1) Bowelshakers As they are known, are the bane of adventurers and particularly armored knights everywhere. In sage-terms, they have apparently evolved so well over the millions of years, that they have somehow acquired the ability to 'create' that which they need to survive and thrive. When they fly-by and hover around any random mammal, Bowelshakers will set up a weird vibration, using their wings, which causes, almost always, an immediate emptying of the bowels in the unprepared victim. ("Defeat him? Not only did I defeat him, he soiled himself in mid-combat!")
2) Bowelbusters A cousin of the Bowelshaker on the other hand are parasitic larva which quietly populate the guts of mammals until it is time to pupate. The adult flies emerge (erupt) violently from their host’s secret place. An occurance which can be, in sage-terms, embarrassing and painful. Worst of all, the maturation of the pupa seems to be spurred by emotional stress or excitement such as battle field charges or wedding nights.
3) Spy-Fly Ever wish you were that fly on the wall? These are for you. They are sometimes referred to as quasi-familiars, due to the telepathic connection wizards often have with these ordinary-looking black flies. They are instead tiny flying recorders of sounds and images. Fledgling wizards in universities as well as a few more known and sinister mages have been known to breed and use Messenger Flies for various purposes. Messenger Flies are able to 'record' voices (not clearly), sights (always blurry and multi-faceted images), and sounds for 5-10 second intervals, before they overload with stored information, and fly back in earnest to whichever mage sent them to spy. "Messenger Fly" is the actual proper term for one, but no one calls them that.
4) No-see-ums Invisifly, if you will. The fact that they are invisible makes the buzzing even more annoying. Their origin is unnatural. Many believe they were all that was left of a wizard's tower of one particularly incompetent mage, who spent all his time experimenting with invisibility. One fine night he, his tower, and everything in it, simply vanished, and a great buzzing could be heard, but not seen, as invisible flies spread out into the four corners of the world. Unfortunately for all, their permanent invisibility has not seemed to hamper the mating habits of these unseen flies, as they now proliferate the world. Likewise, their successive broods remain invisible as well.
5) Styx Fly The adult Styx Fly is unremarkable, it is smaller than a girls thumb nail, red eyed, stinger less and with a life span of about the two weeks. The larva on the other hand live 9 years before pupating and live these 9 years in another dimension. When the adult fly emerges it crosses back into our dimension. Usually this small dimensional portal goes unnoticed unless 9 year previous had been a good year for flies (humid and warm but not windy or stormy). In that case you can have large dimensional doors opening all around the country-side bringing with them swarms of flies and occasionally the inexplicably cruel and confused extra dimensional beasts. The Larva’s trip back after hatching can also be utilized as a dimensional gate. Wizards who have a mind for entomology and are too lazy for ritual casting, have been known to trap a swarms of Styx flies in a damp warm room with a bed of rotting fruit. It is a cheap way to banish people and things, but caution is required because the larva tend to pupate near the site of their initial crossing.
6) Sea-Fly An ocean borne, biolumescent insect that will actually generate a bubble of air around himself too allow dives of up to 15 minutes. Sea-flies love tailing large ships, and are drawn to gentle turbulance which can airate the water. Their presence tends to improve the fishing conditions and fishermen will often steer toward their feint yellow lights. There are tales of giant sea-flies tipping over galleons, to get to the rotting food-stuffs inside the hull, but these are mostly sailor tales.
7) Manna Fly Mystical energy is first and foremost energy. The right kind of digestive track could live off it. Some wizards have also developed laboratory strains of these flies which breed all year round and clean up stray bits of manna that can interfer with casting. These are particularly useful in magic schools where students have a hard time keeping their manna in their wands. Interesting fact, it is called the Manna fly not because it eats manna, but because the senior students at a certain magical university would traditionally convince the first year students to eat the laboratory flies as a way of way of acquiring power.
