In fact there are species in the rainforests where it lives that have evolutionarily forgotten how to make females; since they rarely survived past birth anyway, and simply go roll around this stuff (or something) when it's breeding time.

warty goblin
2013-05-20, 11:02 AM
Being a wasp is not always messy fun and violent play, though. There is a parasite that bores into the bodies of wasps and somehow hijacks their nervous system. And from then on they fly around with these wasp as their tiny living airplanes. And once per year, those bugs all fly their wasps to a central meeting point for mating.

Those would be exactly like neogi.

As I said, constant, utter horror. If something isn't laying eggs in your brain, something else is dissolving your internal organs and slurping them up like a slushie. Or you're eaten alive by a swarm of ants which cut holes in your skin and spray the wounds with acid. Or chomped down by a bat or a frog or shrew or any of the other number of enormous, disturbingly squishy-skinned monsters that prowl the world.

Really, it's exactly like your typical RPG world, except instead of saving the kingdom and growing stronger, triumph is living long enough to lay eggs somewhere where a couple of them just might survive.

Rhynn
2013-05-20, 11:22 AM
Really, it's exactly like your typical RPG world, except instead of saving the kingdom and growing stronger, triumph is living long enough to lay eggs somewhere in someone where a couple of them just might survive.

FTFY. For the horror.

warty goblin
2013-05-20, 12:18 PM
FTFY. For the horror.

Yep, after half the party dies holding back the army ant incursion, it turns out Steve's new character was a wasp the whole time when he lays eggs in everybody's brains.

SimonMoon6
2013-05-20, 02:02 PM
Ever since I was a kid, I was creeped out by the idea of the Horny Toad, which can shoot blood out of its eyes.

And there's a sea creature (a squid maybe?) that can regurgitate its guts out of its body to annoy an attacker.

And for really gross... there's a tiny fish (in the Amazon, I think) that's dangerous to men who might want to urinate in the river. This fish will swim up the urine stream and attach itself inside the male organ.

hamishspence
2013-05-20, 02:05 PM
Ever since I was a kid, I was creeped out by the idea of the Horny Toad, which can shoot blood out of its eyes.

It's an odd common name, since it's not really a toad, but a lizard.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horned_Lizard

but then, common names are often inaccurate.

Rhynn
2013-05-20, 02:11 PM
And for really gross... there's a tiny fish (in the Amazon, I think) that's dangerous to men who might want to urinate in the river. This fish will swim up the urine stream and attach itself inside the male organ.

The candiru. Swimming up the stream is a myth, though, and physically impossible (how would that even work?). It doesn't need to, either. It gets in when you swim or wade. If it does. It's rather controversial; there's a single modern case, and it's a dubious one.

warty goblin
2013-05-20, 02:13 PM
Ever since I was a kid, I was creeped out by the idea of the Horny Toad, which can shoot blood out of its eyes.

I'd kill to be able to do that. Nothing would put an end to awkward conversations about stupid things with annoying people faster than shooting blood out of my eyeballs.


And there's a sea creature (a squid maybe?) that can regurgitate its guts out of its body to annoy an attacker.
Some species of sea cucumber (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_cucumber#Overview) can literally crap out their respiratory systems to inconvenience anything trying to eat them. These secretions are apparently white, and quite sticky. They can also, according to Wikipedia, dynamically alter the rigidity and shape of their bodies to ooze into almost any crevice.


I'm guessing 'sea penis' doesn't sound enough like science, or was already taken.

Grinner
2013-05-21, 05:24 PM
Oh, hey. We forgot about electric eels.

darni
2013-05-22, 08:16 AM
The electric eel uses its electric generation organ for shocking (defense), stunning, and killing prey, but also for a kind of electric echolocation (sort of radar, but needs a conductive medium like water).

Some birds are able to feel the magnetic field of earth for orienting themselves (i.e., they have a "compass" organ). Some salmons too

The hydrozoan (looks like a jellyfish) can't die of old age. It changes its entire structure and turns into its "young" phase over and over again.

I think nobody mentioned geckos and their amazing climbing abilites yet...

The bombardier beetle throws a mix of chemicals that actually produce a boiling, exploding reaction outside the beetle's body. Ref save for half damage

The naked mole rat can't feel pain.

The axolotl ( a small salamander) can regenerate his limbs. If that's not cool enough for you, they can also regenerate their spinal cord, and their brains.

Tardigrades are tiny, but they survive extreme cold, extreme heat, exposure to outer space, living without food and water for tens of years, and amazing amounts of radiation (UV, gamma, you name it)

The hairy frog, when threatened can break its own bones, and make them go out through the skin to make claws...

Jacob.Tyr
2013-05-22, 08:57 AM
The hydrozoan (looks like a jellyfish) can't die of old age. It changes its entire structure and turns into its "young" phase over and over again.

The axolotl ( a small salamander) can regenerate his limbs. If that's not cool enough for you, they can also regenerate their spinal cord, and their brains.


One species of Hydra does this, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turritopsis_nutricula

The axolotl is also unique in that it is a salamander that lost the adult life stage. They never metamorphose into an adult like other salamander species.

Yora mentioned something that reproduces in and consumes the brain of it's host, including humans. The only thing I can think of that does this to humans is the raccoon hookworm. It doesn't kill raccoons, though, just lives in their intestines. Something over 50% of the raccoons in the USA are infected by it. In humans it leaves the digestive track, enters the blood stream, swims to the brain and starts to eat and lay eggs. Cases I've heard of often involve children, and symptoms typically involve loss of motor control and blindness before death. Tasty, tasty occipital lobes.
Don't eat things off the ground, kids!

