|So, I made this...THING to see if I could creep myself out through art. Art By: Me|
Author's Note: So, here we go friends, another monster by yours truly. These are Cancer Elementals, easy to kill if you catch them early, possibly world ending if you catch them late. I have included a base polyp form, which is how these nasty things propagate, as well as an example based on a piece of art I made. I am still behind on converting the previous monster, as well as this one, to Pits & Perils and Into the Odd. All the art presented in this post is by me, though the photographs are not. I've made the monsters using OSR / AD&D / LotFP and Pathfinder / 3.X. I have included generators and rules for you folks to create your own Cancer Elementals. I am trying to find a groove as far as what sort of stuff to make, and am looking for suggestions. I have been known to make: Detailed Random Generators, Weapons, Spells, Monsters, and Mini-Settings. However, I am up for suggestions for stuff not on this list. I promise to get back to the art I told folks I would make for them, been kinda in a funk/rut these past few weeks. As always: suggestions, critiques, comments, and questions are welcome. Thank you for continuing to read my work, you the reader make this all worth while.
BTW: This post is in no way trying to make light of real cancer. Cancer is no joke, no matter where it pops up, and if not caught early can be very deadly. This monster is made as somewhat of an allegory for how real world cancer can mutate, destroy, and can be very deadly if not caught early enough. So... Yeah. Cancer is bad. I don't like cancer.
“Cancer is life. A life that has completely lost its mind, without sense of moderation. Cancer is merely a life that continually says, “No.” to death.” - Dr. Elena Ripley
“A purposeless repetition of error and dysfunction. It is only a shell, a husk of previous meaning. From which the purpose of such life only compounds a broken nature as it proceeds toward fulfillment.” Dr. Thomas Stearns Eliot
|Cancer cells viewed w/ an electron microscope.|
These beings are the product of insanity's tyranny over life itself. They are the essential form of 'protean', without regard to a stability based upon meaning. Cancer Elementals, merely hunger, without contemplation towards anything else.
Their beginnings, as many nightmares and travesties have, are small; slipping into a moderated realm of lives and deaths without fanfare or notice. Tiny polyps of madness, who take residence in other small lives, with the only purpose of finding further residence in larger lives. These small beings, driven mad by the tiny insanities within them, consume other lives of similar size until a sudden bout of growth. With this growth they go on to consume other lives of this new size, proceeding in this fashion until they become sessile and fortress-sized.
A Cancer Elemental's final stage is by far its most deadly, for in it they possess the ability to consume the land, and possibly even the world. Where they once were only dangerous to a group of animals in an area, now they can cause the land and pants to take an insanity that spreads. In times past madmen and women, drifting social outcasts, have excised these tumorous things from the world.
|Electron microscope image of a cancer cell attached to muscle.|
However, if one such monstrosity were allowed to persist without check it would consume the world, driven by an idiot intellect no more complex than that of an amoeba. Sadly, or more terrifying, they do not end in death, as sane life would; rather, they expel masses of polyps, the same as that which granted it a genesis.
Pathfinder / 3.X
All Cancer Elementals begin as polyps, tiny creatures that flee the death of their previous form to find a new area, and creatures, to infect. Tiny, vermin, they can spend months or even years traveling until some sort of instinctual imperative tells the thing that it's time to begin a new infestation. Though this creature is referred to as an elemental, in becoming this broken thing it loses its Outsider type and becomes an Aberration.
Each time a polyp consumes something of its size category (tiny), it gains a Hit-Die, increasing its power and survival capabilities. Once it has consumed 2 tiny creatures, it increases its size to small and gains two random mutations from the mutation chart. With each creature consumed, the Cancer Elemental gains a purely cosmetic mutation.
At the small size category, the Cancer Elemental must consume 4 small creatures in order for it to increase its size category to medium. The thing increases its size once it has consumed twice the amount previously required to gain its current size category (ex: Small: 2 Tiny, Medium: 4 Small, Large: 8 Medium, Huge: 16 Large, Gargantuan: 32 Huge, and Colossal: 64 Gargantuan). Eventually, the Cancer Elemental will run out of things its same size to consume, which means it will need to consume things smaller than itself. A Cancer Elemental can consume smaller creatures to gain size, by eating multiples of the amount of same sized creatures. For every size category smaller than the Cancer Elemental, multiply the number of needed same sized creatures by 2.
