By Gary Gygax
The LA game is a trifle short of interesting mineral-based
monsters, so I decided to do something about that. Funny thing
is, though, the submissions from the active fans sort of shot
me down, so all of these are from other designers. No question
in my mind that the LA fans are creative!
Drillipede 1 sp.
21-30 +11-20 sp.
31-50 +21-40 sp.
Rock Grub 11-20
special & 1-12
Stone Mantis 1
2 x 9-30 +13-16 & sp.
2 x 1-20 +3-5
18 & sp.
Xagmite 10 200
Drillipedes in General
Drillipedes are large creatures that eat their way through
rock in the depths of the Earth. They avoid soil. Millennia
ago, intelligent subterranean races bred (and magically altered)
their progenitors to enhance their instinctive behavior and
increase their usefulness. These creatures are now rarely
seen, either because they are few in number or because they
are kept secret by races using them (both their actions and
byproducts are of value). Drillipedes create patterns of passages
and chambers in solid rock, much as bees build honeycombs
or spiders spin webs. Their structures may look like symmetric
natural caves and caverns (and no doubt did originally), but
they usually imitate humanoid architectural patterns, complete
with pillared halls, tunnels with arched ceilings, stairways,
archways, and so on. The construction styles might seem like
those of dockalfar or dwarves of any era, the eldritch geometry
of lost races, or even a mix. They can learn new styles if
they encounter them, and pass on the repertoire genetically
to their offspring. The work is structurally sound and precisely
crafted, but not notably artistic. Humanoids often move into
these constructions and add doors and decoration.
Drillipedes look like enormous millipedes, colored a dark,
mottled red overall, with pale rose legs and underside. Their
powerful mandibles have many overlapping shearing and grinding
plates. Their small eyes see in complete darkness as a human
does at dusk, and see in dim light (glowlichen to torchlight)
as a human does in twilight. In brighter light they can barely
see at all: it causes them pain, and they will retreat from
it unless defending themselves or their young. They communicate
among themselves using subsonic vibrations, which travel many
miles through rock. These vibrations also let them map out
cavities, water, and magma to avoid flooding or immolating
themselves, get safe access to water, skirt heavily populated
areas, and join their passages neatly to existing ones. It
is thought that they have a perfect mental map of everywhere
they have been. They are semi-intelligent at best except in
their architectural work and ability to solve the problems
of underground excavation.
The shearing and grinding plates in their powerful jaws are
of a very hard abrasive material. (We would recognize it as
mostly silicon carbide and tungsten carbide studded with industrial
diamonds: it is a good abrasive, but has neither gem value
nor uses in weaponry.) This, and a highly acidic saliva, lets
adults chew through hard rock at about 1500 cubic feet (15
x 10 x 10) per day, double that for soft rock. (Rogue drillipedes,
see hereafter, get through two to four times that volume.)
They digest most of the mineral, but eventually excrete very
rich oreabout 1 cubic foot of excreta per 1000 of rock,
depending on the content of the rock. This is rolled into
large balls and stored as food for the youngalthough
other races take much of it. Digestion produces oxygen as
a byproduct. Glowlichen often grows on drillipedes exoskeletons.
It seems to cause no harm, but they scrape it off from time
to time, thus spreading it about the subterranean realms.
Their chitin and mandibles constantly self-repair, growing
and thickening from the inside.
Both sexes of the species create passages to move from place
to place, to seek out water and join up spaces underground
to allow free travel. While progress may be slow, they live
for centuries. Every decade or so, a male adult creates a
nesting complex near a water source, generally a central chamber
with 4-6 side chambers and a few passageways. He will often
(75%) imitate any constructed areas nearby. A subsonic mating
call is then sent out. Females (who concentrate on networking
rather than nest-making) arrive via existing passages to inspect
the work. If the chamber is well constructed, with perfectly
level floors, a satisfying number of pillars and arches, pleasing
symmetry, and so on, mating takes place. The pair stay together
during the gestation and initial growth of the young (4-6
weeks), jointly creating more chambers in that time. The young
are born live, and grow quickly, feeding on the rich ore balls
stockpiled in the side chambers, and leaving only small amounts
of precious metals, hard crystals, and gems undigested (and
deposited in one place). The parents separate and leave shortly
after the young exceed 20 feet in length and can defend themselves.
