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Zephonim, the Poison Ailed

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Zephonim, the Poison Ailed

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((If you have a fear of spiders I advise turning away now or proceeding with caution.))


 

Mother of Spiders

The lowly scholar pulled herself from her chair. A dreadful hunger gnawed at her stomach, and she knew there was only one thing that could possibly sate it. She took a shaking step, her legs collapsing beneath her. Even now, with her body as withered as it was, her legs were simply too weak to carry her.

She resorted to dragging herself to the short door tucked into the corner of her study. It was so bland and unassuming that, assuming you weren’t looking for it, it’d be very easy to overlook. Perfect for her collection.

She reached a bony hand up, wrapping her fingers around the brass doorknob, turning it counter clockwise as she pulled the door open. The scholar could feel the cool air rush into the room, webs swaying in the newly introduced breeze. Even in the dim candlelight emanating from the other room, she could see the bright red bodies of the Zephon Duskcrawlers, her prized possessions.

The eight-legged crawlers were exceedingly rare, and favored dark, humid environments. They had a unique method of reproduction. Instead of laying eggs, they hold another bug captive, webbing them into a cocoon and soaking them in their own blood. After a few weeks, the creature emerges from the cocoon as another Duskcrawler.

The scholar, foolish as she may be, wished to use their blood to create a concoction that allowed for the user to convert into another descendant race. She tested it on herself, only succeeding in giving herself an addiction.

At the time she hadn’t a clue what she was craving, but the scholar knew now. The delicious red spiders crawled along the walls and floor, there were hundreds of them. Several dozen silk cocoons hung from the ceiling, her next batch was a large one for sure.

The scholar licked her lips, reaching down to grab one of the spiders from the floor. She could feel its mandibles bite into her flesh. She cursed silently to herself, she’d grown too eager and forgotten her gloves. In the scholar’s mind she’d already come too far to back out. She brought the critter to her mouth, biting down on it with a crunch.

The Duskcrawler’s blood was tasteless, yet intoxicating. She was unable to stop herself from devouring another, then another, continuing to slay spiders for their delicious blood until her hands were too pained to move. She closed the door, shuffling over to her bed at an agonizingly slow pace. Regardless of the pulsing pain in her hands, the scholar didn’t fret. They were flesh-wounds at best, and she always found them as faded marks in the morning.

 

---------------------------~~~---------------------------

 

Creation

It should be noted that a Zephonim only holds enough blood to safely transform two people at once. Symptoms of mutagen withdrawal include sweating, dizziness, hallucination, vomiting, weight loss and nausea.

Spoiler

 

-Phase 1-

The transformation process starts with an addiction to the toxic mutagen found in the blood of a Zephonim. The victim may not realize by this point what exactly it is they crave, but it all depends on the circumstances. Over the course of anywhere between one to two years the victim’s legs would begin to wither away in an attempt to prevent escape. It’s possible to recover from this phase with minimum damage.

 

-Phase 2-

The victim’s legs, now practically skin and bones, begin to harden, turning a dark shade of blue over the course of a year. Their gums may recede from their teeth by a centimeter or two, giving them a vaguely primal appearance should they bare their teeth. By this phase the victim’s craving of the mutagen would kick into overdrive. Unless extra care were put into making sure the victim were well fed or healthy they might begin to waste away. By now, permanent damage has been done, and the victim’s legs would more than likely have to be amputated to stand any chance at recovery.

 

-Phase 3-

The victim goes into a catatonic state as they begin to develop their new form. This can take up to a year. Closing the victim’s body in a tight space that is both dark and warm (Such as a silk cocoon) facilitates faster and more efficient growth.

 

After the newly created abomination hatches from its cocoon, it may find that it no longer suffers from addiction to the mutagen as the same horrid poison now courses through their veins.

 

(NOTE: Zephon Duskcrawlers, being incredibly rare and elusive, may only be used to create another Zephonim if the rest die out or go inactive.

