Creature Type: Vermin
Attack: Claw, Sting
Special Qualities: Hide, burrow, poison
Organization: Solitary or hive (4+)
From the personal correspondence of Aidren Rumrunner, Halfling Wizard
18 Nymm, 998:
My apologies for the delay - it would appear that we have a slight problem. Our latest shipment, consisting of several casks of explosives and Old Sully's Grog, must be transported through the sweltering jungle this week if we have any hope of moving the merchandise for a good price. We're trying to find a new route to haul the goods through, as the usual cut-path from the dock has been over run with nesting scorpions! It's a pity I wasn't born a drow, or I might have been able to coax the critters back before they laid waste to my companions. I can't move all of these barrels alone, so finding a new (and equally inconspicuous) place to dock is proving difficult.
I'm not one to be scared by jungle insects, but you should have seen it... One minute we're unloading the cargo and starting the march, and the next minute men are falling to the ground, cargo and all! Fortunately it was just the grog and not the explosives that were dropped, but I was none too pleased. I ran ahead with the mind to lash them until they wished they had been blown up for dropping the wares. That's when I heard this sound - a chattering, clicking noise - and I realized that scorpions were burrowing out from the ground as the men walked past, attacking from surprise. There were so many bushy plants that it was hard to tell where they were coming from. It seemed every direction I went rustled with movement. It's a good thing I had a web spell prepared that day - unlike their eight legged cousins, these scorpions snarled in my spell, giving us the chance to retreat with the goods.
I could try to clear them with some magic, but I need time to stop and prepare spells to ward against poison. Not to mention, there's too much risk of dropping the explosives if any of the little pests slip through to take out another man. There's also the possibility that those were the little ones of their family - after all, it’s said that monstrous scorpions never stop growing. I heard a rumor that deep within the jungle dwells a scorpion the size of an airship. Supposedly no outsiders have ever seen it and lived. I always try to take such rumors with a grain of salt, since if no one has seen it, where did the rumor come from?
Scorpions present a unique challenge to unwary adventurers. The likelihood of encountering one is very high, as they are extremely aggressive and prolific in Xen'drik. Travelers should beware of not only the sting of a scorpion, but also the venom, as it is highly toxic. Rather than paralyzing their prey, the venom of a scorpion has but one purpose... to kill.
These vermin range in size, and you should not take even the smallest of them lightly. They can be as small as a backpack or as big as a wagon! Capable of hiding and burrowing for short distances beneath soil or loose rock, the scorpion is a very dangerous foe despite its mindless nature. Indeed, as a near-mindless creature, it cannot be affected by many of the mind-influencing tricks or spells that would thwart other monsters.
A typical encounter usually entails the scorpion darting out of the shadows to make its attack. Unless you're particularly observant the scorpion won't be noticed until its stinger is descending into vulnerable flesh, dripping with poison. Even after the fight has begun, the scorpion has the tendency to quickly burrow beneath the earth, springing up moments later to flank or surprise its target, rendering attempts to dodge its blows very difficult indeed. A well-placed block can make the difference between dying to poison or living to adventure another day!
Especially large or more powerful scorpions - night, desert, and death stalker scorpions - should be avoided whenever possible. Should you have the misfortune of facing one, seek the firepower of a talented spellcaster to blast these creatures from afar. Access to poison immunity - magical, natural, or otherwise - will also serve you well. Be wary when you see a single scorpion - there may be a nest nearby!
In Xen'drik, the drow possess a strange affection for the scorpion. They use ensorcelled scorpions as guards, wards, and traps against the intrusion of would-be heroes. Drow seem to especially enjoy employing scorpions in areas where adventurers could be trapped, or near where one might hope to rest. Be especially watchful when passing through regions known to be holy to the drow, for it is very likely that scorpion also reside there!