Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ceiling Gulper

Ceiling Gulper
No. Enc. 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 30' burrowing
        Reach: 10'/HD
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: Special (See Below)
Damage: Suffocation (2d4)
Save: F4
Morale: 6

Massive, mindless and blind pseudopodous organisms, Ceiling Gulpers are often dismissed by the ignorant and ill-informed as a toothless nuisance when in fact they are quite effective hunters and have decimated many an over-confident party of would-be delvers.

Voracious hunters, Ceiling Gulpers are consummate ambushers driven by instinct and a perverse awareness and appreciation of their surroundings at all times. As much as they prefer to lunge out from a hidden recess to overwhelm their chosen prey, a Ceiling Gulper is never surprised itself. Their entire outer surface is capable to sensing even the slightest vibrations. And yes, it was conclusively proven that Ceiling Gulpers can and do understand spoken words in a variety of languages, even though they cannot speak and lack any real capacity for actual thought. There seems to be no validity to the claims of Ceiling Gulpers mimicking voices or using a form of Ventriloquism to attract the unsuspecting and gullible to their doom...but it has not been completely ruled out.

Heavy Breathers
Ceiling Gulpers position themselves near sections of caves or passages that have restricted air-flow. When likely-seeming prey approaches--and no one agrees just how these unthinking things determine which victims to attack or whom to avoid--the Ceiling Gulper squishes, squeezes and squelches its way into the space, almost always by forcing its way through the ceiling, but sometimes via a convenient pre-existing gap in the wall, or possibly a chimney. The Gulper then proceeds to quickly and effectively suck all the available air out of the space. Torches flicker then go out. Victims who make their Save remain conscious for 10 seconds per CON point. Those who miss the roll lose consciousness in half that time.

A typical 1 HD specimen can remove the air from a 10'x10' square in 1d4 seconds. Their area of effect increases by 10' increment per each additional HD, but the time required remains 1d4 seconds. When the space affected is larger than the Gulper's capacity, the victims gain a +1 to their Saves. Ceiling Gulpers not only suck all the air from the room, they continue to create a great deal of suction that often forms a vacuum, pulling the air right out of the lungs of those surprised by its attack.

Sucks To Be You
Ceiling Gulpers can attempt to swallow anyone smaller than human-sized whom they catch in their area of effect. Simply roll a D20 and if the Gulper scores more than 4 higher than needed to hit, it swallows the victim. Each Ceiling Gulper has 3 gullets (plus 1 additional one per HD). Each gullet is capable of making a swallow attack, but only 1 such attack can be done at a time. Those so swallowed suffer 2d4 crushing damage each round they remain within the gullet. The damage stops when either the character dies, the Gulper is killed, or the victim is successfully extricated, either by cutting their own way out or with some assistance from the outside. Cutting one's way out from the inside requires inflicting 6 or more hit points of damage with a sharp object. It takes 12 points to cut someone loose from the outside, and they'll need to make a Save or suffer half the damage inflicted as the weapons of their well-intentioned colleagues penetrate the Gulper's tissues and strike them as well. Those removed from the gullet of a Ceiling Gulper are deafened for the next 2d4 hours. Save for half duration.

Lucrative Goop
Ceiling Gulpers burrow through the rocky soil surrounding underground cavities, declivities and caverns. They leave behind a slime-trail not unlike certain subterranean slugs, snails and similar beasts, the primary difference being the Ceiling Gulper's trail tends to be spattered across all available surfaces, not laid-down like a soggy mat or drizzled into a pool along the floor of a chamber. These things use their mucousy secretions to help them gain purchase, exert leverage, and to soften-up the material they are crawling through. It also aids in their adhering to surfaces, such as ceilings. The slime loses its adhering qualities over a period of 1d4 hours, depending upon moisture, temperature and other factors. It is possible to convert this slime into a form of glue, but the formula and method of processing is a tightly held secret among the few craftsfolk who know how to make it, allowing them to charge exorbitant rates for the stuff.

Breathing Space
Certain bands, tribes or clans of Morlocks, Eloi-Kru, Mole-grym and other deep-dwelling peoples are alleged to not only hunt and/or trap Ceiling Gulpers, both for food and in order to semi-domesticate them as guard-beasts, but in some cases they have learned how to coax, urge or force the beasts to serve as living pumps or bellows to provide ventilation in confined subterranean regions that would otherwise be completely devoid of breathable air.


  1. Another very Gygaxian beastie

  2. We take that as a compliment. The ecology stuff can sometimes get over-used to justify/elaborate on pre-existing critters that were just slapped together with imagination and duct tape. And that's okay. We prefer to begin with some idea of what a particular creature is going to eat, how they're going to live or operate within their preferred environment, and how they'll adapt outside of those parameters. There are some wonderfully weird ecological niches to explore when you have miles upon miles of passageways riddling the crust of hundreds of worlds or all those lairs built over magma pools, etc.


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