Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Intelligent slugs found in forest

Looks like I have some commissions coming up again... already. However, I made haste and managed to get some life into this creature before the new work descriptions lands in my inbox. I thought the last creature was pretty dark, so this week I'm countering with a kind creation. I'm not a big fan of the general centaur idea (upper body humanoid, the rest beast of some kind) but in some cases one has to make an exception, right? Feel free to state your own opinion in the comments, and if you actually make use of any of these creatures in a your campaigns I'd love to hear about it. Why not tell us some about the adventure? Write me an email, and I might publish the story in the blog here, with your permission, of course.

Also, a thanks to Gaming Brouhaha for recommending this blog! Now, it is time to meet the Nemunn.


TERRAIN: Forests and hollows
FOOD: Omnivore
SIZE: 6-7 feet (180-210 cm) tall

(If stats of a human ranges from 3 to 18)

SPEED: Running (Crawling) x 0,5
(Multiple is times human speed)

(Ranges from 0-100)

(If a human commoner has about 11 hit points)

(If Full Plate Armour is 10)

The slug-like part of a Nemunn's body is like thick rubber with fur on top, but the inner tissue of it is soft and sensitive. The upright portion of the creature can be compared to truly hard leather, and in places to tough, solid wood. All inner organs (except for the brain) are located in the slug-like part of the body, so the front portion is more or less like a living tree, with only a single central vessel of blood running through it. This part can be chopped and damaged, disabling the Nemunn, but apart from hits to the brain, and to the very core, injuries here do not cause loss of hit points or pain to the creature.

(If a Long Sword makes a damage of 1-8)

The Nemunn is a gentle creature, that rarely engages in any kind of fighting. The predators of the forests leave them alone due to the poisonous smell of their Mollusca flesh, and otherwise inedible body. When hostile forces move into their areas the Nemunn usually move away or makes use of skilfull camouflage.

REGENERATE AND EXTEND ARMS: In part the Nemunn is a plant, and the creature have inherited the plant's power to grow. When it wishes to it can extend the length of its arms up to 10 yards (3,6-9 meters) in a matter of minutes. This quick growth cannot be retracted or undone, so the creature will have to live with the extended limbs for the rest of its life. Therefore the Nemunn only makes use of this ability in truly important situations. Some of them wilfully have very long arms cut off, since new hands will grow back on the stumps. This however takes about a year, and is also preferably avoided. Growth can only be applied to the arms of the creature. Due to this power the length of the arms of Nemmuns might vary significantly.

CAMOUFLAGE: The Nemunn can shift the colours of its hair (which is actually moss) and snail-like body very swiftly, but the power is limited to the natural and common colours of the woods. The face and arms cannot be re-coloured, but the creature can remain absolutely still in most positions for up to a week, without flinching.

Tales say that the Nemunns are born from the trees. It may in fact look like it, but the egg of the creature (produced without mating) is placed within a hole of a tree. From there it goes into a larva state and eats away the interior of the tree host. Green hair-like moss then sprouts out of the larva to penetrate the shell of the tree. For some time then the larva is nourished directly by the leaves and the roots of its tree nanny. This dependence lasts for up to twenty years and during that time the cells of the Nemunn larva inherit tree-like qualities, before transforming the larva into a fully grown Nemunn. The mature creature then breaks out its tree shell and starts its life in the forest.

The Nemunns prefer to be outdoors, but take shelter and sleep in hollows and tunnels just beneath the root ceiling of the forest. There they usually have a collection of various herbs, plants, roots, and flowers, and a space of some kind where they grind, mix, and create wondrous ointments of healing and power. The creatures are master botanists and have deep and mysterious knowledge of all that grows. It uses its various mixtures for rituals of spiritual communion with the forest, but also for healing and helping creatures and other inhabitants of their leafy homelands. They may also know some wordless druidic spells.

The Nemunn doesn't speak but understand the languages it has overheard or encountered during its long life. It can also communicate with unconscious creatures and beings by sticking strands of its moss hair into the creatures flesh. This way it can get an understanding of what needs to be done to awake the unconscious one from slumber, but it cannot receive actual words or advanced messages.

Preferably on their own, or occasionally in pairs these genderless creatures live their lives peacefully and avoid the worries of the outer world. At times however their compassionate nature, and desire to help, may lure them away from their homes and security. Especially if trees, or creatures of the forest are in danger, the Nemunn may take action outside its zone of comfort.

The Nemunns make use of simple tools, but never blades or weapons. To gather the herbs and ingredients they desire from the woods, they use their flexible claws. These can be turned around 180 degrees and the Nemunn control them with great dexterity. Otherwise the creature is slow and though it can haul itself and crawl over challenging terrain, it prefers to remain where the ground is fairly flat and where the forest isn't too dense.

These creatures live to be about 300 years old. They feed on worms, frogs, insects and the eggs of birds. They also get some energy from the sun through the moss on their backs and heads. When no energy is available they can become absolutely still and survive for up ten months without eating or drinking.

© Copyright 2010 - Nicholas Cloister