Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Frightful Fridays! Preview

Welcome to Frightful Fridays: Halloween Edition! Theodric and his associates find many unusual images that beg to be turned into monsters for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, so I'm hoping to turn this into a regular feature. The first offering is based on the image of the creepy assassin bug, which uses its victims as armor and as a convenient place to hide so it can ambush other prey.

Stay tuned for the next monster a week from Friday!

Giant Assassin Bug

This large, brown insect has an elongated head with a distinct narrowed neck, long legs, and a prominent, segmented rostrum. It has a pair of corpses impaled on spiky bristles jutting out from its abdomen.
Giant Assassin Bug     CR 3
XP 800
N Medium vermin
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5

AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+1 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 30 (4d8+12)
Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +2
Immune mind-affecting effects

Speed 40 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee bite +7 (2d4+5 plus poison)
Special Attacks poison, stridulation

Str 19, Dex 12, Con 16, Int —, Wis 13, Cha 9
Base Atk +3; CMB +6; CMD 17
Feats Improved InitiativeB
Skills Climb +11, Perception +5, Stealth +5, Survival +5; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception, +4 Stealth, +4 Survival
SQ corpse armor, corpse camouflage

Environment any terrestrial
Organization solitary, pair, gang (3–6), nest (7–12)
Treasure none

Special Abilities
Corpse Armor (Ex) A giant assassin bug may take a standard action to pick up a corpse and use it as natural armor. Every Medium corpse (or two Small corpses) it attaches to itself provides an additional +1 natural armor bonus, up to a maximum of +4. The assassin bug does not benefit from smaller or larger corpses. A typical encounter with a giant assassin bug starts with the creature having enough corpses to give it AC 16.
Corpse Camouflage (Ex) An assassin bug gains a +8 bonus to its Stealth checks when it buries itself under at least two Medium creatures’ corpses.
Poison (Ex) Bite—injury; save Fort DC 15; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Con; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Stridulation (Ex) An assassin bug rubs its rostrum against ridges in its prosternum to produce a frightening sound. All creatures within 60 feet of the assassin bug must succeed at a DC 11 Will save to avoid becoming shaken. A victim who succeeds at the save is immune to that particular assassin bug’s stridulation for 24 hours. This is a mind-affecting fear effect, and its save DC is Charisma-based.

A giant assassin bug is no different from the considerably smaller, normal version of the creature…with the disturbing exception that it is large enough to grab a fallen member of an adventuring party and use the corpse as a shield against the corpse’s former allies. A typical specimen is five feet in length (excluding the six-inch rostrum) and weighs about 100 pounds.

Much like the normal assassin bug, the giant version preys on large arthropods, and characters may interrupt a single assassin bug (or a group) tearing through a giant ant hive. The creature relies on its rostrum to deliver a powerful bite that also injects its prey with a liquefying poison. An assassin bug fighting multiple foes will switch to a new opponent when it successfully bites one. When any of its foes die, the assassin bug instinctively moves to grab its dead victim as impromptu armor by impaling the corpse on its otherwise harmless spikes.

Occasionally, an enterprising necromancer employs giant assassin bugs as weird allies to the mindless undead he creates. A bug hides among decaying zombies and sometimes bears a couple of the creatures on its spikes as writhing armor. The bug is, of course, immune to channel attempts used to harm undead creatures, and once the bug has feasted on the liquefied remains of its victims, the necromancer has more corpses to replace any fallen zombies.


  1. Duuuuude.
    This is awesome. Now I just have to work it into the setting and unleash!

  2. Great job on the assassin bug, Mike, thanks! Really unnerving. I'd love to put one in A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity!

  3. An excellent creature. I like it immediately! Nature is the best springboard for ideas, and you did a good job developing it. A variation on the creature could allow it to have a paralyzing poison so that living people are stuck on its back, eyes wide open in horror. Instead of contributing to its AC, they could take half the damage when it is struck.

  4. That's a fantastic idea, Grensol! I'm glad you liked the assassin bug.