DIET:Metal (see below)
INTELLIGENCE:Very (12) or better
ALIGNMENT:Neutral (Lawful)
HIT DICE:2 or more
THAC0:19 or better
DAMAGE/ATTACK:1d4 or more
SIZE:Tiny (2′ long) to L (12′ long)
MORALE:Unsteady (7)
XP VALUE:Drone 175
Patriarch 420
Manipulator 1400
Lord 2000
King 12000
AD&D 2e statistics

Scurpyons are pests and scavengers. Much like rats on Prime worlds, scurpyons are often unseen but can inflict great damage. They gnaw at the parts of Mechanus that are not as well maintained, until they’re eventually chased off by modrons or gear spirits.

A scurpyon looks like a large mechanical scorpion. All scurpyons are identical, and the method they use to distinguish between one another is unknown. Only in the rarer castes can size be an indicator of identity to outsiders. Made of dull iron, they have shell-like plates that completely encase them, giving them fairly good protection. They are deceptively heavy, weighing about thirty pounds. They have six legs, which end in a set of tiny but strong pincers. Somehow, these pincers can grip nearly any surface, and anything rougher than glass can be climbed with little difficulty. This allows the scurpyons to hid on the underside of gears. Instead of pincers, scurpyons have two large metal files at the end of their arms. They file shavings from the gears, and then eat them with a set of small, weak, and complex mandibles. Instead of a sting, scurpyons have three-fingered claw at the end of their tails. The claw, which is in no way humanoid, is armed with extendible talons.

Scurpyons can, surprisingly, speak human languages. Many know planespeak, so that they may bargain with planewalkers. Modron, formian, and their own indecipherable tongue are also common languages.

COMBAT: Scurpyons are not great combatants, and generally flee from conflict. When cornered, they attack with their taloned claws for 1d4 damage. They have no other attacks. Scurpyons are mechanical creatures, and thus have immunities and vulnerabilities normal creatures don’t have. The below chart shows their resistance to basic attacks.

Edged weaponsHalf
Fire (magical)Full
Fire (nonmagical)Half
Gas (poisonous)None
Magic missileFull
RustSee below

In addition, all scurpyons are immune to mind affecting magics or psionics, including illusions and phantasms. Only very special spells can affect scurpyons in this way, and those spells must be carefully researched with a scurpyon on hand. Needless to say, scurpyons are usually wary of mages.

Scurpyons are built armoured, and as such are not heavily damaged by hacking attacks. Slashing weapons are ineffective against their hard shells. Piercing weapons can, without too much difficulty, slip into cracks, and bludgeoning weapons damage the gears inside. Both do full damage. Since metal is quite durable, fire, cold, and acid all do half damage. Electricity conducts through them without encountering much resistance, so electrical attacks also do half damage. Finally, since they do not breath and have no circulatory system (apart from a oiling system), gasses and conventional poisons do nothing.

Modrons do have special oil-thinning poisons that cause scurpyons to bleed to death out of their joints, but this poison is both rare and not in great demand. Scurpyons are not affected by vacuum. It should be noted, however, that magical attacks, if not blocked by their magic resistance, do full damage, including magical heat and cold. Magical acid attacks are exceedingly rare, and, since they usually summon acid instead of altering temperature, still do half damage. Rust attacks do significant damage to scurpyons. For every point of AC a rusting attack would drop a piece of armour, a scurpyon takes 8 damage.

HABITAT/SOCIETY: Scurpyons have much larger societies than many people suspect. Most travellers and even some natives view them as rare pests, and not very irritating. The modrons know, however, that the scurpyons have hidden cities where they number in the thousands, with always at least a Lord as a leader.

In these cities, for every twelve normal scurpyons is one patriarch, who has 4 HD. Patriarchs do 1d6 damage with their claw, and are 3′ long. For every twelve patriarch scurpyons, there is a Manipulator, who had 6 HD and casts spells as a 3rd level mage. Manipulators are the same size and do the same damage as patriarchs. Also, Manipulators have unnaturally dexterous claws, and have a Dexterity of 15. For every twelve Manipulators, there is an 8 HD Lord, who is 6′ long and does 1d10 damage twice in a round. In their largest cities, where there are twelve Lords, a King can be found. Kings have 15 HD, cast spells as 9th level mages, and are 12′ long. These huge scurpyons do 2d20 damage thrice a round with their enormous and lightning-fast claw. Also, Kings have an Intelligence of 19.

Scurpyon society is organised into cliques at the lowest rank, which are made up of 3 normal scurpyons. Four cliques are a family lead by a patriarch. The patriarchs are gathered into groups of 12, called communities and lead by the Manipulators. Lords, with their twelve Manipulator barons, rule fiefs. When a city that holds a King can be found, that King rules the Capital, as it is called, and the twelve nearest scurpyon cities as well (no mater how far away “near” is). This entire area is collectively called a Kingdom.

Scurpyons have rigid rules of conduct that must be observed in cities, so as many as possible try to become “scouts,” who search for rich deposits of iron on the gears, or poorly defended gears. These are the scurpyons commonly encountered. These scurpyons will assist planewalkers in exchange for a piece of steel (a delicacy to the scurpyons) against the modrons or other natives, as the scurpyons view these as common enemies. Scurpyons are loyal hirelings, as long as they are paid on time and treated well. If either rule is violated, they flee at maximum speed.

On rare occasions, scurpyons will give up their society and become “adventurers.” These wandering individuals are usually killed by the gear spirits or modrons at the first opportunity. On even rarer occasions, these scurpyons will become the companions of other adventurers. Rumour has it that the Hopping Mage has one such companion.

ECOLOGY: Scurpyons are not born, they are manufactured. Only a Lord, with the assistance of at least four Manipulators, can construct a new scurpyon. Only a King and 24 Manipulators can create a Lord or a King. Scurpyons eat metal filings, which they shave off of metal with their file arms. Their jaws are weak, designed for communication, and cannot chew big chunks of metal. Theoretically the iron filings are used to by the scurpyon to “repair” itself, but how this is done is unknown. Dissection shows no furnace inside, and their throat is quite shallow.

How scurpyons are intelligent is also not entirely clear. When killed and opened up, they appear to be nothing more than elaborate clockwork machines. They do not radiate magic and are not easily enchanted. Guvner greybeards theorise that the Manipulators have some kind of collective magical ability. It is argued exactly how powerful a single fief’s twelve Manipulators are when casting together, but that is said to be the main reason the modrons do not seek out and destroy every scurpyon fief and Kingdom on the plane. And since Primus knows everything that happens on the plane, he must have a reason not to attack the scurpyons.

CURRENT CHANT: Though the modrons would never tell you, there has been an increase in scurpyon activity over the last two years. Some attribute it to a construction initiative the Guvners are pushing, which sinks metal beams into the gears for support. Some theorise that this is disturbing hidden scurpyon cities. Others say that some new element in their society has driven them slightly more chaotic, making them true-neutral, and that they are seeking portals to escape to the Outlands or Acheron. As is usually the case with scurpyons however, the truth remains dark.

Source: Belarius

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