Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Are You Really Going to Eat That?!

I recently stumbled upon the idea for a B/X Bug Collector class from Arnold K. of goblinpunch.blogspot.com. The randomness, combined with the minor gross-out factor of catching and eating bugs for magic effects was quite pleasing to me, though, of course, the system didn't work for what I'm playing right now -- which is mostly 5e and Pathfinder. So I considered doing a Pathfinder conversion for it.

Arnold's design was based on the wizard, swapping out all of the spells for randomly collected bug-effects. While it might be fun to make a Bug-Collecting archetype for the 5e or Pathfinder wizard, I don't really have time to come up with 9 spell-levels worth of expanded bug tables -- and that seemed like overkill for a joke anyways.

So, instead, I made it into a Feat, which opens up all kinds of fun Bug-Collecting character builds (not only Wizard-y types, but Rangers, Rogues, etc.) and also keeps the whole thing fairly simple and contained. And also opens it up to my existing players without requiring them to change their class(es) should they want to try it.

Additional thanks to Chris Sanford over at Wayspell for his additional bug ideas which I wrapped up in here too.

Bug Collector [General]
You are an amateur entomologist, and have learned to use some of the world’s weirdest bugs to your advantage.
Prerequisites: Knowledge (nature) 3 ranks, Survival 3 ranks
Benefit: By taking one hour and making a DC 20 Survival check, you can attempt to find special insects endemic to your current environment. If your Survival check succeeds, you find a number of bugs equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus (if any). Roll 1d10 on the appropriate biome table (see below) for each bug to determine what type of bug you have harvested. Collecting bugs requires an appropriate container (such as an empty flask or jar) for each bug to be collected.

Each bug is a single-use item (similar to a magical potion or alchemical item). Unless otherwise specified, using a bug is a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity. A jar containing a bug can be thrown at a target as a grenade-like weapon. Any effects of a bug that require a saving throw are made against a save DC of 10 + 1/2 your level + your Intelligence modifier. Any bug that is not used within 24 hours of when it was collected dies and becomes un-usable.

In addition, you gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against the special attacks of creatures of the Vemin type.
Special: This feat may be taken multiple times, each time it is taken it increases the number of bugs found on a successful roll by 1.

The “New World” of North America is filled with all manner of unusual creepy crawlies. Most of these are generally harmless to humans and their ilk, and don’t really qualify as monsters, and thus are generally beneath the notice (and feet) of most characters. Characters with the Bug Collector feat, however, can capitalize on these unusual creatures, which have a myriad of unusual properties.

Anyone using the Bug Collector feat should roll on the table below appropriate to their current biome.

