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Aspis
Aspis
Naming
Binomen N/A
Morphology
Body type Varies by caste
Average height Varies by caste
Average length Cow: 10-15'
Larva: 1½-3'
Drone: 6'
Average weight Varies by caste
Intelligence
Sapience Sapient
Aggressivity Varies depending upon needs
Language Aspis
Ecology
Habitat Subterranean nests
Diet Cow: Unspecified
Larva: Detritivorous
Drone: Omnivorous
Locomotion Varies by caste
Status Endangered
Behind the Scenes
Universe Dungeons & Dragons
Created by Gary Gygax


Aspis are a species of weevil-like arthropods that consists of three castes, though the world at large only officially has records on the male drones, with its larval and cow stages simply (yet correctly) deduced as existing due to the evolutionary nature of the species.

Monster Manual descriptions

2nd Edition

Considered mysterious by humans, aspis are seldom encountered in populated lands unless raiding for food. They commonly live in small groups, tending to their own business and only occasionally dealing with outsiders. Few people can report of ever meeting one of these creatures, and the existence of larvae and cows is only rumor. These must exist, however, as they are necessary for the survival of the race.

Cow

Unlike other larvae who metamorphose into drones, the cows retain their larval form, becoming huge and bloated females, 10-15 feet in length. Their sole purpose in life is to lay eggs for the nest. They are sluggish creatures, but their large size makes their bite dangerous. In addition, their skin exudes a milky, acidic slime that will eat through metal or wood in 1 round and will burn exposed flesh for 1-8 points of damage each round until washed off.

Aspis lairs are found underground and consist of sloping tunnels bored through soft rock or dirt. A lair or nest will consist of 1-3 egg chambers, 2-4 granaries, 1-6 grub hatcheries, and a central chamber. The tunnels are commonly about 4 feet high and will be well-defended by traps and guards. The grub hatcheries will contain 1-10 larvae each. Only 1 cow will be found in any nest. There is a 10% chance that 10-100 giant ants will share the nest with the aspis.

Larvae

Aspis larvae are the offspring of the nest. Ranging anywhere from 1½-3 feet in length, they resemble fat, white grubs. They are blind and deaf but can locate and identify other creatures through vibrations and scent. The have voracious appetites and require an almost constant supply of food. They are most commonly found in hatcheries maintained by the drones, which are usually pits of rotting materials in which the larvae swim or burrow and feed. Occasionally the drones will select 1 larva and feed and treat it in such a way that it will not develop along normal lines, but will instead become an aspis cow.

Drone

Aspis drones are the adult males of the nest and perform all functions dealing with the outside world. These creatures lack individual identity even to the point of not having personal names. Fierce warriors, they are capable of using all weapons but bows and can fashion items they need with skill. Although they prefer to travel on all 6 legs, in combat they will stand on their hind legs, using the other 4 to wield 2 weapons and 3 shields (making their armor class 2). They are fanatically loyal to a single cow and will defend her to the death. They are immune to electrical and cold attacks and will only take half-damage from fire-based attacks.

Aspis drones speak their own language and 5% will be able to speak Common. They do not have a written language per se but may communicate by using subtle scents and perfumes.

Drones are 6 feet long and look like giant weevils. They have an extremely long proboscis and multifaceted eyes. Their diet consists of vegetable matter and meat. Blood is a preferred drink amongst them.

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