Horror Adventures introduces a collective insect-like group of monsters known simply as the hive. These creatures are evocative of hive-mind bugs like the insects from Starship Troopers or Starcraft’s Zerg. The hive are quick to add other creatures to their fold with the help of the new corruption rules and the hive simple template. However, that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted something big and gross that represented that awful period where the creature and the hive are at war within that creature’s body. So, without further ado, I present to you the super disgusting hive-infested creature template.
Chiton-covered pustules mar the thick hide of this troll. Its flesh roils and undulates as large worms crawl beneath its skin.
HIVE-INFESTED TROLL CR 7
NE Large aberration (giant, hive)
Init +4; Senses blindsense 60 ft., blindsight 30 ft., hive mind, scent; Perception +8
AC 22, touch 13, flat-footed 18; (+4 Dex, +9 natural, –1 size)
hp 81 (6d8+54); regeneration 5 (fire)
Fort +17, Ref +6, Will +5
Defensive Abilities corrosive blood (1d6 acid), heat adaptability; Immune acid
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +10 (2d6+7), 2 claws +10 (1d8+7)
Ranged larva +8 ranged touch (special)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks death throes (6d6, DC 21), explosive infestation, infesting strike, rend (2 claws, 1d8+10)
Str 25, Dex 18, Con 27, Int 6, Wis 9, Cha 6
Base Atk +4; CMB +10; CMD 22
Feats Intimidating Prowess, Iron Will, Skill Focus (Perception), ToughnessB
Skills Intimidate +9, Perception +8
SQ blind, living nest
Explosive Infestation (Ex): See below.
Infesting Strike (Ex): See below.
Living Nest (Ex): See below.
Will of the Hive (Ex): See below.
As a means of quickly propagating the species, hive queens sometimes lay their eggs within the still living bodies of other creatures. This process causes an accelerated mutation that creates the perfect habitat for hive larvae, allowing them to flourish beyond what a typical nest could hold. During this gestation, the infested creature’s mind becomes wracked by terrible imagery as its mind slowly joins the hive mind before finally succumbing to the commands of the hive queen. Hive queens are noted to infest the bodies of their enemies as a weapon against those that may attempt to cause harm to the hive.
Creating a Hive-Infested Creature
“Hive-infested” is an acquired template that can be added to any living corporeal creature (other than oozes, outsiders, and vermin), referred to hereafter as the base creature. A hive-infested creature uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here. A hive queen may create a hive-infested creature by laying a cluster of eggs within a helpless creature. Laying eggs in this manner does not hatch any hive larvae swarms and instead spawns the hive-infested creature after 1d4 days.
CR: As base creature +2.
Type: The base creature’s type changes to aberration, and it gains the hive subtype. Do not recalculate HD, BAB, saves, or skill ranks.
Alignment: Alignment changes to neutral evil.
Senses: A hive-infested creature gains blindsight 30.
Armor class: Natural armor improves by +4.
Speed: Increase the base creature’s land speed by 10 feet.
Attacks: A hive-infested creature retains all the natural weapons, manufactured weapon attacks, and weapon proficiencies of the base creature. The base creature’s natural attacks increase by 1 step. If the base creature does not have natural attacks, it gains two claw attacks and one bite attack that deal damage based on the base creature’s size.
Special Abilities: The hive-infested creature gains the explosive infestation, infesting strike, living nest, and will of the hive abilities.
Explosive Infestation (Ex): As a full-round action, a hive-infested creature may fill its body with excess acid, swelling to a grotesque size. At the end of the hive-infested creature’s next turn, it violently erupts dealing damage equal to 1-1/2 times its death throes damage and possibly erupting with larvae as per its living nest ability (see below). A successful Reflex save halves this damage (same DC as death throes).
Infesting Strike (Ex): A hive-infested creature’s natural attacks transfer larvae from its body to that of its target. A hive-infested creature can only transfer one larva per round in this manner.
Living Nest (Ex): A hive infesting creature is ridden with hive larvae that live within the hive-creature’s body. The hive-infested creature may throw a larva at another creature as a ranged touch attack with a range of 10 feet. The larva is a Fine vermin with AC 10 and 1 hit point. The larva can be killed by normal damage. Otherwise, on the hive-infested creature’s next turn, the larva burrows into the flesh of its target (creatures with natural armor equal to +4 or more are immune, making its way toward the stomach and causing 1d3 points of damage per round until it reaches the stomach 1d4 rounds later. When inside a victim, a larva can be expulsed by remove disease (same DC as death throes). After reaching the stomach, the larva begins to reproduce and gestates as per the hive larva swarm’sHA infest ability.
If the base creature has 10 or more Hit Dice, a hive larva swarmHA erupts from the body of the hive-infested creature after its death throes. Any creatures adjacent to the hive-infested creature’s corpse at the time of eruption must succeed on a Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 base creature’s HD + base creature’s Con modifier) or become infected with a larva as above.
Will of the Hive (Ex): A hive-infested creature must completely follow the commands of a hive queen. The creature can attempt to resist an order from an unknown queen by succeeding on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 hive queen’s HD + hive queen’s Con modifier, typically DC 19). A hive-infested creature does not receive a Will save when commanded by the hive queen that spawned the creature.
Ability Scores: +4 Str, +4 Dex, +4 Con, –4 Cha
Feats: A hive-infested creature gains Iron Will and Toughness as bonus feats.
In Your Game
Cleansing the Infestation
A friend of the PCs finds his or herself infested by a hive queen’s eggs and will hatch in a few days. Instead, the friend may already be a hive-infested creature that managed to slip out of the queen’s control. The PCs must find a way to cleanse their friend’s body of the infestation lest that friend succumb to the hive mind.
Weapons of Infestation
Hive-infested creatures terrorize the countryside. As the PCs investigate, they find a hive queen that is under the control of some sinister figure. The PCs must track down this figure as the hive closes in around them and put an end to the weaponized hive.
A dying hive queen places her final clutch inside a creature. The creature now holds the future of the hive within its body. The PCs are tasked with defending this creature and escorting it to a remote area to begin the life of the hive once again. Alternatively, it is up to the PCs to track down the last remnants of the hive, but must contend with the hive cultists which wish to keep the hive from extinction.
This week’s monster is completely and utterly inspired by Starcraft’s Infested Terran unit. In the game, a Zerg queen can infect humans and cause them become suicide bombers on behalf of the Zerg. I always found Infested Terrans to be super gross in the cool way and wanted one of my own. However, a monster that just shows up to blow up a round later is not very interesting. Thus, I decided to mix the idea of the Infested Terran with the Spawn of Kyuss from 3.5. With the hive’s appearance in Horror Adventures, everything came together perfectly to form this grotesque creature. The nature of the infestation seemed more appropriate as a template, allowing almost creature to join the hive.
That’s it for this week! Please let me know what you think. I’m interested to hear if people would like more templates. If you end up creating your own hive-infested creature or you have any request for a future Monstrous Physique, please drop me a line at KnowDirection@hotmail.com. I’d love to see someone’s hive-infested tarrasque!