Houston this is Mars Rover 1, we have found something that well, I don’t think we’re the first ones here…We’re in a cave but it has stone inscriptions of some sort of…wait somethings moving down here…Rawlings did you see that it looks like an insect only…ARRAAAGGGHHHHH…radio silence for 20 minutes…Houston, cough cough, this …is…Mars Ro….its taken over…its taking me home…cough…you have to shoot us down Houston…radio coms shutdown.The last communication from Mars 1 mission, 2045, the shuttle was shot down in re-entry. The wreckage, witnesses, and all materials were seized before the CDC were able to secure the site. The only evidence of the unknown force was witnesses claiming to see green signal smoke and a black helicopter leaving the site
The Arid wastes of mars have been the home of the children of mars for some time. Either an experiment in terraforming gone wrong or some twisted joke of the Elder Gods, these insect-like parasites hunger for water in all its forms. Measuring under a foot long and 3 inches wide, with a transparent exoskeleton, 12 spindly segmented legs, and powerful cutting pinchers they can tear through steel, flesh, and bone like butter. Having consumed all the natural water sources on Mars the parasite had to evolve, now being able to take control of other living beings. They bore into the chest cavity, severing the spinal cords’ motor controls and leaving the host’s natural living processes intact. Its exoskeleton looks much like a smaller spinal column of a cat, during its host phase it will slowly rip off its old exoskeleton, making it smaller, more pliable, and able to work its way into the host’s spinal column. Eventually fusing with the spinal cord of its victim, using the bones to create a new exoskeleton. Once complete it will burst from the back of its victim, leaving behind an eviscerated corpse ideal for its younger generations to emerge from.
The parasite’s reproductive cycle is reactive to the environment, in the case of limited water supplies, they will remain as adults and hibernate, limiting the drain on resources and avoiding reproduction. Once they detect a host or large body of water, they will seek out suitable hosts, the bigger and stronger the better. They infect them violently, via the throat, chest, or stomach cavity. During the absorption process, they can reproduce asexually, the old exoskeletal armor is torn off with enough genetic material to incubate 2 dozen smaller Children from Mars. These young will feed and fight amongst themselves, typically a quarter will reach adulthood and form an enclave. This enclave will hibernate, coordinate, and immigrate together, even working together in controlled hosts and only separating when the bursting and birthing process is ready to begin.
The parasites represent a significant danger to humanity and if left unchallenged they could drain all sources of water from the earth within years.
Average Hit Points: 16
Average Damage Bonus: none
Average Build: 0
Average Magic Points: 10
Attacks per round: 1
Children of mars will typically prefer to ambush targets in enclosed spaces or in or near water. They will brawl and grapple the foe. If they successfully grapple with the foe, they will attempt to bore into the victim’s chest, throat or stomach. If fighting in water they gain an additional +20% in their fighting and brawl skills.
Fighting 50% (25/12) a successful check will grapple and allow the creature to identify an entry point into the body. On the second and subsequent rounds, they may bore.
Fighting bore 60% (30/15), successes deal 2 points of damage, once damage meets or exceeds 1-third of the hitpoints of the victim they have successfully reached the spinal column and can now begin to take control of their new host.
If underwater they may add a bonus die to any combat or bonus skill.
Listen 40%, Spot Hidden 40%, Stealth 60%
Armor: none; halve damage for projectiles or piercing weapons. The creature may recover 1 hit point if it spends its round drinking water or water-based liquids.
1/1D6 for parasite form
1D4/1D8 for seeing parasites burrowing a host or controlling the actions of a host.
A career educator, dramatist, and newly minted author. Debuted as part of the Golden Goblin and Shoggoth.net collaboration Kickstarter project “Terrors of OctoberNomicon”. A long-time fan of horror and a constant companion to the void and an avid tabletop wargamer. He regularly streams Call of Cthulhu and Pathfinder @https://www.twitch.tv/danielanddice and will soon be releasing his own Miskatonic Repository scenario for Call of Cthulhu, “Operation Wagey Cage”.