Pistol shrimp have ****ty vision, so you can often find them hanging out with their seeing-eye goby. Yep, they have a pet fish to help them get around. Mantis shrimp, on the other hand, have much better color vision than any other species alive.

Komodo dragons being parthenogenic is something I've always found scary/fun.

inuyasha
2013-05-22, 09:25 AM
has the medusa pleco (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/fish/9_Medusa_Pleco_Ancistrus_ranunculus.e.jpg) been mentioned yet?

Yora
2013-05-22, 09:58 AM
Mantis Shrimp not only have amazing color vision. They also have ultraviolet vision, close to infrared vision, and the ability to see the polarization of light, something that other animals are not even aware of and that goes into pretty sophisticated physics.

Basically, light is a wave that goes up and down. However, the wave can be tilted to the left or to the right to any degree and usually a beam of light consists of countless waves that all go at random angles. However, when the light passes through an object, the atomic structure of it allows some light to pass through, while others are absorbed or reflected.

Imagine you have a very low but very wide gate. If you run at the gate while swering left and right you still can go through it without problem. But if you run at it while jumping up and down, you might bump your head and not make it through the slot in the wall. Or if you have a very high but narrow gate, you can pass through it without problem while jumping up and down, but you'll likely crash into the doorbeams if you run while swering left and right.

Now a mantis shrip has the ability to see the angle of the waves of light, its polarization. What is it useful for?
Well, some things that are apparently transparent still only let most of the light through while absorbing and reflecting the rest. And what parts pass through the material and what parts don't depends on the polarization of the light. We don't see polarization so at best we see that the amount of light passing through glass might be a little bit less bright than light that goes through open air. But the mantis shrimp can see very clearly that in one part of it's field of vision certain polarizations are missing, that are in the rest of the environment light. And by this it knows that there is something that absorbs some of the light waves. And this way it can see things that are invisible to pretty much all other animals.

Jacob.Tyr
2013-05-22, 10:56 AM
So they have see invisible, awesome.

Eldan
2013-05-22, 01:33 PM
Why haven't I found this thread earlier?

Let's start with a few favourites.

I've always had a healthy respect for teh Bullet Ant, but reading Worm made me research them properly.

Here's an article (http://www.sasionline.org/default.asp?go=antsfiles/pages/bullet/bulletbio.html), for those interested. But the short version is this:
It's called Bullet Ant because a single bit hurts more than a bullet. It also lasts for 2-5 hours, at which point the pain slowly lessens to only stop about 24 hours later.
A few quotes from the article:

All caging and service access portals are conspicuously labeled "HOT" and "VENOMOUS", calling attention to the presence of potentially dangerous animals. Servicing is limited to a few competent employees who feel comfortable working with these ants. Keepers are trained to: 1) inspect and monitor service portal perimeters before opening and while inserting their arms, 2) avoid making jarring vibrations or exhaling directly on the ants, both tending to stimulate alarm behavior, 3) always use long (30 cm.) forceps to change food dishes or remove debris, and 4) employ a spotter for safety during disruptive procedures, such as major cleanings or nest manipulations.


Individual sting treatment procedures for bullet ant keepers were developed in consultation with their personal physicians. For example, my protocol is to immediately immerse the sting site in an ice-water bath to slow venom spread, and to ingest a maximum dose of Benedryl* (antihistamine) capsules to counter possible allergic response. This combination effectively mitigates pain and induces drowsiness, encouraging relaxation or sleep during the worst part of the venom's reaction. In the event of a severe systemic reaction, such as difficulty breathing or swallowing, I have several EpiPens* (self-injectable epinephrine), a Proventil* (asthmatic) inhaler, and Prednisone (steroid) tablets, all physician-prescribed.


It's the most painful arthropod sting known to science.


Then, the Water Bear or Tardigrade. Wonderful little critter, almost impossible to kill. I once tried to stat up a horse-sized Dire Tardigrade, but it really just ends up as a smaller, weaker, but much tougher Tarrasque.
Scientists had them frozen in liquid nitrogen, boiled, bombarded with incredible doses of radiation, dried, put in acid poisoned with dozens of the worst known toxins and shot into outer space. None of that kills them.


Crows are amazingly smart. You could fill entire books with tricks they have come up with, but one of my favourites is this:
THere are crows in big japanese cities that can read traffic lights. They will grab a hard to crack nut and fly to the top of a traffic signal, looking down from the top to check the colour. Once it changes to red, they will fly to a nearby car that is now standing, put the nut in front of the tire or just wedge it under it and fly back up in time to see the colour of the signal change to green. The driving car will crack the nut. Now the crow will wait until the signal turns red again to go pick up its food safely.


We had gall wasps manipulating plants and getting protected by bees, but this can also work the otehr way round. African Acacias have spines several inches long to protect against large herbivores. However, giraffes have tongues long enough to eat the leaves around those spines. The solution? Hollow spines filled with ants that swarm out and attack the giraffe's tongue.
Now imagine this as on an advanced treeant.


Bees have several interesting senses. Other than a truly impressive sense of smell, they can detect tiny vibrations, see ultraviolet light, detect magnetic fields and see the polarization of light, whihc they seem to mainly use to tell where exactly the sun is even in a clouded sky.
They need to know where the sun is since they use it as the basis for their coordinate system, which they need to tell other bees where to go.

