Tundra Beast

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120’ (40’)
AC: 4
HD: 16
Attacks: 2 claws and 1 bite.
Damage: 2d6+4 / 2d6+4 and 3d6+6.
Save: L20
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: I, II, IV, VII (artifacts only, 50%), VIII (any, not just gizmos), IX

The origin of this deadly mutant beast remains shrouded in mystery, although there have been hints as to where it originated from. If it was not for the first encounter ever recorded and set down as legend, the beast would have been written off as just another mutant monster, spawned by the toxins and radiation released during the final wars.

These creatures are slightly larger than a human, and have the physical appearance of a great ape, although they tend to be leaner, whereas the apes have broader chests. The head is similar to a cross between a wolf and an ape, with a long muzzle filled with long, deadly-sharp teeth. Both the hands and feet are likewise equipped with powerful talons for tearing and raking, and can rend flesh as if it was paper. The body and limbs is covered by long, white fur although the chest and the face remain fur-free.

When engaged in combat, the creature will grab and slash prey, and inflict a horrible bite. What makes it even worse is the creature eats while it attacks, causing incredible damage to the body. Each bite will inflict the listed damage, but on top of that the victim must make a saving throw versus death or lose 1d4 points of Strength and Dexterity, due to the monster eating muscle and flesh. If the saving throw succeeds, then the monster will just inflict the damage listed. Lost Statistic damage will be recovered at the victim’s natural healing rate per day, and the victim can choose which statistic is healed.

If any of the victim’s statistics are reduced to zero, the victim will die due to massive trauma, no matter how many hit-points it may still retain.

Whenever the creature inflicts statistic damage, it will automatically heal 3d6 points of damage it has sustained, making killing these monsters very hard. The best way to deal with the creatures is to attack them with heavy damage-dealing ranged weapons (typically artifact energy weapons work best) and not allow the creature to get within striking distance.

It has been discovered that these monsters are probably immortal. One of the first encounters with the beast was inside an ancient ruined museum, where the explorers happened upon a crate that had been lost in the rubble since the final days. Unwittingly they opened the crate and were instantly set upon by the monster stored inside, which devoured the explorers before escaping into the ruins.

Those sent to located the lost party discovered their eaten remains and found the crate, covered in blood of the victims. It had a single plate, which was almost illegible, but they were able to make out the words ‘arctic expedition’.

The beast somehow managed to find a way to procreate and has since spread across the North-American continent. There are those who speculate the creature is able to mate with great apes or even humanoid females. How the beast keeps intelligent females is anyone’s guess, but it cannot be a pleasant existence by any stretch of the imagination.

There have been those who have attempted to communicate with the monster, but it cannot be reasoned with. Those with telepathy see only the mind of an animal, and one that is hungry at all times. It views all other species simply as food, and has no use for them, communication or even baubles left to try and dissuade it from attacking. It scoffs at artifacts and treasure, having no use for either, although treasure can be found in the lair, the left-overs from previous meals.

The creature makes a home in caverns or ruins, preferring deep, cool and dark locations, and tries to make their homes near roads or trails, so that it has a steady supply of fresh food. The lairs are strangely clean and kept free of offal and even the bones and equipment of previous victims are carefully stored. The bones are always picked clean of flesh, but it keeps them in order to get at the marrow to help during lean times.

Also the creatures are completely immune to the effects of cold, as well as they are able to breathe water, and are not affected by submersion.

Mutations: Aberrant form (natural weapons, new body parts – amphibious lungs), immune to cold, longevity.

Source: Creepshow: The Crate (1982)