December 21, 2012

Insect Mounts

On the plains of Ig horses are a rarity. The predation from giant insects have all but driven large mammals from the plains. The few left are much smaller than horses found on other worlds and tend to stick to forests and other areas where they’re awarded some cover against attacks from the sky. The only group to make much use of them are the elves. Humanity makes use of an array of giant vermin as their mode of transport. Instead of warhorses the warriors of Ig ride destrier beetles, ravagers crash titanic stag beetles through enemy lines, and sorcerers ride flying trilobites over the mundane people below.

The destrier beetle is related to the giant stag, but a more mellow temperament and smaller frame was bred into the line centuries ago. They lack the tremendous horns and mandibles of their wilder kin, but make far better mounts. They range in size from that of a pony to larger than an ox. Destrier beetles bred for war have exaggerated thorax plates which mounted warriors use as added protection.

Destrier Beetle: Init +0; Atk mandibles +1 melee (1d4); AC 15; HD 3d8; MV 50’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.

The warg spider is an enormous eight-legged beast. These are incredibly dangerous and expensive creatures, but they are a terror in battle. They make huge leaps in combat. It takes years to correctly train such a beast and great care must be taken to ensure that their hunting instincts are always kept in check. While not eating many owners cap their fangs with dull scabbards to discourage attacking passers by. Like a hunting falcon, a warg spider must never be allowed to go hungry. Being the size of a large horse this is very costly.

Warg Spider: Init +3; Atk fangs +3 melee (2d8); AC 14; HD 3d6; MV 60’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will -2; AL N.
The giant stag and rhinoceros beetle share similar niches. Both make formidable armored juggernauts, but rhino beetles are nearly double the size of stags. Stag beetles use their scything jaws to crush human foes and wrestle other insects to the ground. A rhino beetle can destroy a wall in a single charge, and the especially large specimens carry howdahs full of warriors. Both breeds are driven to a frenzy by playing a beetle drum, an instrument that emulates the breeding call of a female.

Giant Stag Beetle: Init +2; Atk mandibles +4 melee (3d6); AC 15; HD 3d8; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.

Giant Rhinoceros Beetle: Init -2; Atk horns +3 melee (2d4+2); AC 17; HD 3d10; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.

Flying trilobites must be summoned and controlled by a wizard, but are second to none as a ranged weapons platforms. The smaller specimens also make excellent aerial scouts. Their thick carapace also makes them almost impenetrable to normal weapons. The creature’s greatest weakness is low speed and agility.

Giant Aerial Trilobite: Init -3; Atk slam +3 melee (2d4); AC 17; HD 5d8; MV 20’ fly 120’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will -2; AL N.

Flitting delicately across the sky, the warmoth is a lepidopteran large enough to carry a man aloft. They are the steeds of the powerful, bred to match the colors of the rich and noble. Warmoths are difficult mounts to control. Like their tiny kin, warmoth flight is erratic. Mounted warriors are all but tied to their steeds, and drive them forward with flaming thuribles.

Warmoth: Init +3; Atk buffet +3 melee (2d6); AC 17; HD 3d8; MV 30’ fly 150’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will -2; AL N.

No one rides mantids. Mantids will eff you up.

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