Yora
2013-05-22, 02:15 PM
http://www.splittinghairs.org/simpsons-reference/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/vlcsnap-2012-06-07-08h10m11s99.png

If you need a buddy to watch your back at the whole time while you change the food dish in your ant box, things are seriously messed up. :smallbiggrin:

Another great example of crow intelligence is one experiment in which the experimenters wanted to see if a crow would succesfully identify a wire with a hook as a better tool to fish a tiny basket out of a narrow tube than a straight wire.
However, that day one of the other crows had already stolen the wire with the hook and hidden it somewhere in the room. So the crow, never having used the wires before, only found the straight wire. And since that one clearly did not help in fishing out the basket, it took the straight wire to the edge of the table and keeping it in place with its feet, used its beak to bend the end into a hook.
So velocyraptors have learned to open doors? Crows are learning to make lockpicks.

Eldan
2013-05-22, 02:27 PM
Oh yeah, I love that one.

Have you read about chimpanzees and currency, by the way? A group of researchers gave apes representative currency. Small plastic objects that had no inherent value, but could be traded for fruits or sweets with the researchers. The apes actually started trading the currency amongst one another for services. In a further step, fluctuating value was introduced. Some days, you'd get three pieces of fruit, some days only two. The apes began hoarding their currency for days when it was worth more.

They are also very good at escpaing. I remember one case of an ape who stole a key from his keeper, went into the locker room, stole a zookeeper uniform, put it on directly and tried to march out the front gate.

There was once an experiment where two elephants had to work together. You had to pull on two ropes in order to open a cage full of food. However, one elephant managed to wrap one of the ropes around several trees, creating a kind of pulley system that allowed him to pull on both ropes simultaneously, so that he wouldn't have to share the reward with another elephant.

Grinner
2013-05-22, 02:36 PM
Glyptapanteles: This is an entire genus of wasps that lay their eggs into caterpillars. But no, the fun doesn't end there. The caterpillar continues about its business for a time, but then the eighty or so larvae hatch and emerge. As the larvae begin to pupate, the caterpillar, controlled by one or two larvae left behind, takes position near them and wards off predators until it dies.

Yora
2013-05-22, 02:51 PM
The money was with monkey, not apes. Said monkeys were also very quick to invent prostitution.

Eldan
2013-05-22, 02:55 PM
I'm preeetty sure someone did it with chimps or bonobos too.

Salbazier
2013-05-24, 05:02 AM
Yora mentioned something that reproduces in and consumes the brain of it's host, including humans. The only thing I can think of that does this to humans is the raccoon hookworm. It doesn't kill raccoons, though, just lives in their intestines. Something over 50% of the raccoons in the USA are infected by it. In humans it leaves the digestive track, enters the blood stream, swims to the brain and starts to eat and lay eggs. Cases I've heard of often involve children, and symptoms typically involve loss of motor control and blindness before death. Tasty, tasty occipital lobes.
Don't eat things off the ground, kids!


:eek:

I have no word.


The money was with monkey, not apes. Said monkeys were also very quick to invent prostitution.

IIRC, the prostituion thing was chimps. (oldest profession in the world indeed).

Anyway, I think those 'animal being clever' stuffs are rather cute (compared to the scarier stuffs here) and not really weird abilities. Still interesting, though.

Eldan
2013-05-24, 05:09 AM
Bombardier beetles. Though I think there's a Monster inspired by them already. I think I saw it in Neverwinter Nights.

They mix two chemicals in their Abdomen (Hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide) with water and certain enzymes, which causes them to react violently. The mixture is released at around 100C, or about the boiling Point of water, some of it as steam. It's loud, it stinks and it's hot enough to kill other insects.

What a lot of People don't know is that they are also incredibly accurate with that technique and can swivel their glands in an arc of up to 270.

Bulhakov
2013-05-24, 06:16 AM
The Xenos Vesparum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenos_vesparum) is a tiny winged bug that has an extremely alien-like life cycle.

- The xenos bug burrows under the chitin plates of a worker wasp, feeds on it and takes it over like its own giant airship.

- All the mind-controlled wasps are flown to a single site so the bugs can meet up to mate (the females don't even leave the wasp, just stick the genitals out, while the males leave their wasps to die from the giant chest-busting wound they inflict while leaving the host)

- An impregnated female somehow manages to fool its wasp and other wasps that it is a queen, the host fattens up then flies to a nest where it is fed by the colony like a potential queen over winter.

- The next year hundreds of newborn bugs burst out of the host to infect new wasps in the colony.

Eldan
2013-05-24, 06:26 AM
Another Cracked Reader? :smallwink:

Their articles are perfect for this.

Bulhakov
2013-05-24, 07:02 AM
Yup. Especially articles by Richard Monte:

http://www.cracked.com/members/thelastmonte/

Yora
2013-06-03, 07:47 AM
This is a strong contender for taking the number one spot:

A little worm called Bdelloid has lost it's ability to mate 80 million years ago. But they continue to evolve and adapt to new environments, as well as replacing damaged pieces of DNA, by upgrading their DNA with that of other animals they eat.

I think I remember some creature like that from a movie or maybe Star Trek, but it might actually be too out there to be considered in any way believable as a fictive creature.

Mr.Silver
2013-06-03, 11:15 AM
In regards to brain-eating, I feel that we really should mention Naegleria Fowleri, aka the 'brain-eating amoeba'. Lives in warm fresh water, and if it gets into your system the odds of survival are under 2% if it gets diagnosed and treated. Basically, it kills you in a couple of weeks, during which time you can experience things like hallucinations, changes in how your senses of taste and ataxia.




