Welcome to Monster Monday!
Each week we present a new monster for Starjammer, and occasionally other games as well. This week we present the Spice Snapper, a nasty aquatic inhabitant!
The crocodilian that lurks at the water’s surface lacks any sort of symmetry, or even recognizable pattern in form, myriad eyes and teeth appearing at strange angles without apparent reason.
Spice Snapper CR 3
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 3
Base Atk +2; CMB +7 (+11 grapple); CMD 18
Feats Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Perception +7, Stealth +7, Swim +12; Racial Modifiers +8 Stealth when in a swamp, +8 to Perception against red spice and its users
Environment Eimharn and other spice swamps
Organization solitary, pair, or nest (3-6)
Staggering Gaze (Su) Creatures within 30 feet that meet the spice snapper’s eyes must make a fortitude save DC 12 or become staggered for one round. The spice snapper can focus its gaze on a creature it has grappled as a free action. This DC is Wisdom-based.
The snappers were native to Eimharn. Smaller than the worms that ruled the planet, the snappers were scavengers and opportunistic predators, who would forage and chew on the Salmagundi roots in between larger meals. The Salmagundi acted as a natural stimulant for them, letting them be more active than their crocodilian forms would normally allow.
When the spice harvesters arrived on Eimharn, the snappers initial y dropped in numbers, their usual supply of stimulants quickly harvested and guarded by mercenaries from off-world with access to powerful armor and weapons.
Driven to desperation, some of the snappers managed to sneak onto the Red Tang’s guild boats and into their storage warehouses. They found not only the Salmagundi roots that they loved, but also something new, the refined version of the red spice, which the snappers eagerly devoured.
The red spice changed the snappers as it does all things. Their senses became keener, even becoming able to sort through some of the visions of the future, making them better predators and scavengers than before. Their flesh was changed as well. No longer locked to a specific form, each snapper changed, following some unknown dictate as long term spice use warped their flesh into forms charitably described as disturbing. For others, the spice had made them immortal. Recurring predators of the Red Tang, the spice snappers devoured not only spice shipments, but the workers sent to harvest them.
Much of the spice snapper’s precognitive abilities seemed to become honed towards finding red spice, both in its raw and processed forms. The spice snappers had an unnatural ability to find the hidden storehouses of red spice, as well as to find other creatures that used the spice. The spice snappers would get their high from the flesh of other users.
Their unusual ability to track the red spice lead to popularity as pets, especial y among the Red Tang’s rivals. The spice snappers are hatched from stolen eggs, and then trained from birth to hunt down the spice. Trained spice snappers are usual y covered in layers of fabric, to help hide their unusual appearance. Stories of trained spice snappers turning on and devouring their masters are not uncommon.
The trade and training of spice snappers, as well as the actions of a few bold snappers themselves, have lead to spice snappers spreading across the galaxy and being found now on most planets where the Salmagundi grows. The Red Tang guild considers them a pest of the worst kind, and routinely hires mercenaries to kill any spice snappers that are discovered.