8) Whalefly Not to be confused with Elephant Flies (just another large fly) or Sea-Flies, but instead a distant relative of the bowelbuster fly. Whale fly larvae live their lives inside the lungs of great leviathans, with adult flies only emerging from the blowhole to mate. As you would imagine Whalefly mating season coincides with whale mating season. This schedule is advantageous as it allows the flies to meet flies from other whales. A swarm of whale flies seen above the water can mean only one thing….(bow chicka whale whale)
9) Were-Fly There are disagreements among sages whether were-flies truly exist. One such sage, J'feg Oldbloom posits that it is indeed possible for dipterathropy to strike humans, and rarely gnomes. He points to Ianna the Were-Mosquito as "proof". Another sage, Ericst Oltz, is of the opposite opinion, considering dipterathropy ludicrous, and insists that the existence of a single, "bloody" were-mosquito is not proof that were-flies also exist, despite both belonging to the diptera family. The two have nearly come to blows over the years during heated debates. Adventurers have also yet to bring back any proof their existence, though one legend tells of the "Black Fly", an erstwhile scholar and urban-rogue of great repute, who possessed some innate ability to transform into a horrifying human-fly hybrid.
10) Clusterfly A horrifying, buzzing, ball of living flies. The natives of the great jungle call them Deathdealer flies, but they mean it in a good way. They are important part of the decomposition cycle in the jungles. Swarms of Cluster flies will pick up rotting material and through some yet unexplained piece of physics hold it aloft while the swarm feeds on it in turn. Eggs are laid inside the rotting husk and a new generation of flies can be born and die in a single horrifying, buzzing ball of living flies. There are rumors of massive cluster fly swarms holding aloft an entire capybara corpse. Eventually all the meat is gone and the swarm disperses leaving a pile of bones. Be warned though a really strong wind will disperse the swarm and rotting maggot invested meat will come crashing to the earth
11) Eyecleaners Created by the Biomancer and Soceress Shelisip in the 3rd year of the reign of the God-Emperor Mourngrymn, these flies were originally intended to deal with the repeated cases of pink eye that plagued her four children. When their original purpose was served, and her children grown, she set to perfecting their design and providing more uses for them. By the time of her admittedly untimely death in the 27th year of the God-Emperor Mourngrymn their saliva was capable of dealing with such magical induced effects as blindness and many of the illusions that were common in that day. Unfortunately, eyecleansers are nowadays rarer than rare, but occasionally, a party of adventurers will have some live flies inside jars in their backpacks.
12) Ghoul-fly Musca Necrophilis is a cousin of Musca Necromorsus which lays its eggs in corpses, but unlike Necromorsus, Norphilis only lays its eggs in the undead. Commonly associated within the rotted flesh of zombies and ghouls Necrophilis is equally attracted to the more supple flesh of vampires and other more stylish undead. If a guest sees a Ghoul-fly in vampire’s home it is said that the vampire will actually suffer a second death from the shame of it.
13) Doomfly Or Harbingers, they always arrive from seemingly nowhere, immediately before a major catastrophe or some great doom takes place, natural or otherwise. The Doomfly is not actually a fly, it is rather the human perception of Death’s Laborers as they arrive before claiming a soul. If you were to ask somebody to describe a Doomfly they could only honestly say that it was soft buzzing, a tingle at few random points around the back of the neck and some floating black spots noted in the peripheral vision. They are sometimes “seen” around sick beds and hospitals but in moments of single passing Death Laborer’s go unnoticed. However the experince of a Doom fly is a stalwart companion for the great disasters. In the days before the sinking of Atlantis, the galley men and merchants that were lucky enough to leave the island in time, described great swarms of these little flies “that kept tasting the backs of our necks, but stayed unswatable”. For year after that sailors would consider it bad luck if they couldn’t swat a fly. For these unswatable Doomflies know a ship's fate before she does.
14) Ghostbanes Bizarre flies which only pester the ephmerial undead. A grown man might be able to land two of these immortal, medallion-size bugs on the palm of his hand, but no more. These white bodied silver winged flies are not true flies at all but are the souls of those poor individuals that traded their immortal commodity for material wealth. The forces of evil can take every thing from the soul except that spark of life that we call suffering and need. The evil do not want for suffering or need so that they allow those qualities to live on in this insect like form. The Ghost-banes are attracted to naked souls such as ghosts, like a moth to flame. Ghosts are stuck between this world and the next and the Ghost-banes desire to make the journey. As a Ghost gets closer and closer to crossing over more Ghost-banes will gather. Unfortunately, the fields of the blessed don’t understand suffering or need and the fields of the d**n can hold no more. So the Ghost-banes stay behind after the Ghost leaves.