The young may instinctively detail the rooms and halls, fluting
or spiraling pillars, incising simple patterns in floors,
walls, and ceilings, carving small niches into the walls,
and so on. After a few months, or if the ore has been finished
or removed by others for its non-precious content, they leave
the nest. They become adults after a few years, at which stage
their growth rate slows further.
Adults and juveniles may work together on large passages
connecting areas important to the species (cysts in the underdeeps,
and so on). Several adult males may work on more elaborate
complexes, in case several females become interested, and
complexes may build up over the decades into intricate mazes
of rooms and halls. If a light-using race occupies a complex,
the drillipedes abandon it and start work on a new one elsewhere.
The young are prey to wyrms and similar creatures, but nothing
much bothers the older drillipedes, and intelligent races
may well protect them. The few drillipedes that live to be
more than three centuries old become infertile, and grow into
solitary rogues, delving ever deeper into the Earth. This
state approaches the ancestral existence of the species. Their
burrowing usually reverts to plainer and more primitive forms,
most often natural-looking, and they create ever larger tunnels
and caverns (of necessity, since they are now huge themselves).
They may live as long as a millennium, growing slowly all
the time. They seem to get more irritable and aggressive with
age, so it is as well that rogues are almost never met.
Appearing: 1 (10% chance of 2; if so, 30% chance of 1-8 helpless
H: 45-90 P: 41-60 S: 12
The drillipede is 45-90 feet long, as indicated by its Health,
and a tenth of that length in diameter. Roll a d10 to establish
its Health (40 + d10 x 5) and Precision (40 + d20). It cannot
climb on walls and ceilings, but can rear to half its height.
If excavating very large chambers or passageways, it starts
at the top and works down. It will flee light brighter than
torchlight unless defending itself or its young, and will
rarely attack unless attacked. A mated pair may, if pickings
have been very lean (10%), attempt to eat metal-armored persons
to provide more nutritious ore for imminent offspring, though.
Attack: The drillipede attacks with a shearing bite that
chomps through normal or preternatural armor for 21-30 Harm
plus 11-20 acid Harm to both the victim and his armor (supernatural
or better armor will protect the victim, but still suffers
Harm). If it is mortally wounded, it will function for one
more ABC, and during that time expel its remaining powerfully
acidic saliva in a great gout over its attackers. This attack
affects an area of 10-foot radius, up to 50 feet from the
drillipede, and does 26-35 points of acid Harm to all those
in the area, and their armor and exposed gear (shields, drawn
weapons, and so on). Supernatural or better armor will protect
the victims, but still suffers damage.
Defense: The drillipede has tough chitinous plates, several
inches thick, providing 11-20 points of armor against all
normal and half that amount against preternatural attack forms
(10 points + 1 point per 5-foot increment over 40 feet of
the beast's length). It is immune to toxins and acids of any
H: 21-40 P: 16-25 S: 18
The immature drillipede is 1-foot in diameter and 10 feet
long when born, growing quickly on the food left by its parents
to reach 21-40 feet in length, as indicated by its Health,
and a tenth of that in diameter. At this stage, it can climb
walls and ceilings. Its jaws are not as well developed as
those of its parents. It will flee light brighter than torchlight,
and will rarely attack unless attacked. There is a chance
(10%) that one will mistake a metal-armored person for a piece
of tasty ore and attempt to eat him or her, though. It will
usually retreat quickly if its meal bites back.
Attacks: The immature drillipede attacks with a bite that
chomps through normal armor for 11-20 Harm to both the victim
and his armor (preternatural or better armor will protect
the victim, but still suffers Harm).
Defense: The immature drillipede has tough chitinous plates
providing 10 points of armor against all normal attack forms.
It takes half damage from toxins and acids of any sort.
H: 91-190 P: 61-80 S: 6
The rogue drillipede is 91-190 feet long, as indicated by
its Health, and a tenth of that in diameter. Roll d% to establish
its Health (90 + d%) and a d20 for its Precision (60 + d20).
It cannot climb on walls and ceilings, but can rear to a quarter
of its height. If excavating very large chambers or passageways,
it starts at the top and works down. It will attack bearers
of light brighter than torchlight if they don't remove themselves
from its presence, and sometimes may attack out of bad temper
anyway5% per 10 points of Health over 90 (5% at 91-100,
10% at 101-110, and so on). This chance is doubled if potential
victims are buzzing around making a lot of noise, using Activations,
and the like.
