May 18, 2009

More real life creatures that would love to slowly digest - then excrete your players.

Was it the pictures? The swearing? The slash and burn Wikipedia raping? Whatever it was, I find myself unable to ignore the fact that one single article picked up almost 20X more traffic than every other one of my posts COMBINED!
Oddly enough, it was a lot of fun reading and compiling it, so lets do it again! Continuing on, we were mostly about poisonous critters before. Problem with poisons is that they seem to unfairly handicap your players. I know, I know, their "just" players, right?

To balance out the OMG I JUST GOT GANKED BY A BUG THE SIZE OF MY BIG TOE!!! We are going to go in another direction, bigger things that mother nature (or ehlonna, or silvanus, or whomever) built when she was particularly annoyed with the hairless monkeys that everyone agrees may have been a big mistake.

Natural selection in 5...4...3...2...

This bad boy actually makes the list for a couple of reasons. Allow me to work some copy/paste magic:

  • An adult male saltwater crocodile's weight is 880 to 3,000 pounds (400–1,360 kg) and length is normally 4 to 5.1 metres (13–17 ft), though very old males can be 6 metres (20 ft) or more. Translation: HOLY SHIT! RUN AWAY FROM THE 20 FOOT LONG 3000 POUND REPTILE!!!!
  • Saltwater crocodiles can swim 15 to 18 miles per hour in short bursts, but when cruising go 2 to 3 mph. TRANSLATION: MAKE ALL THE SWIM CHECKS YOU WANT MY LITTLE APPETIZERS...I SWIM AS FAST AS YOU RUN!
  • Many crocodiles are capable of explosive charges that can carry them nearly as fast as a running human. TRANSLATION: YOU'RE SCREWED ON LAND TOO!
  • As an ambush predator, it usually waits for its prey to get close to the water's edge before striking, using its great strength to drag the animal back into the water. Most prey animals are killed by the great jaw pressure of the crocodile, although some animals may be incidentally drowned. It is an immensely powerful animal, having the strength to drag a fully grown water buffalo into a river, or crush a full-grown bovid's skull between its jaws. TRANSLATION: I WILL CRUSH YOUR PUNY APE-SKULL BEFORE YOU CAN EVEN CRY FOR HELP!
  • Dr. Adam Britton, a researcher with Big Gecko, has been studying crocodilian intelligence. In so doing, he has compiled a collection of Australian saltwater crocodile calls, and associated them with behaviors. His position is that while crocodilian brains are much smaller than those of mammals (as low as 0.05% of body weight in the saltwater crocodile), they are capable of learning difficult tasks with very little conditioning. He also infers that the crocodile calls hint at a deeper language ability than currently accepted. He suggests that saltwater crocodiles are clever animals that can possibly learn faster than lab rats. They have also learned to track the migratory route of their prey as the climate changes. TRANSLATION: I WILL FOLLOW YOU HOME AND WAIT UNDER YOUR BED YOU PATHETIC MIN-MAXING ONE BITE!

In summation, there is not a whole lot I can think of that is more horrifying than the surprise round starting (and ending) with a lunge from the riverbank, the explosion of blood and brains, and 3 seconds later nothing but ripples in the water to show that the party fighter was just filling his waterskin.

#2 - The Cape Buffalo

No, it is YOU that would taste great on a bun...

If I were to list the most dangerous and terrifying animals on the planet, the last one on my list would be a hamburger in potentia. In fact, mammals would be rather underserved on this list period, which is why to get here you have to be a demonstrated killing machine. The cape buffalo is so dangerous, even lions gotta watch their asses.

  • Other than humans, African buffalo have few predators and are capable of defending themselves against (and sometimes killing) lions. Lions do kill and eat buffalo regularly, but it typically takes multiple lions to bring down a single adult buffalo; only large male lions have been known to take down adult buffalo on their own. TRANSLATION: THE DRUID AND RANGER MAY HAVE THEIR FANCY PETS, THEY ARE ONLY ONE BUFFALO AWAY FROM THE TRUTH.
  • Buffalo will try to rescue a member that has been caught. A calf's distress call will get the attention of not only the mother but also the herd. Buffalo will engage in mobbing behavior when fighting off predators. They have been recorded treeing lions for two hours, after the lions have killed a member of their group. Lion cubs can get trampled and killed. TRANSLATION: WE SO L33T WE INVENTED MOBZ TO SQUISH TEH BABEH KILLAZ!
  • Known as one of the "big five" or "Black Death" in Africa, the African Buffalo is widely regarded as a very dangerous animal, as it gores and kills over 200 people every year. Buffalo are sometimes reported to kill more people in Africa than any other animal, although the same claim is sometimes made of Hippopotamuses, or Crocodiles. Buffalo are notorious among big game hunters as very dangerous animals, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers. TRANSLATION: WOUND ME AND YOU WILL NEVER GET YOUR DAILIES OR ENCOUNTERS AGAIN. I WILL FOLLOW YOU HOME AND TRAMPLE YOU IN YOUR DRIVEWAY!

