Creatures of the Chitinous Lair
I’m sure I don’t need to expand on the inspiration for the creatures found in the Chitinous Lair, but Alien / Aliens is one of my favorite movies and H.R. Giger is one of my favorite painters because of those movies.
A typical Hive has 3d8 members, not including the Queen. Half of those are Drones and the others are Warrior. They are usually encountered in groups of 1d6+1, but they’ll attack en mass if the Queen is threatened.
The Hive is always a twisting maze of tunnels, some going up or down mid-passage. These passages are often no wider than 10′, but sometimes less than 5′ wide. Often, this is due to the Chitinous Beast’s habit of covering the walls in a semi-transparent goop that is quite sticky, but hardens into a resin. They often use it to trap victims for consumption later, so the wall are often disgusting with rotten bodies. The rot from their victims and the insulation provided by the resin on the walls also tends to make the hives quite warm and humid, not to mention filthy.
While they don’t set traps, the network of tunnels allows ambushes, though they may not do so if the encounter lacks a Queen to direct them. Secret tunnels or walls can also be found behind a deceptively solid sheet of resin.
A Hive has a Treasure Hoard of XIX and individual encounters have a Treasure Hoard of VI. The treasure is usually found on the entombed bodies in the walls.
Neutral, 60′ Move and Climb, HD 4, AC 6, claw / claw /bite, 1d3 / 1d3 / 1d6, F4, Morale 9, xp 300
The skeletal-looking creature is about the size of a dog with a black and brown mottled shell. It lets out a high-pitched screech before it springs with tremendous speed.
Drones will always travel on all fours and rely on surprise and hit-and-run tactics to ambush foes.
Blindsight: It can perceive any creatures within 50′, even in total darkness or invisible creatures. It cannot be blinded. It cannot be Surprised from closer than 50′. This ability relies equally on sound and vibration; if deafened, it has a 50% chance to miss.
Wall-climber: It can transition from the floor to the wall or ceiling seamlessly and if it can reach they target, it can also attack. It can also move through barriers or obstacles created by itself and other Chitinous Warriors as if they weren’t there. It doesn’t take falling damage from a fall of less than 40′.
Dark Chitin: In part due to the Wall-climbing ability, its dark exoskeleton and utterly silent movement means that it Surprises its target on a 1-4 on a d6.
Caustic Blood: Though not quite as acidic as a Warrior’s blood, it still reacts badly to air. Anytime a Drone is injured, anyone within 5′ must Save vs Poison or be partially blinded by the irritating fumes the reaction gives off. -2 to hit for 1 Turn.
With a predatory hiss, a human-sized creature with a skeletal black body leaps from the wall in a flurry of glinting claws and teeth. You only have a moment as it races closer, but the beast has no visible eyes, is impossibly thin, and has strange tubes on its back, shoulders and head.
The Warrior can walk on all fours or on two legs. Travelling on the ground, they’ll move with their bodies low to the ground and claws outstretched so they can quickly leap forward.
Neutral, 50′ Move and Climb, HD 6, AC 3, claw / claw / bite, 1d4 / 1d4 /1d6, F6, Morale 10, xp 2000
It also has Blindsight, Wall-Climber, and Dark Chitin.
Head Bite: If both of its claws hit its target, it may grab the target and do one of the following: deal bite damage and Stun the target for 1d4 rounds (if the target has no helmet, he must Save vs Death or take triple damage) or grapple the target, remove any headgear in its way, and perform a head-bite on the next round unless the target escapes. It can move 30′ per round while carrying someone, but cannot Wall-climb. A Chitinous Warrior has a STR of 18 for grapple purposes.
Acidic Blood: It uses a concentrated acid for blood. If damaged by a melee non-magical weapon, the weapon must Save vs Death or be destroyed. Magical weapons get a bonus to the roll of twice their bonus. For a non-magical weapon, even if it succeeds, it will only last a further 2d4 rounds before becoming useless.
Also, if a Chitinous Warrior dies, anyone who was engaged in melee with it (not merely adjacent) must Save vs Death or take 1d4 acid damage per round. One’s shield or armor may sacrificed instead and will be destroyed in 1d4 rounds if the Save is failed.
Weaknesses: It is afraid of fire and nothing else.
Tactics: They’ll try to attack in equal or greater numbers than the party’s. In a large room, they will Wall-climb to surround the party, try to grab those without headgear first, and carry to a dark corner to Head Bite them to death. In a narrow corridor, they’ll try to attack from both sides and carry off those on either end and attacking from the ceiling if there’s room.
If presented with fire or a flaming weapon, they’ll try to go around it, but they won’t go over or it or attack someone with a flaming sword directly.
The huge ogre-sized creature stands up from its place in front of the egg sac behind it and gives a baleful hiss to warn you away. It has a massive crown of black shell atop its head and a razor-sharp tail that flails in agitation. Drool flows freely from its jaw of dagger-sized teeth.
Neutral, 30′ Move, HD 10, AC 3, claw / claw / bite or bite / tail, 1d8 / 1d8 / 1d10 or 1d10 / special, F10, Morale 11, xp 6500
It also has Blindsight, Head Bite, and Acidic Blood. Note that it may still attack with its tail or bite while grappling a creature. It is also a Large creature.
Charge: If it can move in a 60′ line towards the target, it charges by leveling its large, bony crest at the target. If it connects, it deals 1d10x2 damage.
Resilient Exoskeleton: Its chitinous shell is thick and can withstand a lot of punishment, though it slows the Queen down (figured into her stats). It gains +2 to all Saves.
Tail strike: It swipes its long tail out with deadly accuracy, followed quickly by a deadly bite with dagger-like teeth. If the tail attack connects the victim is knocked to the ground,
Hive Queen: Since the Queen is the most important creature in the Chitinous Lair, if the Queen is threatened, any remaining Chitinous Warriors will attack furiously and relentlessly. Chitinous Warriors gain +1 to hit and damage, +5 temporary hp that disappear if the Queen is no longer threatened, and they will not flee for any reason.
Weaknesses: It is relatively intelligent and will do whatever it takes to protect its eggs, though it will betray them at the first opportunity. It cannot communicate.