yellow creepers

“You threw our rings into the wishing well,
Your best friend didn’t know what to do.”

[Will] [Oliver] [Hannah] [Ian] [Sean]

Bathysphere Jellyfish (Planescape)

The bathysphere jellyfish is probably one of the coolest vermin that Paizo has written. If you can’t recall why the name looks familiar, bathyspheres were spherical submersibles developed in the late 1920s and 30s. The bathysphere jellyfish is a symbiotic/parasitic jellyfish that can attach to a creature’s head and extend a pocket of breathable air around them. Since these creatures are natives of the Elemental Plane of Water, that makes them highly convenient and useful, kind of like the Babelfish. Unlike the fish that makes God go poof, bathysphere jellyfish can hijack their host’s bodies when they fall unconscious, which could lead to all sorts of trouble.

Oh, and they can take over corpses too. Yay jellyfish zombie apocalypse!

  • The bathysphere jellyfish that most cutters are familiar with is only the medusa stage of the creature’s lifecycle. Polyp stage is superficially similar to an aquatic version of a yellow musk creeper, albeit the polyp is a vermin, not a plant. The polyps are often found in cave networks and exude large bubbles of air, which can make the indispensable to adventurers trapped on the elemental plane of water, but the bathysphere polyps are exceedingly aggressive.
  • Priests of Ghlaunder have found a way to breed fiendish bathysphere jellyfish. Unlike the regular jellyfish, these creatures drain blood from their host, usually completely draining and killing them in the process. The air these jellyfish produce contains a fine mist of blood, so now priests of Mordiggian and Zura seek to weaponize the jellyfish to create a plague of ghouls and vampires.
  • One of the grandchildren of the frost-jotun Mjol seeks the hand of stormy Aegir’s daughter Unn. She knows she can never marry Unn without reaching Aegir’s hall at the bottom of the ocean first and has thus contracted adventurers to find her a bathysphere jellyfish large enough to provide her with air. Finding such an impressive specimen is a feat in and of itself, but transporting it back to Jotunheim is a task that is truly worth the songs of skalds. 

YELLOW MUSK CREEPER

The yellow musk creeper is a parasitic plant that feeds on brain matter. The large yellow flowers of the creeper produce a spray of pollen when they sense the vibrations of nearby creatures. This pollen has mind-controlling properties which compel creatures to come within the grasp of the creeper’s vines, which latch onto the victim and tunnel into the brain.

Those who have their brain destroyed by a creeper become a part of the plant’s reproductive cycle. While seeds gestate within them, the host is compelled to stay close to the parental creeper to protect it against harm. When the host eventually dies through trauma or natural decay, a new creeper grows from the body at an accelerated rate.

The creeper is extremely resilient, able to heal damage deal to it quickly. Fortunately, it’s as weak to fire and corrosive materials as one would expect from a plant. The plant is capable of movement, but is extremely slow.

One of my favourite creatures from D&D, though it feels a bit more of a natural hazard than a true enemy. It has an Intelligence score of 2 though, which puts it on par with dogs and other smarter animals so I suppose that distinguishes it from being a plant that just sits there.

Parasitic plants obviously exist in the real world, but they’re parasitic because they latch onto the roots, stems and what-have-you of nearby plants to steal their nutrients. The yellow musk creeper is possibly inspired by the members of the infamous Cordyceps genus, a parasitic fungus. Some of these fungi essentially turn insects into zombies, forcing them to climb to high places and starve to death to ensure better distribution of their spores.