Attack: The rogue drillipede attacks every other ABC with
a powerful shearing bite that chomps through any armor for
31-50 Harm plus 21-40 acid Harm to both the victim and his
armor (normal, preternatural, or supernatural). If it is mortally
wounded, it will function for one more ABC, and during that
time expel its remaining powerfully acidic saliva in a great
gout over its attackers. This attack affects an area of 20-foot
radius, up to 100 feet from the drillipede, and does 36-55
acid Harm to all those in the area, and their armor and exposed
gear (shields, drawn weapons, and so on), whether normal,
preternatural, or supernatural.
Defense: The rogue drillipede has tough chitinous plates,
up to a foot thick, providing 21-40 points of armor against
all normal, half that against preternatural, and one-quarter
against supernatural attack forms (20 points + 1 point per
5-foot increment over 90 feet of the beast's length). It is
immune to natural heat less than that of molten lava, toxins
and acids of any sort, and any form of mind control or paralysis.
(All of the above with thanks to Malcolm bowers.)
Igneolids in General
Igneolids are gigantic worm-like creatures that tunnel through
igneous rock (granite, basalt, and so on), melting and eating
it, and often any encountered life forms, as they go. They
avoid sedimentary rocks and soil.
An igneolid looks something like a muscular worm crossed
with a squid. The roughly cylindrical body, 180 feet long,
splits at the head into a dozen 30-foot-long tentacles, which
it keeps pinched together when it travels in open areas such
as deep caverns. The body is 21 feet in diameter at the head,
18 feet diameter 90 feet further on; the tail tapers over
the last 60 feet. Propulsion is aided by primitive flipper-like
appendages spaced around the bodythree staggered bands
of six such appendages. The body is mottled violet and dark
gray, with three lines of shimmering indigo oval plates along
its length; the flippers and tentacles are purple; the 6 teardrop-shaped
sensory nodes (eyes, ears, and perhaps more) around the head
are glossy black. The interior mouth and gut are the bright
orange of a furnace (which the gut is, more or less).
The igneolid uses its electrical discharge for tunneling
through the rock it ingests, focusing it to melt the material.
It can move fast (12), letting most of the rock melt pass
through it, or more slowly (1), creating large tubes relatively
free of debris.
The rarely seen igneolids may be nearly as old as the world
itself. It is thought that they live and breed in the molten
rock in the deeps of the earth. They have been known to travel
in magma flows, and eruptions have brought some to the surface.
There are unconfirmed rumors that some primitives worship
them as gods when they appear in volcano craters: if so then
perhaps some means of communication is possible. Only adults
are have been met; younger creatures would be proportionately
less powerful (40% + d5 x 10% of adult statistics).
Igneolids store the electricity their muscle movement generates
in a series of connected nodes along their bodies, under the
oval plates. The nodes are root-like metallic structures around
clusters of quartz crystals. A days work with a supernaturally
sharp blade could extract valuable material from a dead igneolids
tough flesh after it has cooled for one or two days.
It is possible to smelt the 500 pounds of conductive nodes
to get half that weight of copper and silver, and also to
collect about 20 pounds (45,400 carats) of tear-shaped quartz
crystals (uncut gems, hard, 70% common, 30% uncommon). That
said, there are probably easier ways to get wealth than by
tangling with one of these creatures.
H: 360 P: 72 S: 12
Attack: The 150-ton igneolids primary attack form is
electrical. When it spreads its mouth-tentacles apart in a
star shape, it can generate a searing, lilac-hued electrical
discharge; this crackles forward in a conical area of effect
that is 30-foot diameter at the mouth and extends to a point
30 feet away. All in the area of effect take 2130 Harm,
double if the subject is at the point of the cone or in contact
with a large amount of ferrous metal, triple if both.
The igneolid may instead attempt to eat relatively passive
opponents (unconscious or cowering, for instance), bundling
one such victim per ABC down its throat with its tentacles
for 120 Harm. Inside the monster it is as hot as a furnace,
doing 912 points of Harm per ABC. (If it burrows into
rock at top speed to flee, it is possible that it could squirt
out a swallowed victim in the liquid lava behind it in as
little as a minute.)
