Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Giant Mantis Shrimp

There’s no question that Bestiary 5’s inclusion of the giant mantis shrimp is a trendy choice.  This is a creature that received an encomium in The Oatmeal and got the Ze Frank treatment to boot. The authors might as well have statted up the honey badger.

“Trendy” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad,” however.  Some creatures just enter the public consciousness and refuse to leave.  Most role-playing games wouldn't have had stats for the velociraptor in their hardcovers before 1993.  But after Jurassic Park, not including velociraptor or deinonychus stats would be straight-up malpractice.

The same goes for the mantis shrimp.  It is a shell-cracking, ultraviolet-seeing, cavitation-bubble-creating, honest-to-God miniature monster.  Before 2013 you might not have heard of the mantis shrimp.  But now in 2016 you totally have, and so have your players, so you might as well use it in your game.  (And with three variants, that’s a total of four giant murder shrimp to choose from!)

The giant pearls used in the creation of crystal balls that can see into the Astral Plane are difficult to harvest.  Even if you get past the sahuagin raiders and triton patrols, you still have to survive the aggressive giant mantis shrimp that live among the gargantuan oysters.

The impetuous young pharaoh was out hunting desert lions when his chariot was smashed by a giant sand mantis shrimp.  He was thrown clear but survived, as the shrimp was busy devouring his charioteer.  Nursing a broken leg, the pharaoh retreated to the safety of a nearby ruin, only to be trapped by a sphinx.  The sphinx will release the pharaoh, but his price is the instructions for creating the lightning mirror that guards the harbor at Napsos—something the pharaoh’s advisors refuse to turn over for reasons of their own.

The glass viewing ports of the hammerhead-shaped Dauntless are supposed to be invulnerable to nonmagical attack.  This is put to the test when a mantis shrimp lord attempts to smash the submersible’s windows and feast on the fleshy creatures inside.  The crustacean seems especially attracted by the Dauntless’s astomoi medic, as if it sees something no one else can.

Pathfinder Bestiary 5 232

Last night’s show, here for your downloading pleasure!  Killer new Drive-By Truckers, Infinity Crush, and LVL UP.  Plus Seattle grunge icons Hazel and a band from my high school.  Stream/download it now through Monday, 10/10, at midnight.

1 comment:

  1. AD&D's monster Manual II, published in 1983, had a Deinonychus entry.