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Rating: 4.0556
Condition: Normal
ID: 4101


July 10, 2007, 7:14 pm

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Cheka Man

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Rhaphi -large cave insect


Extracts from Alkur’s book of insects.
The best thing that can happen when confronted by a Rhaphi (Rafy) is that it will ignore you and continue on its way…It seems to have no purpose in life but to transport its undercarriage of parasites, which are numerous and not exactly friendly or hygienic, from one place to the next.

Rhaphi-large cave insect.
Extracts from Alkur’s book of insects.
The best thing that can happen when confronted by a Rhaphi (Rafy) is that it will ignore you and continue on its way. They are deaf, blind and yes, dumb beasts. Their flesh, if you can call it that, as its more like the insides of a very ripe pair, is disgusting. This walking sack of gastro juices is a slow, thin but lumbering thing which seems to have no purpose in life but to transport its undercarriage of parasites, which are numerous and not exactly friendly or hygienic, from one place to the next.
Scare factor Its only claim to fame are its looks, scary, we are talking, heart stopping fear. The sort of fear that makes grown men and soldiers of death, hold their breath. The eyeless huge head , the mandibles, the spines on its legs and those foot hooks!! And all the time its crawling, every part of its body is alive with crawling parasites. If the encountered victim does have the peace of mind and overcomes their fear, its the sort of beast they love to kill. It would take some mighty slashes, its internal fluids would spurt and ooze with every hit, before it would cease to be. They have been seen beheaded and still crawling. Its the sort of beast a ruthless and mindless thug would hack into after an ale or two, just for fun.

Death by bug
Death by this bug is not likely, however there are some things one should keep in mind. First there is the risk of infection. The decaying matter it often feeds on and the parasites and dirt its covered in, are full of bacteria. A small nick can become quite infectious.
The scare factor can paralyze a victim thus making them vulnerable to other lurking nasties.
But by far the worst problem is that of the parasites. About the size of a small coin or gem they can be veracious eaters. They will eat rotten foods but prefer living flesh. They have been known to turn on their host if the host is beyond life. More often than not tho they will ride it out under the host, clinging to its underbelly until the danger is gone. Be warned tho that stories have been told of these little mites turning on the attacker or anything else that moves or is warm and in the vicinity. The parasites tend to eat from the outside in. Skin and then down through the layers or flesh, muscle and then in for the sumptuous bone marrow. The parasite larvae are also a problem. There is a good chance just being near to this creature will attract larvae or young parasites. Animals with hair are prone to the itchy rash that is a symptom of such an infection. Left unchecked, the rash becomes worse, raw and eventually in about 6 weeks the little mites are adult size. But by then your generally dead or at least walking around with no skin.

Averaging 8ft in length these brown coloured, over sized insects have the normal 6 spindly legs covered in brittle thorn like spines and ending with a foot hook. On each leg just above the second joint or knee, is a small opening, a spiracle, where the beast breaths from.It has no wings of any kind and no carapace. Its pronotum or saddle just in behind the head, is in fact the only part of the body that would offer any resistance to weapons and even that is more akin to the finest softest leather. This foot square peace of leather is probably the only useful part of the insect. Again, more for an item of fashion, then any use to a worker or sojourner. The antenna are body length in size and can either, reach fully forward of the head or lay along its back. The antenna are not as delicate as you would expect for such a deaf and blind creature, who can but only rely on them for sound sensing. They thump their way along the cavern walls often bent, broken or covered in slugs of mud. The mandibles do not come to a point like stag beetle but end in wide flat edges more for harvesting fungi or sheering mosses.

They are trash eaters, feasting on dead and decaying matter be it vegetable or animal. They especially like fungi, mosses and the like. Not really carnivorous although the mandible size would make you think otherwise.

Not much is known of these weak creatures their lack of real value or danger has meant that no one has ever really spent time researching them. Most encounters are generally leg waving debacles, where it ends up loosing a limb or too. It can reproduce its limbs within about a week, so loosing them is not a life threatening disaster.