15) Spouse-Midges They stick to you like glue. Literally. Don't smack one dead on your fore-head. Any animal flesh these flies touch, they stick to permanently. At the point of contact, the midge releases some near-invisible larva (the larva is harmless) and prepares to starve to death, its cycle complete. If left alone, they will simply sit there for a few days, until they pass. "Yuck-juice" from a spouse-midge on the flesh, could last as a ugly stain for months and sometimes years(!), barring magical intervention. Sailors and craftsmen (and priests) have tried to extract this powerful glue for use on inanimate objects, but to date the Spouse-Midges stick only to flesh.
16) Warflies Musca Militaris to some. As dangerous in some parts as army ants or killer bees, Warflies are best avoided. They are poorly-named, actually being a family of stinger-less wasp. Once a year before winter the hive will seek out and attack a large land mammal for their queen to lay eggs in. The drones of the hive will sufficate the animal by swarming the nose and mouth and crawling into any available cavity. The queen comes along later and lays thousands of poisons eggs in the carcass. Interestingly a substance in the eggs embalms the corpse so it does not rot and few scavengers will eat it. In the spring the war flies emerge from the desiccated corpse and their swarm travels out single file in search of a new place to build a hive.
17) Flyhawks Similar species to mosquito-hawks, these creatures are terrible snobs when comes to cross species interaction and would never actually interact with PCs in any way (though one known spell, the Great Trick of Pemtox Pamorian, from the barely-legible scrolls of the wizard, Gull-Rider, does indeed call for one wing from one Flyhawk specifically.), but may as well be mentioned. These are insects look exactly like flies, but in actuality belongs to a separate genus of insect, its sole purpose in life being to hunt down regular flies, while disguised perfectly as one itself.
18) Potion-Fly One of the truly esoteric inventions of mystical academia, but also one of the most useful. The potion-fly is immune to the effects of time, it never grows hungry, does not age in any testable way and can survive without air. It also has the consitution of a 12 year old human girl with regard to tolerance to toxins and disese. Mages invented it to function much like a tequila worm and it has been used by alchemists, wizards, and royalty to determine whether or not, whatever liquid the potion-fly resided in, was free of poisons, acids, or other harmful substances. As long as the potion-fly remained alive, the party bathing the fly could be certain that the liquid would do no harm. Nowadays, few encounter potions with real potion-flies, or even those inhabiting non-magical jars, flasks, and vials, but occasionally some tomb-raider will unearth some metallic decanter in some misbegotten crypt, with unidentifiable liquid inside. If a small blue fly squirms or backstroke comfortably within (alive), then that tomb-raider knows, that it is probably safe to take an experimental swig. Incidently the term "bathing the fly", slang for looking for traps of hazards, has its origin in the potion-fly. Thanks to those long forgotten mages we now get to hear phrases like "No use hiding from things, I might as well go to down to the warf and bath my fly."
19) Sugar-chiggers Very very energetic they scour the globe for, you guessed it, sugar. Once they find it, the fun begins. These tiny flies become drunk and mad, swirling in bizarre patterms, flying into people's mouths and ears, and otherwise behaving erractically. Some southern towns along the river incorporate sugar-chiggers into their festivals and celebrations, allowing the flies to gorge themselves on sugar-cane or corn, then watching as thousands of buzzing chiggers perform aerial acrobatics of the non-euclidean kind.
20) Beard-Bugs These tiny flies inhabit a very specific environment and no other. That is, the beards of dwarves. One-fourth the size of a common human house fly, beard-bugs spend their time mostly inadvertently cleaning dwarven beards, as they sup on the bits and scraps that get caught within. Dwarves don't mind the flies flitting about, diving into and out of their beards. In fact dwarves usually say the more "beard-bugs a dwarf has, the more the gods smile on him as his beard". Humans have come to call these bugs, "beard-buddies".
