Our third minor regional enemy for the World of Samardan campaign setting is actually inspired by a Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode entitled "When the Cicada Calls", of all things. (I admit it; as a GM, I am not above the "resourceful acquisition" of plot ideas from the shows that my kids watch.) As I watched this particular episode unfold, I thought of someone using ancient technology to tap into the hive mind of a swarm and make the insects to wreak havoc on the world on his behalf. In Samardan, the translation of "insect lord" is Rak-Pansanu, and thus I had the name of my next regional villain. I thought this would create a different scenario than most, something that an enterprising Referee could use to really capture the Planetary Romance adventuring style. With that in mind, I now present the Swarms of the Rak-Pansanu.
The Swarms of the Rak-PansanuHistory: The Rakran mystic, Sen Safakusan, has always been the pariah of his family. From an early age, Sen Safakusan had explored the power of his mind instead of learning to utilize ancient technology as his father and brothers had. Because Sen Safakusan hindered his family's status among the rest of the clan, they would often force him to serve as the clan's representative on small clan-sponsored expeditions to explore ancient ruins. Out of sight, out of mind. While on one of these expeditions, Sen Safakusan stumbled upon a partially-functional artifact that gave him the unusual ability to mentally communicate with and command insects. Having realized the power of his find, Sen Safakusan fled the expedition, and began using his newfound abilities to further his vengeful and hedonistic desires.
Personality: Before Sen Safakusan found the ancient helmet that gives him control over insects, the Rakran mystic had been spiteful and vindictive. These personality traits have only become more pronounced after taking on the mantle of Rak-Pansanu. As the lord of insects, the Rak-Pansanu has sent his swarms to attack every site where he was once bullied or ostracized, accumulating quite a treasury in the process. While the Rak-Pansanu has discovered a taste for expensive wines and rich foods, his first priority remains the humiliation of his family and clan.
Stat Blocks: The following stat blocks for representative members of the Rak-Pansanu's insectile servitors are based on Sword and Planet: An Old School Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance, which I wrote last year. Please feel free to convert these stats to the system of your choice, if you wish to use them elsewhere.
- Cat-sized Insect: DEF: 12; HD: 1; ATK: sting (1d4+poison); ST: +2; SP: Poisonous sting (1d4/round, Fort DC 12 ends); SPD: 5 (fly 8); CL: 1/2; XP: 150.
- Wolf-sized Insect: DEF: 13; HD: 2; ATK: bite (1d6+poison); ST: +3; SP: Poison (1d6/round, Fort DC 13 ends); SPD: 6; CL: 1; XP: 300.
- Man-sized Insect: DEF: 14; HD: 4; ATK: bite (1d8+poison); ST: +4; SP: Poison (1d8/round, Fort DC 14 ends); SPD: 7; CL: 2; XP: 450.