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Lifeforms
Fauna
Plains
4.06
9 Votes

32xp


Hits: 5402
Comments: 11
Ideas: 0
Rating: 4.0556
Condition: Normal
ID: 2924

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Updated:
August 9, 2006, 11:16 am

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Grassbiter

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“Careful where you step.  There’re grassbiters ‘round here.”
-Farmer Jorl

Full Description
An adult grassbiter is about two feet in length.  The lizard is somewhat torpedo shaped, with a squat body and blunt tail.  The jaw is nearly as tall as it is wide, housing a set of sharp, serrated teeth, large for a creature of this size.  A thick lip-like structure surrounds the mouth.  Its four legs are thick and strong.  A grassbiter is covered with tiny scales which chance color to blend in with its surroundings, usually grasses.  On the back of its neck is a dark patch of scales that is vaguely mouse-shaped.

Additional Information
Grassbiters are an unusual creature in their eating habits.  A grassbiter will lie silently in the grass, occasionally crawling slowly, waiting for its prey.  Prey varies, usually deer, oxen, or other grazing animals, but they have been known to attack even wolves and snakes.  When an animal approaches a grassbiter, it remains hidden due to its camouflaged coloration.  When the prey is in the grassbiter’s range, it will leap up, suction whatever part of the animal it gets its mouth around, and removes a large chunk of flesh with its powerful jaws.  The grassbiter then releases and scurries away into the brush, leaving its prey stunned and injured.  The wounds are very distinctive: perfectly cut ovals of missing flesh.  Farmers know this mark well, and tread warily in their fields when livestock show such bite marks.  The dark patch of scales on its neck is believed to attract predatory animals such as foxes and larger lizards, which perhaps provide more nutrients for the grassbiter.

Grassbiters live alone except when mating.  Their normal habitat is tall grasses, though they are also known to live in more dense forests.  Despite their seeming aggressive nature, they are easily frightened when caught by surprise and will run after their first bite attempt.

Role-playing Hooks
They’re everywhere! - While travelling through farmlands, the players are chased down by a farmer waving a hoe.  The farmer explains that there has been a sudden surge in the grassbiter population, leaving crops impossible to harvest safely and livestock tainted, covered head to toe in fist-sized bites.  The farmer begs the players to resolve the infestation.  They could walk through the farmlands hunting down every last one, or perhaps investigate a deeper cause (is the infestation a symptom of a bigger problem?).



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Comments ( 11 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
August 9, 2006, 13:19
0xp
5/5 for this interesting predator.
Voted Mourngrymn
August 9, 2006, 13:39
0xp
Im not sure if this rates a 5/5 but it is interesting, if not a little odd.
Dozus
August 9, 2006, 13:58
0xp
Based on a real predator: http://www.sheddaquarium.org/sea/fact_sheets.cfm?id=66

I actually think the real animal is a bit cooler than my fictional one, but I wanted a land-dwelling variant.
Voted Scrasamax
August 9, 2006, 14:24
5xp
another plot hook...

Not just a wee beastie - a grassbiter paragon has emerged and is more than three times the size of a normal grassbiter. This massive predator has been the scourge of a valley, taking entire limbs off with each bite, and surely depopulating the region of prey animals, livestock, and even humans. Won't the PCs do something?
Voted manfred
August 9, 2006, 14:59
0xp
And I thought him to be a bit unrealistic, when it's a real-world shark. :)

Nice work in putting a creature into a new enviroment it and creating something unexpected!
Mourngrymn
August 9, 2006, 15:08
0xp
Definately a bit different knowing its based off a real critter... its still missing something for me though but kudos.
Voted Murometz
August 9, 2006, 15:08
0xp
I'm always a fan of weird RL critters who are slightly altered for fantasy purposes.

Love the name btw!
Voted Pariah
August 9, 2006, 20:49
5xp
Heh, that's cool. Idea: Guard Dogs... Grassbiters. Trained to attack people not wearing the royal colors and/or attack people when they're told.
Voted MoonHunter
August 10, 2006, 11:51
5xp
Nice ecology, a bit of folk lore, and an interesting creatures that is not a massive threat to people.

Spell: Lure of the Biter. A call spell, rather than a summons. The target of the spell will attract every Grass Biter in a regio for the next 24 hours. Now these creatures, unless insanely hungry, will wait in a grassy area (or camoflagued areas) nearby for the target. They will generally ignore others, waiting for the lured target. Once the target is in its area, the biters will attack. One Grassbiter (and bite) is not deadly. Two dozen in short notice, probably will be.

Note: If the target travels it will bring many of the grassbiters behind it. These creatures will eventually settle into the new area.

This spell can be used as an annoying curse. It can also be used for a brave soul to drag these these critters away... like a Pied Piper. I could see a local contest of several people being a lure. Then these brave souls would run through the area with a race to some point. The winner is the one that reaches some far away point with the fewest bites. This not only is a contest for the young, like the Running of the Bulls, but it clears the area of Grassbiters.
Voted valadaar
March 28, 2007, 10:21
0xp
An interesting little critter! I've added it to my encounter list in The Unseen Fortress.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
October 29, 2007, 7:21
0xp
A nice ecology to spice up minor encounters or have the PC's on their heels. I love smaller critters like these to fill a campaign world with. Many lifeforms are too huge, dangerous or weird for mundane use.

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