[Playable CA] Zephonim
The Weavers of Skin and Silk
The First Broodleader, name unknown - Art by TyphonArt
Deep within the darkened annals of the earth, a cacophony of sounds echoed; a repetitive pitter-patter of tiny limbs moving over blackened rock, the faint plink of droplets of moisture gathering in a pool on the cave floor. Layered beneath these sounds, quietly, softly, came the ragged breathing of a lost girl.
It had been days since she tumbled through the false ceiling of the cavern within the forest, composed of little more than cobwebs supporting dead plant matter, slipping and rolling through musty tunnels before landing surprisingly softly within the cave. As her eyes adjusted to the low-light environment, she tried to stand before realizing she was stuck. As shadows began moving around her, she turned her head to stare into dozens of sets of eight beady eyes. Her cries for help went unanswered, and soon her voice became too hoarse to continue screaming.
The interior of the cave was an intricate network of massive cobwebs. The noisy tumble and subsequent yelling that took place alerted the denizens of the cave to the girl’s presence, and they crept from their crevices to investigate. Mortified, she attempted not to move as the crab-sized spiders crept over her body. Slowly, she found herself untangled from the web as the creatures poured past her in a pale wave to patch in the hole of the tunnel she’d fallen through.
As days passed, the girl became more familiar with the spider’s nest. Water was abundantly available from the pool within, but hunger was becoming a pressing issue. She could already feel sharp pangs passing through her stomach, and her regular hour of screaming a day had become less commonplace. Eventually, she came to terms that help was not coming her way anytime soon.
With starvation looming, the constant clicking of the cave’s inhabitants had transformed from a source of fright to a lifeline. She’d learned that the creatures fed off of animals that had similarly fallen through holes into tunnels as she had. They shied away from the pool of water during the day. It was here that she crouched, hand clenched around a jagged rock. Face curled in disgust, she made her way to a nearby stone and flipped it over. Four pairs of eyes stared intently at her from beneath. The poison was the most significant hurdle. After crushing one of the arachnids with the same rock, she tore into its sour insides with a grimace. Soon after, delirium and hallucinations crept through her vision. But with nothing else to rely upon, she continued to eat. Days crept by and turned into weeks. She’d developed an immunity to the spider’s venom and had long since lost her fear of the creatures. Their constant movements were the only source of company she had, and she came to appreciate their presence over time. As she regained her strength, changes were forming in her body.
Awful cracking sounds emerged from her bones alongside an endless itching, with sloughs of dead skin poured off at regular intervals and giving way to a pale carapace. Her vision was all but nonexistent, leaving her nearly blind, and over time her body contorted into a hunched-over pose. As weeks dragged on, more severe changes became apparent. Organs shifted, and her torso swelled as it morphed into a bloated abdomen. Bony ridges formed on her back before developing into triple segmented appendages with muscles and nerves. Her jaw began to split as her cheeks peeled away to reveal bulging mandibles as well as needle-like fangs sprouting from her lower jaw. Gradually her head began to flatten as she found herself forced down to a horizontal posture. After an agonizing year of torture, the girl’s transformation was complete. She now found herself with four pairs of eyes, mandibles and fangs, a six thorax, and six additional limbs sprouting from her back and hips. Her atrophied muscles had become strong, the extra limbs had gone from awkward to comfortable, and her secondary eyes made out her surroundings more precisely in the dark than her humanoid ones ever could have. The most significant change came from the spider’s behavior toward her. Previously antagonistic and surging forward at any departure from the pool, they now ignored her for the most part.
The sun slowly made its way into the sky, and the girl gazed at her murky reflection in the pool’s depths. Eight black eyes gazed back up at her from a hideous face. “I’m a monster,” she thought, rage ripping through her grotesque form. Her body shuddered as she smashed one of her forelegs against the surface of the water. Now strong and familiar with the cave’s intricacies, she began to tear open the remnants of the tunnel she had fallen through. She dug and climbed until eventually breaching the forest floor and plunging into bright light. Hastily, she shielded her eyes and moved the short distance to a nearby river. She could just make out the sight of a road and pinned to a nearby tree a poster of some kind. Making her way over revealed it to be some sort of bounty post about a nearby bandit, but it seemed as if something lay beneath. She tore the poster away, revealing an older, much more worn poster covering the new one. A missing person’s poster bearing her name and an artist’s rendition of her face. While she held the crumpled paper in one hand, a furious realization formed in her mind. “They abandoned me...they left me there to rot.”