21) Tattlers These flies are proof the gods
have senses of humor are cruel. Mindless though they are, tattler flies can be defined with the ubiquitous line, "a little birdy told me". Tattlers are attracted to large crowds, the larger the better, and will never bother small groups or individuals. Once a large group of people are "identified" by these flies, they will begin to buzz around the mouths and ears of everyone present. After some time, they will proceed to live up to their name. The Tattler, like its cousin the Spy Fly, records bits of information, except in the case of the tattler, it does so randomly and haphazardly, and then replays what it has heard, into the ears of random unwilling others. The sounds comes in clear, and in the actual voice of whoever spoke them. Why these miserable little things do this, is unknown, but needless to say, they have caused embarassment, humilation, and worse, by tattling the wrong thing in the right person's ear.
22) Cryptfly Found only in the deepest and most inaccesable of tombs and crypts, these flies are said to be born from the very stone, which is the sages way of saying they have no ideas as to their origin. Thier life-spans are said to be like those of trees. Cryptflies are nearly immobile, moving so rarely that they barely budge two inches in a any given decade. They seem to require no nourishment of any kind, and can even survive in crypts completely devoid of oxygen. A truly mysterious creature said to be somehow "bonded" to whichever tomb it resides in, wizards, sages and alchemists have sworn great rewards upon any tomb-raider or dwarf who could fetch one alive, and bring it back to the surface for further study.
23) Growfly Their size depends upon their environment. These creature are often mistaken for various other fly species. Thankfully rare, they nevertheless cause horror in city-folk, as the more garbage, filth, and waste, the bigger these flies grow. According to some sages, there is no upper limit to their size, and only thier relatively short life-spans prohibit them blotting out the sun. Urban legends tell of gargantuan-sized flies inhabiting waste-sites and dumping grounds on the outskirts of large cities. For reasons unknown to even most sages, some giant Growflies tend to follow the ancient gargantuan members of The Khor race.
24) Robber Fly Not to be confused with the mundane variety of the same name, are insidious dipterans with an extra set of tiny limbs resembling nothing so much as spindly,withered humanoid arms, approximately two-inches long, extending down from their belly. With these weird appendages, Robber Flies do just that, they rob and steal, anything they can get their sticky (literally) little hands on. Robber Flies are capable of flying, while grasping an object of up to half-pound of weight, as they are the size of human thumbnails and are stronger than they appear. Likewise, they are able to land, "stick" on an object (coin?), and take-off again almost instantaneously, unless the object weighs more than a half-pound. Some say the gnome-merchants of Pinnaplatz train these mischievous flies to steal just the right thing at just the right time, but that seems a far-fetched tale.
25) Ghost Fly Not to be confused with Ghostbane Flies or Ghoul-Flies, these insects may be misnamed, for they have nothing to do with ghosts or any other undead. In fact many adventurers mistake the Ghost flies for the Ghostbanes, much to their eventual chagrin. Their name comes from their lack of buzz. For unknown reasons, Ghost Flies emit no sound. It is said in legends, that these flies were created by the gods themselves, who were annoyed at the human races for the senseless slaughter of their little creations, the common flies, so important to life’s never-ending cycle. The gods proceeded to create a second race of flies, it is further said, one that could go about its vital work in silence, less vexing to the sensitive ears of the two-legged races. The Ghost Flies themselves are otherwise like any common house fly in nature, and mutely flitter about, unaware of the lofty legends ascribed to them.
26) Laughing Fly Sages claim that these infernal pests, first burst forth from the draw-bridge (shaped like a mummer's painted mouth) of the Mad-Keep, where a former court-jester, turned arch-mage drove a pack of regular, mundane flies insane vis-a-vis his spectacular insanity. Some bards sing of the Maddest-One-of-All, and how even the flies in his keep, lost their puny minds. If the reader has not guessed by now, the laughing fly has somehow replaced it usual buzzing wing-noise, with a sound that can only be described as many tiny children laughing.
