Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July RPG Blog Carnival: Invasive Species

The Theme for this Month's RPG Blog Carnival is Invasive Species and it is being hosted right here at Hereticwerks. Through the month of July we will be presenting a few posts that feature a variety of Invasive Species and we'd love to see what you have to say on the subject. Have you introduced some sort of invasive species into your game or campaign? How did it go? Have any pointers or advice for how to handle invasive species in a particular game, setting or genre?

Whatever genre you like, however gritty or glittery you prefer your games or fiction, there's all sorts of ways you could address the theme of Invasive Species. Below we've provided a few questions, examples and possible suggestions to help you get started.

Please leave a comment below with a link to your post and we'll be sure to include it in the end-of-month summary/Wrap-Up post.

Last month's RPG Blog Carnival was hosted by Moebius Adventures and featured quite a few different answers to the question: "What's In The Hole?" Be sure to check out the Wrap-Up Post for last month's Carnival to discover a host of thing that might be waiting for your characters in that otherwise innocuous looking hole over there. There were some really great entries last month, so be sure to take a look at the Wrap-Up Post at Moebius Adventures when you get a chance!

Invasive Species

What are some of your favorite invasive species from books, comics, web-comics, or graphic novels?
We're big fans of The War of the Worlds. And we'd definitely classify M. P. Shiel's Purple Clouds as pernicious invasive species, even if they are mostly billowing toxic vapors with a bad attitude. The Daleks from Doctor Who and the the Eddorians from Doc Smith's Lensmen series are another two great examples of invasive species from classic science fiction.

What is your favorite invasive species from the movies or TV?
We're big fans of The War of the Worlds, Invaders From Mars, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day of the Triffids, Critters, Gremlins, The Blob, Godzilla, and lots of classic sci-fi and fantasy movies. The aliens who show up in the Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man are one of the best examples of a really sneaky invasive species--they get humanity to voluntarily board their cattle-carrier ships. The xenomorph from Alien remains one of the all-time classic movie monsters and it is truly an invasive species in every sense of the term. Zombies are often treated as though they were an invasive species, especially in the movies and on TV...would you consider zombies to be an invasive species? If you have strong feelings either way, what are some reasons/examples you could point out? What are some of your favorite movies that portray invaders from beyond and how has this influenced your game?

Do you have a favorite invasive species that was featured in a game or campaign setting?
Anyone who has played through Expedition to the Barrier Peaks can list off several classic examples of invasive species that have gone on to take their place in later editions of D&D such as the Vegepygmies and the awesome Froghemoth. It's a classic mash-up of fantasy and sci-fi. Stephen Colbert fondly remembers this module, and so do quite a lot of other old school gamers. Some of us even had a character survive this adventure.

Going back to Supplement Three: Eldritch Wizardry, the Mind Flayers were first introduced into D&D as invaders from the Underworld while a host of other invasive species such as Brain Moles, Cerebral Parasites and a host of demons were also brought into the game. Is there a classic or new monster that you feel is the ultimate invasive species?

Here are a few more questions to help give you some ideas:

  • Did Owlbears take over the local forest? If so, what are your characters going to do about it?
  • Are dragons native to your game-world, or are they invaders from somewhere else?
  • Could the deities active in a fantasy milieu actually be invaders from another realm?
  • Are the undead actually invaders from beyond the veil of death?
  • Would you consider Mr. Lovecraft's various alien beings truly invasive if they preceded humanity be eons? What happens when the Mi-Go invade? John Snead might know...
  • How do you handle demons and possession in your game? They pretty much define 'invasive.'
  • What happens when a group of player characters introduce the equivalent of rabbits into Australia?
  • Have you created a great alien space invader to menace your Pulp Sci-Fi campaign?
  • Do you have some advice on how to handle the proliferation of unnatural horrors or terrible monstrosities that have been unleashed upon an unsuspecting world by irresponsible wizards?
  • What if a super villain succeeded in unleashing an unstoppable army of cybernetic-alien-zombie-wombat-chickens that took over the world and wouldn't let if go?
  • Do you have ideas of how humanity might cope with a far superior civilization--might we be viewed as an invasive species?
  • Do you have some version of jumping carp, zebra mussels, buck thorn, gypsy moths, or something similar encroaching upon the frontiers of the player character's domains? How would a wizard deal with a swarm of locusts before it destroyed all the crops? Can your paladin halt the depredations of those moths infesting the fabric mills before your liege goes bankrupt?
  • Has someone stirred-up a dragon-turtle that has now started terrorizing the near-by lake-towns? did they accidentally move the thing's eggs, or was it done deliberately as a form of sabotage?
  • What sort of invasive species might be proliferating deep within the darkest recesses of the WorldNet? Are they rogue AI, disembodied spirits, damaged algorithms or something else entirely?

