Thursday, August 25, 2011

A look at Stirges

Since in my current Adventures Dark and Deep (ADD) campaign the characters are going to be encountering some Stirges left over from a nest that wasn't destroyed in a previous campaign I thought it would be a good idea too do some research on Stirges. I could have just checked the ADD Bestiary too see if it covered Stirges but I thought I had a better idea.

I decided too look at all the info I could find from D&D books up to 3rd edition and compile the information. Then draw some conclusions on what a Stirge actually is by comparing all of their descriptions and information.

Too make the article more readable I moved all of the stat blocks down to the bottom of the post.

Looking at all the data together I gather:

Stirges were originally compared too ant eaters in OD&D being described as bird-like with dangling proboscises. Several things I noted, there is no mention of flying it says they "moves out of the area to digest" also it does not mention dealing damage when it attaches and interestingly it uses the plural of proboscis (proboscises) Wow too me it sounds like an ant eater with vestigial wings and two sucking proboscises running at you too attach itself.

 They also have a high chance too hit but only go after "Warm" blooded creatures. (Useful too know if your playing a lizard man or golem hehe.) You could encounter up to 30 of them and they were likely too be in their lair.

By basic D&D the Stirge has flying and is described as bird like with a long nose, but then is described too be  thrusting its beak into its victim, which now deals 1-3 damage. But they now only drain 1-3 dmg worth of blood each round. They maintain their higher chance too hit but also gain a bonus too hit on their first attack. By then you could encounter up to 10 out of their lair or 36 in their lair. They were said too live in caverns, ruins or woods.

In 1st edtion they are now described as having a single dangling probosces that is also snaky. They are now hitting for 1-3 when attaching and the full 1-4 of blood drain still detaching by 12 points of damage from blood drain. Seams like they are more lethal by now too me. They are also now described as feathery and rust colored with yellow eyes and a pink tip on its grey proboscis. (The coloring does sound more mosquito like now and the previous mention of a beak and birds is sound more and more mosquito like but a snaky, dangling proboscis.

Now in the dragon magizine article I didn't read the whole story but I noticed it did describe them as mosquito like but the desert variety is described in the story as having six legs and no wings. Although the picture has six legs and wings. Also I noticed that when they were full of blood they were described as clumsy and slow fliers that would exploded when hit. I also think it mentioned chirping. The jungel Stirge is described as up to 5' and not an accomplished flier.

ADD stuck very closely too what a Stirge has been in the past, giving them the 1d3 damaging beak and 1d4 blood drain, describing them as 2' high birds with all the right colors and high chance too hit. Also you can encounter from 3-30 of them

When I look at all of this I draw the following conclusions.
  • The Stirge is a warm blooded animal that has evolved in nearly any place that is dark. Ruins, caverns, underground, desert burrows, woods and jungles.
  • Most of them are not natural fliers and are more likely related too a land animal then a bird.
  • Most species do not have beak like but rather softer mouths that maybe bite.
  • They seam too be as small as cats and maybe as big as men.
  • They only drink from warm blooded creatures and usually attack in swarms
  • The typical nest has about 15 of them and they don't stray very far.
  • Some species have feathery hair others are leathery (3e) some have evolved too have extra feet or wings.
  • They sound highly adaptable too me yet usually maintain a red color with yellow feet and a gray mouthy thing with a pink tip.
  • I would guess they are related too mammals possibly distantly related bats,
  • I personally would guess that they could easily spread disease and even lice or ticks
  • They seam too need one or more man sized creatures too be full
  • I would guess that unlike mosquito they only lay eggs (if they don't give birth) only once or twice a year at most and not just right after feeding. 
  • The smarter ones probably should learn too let go and fly away before they are too full or just killed as this just seams suicidal.
This has given me a few ideas for interesting scenarios. 
  • A Stirge population that has gone out of control reaching over 300 and covering a country side or flying in like locusts.
  •  A disease (or undead disease) being spread by Stirges (or undead Stirges). 
  • Smart Stirges that have learned to kill ruthlessly without always draining blood but by stabbing biting and out smarting victims.
  • Some that have learned too evolve or adapt amazingly fast too any threat or environment.
  • A deserted town where many buildings have been turned into Stirge nests.
  • Stirges living in and among giant creatures like huge rats maybe even forming a symbiotic relationship.
  • And of course, Attack of the double mouthed blood sucking ant eaters.

