Creature Highlights: Stratharian War Moths

Published August 19, 2014 by in For Gamemasters

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Stratharian War Moths are exactly what the name implies – moths bred for battle. Now, you might not think the average moth is particularly scary, but these are no average moths. With a wing span of at least 5 feet, these moths mean serious business and that’s before you figure in their eerie withering light ability.

One of the most intriguing things about Stratharian War Moths are that they are a living relic of a prior world, bred for battle, discovered and used by the Stratharians, who or whatever they were in that prior world, or perhaps Stratharian is merely a descriptive word – no-one knows. With such a strong connection to the past, Stratharian War Moths inform much of the speculation about those that lived in the prior world. Those that created them must have been masters of biology and creatures, if they were able to breed such fearsome weapons, and perhaps war-like, if they needed them.

Using Stratharian War Moths in Your Game

Using Stratharian War Moths fall into one of two main categories. The first category is as a problem to overcome – the moths are a dangerous nuisance that need to be dealt with, either directly through force or by just getting them to move on and leave an area alone. The Moths can be a menace, merely by their fearful presence, even if they aren’t directly harming anyone, though their battle-hungry natures make them more prone to direct confrontation than anything else.

The second category is as a mystery to solve. Where did this group of moths come from? Why are they doing what they are doing? Who/what are the Stratharians, and do the moths still hold their secrets somewhere within? Learning about and cataloguing the moths and their lifecycle, and/or collecting samples for Aeon priests or others interested in the answers to these questions and others make for great hooks for moth-driven adventures.

Some Stratharian War Moth Usage Suggestions

Because the moths are highly battle-orientated, most usages are going to revolve around or involve combat of some kind, at least indirectly. However, combat can be avoided, and it shouldn’t be set in stone that combat will be an outcome of putting the moths into your adventure though it should always be a real risk.

Adding Stratharian War Moths to Your Adventure

While the players are headed somewhere, a swarm of hundreds of war moths may descend upon them, forcing them to find shelter. Why are there so many moths here, all of a sudden? What is in this shelter the players found?

Moths are attacking a village, trapping everyone in their homes as the moths fly around, shining their withering light and eating crops and other foodstuffs left out in the open. The swarm must be dealt with before it’s too late, or before they move on to their next victims.

Whilst exploring a recently discovered cave, sinkhole, forest or other place, several hundred insect eggs are discovered, each growing a moth within. What do the players do? Perhaps the eggs are valuable, or disturbing them risks bringing down a calamity.

An Aeon priest is extremely interested in Stratharian War Moths and is willing to pay very well to obtain a living specimen. How do the PCs capture one without killing it?

War Moths think only in terms of battle and perhaps the players learn of a place living peacefully amongst the moths, due to a practice of eschewing all forms of violent thoughts, deeds or equipment, living as pacifists.

Stratharian War Moth-based GM Intrusions

The War Moth hits you with it’s withering light and in addition to the damage, as you raise your arms to shield yourself, you feel the muscles in your arms wither, making your melee attacks weaker, causing you to do half damage until your next recovery roll.

A moth bites down hard, but instead of releasing it’s bite, it’s flies up, pulling you with it into the air.

A moth attacks from behind, landing on your back and biting down hard. It uses you as a human shield, keeping others from approaching you with it’s light-emitting wings.

Whilst the players are in a fight, the battle attracts the attention of war moths, which join the side of the underdogs and fight until they win or are frightened off. As a secondary intrusion, they then turn on the victors they just helped win instead of flying away.

Injecting the Weird with Stratharian War Moths

During a battle with some moths, the PCs notice they are acting with far more strategy and coordination than a random swarm attack. It soon becomes clear the moths are being ridden by small abhumans, less than 6 inches tall, helping to direct their actions and using weapons of their own.

The PCs come across a swarm of moths flying around in a pattern, emitting their dangerous light. On closer inspection, the moths appear to be withering a large creature, but rather than attacking it, they seem to be changing it into something else.

Instead of withering peoples flesh, a slightly different breed of War Moths is found that ages people with their withering light, turning children into old men given enough exposure for long enough.

At a prison complex, the guards use captured and harnessed war-moths to deliberately weaken problem prisoners so that they can not escape or cause trouble.

Stratharian War Moth-based Adventure Seeds

There are rumours of a machine that has the ability to control and direct War Moths, which could be extremely valuable to an army or band of rogues or mercenaries, or even as a way of keeping them away from people. Many people are hunting for the rumoured machine and with so many people with so much to gain, there are plenty of opportunities to get a piece of that action.

An Aeon Priest has managed to decode some information hidden inside the genome of a War Moth that might lead to some kind of new discovery about what “Stratharian” means and perhaps even what technology lead to the creation of the Moths in the first place. The coded information leads to a hive in the mountains, incredibly dangerous, but rife with things to be discovered by those brave enough to try.

The PCs are hired to transport and spread what they are told is a harmless insecticide and plant growth stimulant in a far away place. What they are not told is that the stimulant is in fact War-Moth pheromones that will attract the insects and send them into a frenzy, a disaster that is part of a larger plan by the Jagged Dream to plunge the world into war.

One day a large circle opens up in the ground in the town the players are staying in, buildings collapsing into it as it opens wide. Inside is a huge complex, lined along the walls with thousands, if not millions of War-Moth eggs. The eggs all seem to be in stasis, but the machine/complex seems to be failing or priming for their release and someone must explore and discover a way to stop the release or repair the stasis systems before an uncountable swarm of War-Moths is released.

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One thought on “Creature Highlights: Stratharian War Moths

  1. TT says:

    Strap me up in a numenera rad-suit and show me the ignition key, time to play Crimson Skies: Moth Madness

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