Biome: Eastern Broadleaf Forests
  1. Acid Wasp: Though less aggressive than normal Vespidae, these wasps produce an extremely strong acid within their bodies. If sufficiently agitated (such as vigorously shaking the bottle they were captured in) they will launch themselves from the opened cork in a strait line at the nearest target and sting them. This functions as per the Acid Arrow spell (caster level 3rd). They can also be crushed to create a single Acid Flask.
  2. Bore Driller: These thumb-sized, ant-like insects have a sharply pointed proboscis and tough mandibles that allows them to quickly burrow through even the toughest wood. They are very photo-sensitive and will aggressively attempt to hide themselves from any light source. If placed on the skin of a creature while in conditions bright light, they will rapidly burrow just beneath the surface, dealing 2d8 points of piercing damage. The safest way to deliver the Bore-Driller is by throwing the flask at a creature (requiring a ranged touch attack).
  3. Bird Eater: The venom of this massive spider, the size of a grown man’s hand, has no effect on mammals, but is extremely dangerous to birds. The mere sight of one crawling around is terrifying to all birds. Once released from its flask, any avian creature within 50-ft. must immediately make a Will save vs. fear or gain the Frightened condition.
  4. Hercules Beetle: This massive beetle, nearly 7 inches long, is able to carry loads as much as 1000 times its own body mass, albeit slowly. Once released from its flask, it can be commanded to lift an object weighing not more than 2000 pounds. It will follow you around, loyally bearing its burden, at a ground movement rate of 15-ft. for up to 2 hours.
  5. Pugilistic Parasite: This tiny flat-headed worm, typically found in warm standing water, violently invades its host when swallowed, destroying all other organisms in its path. When consumed it quickly makes its way throughout the victims digestive tract and cardiovascular system. The person consuming the pugilistic parasite is instantly cured of all diseases and parasites afflicting them, but is Sickened for 1d6 hours. At the end of this time, the parasite explodes out of the user’s anus, reducing them to 1 hit point, before vanishing into the ground to lay its eggs.
  6. Rope Spider: These small spiders yellow-brown are only about an inch long, but weave some of the strongest silk in the world. They can be thrown at a solid surface to a maximum range of 100 feet, and will spool out their thread behind them. The hair-thin thread left in their wake is as strong as a Silk Rope and able to support a man (though climbing the micro-fiber thread can be very disconcerting). After 24 hours, the thread becomes more brittle, decreasing the break DC by 5 and reducing its hit points by one. This repeats every 24 hours, until after 4 days the thread will break if left unattended.
  7. Saw Bug: This large, anti-social relative of the termite can chew through wood in record speed, and can be used to easily fell trees or break through wooden barriers. If placed on a wooden surface (or a plant-like creature) it will deal 3d6 points of damage per round (ignoring all hardness or damage reduction) for 3 round before losing interest and going its way.
  8. Bind Spider: Closely related to the Rope Spider, these arachnids are slightly larger and are able to quickly produce large volumes of low-quality sheet webbing. When released from its flask, it immediately begins filling the area around itself with webs. This functions as per the Web spell, filling one 5-ft. square per round for 1d10 rounds. Once created, the webs remain until destroyed.
  9. Unicorn Fly: This bizarre insect of ancient origin has five eyes, three of them raised on a long horn-like projection. Much like its fey namesake, the bug has powerful healing properties. Eating one of these bugs immediately cures the user of 1d6 hit points and allows an immediate new saving throw against any poisons afflicting the eater.
  10. Whistling Grub: This damp, plump, three inch long worm makes an incredibly annoying sound when threatened, but is also very tasty (if you can get over the fact that it is a worm. If eaten one grub counts as a full meal for a medium-sized creature. If released and forced to make its cry, the grub will immediately attract some other creature intent on an easy meal. Roll on the random encounter table for your current area. The creature rolled will arrive in 1d10 rounds.
Ecosystem: South-Eastern Coastlands
  1. Beach Comber: A tiny, palm sized crab with a knack for finding small, shiny objects. When released, it will scuttle off and return 2d6 rounds later, dragging a random small-sized object behind it. Once delivered, it will wander off, full of a sense of accomplishment from a job well done. A successful Tracking check (base DC 10 modified for ground hardness) can be used to trace the crab’s path back to the source of its find.
  2. Black Tea Slug: Disgusting and slimy, these creatures produce a highly slippery mucus. When squeezed and wrung out, the slime of this tar black slug works like a Grease spell, though you must be adjacent to the area or object to be greased.
