Sunday, January 2, 2011

RPG Brainstorming: Jennifer's Monsters

This installment of RPG Brainstorming is being handled by our extra special Guest Blogger Jennifer from Book Scorpion's LairJennifer maintains an extensive collection of stock images at her DeviantART gallery, including a number of old illustrations of monsters and mythical creatures that people may find useful--so definitely drop by and say 'Hi!' sometime.

Werewolf - silver bullets, piece of cake. Red-eyed black dog - yawn. Giant red-haired gorilla - been there, done that. Velvet worms - not agai ... wait, what?

I'd love a velvet worm as a pet, but as a monster they would make me run. They sneak up on you and the first thing you probably notice of them is the gentle touch of an antenna. Before you can say ew!, you're covered in sticky slime. Even if you manage to run, the velvet worm will follow you single-mindedly and if it captures you, you can look forward to having your intestines dissolved. Some species of velvet worms even hunt in packs. Here are a few links to Velvet Worms at Buzzle, A site with some good introductory facts on Velvet Worms, Encyclopedia Britannica on Velvet Worms, The Australian Museum page for Velvet Worms, Arkive, Spitting with a Segmented Brain, and at the bottom of this post at the Real Monstrosities blog is a Velvet Worm.

Image from: http://spluch.blogspot.com/2007/01/giant-centipedes.html
Centipedes are even worse. I encountered centipedes in one memorable Cthulhu adventure and it was a very close call - they are extremely fast and aggressive. Add to that the fact that they have a poisonous and painful bite, can walk up walls and on the ceiling and that they can raise themselves on the last three leg pairs and you have a monster no-one will forget. Here's a video of a giant centipede catching a bat in flight while the centipede is hanging from the ceiling of a cave. Scolopendra.be has more infomation on them, as has Arkive.

Assassin bugs are great, too - not only do they look like aliens, they also have an extremely painful sting and can hit your eyes with a defensive liquid from about a foot away (millipedes can do that, too). An assassin bug will wait for its prey to walk by, coming closer very slowly and will then attack in the blink of an eye, ramming that long and sharp proboscis into their prey. Think Brain Bug. Here's a video of an Assassin Bug in action. With that image stuck in your head, you can find out more at Assassinbug.com.

Speaking of Starship Troopers, Bombardier Beetles are really weird and were the inspiration for the Tanker Bugs, the ones that shot flaming liquid from their mouth. Bombardier beetles can't shoot flames, but if you pester one too much, you will get sprayed with a hot gas that is definitely painful if you get some in your eyes or on your skin. The beetle stores hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide in two separate chambers in its body, mixes them in a third chamber and the mixture heats up to about 100°C/212 °, becomes gaseous and then gets fired at the attacker. Don't think you're safe if you're in front of the beetle. It can swivel the firing gland between its legs or over its back. Oh, and it can repeat the attack multiple times per second. Here's an article with some cool pictures of the process

Some nice Cornish Mussels courtesy of Wikimedia
Mussels - yeah, right. What can they do, except give you food poisoning? Apart from being a lot more mobile than people think, here's a mussel that gives me nightmares. Forget killer clams (the most inoffensive animals ever, whatever Doctor Who may want us to believe), clampires are the way to go. You can find more photos of mussels of various types and sorts at the Unio Galleries.

Image from: http://www.bgsd.k12.wa.us/hml/jr_cam/macros/tl_pond/tl_pond.html
And finally, dragonfly larvae. Two words: extendable jaws.

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Jennifer's Monsters by Bookscorpion is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at oldschoolheretic.blogspot.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://bookscorpion.deviantart.com/.

1 comment:

  1. Good work, Jennifer I say. Even scrolling down the page there's a slight apprehension, and it shows how much of the fantastic there is in the world around us.


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