Giant mantises aren’t big enough for you? Have no fear—Jim Groves delivers the deadly mantis in the Inner Sea Bestiary. Mantises are scary enough on their own, but in the Golarion setting they are to be feared even more, for their presence may indicate the eye of the divine assassin Achaekek has fallen upon you. (What they might portend in your home campaign is up to you.)
The deadly mantis is ridiculously fun for the GM to play (even if it does mean looking up the object hardness and hit point rules) thanks to its two special abilities: Fling (Ex) and Rending Mandibles (Ex). What’s the only thing more fun than a giant bug ripping apart (and breaking) a PC’s armor? Hurling that PC into a tree the next round. Good times!
A clan of squirrelfolk (treat as ratfolk; replace the Swarming (Ex) ability with the Climb (2 RP) ability from the Advanced Race Guide) finds their treetop village overwhelmed by giant mantises. Adventurers who aid in the village’s defense find the source of the invasion: a burst cocoon of enormous size. These “giant” mantises were fresh-hatched…and a horrible buzzing indicates the deadly mantis mother is returning soon.
Adventurers race a fiendish high girallon summoner and his tribe of girallons and charau-ka across the jungle to the Fane of the Prayerful Watcher. The girallon reaches the temple just ahead of the adventurers, but the aura of conjuration that surrounds him wakes the guardian within. The ape-mage and the party watch in horror as a deadly mantis decapitates his eidolon and then turns to dispatch the glittery metal-armored intruders.
Werecrocodile river pirates attempt to overrun an adventuring party’s paddleboat. The make of their weapons indicate that they trade with the Fiendforges deep in the hill country—a clue important to the adventurers’ quest. In the heat of the skirmish, only the most observant combatants notice that the tree looming over the river is not a tree at all, but a Colossal deadly mantis fishing for river dolphins or other warm-blooded prey.
—Inner Sea Bestiary 30
I’ve talked before about my amazing media teacher’s afterschool monster movie class. I don’t think he let us watch all of 1957’s The Deadly Mantis, but we definitely saw clips.
My family once found a cocoon on the trunk of a Christmas tree we were cutting, and we brought it home to see what kind of butterfly hatched out. In March, my mother found 50 tiny preying mantises on the kitchen counter. So I feel for those squirrelfolk.