Grex is a simple and humble slime mold that can often be found under the litter layer of a forest. For most of it's life Grex lives as a single celled organism that feeds upon tiny things so small not even the keenest hunter's eye can see them, that live trapped under dying leaves and such in the forest. However when food supplies run short in an area and a few of the Grex start to die off from starvation everything changes.
Once the food supply is exhausted the first Grex that succumbs to starvation will send out a chemical message to other Grex in the area. This signal draws Grexes into a single confined area. Individual Grex move towards the signal's center. The Grex then begin to aggregate, or clump together. Waves of Grex are visible as expanding spirals or concentric rings formed around the dead Grexes. The Grex begin to clump into one solid mound of slime. The mound then orientates it's self into a head and a rear tail like region, forming a Grex Slug. The Grex Slug is capable of free movement and will crawl to an area on the forest floor that is sparsely littered with leaves. The Grex Slug will then sit up on it's tail end and form an ooze stalk proboscis. The stalk extends from the Grex Slug upward for two to three feet. At the head of this stalk is a sticky bulbous mass know as the fruiting body. The fruiting body's sole responsible is for secreting a toxic sticky gel that acts on the nervous system to paralyze and kill prey. The Grex is now hunting.
A master of the waiting game, the Grex Slug will stay motionless for up to several days waiting for a hapless small creature to blunder into it's trap. Grex is not particular about it's prey any bird or animal will do nicely. Once the animal has contacted the sticky blub the neurotoxin takes immediate effect paralyzing the animal and causing reparatory and cardiac arrest leading to death. Once the trap is sprung the Grex Slug begins to enjoy it's bountiful feast. Once well fed the Grex Slug will deposit spores in the remains of it's meal and will crawl off to die leaving nothing more of it's passing than a slime trail. The remains of it's last meal a gift for the next generation of Grex.
Grex itself is not a horrible dangerous organism to most large animals or human like organisms. However a popular fairy tale told to young children, particular those whos families live on the boarders of a forest, is that once a crazy and evil mage enchanted Grex Slugs to grow to enormous size then turned them lose in a deep area of the forest. Children are then told never to venture into the forest for fear of being eaten by a slimy Grex.
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? Responses (14)
I really don't know how to rate this.
It is very short and concise, it purely shows everything that details a life cycle of this grex... however odd it may in fact be.
It is definately interesting to say the least, but it almost seems like a narration from National Geographic from the 80's.
However, this is probably one of the most unique ideas I have ever read on here pertaining to a lifeform. Other than a few mispelled words and misplaced words, it was done very well. I especially enjoy how it migrates from a simple creature to such a defined hunter. Regardless that it's life cycle even as the more advanced hunter is lilmited. I do not care for the instant death effect of cardiac arrest though, but a simple edit and explanation of some other toxin that spreds the spores over the forest floor while the animal flails about in agony as it tries to get away is also possible.
I think it use a little clarification since it says that it can kill animals via a fast acting neurotoxin, but is not horribly dangerous to humans or larger creatures. Rather than a it touch you die effect, it might be a serious threat to children and the elderly or the infirm, while a healthy human, or horse is just going to be made very sick, displaying neurological symptoms from the 'hit'.
Certainly unique and something that I have never seen before! Keep it up!
It should be included in the Unique Lifeform listing.
I liked it a great deal. Admittedly, I prefer the 'National Geographic'/ 'Documentry' style of post. However this is something to make a fantasy ecology 'come alive'. These things are not a threat to adventurers (unless they are really stupid), or humans (again, see stupid), but are an important ecology part.
Although, I could see a master villian tying an adventurer to a long table and lowering a ramp that has a Grex slug slithering down it.
'Do you expect me to talk Scarabomontus?'
'No Sir Lorning, I expect you to die.'
(ah, I love that line....)
Thanks Moon the fact that it does sound like a national geographic article means I'm using my Biology degree well. Don't need no stinkin grammar that for the kids across the quad in the english department. ;)
I like the fact it only forms in an emergency.It's poison seems a little bit strong.
To everyone whom thinks the toxin is too strong. Ever seen a jellyfish Hunt? Same concept. Things that can not travel long miles to catch up with dinner often employee such measures to insure they are able to feed. And Like Scras pointed out it is most harmful to small animals such as say a sparrow sized bird, rat or mole.
Hooooooo boy! This is a great post, as Moon and Mourn said, a little national-geographic, but I side with the good hunter in saying that's the sort of thing I like. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your posts, Appy!
I didn't say it was written poorly, I just made the comment I could picture the narration in the old 80's monotone of National Geographic shows.
Very very unique. Quick query - your synopsis said 'Proof that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.' Does that mean this is based on a true organism?
Nah, despite being pretty cool, it isn't that unique. Certain kinds of fungi lifeforms already get bigger for better food sources, and seems kind of like a jelly fish would hunt. 'Proof that some times truth is stranger than fiction. (Sometimes)' See? Anyway, its still cool.
It is fact based on true organism the dictyostelium a protozoa type organism that forms into a multi unit 'Being' as it were. I have a petri ish with some growing sitting here right now LOL. They are a advanced cell Lab project.
NatGeo style! always a hit here at the citadel, or with me anyway! Nice critter, good name!
I like it as well :)
Now I'm going to go against the grain and say that the toxin is sufficiently powerful. Granted 'instant death' is rare in nature but there should be more dangerous poisons. The creature itself is really rather unique. I would like a subplot where the PCs inadvertently wipe out their food supply and visit a previously safe area to find it has become a minefield.