The aspis is a roughly humanoid weevil-like creature that lives underground.
An aspis begins its life as a larva, which resembles a giant maggot or grub, white or pale pink in color. Larvae are blind and deaf, but are able to sense food though vibration in the ground and scent. They are ravenous, always eating or trying to eat, and when a larva has fed enough, it begins to transform into an adult.
Rarely, an aspis larva is chosen by the drones to become a “cow”. This larva is fed a special diet and groomed until it reaches a massive length of 15 feet when fully mature. A nest’s cows gives birth to all future larva. Typical physical characteristics
Adult drones are the only ones that leave the underground nest, and deal with other creatures. It has a hard, off-white chitinous body, and six clawed legs. An aspis’ head has two multi-faceted eyes, a pair of short, blunt antennae, and a long proboscis.
An aspis is usually neutral in alignment. They are highly intelligent, but most are just drones.
Aspis Cow Large Aberration
Hit Dice_10d8+50 (94 hp) Initiative_+0 Speed_5 ft AC_13 (-1 size, +4 natural) Attacks_Bite +11/+6 melee Damage_Bite 3d6+4 Face/Reach_5 ft by 15 ft/5 ft Special Attacks_acid Special Qualities_telepathy, hive mind, immunities, fire and sonic resistance 15 Saves_Fort +10, Ref +3, Will +9 Abilities_Str 18, Dex ?, Con 20, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 12 Skills_Concentration +18, Listen +17, Search +15, Sense Motive +17, Spot +17 Feats_Alertness, Great Fortitude, Skill Focus (Sense Motive) Climate/Terrain_Any land and underground Organization_Solitary CR_5 Treasure_Standard Alignment_Always neutral Advancement_11-14 HD (Large); 15-20 HD (Huge)
Aspis Drone Medium Monstrous Humanoid
Hit Dice_6d8+12 (39 hp) Initiative_+2 (+2 Dex) Speed_30 ft, 40 ft on four legs AC_AC 16 (+2 Dex, +4 natural) Attacks_2 claws or longswords +7/+3/+2 melee; 3 darts +6/+2/+1 ranged Damage_Claw 1d4+3, longsword 1d8+3, dart 1d3+3 Face/Reach_5 ft by 5 ft/5 ft Special Attacks_hive mind, immunities, fire and sonic resistance 15 Special Qualities_ Saves_Fort +4, Ref +8, Will +7 Abilities_Str 16, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 7 Skills_Balance +8, Climb +9, Craft or Profession (any one) +7, Listen +9, Search +7, Spot +9 Feats_Alertness, Multidexterity, Multi-Weapon Fighting Climate/Terrain_Any land and underground Organization_Solitary, Gang (1d4+1) CR_5 Treasure_Standard Alignment_Always neutral Advancement_By character class
Aspis Larva Tiny Aberration
Hit Dice_3d8+3 (16 hp) Initiative_+2 (+2 Dex) Speed_swim 30 ft, 10 ft burrow AC_AC 14 (+2 size, +2 Dex) Attacks_Bite +5 melee Damage_Bite 1d6+1 Face/Reach_2 ft by 2 ft/0 ft Special Attacks_ Special Qualities_blindsight, tremorsense 30 ft, immunities, fire resistance 20 Saves_Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +1 Abilities_Str 12, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 7, Cha 7 Skills_Hide +8, Listen +4, Search +5, Spot +4 Feats_Any land and underground Climate/Terrain_4-5 HD (Small) Organization_Gang (1d4+1), Pack (2d6+4) CR_2 Treasure_None Alignment_Always neutral Advancement_
Alien by human standards, aspis are seldom encountered in populated lands unless raiding for food. They commonly live in small groups, only occasionally dealing with outsiders. They are generally very self-sufficient, crafting their own tools and implements and needing little contact with others; as a result, they are very territorial and often attack intruders with little provocation. Few people can report meeting one of these creatures, and the existence of larvae and cows is only a subject of rumour. These do exist, however, as they are necessary for the survival of the race. Some believe that the aspis are a group of altered formians who long ago split away from the Lawful outsiders' hives and settled on the prime material plane.
