Silt Spawn

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Silt Spawn
Climate/Terrain:Sea of Silt
Activity Cycle:Day
Intelligence:Animal (1)
No. Appearing:2d6
Armor Class:8
Movement:15 (in silt)
Hit Dice:2
No. of Attacks:1
Special Attacks:Nil
Special Defenses:Nil
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:M (4' long)
Morale:Steady (12)
XP Value:65

Silt spawn are the young of the silt horrors that roam the Sea of Silt. Unlike their adult counterparts, coloration is more difficult to detect at this young age. It seems that the young are born with random colors and only take on the appearance of silt horrors as they reach maturity. Silt spawn only remotely resemble the adult creatures they will become, and few who see them would even guess at a connection between the smaller silt spawn and the huge, multi-tentacled silt horrors they grow into.

Silt spawn have tentacles and teeth, like the adult horrors, but they appear flatter, less bulbous. They keep this flat shape until reaching a size of about 10 feet long, then they start to take on the characteristics that differentiate them as adult silt horrors.

Combat: When aroused, a clutch of young horrors will gauge their prey's strength before attacking as a group. The only attack form available to the silt spawn is a bite, as its tentacles have not yet developed enough strength to be used offensively. The silt spawn usually concentrate on a single target, hoping to drag it under the silt where the entire clutch can share in the feast.

Though the silt spawn are small, their varied nature and youthful energy makes them deadly in their own right. Because of their ability to move quietly through the silt, opponents receive a -2 penalty to all surprise rolls. If a victim is surprised, in the first round of combat all of the silt spawn get to make a free attack against the target.

One tactic that the spawn have learned is to drag prey deeper into the silt. If more than two of the spawn manage to bite a character in the same round, the victim must make a successful Strength check or be dragged a number of feet into the silt equal to the number of silt spawn that bit him. A character who failed a Strength check and was bitten by three spawn would be dragged three feet deeper into the silt. If the victim is standing on a shoal ledge or reef, this can often lead to a quick and dusty death - as well as provide a hearty meal for a clutch of silt spawn.

Habitat/Society: Silt spawn live in ruins or rocky sanctuaries beneath the silt where larger creatures usually can't get at them. When they sense prey nearby, they quietly move toward the surface and wait to ambush them.

While adult silt horrors are solitary creatures, silt spawn live in clutches of 2-12 creatures. They have the same constant hunger that drives the silt horrors, but silt spawn will actually work together to capture prey. Many of the techniques they learn to use in the clutch will serve them just as well when they reach adulthood. Once they are full grown, silt horrors use their many tentacles to grab and drag prey instead of relying on the help of clutchmates.

Unlike adult silt horrors, silt spawn are tasty and can be used as a source of food. While giants will avoid silt horrors unless desperately hungry, they will seek out silt spawn as a delicacy. For this reason, and because of their smaller size, silt spawn tend to be much faster than their adult counterparts. Their sleek design gives them the ability to “fly” through silt. They do this by employing powerful body muscles and their shorter tentacles to produce movement - much like eels swim through water.

A silt horror always lingers near silt-covered ruins and buried reefs as it prepares to give birth. After an adult horror gives birth to a clutch of silt spawn, the spawn take refuge in the ruins or reefs to avoid the gnawing hunger of their parent. A silt horror has no love for its spawn, and will try to eat its young with as much enthusiasm as it shows other living things. Once the spawn have escaped the horror's tentacles (and not all do), the horror responds to the call of the deeper silt and moves away from the birthing ground. The spawn remain in the protected area until they reach a size that will make them less likely targets of the adult horrors.

A clutch of silt spawn is usually, but not always, made up of the offspring of a single horror. Sometimes two or more horrors will give birth in the same area at approximately the same time. In this rare instance, all of the spawn will seek each other out and form a massive clutch. They lose this companionship when they reach adulthood, as silt spawn grow increasingly independent as they mature into silt horrors.

Ecology: Silt spawn live in clutches until they are too big to fit in the shallow silt. Then they move out into the depths of the Silt Sea to become true silt horrors. Though different colored horrors have been known to prey on each other, silt priests claim that those that are raised in the same clutch - even if they are of different species - will not. Perhaps this is due to some scent or other natural phenomenon native to their breeding beds.

Silt spawn are sometimes hunted not only as food, but because their outer layer of skin can be used to make waterproof sacks. The giants of the Silt Sea islands make water containers and storage sacks out of the silt spawn they capture - after hollowing them out and removing all of the tasty meat first.

A weed called draxia that grows on the islands of the Sea of Silt can be turned into an ointment that repels silt spawn and irritates silt horrors. When the plant's juice is rubbed on the skin, it acts as a repellent to drive away silt spawn. The smell lasts for two hours, during which time silt spawn will not come within 10 feet of a person or creature coated with the stuff. While silt horrors don't like the smell, they can ignore it and attack as usual in its presence. In fact, many times the irritation caused by the plant's juice will simply serve to infuriate a silt horror. There is a 60% chance that a silt horror will ignore all other targets to attack a character that smells of draxia weed.