Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Squirmers




"It is absolutely necessary, for the peace and safety of mankind, that some of earth's dark, dead corners and unplumbed depths be left alone; lest sleeping abnormalities wake to resurgent life, and blasphemously surviving nightmares squirm and splash out of their black lairs to newer and wider conquests."

H. P. Lovecraft

Squirmers [Original name unpronounceable by humans]
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (limited flight/levitation)
Armor Class: -4 [4] (as Chain)
Hit Dice: 6+1
Attacks: 2 (Slash, Ray)
Damage: 1d4x2, Petrify*
Save: F8
Morale: 10

Special: Squirmers perceive invisible, ethereal, astral, and other immaterial things within a 60' radius as though using True Seeing. They are immune to Charm or Sleep and unaffected by illusions. The Slashing Tail attack is treated as a +3 weapon to determine whether it can strike a given target, but does not add the bonus. Their Petrification Ray can be re-tuned after a delay of 1d4 rounds to either Dispel Magic (3-times per day, 120' range), or Annihilation (up to 3-times per day, does 3d12, range 60'). It is rumored that upon being destroyed a Squirmer will unleash a Lesser Sphere of Annihilation, but this has never been verified.

Ancient relics of some long-dead and forgotten empire, these things were originally astral parasites that were captured, bound, and armored so as to serve as monitors and watchers patrolling the ley-line keeps and fringe-world outposts of their masters. The version presented above is the more common variety, but there are others out there including at least one instance of a very tiny (3hp) version whose swarms infest the Dome of Urlantru and another smallish version that served as a Familiar to the wizard Damthuss.

According to various records and fragments of lore, prior to their being taken-over by the Yithians, the Pnakotians fielded a prototype-version in their doomed war with the Polypous Things.

A number of specimens have been recovered from deep within the polar ruins of what is believed to have been a Hyperborean citadel that was modified and rebuilt by a succession of colonists and settlers over the course of uncounted millennia. Some of these specimens appear to have been modified to make them better suited to hunting and killing Mi-Go.

Though they are indeed Constructs, each Squirmer houses portions of the brain and body of the original parasite from which it was created. They are neither living, nor dead, nor undead, but rather are best classified as some weird in-between category unto themselves. This may be a major contributing factor in there being no known spells for banishing, dismissing, or releasing (nor protection from) one of these things in any of the more accessible sources.



Squirmers were inspired by the notion of what a weaponized bejewelled Mi-Go brain-case might be like and sort of evolved from there to become a peculiar sort of Watcher prowling about the ruined cities of dead worlds out along the rim of known space. It might be possible for a spell-caster to reprogram one to serve as a type of hireling or retainer or to serve as a body-guard or servitor...and wherever they might be left to patrol or to protect very probably still has some measure of loot or eldritch secrets just waiting for the taking...

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