Footsteps along the road caused her to seek shelter in the trees nearby as a carriage rumbled past. She knew she would never be able to return to her old life, at least not looking like this. Showing herself as this monstrous spider would get her killed instantly. And so, she waited. She fed on animals and the one unfortunate bandit from the poster as she rebuilt her strength over the weeks. It didn’t take her long to familiarize herself with her form and realize she could change into something more humanoid by contracting and relaxing specific muscles. The pain nearly made her faint, but she held tightly to what bits of her humanity she had left. She also learned of the opposite. With enough concentration, she could render herself something worthy of the title of arachnid, ideal for chasing down prey and impressive acrobatic feats. Some parts of her humanity lingered in the uncontrollable and unpredictable patterns upon her abdomen; ghoulish eyes and mouths opened and closed sporadically, bony arms sometimes surfaced before sinking back down into the dark red chitin.
Eventually, she returned to the tunnels, slowly excavating the cave and improving the ceiling trap. The spiders within seemingly spoke to her now, although not so explicitly. Instead, their actions seemed to become a language to her. She could understand when they were disturbed or when prey had fallen into the nets. And when something dangerous made its way into the tunnels, she defended them. They were her children now, and she was their Broodmother.
As a result of the transformation from descendant to Zephonim, one undergoes a number of physiological changes. The hair color of the individual may turn white or black, as if mimicking the silk of their webs. They can intake raw and cooked meat, but cannot digest any other food. Indigestible food may be temporarily stored within their stomach chambers, but must be vomited out to prevent illness. Common among the subtypes, Zephonim have the ability to shift between forms, molting every time they decide to do so, with a cooldown. For females, Zephonim have no mammary glands, while both females and males have no genitals. Every Zephonim has a heart and several stomachs, changing positions depending on whichever form they take. While in their humanoid form, their organs are compacted into the lower half of their torso, while their heart remains where a heart should lie. In half-spider form, their heart shifts to the area where the humanoid torso and spider abdomen merges, while the rest of their organs move into their arachnid half. The final form is reserved for only the eldest of Zephonim, the Broodmothers and Fathers. They may take the form of a massive spider, causing their hearts and organs to move directly into their giant abdomen.
The three categories of Zephonim are as follows. Galomorphs are meant to be the brutes of the bunch, much slower yet sturdy due to their larger bodies. Araneomorphs are the most delicate of the three, compensating for a lack of size with specialization in venom and webbing. Sparamorphs are the jack of all trades, able to perform what the other two types can, yet unable to utilize them to their full potential.
If a Zephonim were to take on any sort of magic, they would be affected the same as any other descendant, mentally and physically. Under certain circumstances, if a Corcitura or Siliti were to drink a Zephonim or Broodleader’s blood, it’d have the same effects as normal blood but with a much more sour taste.
Zephonim in all forms have multi-chambered stomachs to allow them to digest liquid food, hold different types of bile, and siphon blood from themselves for creation of new Zephonim. They have a separate chamber for the storage of solid foods to be regurgitated later.
Galomorphs are the bulkiest morph, having a thick body and legs and resembling tarantulas. They have an abundance of dense hair, and can be either drab or brightly patterned in colour. Their abdomen is average sized, neither rounded nor slender, and more prominent fangs that curve downward. Due to their size, they rely on ambush tactics and overwhelming prey with their weight.
Sparamorphs are average sized morphs, resembling huntsman spiders and jumping spiders. As a result they tend to have finer, shorter hairs and have dull colouration such as browns and greys, sometimes with small patches of bright colors. Their abdomens range from rounded to slender, and their fangs are pincer-shaped. They prefer to chase down their prey, but have the option of a variety of abilities to help them. Their frame tends to be slimmer with strong bulky legs.
