Thursday, September 4, 2014

Carnivorous Crystal

The carnivorous crystal!  Does what it says on the tin: stuns, petrifies, eats, breeds.  Vulnerable to sonic and bludgeoning attacks.  Commonly found on the Plane of Earth, especially clustered around portals out of the plane or along the border with life-rich zones like the Positive Energy and Material Panes.  (They’re also commonly found in published adventures, as they’re one of the most powerful ooze species not the result of truly bizarre magical or alchemical circumstances—a good utility ooze.)

Spotting an obvious stone golem lurking down a hallway, adventurers rally to take down the construct.  Only as they approach do they notice the urchin-like carnivorous crystals stuck to its back, leeching minerals from the (now quite weak) stone golem.  Detecting fresh prey, the crystals detach and attack.

Yrthaks often nest near carnivorous crystals.  The oozes quickly learn to fear the yrthaks’ sonic lances (if only at a base stimulus-response level), choosing to dine instead on those creatures or humanoids who might otherwise steal up to the yrthaks’ nests unseen.

A fetchling comes up with an unorthodox way of creating crude but effective (for a short time) ioun stones: feeding carnivorous crystals unique combinations of enchantment-laced humanoids, shattering them immediately, and harvesting the results.  His work goes unnoticed as long as he is recruiting lone fetchlings, gnomes, and half-orcs, but the close-knit lizardfolk community notices when people start disappearing and asks for help.

Pathfinder Bestiary 3 45

A creature very much like a carnivorous crystal was in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Heart of Stone.”  In other news, thanks to Netflix I have actually now watched enough DS9 to make a Star Trek reference that isn’t about whales.

I’ve raved before about the #150s–180s era of Dragon Magazine (and want to again…for my next blog, maybe).  The otherwise mostly Ravenloft-themed issue #174 had a nice pre-Planescape look at where ioun stones come from (the quasi-elemental plane of Mineral) and carnivorous crystals would fit right in.

As you might have noticed, no radio show this week (Labor Day weekend found me dealing with yet another plumbing leak—this time from the ceiling!—and then traveling.)  But The A.V. Club had two great articles I wanted to spotlight.  This one riveted me because I was lucky enough to see the original Death And Dismemberment Tour and because it (the article, not the tour) was hilarious.  And college-me found this article about putting together rock cruises fascinating.

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