Planet of the Paper People

This month we face a six-legged monstrosity that stalks the quiet night in search of human prey. It is something between a paper figure and a paper model, so it takes a bit of cutting and pasting. It is teamed with two of its offspring, hellish things wrought from dogs.

The Stalkerwolf

Download a PDF file containing this month's figures.

The Stalkerwolf is an unnatural creature, an abomination. It hunts humans, mesmerizes them with its hypnotic eyes, and feeds them to its brood. It attacks with the mandibles at the front of its body and with the wolf-like jaws at the end of its tail. Against heavily-armored foes, it is clever enough to feint an attack with its jaws so as to strike true with the stronger mandibles. In single combat, it is a match for even a seasoned monster hunter.

Ecology of the Stalkerwolf

Stalkerwolves reproduce by corrupting communities of other animals. An adult Stalkerwolf kills the leader of the community-- if there is one-- and then takes up residence with the animals. Slowly the animals change, losing their natural form. These half-formed Stalkerwolves are called Scarabs, and their exact form depends very much on what they were before they began to change. Scarab Beetles or Scarab Rats would be dangerous, Scarab Dogs would be more formidable, and Scarab Snakes would look especially horrifying.

The entire process takes a year or perhaps more. When the transformation is complete, the young adult leaves the nest-- possibly devouring some of its Scarabkin before it goes. A Stalkerwolf is quite protective of its brood, but will not tolerate the presence of other adult Stalkerwolves.

Adult Stalkerwolves grow slowly throughout their lives. The large one depicted here is perhaps eight or ten years old. (Although you can change this time frame, depending on how common you want them to be. If they get to this size in two or three years, then perhaps they are only kept in check by their killing each other.)

Assembling the figure

It's fine to Print this on onto standard, 20 lb printer paper; heavier cardstock may be too stiff to assemble. Cut out the block containing all of the Stalkerwolf parts, being careful not to trim the pieces yet. Fold on the dotted line and glue the two halves together. Now when you cut out the body and legs, they will have printing on both sides. For a sturdier model, leave the paper between the head and body in place when you cut out the parts. Using a hobby knife, cut out the grey slots in the body for the legs to go through. Insert the legs, folding the front pair forward and the rear pair back.

Here's a picture of the completed figure, in case you have a hard time visualizing it from my instructions.

The Scarab Dog figures work in the usual way. The poor wretches are sufficiently far along in their transformation that they might be used to represent some other sort of Scarab creature.

Game Stats

I developed Stalkerwolves for use in my own campaign. It used a homebrew game system, so I can't just give you the stats for these guys. I can, however, give you a few pointers. Perhaps someone will devise stats and share them on the discussion list. (Hint, hint.)

In single combat, a Stalkerwolf is very dangerous. Looking into its eyes should require a check to resist being mesmerized; failure means standing shock still and waiting for death. You can avoid having to resist its gaze by fighting with your eyes closed or averted, but this incurs skill penalties.

The Stalkerwolf has two attack forms: mandibles and jaws. It should have a good chance with each. The mandibles are better at getting through armor, but the teeth can still lay in some serious hurt. Since it is also fast and surprisingly hard to hit, a large Stalkerwolf should be more than a match for a PC. (Naturally, they get meaner as they get older and bigger.)

If attacked by more than one opponent, a Stalkerwolf becomes skittish. It can no longer focus enough to effectively mesmerize, defend, or coordinate its attacks. Give the target a bonus to resist being mesmerized. Similarly, give the Stalkerwolf a penalty to its attacks and defenses for each opponent after the first.

The Scarabs should be adequate foes, but nothing a competent PC couldn't handle given some time. Their stats will also depend on what they were originally.

When I put a Stalkerwolf in my game, the PCs decided to split up so that they wouldn't get mesmerized-- one of them took on the Stalkerwolf while the other two took on the Scarabs. This, they learned later, was the wrong thing to do. The characters would have been better off if they'd done some research or known some monster lore. If I were to do it again, I might have them encounter the creature, have it escape, and give them the chance to learn its weaknesses before facing it again.