New Mutant Monday Series Two #47 - Killing Claws

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1d6
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 60’ (20’)
AC: 8
HD: 2
Attacks: 1 grab and 1d3 claws
Damage: 1d4 plus poison, 1d3+1 per claw plus toxin
Save: L2
Morale: N/A
Hoard Class: N/A

The few remaining scientists and scholars in the wastes cannot come to an agreement with what this creature is. Some believe it is a fungus, others believe it is a plant, and there are those who believe it is Lumbricus terrestris – a mutant form of the common Earth Worm.

The creature typically is never seen until it is too late. It lives just beneath the surface of the ground, or in piles of organic debris such as dead plants, corpses of animals, and fallen foliage. The creature remains unseen until prey comes close enough then it will attack.

Bursting from the ground, the creature will lash out with its long, finger-like tentacles and either try to grab or slash at targets. Due to this, the creature will gain surprise on a 1-3 on a d6 roll. The claws are coated with a class 10 paralytic poison. Even if this fails to paralyze the target, the claws will still attempt to grapple with the target, and they are surprisingly strong for such fragile-appearing appendages. The claws have Strength of 12 for grappling purposes.

The other claws will slash at the target, inflicting damage but also injecting a nasty toxin into the bloodstream of the target. This will cause the blood to coagulate if a saving throw versus poison is failed. The toxin causes 5d6 points of damage and the target must roll on percentile dice. If the roll is the same or less than the damage sustained, the target dies as the blood causes the heart to stop. So if the target suffered 23 points of damage, it has a 23% chance of dying. Only one saving throw is required, no matter how many times the claws inject the toxin into the bloodstream of the target.

After a target has been killed, the creature will remain with the corpse for 2d4 days, slowly feeding off the rotting flesh. During this time the creature will also lay 4d100 eggs. The eggs will incubate, using the chemicals released during the decay of the remains to help them grow. After 7 days the eggs will hatch and the corpse will be filled with the wriggling maggot-like spawn of this creature, which look like a cross between a maggot and a fungus. The offspring will continue to feast upon the remains, eventually stripping away all remaining organic material and even burrowing into the bones to get at the marrow. After 48 hours nothing but the white bones will remain.

During this period, anyone coming within 5 feet of the corpse will be subjected to an attack by these maggots. They can and will burrow beneath the ground in order to find fresh meat, and are coated with an anesthetic-like slime, so when they come into contact with a living organism, it will not realize it is under attack.

2d20 of these creatures will make the trek from the corpse to the new prey and can only burrow through bare flesh. Clothing, boots or other protection will prevent them from gaining a toehold on the target.

If they do succeed in attacking (requiring a successful melee attack, attacking as a two hit dice monster), they will burrow into the target. Here they begin to feed upon the targets blood and organs, inflicting 1d4 points of Constitution damage per day. This will persist for 1d4 days, at which time they will have matured enough to leave the host and burrow into the ground. If the host’s Constitution score drops to zero, the host dies. Any modern anti-bacterial or viral drug, as well as certain types of mutations such as vampiric field will kill the maggot-like creatures. Furthermore creatures with their own natural toxic weapon or poison will likewise kill the invading creatures.

Mutations: Aberrant form (natural weapons), epidermal change, toxic weapon

Series Two Index