The Snarf is one of the strangest looking creatures to be found in the world. It is only a foot tall and resembles a fat bloated worm with four short stumppy legs, a tiny tail which it wags when happy or nervous, a small mouth with little teeth and two big eyes that are as sweet to look at as those of a human baby. It is brightly coloured in a rainbow pattern of scales on it's belly and fur on it's back. In the wild state it lives in groups of a mother, father and up to eight juveniles.
It moves slowly and seems helpless in the face of danger but it has a few little tricks of it's own. First, the little Snarfs are taught by their parents to imitate the sounds of dangerous creatures, such as the hiss of a Giant Spider, the growl of a lion or even the call of a juvenile Wyvern. By hiding in thick bushes and making these noises, they can scare some predators away. If something starts looking agressivly for them, they will make these scary sounds.
If that does not fool whatever is after it, it has a second defense-it's cuteness. Anyone or anything that stares into it's eyes will have to shake off a desire to mother it rather then harm it. As well as eating plants and herbs it also eats leeches, skin fungus, ticks and other parasites and most predators know this. So at times even the most dangerous of predators will come to a Snarf colony and lie down to show that it wants cleaning.
Large crocodiles have been seen holding their mighty jaws open whilst the Snarfs stand inside eating the leeches that have managed to attach themselves to the crocodile's tongue and which the crocodile is helpless to remove by itself despite it's power.
If something does try and eat it, it tastes absolutly disgusting. One bite is enough to cause a bad taste in the mouth for hours that even drinking water does not dislodge. It is not a surprisre then that Giant Spiders for example, would rather free a trapped Snarf from it's web then try and eat it. If it is bitten or otherwise injured in a spot that would kill it, it explodes, covering the attacker in a foul smelling, foul tasting gunk that takes a long time to get rid of and, if not removed within an hour or so, changes to a smell that atteacts predators.
They make good pets and can be legally owned in most countries, as long as they do not *bark* too much.
Plot Hooks-A Snarf becomes very curious about a PC and wants to become his/her friend/pet.
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? Responses (5)
I liked this one pretty good, the mimicry ability and the parasite cleaning seemed odd at first, but work out fairly well together. I also liked the imagry of the spider cutting one free rather than eating it.
The ecology and anatomy of this thing do not work for me. It is a mis-mash of things and chimerical in nature. Cute only works as a defense against intelligent things. And it is large to be a proper parasite cleaner.
The name and the description reminds me of a number of 'funny companions' in a couple of 80s Action Toons. (ThunderCats and others) That is not helping my view of this piece.
It really does not work for me.
Not one of my best things I know but not utterly crap either.
Interesting, but the name does bother me - the old Dragon magazine had a graphic series by Larry Elmore called Snarfquest and that sticks with me.
The 'mothering' effect of it's gaze is okay if this is a magic effect making this a magical rather then natural creature.
There are a couple of typos and oddly structured sentences as well.
But I agree, it is not utter crap :)
oops, that was me