The Semelparites

We went to the farm in the morning after all the screams. What we found looked like a swamp. Bubbling pits of sulfurous liquid covered the area. Trees were splitting and breaking apart in the wind like sandcastles struck by the tide. If it weren’t for the disintegrating farm, no one would have believed anyone could live here. I painted that barn last summer. Uncle Alexander had given me twenty bucks. Now the paint was bubbling and peeling like sunburnt skin. All around, there were holes as though massive maggots had burrowed up out of the ground. My dad took one look in those holes and ordered me back to the car. We never even checked if Uncle Alexander was still there.

—Journal of Scott Mercer.
The Semelparites
The Semelparites by Aaron and Simon Eskenazi

The Semelparites are a virus that can never be truly wiped out. Like that mold in your fridge that keeps coming back, they cannot truly be eliminated. For at the core of each Semelparite from the moment of birth is its replacement. This egg works as a substitute for a deceased Semelparite and as the center of their organ system. From the egg sprouts razor-sharp insectile legs, a wormlike toothed head covered in gills, and the shell of tumorous growths make up the bulk of the Semelparite. Both organisms are threaded through each other, existing as a single creature and its progeny that can incubate for hundreds of thousands of years. There is no way to remove the egg without killing the beast, and there is no way to kill the creature without hatching the egg.

When the body of a Semelparite is killed, it deflates and splits to expose the egg. These eggs do not exist in one reality but exist partially in an alternate pocket dimension. The pocket dimension grants them protection from most dangers before they can hatch and only weapons that can reach their parent dimension pose a serious threat. Because this pocket dimension exists incredibly close to other dimensions, it frequently overlaps, flashing into another realm for seconds or minutes at a time. Those who stare at the eggs for a long enough time will be able to adjust their sight to see into the Semelparite’s pocket dimension and the dimensions they touch. Because of this, several cults exist dedicated to these eggs and the euphoric and horrible sights that can be seen on their iridescent shells.

Semelparites feed by burying themself just below the surface and sucking the life out of their surroundings. Plants quickly liquify, streams dry up, and the soil becomes a thick slurry of only the vilest chemicals. They can even suck the consistency out of stones turning bedrock into grey slime. Once the Semelparites have devoured all the inorganic material and plants in their area, they rise from underground holes and stalk the site for living beings. They swim through the liquified swamps they create and surprise any humans or animals they come across. This entire process can last from weeks to almost a year, depending on how much food the Semelparites eat in both stages. The more food, the quicker one of the Semelparites becomes engorged, and the colony can hibernate. 

Eventually, a colony will produce an Engorged Semelparite, one that has absorbed so much life and eaten so many creatures that it bloats up and can start growing additional eggs. This is the final stage of the Semelparite feeding cycle, where the colony is the most aggressive. The Engorged Semelparite often be the member at the center of the swarm when underground because they were surrounded by the most life or the lucky Semelparite who could consume larger prey like humans, cows, and elephants. 

Once the Engorged Semelparite births a clutch of eggs, the rest of the colony will find or dig a deep cave and store its eggs there before killing each other until only one Semelparite remains. This sentry will guard the eggs for their long hibernation. While Semelparite eggs can hatch soon after death, they also wait the decades, centuries, and millennia necessary for the area to heal and life to return. Often the sentry will die before this time, but when the eggs detect the return of life, they begin to hatch, and the process starts again. 

In this way, the Semelparite are the locusts, and the farmers allowing each crop time to recover before slurping it down. Occasionally a Semelparite egg will hatch in one of the neighboring dimensions it touches, which will enable them to travel across the cosmos and universe. Other times if they believe it will take too long for their current territory to return to the vibrant feast they require, they will travel to a nearby area and claim it as their own, starting the cycle anew.  

SPECIAL POWERS 

Birthing Death: All Semelparites contain an egg, and when they are reduced to 0 HP, their body deflates, leaving only the egg behind. An Engorged Semelparite leaves behind 2D6 eggs that hatch normal Semelparites. 

Semelparite Eggs: Semelparite eggs exist in their own pocket dimension. They cannot be destroyed by mundane weapons but are vulnerable to spells, magic weapons, and certain alien technology. If a Semelparite egg was spawned by the violent death of its parent it hatches in 2D6 rounds, otherwise, the egg can hatch whenever it wishes. The Semelparites legs stick out of the top of the egg and can lash out at anyone who strays too close. Treat this as a Fighting attack for the Semelparite inside. Staring at a Semelparite Egg for an extended period of time gives visions of the dimensions their eggs are coterminous with costing 1/1D8 Sanity and imparting 1D3 points of Cthulhu Mythos.

Gill Slits: The Semelparites have three gill slits running on each side of their neck which they can vibrate in order to detect prey using echolocation, these also allow the Semelparites to breathe underwater.  

Spells: Semelparites have a 50% chance of knowing 1 spell. If they do all nearby, Semelparites will know the same spell and share Magic Points to cast it. These are typically rituals and more powerful or complex spells. Engorged Semelparties always know 1D3 spells.

SEMELPARITE, Immortal lifesucker

Char. Roll Average

STR: (2D6+6) x 5 65

CON: (3D6+6) x 5 50

SIZ: (2D6+1) x 5 40

DEX: (4D6) x 5 70

INT: (3D6) x 5 50

POW: (1d6+6) x 5 50

HP: 9

Damage Bonus: none

Build: 0

Magic Points: 10

Move: 9 / 11 Swimming

ATTACKS

Attacks per round: 1 (fighting with limbs or biting and holding with teeth)

Fighting attacks: 

Bite and Hold (mnvr): A Semelparites may bite and hold onto its victim, inflicting automatic damage on the following rounds, an opposed STR roll can dislodge it.

Fighting: 50%, damage 1D8+damage bonus

Bite and Hold: (mnvr), damage 2D6+damage bonus

Dodge: 35%

Armor: 1 point of tumorous growths

Skills: Listen 90%, Stealth 70%, 

Sanity Loss: 0/1D8

ENGORGED SEMELPARITES, bloated devourer

Char. Roll Average

STR: (6D6+15) x5 180

CON: (6D6+6) x5 135

SIZ: (6D6+15) x5 180

DEX: (2D6+4) x5 55

INT: (3D6) x 5 50

POW: (1d6+6) x 5 50

HP: 31

Damage Bonus: +3D6

Build: 4

Magic Points: 10

Move: 8 / 14 Swimming

ATTACKS

Attacks per round: 1 (slashing with legs or charge with large body)

Fighting attacks: Engorged Semelparites charge into any threats, first trying to knock them to the ground where they can savage them with teeth and talons. 

Charge (mnvr): An engorged Semelparites may charge a person or vehicle. Make an opposed roll between the person or vehicle’s SIZ and the Engorged Semelparites STR. If the Engorged Semelparite succeeds the target is knocked to the ground (rolled over in case of vehicles) and suffer 3D6 damage. 

Fighting: 50%, damage 1D6+Damage Bonus

Charge: (see above)

Dodge: 27%

Armor: 3-points of thick tumors

Skills: Listen 90%, Stealth 50%, Sanity Loss: 0/1D8

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