  3. Black Musta Lentaa: The bite of these large flies is extremely painful. When released, it will immediately bite the nearest creature (so make sure you toss it good and far, and it your mark). The bite deals 1d6 nonlethal damage and the target must make a Fortitude save or be Stunned for 1 round due to the excruciating pain.
  4. Bunker Barnacle: These shallow-water barnacles have a unique defensive mechanism, instantly calcifying anything that eats them. Popping a Bunker Barnacle in your mouth causes you to be instantly Petrified for 1d4 rounds. During this time you gain Hardness 15 against all attacks, but otherwise are in immovable rock.
  5. Eldritch Worm: This tiny creature looks more like a detached, suckered tentacle than a worm, but is somehow able to move on its own. By sliding this into your ear, and allowing it to crawl in completely, you gain Arcane Sight (as the spell) for 10 minutes. Strangely, the worm never comes back out.
  6. St. Tollan’s Hermit: Through sucking this poor, malformed crab from its shell and swallowing whole, you gain the ability to tunnel through soft earth as if you had a Burrow speed of 10-ft. for 1d4 minutes.
  7. Fulgens Gemma Beetle: By squeezing this glittering beetle into your mouth, and swallowing the innards, you can vomit forth a single brightly coloured ray. This functions as the spell Prismatic Spray save that it targets only a single creature and requires a ranged touch attack. If the ray is not used within 1d4 rounds, the person eating the beetle suffers the effects of the prismatic spray instead.
  8. Naty Maton Fly: Through snorting the larval form of the fly straight from the jar, the user grows needle tipped proboscis where their nose and mouth use to be. For 1d4 minutes, the user can use the proboscis to make a melee touch attack as a standard action that deals 1d6 points of damage, and heals the users for an equal amount of health. During this time, the user is unable to talk, eat normally, or perform any other action that requires a functional mouth.
  9. Wave Crasher Flea: The blood of this tiny insect is actually pure alcohol. Anyone ingesting the flea must make a Fortitude save or immediately become terribly drunk, gaining the Sickened condition. The condition lasts until the user rests or it is otherwise healed. This counts as consuming an entire bottle of alcohol for the purpose of using abilities like Drunken Rage or Drunken Boxing. It is said the original waves were started from drunken whales vomiting.
  10. Siren Slug: The Bug Collector whispers to the slug, before releasing it. It then begins to make a high pitched hypnotic “song”. All creatures (including the Bug Collector) within 30 feet that can hear the slug must make a Will save or be affected as per the Suggestion spell (told to the slug in the initial whisper). The suggestion lasts for 10 minutes. This is a sonic, mind-affecting effect, but is not language dependent as the slug translates the Bug Collectors whispers into subliminal signals.
250e1c2567432fd9e2305123bf5d85e7.jpgBiome: Caves and Underground
  1. Albino Cricket: Eating this tiny, white-skinned cricket grants the user Darkvision out to a range of 60 feet (or a 30-ft. increase to the range of their existing Darkvision) for 1 hour.
  2. Crocodile Maggot: Though called maggots, these mostly-immobile, long worms are actually the larval forms of giant centipedes. When released from its jar, the crocodile maggot will immediately molt, transforming into an adult Giant Centipede. After molting the creatures are extremely hungry and will attack the nearest creature with intent to kill. The Bug Collector has no control over the centipede, so it is suggested that the jar be thrown far.
  3. Coward Moth: Each wing of these brown-spotted moths is about the size of a man’s hand. While they overwinter in caves, they have a great dislike for enclosed areas. If released from their jar when indoors or underground, the moth will instinctively find the fastest, most direct route to open air (which, due to their size, is usually large enough for a man to fit through — with minimal excavation).
  4. Fire Beetle Larva: These fat, pulsating grabs are extremely hot to the touch and taste of peppers. When the larva is consumed, the user gains the ability to belch forth a cone of fire up to three times within the next hour, as per the Fire Breath spell (save for the duration).
  5. Glow Worm: The heads of these foot-long, legless green worms glow brightly when threatened. When squeezed harshly, a glow worm sheds normal light in a 30-foot radius and increases the light level by one step for an additional 30 feet beyond that area (darkness becomes dim light and dim light becomes normal light). A glow worm can glow for up to 2 hours (these do not need to be consecutive) before the worm dies.
  6. Mnemobeetle: Small, short-lived, and exclusively subteranean, these beetles possess ever-so-slight psionic capability. When eaten, the user’s mind is filled with visions of the beetles short lives, giving the user immediate insight into the cavern or dungeon complex in which the beetle was found (layout of rooms, sources of water, major predators, etc.). In addition, any psionic being eating a Mnemobeetle regains 1 psionic power point.
