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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Nov 2005

    Default Re: GITP Monster Competition XIV - Gratuitous Gore

    Skin Spiders

    Fine Vermin (Swarm)
    Hit Dice: 10d8 + 10 + 3 (58 hp)
    Initiative: +8
    Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), Climb 20 ft. (4 squares)
    Armor Class: 22 (+8 size, +4 Dx), touch 22, flat-footed 18
    Base Attack/Grapple: +7/-
    Attack: Swarm (2d6 plus Consume Skin)
    Full Attack: Swarm (2d6 plus Consume Skin)
    Space/Reach: 10 ft/0 ft
    Special Attacks: Flying Leap, Distraction, Infestation, Egg Sac
    Special Qualities: Tight Cling, Immune to Weapon Damage, Swarm Traits, Vermin Traits
    Saves: Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +6
    Abilities: Str 1, Dex 19, Con 12, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 11
    Skills: Listen +12, Spot +3, Hide +20 (+16 size, +4 Dx)
    Feats: Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Toughness, Alertness
    Environment: Warm Desert
    Organization: Solitary, Infestation (2-4 swarms), Agony (7 - 12 swarms)
    Challenge Rating: 10
    Treasure: None or Standard (infested target's)
    Alignment: Always Chaotic Evil
    Advancement: None
    Level Adjustment: -

    A humanoid creature lurches toward you, its skin a transleucent mass of writhing red veins. Its overexposed eyeballs twitch in agony-induced insanity, and its guts are visible and barely held to its frame. Suddenly, the creature's skin leaps into the air, revealed as a mass of thousands of tiny spiders. Thousands of tiny rips tear the poor soul's flesh apart, as it collapses in a pile of blood and gore.

    A swarm of Skin Spiders appears transleucent. If presently swarming a victim, raw sinew and bone can be seen through the mass of spiders, though the 'skin' distorts the sight, and clearly writhes of its own accord. Each tiny spider has thin veins of red blood running down each of its eight barbed legs. The rest of its body is clear, including its milky eyes.

    Skin Spiders are rumored to be the creation of one of the demon lords. Though divination magic detects no fiendish taint on them, nature herself could never conjure a creature so foul. But whether or not the speculation is accurate, it is known that they are favorite pets of demons visiting the material plane. In their dark and dry way, the abyssal fiends love to joke about creatures who have contracted "a mild case of dermispidis."

    Skin Spiders' greatest love is to eat soft, tender skin. Whenever they sense that a victim is near, they will pursue it ravenously and irrationally, using Flying Leap as soon as they are in range. They will gladly abandon a partly eaten large, tough victim for a small, soft one. They prefer children and small creatures, and will never attack anything with tough skin (4 natural armor or better).

    Second only to their love of skin is their love of the agony they cause. Skin Spiders will never abandon a flayed victim unless it dies of its own accord or they can immediately jump to a new one. They will instead parade the creature around for days, looking ever more restlessly for a new banquet, but unwilling to give up the one they have.

    Skin Spiders will launch themselves at the smallest, softest target they see, and attempt to consume and infest it. This accomplished, if other targets interest them, they will move the current victim into jumping range and jump to the new target. If they cannot accomplish this, they will wander off to enjoy their current prey.

    Skin Spiders always use Infestation and Tight Cling on a victim immediately after consuming its skin, even if other victims are nearby. If the spiders have just infested a target, they can attempt to jump to a new target (slaying the current one) at the beginning of their next turn. Skin Spiders will only abandon a victim with skin left if a smaller or softer (lower natural AC) target presents itself.

    While intelligent, Skin Spiders live hedonistically and in the moment. They are unwary of their own demise.

    Flying Leap (Ex)
    Despite their small size, Skin Spiders are powerful jumpers when driven by vicious thrill. As a standard action, the Skin Spider swarm may leap to any creature within 30 feet (6 squares) in any direction and immediately deal their swarm damage.

    Distraction (Ex)
    Any living creature vulnerable to the swarm's damage that begins its turn with Skin Spiders in its square is nauseated for 1 round. A Fortitude save DC 16 negates the effect.

    Consume Skin (Ex)
    The 2d6 swarm attack is applied directly to a victim's skin. A living creature is considered to have a 'skin' with hit points of (Creature's HD + Size Modifier, Minimum 1) x (1 + Creature's Natural AC Bonus). The size modifier is +4 per size greater than medium, and -4 for each size smaller. For example, an 8th level human fighter with an Amulet of Natural Armor +1 has 16 skin hit points.

