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Friday, May 7, 2010

Snapper Worms

These giant predatory caterpillars lurk in primeval forests and jungles, creeping along the branches of giant trees and vines in search of prey. The Snapper ranges in size from two to twelve feet long, Their smooth gray-skinned bodies are slender and cylindrical, with six stubby gripping legs at the rear and six sharp claw-like legs at the front. The creatures head is little more than a pair of huge compound eyes and narrow nipper-like jaws.

Snapper Worms are the larval form of a short-lived giant moth. The innocuous gray moths live only long enough to mate and lay eggs before dying. Typically eggs are laid in early Spring. Two foot long Worms emerge after a very short gestation, voraciously feeding on both animal and plant matter, In late Autumn the now gigantic Worms burrow into loose debris and weave a tough silken cocoon, where they hibernate through the cooler months, emerging as adults the following Spring to begin the cycle anew.

The cocoons of Snapper Worms are prized for the tough silk strands that make up the protective shell. Hunting parties with specially trained dogs seek out the buried cocoons in early Winter, spearing the helpless larva and stripping away the outer husk, which can be used to make tough armor or very strong rope. The wings of the short-lived moth form are prized as a dye base.

Snapper Worms are omnivorous. They voraciously consume all manner of leaves and flowers, preferring young shoots and buds. They are also quite capable hunters. Their typical tactic involves anchoring themselves to a large branch or trunk and extending their body outward, mimicking a branch. When prey, any creature smaller than themselves, wanders near, they lunge forward, grabbing their victim with claw-like front limbs and biting with sharp jaws.

These hungry creatures have the following attributes and characteristics:
  • Average toughness - Snapper Worms have rather soft bodies, making them vulnerable to physical attack.
  • Great stealth - When in their ambush posture the creatures are very difficult to spot until they strike.
  • Superb vision - The creature's huge compound eyes provide it with an excellent sense of its surroundings.
  • Great claw and bite attacks - On their initial attack the Snapper Worm gains a two rank bonus to attack accuracy and can strike with six claw attacks and one bite. On subsequent rounds they strike with up to two claws and one bite. All attacks must be directed at the same target.
  • Numbing bite - Any successful bite attack by a Snapper Worm injects a Good quality poison into the target's bloodstream. This venom numbs the target, making them clumsy and slow. Unless a Good resistance check is made the victim will suffer a one rank penalty per bite to all skill checks.
  • Silky webs - Snapper Worms can spin silk fibers, strong enough to support their own considerable weight. They use these strands to pull themselves into the forest canopy. A Worm will typically have a strand available as an escape should an ambush go awry.
Snapper worms were inspired by the humble Geometridae moths. Weird Animals are always a good source of inspiration!
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