  7. Nursery Spider: These hairy, brown-striped, long-legged spiders are half-an-inch long and mostly harmless. Both males and females half marsupial-like pouches in their abdomens in which eggs are stored after mating. When eaten, these eggs hatch immediately and the nearly-microscopic nymphs swarm throughout their hosts body and begin extruding micro-hairs and webbing out through the user’s pores in an attempt to escape. The user suffers 2 points of Dexterity damage due to the webbing clinging to the skin and the crawling sensation under their it, but gains the ability to Spider Climb for 30 minutes. After this time, the nymphs die and bother the user no longer.
  8. Pinnate Scolipede: These tiny multi-legged gray isopod is closely related to the woodlouse, and no bigger than a grain of rice, and feeds on all manner of cave-fungi. When threatened it will bite a target and disgorge the contents of its stomach into the puncture, badly poisoning the victim. Thus they must be harvested with great care. Anyone coming into skin contact with a Scolipede must make a Fortitude save or suffer the effects of Violet Vemon. Because skin contact is necessary and they are so small and generally fragile, scolipedes are typically poured directly onto a victim by a would-be poisoner (rather than breaking a jar onto the victim).
  9. Rot Grub: Rot grubs are nauseating parasites that feed on flesh and nest in corpses. The simplest way to collect and weaponize these creatures is simply to shove a chunk of infected flesh into the jar (rather than trying to catch the grubs themselves). Once the jar is opened, 1d6 grubs swiftly burst from the carcass to burrow into the nearest creature, which can attempt a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid the grubs (but only if the creature is aware of the grubs’ presence). Any amount of damage reduction is enough to provide immunity to infestation. Once rot grubs have infested a living body, they burrow toward the host’s heart, brain, and other key internal organs, eventually causing death. On the first round of infestation, applying flame to the point of entry can kill the grubs and save the host, but this inflicts 1d6 points of fire damage to the victim. Cutting the grubs out also works, but the longer the grubs remain in a host, the more damage this method does. Cutting them out requires a slashing weapon and a DC 20 Heal check, and inflicts 1d6 points of damage per round that the host has been infested. If the Heal check is successful, one grub is removed. Remove disease kills any rot grubs in or on a host. Each round that rot grubs infest the host, he most make a DC 17 Fortitude save or suffer 1d2 points of Constitution damage. Successful saves do not remove the grubs from the hosts body, they merely avoid damage for that round.
  10. Vociferous Cricket: These little bugs are almost cute, though their chirping is dangerously loud. Thankfully they only chirp when exposed to light (and thus are usually captured in opaque jars). When the cricket is exposed to any light above dim light, it immediately unleashes a deafening cacophony of chirping. This acts as a Sound Burst spell, centered on the cricket.
Biome: Central Plains
  1. Blattoderm: These swarming, palm-sized isopods are covered in thick, tough chitin and feed on the body heat of mammals. When released from their jar, these bugs will swarm over the user’s body, covering him from head to toe and granting him a +8 Armor bonus to AC. The bugs count as Light armor, and impose a -3 armor check penalty and a 20% chance of spell failure (even to spellcasters that do not normally suffer spell failure from light armor) due to the distraction of having them crawl over your body. After two hours, the bugs fall off, sated and the user suffers 1d6 points of cold damage.
  2. Chaos Cicada: When agitated (such as smashing their jar on the ground) these bugs unleash a noise that is said to drive men to madness. All creatures within 50 feet that can hear the cicada must make a Will save or be Confused for 1d6 rounds.
  3. Dragon Ant: Though less than half an inch long, these spikey monstrosities are a true terror — swarming over targets and injecting them with painful venom. When a jar of fire ants is broken on a target, the victim must make a Fortitude save vs. poison or be Stunned for 1d6 rounds. On a successful save, the target is stunned for only 1 round. The lingering pain can last for days.
  4. Elf Beetle: Native to Faerie, these tiny creatures give off faint multi-hued glow. If crushed, the beetles explode in a cascade of sticky-phosphorescence that coats all creatures within 5-ft., affecting them as per the Faerie Fire spell. The sticky substance loses its glow after about 10 minutes, and can be washed off with water.
  5. Jeweled Beetle: The beautiful, multi-coloured shells of these bugs are highly prized. A jeweled beetle can be sold or used in trade, and has an average value of 1£.
  6. Grimbly Fly: This normal-looking fly feels almost completely weightless. In fact, it is filled with a highly compressed lighter-than air gas. If eaten, the user’s body and blood quickly become suffused with the gas, allowing them to Fly (as the spell) for 1 minute. At the end of this time, the user must make a Fortitude save or become Nauseated for 1 minute due to the rapidly decompressing gas in their bloodstream.
