Tag Archives: Creatures

Creature: The Scavenger

The scavenger is humanoid, and indeed easily mistaken for a human. They stand between 1.5 and 2.0 meters tall and appear as ordinary people, usually dressed in good clothes such as dark suits. They do not speak, but their demeanor is passive, even friendly.

However, this is mere mimicry, designed to put the scavengers’ prey at ease. In reality, the entirety of the creature’s front is one big maw – when the monster attacks, this maw opens from its human mouth all the way down to the navel, revealing sharp rows of teeth not unlike those of a shark. The scavenger will, with its maw open, slowly approach its victim, use its human hands to hold onto the victim and bite off whatever it can – be that an arm, a head, or most of the victim. Children are swallowed whole.

While scavengers prefer eating people, and live prey at that, they do not hesitate to eat animals or corpses. The first witnesses to the scavengers’ true form observed them feed on corpses, and thus gave them their names.

Survivors invariably report being held in place as if in shock, or in a dreamy state. This is a hypnotic effect projected by the scavengers’ minds. This paralyzes the victims, as the slow-moving scavengers approach and ultimately devour them. A person who is able to resist the effect, or shake off the drowsiness, can easily evade the scavengers – they are relentless but move at a slow pace, meandering, swaying back and forth, at a slow walk’s pace.

Once a scavenger has gorged itself, it retreats to a quiet, secluded place – disused buildings, attics, basements – where it starts to digest. If it has eaten especially well, it will proceed to reproduce by mitosis – that is, a second scavenger will grow out of it until it detaches, fully grown and hungry, ready to start feeding.

Although it is easy to dismiss the scavenger as a dumb brute, they are quite intelligent. They will cooperate and hunt in packs, isolating individual humans or small groups, then swarm and attack them from multiple sites. In at least one reported case, the scavengers camouflaged themselves as security guards working crowd control at a demonstration.

Statistics

Strength: Average
Agility: Low
Intelligence: Average (human)
Endurance: Very high
Weapons: Holds on to victims with human arms, then takes bites out of them with teeth that can cut through limbs and bones.
Armor: None, but has no vital organs that could be critically hit.

Notes

I dreamed about these things and decided to write them down. I am sure they were subconsciously inspired by some horror movie or other.

Black Mold

 We realized quickly enough that something was wrong with the dream house we had just purchased. At first it was just floors that were wet without cause, and we thought there was an insulation problem, or a leaky roof. The mildewy smell that set in after a week didn’t help. We had no clue how terrible the truth was!

One night my wife woke me up with her screams. Seems she had wanted to go to the bathroom, only to step on a thick carpet of black mold. I swear by all that is holy that the mold writhed and shifted in the dim shine of the nightlight. It retreated under the bed, then appeared on the other side. It looked more like a colony of tiny creatures, mobile as an ant colony, but it was a layer of thick, black rot.

We made a run for it, got in the car and drove off to stay at our neighbors. We avoided thee specifics when we called for help the next day. The cleaner found our home empty but with that distinct mildewy smell. He said it might be covered by wallpapers, and that it might be quite a project to check and clean the building. Still scared, we agreed. I think none of us will ever forgeet what happened next. He never had a chance, and my wife and I barely escaped with our lives. The authorities took over, and I saw CDC vans and several men in dark suits at our house. We aren’t allowed back. Nor would we want to. My wife’s developed severe rashes on her feet and I am having a hard time breathing. We should have moved to California, after all.

Black mold infests houses in humid, warmer areas; usually after a flood brought moisture into the house. The mold is of a dark, blue-black color but otherwise looks like regular mold.

Once the infestation begins, it rapidly spreads, hiding behind wall panels and wallpaper, or under the floor. The mold doesn’t require any light, merely some heat, and any human house has plenty of that for the mold. The spread of the mold can be detected by some slight discolorations in places, especially when only a wallpaper covers the mold, but someone who does not know the tell-tale signs will assume it is merely a normal water discoloration.

After some time, however, the black mold will break out in the open; it will eat through the wooden panels of the wall, the floor, and the wallpaper. It can also be exposed by accident, for example when the house owners open up the wall or floor.

The mold has a rudimentary intelligence that grows as the colony increases in size. At first the mold may only be smart enough to avoid growing in places that would make detection obvious; later it may try to actively infect humans, for example by growing in places where it is likely to be exposed to people, or even by trying to over-grow a person in its sleep.

The mold is corrosive and highly poisonous. Touching the mold will lead to rashes. If the mold enters a person’s bloodstream, the person will suffer severe poisoning and will likely die.

Breathing in the mold’s spores is even more dangerous, as the lungs are a warm, wet place of the mold’s liking and it will infest the lungs of a human and grow there. If this happens, the mold will be able to spread all through the host’s body. When it reaches the brain, the host will go insane from intense headaches. Once the mold has thoroughly infested the host’s brain, it will be able to control the mad host on a rudimentary level. The host will not be smarted than the colony of the mold controlling it; but it will attempt to expose nearby humans to the mold culture. It may also attempt to kill those who threaten the mold. Eventually, the host is killed as the black mold slowly eats up its host from the inside.

The mold is resistant against most commonly used fungicides and because of its throughout spread in the smallest corners it is basically impossible to remove it from a house once infected. Burning the house could release spores, which are then carried to neighboring houses. The safest way to get rid of a black mold colony is to tear down the house, making sure the workers wear protective suits, and then burn the parts in sealed high temperature ovens. Black mold will also wither and die if its environment becomes too dry.

Statistics

Strength: N/A
Agility: N/A
Endurance: N/A
Intelligence: Varies (Low – Medium)
Weapons: Poison (death), lesser mind control
Armor: Immune to physical damage; vulnerable to fire

Things that Go Bump in the Night

RPGBlogCarnivalLogoSmallThe Blog Carnival – this month hosted by Of Dice And Dragons – is dealing with Things That Go Bump In The Night – or in other words, the strange horrors and creepy-crawlies that lurk just outside your field of view in the darkness. What I am trying to say is, it’s Halloween time! And, although I got a late start, I am going to try and catch up. I have some notes on strange creatures on file that I will post about in the next ten days.

Meanwhile, here are three suitable articles from my archives:

 Update, Nov 1st: My posts on this subject were:

You can find links to all other posts in the Carnival on Scot’s Wrap-up post.

World Building Link Finds

A few assorted links:

* If you are designing alien species or monsters, and want them to be realistic, you may find this website about different senses that animals have a good starting point.
* Stuck for names? The random name generator can help. It features several sets of names (American, Hispanic, Chinese, etc) and even generates addresses and other personal information! I would not personally use it for major characters, but it surely helps fill out the ranks of extras until you decide on better names, if ever.
* Charlie Jane Anders posted some thoughts on character design, which are probably not revolutionary but worth reading anyway.
* Tom Patterson is providing free, high quality shaded relief maps.

Arnâron’s Tree of Life – Draft 1

This is sort of a Post Scriptum to my first post about creatures

Tree of Life

Call me stupid if you want, but I never realized that Inkscape actually had connectors for shapes, and that you could thus create flowcharts and so on with it. I actually first tried to make the tree of life more artistic, but considering that it will change significantly as I introduce new creatures (and plants) I decided against wasting my time on that.