Ex: For a Large creature to become huge, it must consume 16 Large creatures, or it may consume: 32 Medium creatures, 64 Small creatures, 128 Tiny creatures, 256 Diminutive creatures, or 512 Fine creatures.
A Cancer Elemental must consume 1 creature of the same size as itself each day, otherwise it begins to starve. After 3 days of starvation, it will permanently shrink 1 size category, losing all the HD it had acquired while at its current size. In being reduced in size, it is taken to within 1 HD (1 creature of its size) to regaining its old size category.
As stated before, when the creature consumes a creature of its same size, it gains 1 HD. It may also consume a number of smaller creatures to equal that 1 HD. A creature of a size category smaller than the Cancer Elemental is worth half as much as a creature of the same size. For each size category smaller than the thing, the consumed creature is worth half as much as the size category before it.
Ex: For a Large creature, 1 HD is worth: 2 Medium Creatures, 4 Small Creatures, 8 Tiny Creatures, 16 Diminutive Creatures, and 32 Fine Creatures.
|An example of what a Cancer Elemental can look like. Art By: Me|
Cancer Elemental Polyp
NE Tiny aberration
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +4
AC 15, touch 15, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +2 size)
hp 8 (1d8+4)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +2
Speed: 30 ft (Running)
Melee bite +1 (1d4-1)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 2-1/2 ft.
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 1, Wis 10, Cha 1
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 9 (can’t be tripped)
Feats: Lightning Reflexes
Skills Accrobatics +10, Perception +4, Stealth +14
Power of the Flesh: For each creature of the same size category it consumes, it gains 1 HD. In gaining this HD, it gains all the benefits normally granted by gaining HD. For quick reference, here is the benefits for gaining HD:
D8 Hit Die.
Base attack bonus equal to 3/4 total Hit Dice (medium progression).
Good Will saves.
Skill points equal to 4 + Int modifier (minimum 1) per Hit Die. The following are class skills for aberrations: Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Intimidate, Knowledge (pick one), Perception, Spellcraft, Stealth, Survival, and Swim.
Traits: An aberration possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature's entry).
Darkvision 60 feet.
Aberrations breathe, eat, and sleep.
HD Based on Size
Small: 3 HD
Medium: 7 HD
Large: 15 HD
Huge: 31 HD
Gargantuan: 65 HD
Colossal: 129 HD
As a creature gains a size categories, it also gains the normal benefits and penalties from gaining a size category.
|A quick sketch of what a World Tumor could look like. Art By: Me|
Once the creature becomes Colossal it becomes completely sessile, and begins to feed off the land itself. In this state the creature is called a World Tumor, and begins to drain the land around it of life in a gradually growing circle of death. The land consumed becomes completely devoid of life, and will not support any living creature. All creatures who spend more than 8 hours in an effected area must make a DC 20 Fortitude save, or take 1 point of Constitution drain. A creature must make a roll for each 8 hours spent in an effected area.
A World Tumor will consume a 1/3 mile radius of land life in its first day of life. It will consume another 1/3 mile 2 days later, and another 4 days after that. It will proceed to eat the world 1/3 mile at a time taking twice as long as the previous 1/3 consumed until it is killed or consumes the very life of the world. Once the world dies, so will it, but being without any real intelligence, the World Tumor doesn't care about this eventuality.
Cosmetic Mutations - 1D20
Each time the Cancer Elemental gains 1 HD, it gains a cosmetic mutation. These mutations have no effect on game mechanics.
