Bone Snatcher

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1d4
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 90’ (30’)
                     60’ (20’)
AC: 3
HD: 4-16
Attacks: 2 bites and 1d4 claws
Damage: 1d6 / 1d6 & toxin (see description), 1d3+1 & toxin per claw attack.
Save: L4-16
Morale: N/A
Hoard Class: Incidental

This is a creature which lives deep in the soil of deserts and flat-lands, which uses the bones of the dead to form a framework, allowing it to move and burrow far more quickly than it otherwise could.

Originally the creature’s ancestors were nothing more than common worms, but as with nearly all life, they were mutated by the results of the final wars. They still resemble their original species, typically being about 3-5 inches in length, although they are now obsidian-black in coloration. These creatures secrete a slime which acts like a powerful adhesive, allowing them to meld together to form sinews and musculature, which they use to wrap around the bones and skeletal remains of dead beasts and beings, allowing them greater mobility and access to natural weapons.

When they find a mass of bones, the creature forms a network by bonding with other members of its own kind and they surrounding the structure of the skeleton, often incorporating the remains of other skeletons to make up for any missing limbs or the critical structures they require to animate the remains.

Most of the time the skeletal remains they use are quadrupedal or bipedal in shape, almost always consisting of two legs, two arms, a spinal column and a skull. It is not uncommon for these creatures to use two or even three skulls, all from various creatures, to use as weapons. More often than not, the creatures will have a humanoid skull and an animal skull.

The monsters also have a deadly attack, a toxic secretion they use on the claws and teeth of the skeleton. When a subject is bitten or clawed, they must make a saving throw versus poison or their blood will become acidic for a short period of time, the water molecules changing the chemical composition and bonding with the toxin. This will inflict 3d8 points of damage per round for 1d6 rounds, as the very blood of the victim begins to eat its way from the inside out. This also inflicts 1d4 points of Constitution damage, and if the creature’s Constitution score (or hit dice) is reduced to below zero, the creature’s entire organic matter will have melted away, leaving behind a skeleton, ripe for the mutant monster to use.

This monster also uses the same secretion to poison water supplies. By spending at least 3 rounds in any form of water, it will take on the toxic properties of the acid. This will not be readily noticeable at first – someone drinking or entering a contaminated water source will not notice anything is amiss for 1d4 rounds. After that, the acid will begin to take effect. Moving through a contaminated source will inflict 3d8 points of damage per round, as long as the creature remains inside the medium. As soon as it leaves, the damage will stop. Anyone drinking the liquid will suffer the same damage as listed above, for the same duration as if they were injected and lose Constitution.

Water so contaminated is no longer potable, and must be disposed of or it can be used as a weapon in its own right.

When these creatures engage in combat, they attack with each head, biting and trying to inject the toxin. They can also use 1d4 claw attacks per round. Due to their physical nature, the creatures have a natural damage reduction of 6 against piercing and slashing weapon attacks (which includes bullets), but take full damage from bashing or energy-based attacks. They are also completely immune to acid and poisons.

After they have sustained damage, if there are any bones around, they can incorporate the skeletal structure of other creatures into their own bodies, repairing any damage. Any creature killed by their Constitution dropping to zero will be incorporated into the body of this monster, increasing its hit-dice by a quarter of the victim’s original hit dice or Constitution score. They can likewise use the hit-dice or Constitution score to heal damage, repairing 1d6 points of damage they have sustained per point.

These monsters survive by feeding upon the sloughed-off melted flesh, muscle and organic compounds of their victims, while using the bones to create their bodies. Once a creature has hit 16 hit dice, it will literally split into four smaller bodies, each with 4 hit dice. These will then eventually leave their parent and seek out territory of their own.

Hunting is accomplished by borrowing into the ground and waiting for prey, or simply using their unique sense to track down corpses or deposits of bone to use to repair or create a new body. This sense has a range of 1000 feet. When they burrow they are slower, but they can sense the presence of vibrations on the surface up to 500 feet, and they will travel towards the source and gain surprise on a 1-3 on a d6.

It should also be noted these creatures will never retreat, they will always stay and fight until they or their prey has been vanquished.

Mutations: Aberrant form (natural weapons), toxic weapon, unique senses (vibration and sense bones)

Source: Burrowers (2008)