 

Red Lines

-Transforming a character into a Zephonim requires OOC consent from their player.

-Addiction does not normally occur after one taste of the poison, especially not a small one. If John the Savoyard accidentally ingested Zephonim blood when slaying one, he would not be instantly addicted.

-In addition, transformation only occurs if the mutagen is regularly ingested.

-A Zephonim must be created from a pre-existing character. You cannot start a character as one.

 

---------------------------~~~---------------------------

 

Appearance & Abilities

Though there are two types of Zephonim, they both share the identifying traits; The upper body retaining their appearance prior to transformation, the lower body of an arachnid, and sharp teeth. Facial growths resembling small horns or vestigial mandibles can appear on both varieties, but are a more common occurrence with Bulwarks.

Both variants have the ability to produce fairly durable, but flammable, webs. While this can be used for various utility purposes (Binding a person, producing a suitable living area, etc), it is of little use in combat situations.

Zephonim must molt to heal any damage to their exoskeletons and armor, but can only do so once per elven day. This is a long process and is impossible to do in combat. This allows the player to change the color of their creature’s exoskeleton, or make minor changes to their design.

 

Spoiler

 

Tremere

The smaller of the two varieties. A Tremere’s arachnid body is generally sleek, similar to a black widow or a brown recluse. The Tremere’s exoskeleton can be shiny, matte, colorful, drab or anything inbetween. The arachnid body can add up to one foot to their height, four feet in length, and anywhere from 100 to 200 pounds to their weight.

Tremere are set apart from Bulwarks by the fact that they retain the ability to use and learn certain magic. Though both Bulwarks and Tremere have intact souls, only those attuned to the Arcane and the like are able to continue down this path. However, their body are more susceptible to physical withering, essentially doubling the normal withering effect. This means that most Tremere are sickly, their humanoid upper body generally sporting pallid skin and gaunt features.

This isn’t to say that Tremere are incredibly fragile. Their exoskeleton, while significantly less durable than that of the bulwark, still offer some protection to their lower half.

A Tremere may learn and cast the following magics: All Arcane/Voidal, Necromancy, Blood Magic, Soul Puppetry, Mysticism, and Druidism.

 

Bulwarks

The decidedly larger of the two, Bulwarks sport a very bulky arachnid body, similar in appearance to the common tarantula. Their exoskeleton consists of chitinous plates of various drab colors. The arachnid body gives them up to two feet in height, six feet in length, and anywhere from 200 to 300 pounds to their weight.

Bulwarks are blessed with a thick natural armor covering the majority of their lower half. This chitin is roughly as durable as plate armor, but chips and splinters instead of denting. The Bulwark’s armor has its weaknesses though. Its legs, particularly in jointed areas, are not as well protected as to not make them less mobile. Their underside is also very soft compared to the rest of their exoskeleton.

A Bulwark’s upper body is roughly as strong as it was prior to transformation, while its lower body is heavy and strong.

A set of small arms sprout from the Bulwark’s descendant abdomen, allowing for manipulation of small objects. As they have the strength of an average seven year old, they’re mostly useless for combat.

 

((Note: The addition of height and weight assumes the arachnid body is roughly the same height and weight of their descendant legs before modification.))

 

Weaknesses

While most might classify the Zephonim as abominations, they didn’t come about from an evil ritual or alchemy. As such, the usual abomination-killing methods (Aurum, holy magic, etc) are ineffective. Though the weaknesses unique to Tremere and Bulwarks respectively are listed above, these weaknesses encompass both variants.

-A Zephonim’s arachnid exoskeleton is weak to blunt and piercing damage.

-Zephonim share the traditional weaknesses of most living beings. They can die from blood loss, starvation, suffocation, burning, electrocution, etc.

 

Red Lines

-Once you’ve transformed, you cannot switch between Bulwark and Tremere on a whim. They should be treated as separate creatures on a CA.

