Roleplayer #26, October 1991

The Snagger

A Surprise for Science Fiction or Fantasy Campaigns

by Charles Oines

DX:12PD/DR:1/1Wt:150-200 lbs.
HT:12/20Reach:C, 1Habitats:F, J

Snaggers resemble large bushes, though they are not plants. They are sessile, carnivorous animals, consisting of one radial three-toed foot planted firmly in the ground, a large, round body covered with extended leaf-like scales, and three radially placed triple-jointed claw, each ending in a single scimitar-like poison claw. The arms fold into grooves under the scales.

A snagger can attack any target within 3 hexes of its center hex with either one or two arms. Each claw attack does Thrust-1 impaling damage. If the claw penetrates armor, a very quick-acting blood agent is injected, inflicting 3d damage, or 1d if the victim makes his HT roll. The effects take 2d seconds to appear. Once the victim is incapacitated, the snagger will drag the victim underneath its fronds and inject it with a digestive substance that breaks down the bones and tissues. Within a week, the snagger's roots will have "drunk" all the remains except for indigestible clothing, armor, bionics and so on.

Snaggers can "uproot" themselves and move about very slowly (an hour to root or uproot, and a hopping movement of less than one foot per second). They will plant themselves by game trails or water holes, and usually move after a few good kills or a week without success. They will mimic the local vegetation, and they don't all look like the same kind of bushes, so constant care is necessary to identify them, rolling on Survival or Naturalist skill at a penalty determined by the GM.

Snaggers may appear in either a fantasy or SF background. In a fantasy background, they are a good source for spell components and a useful poison. In a SF background they are still a poison source, and the enzyme that breaks down the victim's flesh may have medical uses (legitimate or otherwise). In any background, a snagger is edible though not particularly tasty.

Baby snaggers, one hex in size, may also be seen. They will not attack human-sized prey unless molested, but chopping one down, or just pushing roughly past it, is enough to invite a poison claw. The baby would do only Thrust or Thrust-1 damage, and the victim resists with a HT +1 roll, but the effects are otherwise the same.

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