If attacked from behind, the igneolid can sweep with its
tail for 2130 + 10 shock Harm, the (Physique) bonus
ignoring armor. If attacked from the side, the igneolid can
roll over to crush its opponents for 1320 + 120
Harm (any way up is the same to it). Any person trapped underneath
(LMs call, depending on room to maneuver and a Disaster
Avoidance Check, if appropriate) takes 110 Harm per
ABC ignoring amour and cannot attack. Contact with the creatures
hot hide also inflicts 35 points of heat Harm per ABC.
The igneolid can electrocute or swallow an opponent in the
same ABC as using either or both of these attack forms.
Defense: The igneolids massive size and thick plate-studded
leathery hide provide 18 points of armor against normal and
preternatural attack forms, 9 against supernatural attack
forms. It is completely immune to any type of heat, fire,
venom, toxin, illusion, or mind control. Electrical attacks
just supercharge it, adding +10 Harm to its lightning discharge
for a number of ABCs equal to the Grade of the activation
used on it.
(With thanks to Malcolm Bowers.)
H: 161-180. P: 20-25. S: 3 attacking-moving backwards/15
Attack: Gaseous discharge effect within 20 feet paralyzes
air-breathing creatures failing Disaster Avoidance check each
AB, two claws inflicting 9-30 Harm each, plus incidental acid
secretion adding 13-16 points additional Harm when claw hit
Defense: 10 armor protection due to chitinous skin. See
Creature Table above for immature Stone Mantis.
The stone mantis is a thing that was created by the Utiss
as a sort of manual laborer. It is a creature partially of
mineral sort and in part a giant insect. This strange species
is responsible for creating both passages and what some would
consider as natural caverns within a mountain or beneath the
surface of the land. Indeed, many creatures live within these
caverns, and many races often times develop them further into
domiciles and communities.
The typical stone mantis is from 61 to 80 in length and can
ranges form 10 to 15 feet in diameter. The stone Mantis employs
an acid compound that is excreted from a bulbous gland located
on the opposite end of their mighty claws. This acid partially
dissolves rock, softens it. One then employs its claws to
tear into the rock, feeding on it. The skin pods on its worm-like
body serve to expel the byproduct gas from digestion, and
this gas also serves as protection against possible danger.
The gas remains for 2-5 minutes and will paralyze any air-breathing
creature within a radius of 20 feet. Each stone mantis has
12 tentacles, and these serve as feelers for cracks in the
rock, thus providing a more efficient routing beneath the
Very rarely, if ever, will a creature of this sort venture
above ground. The presence a stone mantis is easily noted
for the powerful gaseous discharge it omits creates a stench
usually notable when within 200 feet of its location.
When feeding, a stone mantis moves at about a foot and a
half to two feet per hour. Its passage thus leaves behind
a smoothed, shiny passageway of circular form. The tunnel
created by feeding is amazingly strong, nearly completely
proof against cave-ins and even seismic shocks. A stone mantis
can move backwards at a Speed of 3, move along a tunnel normally
as a surprisingly rapid rate of 15.
These creatures have a life span of about 200 years, reach
maturity at around 50 years, have a breeding life of some
100 years. After a male and female mate, the female will
gestate eggs for two years, then deposit from 11 to 20 in
a subterranean cul-de-sac. Only about one-half of the eggs
will hatch some six months thereafter. For a year and a half
after hatching, the stone mantis young are vulnerable to predators,
for they have neither strong claws nor acid, lack a strong
armor protection. Mortality is high, and only about one in
100 stone mantis larva ever survives to adulthood.
A mature stone mantis will have in its digestive organs from
10-100 crystals and/or gems of from 41-70 carats size with
a value per carat of from $1 to $100. Immature ones will
have a like number of gems and crystals, with a like value,
but of smaller size21-40 carats.
(With thanks to Sean Westerman.)