-Zephonim cannot climb walls or ceilings, they weigh far too much.

-Zephonim cannot websling around cities like a certain spider-themed superhero.

 

---------------------------~~~---------------------------

 

Biology

As their bodies stray away from the anatomic norm, it’s only fitting for them to have abnormal organic structures. Naming every organ they bear would be time consuming and unnecessary, so only the bare minimum will be covered.

A Zephonim carries two hearts. One in the arachnid portion, at the center of their thorax, and another in the Descendant portion. As their bodies are fairly large it’s more efficient for them to circulate their blue blood from two points than just the one. If one were put out of commission, the farther portion of their body would be much more sluggish or inaccurate.

A Zephonim only carries one brain. Predictably enough it’s in their skull.

 

Mannerisms

Zephonim, despite retaining their personality-- albeit a somewhat modified version of it--, do not have traditional romantic desires. This is due to their complete lack of reproductive organs. Like their progenitors, Zephonim reproduce by slowly converting their “mate” into another member of their species. They may form emotional attachments to this individual, but they more than likely will be familial in nature. Zephonim instinctively defend Descendants slated for conversion, and will not attack them. This isn’t to say they won’t defend themselves if said Descendant attacks them.

As far as dietary needs go, Zephonim are predatory carnivores. While one member of the species may prefer setting up traps for their prey, another may actively go hunting, be it alone or in a pack.

A Zephonim generally targets beings smaller than it. This includes, but is not limited to halflings, dogs, cats, pigs, sheep and goats. It’s important to note that as a sentient creature, Zephonim do have morals and self-control. It’s not unlikely to see a Zephonim that only feeds on livestock or wild animals. That being said, a normal Zephonim would not be above eating the corpse of another member of its species.

 

Trauma, Dilemmas and Prejudice

The meat of a Zephonim’s story and character is seeing how they deal with the numerous downsides of becoming an abomination. Some may have the resolve to attempt to reintegrate with society. Others may succumb to the trauma and sudden drastic change in how the public views them, becoming reclusive and bitter. A few might embrace their new form with a twisted display of pride. The point of the creature is to be flexible, and allow relative freedom in how the player roleplays their character. As such, it would be advised to have a somewhat developed character transformed into a Zephonim to maximize playability.

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That transformation sequence is pretty damn metal. +1

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1 minute ago, ArcanicFable said:

Driders 

<3

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But the real question is--
Can you make cool new duds from their silk?

 

+1

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Would create interesting roleplay, +1

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45 minutes ago, Vezzin said:

But the real question is--
Can you make cool new duds from their silk?

 

+1

I imagine so, though I'm not clear on how fabric making works.

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I think more species variants are needed.. such as:

 

Image result for crypt  lord

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As someone who has Severe Arachnophobia, I hate that you dare try to bring a humanoid version of those GODLESS EIGHT LEGGED ABOMINATIONS to this server, I hope they devour your young and burn with the rage of a thousand suns...

 

But honestly this looks really cool and I like the idea! Good work! +1

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1 hour ago, LordCommander said:

As someone who has Severe Arachnophobia, I hate that you dare try to bring a humanoid version of those GODLESS EIGHT LEGGED ABOMINATIONS to this server, I hope they devour your young and burn with the rage of a thousand suns...

 

But honestly this looks really cool and I like the idea! Good work! +1

Lol I'm sorry, but thank you.

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So, this is a purely biological take on driders, rather than having it be a curse or "blessing" from a deity? Just curious.

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2 hours ago, KorusPrime said:

So, this is a purely biological take on driders, rather than having it be a curse or "blessing" from a deity? Just curious.

Exactly.

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On 4/12/2017 at 6:52 AM, KorusPrime said:

So, this is a purely biological take on driders, rather than having it be a curse or "blessing" from a deity? Just curious.

DEITIES GO HOME REEE

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Id love to see this in game, hope it gets accepted 

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