“Doesn’t this seem odd to you?” I asked.
My partner looked at me, tilting his head in confusion. We’d been hiking for six hours with no sign of the missing campers yet. Their last GPS signature from their cellphone put them in this area.
“I mean, what is a vending machine doing way out here? This ranger station doesn’t look like anyones been posted here since the 90s. Who’s coming up here to stock it?”
“Dude!” Doug replied, “stop pissing in my lemonade. It’s here, who cares why. I’m getting a nice cold Moxie; you want one?”
“The coins won’t go in…what the….”
Suddenly the vending machine changed color and shape, as eyes and mouths appeared all along its surface and pseudopods sprung from its body to grab Doug. It grabbed him and pulled him close, tearing him apart with bites, dissolving his flesh with its digestive fluids. I tried to run, but a feeling of vertigo overwhelmed me and I blacked out.
I don’t know for how long I lay there, but when I opened my eyes the night sky was above me and all was still. The vending machine was gone. The only trace of Doug was his backpack.
These small, solitary, and rather cunning shoggoths are usually found in remote places that humans venture into. Places just close enough to civilization that the creatures can remain hidden, but close enough to ensure a ready supply of prey. Humans are these creatures primary source of food. They can go almost a year between needing to hunt. They are content to kill a single human and then return to their underground lairs, where they while away their time until it comes time to feed once more. They kill by luring a human close enough to strike, and then kill their prey quickly before it has a chance to escape or defend itself. This technique of camouflaged ambush predation is common in the animal kingdom, especially in insects, arachnids, and fish.
As shoggoths go, these creatures are small, physically weak, and slow moving. What they lack in physicality they make up with intelligence, cunning, and their gift for mimicking stationary forms. These are usually large objects that humans frequently interact with—anything from a vending machine, Automated Teller Machine (ATM), gas pump, bus stop, or an “old time” phone booth. A few of the largest can even take the form of a compact car, while the most skilled can assume the shape of a motorcycle. If an object attracts a human to it, they’ll learn how to mimic it. These creatures can mimic any stationary object they’ve seen that is roughly their same mass, and their abilities and intelligence allow them to create variations, such as alternate colors, different logos, rust and weathering effects, even illuminated lights and display screens.
When a victim gets close enough to attack, the creatures burst into motion, attempting to deliver bites with jaw covered pseudopods. These creatures are rather slow, moving about much like a snail does, inching along on a slimy underside. Unless a mimic shoggoth kills its target quickly their attack usually fails as they are too slow to pursue prey. Failing to kill once it attacks can leave a mimic shoggoth quite vulnerable should their prospective victim escape and turn the tables on them.
10D6 × 5
(6D6+4) × 5
(6D6+18) × 5
2D6 × 5
4D6 × 5
(2D6+4) × 5
Average Hit Points: 32
Average Damage Bonus: +4D6
Average Build: 5
Average Magic Points: 11
Attacks per round: 2 (a pair of mouth-covered engulfing pseudopods)
Mimic shoggoths attempt to grasp their victims in a double pseudopod embrace, quickly killing them by constriction and bites. If both pseudopods hit, the victim is engulfed.
Engulf: two successful pseudopod attacks cause the target to be engulfed by the mimic shoggoth, enveloped by its body mass, to be digested. While being digested, the victim suffers the creature’s damage bonus in damage each round from caustic acids and digestive fluids. Those held may attempt to break free with an opposed Strength roll once each round. Mimic shoggoths only feed on a single victim at a time.
Mouth-covered pseudopods 55% (40/16), damage DB
Engulf (mnvr; automatic if both pseudopods hit), damage DB each round
Dodge 17% (8/3)
Disguise 90%, Listen 60%, Spot Hidden 70%.
Armor: none; halve damage caused by fire and electrical attacks; mundane weapons (incl. bullets) deal only 1 point of damage per hit; regenerates 2 hit points per round (death at zero hit points).
Sanity Loss: 1D6/1D20 Sanity points to encounter a mimic shoggoth’s true form; plus 1/1D3 Sanity points for witnessing it change from object to shoggoth form.