Rock Grubs in General:
Rock grubs are larva-like creatures that eat their way slowly
through rock, breaking it down into sand and soil. Groups
of them tunnel through the shallow rocks of the earth, leaving
behind a distinctive maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
The tunnels are usually roughly oval, 48 feet high,
half that wide (and sandy-floored). What nutriment they search
for is unknown, but they seem to avoid ores of value to intelligent
H: 10 P: 30 S: 10
Attacks: If disturbed, a rock grub will attempt to repel
a prospective attacker by spraying powdered rock at its face
(the grub aims by sensing the breath). This expelled high-velocity
debris stream extends 12 feet, and ignores protection not
specific to the face. Maximum damage means the attacker is
blinded for 3 ABs (less if he rinses his eyes before then),
and must make a Disaster Avoidance Check (Speed BR x 4) or
suffer permanent damage to the sight (d4 x 10% impairment).
The rock grub thereafter attacks anyone who persists with
a bite for 1-12 Harm. The rest of the group of rock grubs
will join in, using their ability to clamber easily over walls
and ceilings to advantage.
Defense: The rock grubs small size and leathery hide
(that is interlaced with metallic strands) provides 14 points
of armor against normal attack forms.
Rock grubs look something like deep blue caterpillars: a
circular boring head sits on a tapered body with three sets
of six legs around its circumference, each ending in three-toed
feet that can grip fast to walls and ceilings (and each other,
when groups work on a rock face). The segmented disk-like
mouthparts are faced with serried rows of teeth around a central
orifice. Rock grubs can range in size from as small as a mans
forearm to as large as a small dog. They are blind but sensitive
to air currents.
Wealth: Rock grubs may occasionally (10%) have nuggets of
indigestible gold in their intestinal tracts (d6 x $50 worth).
They also store extracted water in sacs in their bodies, about
a cup each, and so may sometimes be sought by the desperately
(With thanks to Malcolm Bowers.)
H: 25-30. P: 30-35. S: 6.
Attack: Clubbing blow inflicting 3-20 plus points of damage
on a target struck, with a variable addition of 2-8 points
added, the latter Harm always bypassing non-Extraordinary
Defense: 20 armor protection against all normal attacksincluding
cold based, fire/heat and electrical ones.
Thashlar are subterranean life forms of bipedal, humanoid
shape. They move through solid rock at the rate of one foot
per AB of time, seeking metal ores and crystals to feed upon.
When partially melded with natural rock, one is 90% undetectable
from normal stone, and the individual thus in transition can
move into the rock completely in a ABC of time, or step forth
and move at full rate. These creatures do not have visual
organs, but in the open they sense vibrations within 100 feet
of their location.
They are the natural foes of stone mantis, preying upon the
immature of this species, themselves being preyed upon by
the adults of the Stone Mantis.
(With thanks to Sean Westerman.)
H: 65. P: 20. S: 5 attacking or moving outside lava or
magma, 15 attacking or moving within lava or magma.
Attack: Proximity of 10 feet causes 1-10 hear Harm, if actively
attacking they can each hurl 10-pound globs of molten rock
each ABC of time, inflicting 26-35 points of damage on a target
struck, with splash Harm of 9-12 points possible
for all subjects within a six-foot radius of the point of
impact of the missile.
Defense: 18 armor protection against all normal attackscold
inflicts double normal Harm.
The Health of a thore is regenerated at 1 point per
ABC when they are in this natural environment. When they
are outside (not touching) the lava, they recover lost Health
at the same rate does a Human1 point per day of rest.
If confronted by cold, attacked thus, one will suffer twice
the normal Harm to Health thus. Such exposure sends a thore
hastening to safety almost instantly.
Thore will not dwell far from a volcanic region where
lava is abundant. They submerge into the earth to where the
magma is being expelled and live within obsidian walls that
they have created beneath the surface right in the center
of the magmas hottest point. They are very strong in
nature, have a capacity to lift ten times the weight a normal
man can (Physique 500). Due to their need for high temperature,
constant heat, thore are very rarely seen anywhere far
distant from lava or magma.
These vaguely humanoid, bipedal creatures average 7 to 10
feet in height and dwell within molten lava. These creatures
are not hostile and can be communicated with only by means
of telepathy. They possess the capacity to construct weapons,
shields, or anything that can be made of metal for that matter
within just a few hours time, depending on the density or
strength of the metal desired, and the complexity of the construction.
