Intelligent Species

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ID: 6885


August 17, 2012, 12:31 pm

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The Shadowbeasts


The sun rises over the city. The great skyscraper's silhouettes from the fresh beams appear almost golden. The city is waking up, with the morning's half asleep citizens going about their daily routines. Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts open up, and revel in the influx of business. People head to work. The clocktower chimes, signaling the time of 9:00. But then a great shadow blocks out the sun. And the citizens of this metropolis start to scream as they are lifted up bodily by these beasts. An hour full of terror and screams goes by. And then another. And when the clocktower chimes again, signaling the time of 11:00, no one heard it. They had all been carried away. There were no flaming wrecks, nor collapsed buildings, as any other giant monster would leave. Simply empty streets, and a forbidding silence.

The Shadowbeasts are the terror of anywhere man has made the city. With the advent of the Metropolis, the Shadowbeasts numbers swelled rapidly, like humanity's did with the advent of farming. The Shadowbeasts used to live in the humid jungles of the Amazon, until a team of explorers found them, and brought a couple of eggs back home, for study. To make a long story short, the Shadowbeasts (so named for how they can, all to easily, block out the sun) escaped the lab, and have since spread to cover anywhere with large cities. This includes North America, Europe, North Africa, and East Asia (such as China and Japan), among other areas.

Description: The Shadowbeasts look like giant locusts, each roughly 10-15 feet long. The picture below is a locust.

The difference between an actual locusts and a Shadowbeast (besides size) is that the Shadowbeast has an additional pair of legs, located in their midsection. This extra pair is designed to grab onto things, with each of these legs ending in three hook-like "fingers." Other than that, the Shadowbeast is a dark green in color, with dark gray wings. This coloring pattern allows them to be camouflaged in the dark.

Behavior: During the autumn, winter, and spring, the Shadowbeasts generally live alone, separate from the Swarm. But during the summer, the Shadowbeast go into what is known as their Gregarious phase. A phase almost exactly like that of the locust. During this Gregarious phase, nearby Shadowbeasts band together and form Swarms. The swarm generally contains 5000-10000 Shadowbeasts, but some have been reported to be close to a million.  The Swarms, once formed, will make a nest. This nest will be, essentially, a giant cage for its prey (read humans). The nests will always be in secluded areas, and will be hard to reach from the ground. The nests will also be guarded by workers. These workers are only five foot long, and stay within a 20 mile radius of the nest. They will also care for the humans by providing them with food and water, and will also make sure they stay in the nest. Once the nest is complete, the main swarm will wander around, looking for a city, traveling until they find a city. They will generally leave towns and villages alone (like a fisherman would leave a baby fish, so that the baby fish can grow into a big fish). Once a city is found, they will attack. Like in the description, they will carry off people into the air. Once in the air, the Shadowbeast will eat its victim, and dive down for more. The swarm, once each member is satisfied, will carry the remainder of humans back to its nest for later. One Shadowbeast can carry two or four humans (depends on how big the "grabbing" legs are. Some are big enough to carry two in each leg, others one). Once the humans are in the nest, they will seek out another city. Towards the end of summer, they will have a large collection of humans. From late summer, to early autumn, they will mate, and lay their eggs inside the nest. They will proceed to cover the nest, forming a dome over it. By winter, the eggs will break, and the larva will emerge. Throughout winter, the larvae will feast on the humans inside the dome and grow. By summer, the larvae will be fully grown. 

Diet: Humans, though workers will east other large mammals (like deer, moose, etc)

Movement Rate: can sustain a speed of 40 mph for days. Top speed is 80 mph, but can only do such a speed for a short time.

Life Span: 5-10 years

Natural Defenses: Camouflage during night, thick exoskeleton (bulletproof), mobility

Weaknesses: Exoskeleton armor can stop bullets, but not much bigger than that. A direct hit from a tank will take one down easily. Also, explosives are useful against them, as long as they have a timer or something else that makes them explode in the swarm (and not after they hit an individual Shadowbeast). And if enough of them are killed (around 50-75% of them) they will disperse and look for another swarm.

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Comments ( 9 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

July 29, 2012, 18:19
Update: Added another section, and added a bit in other sections
Voted Kassy
July 30, 2012, 11:19
Only voted
Voted Moonlake
July 30, 2012, 23:06
Only voted
July 31, 2012, 13:33
Holy crap. I really like the thought that went into this sub, and how your kaiju is actually a swarm of smaller beings. This feels somewhat similar to a zombie horde in that it is mindless and nigh-unstoppable.

I can see this working once. Maybe twice. But wouldn't humanity have developed some defenses by the next time the swarm comes around? Giant electrical fences or something? I would love to read more about a world in which the human population was forced to adapt to a seasonal threat like this.

The only thing I would change would be the nests -- they should always be defended in some way, even if just with difficult terrain. Sending a party of PCs to rescue a kidnapped human population would be an awesome adventure, so why make it too easy?
Voted Dossta
July 31, 2012, 13:33
Forgot the vote.
July 31, 2012, 15:55
Thx, Dossta. Though the nest is secluded, and hard to reach by foot. I may have forgot to mention that bit. I'll throw that bit in, just to make things clear. And (reading your comment jarred this idea out of my skull) add runt shadowbeasts- five foot long beasts that guard the nest. As to humanity's defenses, they would try to make something. I'll think on that.
July 31, 2012, 16:02
Update: Added secluded nests and workers
Voted axlerowes
October 8, 2012, 19:48
I really liked this one, I know it is just a list 'facts' but the tone I found fun and the picture made me laugh.
I have tried to make my aggressive love for fantasy flora and fauna known on this website, and this one just titers of the being a really great post. I absolutely love the idea and don't think it needs any more but it has so much potential to add more. Is there a hive mind? How long do the larva live in larva form?

Finally the kaiju genre demands, that right I said it, demands that the monster represent some other type of conflict or fear. Godzilla represented the nations fear of nuclear radiation, King Kong represented a nations fear of......, well Son of Kong represented the guilt associated with that fear. In Kaiju fiction I have read in the past five years monster attacks coincide with more persona- emo -issues. There was one story published in a paying market no less, in which the attack coincided with the progression of main character's mother's cancer, and another in which the giant wolf-chimera seemed to be responding to the bad break-up between a couple of west coasters named Reggie and Gwen. These could certainly be seen to represent the consequence of the rain forest destruction, but if your are going to cook it up you may as well put it on platter.

Overall really loved it, thanks for writing it.
Voted valadaar
May 7, 2013, 9:11
Like Dossta, I think they would be a singular or near singular even, perhaps some invasion from another realm, for humanity would quickly wage full scale war on these creatures and turn their hives/lairs into glassy radioactive holes.

They fit well into the crazy B-Movie world and are scary in an over-the-top way.


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