Ero

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement: 90” (30’)
AC: 4 (0 in armored form)
HD: 10
Attacks: 2 stingers or 4 stingers or by weapon
Damage: 1d4 / 1d4 + poison or 1d4 / 1d4 / 1d4 / 1d4+ poison or by weapon
Save: L10
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: I, II, III, VIII, and 1d4 various weapons (high tech, melee, primitive left up to the Mutant Lord)

This creature is not a single organism. It is in fact a colony of mutant Pirate Spiders that have developed a hive mind and work together as a single creature. In fact, the mutant arachnid does not consider itself to be a colony – it always refers to itself as I, not we, just as a single individual.

In its natural form this mutant creature appears as a massive swarm of thousands upon thousands of tiny spiders. It has two other forms that it uses, one appears to be a humanoid female covered in an insects armor-like carapace, the other is a humanoid. It is most dangerous in its armored appearance, as that is when it has its best protection and it is best able to defend itself.  In this form despite its awkward appearance, the swarm is capable of using its quickness mutation, which it cannot use in swarm or humanoid form. If it is using a weapon in this form, it can strike twice with the weapon, but only once in the humanoid form.

After the creature has suffered half of its hit point total in damage it must make a moral check or burst into a swarm of spiders and escape. While in this swarm form the creature can only be affected by area effect weapons or mutations, no other attack will be effective unless it can hit thousands upon thousands of individual spiders. It will use this to escape and reform and heal the damage it has sustained. The only way it can properly heal is by using one of its eggs sacks, consuming the eggs to heal itself fully or by consuming blood, which will heal it on a 1 for 1 basis.

When it deals with other creatures, it can use a modified version of metamorph to shapeshift into anything it desires. Most of the time this creature appears as a Pure Human, Human (see Wisdom from the Wastelands issue 4: New Races for more information) or Mutant Human, as that is the type of creature that it most often comes into direct contact with.

The reason it spends so much time with humanoids is that it needs their intellect and mass in order to reproduce. The spiders mate all the time, creating ‘sacks’ of eggs, which they store inside their body until they find a suitable host. As mentioned above these sacks can be consumed to completely heal the creature, and it requires 4d6 days to create a new sack.

Once they have found a suitable victim they will then, quite literally, ‘black widow’ the victim, seducing the victim and then paralyzing them so that they can cut open the stomach and place 1d3 egg sacks into the wound. After the eggs have been implanted, the creature will then wrap the victim in a web cocoon. The webbing is coated with the same class 11 poison to ensure that the victim will remain immobile while the eggs hatch.

It should be noted that during combat, the creature can choose which type of poison it will use, and when it is in its armored form, it will often use both types of poison during combat, since it can use its stinger up to four times in a round. It has 4d4 doses of each type of venom and can replenish it at a rate of 2d4 doses per day.

The eggs will require 1d3 days to gestate and once they hatch, the victim will suffer 1d12 points of damage per round per egg sack as the tiny spiders consume the victim from the inside out. The only way to kill the creatures inside the victim are using insecticides that have to be introduced directly into the victim’s body (quite possibly harming the victim further), or by using a mutation such as vampiric field to destroy the creatures. This will require 10 hit points of damage per egg sack to kill the creatures.

The number of egg sacks does not mean the number of Ero that will emerge once the victim has been completely consumed (reduced to zero hit points). They will emerge as a single swarm and form into a single creature. All it means is how quickly the consumption will take place – the more the creatures, the quicker the host will die. These creatures prefer to find very strong hosts, as the swarms created will have half the initial hit dice of the creatures they infect. They can grow to a maximum of 20 hit dice, with 10 being the average. Having more hit dice does not confer any special bonuses, only makes them all that much harder to destroy.

The mutant arachnids are rather territorial and will not suffer the presence of another of their kind. They will often set up a home in a community and if another of their type enters, they will actively seek out and destroy them. The only others they will tolerate are their own offspring and even then they will simply wait for the offspring to leave.

Larger communities can be home to several of these creatures, as they stake out territory based on population density. There could be as many as 1 per 250 residences in any community. They live among their food source (they require blood) often acting as merchants, craftsmen, or other professions, although sometimes they live as beggars or other wretches on the outskirts of the communities.

Personality wise, they are often loners except when the desire to create a new swarm occurs (which is approximately once every 6 months) and always appear as females. Even though they are loners they will interact with the populace in order to maintain their humanoid guises and feel out who would make a good host, and who would be good for a meal.

While in humanoid form, they will use clothing, artifacts and even weapons and armor to maintain the illusion of what they are.

Mutations: Aberrant form (natural weapons, xenomorphism), clinging, dietary requirement change (blood) (d), increased physical attribute (strength), metamorph (modified), toxic weapon (class 11 or class 17 poison), web

Source: Miss Arrow from the Spider-Man comics.

Chris Van Deelen is the author of the Skirmisher Publishing LLC sourcebook Creatures of the Tropical Wastes sourcebook, co-author of its Wisdom from the Wastelands game supplement and contributor to the 'Sword of Kos: Hekaton' Anthology.