Hiders

Chris Van Deelen

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.

No. Enc: 2d20
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement: 90’ (30’)
AC: 6 (or by armor)
HD: 6
Attacks: By weapon or 2 claws and one gas attack
Damage: by weapon or 1d4 / 1d4 or class 18 poison
Save: L6
Morale: 3
Hoard Class: V, VI, VII, XVI, XXI

The wastelands are rife with rumor and legend as to the origins of many of the creatures that can be found. Quite a few believe that many of the humanoids are in fact aliens; others believe that they are the result of nefarious experimentation by the various governments before the final wars. And some believe that they are just the end result of the fickle nature of radiation and other toxins.

There are many who believe that these humanoids are in fact the survivors of an alien invasion that took place just after the turn of the millennia. Even after centuries of progression and then the final wars, rumors and legends persist of a failed alien invasion. Supposedly these creatures were on the brink of enslaving humanity when it was discovered that they could be defeated by water.

No one knows for certain if this is true or not, but many think that it was a rumor started and spread by the Xenophobes (see Wisdom from the Wasteland issue 6: Factions for more information) a faction of paranoid and dangerous humanoids who believe that the final wars were the result of alien intervention.

Regardless of the actual origin of these creatures, they are a threat to most humanoids and other creatures that eke out a living in the wastelands. They are very dangerous and have absolutely no regard for the welfare of any other creature. They are only concerned about their own safety and comfort.

The creatures are quite tall, typically being around seven feet in height. They are quite thin but very muscular. They weigh around two hundred pounds. Their skin is naturally grey in hue, but it is rare whenever it is seen. Most of the time these creatures are all but perfectly blended into the background due to their chameleon epidermis mutation. They tend to surprise on a 1-3 because of this ability.

There are females of this species of humanoid, although they are not seen all that often. The females do not give birth to live young, instead shortly after mating, they lay small clusters of eggs. These are about the size of a chicken’s egg and seem to consist of a shell made of a leather-like substance instead of calcium. The eggs take about six months to mature, and they grow in size until they are about the size of a human infant. At this time the eggs split open and release the young. The typical clutch consists of 1d6 eggs. The young reach maturity in about nine years’ time. Until that point, they live and learn from their parents and then set off on their own to find a suitable place to live and hunt from.

It has been discovered that they are highly intelligent and are fully capable of using artifacts, weapons and technology. They have their own natural weapons and defenses, but are not averse to using what they can get their four-fingered hands on. In fact when they are faced with a powerful opponent, some have been known to don artifact armor in order to fight. Still, most of the time they go around naked, relying on their chameleon epidermis to keep them safe.

When they do engage in combat, they can use their claws to some effect, but have a small tube in their wrist that they can protrude. This tube will release a puff of toxin, which is a class 18 poison. The gas dissipates after a single round and can only be used on a single target. They have enough of this gas stored in their bodies to use this attack 2d6 times per day. The gas replenishes at their natural healing rate.

These creatures do live together in small communities, comprised of up to twenty individuals. They do not pair off in couples like many humanoids do, and do not live communally, but instead have their own little dwellings. They always choose dry and secure locations and rarely ever live underground due to the constant danger of moisture accumulation (see below). They care for their dwellings in much the same manner as other humanoids. Some are fastidious and tidy, others messy. It all comes down to the individual personality.

The one major weakness these creatures possess is that their bio-chemistry is altered just enough that water, any type of water, acts like an acid. If they come into physical contact with water, even a single glass will burn them for 1d6 points of damage per round for 1d4 rounds. Submerging the creature into water will cause 10d6 per round until it can free itself. Due to this condition, the creatures prefer to live in arid locations, and are quite fond of deserts.

Still, they need liquids to survive and it has been discovered that they will drink the blood of any creature they encounter to replenish their own bodily fluids. They just have to be exceedingly careful around any source of water. In locations where it is rumored that these monsters reside, many of the residents go out of their way to ensure that they have water on or near them at all times.

Mutations: Aberrant form (natural weapons), bizarre appearance (d), chameleon epidermis, dietary requirement change (blood) (d) toxic weapon (class 18 poison), vulnerability to water (d)

Source: Signs (2002)