The Nomad Louse

Published December 22, 2013 by


Description

Moving slowly across the landscape can be found an immense, woodlouse-style creature the size of a large barn. It doesn’t seem to react to anything and is otherwise impervious to any attack, crawling over any obstacle. It avoids existing settlements but stops at night, presumably to sleep. No-one knows where the louse came from, nor where it is going to. It doesn’t appear to eat or drink, but animals give it a wide-berth and bringing animals near it requires beating a difficulty 3 check to avoid them panicking.

Anyone examining the creature closely can discover a sphincter-like orifice in the side of the louse, large enough for a human to easily fit into were it to open.

Attempts to communicate with the creatures yield no results, however, if a character uses telepathy to express the concept of ‘opening’ to the creature (rather than just a command to open) the sphincter-doorway opens, revealing a spacious biological living space. The creature does not stop moving if this takes place during the day, however the creature moves slowly enough that players can jump inside with a difficulty of 2.

The living space is entirely organic in nature, dividing walls, tables and work-surfaces are all rendered in hard chitinous material, soft-furnishings are lumps of pleasantly soft, silky-textured flesh. All items grow physically from the inner surfaces of the louse and cannot be removed easily. The living space looks like it is clearly designed for humanoids, though ones at least 50% larger than standard humans. Soft lighting is provided by bio-luminescent fixtures.

A ‘kitchen’ is available, where various fleshy nodules and protrusions can be stimulated to secrete fluids. Most nodules produce secretions poisonous to humans, though not all. There is no way to determine which are safe, though the fluids can be tested individually once secreted.

Upon entering the living space, a wall surface in front of some seats begins displaying complex glyphs that are indecipherable, overlaid on a live feed of the outside world. Anywhere between 10 minutes and 1 hour after entering the louse, the players are assaulted by a burst of painful and confusing telepathic signals.

Beating a telepathy check of difficulty 5 allows the players to determine from the signals that the louse is abstractly informing them they are trespassing on private property.

Failure to leave immediately results in the louse forcibly ejecting them by filling the living space with fluid and ‘vomiting’ them out the sphincter-door.

All further attempts to re-enter the louse result in similarly painful telepathic messages informing the players they have been reported to the relevant authorities (these are unintelligible if previous checks failed).

If the players damage the inside of the louse by any means, be it fire, cutting the soft tissues, electricity, etc, they are immediately expelled by the same method.

Details

Region:
The Steadfast
The Nomad Louse Hearsay:

Missing Owner

Some say the louse is searching for it’s owners, like a lost thuman, and believe that those that can reunite the louse with it’s master will be greatly rewarded, perhaps with some of the fleshy treasures from inside.

The Resident Thief

There are rumours that a thief with powerful telepathic abilities has managed to find a way to stay in the louse for extended periods of time, using it as a base of operations and stash for their ill-gotten gains. Many enter the louse, looking to reclaim or steal this hidden stash but no-one has ever found it before they were ejected – the few people that may have succeeded have never been found, likely dispatched by the thief.

Trail of Life

While animals instinctively fear the louse, the same can not be said for plants. In fact, when then louse passes, plants seem to flourish in the immediate area and if the louse vomits out an intruder, the area covered by the foul liquid becomes well-fertilised and an excellent source of healthy plant-life and crops.

The Weird of The Nomad Louse:

Our Louse, in the Middle of Our Street

Uncharacteristically, the louse detoured into a major city, crawling through the streets only to stop, latching itself onto the side of a building and secreting some kind of sticky, rapidly hardening substance all around it. Some believe it might have been going through some kind of transformation, similar to how some insects create cocoons, and fear what it may become.

Strange Visions

Sometimes those that enter the louse do not see a feed from outside appear magically in the air but instead see a strange humanoid figure on the screen, their face elongated and strange, speaking strange words to them. Anyone who sits and watches these strange visions for at least 30 minutes seems to develop slight telepathic abilities for the next month, though at a terrible cost for they become like magnets for Abykos, attracting them from far away such that they are endlessly hunted and haunted by them until the effect wears off.

Trampled to Health

An injured man found himself in the path of the louse and could not get out of the way in time. He was trampled, the louse moving over him with it’s thousands of tiny legs but he survived. In fact, he claims that whilst under the pummeling legs of the louse, he saw strange visions of a golden woman who healed him of all his ailments. He is trying to start a cult of “Followers of the Louse” who worship the golden woman in his vision and hurl themselves into the path of the lumbering beast.