Space grells! Okay, not really…no philosophers here, just mindless predators…but it’s a close enough description to get all my D&D-playing fans excited, right?
What lunarmas are are space predators—picture the body of a spider crab hovering in midair and dangling clawed tentacles. Oh, and they implant their eggs in helpless victims—and yes, the larvae will eat their way out. Also an acid breath weapon. And their carapace is barbed, which cuts down their huggable factor. Good times!
If you want a mindless, science fiction double feature menace that must be killed to be stopped—they can survive on wood and dust if they have to and hibernate for centuries—lunarmas fit the bill. But there are hints in the Bestiary 4 text that lunarmas don't just appear—that they've been planted…or left behind…or even aimed. And that makes for another kind of adventure altogether.
Usually descending into the dungeon is the difficult part. This time it’s the going up that’s hard. When a cave-in blocks an adventuring party’s route home, they have to try a forking path instead…and in the process, awaken a hive of hibernating lunarmas. Now it’s a race back to the surface, with the adventurers simultaneously trying to outpace the lunarmas and prevent them from reaching the surface, where their devastation will only spread.
In the right circles—typically only the most open-minded sages and explorers—flumphs are known as messengers and scouts in the war against aberrations and aliens from beyond the stars. Hence their being targeted by a biological weapon: the lunarmas. When an adventuring party’s patron is contacted by the sole survivor of a shattered flumph colony, she hires adventurers to dispose of the lunarma menace and then try to trace the aberrations back to their designers…which might eventually lead them to vespergaunts and worse.
Formians despise lunarmas, for they are not immune to the aberrations’ egg-implanting abilities. Nevertheless, they are not above using them to serve their purposes. Should a planet of mammals resist formian colonization too strenuously, members of the myrmarch caste will direct lunarma-seeded asteroids to be sent to the surface in hopes of softening up the locals for a new round of colonization in a decade or so.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 4 185
Pathfinder fans, if you’re curious about grells, a good source is Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations, which made #13 in my “The 18 Most Rewarding 3e D&D Books for Pathfinder GMs” list.
Since we covered lunar dragons on Friday, ohgodhesloose reminded us of Spelljammer’s moon dragon. Don't let your werewolf get near one. In turn, I am likewise required to name-check the D&D Master Rules’ Pearl, the Moon Dragon, Ruler of all Chaotic Dragons. Not having an official good/evil axis, “basic” D&D was always fuzzier on alignment than AD&D or Pathfinder…but while it’s not a 100% guarantee that Pearl was bad news, the fact that she always traveled with a retinue of max-hit point brown, red, green, and black dragons was not a sign of a very pleasant monarch.
Radio show! Proof you can go from Holychild to Harry Belafonte in just one move. (Suck it, Pandora algorithms!) Also commemorating 10 years of the Hold Steady’s Separation Sunday, and apparently I just remembered that I like Big Audio Dynamite. Stream or download it here.
(Link good till Friday, 5/15, at midnight. If the feed skips, Save As an mp3 and listen in iTunes.)