Friday, May 29, 2009

Nature is weirder than anything in the Fiend Folio

As a cynical young kid looking at my otherwise awesome Star Frontiers SF1 - Volturnus Adventure module I thought the Roller(pictured below) was the stupidest, most retardedly "never could evolve" creature I would ever see. I felt insulted that the author expected me to dumb enough to believe in this
Little did I expect that later in life when I was just as cynical but not as sure "I knew everything" that through the Internet, specifically Wikipedia and Google Image Search, I would discover creatures just as stupidly retarded and some more so. The kick in the nuts being these creatures actually existed, had actually evolved right here on my little blue marble. Touché Nature, I shalln't bet against you again.

Everyone knows about the Platypus, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed, egg laying mammal, its venomous leg spurs and electrolocation (finds prey by electric field).

And also probably about my little friend the Star Nosed Mole. An extradimensional invader from beyond if I ever saw one. Was this the original inspiration for the Elder Gods. What is that, 15%/10% Claw/Tentacle by body weight?

I must admit my absolute favorite is Hagfish Slime!

"When captured and held e.g. by the tail, they secrete the microfibrous slime, which expands into a gelatinous and sticky goo when combined with water; if they remain captured, they can tie themselves in an overhand knot which works its way from the head to the tail of the animal, scraping off the slime as it goes and freeing them from their captor, as well as the slime."

I'm certain that aquatic orcs raise Hagfish as disgusting defenders of their kelp bed homes. Probably have a couple Goblin Sharks around too. Oh they start off just looking a bit odd. Then they gets scary as hell once their Alienesque retractable jaw launches at you. After that encountering Buzzsaw Sharks would be a relief.

Of course this is merely the first step in a watery arms race with the aqua elves, prancing about on their sea-unicorns. But if this video with annoying music is representative the Lords of Chaos have already conquered the seas.

Next time your megadungeon gets invaded by giant ants model the interloper's nest after these real Pogonomyrmex Badius homes (warning lots of words, scroll down for pics)

Sucker footed bats, furry yellow crabs, samurai headed crabs, this monster crab, actually I don't have time to list all the weird ass crabs.

Some creatures don't look all that other worldly, but their behaviors sure ain't right. "After the female wasp lays her eggs and follows through with pollination, she dies, allowing the fig to consume her corpse!" BTW did you know goats climb trees.

The bizarre of the bizarre are definitely prehistoric/extinct animals. I challenge you to spend an hour or ten surfing round next time you're at a loss for something unsettling to subject your players to.

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