  7. Longfly: The unusually long thorax of these flies produces a strange colorless, salty-tasting liquid. When consumed, the liquid interferes with magical energies, affecting the consumer as per a targeted Dispel Magic (caster level 3rd). If the consumer does not have any spell effects currently active on them, the next spell they cast within 1 hour is automatically countered as if by a dispel magic. The liquid can be used to poison a drink, and remains active for up to one hour.
  8. Brain Beetle: If placed near the ear of a mammalian creature, these little blue bugs will burrow into the ear canal and latch onto the victim’s brain. The victim gains the ability to Detect Thoughts (as the spell) for 10 minutes. At the end of this time, the victim must make a Fortitude save or fall unconscious for 1d10 minutes. After which the beetle will emerge and go its way. It is unknown what, if anything, the beetles actually do when in the victim’s head.
  9. Purple Worm Larva: As gargantuan as purple worms are, their freshly-hatched larvae are surprisingly small, not much bigger than a man’s fist. Also surprisingly, the nearly mindless worms have a vengeful maternal streak. When the larva is killed it will release a phermone that has a 1 in 6 chance of attracting an adult Purple Worm in 1d6 hours. The worm will home in on the location where the larvae was killed and will by no means be under the bug collector (or anyone else’s) control.
  10. Zattis Dragonfly: These little neon-pink dragon-flies have surprisingly powerful wings. When released from its jar, the sudden rush from the zattis dragonfly’s takeoff will kick up a huge cloud of dust filling a 100-ft. radius around the point of release and obscuring vision as per the Obscuring Mist spell. The dust will settle after 1 minute.
Biome: Western Desert and Xeric Shrublands:
  1. Camel Grub: A bloated grub about the size of a small shoe. Surprisingly full of water – really just more than it should have. 1d4 pints worth, in fact. Enough to extinguish a touch, or fill a water skin. The water is clean and refreshing, with no ill effects gained from drinking straight from the bug.
  2. Fasting Beetle: A green beetle full of chlorophyll. Swallowing it whole gives the user a greenish tint to their skin and removes the need to eat for the day, as long as they spend most of it in a well lit area.
  3. Cactus Dancer: Lithe, needle legged spider pierces flesh as readily as the cactus spines it dances across. When released, the Cactus Dancer will scurry over the nearest creature, inflicting 1d4 points of Bleed damage before escaping. The target will continue to take bleed damage as normal until healed.
  4. Corpse Crier Worm: A thin, pale worm that, when placed into the ear of a corpse, will burrow in, stimulating not yet rotten neurons. The corpse will be able to answer questions as per the Speak with Dead spell for 1d6 minutes before the brain bits become too eaten to continue.
  5. D’nith Dust Devil: A trembling little thing with the ability to burst when frightened as a, presumably, evolutionary defense mechanism. When released, it creates a 20-ft. radius burst of stinging sand. Anyone in the area must make a Fortitude save or be Blinded for 1d6 rounds.
  6. Missile Hornet: A blue and black schemed hornet, with an ethereal glow. By shaking the capture phial vigorously, then uncorking and pointing towards a target, the hornet will strike out, automatically hitting as per the Magic Missile spell, dealing 1d6 magical piercing damage.
  7. Scorpion: Just a normal scorpion. You ever have one of these thrown at you? Good Lord. Target must make a Will save vs. fear, or become Shaken for 1 round and drop everything they’re currently holding as they freak out.
  8. Skillapede: A foot long centipede looking monstrosity​, with legs nearly the same length as its central body. When applied along the user’s spine, the skillapede burrows its various appendages into the flesh. Its legs wrap around the nervous system, the fangs pierce the base of the skull. Why use this horrific thing? Because somewhere along the way someone, somehow, figured out the bug bestows increased skill ability. The process takes 10 minutes and deals 1d4 points on Con damage to the user. At the end of this time, the user permanently gains a number of bonus skill points equal to the Con damage dealt (1d4 skill points). A given subject cannot benefit from more than a single Skillapede (unless they are possessed of multiple heads/spines).
  9. Apocalocus: A black and red locus with far too many barbs. When placed or thrown on an inanimate object made from organic materials (wooden door, leather jerkin, coal vein), it will devour that item entirely, before collapsing into a food coma. This acts as per the Disintegrate spell, save that it does not affect creatures, nor does it affect inorganic materials.
  10. Grim Maggot: Actually an inch long caterpillar, bearing a skull pattern on its head and a vantablack body. Upon being released from the jar, the Maggot will crawl exactly 10’ before standing on its hind most legs an beginning a sobering dirge loud enough to be heard up to 50 feet away for 1d4 rounds. This acts as per the Animate Dead spell (caster level 3rd), affecting any corpses within hearing range. The skeletons or zombies created by the Grim Maggot are not under the Bug Collector’s control (though they may be subsequently controlled by other means).