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Skuhlzecki

The skuhlzecki are a type of worm that dwells in the permafrost of cold regions, preying on those who cross the frozen lands. Called a "Hot-Headed Ice Borer" by those with a flair for the overly literal, the skuhlzecki may be distantly related to the remorhaz, as an invertebrate capable of generating intense amounts of heat. The skuhlzecki uses this heat to soften the snow and permafrost as it burrows, and to weaken the ground under prey so that they can more readily access their victims.

Combat[]

Skuhlzecki are pack-feeders who co-ordinate their attacks against individuals. Drawn to vibrations on the surface of frozen ground, they first cause the ground under their victim to weaken and become slushy, rooting the victim in place. Then, springing up from below the surface of the ground, they attack en masse, tearing apart their victim like a school of piranha.

Because the skuhlzecki attack from below, fighting them is difficult, and usually involves readying an attack as the creature springs up to strike. Others may strike the surface of the snow where the creatures are burrowing, but finding the right place to stab is like fighting blind, and bludgeoning weapons are all but useless for the purpose.

A skuhlzecki that has fed is swollen with scalding blood, and, if killed, the blood will burst, badly burning anyone near the creature.

A useful strategy is often to knock the creatures off the soft snow and onto some harder surface -- there, the creatures can be targeted and hit fairly easily, much like a fish out of water, but they worms will head directly for the snow after this happens, to resume the attack.

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