Araneomorphs are the most delicate of the morphs, with slender legs and very round abdomens. They resemble brightly coloured tropical orb-weaver spiders and so can choose from a very wide variety of colours and patterns, such as oranges, reds, greens, yellows, blues, and greys. They prefer to use webbing and obstacles to trap prey, using their innate nimbleness to reposition themselves swiftly. Their fangs are pincer-shaped.
Traveling as a Zephonim can prove a dangerous prospect. Few settlements would welcome one with such a frightening appearance, and even less so for the Broodleaders. Given this, the creatures developed a way to transform into a less conspicuous form. The process is agonizing and leaves them without access to the unnatural abilities of their half spider-form. In addition, Broodleaders are unable to assume a half-spider form. They do not have the luxury of half-measures and either appear humanoid or in full monstrous visage.
To the naked eye, humanoid Zephonim appear like a generic descendent apart from a few key differences. The most obvious tell is their blackened fingernails, though they may be hidden using proper clothing or paint. Skin colored ridges of chitin near their arms and neck can be found with close inspection. Their hair has an unnatural sheen, due to its silken texture as if being spun from a web. Their primary pair has full vision, the same as humans, and the secondary pairs, only able to detect basic light, are much smaller and cannot be easily seen when closed. They have three extra sets of ‘arms’ that are akin to their chosen morph, though they are too weak for any kind of combat actions. One pair is set at armpit level, another on top of the waist, and the final pair sits at the top of the hips. They have mandibles inside their mouths on either side of their throat and when not in use they curl up, replacing and mimicking the tonsils, able to coat regular food in a special digestive liquid that is sent to their extra stomach compartment. Overall, humanoids have the same weight as all Zephonim of their chosen morph, though have a much thinner waist than their descendant counterparts like a spider thorax due to organ shuffling.
The half-spider form sports a spider-like abdomen fused with their descendent torso, alongside chitinous patches on joints and vulnerable areas. This fused form grants an extra foot in height. The back legs have a more humanoid appearance, but covered in chitin and coming to a clawed tip. The upper half is mostly similar to the humanoid aside from a few key differences. When feeding or injecting venom, the chitinous covering on their jaws opens to display their mandibles and fangs. They have two sets of jaws, layered beneath the covering, with the outer acting as mandibles and the inner housing their needlelike fangs. Their mouth is further within this, approximately where a human throat would begin. When not exposed, the covering appears flesh-like and indistinguishable from an ordinary descendent face. Their hair also lengthens, trailing down the back until it reaches the abdomen and becomes more bristly in texture. The blackness around their fingernails spread, covering the majority of their fingers in a darkened hue whilst giving him a chitinous look. The half-spider’s eyes retain their humanoid shape but take on a pitch-black or reddish hue. While in half-spider form, the Zephonim loses some dexterity, especially in combat, such as being unable to turn around quickly if one were to strike from behind.
The third form is a fully-fledged spider, twice the size of both humanoid and half-spider forms. They take up 2x2 blocks, rather than the 1x2 sizes of their previous forms. Their hair is similar to the half-spider form in that it flows down the thorax of the spider, originating from an almost descendent-like face above the eyes. While their abdomen is covered in chitin, sometimes sporting decorative spikes or thorns, it appears to be almost fluid. Eyes, mouths, and limbs can sometimes be seen jutting out from the surface of the chitin before sinking back in, unusable by the Zephonim but horrific to see. The humanoid arms of the half-spider form have shifted to become an extra pair of mandibles, while gaining large, curved claws at the tip of each foot. They bear no semblance to any of the other morphs, not belonging in any category. While in spider form, the Broodleader loses some dexterity especially in combat, such as being unable to turn around quickly if one were to strike from behind.
Like the duskcrawlers they developed from, all Zephonim feel the need to stay close together in a colony, working as one to keep their home safe and secure from the outside world. They may seek to create new family structures with each other, typically with their Broodleader creator as the head of the family. Naturally this feeling is exacerbated by the “family bonds'' that form when Zephonim and Broodlings are created, but like all bonds they can be broken through development of character and disagreements. No Zephonim is forced to abide by these instincts, though they are likely to feel the natural drive of them. Lone Zephonim who have broken from the group tend to be beset by instincts driving them to create a new family to surround themselves with. Whether this is fulfilled by the corpses of their victims, living prisoners, or animal companions is entirely up to the Zephonim in question.
