Sunday, May 09, 2010

Hellstinger Scorpion

CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Native to Third and Fourth layers of the Nine Hells, where it is common, but can be found in desert ruins on Prime Material
DIET: Carnivore
TREASURE: Nil or incidental in lair
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Evil
NO. APPEARING: 1-35 (1)
THAC0: 7
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2d6+4/2d6+4/1d8+4 (+fire damage from claw and venom)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Hellish Sting, Fire Claw
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Immune to poison and heat/fire damage
MORALE: Steady (12)
XP VALUE: 8,000

Hellstinger scorpions are vicious predators that are native to the third and fourth layers of the Nine Hells, however at some point it is believed that an evil priest gated in hundreds of these creatures as part of an arcane ritual and the hellstingers flourished in Toril’s deserts, especially Anauroch. They look and behave very similarly to giant scorpions, but are immediately recognizable as extra-planar in origin by their searing heat radiating from their red-hot claws.

The hellstinger scorpion has a red carapace, legs and claws. The segmented tail is orange, with a vicious stinger on the end. There is a bitter smell associated with the scorpion, which probably comes from the venom. They make an unnerving scrabbling sound as they travel across rocky terrain.

Combat: The hellfire scorpion is 95% likely to attack any creature that approaches. Scorpions of any variety do not use visual or aural senses to detect prey. Instead they use the vibrations of the sand underneath them. Small sensors on their legs pick up and measure the strength of the vibrations, using the minute differences in the vibrations detected by each leg to locate the prey. Hence, the scorpion can detect your presence even if it isn’t looking at you or you are invisible. When it determines the location and distance of the prey, it calculates when the prey is within sufficient range to attack in a single rushed charge with pincers extended. It will remain motionless until this attack, and players must make a roll for surprise when it does. The scorpion can sense these vibrations up to a distance of 3 times that of its length. (Giant: 9’; Monstrous: 45’) Scorpions have the same limitations on attacking and moving that characters and NPCs do, in that they can not move more than 1/2 of their max movement in one round and still attack. Tunneling under a scorpion also does not protect from detection, unless the tunnel is so deep it is beyond the range of detectable vibration. Therefore, the scorpion is almost impossible to surprise by any attacker who travels on or below the ground.

An injured scorpion which is missing legs will suffer a 10% penalty on its detection roll for each leg that it is missing or crippled. If several adjacent legs are missing or damaged, the scorpion will not be able to detect motion in that quadrant.

The creature has a hellishly hard, chitinous carapace that gives it Armor Class –4. This monster attacks by grabbing prey with its two huge pincers, inflicting 2d6 points of damage each +4 points of heat damage, while it lashes forward with its tail to sting. Thus, it can fight three opponents at once. If a hellfire scorpion manages to grab a victim in a pincer, it will automatically inflict 2d6+4 points of damage each round until it releases the victim. If the sting is employed against an un-trapped victim, an attack roll is required for a successful attack, but a trapped character is automatically struck by any sting attack directed at him with no attack roll required. The victim has but one chance to escape. If he can make his bend bars/lift gates roll, he will escape the claw. However, this can be the character's only action that round and it can be tried only once per combat. If the victim escapes, however, it will automatically be stung without chance to miss by the reactive sting of the hellfire scorpion.

The sting inflicts 1d8 points of damage from the poison +4 points of heat damage and the victim must save versus poison or permanently lose one point of Strength. Neutralize Poison will stop the loss of strength and damage, and a point of Strength will be returned each time a full flask of Elixer of Health is imbibed.

Note that this scorpion type is immune to their own poison.

If a hellfire scorpion is reduced to 1 or 2 hit points, it will go into a stinging frenzy, stinging everything in sight, gaining two attempts to hit per round with only the tail. Slain creatures are dragged to the scorpion's burrow to be eaten.

Habitat/Society: Hellstinger scorpions live in underground burrows and ruins found in dry, arid climates. If found in a dungeon, or other subterranean location, the uncharacteristic dryness of the air created by the heat of the creature will be an early clue that something is amiss. Hence, they tend to favor climates where their natural ability to dehumidify does not alert potential prey to avoid them.

Each lair may (20%) have 5d4 scorpion eggs. These beasts eat any living creature that is unfortunate enough to stray too close to their lair. Any treasure found comes from the bodies of human or demi-human victims that have been dragged here to be consumed. Armor is rarely found intact, since the scorpion will surely have used its pincers to cut up its prey.

Ecology: These bizarre insects contribute little to any ecosystem. They themselves are seldom prey for other creatures and so where there is one, there are likely many.

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