- Vestigial Leg
- Clouded Eye
- Vestigial Tail
- Toothless Mouth
- Malformed Nose
- Vestigial Ear (No Canal / Eardrum)
- Small Horns
- Teeth Emerging From Skin
- Random Finger-like Protrusion
- Vestigial Wing (One)
- Fatty Tumors
- Vestigial Leg
- Vestigial Arm
- Vestigial Head
- Vestigial Sex Organ (Doesn't need to be the same as creature's sex)
- Leaking Cysts
- Bony Protrusions
- Nose Always Leaks
- Random Patches of Strangely Colored Hair
|Another electron microscope pic of cancer cells with faux coloring.|
Each time the Cancer Elemental gains a new size category, it gains two new mutations. The damage listed assumes that the Elemental is of Medium size, increase or decrease the damage die as appropriate to its size. With each new attack it gains, it gains another secondary attack it may use as part of a full attack action. Multiples of the same attack type means that it grows another appendage/orifice
- Bite: 1D6
- Claws: 1D4 (crit: 18-20)
- Thickened Hide: +2 Natural Armor (May be taken multiple times)
- Pincers: 1D4 (+2 to CMB for Grapple Attempts)
- Extra Nose: Gains Scent Ability (Each time it is taken afterward it grants a +4 bonus to Perception checks to use the ability)
- Strange Body Chemistry: Gain Resistance 5 to 1 Element Type (GM's Choice, Can be taken multiple times)
- Scorpion Tail: 1D4 Damage (Delivers Poison: Injury; Save Fortitude DC 10 + Con Mod + 1/2 HD; Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; Effect 1d2 Str damage; Cure 1 save)
- Tentacle: 1D4 Damage (Grab Ability)
- Prodigious Muscles: +4 to Strength (May be taken multiple times)
- Fast Reflexes: +4 to Dexterity (May be taken multiple times)
- Unnatural Health: +4 to Constitution (May be taken multiple times)
- Horn: 1D6
- Extra Eyes: +6 to Perception checks when using sight
- Cancerous Health: Fast Healing 1 (May be taken multiple times)
- Mole Claws: Gains a burrowing speed of ½ its base speed (If taken multiple times it increases the speed by ½ again each time)
- Unnatural Senses: Gains Blindsight 15 ft (Increases its range by 15 ft for each time it is taken)
- Wings: Gains the ability to fly at its base speed with clumsy maneuverability (Each time this is taken the GM may decide to double the fly speed or increase its maneuverability by 1 step)
- Belch Stomach Acid: Breath Weapon Attack, D4 Damage per HD, Reflex save for ½ Damage w/ DC = 10 + Con Mod + ½ HD. May be used once every 1D4 rounds. 30 ft Cone (If taken multiple times, it increases the damage die by 1 step)
- Inspire Fear: Frightful Presence: 15 ft, Will DC = 10 + Con Mod + ½ HD, Failure Results in Creature Being Shaken for 3D6 rounds. (If taken multiple times, it increases the radius by 15 ft each time)
- Natural Anticoagulant: One attack (DM's Choice) gains 1 Bleed Damage (If taken multiple times the DM may choose to increase the Bleed Damage to the first attack by 1, or may grant 1 Bleed Damage to another attack).
|The being itself, in all of its awful glory. Art By: Me|
Boar-ish Cancer Elemental
NE Large aberration
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +13
AC 14, touch 9, flat-footed 14 (+0 Dex, -1 size, +5 Natural Armor)
hp 157 (15d8+90)
Fort +10, Ref +2, Will +9
Speed: 60 ft (Running)
Melee: Gore: +18/+13/+8 (1D8+8), Primary Bite +16 (1D10+4), Secondary Bite +16 (1D8 +4) Claw +16 (1D6+4), Tentacle +16 (1D6+4 and Grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Str 26, Dex 10, Con 22, Int 1, Wis 10, Cha 1
Base Atk +11; CMB +20; CMD 21 (25 vs. Trip)
Feats: Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Multi-Attack, Improved Natural Armor x3, Combat Reflexes, Vital Strike
Skills: Perception +13, Survival +8
MUTATIONS – COSMETIC
Vestigial Arm x2
Vestigial Leg x1
Vestigial Nose x1
Random Finger x2
Vestigial Head x1
Random Patch of Strangely Colored Hair x2
Teeth Emerging From Skin x1
Fatty Tumors x5
MUTATIONS – IMPACTFUL
Extra Eyes x1
|This is the pic that got me on to the idea of a Cancer Elemental. I might make stats for these guys later. Art By: Me|