Sometimes the real world is more frightening than anything a fantasy world can offer. This is no less true when it comes to monsters. When you think about it, a lot of the animals in our world would be right at home in a fantasy world and no one would bat an eye. The likes of the pistol shrimp, platypus, and rhinoceros all seem like they would be fantasy creatures in another world, but they are common to us. When I can, I like to tap the real word for inspiration and this week’s monster is a doozy. I’ll let the stat block do the talking, so let’s take a look at the enthraller wasp.
This colorful wasp is as large as a dog. Its long, slender stinger ends in a tip as thin as a needle.
Enthraller Wasp CR 5
N Small vermin
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +8
AC 17, touch 16, flat-footed 12 (+1 Dex, +5 natural, +1 size)
hp 52 (8d8+16)
Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +2
Immune mind-affecting effects
Speed 20 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee stinger +9 (1d8+6 plus poison)
Special Attacks clasp, infest
Str 19, Dex 12, Con 14, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 11
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 18
Skills Fly +7, Perception +8; Racial modifiers +8 perception
Environment temperate forests
Organization solitary, pair, swarm (3–10), or nest (11-20)
Clasp (Ex) An enthraller wasp can grab onto a creature up to one size category larger than itself as a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity. While clasped, the enthraller wasp and the target are not considered grappled, but the wasp can only infest the target creature or end the clasp as a free action.
Enthrall (Ex) A creature poisoned by an enthraller wasp becomes entranced unless the creature succeeds on a DC 16 Will save. An entranced creature is charmed as per suggestion and remains still to allow an enthraller wasp to clasp itself to the creature. The creature recovers after 1 minute and can act normally.
Infest (Ex) An enthraller wasp can implant an egg into a creature on which it is clasped. Each implanted egg reacts to the warmth of the victim’s body, triggering its hatching. One day later, the egg releases a pupa that devours the host’s flesh as it develops, growing to the size of a small mouse, at which point it reaches its larval stage. If left untreated, the larva continues to develop until it kills the host or 1 week has passed, at which point it burrows out of the body and drops to the ground, where it transforms into an enthraller wasp. Individual larvae may be squeezed or cut out of the host with a DC 15 Heal check, though each attempt inflicts 1d4 points of damage whether or not it’s successful. A cure disease spell destroys all larvae without further harm to the host.
Poison (Ex) Sting—injury; save Fort DC 16; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Dexterity damage and enthrall; cure 2 saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Enthraller wasps are enormous insects that live a parasitic lifestyle, relying on other creatures to serve as hosts for their young. An enthraller wasp’s venom is capable of overriding neurological functions, forcing a poisoned creature to sit still while the wasps lays its eggs within the creature’s body. A wasp typically latches on to a host’s back and continues to pump venom into the creature’s spine to allow plenty of time to lay a sizable clutch of eggs. These wasps are not extremely deadly on their own, but a swarm of enthraller wasps quickly overwhelm a creature, riddling it with venom before it can fight back. A typical enthraller wasp is 3 feet long and weighs 65 pounds.
In Your Game
A local NPC is hiding a clutch of enthraller wasp larvae someone in town. A nest of enthraller wasps flies into town, searching for their young. The PCs must either fend off the swarm of wasps or find the reason for the attacks and hope that returning the larvae ends the assault.
Kick The Nest
The PCs are tasked with collecting a large amount of enthraller wasp venom for use in a concoction or magical ritual. They must brave the wasp’s nest, diving deep into their territory to locate enough wasps and venom for their mission.
Living Time Bombs
An enemy of the PC managed to capture the group and eventually set them free in a remote location. The PCs will soon realize that they are full of enthraller wasp eggs. The group must find their way back home while also contending with a way of removing the eggs from their bodies.
The enthraller wasp is inspired by the likes of real world wasps like the jewel wasp and hymenoepimecis argyraphaga. These wasps act like parasites, using other hosts for their reproductive process. Usually, the wasp stings something like a cockroach or spider and lays its egg within that creature’s body. The eggs later hatch and feed upon the host. It’s pretty gross but also a pretty amazing and interesting biological phenomenon. It sounded perfect for Pathfinder. Luckily, it was pretty easy work to bring such a wasp into the game. I started by tweaking the existing giant wasp and making it smaller. I liked the image of a large wasp clasped onto an adventurer’s back, its stinger deep in a PCs neck as it followed its natural procedures. Ick! After tweaking its stats a bit, I gave it the enthralling poison and the clasp ability. Finally, I brought the giant botfly’s infest ability and tacked it on. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It’s not the scariest in regards to its stats, but once a PC fails its save against the enthrall, the rest of the group might start panicking.
That’s it for this week! Please let me know if you would like to see more real world creatures brought into Pathfinder. If you end up bringing enthraller wasps into your game, or you have any request for a future Monstrous Physique, please drop me a line at KnowDirection@hotmail.com