From out of the bowels of the temples of Hosok, the Alabaster Lord, there emerge many hideous and unimaginably evil creatures, foul alien children of the Handgod who predate upon the cowering race of slaves who are the populace of Hosok's earthly domain. To some of the surreptitious bold ones who have pierced the unholy sanctity of His nation's borders, it seems that under the rulership of the Hand That Sees, all earthly life is to be replaced by awful beings of Hosok's own design. Among the spawn of the Handgod are numbered many strange and awful beings- the White Children of Hosok, police of His pale kingdom; the Priest-Things of Hosok, that loathsome race of nameless beings who are the administrators and overseers of His realm; the Har-Gan of Hosok, his secret police, his spies and assassins, as well as his ambassadors; and other creatures rumored at about which it is better not to speak.
In the company of these strange and fearsome monsters, there is a more lowly form which all of the slaves of Hosok know. Like cockroaches and spiders that scuttle in the abandoned places of the humid southern cities, or the centipedes which scavenge the streets of Drigg, the Black Iron City, there exist in Hosok's domain vermin, who have been given the name Handvermin by the sallow men who worship the Hand That Sees.
Handvermin can be any size from that of a small spider up to the size of a dog. Like all spawn of Hosok, they live in darkness, and they grow larger with age; the oldest Handvermin are found in the catacombs of abandoned buildings, great foul things the size of a wolfhound which lurk and scuttle in the corners of empty chambers.
They are insectile creatures, resembling crabs or bloated spiders, their bodies covered in chitinous armor of a dirty white color. If examined, it becomes obvious that they are creatures of Hosok, for the orientation of their legs and the shape of their bodies is hideously reminiscent of a human hand, with a thumb on each side of the palm rather than single. Each "finger" of a Handvermin is a many-digited leg, ending in a sharp claw. The "palm" of Handvermin are seamed and leathery, a black-purple color, and unprotected by armor, with an ugly sphincter-esque mouth in the center which drools a thick pale fluid.
These creatures attack prey proportional to their size, thus, small Handvermin will fight other insects and vermin, while the largest Handvermin may prey on dogs and cats, birds, and scavenge the bodies of human beings (that is, those corpses which are not collected by the Priest-Things of Hosok to be made into White Children of Hosok or used for other worse purposes of which we cannot speak). They attack their prey solely through dropping down on them; their typical behavior is to climb a nearby wall, rock, or other high place and leap down upon their victim, enveloping the poor creature in their fingerlegs and dialing open their mouth, releasing a flood of gluey mucous-like slime which traps the prey and slowly dissolves it down into wet, pale, crumbling chunks which the Handvermin then sucks up into its body.
Handvermin, unlike most of the creatures of the Hand That Sees, will not actively predate upon human beings, who they know are larger and stronger and could easily flip them over (a fate which they fear, because it leaves their bellies completely exposed and they cannot right themselves without help). This does not mean that these disgusting creatures are not in their own way as inimical as the other servants of the Handgod.
Handvermin are hatched from egg-sacs in the shadowed atriums of the temples of Hosok, and emerge from the doorways of those frightful fanes in great swarms of thousands, a carpet of tiny fingers scuttling through the streets in search of dark places to hide. Crawling in the damp darkness, they often go unseen by the people of the Alabaster Lord's nation. Because of this hidden quality, and because of their ubiquity, and though stupid and of an animalistic mental attitude, the Handvermin make excellent spies and informants, who are eager to report to the Priest-Things of Hosok the petty rebellions and thoughtcrimes of the whispering populace in exchange for a chance to devour living human flesh (a treat they are too cautious to attempt to capture themselves).
Like all creatures of Hosok, Handvermin fear fire and light, and flee from both instinctively. They are very much at home in water, though awkward in appearance, and predate upon fishes and eels and other underwater creatures. If salt touches their soft underbellies, it will cause a Handvermin to shrivel and clench into a tight dead fist. Handvermin seem to rush together to die, and the clenched balls of dead Handvermin can sometimes be found in great swarms, lying dry and rustling like paper balls, in the corners of abandoned structures or under the bark of dead trees.
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? Responses (6)-6
Could a tiny one be befriended and made into a pet?
Creepy, creepy, creepy! I Iike it, a very humble yet savage creature.
This is the scuttling horde of creatures that are nothing but a die fest (lots of rolling, little danger) on you way to other monsters.
Their intelligence seems confusing to me, as the submission contradicts itself in a couple of places (at least to my reading)
The description does add excellent color to the critters. Flavor text to be used to gross out your PCs.
The last sentence multiplied the growing feeling of discomfort by at least a dozen. Great wording, Captain.
The conflict in their mental capabilities may be caused by their unnatural descent. They are created as spies, trained to pick up words of treason among the populace, there is no place for more. I think that sophisticated jokes and irony would escape their notice; but those, who escape their attention tend to become reckless, only to fall to one of the many desperate informants.
Reminds of the facehuggers in Aliens, so that is a good thing!
Nicely done indeed!