Ute Nagat was a man not often defied. As one with the stature of a
giant he received the obedience of those cowed by physique alone. As
a member of the Society of Yern Hunters he received the submission of
those willing to bow to authority and experience. As a member of the
Nagat line he was served by those respecting his long and storied
lineage. Such was his right.
There was no doubt in Ute’s mind that he would not be defied by the
world either, for he knew he would be the first to find Yern, a city
lost to the writhing jungle of the Madlands centuries before. The self-assurance that made his failure to date all the more galling.
After his last expedition returned with vast treasures but no new
knowledge of the lost city, he had immersed himself in the archives
of his order. He searched through vault after vault of painstakingly
collected knowledge about the vast swathe of the world hostile to
human life itself. In endless stacks of shipping manifests,
historical accounts of petty deeds, and overwhelming numbers of death
receipts, he eventually found a single, solitary, solid lead to
follow. In this, as in all things, Ute had no plans on being defied.
We may have finished with the cave monsters but we’re not
heading for the surface yet. Today’s
entry is a fun new monster from the Tome
of Horrors 4, the cavern crawler!
Somewhere between a centipede and a giant lizard, the cavern crawler’s
unique look is part of the charm to me.
They’re weird without being (for this hobby, at any rate) so out there
that they don’t fit into the game. A
female-dominated society with one breeder and a number of males who act as
hunters is an unusual trait for reptiles, too.
The toxic confusion bite
rounds off the cavern crawler’s abilities very nicely although some of you
might prefer it as a curse depending on what you’re looking for. Overall, this a fun monster that’s great for
underground encounters (especially if you’re more Weird World Below than Classic
Underdark with things). They’re readily
adaptable to places like alien jungles or strange, mutated madlands environments
without any trouble at all, too.
When an expedition
was launched into the caverns uncovered beneath Taragor, few expected to
find anything of great significance.
Beauty and wonder, certainly, but sages were quite certain that the
underground could not be the home to strange gods and weird beasts that were
whispered of among the common folk. Quite,
quite certain. And quite, quite
wrong. The cavern crawlers of Taragor
have become famous in the Queen’s Menagerie despite their bite having driven
three good men into a permanent stupor, including her most prominent rival for
the throne. Further discoveries no doubt
await, possibly to the fabled City Below, but finding a way past the cavern
crawlers has been challenging.
While exploring the
long abandoned reaches of a space station built into a mining asteroid, the
adventurous crew of a voidjammer discovers the reason the place was abandoned –
an infestation of cavern crawlers.
Native to the dark side of a world tidally locked to a cool, dim red
star, the crawlers’ ability to see in the dark, many clinging legs, and hardiness
in the face of temperature swings has left them well adapted to life in the
sealed, pressurized tunnels. They hunt
the morlocks who are all that remain of the station’s former owners, who in
turn feed on the wild fungi and grav-adapted plants that sustain the station’s
atmosphere with the aid of ancient magics.
Seeking to create a
guardian beast more pliable than their usual fleshwarped servants, one of
the drow houses of Kalkiranin turned their alchemical and surgical techniques
on some of the city’s famed riding lizards.
Rather than a sentient, pained creature, the process yielded slightly
smaller, stronger lizards with dozens of legs.
Though the dark masters who created them have little trouble controlling
the beasts thanks to enchantments laid upon them during their creation, others
frequently have much more difficulty.
Cavern crawlers’ cursed bites inflict a virulent, confusing haze of
hallucinogens and drow magic on their victims, though a few depraved addicts
deliberately seek out the “enlightenment” of utter confusion.
of Horrors 4 36
The image above is from the Tome of Horrors 4. I don’t know who the artist is as the piece is unsigned.