May 16, 2011

Underappreciated Monsters - Number the First Part II

Giant Ants of Ezzin - Formicium garganteum (and related species)
No. Enc.: 1 or 1d4 every 3 rounds (5d20 hive population + 1 huge queen)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 210' (70')
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d6
Save: F2
Morale: 6 (12 if frenzied, or in hive)
Hoard Class: VI (in each debris/refuse chamber)

Giant ants are typically 6' long and 3' tall.  They attack with their snapping mandibles, if they cause maximum damage and had an attack roll of 20 then their target's hand, foot, or limb is severed.  They have a thick armored exoskeleton, but a hit to their thin neck or waist can kill them quickly.  Each one weighs about 100 pounds, can carry 500 pounds and run full speed, or up to 1000 at half.  They cannot climb sheer surfaces or crawl along ceilings like normal ants, but can use their strong grip to climb trees or cracked and pitted walls at half speed.

They are scavengers, omnivores, and will carry back to the hive anything that doesn't put up much of a fight.  They are not usually aggressive toward man-sized humanoids unless the hive is starving.  Giant ants are active year round in the tropics but, in cooler regions, survive the winter in a state of dormant torpor.  They are not usually found in caves or dungeons since they cannot tunnel through stone.  Encounters in the wilderness may be a single worker scout looking for food, or a food gathering column of workers traveling back and forth between the hive and a food source.  Giant ants will usually retreat when attacked or threatened, but if one is killed the others nearby will go into an attack frenzy.  They will never retreat if inside their hive or protecting the queen.  The huge queens can live for up to 10 years, and workers live from 1 to 3 years.  The smaller males survive only a few weeks.  Giant ant larvae take 6 months to develop into adults.

The Hive
The hive consists of many tunnels and chambers, at the center is the immense birthing chamber and the huge queen.  The hive will have two larvae per adult worker during the warm seasons, but none survive during a cold winter.  Larvae are constantly being moved by workers between the many feeding/nursery chambers.  Larvae are brought to chambers close to the surface during the day for warmth, and then taken to deeper chambers at night to avoid the chill.  Other chambers are full of debris and refuse cleaned from the tunnels, nurseries, and birthing chambers.  These debris pits might contain items or treasure from past victims.  As a rough guideline for designing hives, let say one birthing chamber for the queen, plus one nursery and one rubbish chamber per 10 workers.

Other Species
Just as there are many different species of ants, so too there are many species of giant ants. Above are the rough statistics for Formicium garganteum, other species of giant ant are usually similar but may have additional traits and quirks. The particular traits of the species encountered can be determined by random roll, or by choosing any number of the following. 

1. As above.  No extra traits.

2.  Jumping.  This species' four back legs have been specialized for jumping.  Can jump 20' across, or 10' straight up.

3.  Soldiers.  +1d20 to hive population due to increased security.  Double the percentage for any treasure roll.  1 of every 5 workers appearing is instead a 8' long soldier with a huge head: HD3, Move 150' (50'),  Damage 1d10, Morale 8 (12), XP 300

4.  Fungus Farmers. +2d20 to hive population due to food production.  Many extra hive chambers are fungal gardens, workers bring rotting plant material into the hive and harvest the fungus after spreading the spores.  -4 to morale unless protecting the hive or queen.

5.  Livestock Farmers.  +2d20 to hive population due to food production.  Could be any creatures that the ants can reasonably pick up and carry without much fuss.  Herds usually graze outside the hive while the giant ants herd and protect them, but some species keep their herds trapped inside the hive and feed them things that would otherwise go into the debris pits.

6.   Symbiotic Relationship.  +1d20 to hive population.  The giant ants have some friends who share their hive.  Maybe these friends help protect the hive, or share food with the ants, or produce heat that is good for the ant larvae.  These friends could be anything, animal, plant, or mineral.

7.  Acid Spitters.  + 1d20 to hive population.  This species can spit a stream of formic acid up to 20' once per day.  No damage, but it can blind or stun an enemy for 1 or 2 rounds.  Stinging in the eyes, sinus, and throat persist until washed away. 

8.  Stingers.  + 1d20 to hive population.  This species of giant ants all have stingers on the tip of their gaster.  These ants can sting and bite fallen foes in the same round.  Stinger damage is 1d4 + [something awful] if save vs. poison is failed.

9. Electric Ants.  Hive population is halved due to special diet.  This species can discharge an electric shock once per day that can flow through metal armor and weapons.  Shock causes 1d4 damage and save vs. petrify/paralyze or fall to the ground and twitch for one round.  These ants horde and sometimes eat gold, silver, and iron which may be why their exoskeletons are so conductive.  These shiny exoskeletons are highly prized by alchemists.  Electric ants can smell silver and gold coins and will try to take them, attacking if necessary.  Horde Type: I (in each debris/refuse chamber) and VII (in each nursery) 

10.  Roll twice more.

As always, you can choose to just make stuff up too.

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