Friday, 22 January 2010

Spicy Random Myriapod Action

"Where centipedes eat dinosaurs?"
-- World of Kong

Consider the centipede. Often overlooked in favour of the sleek and deadly 'glamour' arthropods (spiders, scorpions, preying mantises, ichneumon wasps), and bankrupted by the expense of keeping their progeny shod, the humble centipede labours unremarked and unsung. Asking neither thanks or reward, these silent heroes of the 1st level wandering monster table daily face danger and a swift, unmourned death in the performance of their duties. Centipedes unnumbered lay down their lives to keep the underworld free of both rotting trash and interloping surface-dwellers.

"Me sir? Just a humble 1/2 HD beastie. Only mildly poisonous sir. Happy to do my bit."

Despite natural arachnid reaction ("Too many legs by half!") I happen to really like centipedes as monsters. I find there's just something horribly fascinating about the flickering antennae and the sinuous, elegant gait of these creepy little creatures. Centipedes are (literally) the stuff of nightmares for me, so I'd like to maybe exorcise the horror a little by sharing it.

So, inspired in part by E.G.Palmer's random dragon generator , the delicious lolrandom of the Random Esoteric Creature Generator , and by the delightful Boschian lunacy of the Hordes of Hades generation tables from the One True DMG, here is my random skittering myriapod horror generator (written for Labyrinth Lord, but we're all friends here).

~Move~ (d6)
1. 6
2. 9
3. 12
4. 15
5. 18
6. 18+roll again

Climb speed Y/N (50%)
5% aquatic 'neopede': half land speed, no climb speed, swim speed = move

Base 9 -1/HD. Max AC3.

~HD~ (d8)
HD = d8-1. Treat a roll of 1 as "1/2 HD", and a roll of 8 as "6HD, and roll again"

Around 1ft in length per 1/2HD

Typically 1-2 per HD. So a bog standard 4HD centipede will bite for 1-8 damage.

~Special Attack~ (2in6 chance)
1. Oversized Jaws (+50% damage)
2. Crushing Jaws (-2 to armour AC)
3. Poison bite (additional damage, sicken, anaesthetic, soporific, hallucination, confusion, paralysis, death, weird other), save reduces or negates
4. Constrict (4HD min.) - as constrictor snake
5. Charge (4HD min.) - bite damage x2
6. Swallow whole (6HD min.) - as grey/purple worm
7. Breath Weapon (spit acid, pyrotic spray, electrical discharge, dart spray) - range 5' per HD, save negates
8. Hiss/drone (fear causing, soporific, hypnotic/attractant) - 5' radius/HD, save negates

~Special Defence~ (1in6 chance)
1. Resistance (1/2 damage) (physical damage, or specific energy type)
2. Immunity (0 damage) (physical damage, or specific energy type)
3. Camouflage (Hide in Shadows/Natural Terrain 3in6)
4. Energy discharge (damage/round to those in melee)
5. Noxious discharge (ink, goo, grease, etc.)
6. Heavy carapace (+2AC, 1/2 move speed, no climb or swim speed)
7. Regeneration (restores hp, or can reform if cut into segements)
8. Weird $#!% (displacement, gaseous form, repulsive, etc.)

~Peculiarity~ (DM's option)
  • Parasitic Feeder (leech-like)
  • Bioluminescent
  • Beneficial symbiont
  • Compulsive stealer of shoes
  • Lays eggs in living prey
  • Uses bait or lures to attract prey
  • Tameable/Trainable/Can be domesticated as pet
  • Harvestable organ (as fire beetle or folkloric toad)
  • Harvestable derivative (as giant bee or chutney-making earwig)
  • Patterns on carapace spell out messages
  • Forms vast, all-consuming migratory swarms during the: new moon/equinox/11th of the 11th/return of the comet
F of 1/2HD


~Hoard Class~
Incidental only. Centipedes aren't materialistic.

So that's stegocentipedes, rhemoraz, reggae-singing cocktopedes (NSFW), and honking great 'roid-raging megalocentipedes big enough to take down a rhino for dinner restored to their rightful place in the canon. My work here is done. Now hopefully the recurring centipede element of my dreamscapes has been exorcised. ;)

(centipede image shudderingly extracted from


  1. those centipedes in naked lunch scared the sh1t out of me

  2. Awesome. The world needs more stuff like this. :)

  3. The tarantula in Dr. No (the bathroom scene) was a centipede in the original novel.


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