Welcome to the Flaming Faggot

Callovia is called "the boundless empire" yet you have managed to find its northern border - a notorious roadhouse deep within the Madrasan Marches on the edge of the wilds of Llanvirnesse. The sign above the door reads "Flaming Faggot," which would suggest a cozy, homey inn with fresh biscuits served at teatime if not for the severed troll heads mounted on pikes at the gate.

As you cross the threshold the raucous din quiets momentarily as all eyes dart to the door and calloused hands drop instinctively to well-worn sword hilts. The threat, instantly assessed, is dismissed and roadhouse patrons go about their business hardly missing a beat.

Grim, hard-eyed men huddle around tables in close conversation thick with conspiracy; caravan guards gamble away their earnings; Caemric rangers sit close to the fireplace cooking the damp of the Black Annis from their clothes as they warm their innards with Red Dragon Ale; minstrels play and buxom wenches dance for the pleasure of men who pay them little attention - until they need a companion to warm their bed.

As you approach the bar, a huge, bald barman with a greatsword slung across his back slides a mug of freshly-pulled ale towards you, its frothy head dripping over the rim.

"Pull up a seat, lad," he says, "and let me tell you a tale of high adventure."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bestiary of Lemuria: Borer Beetles

The giant Lemurian Borer Beetle is a common inhabitant of subterranean limestone caverns.  It is seldom seen above ground, but evidence of its passing can be found in burrow-riddled outcrops.

burrow network

The Borer Beetle burrows by secreting a highly concentrated acetic acid, which quickly dissolves carbonate rock.  The animal absorbs essential minerals and nutrients by drinking the neutralized slurry, which it then uses to secrete a protective exoskeleton of chitino-phosphatic plates.  The beetle can go through several instars before reaching sexual maturity, each time shedding its old carapace before undergoing a growth stage and then secreting a new, larger exoskeleton.  During the growth stage it is completely vulnerable, and unable to move or protect itself; it therefore ensconces itself in a deep burrow before undergoing ecdysis.  Unlike other insects, Borer Beetles continue to molt and grow in their adult stage, and their upper size limit is unknown.

Borer Beetles are predaceous carnivores who ambush cavern-dwelling prey by undermining passage ways with a network of burrows.  When the prey passes over the burrow network, the passage collapses and the beetles fall upon the stunned creature, spraying it with acid then dismembering it with powerful pincers.

Borer Beetles are superficially similar to the Fire Beetle, but can be distinguished by bright green mottling on the carapace and an accessory secretory organ on the dorsal surface.

Beetle, Giant Borer (No. Encountered: 1-3)
Armour Class: 4    Special: Acid spray
Hit Dice: 2             Move: 12 (1 when burrowing)
Attack: Bite           HDE/XP: 3/60

The Borer Beetle can shoot acid from its accessory organ in a pressurized stream up to fifteen feet away, but  can only do so once before needing to recharge its reservoir.  This assumes a beetle that has just achieved sexual maturity.  Older, larger beetles have much larger acid reservoirs and may be able to fire an acid stream several times.  The acid deals 2d6 damage and continues to burn for 1 point of damage each round thereafter for 1d6 rounds.  Armour does not protect against the spray; only shields and dexterity bonus can help prevent the target from being sprayed.  While the acid will etch metal armour given time, if it is wiped off quickly it will not cause immediate damage.


migellito said...

Very cool! I'll definitely be putting these to use :)

Shane Mangus said...

Ouch, I hate acid attacks! Very cool little beastie indeed.

Sean Robson said...

These bad boys nearly dissolved the party's warrior last session!

Trey said...

Cool. I particularly like the scientific background info.

Sean Robson said...

Thanks, Trey. I often extract phosphatic-shelled fossils from limestone using acetic acid, which will dissolve calcium carbonate, but doesn't damage phosphate.