Hive mind (Ex): All aspis within 10 miles of their queen are in constant communication. If one is aware of a particular danger, they all are. If one of a group is not flat-footed, none are. No aspis in a group is considered flanked unless they all are. Resistances (Ex): Aspis have fire and sonic resistance 15. Immunities (Ex): Aspis have poison, electrical, and cold immunity.
- Note: I have treated the aspis larvae and cow as aberrations because I could not justify calling them even "monstrous humanoids." Besides, they're larval forms of aspis, as opposed to the metamorphed humanoid drones, and this is fantasy, after all ? feel free to alter their stats if you feel it necessary.
Aspis lairs are found underground and consist of natural and/or excavated tunnels. A lair or nest will typically consist of 1-3 egg chambers, 2-4 food chambers, 1-6 grub hatcheries, and a central chamber. The tunnels are commonly from 4 to 8 feet high and will be well defended by traps and guards. Grub hatcheries will contain a gang or pack of larvae each. Only one cow will be found in any nest.
There is a 30% chance that a colony of giant ants will share the nest with the aspis; these creatures are to aspis what dogs are to humans.
Aspis Cow: Unlike other aspis larvae, which harden their skins and metamorphose into drones, the larva chosen to become a cow retains its larval form, becoming a huge slug-like female from 10 to 15 feet in length. Her sole purpose in life is to care and lay eggs for the nest. A queen is virtually unable to move, but her large size makes her bite dangerous. While not having the intelligence or magical aptitude of a formian queen, the aspis queen does establish mental communion with the drones of her nest.
Acid (Ex): The cow secretes an acidic slime that eats through metal or organic material and burns exposed flesh. The acid deals 10 points of damage per round to wood or metal objects, but cannot harm stone. A wooden or metal weapon that strikes the aspis cow must make a Reflex save (DC 15) or take 1d8 points of damage. Creatures who touch the cow get a similar save (Reflex DC 15) to avoid taking 1d8 points of damage. Acid damage continues for each round of exposure, and continues thereafter until the acid is washed off.
Telepathy (Su): The queen can communicate telepathically with any aspis in a ten mile radius.
Aspis larvae: Ranging anywhere from 1« to 3 feet in length, aspis larvae resemble large, fat, white grubs. They are blind and deaf but can locate and identify other creatures through vibrations and scent. They have voracious appetites and require an almost constant supply of food. They are most commonly found in hatcheries maintained by the drones - usually pits of rotting materials in which the larvae burrow and feed. Occasionally the drones will select one larva and feed and treat it in such a way that it will not develop along normal lines, but will instead become an aspis cow.
Aspis drones: Drones are the adult males of the nest, performing all dealings with the outside world, crafting the nest and all of the aspis' tools, and hunting and gathering food. Fierce warriors, they are capable of using all simple and martial weapons except bows and crossbows, and can fashion items and weapons they need with skill. Although they prefer to travel long distances on all six legs, in combat they will generally stand upright on their hind two legs, using the other four to wield up to two weapons (usually longswords) and two shields. Occasionally they will use two polearms or four weapons instead, foregoing the use of shields; further, if they are not using shields, they may throw five darts per round rather than just three (+6/+2/+2/+2/+1 ranged). They are fanatically loyal to a single cow and will defend her to the death.
Aspis drones speak their own language that operates, at least in part, through both scent and sound; 5% will be able to speak broken common in a strange, clicking fashion. They do not have a written language, but may communicate in a similar manner using pheromones which they exude from their bodies.
A typical drone is about 8 to 9 feet long and several feet wide, appearing as a giant hominid-weevil, with an extremely long proboscis and multi-faceted eyes. When standing upright on two legs, they reach heights approaching 7 feet; when walking on four legs, they stand about 4 to 5 feet high. Their diet consists of vegetable matter and meat. Mammalian blood is a preferred drink amongst them.
Aspis drones' preferred class is ranger, though druids, fighters, and sorcerers are not unknown among them.