At first, after their initial transformation, some Zephonim may feel confusion and upset at their new form and the loss of their prior family and friends. On the other hand some take to it immediately and can become overjoyed at the prospect of an entirely new life, though naturally most fall in between these two extremes. It isn’t uncommon for certain neuroses and unusual behaviour patterns to follow Zephonim long into their extended lifespan, with some never truly going away.
All Zephonim have at least a mild desire to spread duskcrawler nests far and wide to extend their reach, caring for such nests with tenderness and devotion. They are willing to defend these nests fiercely if they are discovered tending to them, sometimes laying down their own life rather than surrendering the lives of the spider colony. The desire to spread and protect the nests can sometimes overwhelm a Zephonim and cause them to take great risks to personal safety, though many prefer not to unnecessarily take descendent lives and would rather simply chase them off. Bargaining is an option that some may take to encourage the would-be plunderers to leave, only for the Zephonim to move the nest if possible.
Zephonim are not unaccustomed to bartering and talking with descendents, even aiding them in their struggles at times, but it goes against any Zephonim’s beliefs to collude with Druids or any other group that seeks to preserve nature and its balance due to the very unnatural origin of the duskcrawlers, and by extension the Zephonim themselves. Their nature of desiring change and the spreading of nests appears to be Fae nuisance at best and an encroaching danger at worst, and thus they cannot learn Druidism.
As a newborn Zephonim matures and comes to terms with their transformation, the realisation that they now have almost unlimited life (if supplied with Hatchling cocoons) can unnerve some and invigorate others. This can lead to them taking more risks and following impulsive thoughts and desires, or even changing their appearance for no reason other than their unstable sense of self. This is most frequently shown in self-alterations done with Skinweaving. Some find their emotional state may jump back and forth at a seemingly random pace, have a flat affect, or are exacerbated to extremes.
A Broodleader in their Arachnae Form greeting the intruders of her nest - Art by Max Duran
The Silken Emperors
Broodmothers and Fathers are the pinnacle of the Zephonim hierarchy, respected amongst their kin either with the use of fear, or other means. While gaining a monstrous spider form, they lose access to the half-spider form other Zephonim have. Broodleaders gain extra weight compared to their children, remaining the same even in their humanoid form. They are no longer under any of the morph categories as they gain access to webbing and venom abilities of Araneomorphs and the durability and strength of a Galomorph, though due to their increased size and weight, the Broodleader will be slow, losing the majority of their dexterity compared to the Zephonim.
The Broodleader’s efforts in creating a full Zephonim compared to a Broodling are due to a desire to create a more whole and useful form for one who has proven themselves worthy or deserving of such attentions. Broodlings are usually little more than a mild amusement while Zephonim are dedicated works of artistry, and are usually beloved by their Broodleader. The attachments are comparable to how a parent cares for their child, likely formed in the Broodleader as a result of their closer shift towards duskcrawlers which form strong colony bonds and show great dedication to their created children. While Broodleaders feel the same desire to spread duskcrawler nests as all Zephonim, they are able to be more careful and calculating about such and sometimes opt to send their family members to do the work.
The changes taken on by the Broodleaders after their creation can cause them to become quite prideful of their new form, usually alongside a feeling of superiority. Despite the lack of familial ties two separately formed Broodleaders have, their duskcrawler based nature leads them towards mutual appreciation of one another (though this is obviously not always the case) and can promote boastfulness of their family, where friendly competition is often encouraged to keep the brood occupied. It is common for Broodleaders to want to preserve the hierarchy within their families, where Broodleaders themselves sit at the top and Broodlings are at the bottom.
Zephonim Broodmothers or Fathers are able to collect blood bile within one of their stomach chambers. This can then be regurgitated in the process of creating a new Zephonim, who must drink the concoction.
The Broodling must then create a cocoon with the aid of a Zephonim, beginning their metamorphosis that can take over several narrative days.