In summation let it be known that anything weighing over 1,000 pounds that's first instinct at the sign of danger is to accelerate to 40mph on a collision course with said danger has earned the no doubt enormous balls it likely sports.

#3 - The Red Devil Squid

In this particular situation, this is likely the last thing you would see before the pain starts.

We are all, undoubtedly, familiar with the giant squid. They make the news occasionally, we never hear about the "other" know, the ones that actually EAT people on a semi-regular basis? Look no further.
  • Humboldt Squid are carnivorous marine invertebrates that move in shoals of up to 1200 individuals. They swim at speeds of up to 24 kilometres per hour (15 mph/13 kn) propelled by water ejected through a hyponome (siphon) and by two diamond shaped fins. TRANSLATION: THERE ARE 1000 OF THEM AND THEY SWIM AT RUNNING SPEED.
  • They may grow to 2 metres (7 ft) and weigh 45 kilograms (100 lb), growing at an astounding rate. They can rapidly change their skin colour from deep purplish red to white using chromatophores (specialized skin cells) in what some researchers believe is a complex communication system. TRANSLATION: THEY ARE AS LARGE AS YOU ARE, AND HAVE ACTIVE FUCKING CAMOUFLAGE.
  • Experts have also stated that the invertebrates hunt for their prey of small fish and krill, in a cooperative fashion, which would be the first observation of such behaviour. TRANSLATION: THEY ARE THE VELOCIRAPTORS OF THE SEA - MOVE TO A MOUNTAIN TOP.
  • Recent footage of shoals of these animals demonstrates a tendency to meet unfamiliar objects aggressively. Having risen to depths of 130–200 metres (430–660 ft) below the surface to feed (up from their typical 700 meter (2,300 ft) diving depth, beyond the range of human diving), they have attacked deep-sea cameras and rendered them inoperable. TRANSLATION: PACK HUNTERS THAT EAT EVERYTHING, AND ATTACK ON SIGHT.

In summation, I would like to add being torn to bloody ribbons by a pack of 7 foot long, 100 pound reddish squid to my official list of things I could die happily knowing I missed.

In the gaming world in general, we tend to overlook the "mundane" by overusing the overpriced manuals and compendiums that are so generously provided. Why a boring young dragon? Why not a pair of 20 foot crocodiles fighting over a swimming PC?

Why not turn a shallow dive for a sunken wreck into a survival horror fest as the party tries to escape a wolf-pack of carnivorous squid?

Hell, a night spent in a tree, hiding from those evil rampaging buffalo would be a story worth telling!

Or best yet, just remind the nature-lovers in your party that just because you can talk to it, it doesn't mean that you are off the menu...or the threat list :)

Runners-up (or coming soon?)

The deep sea frilled shark (half-snake / half shark)

Fucking awful giant nasty water bugs

And whatever in the hell this thing is...a real-life facehugger...anyone surprised it's from the coldest and most irradiated shithole in russia?

Until next time, kill the dungeon crashers...FEED THEM TO THE BUFFALO!


RPG Ike said...

Nature; I love it. :)

I remember watching a show about humboldt squid a while back—a diver barely made it out of the water as several squid grabbed his respirator, a glove, and just about anything else that was loose. Terrifying.

That last image looks a lot like a horseshoe crab, but what's with the long tail?

Anyway, anything we imagine, nature has already done better. Thanks for the article!

Golgotha Kinslayer said...

This is why I hate nature. Bugs alone are bad enough, but something that will kill you out of spite is just wrong.

Ameron said...

Nothing is scarier than real life. This is exactly why I choose to stay in school and work in a high rise office tower. I want my real-life random encounters to be limited to UPS delivery people and not the freakiness you’re describing.

Donny said...

Yes...nature most foul and deadly :)

@Ike - That critter has been identified as a Triops. You can buy little ones as eggs for the kids to raise as pets. In australia they are known as shild shrimp. Harmless little critters that usually top out at 3-5 inches. This one was obviously mutated due to stewing in radioactive vodka for too long :p

@Golgotha & Ameron - Agreed. Bugs creep me right the hell out. Especially when our relationship involves meat on the menu. Can't think of anything more horrible than being torn to bits - still screaming - and eaten by a pack of 10 pound bugs...ICK!

Anonymous said...

I have actually scene Aussie saltwater crocodiles in farms in cairns, and let me assure you they are infinitely more horrible in real life than they are on paper.