27) Exploders Something in these flies diet, interact with their digestive juices in such a way, that these poor creatures end up exploding. The unfortunate effect is that the explosion that occurs, is exponentially larger than would make sense for a creature the size of a copper coin. Another fly despised by adventurers, exploders tend to fulfill their namesakes at the worst possible moments. The force of the explosion is that of a strong fire-cracker. They have been often responsible for miscast spells in mid-cast.
28) Velvet Flies Some wasps make paper, some worms make silk. The 'Velveteens' as they are also known, are flies which exude a gummy substance from their mouths which after encountering oxygen, takes on the feel and appearance and texture of velvet or corduroy. Prized by nobility (after all, corduroy, is from the French, le cord du roi), this velvet is superior in every way to to artificial textiles of its namesake. Velvet-farms, as they are called, can often be seen dotting the rural country-sides of many kingdoms, easily identifiable by the constant buzzing, which can be heard from some distance away, and by the endless rows of Dac-Dac trees, which are their favorite food. Nature being cruel however, the Dac-Dac tree is also the favorite food of several species of goblin and thankfully rarely, even some trolls (who knew!). Often, enterprising but still inexperienced adventurers are hired to defend velvet-farms against the menaces.
29) Sapperfly They come in two varieties, the lesser and the greater. Both are feared and rightfully so, as sapperflies can shatter stone and collapse entire structures with the weird vibrations generated from their wings. It is said that one greater Sapperfly, is single-handedly capable of destroying a fifty-foot stone tower, if left long enoug alone in the right place or spot. Masons, architects, and builders dread the Sapperflies, while sappers and miners have great respect for the creature.
30) Olivine Fly Many cultures claim that various animal parts and essences can be used as aphrodisiacs, increasing desire, pleasure, and performance. All bunk! Except of course for the Olivine Fly, which today unfortunately (the priests of Mschall say ‘thankfully’) is considered to be nearly extinct in the wild. An inconspicuous and innocuous creature, this fly is the size of an olive and pale-green in color like its namesake. Any one swallowing this fly live and whole is in for quite the surprise. Banal anecdotes need not be repeated here, except to say that the effects of the Olivine fly on most humanoids (elves are immune) are said by those who know to be “magnificent” and “spectacular”. Olivine flies are extremely rare, but that does not stop the desperate and unscrupulous from dealing in cheap alternatives (“No Olivines, but I *do* have this dead finger-beetle, twice as powerful they say!) and fakes (“It looks painted, mister”). And naturally, people still buy them.
The USOG, the Upright Society of Gentle-Flies. A miniscule Victorian species of dipterans, with tiny tuxedos and capes, top-hats and monocles, clutching martini's and sword-canes, gossiping about the day's events and riding palanquins and carriages drawn by a mindless race of tiny, naked chalk-skinned humanoids, no larger than mites themselves. The USOG refuse to fly as they consider this exercise beneath them. These creatures work best in i'm not sure which game world, if any.
The Horror of Queen Avaxis' Stables A singular, horrid thing, perching in the shadows, amidst the rafters, of the famous Grand Stables of Queen Avaxis. A legend which needs mentioning, the Horror it is said, was (or perhaps still is) an ugly, evil black fly the size of a medium dog. Legends say that the fly was a curse, placed upon the Queen for her hubris and vanity, in constructing a mile-long stable for her prized mounts. Avaxis' famous stables also held this gargantuan, disgusting horse-fly, which used the cathedral ceilings of the vast enclosure to avoid detection and those trying to hunt it down, for many years, feeding off and otherwise vexing the steeds within. Finally (it is said) a small boy, armed with a knife and some courage, spent an entire night inside the stables, waiting for the creature to appear. When it did, he lunged, and the rest is a bard's song. The Fly-Killer went on to become king many years later, deposing the tyrannical Avaxis.
And for those who can never get enough flies (more cowbell), please do check out the following entries:
Thanks to Echomirage and MJS for a chat a year ago, which i don't remember the details of unfortunately, and much thanks to axlerowes, and to Pariah for creating a fly. I won't say which one.