Broodleader Creation [Non-combative]
Zephonim Broodleaders may choose a selected Zephonim to turn into a new Broodleader with the aid of two other Zephonims. Though first, the selected Zephonim must consume a duskcrawler nest thats at least the size of 8x8 blocks. This process agitates the duskcrawlers, making it difficult to coerce them. After gorging themselves with duskcrawler venom, the soon-to-be Broodleader cannot move due to their swollen abdomen, requiring assistance to be moved elsewhere. During this time, the abdomen is extremely fragile, almost like a balloon, hence requiring caution while relocating. If the abdomen bursts in any way, the individual perishes and the consumption is considered null. A Broodleader and two other Zephonim must then weave a cocoon around the soon-to-be Broodleader before filling it up with a mixture of blood bile and preservation bile, sealing it off once it's full. The entire transformation process takes a year narratively, and if the cocoon were to be ruptured in any way or the Zephonim inside is killed, the individual must PK.
Zephonim have an exhaustion system. Each ability they are able to cast costs a certain number of exhaustion points, meaning they have finite capabilities in combat. This is designed to encourage strategic thinking and decision-making on whether to stay or flee. Running out of exhaustion points means the Zephonim is too exhausted to move, slowing their movement speed to three blocks per emote if they are Araneomorphs or Sparamorphs. If a Galomorph, movement is slowed to two blocks per emote. While fully exhausted, the Zephonim is unable to focus at all, making concentration and casting impossible.
Zephonim may shift between their forms at will. This can be painful for newer Zephonim that are not used to the shift. All Zephonim need to molt to grow. The exoskeleton will be left behind, cracked straight in half to show where the Zephonim escaped from. It may be used as an alchemical ingredient, or devoured by the Zephonim if they wish to get rid of such. Though the Zephonim will need to be cautious while molting, as it leaves them in a vulnerable state until the process completes.
Zephonim possess several pairs of eyes that grant them an advantage in the dark locales they usually occupy. One of these pairs is similar to those of their descendant form, but the others act differently. These eyes can perceive differences in light and shadow but little else. In addition, they are highly sensitive, making exceptionally bright light a useful weapon for temporarily staggering a Zephonim.
A thick but brittle carapace lies wrapped around the inner body of a Zephonim. It offers some substantial protection against slashing weapons, but blunt force attacks prove highly effective. The covering clings to the inner form of the Zephonim and is quite difficult to remove.
Chitin Manipulation [Combative]
The chitinous armor around a Zephonim can be manipulated to a degree. Through a painful process, the half spider may grow and harden the chitin on their exterior. This growth may take the form of mildly effective armor or crude weaponry. Said creations are as durable as ferrum. Should one manage to pry away these weapons, they’d fall into dried mundane skin. The eldest of the creatures may transform this chitin into piercing blades or needles.
Leap and Sprint [Combative]
The creatures possess powerful jumping muscles when in their half-spider or spider forms. By altering the pressure of the body fluid within their legs, they can propel themselves with force toward a target of their choosing. This process takes some time however and leaves the Zephonim vulnerable. Araneomorphs are particularly nimble through with this approach.
Paralytic Bite [Combative]
Zephonim in half-spider or spider form are able to inject a paralytic venom into their target, eventually slowing the target’s movement. The effect is only temporary, as the venom wears off after a duration.
Digestive Liquid [Non-combative]
Zephonim eat by means of liquifying the meat content of their prey through the use of a potent digestive liquid. They inject this through their needle-like teeth into common prey like livestock and it renders them ready for consumption.
Luminescent Bile [Non-combative]
By consuming an assortment of luminescent components, a Zephonim can combine it with their digestive liquid to provide a substantial light source. Once exposed to air it hardens into a fragile crystal ranging from an assortment of colors.
Preservation Bile [Combative+Non-combative]
A Zephonim is capable of producing bile that hardens into an amber-like state and can be used in the preservation of perishables. Ranging in color, the coating is fragile and typically serves as a method for prolonging food storage or can stop the flow of liquids.
Hallucinogenic Poison [Combative + Non-combative]
One of the tools in a Zephonim’s arsenal is a potent and addictive poison that can cause people to hallucinate if consumed. The resulting hallucinations grew in intensity with the amount of poison consumed and came with a plethora of side effects. In addition, they possess a lesser poison that may be projected from their mouths.
