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July 13, 2007, 4:37 pm

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Cheka Man

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Draconian parasites


Dragons, being huge and meaty, are the ideal habitat for countless unpleasant parasites.

Wyrm wormsThese giant bowel slugs live inside dragons. They do not kill, but merely sap the dragon’s strength.

Hackmandibles. These are like fleas the size of your fist with a bite like a vice (they need it to penetrate the thick scales of their host). Enterprising but naive wizards think to use them as a source of dragons’ blood. In fact it’s harder to kill one of these than a Great Red: their exoskeleton is impenetrable to most blades and they jump up to twenty metres at a hop.

Scalefly. These are flies which colonise the epidermis behind the belly scales (the dorsal scales are too tough). They live long enough to lay hatches of maggots, which lay dormant for a few years, then continue the line. The maggots secrete juices which dissolve the scales and then they reabsorb it as food. When a scale is sufficiently rotted it will flake off. These are the main source of the infamous "weak spots" on a dragon’s belly which are penetrable to arrows.

Firetooth beetles. These are not really parasites, rather they have a symbiotic relationship with the dragon. When a dragon breathes fire it melts and burns the enamel on its teeth. The firetooth beetle eats this residue (the dragon grows more to replace it) and thus prevents the dragon’s teeth from becoming blunt and black.

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Comments ( 8 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Iain
October 29, 2005, 19:16
If you kill a dragon you might then get swarmed by all these parasites such as hackmandibles etc. After all, their host is dead and another dragon is far away, so they will presumably be after the closest source of fresh blood: i.e. you.
Voted Cheka Man
November 6, 2005, 18:29
The PCs could kill a dragon at the end of their adventure and then be attacked by all these horrible parasites and be chased away from the treasure by swarms of Hackmandibles and Wrym worms hoping off the dead body.
Voted Zylithan
November 16, 2005, 1:36
Very nice. There are many bug posts here that I'm not sure how I would bring into my adventure. The introduction of these creatures should be simple and amusing. It also brings a touch of reality to the game when players realize that dragons have mundane problems like tapeworms and that the large beasts can serve as an entire ecosystem to these fiends.
Voted manfred
November 16, 2005, 7:48
A very logical form of life to exist. Ever wondered why dragons are so shy of social contacts?

Having this knowledge, could it be possible to get a hold of a nice batch of these parasites, and plant them into a dragon's nest? (Preferably a young, strong, dangerous dragon.) A quest to stop or hinder the shatterer of the countryside... if you are too weak to kill it, you may at least weaken it.

Alternative: an old sickly dragon is at odds with a young and strong one... so he secretly asks some adventurers to take along his troubles to weaken the enemy.

Just make sure this parasites don't eat you.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
December 18, 2005, 21:05
I really like this one.
Voted MoonHunter
April 5, 2006, 11:13
I thought I had voted upon this, but not according to the system.

The ecosystem around a dragon is interesting. The existance of the bugs help to remove some of the invunerability of a dragon.
Voted Murometz
December 15, 2006, 19:26
Another ephe beaut! short, sweet, and scrumptious!
Voted valadaar
December 20, 2013, 13:19
Hmm, this one is quite interesting. I like it!

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       By: Raptyr

Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.

Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.

Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.

The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.

Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.

In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.

Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.

Ideas  ( Lifeforms ) | October 12, 2011 | View | UpVote 3xp

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