Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jotunifluke

Jotunifluke
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 10' (90' Swimming)
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 6 to 12
Attacks: 1
Damage: 2d4 +Rotting
Save: F10
Morale: n/a

Huge and ponderous, blind and mindless, Jotuniflukes are gargantuan parasites found most often within the viscera of giants, cyclopes and titans. Even some ogres and ettins have been known to be infested with these horrid things.

At first the host feels nothing out of the ordinary, but over time (3d6 months) their blood begins to thin, their schlera turns a peculiar pinkish-gray, and they experience bloating around the abdomen. The effects are not debilitating, merely a nuisance, until the infesting flukes mature and migrate to the giant's liver. Then things get bad.

Originally, these organisms would have been content with simply reducing the infected giant's liver to a liquified mess of rotting cells, but over time and through exposure to various eldritch influences (possibly with some additional meddling by unscrupulous plaguecasters or others), these things have become far more pernicious and insidious. They do still begin with the liver, but now they go on to rot the victim from within, until, in the final stages, the victim collapses into a massive heap of gangrenous, liquifying flesh.

The rotting flesh produced by Jotuniflukes is highly toxic and contagious. It has poisoned wells for over 20 miles in several instances. Anyone coming into contact with the stuff must make a Save or take 2d4 damage and watch helplessly as their flesh begins to rot away at a rate of 1d4 hit points cumulative damage per hour. Potions have no effect on this rotting disease, and all healing spells are reduced to 1/4 normal efficacy. Drinking water contaminated with the stuff inflicts 1d4 damage, and requires a Save (at +2 however) to avoid contracting the rot. Boiling the water will not destroy the disease, but alcohol will kill it if applied topically, allowing healers to have a good chance to avoid contracting the sickness, if they know this trick. Mixing alcohol into the water will give a +1 bonus to Saves versus the waterborne version of the rot. Most people are content to just drink wine and avoid water that might be contaminated.

But Wait, There's More...
Jotuniflukes are not just the source of a terrible rotting disease, they have a tendency to survive the death of their hosts. This is significant in that the bloated, throbbing semi-amorphous things then blindly grope about for another victim. If they come into contact with other organisms, they will attempt to infest them, often by attempting to force themselves into the victim's body by a form of osmotic over-pressure. Giants and related species must make a Save at -2 penalty or have the Jotunifluke attach onto them and begin to bore into their body, doing 2d4 damage per minute until the thing either is insinuated (3d4 minutes) or is removed or destroyed.

Against non-giants this attack inflicts 3d4 damage per minute until either the Jotunifluke infiltrates the new host's body (this will usually kill them), or it causes the unfortunate (non-giant) victim to explode into 1d6 bits and pieces, all of which begin to rot. Those who manage to remain mostly intact through this grotesque process are terribly bloated and suffer massive internal trauma (2d4 damage per minute as long as the situation persists). Those victims who do die in the course of the Jotunifluke's infiltrative attack tend to form a crust of rotten flesh around the creature's outer membrane. Aside from being spectacularly disgusting and extremely contagious, this layer of liquifying flesh provides the Jotunifluke a form of armoring that prevents them from being affected by touch attacks such as ghoul paralysis, and so on.

Jotuniflukes do not distinguish between living or dead organisms and will infest either depending upon their access to them.

It Could Be Worse...
Jotuniflukes do not begin life as gigantic blob-like masses of protoplasm that wriggle merrily away as they dissolve otherwise vital and powerful giants into wretched masses of putrescence. Far from it. They begin life as tiny flukes swimming about in swampy regions, marshes, along river banks, and so forth. They are eventually taken into the guts of various herd animals and it is while in the guts of these creatures that the proto-flukes develop into the wriggly-things that non-giants often spot in their herds as the creatures squirm about under the skin of the infected cattle. Most herders either destroy these animals or separate them from the herd in order to either cut-out the large (bigger than a grown man's fist) wrigglers, or use some herbal purgative. The purgatives are dangerous in that they do not kill the wrigglers but only cause the animals to expel them from their systems. If the wrigglers are not killed, preferably by burning, then they will make their way back into the water, or attempt to latch onto another herd animal host, or even one of the wranglers or handlers, if they're not careful.

These things are something of a nuisance to non-giants, but they are far worse to deal with from the giant's perspective as the wrigglers can infest the guts and flesh of their gigantic cattle without being spotted, and then, when the giants consume the infested flesh, they in turn get infested. The rotting effect doesn't kick in until after the Jotuniflukes reach the giant hosts' liver. So, if they can be detected before that point, they can be removed or destroyed without having to deal with the horrific rotting plague that they can bring about.

4 comments:

  1. Hello from another A to Z blogger! Ah, this would have been a great blog for me in my teens, back in those 1st ed days when companies like Judges Guild still stalked the land. I've been impressed by the Old School revolution that seems to be sweeping the hobby. Perhaps it will awake this Grognard from the dead!

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  2. Hello! Thanks for stopping by. We're big fans of the classic Judges Guild stuff. what we like most about the revolution/resurgence/renaissance surrounding the older forms of the oldest RPG is the emphasis on growing new stuff from out of the old stuff. It's intriguing to see what new choices we can make and what new directions we can take, as we delve down into the roots of what has gone before and see what we can do with it all, knowing what we do now, having access to what all we have now. Fun stuff.

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  3. @Jim: It occurs to me that it would be interesting to think about what kinds of parasites infect WorldBoats - which I am sure you have. I could see these doing damage to them, especially if the WorldBoats have any kind of nutrient-rich organic integument.

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    Replies
    1. There is a whole table for such things in the works. The whole weird ecology of the various Worldboats is really something to explore...

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