Saturday, October 13, 2007

New Monster: Melhukiskata

[The description of this monster was submitted to Rob Kuntz for inclusion in his Kalibruhn campaign setting back in 2002. The AD&D stats have just now been added.]

No. Appearing: 1-2
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2
Move: 9"
Attacks: 2 hands
Damage: 1-4
Special Attacks: 4 in 6 chance of surprise, Strength-draining poison (save vs. poison or lose 1-6 points per round, renders unconscious at 2), adhesive fingers (open doors check to break free), bites for 6 points of damage (unconscious foes only, automatic hits each round)
Treasure Type: Nil
Intelligence: Semi-
Alignment: Neutral

The hunters of the northernmost forests of Kalibruhn share that terrain with many strange and dangerous beasts. One such predator is the melhukiskata, or "sap snatcher."

So stealthy is the melhukiskata that it is rare for one to be spotted on the move. Those who have seen them report that its body is three feet long, shaped like a weasel or badger, but can walk like a bear. It is covered with shaggy, grey-brown fur all over, down to the tip of its two-foot long tail. Its mouth is elongated and oddly eel-like, while its feet are wickedly taloned. The most unusual features of the beast, though, are its fingers -- for instead of forepaws, the melhukiskata has fingered hands. Odder still, the fingers are long and stiff, and grow out like antlers. The longest of these antler-like fingers yet seen on a melhukiskata were five feet long.

Tracking the melhukiskata is difficult, for when it does travel it often walks backwards, dragging its huge fingers behind it as if to sweep away its trail. Perhaps because of this so many folktales describe the melhukiskata as a clever animal. More likely, such behavior is instinctive. In no other regard does it appear to be smarter than a dog.

The unwary traveler through a deep forest is unlikely to notice the melhukiskata, obscured by underbrush, fallen leaves and branches, or just partially underground in a hole of its own digging. At a distance, the beast's enormous fingers look like tree branches or broken antlers. Only when its prey draws near does it raise its hands and strike. The anticipation of the hunt causes the melhukiskata's fingers to exude a sticky adhesive that only looks like tree sap. The sap-like adhesive dripping off the fingers also serves as a strength-draining poison. Most victims will, when caught by its hands, thrash around and cut themselves on the sharp edges, allowing this poison into their blood. The melhukiskata anchors itself with its talons, waiting until the victim grows too weak to continue this game of tug-of-war. The melhukiskata then relaxes, ending the flow of poisonous secretion. Once it dries, the melhukiskata can let go and move closer to eat. Its eel-like mouth can latch onto its prey, in case the victim's strength returns before the beast is done feasting.

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