Originally appearing in the Greyhawk supplement for OD&D;

STIRGES: Large, bird-like monsters with long, dangling proboscuses, the Stirges
might call to mind evil-looking, feathered ant eaters. Stirges are attracted to warmblooded
creatures, and when a hit is scored by one it indicates it has attached itself to its
prey in order to suck its blood. Thereafter it will drain the blood at the rate of 1-4
points/melee round until the prey is a bloodless corpse, the Stirge growing bloated in the
process and moving out of the area to digest its repast. Note: Stirges are considered as
attackings as 4th level fighters for purposes of determination of attachment although
they have but 1 hit die.

Number Appearing:3-30 AC 7, Move 18", HD 1, Lair 55%

Rules Cyclopedia:

Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1* (S)
Move: 30'(10')
Flying: 180' (60')
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d3
No. Appearing: 1d10(3dl2)
Save As: F2
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: L
Intelligence: 1
Alignment: Neutral
XP Value: 13
Monster Type: Monster (Common).
A stirge is a birdlike creature with a long nose.
It attacks by thrusting its beak into the victim's
body, and feeds on blood. A successful hit (for
1d3 points of damage) means that it has attached
itself to the victim, sucking for 1d3 points
of damage per round until the victim is dead.
A flying stirge gains a bonus of + 2 on its first
attack roll against any one opponent due to its
speedy diving attack.
Terrain: Cavern, Ruins, Woods.

AD&D Monster Manual

Stirge, Frequency uncommon, AC 8, HD 1 + 1,  in lair 60%, dmg 1-3, Special attack Drain Blood, Magic Resistance standard, Int Animal, Neutral, Small, 
Stirges are found only in very dark, tangled forests or in subterranean lairs. They lay in wait for warm-blooded creatures, swoop down, and when long sharp proboscis is attached, the blood of the victim is drawn through to be eaten. Stirges attack as if they were creatures with 4 hit dice. The snaky proboscis of a Stirge inflicts 1-3 damage when it hits. then 1-4 each round after striking until it has drained 12 hit points of blood. Bloated and full the Stirge will fly off. The only way to detach a stirge before then is too kill it.

The feathers of a Stirge are rusty red to red-brown. its eyes and feet are yelloish. The dangling proboscis is of a strange pink at its tip fading to grey at the base.

2nd Edition Monster Manual:
I couldn't get my hands on this one right now

Dragon magazine #239
A great article about Stirges is in this magazine including a story and stats for a burrowing desert Stirge and a tougher jungle Stirge.

3rd edition changed them into four winged bat-like mosquitoes that drain constitution instead of hit points. So I don't think I am going to be using any ifo from 3rd.

ADD Bestiary
Number 3d10
Morale -1
Hit Dice 1d10
Armor Class 8
Move 30’/min., 180’/min. (flying - good)
Magic Resistance Standard
No. of Attacks 1
Damage 1d3
Defenses None
Attacks Blood drain, use attack column G
Size S (2’)
Intelligence 1
Alignment Neutral
Treasure Type II
Treasure Value 2d4+1x1,000
Magical Treasure 1d3 items (15%)
X.P. Value 36 + 2/h.p.
General: Stirges inhabit forlorn woodlands and underground. They attack
warm-blooded creatures in great swarms, seeking to drain their blood for
Combat: Stirges attack with their syringe-like beaks, rolling “to hit” on attack
column G rather than D, as they ordinarily would. A successful hit indicates
that the stirges has pierced the skin of the victim, and it will attach itself and
begin automatically drinking blood at the rate of 1d4 h.p. per round. Once
each stirges has drunk 12 h.p. worth of blood, it will detach itself and leave.
They cannot be removed from a victim without killing the stirge first.
Appearance: The stirge is a bird some 2’ high with red to dark red feathers.
The beak is gray at the base and pink at the tip. The feet, with which it clings
to victims, are yellow.

I originally didn't talk much about 3rd edition stirges but this because by then they are described as have four leathery wings and six legs and of course seams a lot like a large mosquito. Also, in 3rd edition they drain constitution instead of hp.

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