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Y … is for … YELLOW MUSK CREEPER #atozchallenge

A Yellow Musk Creeper is a plant creature in Dungeons & Dragons first appearing in 1981 in the module “Dwellers of the Forbidden City.”  The plant is very hard to identify because it camouflages itself within other plant life. The creature waits until a living creature comes close enough and then it sprays its pollen into the air. The pollen can have two effects to either charm or incapacitate so that the plant can use its deadly tendrils to bore into the victim’s head. Once the victim is dead, a bulb is deposited into the victim’s head and slowly turns into a zombie. These zombies are referred to as “Yellow Musk Creeper Zombies.”  The zombies serve to protect the Creeper and ultimately serve to transport the bulb to different locations to propagate more Creepers.

 

 

X … is for … XVART

 

xvart (pronounced “Zart”) – also known as svart and xivort – is a small fictional humanoid creature found in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game. Many gamers recognize the creature from the popular video game Baldur’s Gate, based on the Forgotten Realms setting. The Xvart was first introduced to D&D in 1978 in White Dwarf #9. They were based on beings appearing in a book called The Weirdstone of Brisingamon. 

Xvarts are cowardly and easily intimidated on their own so they usually work in large groups. They were generally hateful creatures. Their short, miserable lives led them to despise most creatures and take out their angst on anyone and anything they could; but they particularly enjoyed tormenting larger creatures, in particular, goliaths and half-orcs.

These vile little monsters worship RAXIVORT, a servant of the demon lord Grazzt. His symbol is a fiery blue hand. He was the Master of Slaves for Grazzt until one day he betrayed his master. He stole a powerful artifact known as the Infinity Spindle and created the Xvarts as imperfect duplicates of himself in an attempt confuse those tracking him. Raxivort’s realm, the Black Sewers, is in Pandesmos, one of the layers of Pandemonium.

Raxivort teaches that might makes right. If xvarts are not strong enough to prevail, the proper course of action is to retreat and return with reinforcements. He advises patience, and advocates any means—lying, cheating, theft, enslavement—to survive. With patience, one can still triumph in the end.

Xvarts are obsessed with stealing gold and other treasure from passersby in the hopes of winning the favor of Raxivort. Should the favor of Raxivort be won the demon god will appear and steal all of the Xvart’s treasure, granting it Warlock abilities in return. Such a Xvart becomes a Shaman of its tribe. Shamans of Raxivort wear special stilts that elevate them to a height of five feet. Over these, they wear long black robes and a mask of gold or gilded copper. The stilts are worn only on ceremonial occasions. Xvart shamans are tasked with ensuring that their tribe follows the teachings of Raxivort.

 

Q … is for … QUIPPER #atozchallenge

Quipper are a type of fish much like that of a piranha. They are usually found in tropical waters like those within the jungles of Chult. However, they are able to thrive in fresh water as well. They are small fish, averaging between eight and ten inches long. The largest normal Quipper recorded was measured at two feet. They are either silver or black in color, with a saw-edged belly and large, triangular-shaped teeth that close in a scissorbite.

 For sheer voraciousness, the Quipper has no equals. There are many tales of cattle unfortunate enough to enter Chultan waters being stripped to the bone in a few minutes by these creatures. Quipper attack anything, including humans, and they usually attack in a swarm called a shoal numbering between five and fifty fish.

Quippers are meat-eaters; their usual diet is fish, but they will eat any animal that enters their territory. They have no natural enemies. Their cutting teeth, like those of sharks, flay the flesh from their victim as they attack. They are capable of reproduction (which occurs year round) after only a few months of life, and their life span is about four years.

There are no common uses for Quippers, either as trade goods or magical components. Primitive tribes in Chult sometimes use Quipper teeth as a decoration. Quippers are occasionally sought after by evil wizards and lords, who use them to populate their moats and dungeon traps.

M … is for … MANTRAP #atozchallenge

 

The Mantrap is a D&D monster that first appeared in the 1983 Monster Manual II. It is a giant plant monster that has been recently featured in the Dungeons & Dragon’s module called Tomb of Annihilation.

It is a large plant, similar to an over-sized Venus Flytrap, that attracts prey by using hypnotic pollens, entrapping and dissolving its victims in acidic secretions. Its pollen causes creatures to become fascinated by the odor, and proceed to the body of the plant and voluntarily climb into one of its leaf traps, which close and firmly entrap the victim.

It utilizes a specialized form of foliar feeding, an adaptation found in several plants that grow in nutrient-poor soil. Carnivorous traps were naturally selected to allow these organisms to compensate for the nutrient deficiencies of their harsh environments by supplementing ordinary photosynthesis with animal proteins

Many explorers have perished by being lured within reach of a Mantrap. This is yet another danger of the Jungles of Chult.

 

 

K … is for … KRAJEN #atozchallenge

 

The creature know as the “krajen” is a otherworldly giant space squid. It develops in three stages: small spaceborne spores, a barnaclelike immature stage, and the huge, adult krajen that is the bane of the Spelljammer shipways. In its adult stage, the krajen can grow to be 40 feet long. Its tubelike body is dominated at one end by a thick central tentacle, the base of which is surrounded by a cluster of smaller tentacles.

 In their spore form they can be slain by such simple spells as cure disease. They drift like wind seeds in the Void, waiting for the approach of a ship or other solid body. They are so small that a Spelljamming ship can pass through a cloud of them without stopping and without its crew noticing. It is only when the spores take root in the hull of the ship that they are noticeable.

Krajen spores can take root in any solid object, including asteroids, ship hulls, and large living creatures. Once planted, the base of the spore widens and digs into the surfacer while the outer surface hardens into a shell similar to a barnacle’s. The central tentacle is nested in an opening at the top of this shell. In case of normal attacks on the immature krajen, the tentacle can whip out to attack enemies in the area, lashing out at random. When dormant, the tentacle is tucked inside the top of the shell.

Immature krajens can survive without air, and in fact prefer the stale air of bad air envelopes over the healthy air of areas replenished by green plants. They do need a solid surface to draw nutrients from, though each one can also absorb nutrients from dead bodies that it and the rest of the colony have destroyed.

If you travel the Void, fear the krajen!