Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dreaming Nettle-Jelly (Red Bestiary)

I saw nothing moving, in earth or sky or sea. The green slime on the rocks alone testified that life was not extinct. A shallow sandbank had appeared in the sea and the water had receded from the beach. I fancied I saw some black object flopping about upon this bank, but it became motionless as I looked at it, and I judged that my eye had been deceived, and that the black object was merely a rock. The stars in the sky were intensely bright and seemed to me to twinkle very little.

As I stood sick and confused I saw again the moving thing upon the shoal—there was no mistake now that it was a moving thing—against the red water of the sea. It was a round thing, the size of a football perhaps, or, it may be, bigger, and tentacles trailed down from it; it seemed black against the weltering blood-red water, and it was hopping fitfully about...
The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells

Dreaming Nettle-Jellies
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (gaseous form)
Armor Class: 7 (Cannot be harmed by non-magical weapons)
Hit Dice: 1+
Attacks: 1d6
Damage: 1d6 per tentacle, + Poison (Save or suffer Paralysis for 1d4 rounds)
Save: MU 2
Morale: 4

Once they hunted shellfish and insects along the littoral zones of the blood-red seas of a distant world that was all but dead, veiled-over by the raging storms of a vast Purple Clouds that poisoned the air so that few other creatures could still breathe. The Dreaming Nettle-Jellies breathed-in the toxic vapors emitted by the Purple Clouds overhanging their seas and those that survived adapted, incorporating the poison into their stinging cells. They have followed the Purple Clouds across one world after another, dreaming their inscrutable dreams and forging subtle telepathic empires of emotionally-charged symbols and richly cultivated memory beneath ceaseless purple skies.

Their extremely pliable flesh is smoky, almost translucent, when fully extended, it takes on a deep, rich black when fully contracted. Each of their twenty-four primary tentacles is covered with thousands of stinging cells and end in long, tapering needle-like talons. They have a second set of 8-12 oral tentacles ringing their centrally-located mouths that they use only to feed themselves. These plumper, stubbier tentacles lack the talon-tips, but are covered with even more virulent stinging cells (inflict double damage, Save at -2 or suffer Paralysis for 1d4 rounds). The outer tentacles have the capability to manipulate objects, but few of them remember how to use simple tools. Instead they prefer to rely upon their stinging cells and their psychic abilities as they flit about using an innate form of limited levitation.

Nettle-Jellies are blind, but their sensory nodes are very acutely aware of vibrations, magnetism and changes in ambient light, making it very difficult to sneak-up on them, unless you move extremely fast. Hoppers intensely dislike surprises and are likely to lash out wildly with their stinging-tentacles or spells if startled, attacking everyone and everything within a 10' radius for 2d4 damage, Save at -1 or suffer Paralysis for 1d4 Turns.

 They are natural Dreamers, and rarely pay any attention to the waking worlds, preferring to leave that aspect of their existence to their instincts in a form of inspired automatism, making it very difficult to communicate with them beyond simple empathy or symbolism--they are enthusiastically emotional, but almost completely devoid of rational thought.

Nettle-Jellies progress as Magic-Users, Oneirists or Psychists, but never Clerics. They have the following innate powers: Levitate, ESP, Telepathy, and Detect Weak Point, which they can use at will. They also have a random selection of spells appropriate to their class by HD/level. Nettle-Jellies do not use spell-books, but instead culture their spells like psychic pearls within the pools of their shared dreamspace. Their spells also tend to be incredibly idiosyncratic and self-referential, and thus nearly impossible for anyone else to learn, let alone attempt to cast.

Source: These hopping invertebrate hunters along the coastal regions of distant blood-red seas were inspired by The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, with a liberally-mutated bit of Chrysaora achylos tossed in for good measure.


  1. I like these Victorian literature riff monsters. Fun and educational!

    1. Thanks. I have been going over my stacks of hand-written notes and I'm posting things here to the blog as they get done. I figure I can go about illustrating them later, once I get caught-up and have some room in the schedule.

  2. Yet another tentacular and other-worldly creature making its way between worlds. One wonders whether they might be some kind of post-historical dream projection of the molluscoid's collective consciousness?

    1. These critters are very much inspired by Winston Churchill's quote about the empires of the future being empires of the mind. I like the casual synergy between these things and the Purple Clouds, and how there is a clandestine ecology developing between them. There is a relationship between the Nettle-Jellies and the Mucoids (and certain of the Molluscoids), but we'll deal with that later, when I get back to the Mucoids. I have a few other things to get posted first, as I go through my notes...

      Funny you should mention dream projections and post-historical influences. There's a lot of that sort of thing going on in Wermpsittle, with more of it getting revealed in the weeks ahead.


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