    A creature with no skin left after a Skin Spider attack is instantly slain, collapsing in a pile of blood and gore as its ragged flesh gives way. However, a creature attacked by the Skin Spiders only meets this end if the spiders jump to a new target or if the swarm itself is slain. See Infestation and Tight Cling.

    For the purpose of a Skin Spider attack, skin may be regenerated by any effect which grants healing. Skin regenerated after infestation negates the infestation effect until the Skin Spiders consume it.

    Infestation (Ex)
    If a creature's skin is consumed completely by the Skin Spiders, every spider in the swarm enters the square of the victim and the swarm uses its Tight Cling ability. The victim is then infested, falling under the physical control of the swarm.

    An infested creature can manage a few jerks or spasms of its own volition, but apart from that, it moves at the bidding of the hive mind, as the spiders dance and pull on raw nerves and sinews. The spiders will burrow deep into the victim's flesh to find particularly interesting pullstrings, their barbed legs leaving behind thousands of tiny tears.

    Skin Spiders' control over infested creatures is clumsy at best. As a move action, they can cause the creature to lurch along using any of its natural forms of locomotion, though infested creatures take a 10 foot penalty to move speed. Skin Spiders will never attack with an infested creature's natural attacks or equipment.

    The victim is conscious and can take mental actions, but is in excruciating pain. Even the simplest mental command requires a DC 15 concentration check, while casting and manifesting (when possible without physical motion) are practically impossible (DC 40).

    Skin Spiders do not deal their swarm damage to an infested creature, preferring to keep it alive as long as possible. They will gladly feed on any skin regenerated by the creature's natural healing, but will do no further harm to it. However, they will not feed or care for the creature; victims who do not recieve aid usually die of thirst over the course of a few days.

    Skin Spiders depend on the creature's own nerves and muscles to control the creature, and cannot control a corpse.

    Tight Cling (Ex)
    The barbed legs of the Skin Spiders cling together, forming a flowing mass of living material. As long as the swarm is infesting a victim, the Skin Spiders replace its skin for the purpose of holding it together and avoiding death through skin loss.

    Egg Sac (Ex)
    A single Skin Spider may lay an egg sac under the skin of a helpless, unconscious, or infested creature. The spider delivers a painless bite to the victim, and then spends 10 rounds creating its egg sac. The eggs mature over the course of 1d4 days, as an itching bump grows on the victim to the size of a walnut. When the spiders are mature, they burst from the wound as a fully grown swarm, and attack their host. Removing the egg sac before it hatches requires heal or similar magic. Mundane solutions such as hacking it off release an immature (7 HD) swarm.

    Hive Mind (Ex) A Skin Spider swarm with at least 1 hit point per Hit Die forms a hive mind, giving it an Intelligence of 6. When a Skin Spider swarm is reduced below this hit point threshold, it becomes mindless and can no longer control Infest victims (though its instinctive Tight Cling ability is still in effect).



    Knowledge (Nature)
    15|These vile creatures are a swarm of Skin Spiders. They are well known for leaping onto victims and consuming their skin, easily slaying even powerful creatures. This result reveals all swarm and vermin traits.
    20|When a creature is under the control of the Skin Spiders, the spiders are the only thing holding it together. If the swarm dies before the victim is healed, the victim dies too.
    25|Skin Spiders are selfish and won't let go of a victim while it still has skin, unless they can immediately jump to a softer target. They don't care for tough skin, and won't attack things with high natural armor.[/table]

    Plot Hooks
    • The Sultan's Daughter
      Good evening, and welcome to our little oasis in the sandstorm. You are heroes all, yes? We are overflowing with gladness that you are here. The sultan is eager to see such mighty warriors, and you shall dine with him immediately on our finest figs and wines. But, hmmm, as you might guess, there is a service he seeks, no?

      You are from the north, are you not? New to the desert, perhaps? Let me tell you about a little pest we have around here--just a pest, nothing more. It is a spider which likes to eat skin. Sometimes there are thousands of them, and they completely control people and force them to walk off! Not too dangerous for you, perhaps, but a horror to poor desert sandmen such as us.

      Not three hours ago, the sultan's daughter Inana and crown prince Raheeb left to visit the Koahin Oasis, and were attacked by these frightful creatures. Inana was overcome, and Raheeb--bless his name, and ascribe no cowardice to him--fled the scene. Fear not, Inana is in no immediate peril; the spiders will keep her for a day or two. But to rescue her from their grip is, hmm, too delicate an operation for such simple folk as us.

      The sultan knows you are a delicate and skilled man, and you, my fine lady, wield arcane might the visiting djinis tell us of! Such a minor matter is almost too little to bring up with you, as we are sure you have more than enough skill to rescue our little Inana from such tiny pests. The sultan will pay you richly for the safe return of his daughter, but, hmm, there is always a catch. Given your great skill, we could only assume treachery if she died, no?