General times required are:
Iron: one-half hour to separate
Steel: one hour to alloy
Steel alloyed with tilferium: four hours to alloy
Mace, iron: one-half hour to fashion
Buckler, steel: one-half hour to fashion
Axe head, steel: one-half hour to fashion
Dagger, steel: two hours to fashion
Sword, steel: four hours to fashion
Steel plate armor, half: six hours to fashion
Steel plate armor, full: 10 hours to fashion
Objects created by thore must be paid for in crystals
and/or gemstones at a rate equal to the cost of a like item.
The objects so crafted are not magical in any way but will
be of highest quality, made with their bare hands of the worker.
The item will have an obsidian-black finish with a fine polish
and bearing razor- sharp edges if such are present in the
object. The weight of these items will be equivalent to
that of the same type of item normally created by a smith.
Any item will have a symbol marking the identity of its thore
Treasure within the dwelling of a thore group will
be in crystals and gems, each possessing 10-100 of such objects.
Value of each crystal or gem varies from $200 to $2,000 per
carat, with a carat-weight variable of 1-30 per, re-rolling
all 30s, a score above 10 indicating the addition of 1-30
more carats weight.
(With thanks to Sean Westerman.)
Xagmites in General:
Xagmites are creatures an inch or so in diameter, possibly
of elemental origin, that melt their way through rock in search
of precious minerals. Swarms of them tunnel slowly through
the deeps of the earth, usually following the veins of the
ore on which they live. They have been known to travel in
magma flows, and eruptions have brought some to the surface.
Xagmites are large reddish-brown, mite-like, looking roughly
like oval coins in size and shape, with eight flat, inward-pointing
legs under their bodies. They can scuttle easily over any
surface: walls, ceilings, and avatars included. Miners have
made efforts to exterminate them, to such effect that they
are now reasonably rare, but rumors persist of thousand-strong
swarms in deep places in the earth. In the absence of metal
or gem ore they become dormant, and can remain in this state
for many decades, until aroused by the odor of nutriment.
Xagmites are a bane to adventurers and miners, but less than
they could be. They are inefficient feeders, and leave a lot
behind. Sometimes their melting out of a seam of precious
metal ore can even be useful. Furthermore, too rich a diet
poisons their systems. Three meals in a row of refined metal
or gem material will kill them. Treasure hoards thus suffer
only limited harm from their depredations. Adventurers can
easily delay or distract them by throwing down quantities
of gems and coins before the xagmites get to their magic rings
and jeweled dagger hilts.
H: 1 P: 20 S: 12
Attacks: Xagmites are irresistibly attracted to refined metals
and most gems. They heat themselves enough to melt the articles
upon which they cluster, then ingest the resultant liquid.
This not only destroys the items but also causes incidental
damage to those wearing or carrying such tasty treats.
The LM should assign probabilities that articles will be
targeted based roughly on material value. Xagmites will go
after gems (except diamonds, which burn rather than melt)
and precious metal (platinum, gold, silver, copper) in preference
to ferrous metal. They can eat no more than an ounce of such
concentrated nutriment in one meal (and four hours).
Attack: The xagmites swarm over reachable items in 1 ABC.
Each xagmite then heats up, glowing red on the first ABC,
then orange, yellow, and finally white hot on the fourth and
subsequent ABCs, doing 1, 2, 3, and 4 points of heat Harm
respectively to the item (if it can be affected). When the
item or a portion of it is molten (destroyed) the xagmite
ingests it. The damage to the possessor depends on the size
of the item, covering or padding, and how quickly the possessor
discards it. (LMs call: see LML p. 134, Fire.)
Defense: The Xagmites small size and fast movement
provide 1 point of armor against normal attack forms. Its
carapace is thin and ceramic-like, providing protection from
most insectivores, but not from a booted foot or mailed fist!
It is completely immune to heat and fire of any type. Magical
cold can kill one, but water only slows its heating effects
for one ABC.
An unreliable and reportedly mad savant claims that the following
bit is, although usually left out of standard accounts, correct
and should be included in the creatures description:
Xagmites were originally called magmites because
they were mites found in magma. The sage Xagryar was the first
to study them, and established that they were attracted to,
and melted, metals and gems. Sadly, while he took precautions
to avoid keeping metal on his person, he one day forgot he
was wearing his gem-studded leather underwear, and suffered
a terrible fate. The creatures were renamed in memoriam.
(With thanks to Malcolm Bowers.)
© 2002 Trigee Enterprises Company. All rights reserved.