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ID: 1248


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 )
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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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Hu's Iron Ball

       By: Murometz

Hu was an ambassador of the Seventh Emperor of the Reng Dynasty. Throughout his life he traveled across many miles and lands to entreaty with neighboring kingdoms and the semi-savages who dwelled amidst the Metal Mountains.

During one such diplomatic mission, Hu was gifted a small iron marble as a gesture, by a shaman of the Kiy-Kiy tribe. Little else is known of Hu, but that marble was lost and is now somewhere out there for someone to find.

A tiny, shiny sphere, the marble has several properties. First and foremost it is a strong magnet, considerably stronger than its size and density would indicate.

Secondly, if thrown or rolled upon the ground and the command word is spoken, the iron ball will magically enlarge to either the size of an ogres's head or to that of a great globe, twelve feet in diameter. The rolling ball of either size will continue to roll or fly at the same relative speed it was when launched as a marble, and can thus cause great damage to anything in its path. The magnetic power of the ball will also magnify when enlarged.

Legends claim that the ball has been tossed from besieged castles upon attacking foes and rolled at marching armies in ages past. At the end of such rolls, the larger size globe has been known to not only crush soldiers underfoot, but to also "collect" many dozens of metallic weapons and bits of armor unto itself, appearing as an armored sphere, with swords and spears sticking out from it in all directions.

Owning this powerful marble has its drawbacks. Anyone carrying it on their person, will experience the iron ball's insidious effects after some time. The owner feels no worse for wear, but after two month's time they will suddenly awaken one morning to find that their hair has fallen out completely, their teeth loosened like baby's teeth ready to drop, and their fingernails simply shriveled and sliding off the fingers and toes. Perhaps unbeknownst to the owner at first, the iron ball also renders an owner sterile or barren by this time.

Regular clerical healing will not reverse this horrible malady. Only finding and beseeching a shaman of the Kiy-Kiy tribe to heal the iron ball's effects with their particular brand of magic, will work.

Hu's Iron Ball should be handled carefully by players and gms.

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