Thursday, August 8, 2013

Frightful Fridays! Filch Bug

Welcome back for a new Frightful Fridays! Drejk (who was somewhat responsible for the zloty) brought this caterpillar to my attention, and I could not tear myself away from the horns at the back of the bug's head. I thought it would be cool for the bug to have a ring on one of the horns, or maybe a necklace dangling off a pair of the horns. How would it get those items, though? By stealing them, I thought, and the filch bug was born. As I've discovered in some of the games I've run, character death is not nearly as terrifying to players as losing crucial magic items. The filch bug plays on those fears.

I hope you like this critter, and I'll be back next week with a new one. Thanks for reading!

This green, flying insect is as large as a typical dog. Its bizarre head sweeps back into four horns, one of which bears a ring, while the others vibrate as if searching for something.
Filch Bug CR 7
XP 3,200
N Small magical beast
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +17

AC 20, touch 18, flat-footed 14 (+1 deflection, +5 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 85 (9d10+36)
Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +4

Speed 20 ft., climb 20 ft., fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee bite +15 (1d6-1 and paralysis)
Special Attacks command word emulation, paralysis (1d6 rounds, DC 18)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +11)
Constant—detect magic
3/day—pilfering hand

Str 9, Dex 21, Con 18, Int 6, Wis 13, Cha 14
Base Atk +9; CMB +13; CMD 24 (32 vs. trip)
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Dodge, Flyby Attack, Weapon Finesse, Wind Stance
Skills Climb +7, Fly +15, Perception +17, Sleight of Hand +14, Stealth +21, Use Magic Device +3 (+15 to activate an item blindly); Racial Modifiers +8 Perception, +8 Sleight of Hand, +8 Stealth, +12 Use Magic Device to activate an item blindly
Combat Gear necklace of fireballs (type I); Other Gear ring of protection +1

Environment any temperate or warm terrestrial
Organization solitary, pair, heist (3–6)
Treasure standard (amulets, rings, and similar magic items)

Special Abilities
Command Word Emulation (Ex) While a filch bug cannot speak, it can modulate its droning to sound like a command word for a magic item. It gains a +12 bonus to its Use Magic Device checks to activate an item blindly.

A filch bug has evolved a strange way to protect itself, by stealing magic items from other creatures and using those items for defense and occasional offense. A party usually encounters a filch bug already equipped with one or two magic items (as the stats above demonstrate). The creature usually leaves others alone, since it is a relatively weak fighter, but, if it senses magic it desires or must act in self-defense, it brings all of its natural and acquired abilities to bear. A filch bug measures 3 feet in length and weighs 50 pounds.

When a filch bug chances upon creatures, it lies still either in tall grass or in tall branches where it can focus its detect magic ability on potential victims. If it discovers a small item radiating abjuration or evocation magic, which it sees as mauve and cobalt blue respectively, it uses pilfering hand to steal the item from its owner. If successful, a filch bug flies away with its new prize. Otherwise, the creature attacks its target with its weak, yet paralytic, bite, after which it can rummage through the victim's belongings to find the item it prizes. If it takes an item, it finds a secluded location and places the item on one of its horns, which can accept two rings and a chest slot item. A filch bug is not very bright, and spellcasters who are aware of the creature use magic aura to trick it into stealing worthless junk, after which it will depart.

Other creatures raise filch bugs and take advantage of the creatures' thieving natures and their paralytic bites. Sometimes, a filch bug attack is a prelude to a larger attack, where the filch bug's role was to merely soften up its target. Filch bugs lay 3-6 eggs a year, and each egg is worth 500 gp on the black market. A fully grown filch bug—filch bugs reach maturity after six months and only live for five years—is untrainable.

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