The naked mole rat can't feel pain.
They can, just not certain types of it (they don't experience stinging/chemical pains iirc). On the other hand they are highly resistant, if not immune, to cancer and once they hit adulthood, they age very slowly.


In terms of durability though, I would point you towards the hero shrew, or armoured shrew - a small African rodent which can survive being stepped on by and adult human with no injuries. This is due to it's ludicrously resilient spinal column, which can survive several hundred times its own mass in pressure.

Randel
2013-06-03, 03:14 PM
On a less creepy note, I recently read a magazine article about giraffes (think it was Scientific American or maybe Discovery, can't recall).

Anyway, they've got some nifty abilities:

Long distance vision: Probably their biggest reason for being so tall (other than getting at the tops of trees). With their heads so far up and their eyesight, they can see everything in about a 3 mile radius. It's basically impossible for lions or other predators to sneak up on them without them just walking away once the lion gets within two miles.

Long strides: Same as above. Due to their long legs they can leasurely stroll away at speeds that shorter animal have to sprint.

Killer kicks: As above, their bodies are high off the ground, they can see their enemy coming, and they have powerful legs. If a lion gets close, the giraffe can basically kick them out of the air with one hoof or stomp on them to break bones or kill them. Healthy giraffes basically don't have to worry about lions.

On the flipside, a newly born giraffe drops onto the ground on its head from a considerabe hight. They also have great difficulty leaning down to drink at watering holes. They only have to drink once every few days, but those drinks require them to be in a compromised position and most watering holes have alligators in them.

But, according to the article, once a giraffe survives the first few hours and assuming it can avoid getting attacked while drinking, they don't seem to have much else to worry about.


Personaly, I found their ability to spot predators from miles away interesting. I can imagine a monster or creature who's main "power" is spotting threats from a distance. If it can communicate this with other species, it could be a valued member of some monster raiding party.

Imagine a giraffe with a slew of sight based powers like darkvision, detect magic, or whatever. They could act like some kind of giant spotted Eye of Sauron. Of course, being tall could put them at a disadvantage to folks with long distance ranged attacks.

Eldan
2013-06-03, 03:31 PM
Here's the deal. I'll give you 12 hours from now to vote on one of the animals named in this thread and will brew you up an elephant sized dire version (or something similar, if fitting). :smalltongue:

Grinner
2013-06-03, 04:03 PM
I'll vote for waterbears, the vacuum-proof, radiation-proof fellows.

Rhynn
2013-06-03, 04:08 PM
I did a giant mantis shrimp for my games, but it's in AD&D 2E format. It would pretty much work for any pre-3E though, just have to adjust the XP value. I'm gonna go through this thread and make stats for some of the others eventually (for my own use, but I can share).

Here it be:

GIANT MANTIS SHRIMP
{TABLE]CLIMATE/TERRAIN:|Tropical and sub-tropical ocean
FREQUENCY:|Rare
ORGANIZATION:|Solitary
ACTIVITY CYCLE:|Any
DIET:|Carnivorous
INTELLIGENCE:|Non- (0)
TREASURE:|Nil
ALIGNMENT:|N
|
ARMOR CLASS:|5
MOVEMENT:|6
HIT DICE:|5+5
THAC0:|15
NO. OF ATTACKS:|1
DAMAGE/ATTACK:|2d10
SPECIAL ATTACKS:|Stun
SPECIAL DEFENSES: |See invisible
MAGIC RESISTANCE:|Nil
SIZE:|H (12'-15')
MORALE:|Fearless (19)
XP VALUE:|1,400[/TABLE]
Giant mantis shrimp are garishly colored giant crustaceans that live on the ocean floor, hiding in caves and crevices. They have folded front claws that the snap out at prey to smash them apart or spear them.

Giant mantis shrimp can see invisible creatures and objects. The snap of the giant mantis shrimp's claw is so fast that it creates a flash of light and heat as well as a terrible shockwave. Whether or not the attack hits, the target must save vs. death or be stunned for 1d4 rounds.

A land variant lives in rocky badlands, where it hunts in a similar fashion.

Incidentally, Interplay apparently did concept art of that for a cancelled fallout project (http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Mutant_mantis_shrimp).

Behold, the giant mantis shrimp!

http://0-media-cdn.foolz.us/ffuuka/board/tg/image/1344/22/1344228765665.jpg


Gonna convert it into ACKS format eventually, along with my bestiary of, so far, 30 custom monsters, mostly stolen from Mythos, pulp, sword & sorcery, and OSR blogs; including the Man-Ape, the War-Ape, the Shoggoth, the Pyrosarchus, the Manta Tyrant, the Langford Basilisk, and the dread Bird-Dog. Maybe I'll post some of them.

Arbane
2013-06-03, 04:32 PM
has the medusa pleco (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/fish/9_Medusa_Pleco_Ancistrus_ranunculus.e.jpg) been mentioned yet?

What's so unusual about it? Google was unhelpful.

Eldan
2013-06-03, 04:36 PM
It has a different scientific name, that seems to be a common name, or so Wiki tells me.

Not that much interesting about them, as far as I can see. They can breathe with their stomachs, which is sort of nice. Males build nests for females.

They look cool, though. I'll use them in Aboleth lairs, from now on.

Ashtagon
2013-06-03, 11:48 PM
Speaking of mantis shrimp...