Not all invaders need to come from outer space, dead ruins beneath the ocean waves, or someplace exotic; some might just be people from another continent or perhaps from a different time...
While one of your own ancestors wouldn't normally be considered to be an entirely different species, the weird transformations that Joseph Curwen underwent in order to gain power and knowledge as a wizard made him enough different from his unsuspecting descendant Charles Dexter Ward to count as far as we're concerned. We also would classify John Carter from Edgar Rice Burrough's classic Barsoom series as an example of a heroic invasive species; what do you think? The astronauts who crash-land on The Planet of the Apes find themselves in the role of being an invasive species. Morbius was an invasive species of one as he pilfered the secrets of the Krell in Forbidden Planet...just as you could make a case for Alice being an invasive species in Through the Looking Glass, or the Pevensies in Narnia, and even Flash Gordon is something of an invasive species during his adventures on Mongo. If you wanted, you could probably make a case for Captain James T. Kirk being something of an invasive species unto himself since it seemed like he might well have single-handedly produced more human-alien hybrids than any dozen secret underground government labs. Sometimes we are the invaders...which opens the door to taking a look at various examples of invasions that our own species has perpetrated against itself such as the Conquistadors in South America (or was it Tamoachan?), the various colonial powers in Africa & Asia, and a host of examples from history, military history, or alternate history.

So, what are some of your personal favorite invasive species?
How have you handled invasive species in your game?
We'd love to hear about it...

Everything you might want to know about the RPG Blog Carnival is available all in one place, including How to ParticipateHow to Sign-Up to Host a Carnival, as well as some handy advice for How to Host a Carnival if your topic gets accepted. You can also browse through the Archives of Past Carnivals and check to see what's coming next.

The RPG Blog Carnival is sponsored and supported by the RPG Blog Alliance. You can find out more about the RPGBA by clicking these links:

The RPGBA site


  1. Oh sure, host up another carnival when I STILL haven't figured out what happened to the characters in last month's theme...

    Anyway, here's a few critters that have been making nuisances of themselves. I was working them up for another contest, but reskinned them for the theme. Inspired somewhat by the invasive Cane Toad and its ilk:

    1. Roll for Initiative or Make a Save both come to mind...hope they both figure out how to handle the ghoul before things get messier...

      Thanks for joining in on the Blog Carnival fun. I'll drop by to check out these critters shortly.

  2. http://githyankidiaspora.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/july-rpg-blog-carnival-githyanki-invasion-6d6/

    "The Lich-Queen’s forces are coming to your world. Roll 6d6 and get the session started."

  3. Some swamp extending beasts I've been rolling around in my head for years.


  4. A second entry with one of my mini-dialogues concerning that most invasive of all species.


    (Oh, and Farthing and Tig's worm hunt came to its conclusion, as well)

    1. Great news--I'm looking forward to reading this!

  5. New invasive species for your D&D 5e game over at World Builder Blog. http://worldbuilderblog.me/2014/07/22/prepare-the-invasion/

    Awesome topic, thanks for hosting!

    1. I really like your post on the topic. Nice to see some more details on what the new edition can do. I'm still fine with S&W/LL, but I am keeping an open mind...

  6. Awesome topic, thank you for hosting. Here's my take on some new invasive species for your 5e games. Aberrant-devil hybrids and mind controlling parasitic beetles... http://worldbuilderblog.me/2014/07/22/prepare-the-invasion/

  7. Hi,

    Running late again, but still within the month window.

    Over on Tales of a GM I posted an article about the symbiotic leech that one of my Players picked as a follower. As the story progresses, this is turning into a very poor choice for the character.


    All the best

  8. A fun topic which inspired me to use my ecology education. Here's my entry where I tackle humanity as an invasive species: http://wp.me/p1Uug8-3u

    Have fun!


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