Spinnerets/Webwalk [Combative + Non-combative]
Like the arachnids from which they are derived, Zephonim can produce sticky webs of varying quality. These webs are used in fights against adversaries and also as a means of defending and decorating their nests. The webbing itself is easily set aflame but possesses a surprising number of uses. It’s easily dyed and serves as sufficient material for many seamstress related tasks.
Another defensive adaptation of the Zephonim is the ability to create a pungent liquid that repels potential foes. Said smell is nauseating enough to cause mundane animals to flee the scene and even cause vomiting if nearby for too long.
Irritating Hairs [Combative]
Zephonim can fire intensely irritating hairs from their bodies and often do so as a defensive measure. If they make contact with the skin, said hairs will cause a painful rash to develop. Some of these hairs possess pointed or serrated edges which can lead to bleeding when removed.
Duskcrawler Communication [Non-combative]
Zephonim in half-spider and spider forms can communicate very basic ideas to and from duskcrawlers. This is entirely limited by the intelligence of the duskcrawlers, which only pay attention to food, creation of new Zephonim, and things in their current immediate area.
Nest Creation [Non-combative]
Zephonim can coerce groups of duskcrawlers to split from a current nest, guiding them elsewhere to create a new home. The nest may grow in size over a duration of time, allowing their territory to expand.
Utilising descendant carcasses or weaving their own, Zephonim are able to create copies of themselves with the assistance of duskcrawlers. The process alone takes three narrative years, granting a chance to rebirth if the Zephonim’s life were to be lost. Due to this, Zephonim are highly protective of their hatchlings.
Being arachnids, Zephonim have an innate talent when it comes to managing their silk and webs, along with weaving them into desired shapes. When it comes to aiding the Broodlings or striking deals with descendants with their patchwork creations, Zephonim feel at peace when stitching together pieces of skin with their own silk.
Zephonim do not have the ability to regrow their spider-like limbs, similar to that of descendants nor is it possible for them to regenerate their appendages naturally. These arachnids have developed away to replace their limbs through warping of descendant flesh and stitching them back on.
General Zephonim Redlines:
Transforming a player into a Zephonim requires OOC consent.
Requires the Feat first before being able to be turned into the Zephonim CA.
Player must specify what type they are on their CA.
Only descendents may be a Zephonim. Kharajyr, Hou-zi, and halflings cannot become a Zephonim. Creatures with lesser souls cannot become a Zephonim. Any other CA and Feat creatures other than Broodlings are incompatible with Zephonim. This also includes Affliction. Zephonim are infertile, as they lack any sort of genitals. They cannot reproduce, meaning they cannot FTB.
Cannot be communed with by a druid.
Due to their altered appearance and soul-blueprint, Zephonim are not compatible with any sort of deific magics, except for Seerdom.
All Zephonim will be affected the same way by voidal weakness or any magic downsides regardless of type. Refer to voidal weakness lore or the specified magic lore.
The main purpose of this lore is to rewrite/reform the pre-established zephonim lore and address the many issues that the previous iterations faced. In previous iterations of the lore, they were forced to isolate and were forbidden in most settlements. With this rewrite, it allows a more subtle approach to arachnoids. In addition, this lore addresses a niche on the server that has not been touched yet (i.e. body horror, paranoia sowing, playermade infestations, etc).
[Playable Feat] Broodlings
The Children of Silk
A newborn Broodling erupting out of their cocoon, confused - Art by Ymir
The initial stages of a Zephonim, when one becomes a humanoid amalgamation between arachnid and descendant. Once bitten by a duskcrawler, the flesh around the wound twists and morphs unnaturally as if the muscles around the limb were siphoned away. The skin grows darkened and chitinous, while fingers turn spindly like a spider’s leg. Nails become sharpened and almost needle-like, black in color and rough in texture. A thin membrane covers the skull of the Broodling, patterned with veins and ridges of cartilage. The jaws of the afflicted individual are covered with black fangs, similar to a spider, while having folded mandibles in their cheeks. As their skin withers, so do their reproductive organs, rendering them completely infertile. Carnivorous in nature, all Broodlings are only capable of digesting raw or cooked meat, even up to the point they are rotten. All non-meat products that are consumed will have to be vomited out after a short time, unless they wish to fall ill. Deemed as walking abominations, Broodlings will often have to seek out their superiors in order to disguise themselves within the public.
