Mantis, Giant

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 4d12, 1 queen
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 150’ (50’), 120’(30’) – flight for the queen.
AC: 6, 2
HD: 1, 3
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite.
Damage:  1d4 / 1d4, 1d3 or 1d8 / 1d8 / 1d6 (queen’s damage)
Save: L1, L3
Morale: 6, 9 (for the queen)
Hoard Class: None

Unlike many of the mutant creatures that have been discovered, this particular mutant insect was eventually verified to have been genetically engineered and either escaped from the laboratory that created it, or was purposely let loose.

This creature was first encountered in the Mojave Desert of the United States. It was discovered shortly afterwards that these insects had come from a hidden horticultural laboratory that had remained active ever since the end of the Ancient’s final wars. This particular facility produced a number of mutated insects and other plant life, but also was responsible for creating and distributing numerous plants that were much hardier and capable of growing and surviving in the toxic world.

 Calling these insects ‘giant’ is a bit of a misnomer. The insects are significantly larger than their ancestors, but have not gained the truly monstrous proportions of many of the other mutant insects that were spawned in the radioactive wastes. These creatures can grow to an impressive three feet in size and weigh around 100 pounds, but that is the extent of it.

These mutated insects are always found in swarms that can range from a dozen or so individuals to hundreds, although the latter is exceedingly rare to see. They are led by a single female ‘queen’, who can grow up to five feet in length and weigh around 200 pounds. This queen is stronger and more dangerous than the other insects, but like ants, there is only one. She mates constantly with the males of her particular swarm and lays 1d100 eggs once per month. These eggs require eight weeks to mature and hatch. Approximately 10% of these eggs are female, and once the female has hatched, the current queen will allow the other females to remain until they reach sexual maturity (after 2 years). When the females reach maturity, the wings sprout from their torsos and they are then forced to leave the swarm and start their own. Until they reach their maturity, they appear to be males and only close examination of the body will reveal that they are in fact female.

The downside is that the male who is chosen to mate with the queen always ends up as a meal, as was the case with their ancestors. Once he has fertilized the eggs, the female kills and consumes the male, using the nutrients gained to ensure that the eggs she is producing mature into strong and healthy offspring.

These creatures are not intelligent. They are driven by pure instinct and are only interested in finding food and keeping the queen safe from harm. They are constantly on the move, since a single swarm can easily strip an entire area of all edible plant and animal life. The larger the swarm,