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/mantis_shrimp

Deaxsa
2013-06-04, 12:02 AM
The real take-away from this thread should be that if you want the most terrifying RPG ever, just play as insects.

my inner biologists wants you to restate this as "invertebrates" or "arthropods" (although, just having arthropods does not net you the gloriousness that are mollusks)

erikun
2013-06-04, 01:01 AM
Cockoo birds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuckoo) steal eggs from another bird's nest and put their own eggs inside, so that they will raise on their own. Cockoo bees (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuckoo_bee) do much the same thing with bee hives. If you wonder where the old tales of changelings kidnapping babies and replacing them with their own come from, this is likey the place. :smallbiggrin: To make it more interesting: in some cases if the host rejects the cockoo egg, the cockoo birds will smash all the host bird's eggs. Mafia changeling birds. :smalleek:

Another story about crow intelligence: go to #4 here (http://www.cracked.com/article_19042_6-terrifying-ways-crows-are-way-smarter-than-you-think.html) and read about the story of Chatham, Ontario. I'm not sure how accurate the story is (further research seems to indicate it probably isn't) but other articles (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/a-murder-of-crows/article1091590/) show a fair bit of intelligence: flying just high enough to get out or range of guns, returning to roosts just minutes after hired workers punch out to go home, and so on.

There are some species of spider which look, smell, and act almost identical to ants. Take a look here (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Myrmarachne) and be surprised at a few of these "ants". Something to think about, especially if you want to have mimics of other animals. :smalltongue:

Take a look at a red fox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_fox) and then at a maned wolf (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maned_wolf).

tbok1992
2013-06-04, 02:30 AM
Well, if you want the ultimate source for "Weird animal abilities you can use for monsters", check out Bogleech's biology section (http://bogleech.com/bio.html). Dude loves him his creepy critters, and his articles've got a ton of fodder for "Things you can add to creatures". Hell, if you want to go the "easy" route, he's got an article on 100 Real Creatures That'd Be Great To Base Pokemon On (http://bogleech.com/pokemon/nonpokes1.html), so that'd be a good place to check as a first stop.

Cerlis
2013-06-04, 04:22 AM
Oh, hey. We forgot about electric eels.

Quest in warcraft. when you kill an eel in this one area....this quest pops out of nowhere.


Once More, With Eeling
Eels are among the creepiest of Azeroth's creatures.

Sure, there are those who pretend that they don't mind them - and others who actually claim to favor them.

They are lying.

Truth be told, no one likes eels. Eels don't even like eels.

Azeroth would be a better place if no one ever had to envision an eel slithering out from the murky depths and biting them.

In the face.

and the quest counter is worded


Disgusting Eels Justifiably Slain (8)

and the quote when you finish the quest and complete it


That is one more thing you can mark off the list of things you can tell your grandchildren you did for them.


--------------------------------------

I'd definately use a tree that shoots out flammable vapors. Maybe instead of koalas it can have spark lizards (or mantis shrimp)

Salbazier
2013-06-04, 05:19 AM
Well, if you want the ultimate source for "Weird animal abilities you can use for monsters", check out Bogleech's biology section (http://bogleech.com/bio.html). Dude loves him his creepy critters, and his articles've got a ton of fodder for "Things you can add to creatures". Hell, if you want to go the "easy" route, he's got an article on 100 Real Creatures That'd Be Great To Base Pokemon On (http://bogleech.com/pokemon/nonpokes1.html), so that'd be a good place to check as a first stop.

:smallconfused:
:smallamused:
:smallcool:
:smalleek:
:eek:

Oh, wow. The pokemon candidatea is actually quite cool. This page (http://bogleech.com/bio-paracrust.html), however, is pure eldritch horror.

Cerlis
2013-06-04, 07:28 AM
Mantis Shrimp not only have amazing color vision. They also have ultraviolet vision, close to infrared vision, and the ability to see the polarization of light, something that other animals are not even aware of and that goes into pretty sophisticated physics.

Basically, light is a wave that goes up and down. However, the wave can be tilted to the left or to the right to any degree and usually a beam of light consists of countless waves that all go at random angles. However, when the light passes through an object, the atomic structure of it allows some light to pass through, while others are absorbed or reflected.

Imagine you have a very low but very wide gate. If you run at the gate while swering left and right you still can go through it without problem. But if you run at it while jumping up and down, you might bump your head and not make it through the slot in the wall. Or if you have a very high but narrow gate, you can pass through it without problem while jumping up and down, but you'll likely crash into the doorbeams if you run while swering left and right.

Now a mantis shrip has the ability to see the angle of the waves of light, its polarization. What is it useful for?
Well, some things that are apparently transparent still only let most of the light through while absorbing and reflecting the rest. And what parts pass through the material and what parts don't depends on the polarization of the light. We don't see polarization so at best we see that the amount of light passing through glass might be a little bit less bright than light that goes through open air. But the mantis shrimp can see very clearly that in one part of it's field of vision certain polarizations are missing, that are in the rest of the environment light. And by this it knows that there is something that absorbs some of the light waves. And this way it can see things that are invisible to pretty much all other animals.


Imagine a player trying to call BS on you, saying an Animal (non Magical beast) creature couldnt see invisibility...and you link him the mantis shrimp and show its possible in the real world.....

Ashtagon
2013-06-04, 07:39 AM
Oh, wow. The pokemon candidatea is actually quite cool. This page (http://bogleech.com/bio-paracrust.html), however, is pure eldritch horror.

One of the pictures there made me cry out in horror.

Eldan
2013-06-04, 08:24 AM
Sweeeet. Quite a few pretties on there I hadn't seen yet.

Brb, making notes.

Cerlis
2013-06-04, 08:25 AM
:eek:

I have no word.