Physical and Mental State
Bestowed upon by Zephonim or duskcrawlers, the look of the Broodling may vary. One may have an entire bodily change if swarmed by the arachnids, bitten countless times. The transformation process quickly follows, granting the Broodlings minor versions of some abilities Zephonim are able to use. While their bodies are visibly akin to a mannequin, the Broodlings maintain the strength they’ve had when they were once descendants.
As a result of the transformation from descendant to Broodling, one undergoes a number of psychological changes. First among these is a growing sense of paranoia followed by a desire to become a part of some greater whole or purpose. As the physiological changes set in, one becomes filled with either pride or dread about their new appearance. This is accompanied by a ravenous desire to consume meat, regardless of the state of freshness. Finally, upon encountering a Zephonim or Broodleader, an urge to aid and follow their commands manifest. This urge is often subtle rather than a strong impetus.
Broodlings have the ability to see well in the dark, aided by their arachnid-like eyes. Under broad daylight the vision in their secondary pairs of eyes becomes very near-sighted, only allowing them to see clearly if the target is at most 8 blocks away from them. Otherwise, everything looks as if it was a blur, unable to make out proper shapes, only colors. Their primary pair of eyes are not affected.
Minor Chitin Manipulation [Combative]
Broodlings, being the lesser versions of their Zephonim counterpart, are perpetual abominations unable to hide from anyone who deems them reprehensible. They are able to manipulate chitin into small and simple weapons to defend or attack in dire situations, limited to claws.
Minor Hallucinogenic Poison [Combative + Non-combative] Broodlings also have an innate ability to create a hallucinogenic poison. One of the tools in a Broodlings arsenal is a potent and addictive poison that can cause people to hallucinate if consumed. The resulting hallucinations grew in intensity with the amount of poison consumed and came with a plethora of side effects. In addition, they possess a lesser poison that may be projected from their mouths.
Broodlings have an exhaustion system as well. Each ability they are able to cast costs a certain number of exhaustion points, meaning they have finite capabilities in combat. This is designed to encourage strategic thinking and decision-making on whether to stay or flee. Running out of exhaustion points means the Broodling is too exhausted to move, slowing their movement speed to two blocks per emote While fully exhausted, the Broodling is unable to focus at all, making concentration and casting impossible.
Curing what many would consider an abomination comes at a cost. Many who dabble with duskcrawlers and Zephonim pay a hefty price for mixing their blood with something seemingly so unnatural. Some continue down the path of a Broodling in hopes to be accepted amongst a Broodleader’s following, while others wish to fix themselves of such a curse. To be free of this turmoil is to inflict further turmoil on oneself. To be free of the wretched flesh, a Broodling must flay their withering skin and coat it in either preservation bile provided by a Zephonim/Broodleader or a tippens root salve.
General Broodling Redlines:
To become a Broodling requires OOC consent, as this can become a permanent part of a character.
You can become a Broodling in one of two ways: through 6 emote exposure to a duskcrawler nest or to have it bestowed upon someone by a Zephonim or Broodleader.
Must either be overseen by ST or screenshots provided on Feat to show that you did the RP to become Broodling.
Broodlings cannot FTB due to the lack of genitals.
The loss of reproduction organs is permanent even if the Broodling is cured.
Duskcrawler Hive/Self-Teach Altar
Duskcrawler hives are a nuisance to any settlement and cave that could come about, but they are a pivotal part in spreading a Zephonim’s influence. This influence is typically the creation of a nest by a Broodleader or one of their many underlings. However, there are also naturally spawning duskcrawler hives that can sprout up throughout the world.
The purpose of this lore is to give a broader use of the duskcrawler lore without needing to give up slots for the Zephonim CA, and encouraging activity within the Zephonim. In addition, this provides a sort of body horror theme without needing to delve into incurable things like afflicted.
Citation Frott - Writer
MagicMonke - Writer and LT Oversight
Jaelon - Writer
Gamma_Byte - Writer
Valannor - Co-Writer
Thanks to Xx_Bloodstalk_xX and Undubitably for proof reading, and the original lore writers for the concept.
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