      You may go into his tent now, and when he requests your help with a minor pest problem, you will know what he asks. Our most generous sultan, Ali-Atoyah!

    • The Dark Dungeon
      When the party explored a castle from top to bottom, the last door down always lead to the dungeon. They were at that last door now, and as it was opened, the predictable yet vile stink of carrion wafted up the black steps. The party descended into the pit, the flickering torchlight throwing sharp shadows on vile instruments of pain. Cages and racks, pokers and coals--Henry's draconic side showed well enough in his horns and his rule, but this was a little over the top even for him. Corpses and bits of them littered the equipment, but by the firelight nothing seemed alive.

      One corner of the room was clear of equipment, save a single corpse hanging from a pair of manacles on the wall. Rogar approached it curiously. "Wonder what's so special about this corner?" he mused aloud. At that moment, the corpse's head twitched, emitting a hoarse bark of "Haaaa'p" before spasming violently on his chains. "What the devil? His skin . . ." Rogar approached nearer. "It's . . . it's crawling. I think it's alive. And it's . . . it's bunching up to one side?"

      Kira looked over and suddenly emitted a shriek. "Get away, get back you fool! Skin Spiders!" She lurched at Rogar to pull him back, but there was hardly a need. He scurried away of his own accord.

      "The devil! Skin Spiders. What a nasty fight. Poor chap." He looked at the figure pensively. "You know, I think that's Lord Galen Stonehearth. Disappeared from the Paverly Guard three months ago and five hundred miles away. Henry must've been keeping him alive, too--the spiders sure wouldn't. What's he doing here?"

      Kira was busily digging through her potion bag. "If you give me a minute, I'll ask him. Those spiders wouldn't bother Prince Henry, and they're not going to bother me. Just back off, will you? This is a delicate job. You're likely to kill all three of us."

    • The Outbreak
      I don't know what to make of it. Fifth case this week, and that's an ugly lot. Skin Spiders, every time I turn around--and let me tell you, it's not a pretty sight. The people are desperate for a solution, and I'm afraid it's more than my men and I can manage. Let me see if I can give you the what's what.

      First case was on Monday, at the Poormen's. Lady Janice woke in the middle of the night--mother's instinct is how they tell it--to find her oldest son crawling with spiders. She rushed toward him all in tears, and the beasts abandoned him in a heap and attacked her. The screaming woke near the whole town, and by the time we got there, most of the family was gone. We got little Elena out, but had to burn the house down to keep down the bugs.

      How do Skin Spiders get into the middle of town like that? The wall is solid stone, and we guards do more than just standing around looking rugged and handsome.

      At midnight on Tuesday, there was an outbreak at the gate. The spiders appeared out of nowhere and were on us before we knew what was what. We lost Luke and Frederick before we had our heads, and let me tell you, it wasn't a pretty way to see 'em go. Miss Turnin our fix-n-bless-it lady showed up, and--heart of steel in that woman--she stood right by Joshua for the next ten minutes, prayin' over him all abustle while we burned the bugsies off with torches. Old Josh ain't been right for days, and not a one of us'll blame him.

      On Wednesday, it was Miss Turnin herself and the orphanage. Lost 'em all, and had to burn the place or we'd lose more men. On Friday, they crawled in from the roof of the Blackleaf Inn--lucky enough old Glindyboodle had a firesprayer set up, and fried not a few of them. They got to him in the end, though, and he turned the contraption on himself. The folks who were there reckon him a hero, and I'm not disagreein.

      And now this. See the bump on my neck? I'm not pretendin' I don't know what that is, and we got none of the healin or the firepower in this town to stop it, especially with Miss Turnin, bless 'er soul, gone to rest. I'm a dead man, and I'm leavin' so I don't take the town with me.

      All I got to ask is, find the foe responsible for it, and make 'em pay. There's folks says it's got to be a demon, and others say we got a dark druid callin nature down on us. I don't know, but I don't want 'em alive if that's clear. The law says death's the penalty, and I can't ask ya more--but some of the men have a pool down at Blackleaf for whoever catches the worm. And there's a bonus in it if he comes to, let's just say, an ironical end.

      That the tale, and if you'll excuse me, I'm bound for an old cabin ten miles out west. Help us, or get out of here and save your own skin. Heh. I gotta git.
    Last edited by Dove; 2007-10-06 at 02:33 PM. Reason: Tweaked stats, Added Lore and Plot Hooks