Saturday 6 July 2024

Death's Door...!

After my hiatus had a hiatus, this week's monster is the...



NO. APPEARING: Varies (see below)

ARMOR CLASS: 8 (larva) 6 (pupa) 4 (adult)

MOVE: 12" (larva) 15" (pupa) 20" (adult)

HIT DICE: 1-3 hit points (larva) 1 +3 (pupa) 3 (adult)

% IN LAIR: 80%


NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 (larva) 3 (pupa) 3 (adult) 

DAMAGE/ATTACK: Varies (see below) 






SIZE: 12" long (larva) 2-3' long (pupa) 4-6' long (adult) 

                Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

Death's Door is the general name given to a creature that has various forms during its life-cycle, most of which mimic doors of various shapes and sizes. Generally considered to be a pest, these creatures can be found in populated places but also in ruins, dungeons and similar locations. 
It may be encountered in one of three of its life stages: larva, pupa and adult. All of these gain some sustenance from the object which they choose to mimic, leaving it in a much reduced condition but still strong enough to support the weight of the creature. Their limbs and underside exude a form of odourless acid which gradually breaks down the surface of the object as it is absorbed, and at the same time the creature's carapace takes on a convincing likeness of its form, colour and other details. They always mimic mundane objects without decoration and cannot absorb any metal parts, but can repurpose the iron, etc in order to produce convincing metal fittings. However, these are lighter to the touch and more fragile. They most commonly choose objects which are not subject to a great amount of use and so prefer secluded doors and similar things. In their larval form they are usually found on roofs and thus can much more easily avoid detection. 
Beneath their carapaces they have multiple pairs of tendrils attached to a slender body, all of which are blackish-brown in colour. These tendrils are very flexible and allow the creature to easily right itself if flipped onto its back. Their ovoid eyes are bright red and attached to long flexible stalks which are kept tucked away when the creature is immobile. The carapace is covered with numerous sensory organs that can resemble moss, knots of wood and other details, including locks, door knobs, studs and hinges in their pupa or adult form. These enable the creature to detect vibrations from movement and sound out to a range of 50 feet.

At night they become more active and will seek to gain sustenance from eating other creatures of various sizes. As larvae or pupae they will usually avoid creatures larger than themselves unless they outnumber them, but their adult form will attack individuals in adventuring parties etc. If not actively hunting, they will usually remain motionless unless disturbed in some overt way, i.e. being stepped upon, pushed, etc. In all of its forms it can leap away in order to escape, although it may also use this ability to make an attack (see below). They are immune to fire and acid but electrical and cold attacks affect them normally.
In any form, the camouflage employed by these creatures is extremely convincing and they will go unnoticed unless someone with the ability to find/remove traps specifically looks for them. Only then will the surface of a suspect door or other object seem slightly waxy and less natural than the real thing, but the various areas of segmentation etc on the carapace will still only be visible from certain angles, in a certain light, etc.

Larva: As larva, the creature is usually no more than 12" long or wide (or both). They commonly take the form of roof tiles, be they wood, slate, stone or some other material. In some instances they may also take the form of barrel tops, crate lids or other smallish objects in cellars, attics and similar places where they may not usually be disturbed.
Groups of 1-6 in number will be encountered in close proximity to each other (i.e. within 20 feet). They can leap up to 4 feet in one jump and may use this ability to launch themselves at a target, although this inflicts only 1 point of damage if successful. They can also bite (for 1-3 points of damage) or defend themselves by spraying a noxious, acrid cloud which causes paralyzation for 1-3 rounds unless a saving throw is made. However, they can only use this defence once every three hours.
Pupa: As pupa, these creatures will always be encountered as a group of four and typically in the form of a door but possibly also as a section of a roof, as wooden floor or wall paneling and the like. Each individual is never more than 2-3 feet wide of long (or both). If disturbed, they will attempt to leap away (up to 6 feet in one jump) or at an opponent, inflicting 1-4 points of damage. Two of their tendrils possess claws and they can also bite with their sharp mandibles, each inflicting 1-4 points of damage. They may also spray a noxious, acrid cloud which causes paralyzation for 2-8 rounds unless a saving throw is made, although they may only defend themselves in this manner once per hour.
Adult: In this form, the Death's Door is its most formidable. Only one creature will be encountered, usually in the guise of an ordinary wooden door. However, there is a 20% chance that three other doors within 100 feet are also home to adults, and if one is disturbed the others will reveal themselves and attack. Adults can leap up to 10 feet and inflict 1-6 points of damage if they successfully strike an opponent in this way. Their bite and two sharp talons each inflict 2-8 points of damage. Once per day they can spray a noxious acidic cloud which burns any exposed flesh inflicting 2-16 points of damage for three rounds. Any organic materials exposed to this cloud, i.e. clothing etc have a 20% chance of being destroyed. If the victim or the items are doused in water within 3 rounds, this effect is negated. The cloud affects an area some 20 feet around the creature. However, after using this form of defence the Death's Door will immediately attempt to escape, usually by leaping away if possible.

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