IIRC, the prostituion thing was chimps. (oldest profession in the world indeed).

Anyway, I think those 'animal being clever' stuffs are rather cute (compared to the scarier stuffs here) and not really weird abilities. Still interesting, though.

well it would be pretty cool to freak out players with a bunch of ravens who live in a place they are trying to get to...the players try to shoo them away to no avail. ....then they get violent...the birds pay in kind....after they kill a few of them the birds leave for awhile....to retrieve the various needles, letter openers (sharpened with rocks), glask, and even alchemical weapons (flasks of acid) they have collected.

Yora
2013-06-04, 08:58 AM
Which reminds me: The plague bacteria are normally living in african fleas, which are mostly unaffected by their presence. However, when the surrounding temperature falls under 24 for a longer amount of time, the bacteria start to destroy the fleas digestive system. Unable to feed, the fleas turn into ravenous predators that will try to feed on anything that comes close, but they can never sate their terrible hunger. A bit like an insect zombie virus.

(In reality, the fleas started to abandon the rats they usually fed on (which are also unharmed by the bacteria) and ocasionally went on to bite humans, infecting them with the bacteria. It usually is way too warm in Etheopia for the bacteria to harm the fleas, but a big volcano on Sumatra (where else?) caused a global winter for three years, triggering the pandemic that had always been there ready and waiting.)

Vknight
2013-06-04, 11:16 AM
This thread is great.
Also am I the only person thinking.

Awakened Crows with levels in Rogue and/or Bard

Yora
2013-06-04, 11:53 AM
The villain team in one Pathfinder Adventure Path includes an awakened crow. There is almost no chance to notice the villains are spying on you all the time.

tbok1992
2013-06-04, 04:52 PM
This thread is great.
Also am I the only person thinking.

Awakened Crows with levels in Rogue and/or Bard

Pretty sure those are called "Tengu". Or Kenku depending on the edition. I made mine a Cleric of the Pirate Queen Besmara known as Captain Rook!

Vknight
2013-06-04, 05:01 PM
Pretty sure those are called "Tengu". Or Kenku depending on the edition. I made mine a Cleric of the Pirate Queen Besmara known as Captain Rook!

Those are called waste of my time and I slaughtered a village of them because the Gm loved them so much he forced us too follow his stupid bird Captain NPC ahU^ytui682t.
I'm ok I'm calm.

Seriously though those don't work as well its a Tiny sized bird vs.
Bird Like man thing
and
Bird Human like thing

tbok1992
2013-06-04, 05:08 PM
Those are called waste of my time and I slaughtered a village of them because the Gm loved them so much he forced us too follow his stupid bird Captain NPC ahU^ytui682t.
I'm ok I'm calm.

Wait, is this an actual thing the DM did to you, or was it making fun of Captain Rook? Because, Captain Rook is my current Pathfinder Society PC (He has no followers, so he is captain by default), not an NPC. I don't DM, as I'm not very good at it.

Alex12
2013-06-04, 05:12 PM
Helicoprion was a prehistoric shark with a buzzsaw for a face.
Some tarantulas kick their barbed hair-spikes to inflict injuries.

For plants, not much beats the sandbox tree. The trunk is covered in spikes, the sap is a caustic poison, and the fruit explodes powerfully enough to fling shrapnel at 70 meters per second.

warty goblin
2013-06-04, 05:49 PM
There's always the komodo dragon. Not only will its bite make you rot to death, so it can hunt you down and eat you at leisure, but it eats its own young. Said young, in a bid not to end up as a parental snack, roll themselves in excrement.

Vknight
2013-06-04, 07:46 PM
Wait, is this an actual thing the DM did to you, or was it making fun of Captain Rook? Because, Captain Rook is my current Pathfinder Society PC (He has no followers, so he is captain by default), not an NPC. I don't DM, as I'm not very good at it.

That is actually something a DM did too me.
He still does not get what was wrong about it.
And after 4(at least) reboots of the same campaign that bird still exists.
The first 2 versions were 4th edition.(I left after the first reboot)
Then he tried 2nd and everyone in our collective group threw there dice at him cause no one in our group likes 2nd(except him)
Then he moved onto 3rd and found a balance everyone enjoyed. I think they got about 1/3 of the way through the plot in one year. Meeting every week...

Part of the reason for the reboots.
First cause I killed his precious captains village with fire.
Second the group didn't have ready access without me to 4th
Third as stated they hate 2nd
Fourth something about CR 5 monster against the group at level 1
Don't know if any others. I do know that they have taken so long because the captain keeps dragging them back to his peoples village. 2 weeks from the closest port too check on them... Yes 2 weeks there and back. After every major quest or accomplishment. And he rolls for random encounters(for every 6 hours). One player told me the total in game time it took them for one trip was 7 months. 3 months back too his peoples island, 2 weeks walking inland, 2 weeks walking back too port. 3 months too were they needed to be.



There's always the komodo dragon. Not only will its bite make you rot to death, so it can hunt you down and eat you at leisure, but it eats its own young. Said young, in a bid not to end up as a parental snack, roll themselves in excrement.

