I'm halfway through the alphabet with this post, and still going strong. For my thirteenth post in this year's A-Z Challenge, I will be posting a Sandbox Encounter focused on the insectoid men who inhabit the tall mounds that are their hives. M is for Mantid.
Brief Description: Covered in dark chitin, mantids are intelligent insect-men that roam the Shattered Plains of the Madlands. Their hives are often quite huge and can cover a larger territory than the average human city. Mantids have domesticated giant beetles, which often accompany workers outside the hive. Being of a hive mentality, the mantid mindset is completely alien to most humanoids. For that reason, diplomacy is always a tricky matter, particularly if the non-mantids do not display a united front. Independent, contradictory thought is considered a crime against the hive, and is punishable by death within mantid society.
Encounter Groups: These are common encounter groups for this type of encounter.
- Novice (levels 1-3): 2 Giant Beetles, 1 Mantid Worker. 2d6x10 silver shillings. (I use a silver standard in my campaigns.)
- Seasoned (levels 4-6): 4 Giant Beetles, 2 Mantid Workers, 1 Mantid Warrior. 2d4x100 silver shillings, 2d4 slaves, 1d3 gems, 1d3 jewelry, two consumable items (50% chance each), and one magic item (50% chance).
- Veteran (levels 7-10): 8 Giant Beetles, 4 Mantid Workers, 2 Mantid Warriors. 2d6x100 silver shillings, 2d6 slaves, 2d4 gems, 1d4+1 jewelry, one magic weapon (50% chance), one magic armor (50% chance), two magic items (50% chance each), and two consumables (50% chance each).
Stat Blocks: The following stats are provided as examples for inspiration. Please adjust as needed to fit your preferred gaming system and style.
- Giant Beetle: AC 6 ; HD 2; Atk: one bite (1d8); ST: 16; SP: acid spray (10-ft cone, 2d4 damage, save negates, 1/round); MV: 12; CL 3; XP 60.
- Mantid Worker: AC 7 ; HD 3; Atk: one bite (1d6 + paralytic poison), two claws (1d4); ST: 14; SP: leap (can leap 20 ft forward or 50 ft upward), paralytic poison (target paralyzed until save negates, one save per round); MV: 18; CL 6; XP 400.
- Mantid Warrior: AC 5 ; HD 6; Atk: one bite (1d8 + paralytic poison), two claws (1d8); ST: 11; SP: leap (can leap 20 ft forward or 50 ft upward), paralytic poison (target paralyzed until save negates, one save per round); MV: 18; CL 9; XP 1,100.
Encounter Ideas: Here are six different scenarios related to this encounter type.
- The mantids are an advance group sent out to find a site for a new hive, as a new queen has been born.
- The party comes across the mantids as they are returning to their hive with food from their most recent expedition.
- The mantids address the party as representatives of a diplomatic emissary for continued negotiations. (All juicy humanoids apparently look alike to the chitinous mantids.)
- The hive needs food, and the party will suffice to supplement the larder.
- The mantids are seeking a certain medicinal plant, and are willing to trade for it, if the party has some to offer.
- Having declared war on a humanoid tribe, the party is attacked out of sheer mistaken identity.