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Comments ( 12 )
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Voted Scrasamax
July 10, 2007, 10:36
Can I say ewwww? Get the big boot to squish this one.

Some ideas that came to mind include a mage sending the PCs to collect one of these beasties...alive, or some nobles discover that the meat of the creature (mostly in the legs) is quite tasty and send the PCs to collect several of the specimens. It keeps getting harder because after the first kill or two, the rhaphi start to swarm in larger numbers drawn by the smell of their own dead.

I would run the spellcheck, there are a few typos, but none of them glaringly bad.
July 10, 2007, 18:44
thanks all,
re typos.. Really erm i have the spell check always on.. I just ran it again, looks good. There maybe some grammatical and incorrect word choices tho Ill send a Rhaphi to graze through it :) ta

I left a few doors open too, some people have found :) We cant have a totally useless beastie can we. Ill leave that up to the GMs to play with.
Even a gummy shark can give ya a nasty nip:)
Voted valadaar
July 10, 2007, 11:33
Another nice little critter. Well done! I like the style of presentation.
Voted Cheka Man
July 10, 2007, 13:13
Ewwwww, just ewww. Poor things.
Voted manfred
July 10, 2007, 16:41
Nasty! Good description of the insect.

Incidentally, these bugs may be one of the few critters that consume undead, a few teaming up on a lonely zombie and such.

Maybe they aren't so useless, as they seem, and their presence could be a certain indicator as well.
Voted Murometz
July 10, 2007, 17:11
very nice bug, epsilon!

*picturing fungal forest, swarming with carpets of Rhaphi*

Like val, I like the way you formatted and presented this sub. Short, concise, nice headers, and tasty morsels, errr, I mean disgusting bugs!
Voted Drackler
July 10, 2007, 17:59
A very good submission of giant bugs.
July 10, 2007, 18:36
Updated: added freetext link
Voted CaptainPenguin
July 10, 2007, 23:31
Only voted
Voted Dragon Lord
July 11, 2007, 6:22
Good one epsilon.

A nicely described beastie living in a logical ecological niche.
Exactly the sort of thing every game world needs.

Regarding the comments on usefulness.
There is a tendency amongst us gamers to assume that all creatures are either useful to humans or else evil, nasty, monsters.
This is of course entirely false. From an ecological standpoint, the only measure of a creatures success is its ability to survive long enough to breed.

A good solid post - 4/5
July 11, 2007, 18:15
Great is the lure of utility, and this site tends to train a Pavlovian reaction of finding a use for seemingly useless items and ideas. We are tainted by our civilization, and unable to merely go with the flow, and find the true path of non-acting in our life.

*deep sigh*

Also, the presented dichotomy is a false one. We gamers do very well recognize at least one other type of breed: the evil, nasty, AND useful monsters. :)
Voted MoonHunter
July 16, 2007, 16:30
I love that the scariest looking material monster is actually one of the most, directly, harmless.

In actuality, the monster is quite dangerous. Sure, it is harmless. However it carries parasites and disease ridden insects from place to place. Sure it cleans up carrior and fungi, but it would also drop any number of "riders" off at any give time. Sure the monster is easy to kill, but it is a carrier of diseases and things better stayed away from. Prasites drop off and slowly crawl towards possible meals. So yes, it is no direct threat. It is an easy 5 xp. However, 72 hours later, after you have killed it... the dying begins. Unheroic dying of disease.

And if you escape it, the nearby village will, of course, get the plague or what ever the parasites bring with it. Someone might figure out that you killed the plague monster... and come after you.

If you have a smart foresting community, new adventures take place. You have a threat you can't attack, yet must redirect.

And yes, if left alone, these monsters are just background creatures. I like them in the "lost world" scenario, where they are just bugs in a world of giant saurians and monsters. They scour the green floor of the verdant jungle, only noticing slightly the giant creatures who cause the ground to shake as they pass. They are immune to attack because anyone who would eat them, would eat their symbiotic parasites as well.

They have a useful part of the ecology. However, if someone gets the "bug" up their butt to attack one,

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