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The witchlight marauder is a creature from the Spelljammer campaign setting.

2nd Edition StatsEdit

Primary Secondary Tertiary Space Remote
Climate/Terrain: Any Any Any Any Wildspace
Frequency: Very rare Very rare Very rare Very rare Very rare
Organization: Solitary Horde Swarm Solitary Solitary
Activity Cycle: Day Night Any Any Any
Diet: Omnivore Omnivore Omnivore Omnivore Omnivore
Intelligence: Low (5-7) Low (5-7) Semi- (2-4) Average (8-10) Non- (0)
Treasure: Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil
Alignment: Chaotic evil Chaotic evil Neutral evil Chaotic neutral Neutral
No. Appearing: 1-3 2-20* 1-4* 1 1-5
Armor Class: -5 0 2 -3 5
Movement: 9 48 16 SR 3 24
Hit Dice: 15 6 4 45 7
THAC0: 5 13 17 5 13
No. of Attacks: 7 6, spit 3 7, sunbeam 1
Damage/Attack: 3d6 (×6)/5d12 2d6 (×6)/3d6/2d10 1d6+3 (×2)/1d10 1d6 hull pts (×6)/2d6 hull pts/25d10 See below
Special Attacks: See below See below See below See below See below
Special Defenses: See below See below See below See below See below
Magic Resistance: Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil
Size: G (200') H (20') M (5-6') G (1000') G (25')
Morale: Fearless (19-20) Elite (13-14) Steady (11-12) Fearless (19-20) Steady (11-12)
XP Value: 12,000 6,000 270 40,000 2,000

* indicates per number of previous monster; i.e., one primary can hatch 2d10 secondaries; two secondaries can hatch 2-8 tertiaries (1d4 each).

DescriptionEdit

Orc shamans created the witchlight marauders during the escalation of the Unhuman Wars to "counter ruthless elf aggression", as one surviving orc scroll reads. In truth, the marauders were shock troops, organic first-strike weapons meant to devastate whole elven planets. Their efficiency as killing machines was matched only by their fast breeding.

Luckily for the rest of humanoid civilization, these monsters were wiped out during the Unhuman Wars. There are orcish legends, however, of timestop devices that preserved some of these beasts as doomsday weapons.

CombatEdit

The slug-like land marauders were enormous (500+ feet), dwarfing even venerable red dragons. Everything in the witchlight marauder's path – plants, animals, city walls, mountains – was food for the beast's cavernous central maw. Secondary mouths sprouted to gobble up prey on either side of the beast's path. Land marauders especially liked metal, mineral deposits, and magical items. All food made its way to the blast-furnace gut, producing poison gas – and more witchlight marauders.

As the marauder gorged itself, it periodically ejected secondary marauders. These smaller (20' tall) killers leapt forth, rending and killing with six poisonous metallic talons (2d6 each; save vs. poison or take 1d10 additional damage), steel teeth (3d6), and a sweeping spiked tail (2d10). The secondaries also spat an acid jet (1d8 per round, 30' range), and could climb nearly any surface with their gripping feet. These monsters ranged the countryside, covering miles in a single night, homing in on the scent of elven blood, destroying all survivors of the primaries' attack.

Once the secondaries gorged themselves on living flesh, they ejected still smaller fighters. These small (4' tall) tertiaries were berserker warriors with two metallic sword blades in place of hands. Their strength (18/50, +3 damage) and agility made them fearsome in combat.

After a week's "foraging", the primary marauder burrowed deep underground and established a lair. In the two weeks that followed, guarded by secondaries, the primary split like an amoeba into two primary marauders. The cycle continued until the marauders ran out of food, whereupon they turned on and destroyed each other.

These land marauders reached their targets via still larger creatures: the space marauders. These enormous (1,000') reptilian horrors traveled through wildspace on sails spun from special organs on their bodies. These sails doubled as focusing mirrors, enabling the space beast to focus a deadly (25d10) sunbeam on targets. Once they reached a crystal sphere, they phased their way in, searching for small celestial bodies to feed on. Like their smaller kin, flying marauders ate any being, rock, or small moon they found, creating both land marauders and explosive projectiles (12d6 hull points of damage).

The spacegoing marauders were enormous (1,000'). A crocodilian head sported a nest of thousands of yard-long, razor-sharp teeth. This head was encrusted with glowing red eyes, and bit for 2-12 hull points of damage. Surrounding the central head were six long, flexible necks ending in eyeless heads with gaping, shipsmashing maws (1-6 hull pts damage per head). The scaly, veined necks were attached to a tree-trunk shaped body that terminated in a pulsating mass of writhing hawser-like tentacles. At the center of this squirming mass were the umbilicals to which were attached three primary marauders. As individual primaries reached maturity and detached, new ones grew in their places.

The space marauder's crocodilian mouth held thousands of yard-long, razor-sharp teeth (2d6 hull points). Surrounding the many-eyed central head were six long, flexible necks ending in eyeless heads with gaping mouths (1d6 hull points per head). The scaly necks attached to a tree trunk-shaped body that terminated in a mass of writhing hawser-like tentacles. At the center of this squirming mass, umbilicals held three primary marauders. As individual primaries reached maturity and detached, new ones grew in their places.

In addition to the land marauders, the spacers could also birth 1d4+1 remote feeders. These were little more than gigantic (550' diameter) flying gullets that would engulf matter from planets, digest it, and return to the mother beast to provide it with additional nourishment.

Habitat/SocietyEdit

These solitary war beasts were bred and unleashed by orcish mages for use in the Unhuman Wars. The orcs' overall objective was a scorched-earth strategy that would leave the elven worlds lifeless, barren rocks.

Fortunately, the elven forces found out about the plan before the witchlight marauders were unleashed. Using their own new weapons (see the "Bionoid" and "Spirit Warrior" entries), they attacked and destroyed the orcs.

Some old scrolls hint that one of the space marauders escaped the elves' onslaught, burning its way through the elven blockade into space. Elven sages refuse to comment on this, dismissing the writings as orcish propaganda.

EcologyEdit

During the Unhuman Wars, orcish breeders developed creatures that were meant to counter the threat of elven spirit warriors. These monsters served as land and air/space attackers. It was thought that the elves eradicated all of these doomsday weapons, but apparently a few may have survived either by encapsulation in time-stop fields or by wandering the starlanes. If an adventuring party were to find one of these organic timebombs, it would behoove them to leave the area immediately.

ReferencesEdit


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