Also they have venom. So save vs. Poison and Disease and Disease and Disease

Bhu
2013-06-04, 10:57 PM
Have any of these been mentioned yet:

Assassin Spiders
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/03/0308_060308_spider.html

Dragon Millipede
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmoxytes_purpurosea

Bullet Ant
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraponera

Japanese Giant Hornet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_giant_hornet

The Poison Toothpaste Monkey (Slow Loris)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_loris

Biological Immortality
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_immortality

10 most poisonous spiders
http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-10-most-poisonous-spiders

Bird dung crab spider
http://listverse.com/2010/05/01/top-10-bizarre-spiders/http://listverse.com/2010/05/01/top-10-bizarre-spiders/

Yora
2013-06-05, 07:17 AM
I don't think so. The links don't mention any notable or unusual abilities.

Eldan
2013-06-05, 07:45 AM
All pretty interesting. Let's see what I remember from the names.

The Assassin Spiders mostly just have an unusual Body plan for spiders, with truly enormous jaws. They are so long that, unlike other spiders, they need a long "neck" to move them.

Dragon millipedes are bright pink and produce hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid, blue acid),but that's not really unusual among millipedes.

Bullet Ants came up already.

The Japanese giant hornet is four centimetres long. The interesting Thing is that they prey on honey bees. A group of about 20 of them will attack a bee hive and slaughter everything inside in minutes.
While European honeybees, which are these days often used in agriculture in Japan are defenceless, Asian honeybees use the so-called Beeball Defence. Which is exactly as it sounds. Hundreds of bees swarm a hornet and hang on to it, working their flight- and abdominal muscles to produce heat. Up to 47 in fact, which kills the hornet.
They are also quite venomous, with an LD50 in mice of about 4 mg/kg. That makes it Japan's most dangerous animal to humans.

I hadn't known the poison toothpaste monkey before, but it's certainly interesting. One of the few venomous mammals around. It has a gland on ist arms that produces a poisonous substance. They lick it up and smear it on their teeth, hence the name. Mixing with saliva makes the substance more potent. They also cover their young's fur in it.

The bird dung crab is what it sounds like. It disguises itself as bird feces.

llamamushroom
2013-06-05, 08:34 AM
Speaking of venomous mammals...

Platypodes are venomous. The male platypus has a spur on its hind legs that can inject a venom that can kill a dog, but in humans "merely" causes intense pain. That no known painkillers help against - not even morphine. For months.

The reason morphine doesn't work is probably because it directly affects the brain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus_venom), instead of the peripheral nervous system.

Prairie dogs have a highly developed communication system that can identify individual humans by size, colour (of clothing), and shape. I'd link a source, but they're all on uni-accessed journal websites. QI mentioned it once, though, so that's proof!

The gecko's climbing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gecko#Adhesion_ability), incidentally, is due to microscopic "hairs" on their footpads that are attracted by van der Waals forces - essentially, they make really weak electron bonds with whatever they're climbing on.

And last but not least, the stinging tree (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrocnide_excelsa). It's covered in tiny silicon hairs that break off in your skin and inject a poison that has been known to kill dogs and horses (according to wikipedia, but I'm looking into that).

Eldan
2013-06-05, 09:06 AM
A propos stinging plants, apparently, a good way to kill bed bugs is beans.

Or rather, the leaves of bean plants. An old Eastern European remedy. You strew fresh bean leaves around and under a matress, wait a night, rake up the leaves and burn them and the bugs are gone.

The reason? Bean leaves are covered in barbed hooks that entangle the bed bugs.

More of a plant fact than an animal fact, but still cool.

Grim Portent
2013-06-05, 09:41 AM
Anyone mentioned the Vampire Squid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_squid) yet? It has spikes on the inside of it's tentacles and can wrap itself in a membrane that extends between them to turn itself into a ball of spikes.

Or the Surinam Toad (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surinam_toad), which embeds its' own eggs in it's back to protect them until they burst out from under it's skin as froglets.

Radar
2013-06-05, 09:53 AM
Maybe not a good monster material, but there are spiders, which build themselves underwater hideouts from... air (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUKyvGkN38M) (mostly).

Bhu
2013-06-05, 03:38 PM
All pretty interesting. Let's see what I remember from the names.

The Assassin Spiders mostly just have an unusual Body plan for spiders, with truly enormous jaws. They are so long that, unlike other spiders, they need a long "neck" to move them.

Their necks are also extendable in some cases



I hadn't known the poison toothpaste monkey before, but it's certainly interesting. One of the few venomous mammals around. It has a gland on ist arms that produces a poisonous substance. They lick it up and smear it on their teeth, hence the name. Mixing with saliva makes the substance more potent. They also cover their young's fur in it.

Thats kind of my pet nickname for them I don't know if anyone else calls them that, They're incredibly popular as pets despite being potentially toxic.


The bird dung crab is what it sounds like. It disguises itself as bird feces.

It also smells like dung

warty goblin
2013-06-05, 05:26 PM
Not exactly little known, but it's worth reiterating just how freaking fast a cheetah is. Zero to sixty in three seconds is on the order of the fastest production line cars in the world (http://www.zeroto60times.com/Fastest-Cars-0-60-mph.html). So just remember, when fleeing cheetahs, they can probably overtake your getaway vehicle.

tomandtish
2013-06-05, 05:36 PM
Heck, just the Golden poison Dart Frog. Cute, height of a paper clip, contains enough toxin to kill 10 grown adults (which is transmitted by touch)..

You can put a horrible spin on your "Frog Prince" story.

Tadpole shrimp can go dormant (hibernate) for 100s of years if you are looking for a menace that rises every few centuries.

And now I'm craving fried Dire Shrimp.

TuggyNE
2013-06-05, 07:20 PM
Not exactly little known, but it's worth reiterating just how freaking fast a cheetah is. Zero to sixty in three seconds is on the order of the fastest production line cars in the world (http://www.zeroto60times.com/Fastest-Cars-0-60-mph.html). So just remember, when fleeing cheetahs, they can probably overtake your getaway vehicle.