The Book Flie is found in the dry and dusty places, like withered trees, old houses, and libraries. The Book Fly is a large, fetid fly with a blue shine. It has an annoying bite which is harmless but draws some blood. However, during mating season, the fly swells up with slimy eggs glittering under its belly. It will attempt to lay these in any dry wood it comes across. Books are especially attractive. The eggs have a two week gestation period, during which they will become larvae and start devouring the wood. After this period the flies will be fully grown and take to the air. The flies are considered a pest, if a library or ancient building has one case of these flies, more will surely follow. More than once has a scholar opened an ancient tome with a shriek as a cloud of young Book Flies buzz forth from the invaluable document. There have been reports of entire cities loosing their written history and all things paper because of an infestation of Book Flies.
Wind Flies are small and slender insects with long antennae and finely veined wings. They nest in large colonies in humid forest caves and are victims of many legends due to their patterned life cycles. When a member of this fly species has finished its life cycle it will find its way back to the cave where it was born. There it will breed and lay its eggs. The number of flies that breed in one cave can number hundreds of thousands. The curious thing about this is that when the young brood are ready to take to the air, they do it together. Vast clouds of buzzing flies rise up from the forest roof, they connect their tiny feet together and form a web sailing on the wind for vast distances. When this web finally breaks the flies descend on the land below to live their lives, and later repeat the cycle.
These nocturnal flies are considered a bad omen and are believed to be connected, somehow, with the world of the dead. They are of a bright brown hue, with a black warts along their backs, and their multifaceted eyes are of a dull red with tiny whitish spots. Their lifecycle is unknown, but they are reported to live inside the mouth of a species of large toads. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts and feed on blood and nectar both. Being bitten by a Omen Fly is actually quite harmless, but superstition states that this is a dark and foreboding sign that the one bitten shall soon die. The most horrible aspect of these ghastly flies, and the reason behind their name is that they sense the spirits of the dead. They are drawn to ghosts like bees to honey, buzzing in areas where ghostly shades are shambling, making them visible by filling up their invisible shape. Men have gone mad from seeing the shambling form of a man that is not there, his invisible form filled by thousands of warty, buzzing flies.
Cave Lurkers are a subterranean species of fly that in many ways resemble a spider with wings. They live and nest in deep mountain caves. They are large, milky brown and slightly transparent. Cave Lurkers make silky white webs, these webs are used to nest and to catch small underground prey like rats, bats and worms. They sometimes catch small game from the surface world that have somehow got lost in their caves, searching for a place to hide or live. Cave Lurkers form colonies, when something is trapped in their web they simultaniously spring forth from cracks in the wall and devour the prey. The cissorlike cutting blades in their mouths both tear and pierce a victim's flesh in addition to injecting an intoxicating venom. They are not flight-less, but they rarely use their wings except during mating season. There is a rumour of a vast complex of Cave Lurker Flies colonies deep down in the earth that are so big that their webs could even pose a threat to grown men.
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? Responses (16)
Fly-blown goodness. 5/5
The Robber fly may not be the most outlandish fly on the list but it is my favorite. A fly that steals coins...evil.
This is probably one of the best lists ever! Or at least it appeals to me on a neurotic level where even the smallest fly must be a work of art.
These flies are annoyingly awesome!
A good mix of flavour and use, with the occasional plot-idea thrown in. I especially like the USOG, though I don't know what setting to use them with, either.
I loled, well done sir
I love them, I love them all!
Nasty and vile, certain to add more life to the slums and foul depths of the world. After running into a few of these varities most characters will pay careful attention the casual description of flies buzzing about the manure cart or decaying corpse.
Soldier Flies >:)
Well done and amusing in all the right places.
A most excellent collection. 5/5
Who would have throught you could do 30 flies, apart from an entamologist? Apparently you can, and well.
And they said it couldn't be done! This is great stuff.
Perfection! 5 for useability 5 for art 5/5/HoH
Perfection/5 for art/5for useability/HoH