“Stop or I’ll shoot! Don’t take one step closer!” I called out, leveling my revolver, but it had no effect. As the shambling form came closer it started moving faster, raising its arms and making a choking, chortling noise. When it stepped into the moonlight I could see that it was, it had been, Truman Nalfree, the missing scientist we’d traced here. He had to have been dead for a week maybe, judging by the level of decomposition. I fired three times, hitting twice, both through the torso, but it seemed to have no effect. It was almost on top of me so I took a deep breath, aimed for the head and fired. The creature’s skull exploded, but with much more forces than expected, showering me and my companions in gore. That’s when things got really horrifying….
Parasitic shoggoths are another form of proto-shoggoth, a creature created from mixing either magic or science with samples of shoggoth protoplasmic material. Whatever the original aim was in creating this creature is not known, but its failure created this dangerous variant. A parasitic shoggoth seeks to live inside a human body, where it takes over all motor functions after a few days once it kills its host. Then, while the host’s body begins to rot, it quickly multiplies before trying to find new hosts for its progeny.
A single parasitic shoggoth starts out as something the size of a quarter, a small protoplasmic horror with limited mobility. Outside of a human body they can live for only about 5 minutes unless submerged in murky fluid teeming with organic life, such as a stagnant pond, swamp, or in raw sewage. In such environments, parasitic shoggoths can survive for up to 10 days. In water, they swim well, and on land they can slither and climb about with ease.
Their main goal is to infect a human, which they do by coming into contact with an opening on the human body. These creatures seek out a person’s eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and openings in the lower GI tract. They can also gain access through open wounds. Once they enter a human body, they move through it until they reach the host’s brain, where they begin to feed. This kills the host in 1D3 days, during which time the person suffers debilitating headaches, nausea, and confusion, which quickly reaches levels of dementia within 4D4 hours. If a still living host is examined by doctors, their condition is typically misdiagnosed—medically, it looks like an extremely aggressive form of brain cancer, some sort of flesh-eating bacteria, or a form of fungal infection around the brain. Once the parasitic shoggoth reaches the victim’s brain there is no hope of saving them.
Once the host dies, they reanimate within 1D3 hours. The parasitic shoggoth first uses the body to find somewhere to hide for the next 5–8 days (1D4+4). During this time, the protoplasmic parasite quickly replicates itself, creating up to a dozen copies of itself (3D4). Once this period of reproduction is complete, it emerges from hiding and seeks out as many human hosts as possible. Getting within 10 feet of one or more suitable hosts, it attempts to infect them. This can be done in one of three ways, each of which results in the death of that particular parasitic shoggoth “form”:
- Explosive Infection – The parasitic shoggoths cause the host’s head to explode, showering themselves over everything within an 8-foot radius.
- Self-Sacrifice – The parasitic shoggoth intentionally allows itself to be attacked with a firearm or blunt force object, expecting its head to be targeted. This causes the host’s head to explode much more effectively than it could manage on its own, splattering the proto-shoggoths over a 15-foot-radius
- Deadly Embrace – The parasitic shoggoth attempts to grab a victim and hold them close while all of its offspring come pouring out, like a thick vomitus, from the host’s mouth, nose, and eyes.
Fighting a Parasitic Shoggoth
In its host form a parasitic shoggoth is nearly identical to a zombie. It is an animated rotting corpse, shambling about, either hiding or seeking out prey. They have the same immunities and vulnerabilities of a standard zombie. However, dispatching them with called shots to the head results in a dangerous spreading of its young, unless discovered before they have matured. If located before the reproductive phase is completed, they do not have this ability.
Killing the Parasites
The easiest way to kill a parasitic shoggoth outside of a host or a fecund fluid environment is by exposing it to the open air for 5 minutes. Each one has only a single HP and are vulnerable to fire, acid, electricity, and chemical attacks (alcohol, bleach, ammonia, chorine, etc.). Due to their small size, they are immune to physical trauma, simply absorbing the force of the blow. If they come into contact with a host body, there is a very short time before they enter it, but are quite vulnerable during that time.
Infection, Resistance, Treatment
Those caught in the showering blast radius of a parasitic shoggoth must make a Hard Luck success to avoid coming into contact with any. Failing this, they have 1D4 minutes to kill the tiny proto-shoggoth as it slithers over their bodies looking for a way inside them. Once inside a human body, the victim must make an extreme CON roll, failure meaning they will die within 1D3 days. If successful, the body’s natural defenses manage to eliminate the creature. If an infected person is medically treated aggressively, with things like hemodialysis, chemotherapy, or electroconvulsive therapy (or something similarly shocking), within the first 12 hours of infection and the individual administering the treatment makes a Hard Medicine check, the parasitic shoggoth is destroyed and the host saved.
PARASITIC SHOGGOTHS (in a host’s body)
(4D6+2) × 5
(2D6+6) × 5
(4D6+2) × 5
(2D6+6) × 5
(2D6+3) × 5
Average Hit Points: 14
Average Damage Bonus: +1D4
Average Build: 1
Average Magic Points: 1
Attacks per round: 1 (punch or grapple)
If not yet finished in its reproductive cycle, the parasitic shoggoth attacks as with its most powerful physical blows.
Grapple: if a parasitic shoggoth hits, it can forgo causing any physical harm to instead hold its victim fast, to vomit up its young directly upon them.
Fighting 40% (20/8), damage 1D3+DB
Parasitic shoggoths never dodge.
Listen 50%, Stealth 60%
Armor: none; a major wound results in the loss of a limb— otherwise, ignore damage except to the head (one penalty die on rolls to target the head).
Sanity Loss: 0/1D4 Sanity points to encounter a “fresh” parasitic shoggoth; 1/1D6 Sanity points for a decaying parasitic shoggoth; plus 1/1D3 Sanity points for witnessing one bursting forth its offspring.