Although if you can keep going for a bit, they might wear out and stop chasing. Cheetahs seem to have a range of anywhere from 100 yards to over a mile at top speed, depending on who you ask.

erikun
2013-06-06, 02:05 AM
And here, I was planning on stopping by and posting about the slow loris myself. Good job getting to it before me, everyone. :smalltongue: But yes, poison monkeys are neat. Probably not what you'd want to run across, but treebound biting poisonous-coated primates are at least something you don't expect the first time.

Next up? Megatherium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megatherium), the twenty-foot, four-ton giant sloth. And if "giant sloth" doesn't sound that impressive, try "elephant-sized sloth with giant claws that can kill most predators outright."

And hey, on the subject of large clawed mammals that most people don't associate with dangerous, take a look at the giant anteater. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Myrmecophaga_tridactyla_-_Phoenix_Zoo.jpg) I know that I never thought of anteaters as six feet long with giant claws that tore stuff apart.

And finally, there's the pangolin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pangolin). It has scales of keratin (fingernail, horn) covering its body. It has sharp claws, and in some cases, sharp scales as well. It can curl up into a ball as a defense. Oh, and it has the skunk's method of spraying to deter predators.

LokiRagnarok
2013-06-06, 04:28 AM
This is a great thread.

Sadly, the only thing I can contribute is the shrike (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrike), a bird that puts insects on thorns "to tear the flesh into smaller, more conveniently-sized fragments" and to store them away for later. It is also appropriately called "butcher bird".

Oh, and what's more cool, they apparently evolved this behavior to let toxins in certain dead grasshoppers deteriorate to a point where they are safe to eat. I didn't know that.

Doorhandle
2013-06-08, 08:15 PM
This is a great thread.

Sadly, the only thing I can contribute is the shrike (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrike), a bird that puts insects on thorns "to tear the flesh into smaller, more conveniently-sized fragments" and to store them away for later. It is also appropriately called "butcher bird".

Oh, and what's more cool, they apparently evolved this behaviour to let toxins in certain dead grasshoppers deteriorate to a point where they are safe to eat. I didn't know that.

Speaking of toxic grasshoppers, I remember a species that was not only poisonous, but bright blue and traveling in vats swarms that would happily consume their own dead and considering marching along the ground. Think it may have been an African species?

Also, the new-zeland cave weta can go into suspend animation and freeze solid for a large part of the winter.

Mantis shrimp can also see basically every colour on the electromagnetic spectrum as well as having those super-punching fists, so that would be interesting to have on a monster. (http://www.cracked.com/article_18837_7-superpowered-animal-senses-you-wont-believe-are-possible_p2.html)

The platypus is worth mentioning again because it has a poisonous spur, and that it's apparently agonising.

Yora
2013-06-09, 11:13 AM
Speaking of weird animal abilities. Maybe we could also make a thread about weird skills humans have mastered. It's generally considered that in d20 games, 6th level characters are reaching the limits of what the human body can do and everything beyond that is superhero magic. But then from time to time, there are people who pull of what common sense would say is impossible.

Arbane
2013-06-09, 04:20 PM
Speaking of weird animal abilities. Maybe we could also make a thread about weird skills humans have mastered. It's generally considered that in d20 games, 6th level characters are reaching the limits of what the human body can do and everything beyond that is superhero magic. But then from time to time, there are people who pull of what common sense would say is impossible.

Good idea! Started it here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=287300).

Wardog
2013-06-13, 06:55 PM
When the mantis shrimp snaps its claw, the collapsing cavitation bubbles reach temperatures of "several thousand kelvins," producing a burst of light. It's not a steam bubble, though, it's a cavitation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavitation) bubble. (Plus the heat is too short-lived to affect anything, and neither the heat nor the light can be detected without special equipment. Of course, once you make the shrimp 10' long and put it in a RPG, that can change...)


When you said "put it in an RPG", my immediate thought what that you meant "fire it out of a rocket launcher".

***

As for other things, how about a super-fast flying dinosaur that kills other dinosaurs in mid-air?
http://xkcd.com/1211/

TuggyNE
2013-06-13, 07:32 PM
When you said "put it in an RPG", my immediate thought what that you meant "fire it out of a rocket launcher".

Why, what else would you do with it (http://rustyandco.com/comic/level-5-5/)?

Doorhandle
2013-06-14, 05:06 AM
Why, what else would you do with it (http://rustyandco.com/comic/level-5-5/)?

Make it fire you out of a cannon, make a giant one to guard your underwater lair, or awaken it and ask it to tell you the future.

drew2u
2013-06-16, 10:27 PM
The bacteria Pseudomonas syringae has a protein that instantly freezes water that comes into contact with it.

Imagine a swarm of these things freezing lakes, rivers, or even getting into peoples' lungs and freezing them from the inside-out!

Yora
2013-06-17, 07:47 AM
However, it can do so only at temperatures of -2 degree and lower.

drew2u
2013-06-17, 10:34 AM
However, it can do so only at temperatures of -2 degree and lower.

Dragons fly, oozes move about like mobile jello, the undead animate, and humans can stop time.
Just adjust the real-world ability to a fantasy setting!

Eldan
2013-06-17, 11:24 AM
Oozes are just big slime molds. Not much adaption needed.

Rhynn
2013-06-17, 12:58 PM
Oozes are just big slime molds.

Everyone's favorite fruit!