Creature of the Week- Arn

Derek Holland

Arns are one of the most boring insect monsters in Gamma World. They have been around since the first edition and of those versions I looked at recently, none really caught my eye. It is a weird combination of dragonfly (the primary appearance), bug and moth (its method of feeding). So I want to add something to the arn to make it a worthwhile encounter for player characters.

Arns are not that dangerous and so people have hunted them, not for their horrendously toxic flesh, but rather their other body parts. Their wings are extremely tough and the material they are made of can be used to fix broken optical sensors of androids, robots and other machines. Some Created communities farm arns for that purpose and occasionally use them en masse to deal with intruders. The eyes of an arn are 10-15 centimeters across and collect light. If processed correctly, the eyes can be used as solar collectors to charge some power cells, star fires or even act as solar cookers. A swamp community should have several on each roof on sunny days, if nothing else to heat and sterilize water.

Arns are in the 6th edition as mounts for little people and their naiads as bait for fishing. I think the naiads would be better as fish catchers like how some people have used birds. The naiad is kept on a line and when it strikes, is drawn back into the boat along with whatever it caught. If the prey is edible to the master, it is tossed into the creel and if not, the arn gets a meal. Occasionally there is a short circuit in the naiad’s growing process and it does not transform. The result is a shark sized insectoid monster with jaws that can rend metal and pierce most small boat hulls. It can not be trained, but there may be mutations and technology that allow some sort of control. If a method of creating these greater naiads is found, aquatic armies would have a game changer on their hands, one that could give them a major advantage, or consume their soldiers if the control method fails.

Arns also may be a form of slow communication between distant communities. There are dragonflies that migrate thousands of miles and if they can be trained, arns could carry messages burned into their wings or tied to their legs. In either case, several arns should carry the same message as predation is pretty intense in the wastes.

And all that without adding a single mutation from the books. Sometimes less is more.