The bulk of this monster's body mass consists of several thousand Cirripedia varying in size, shape and function. Most are feeding members, employing their spiny legs to sweep organic matter into their mouths and nourish the central body. An oversized "hatchet" barnacle serves as a heavier melee weapon, while a telehypnotic "ocular" barnacle provides additional cognitive functions and an unusual defensive mechanism.
Of special importance to the Barnaclops are its symbiotic microbiota, a mix of bacteria, protozoa and algae swarming over its crusty, porous surface. Even the lightest scratch from a Barnaclops can be hazardously septic, quickly escalating to aggressive tissue necrosis within minutes of contact. Decomposing prey is usually dragged back to the water-filled pit or tunnel the Barnaclops calls home, enriching a rancid "stew" in which the monster can submerge itself.
Faced with a particularly challenging adversary, a Barnaclops will attempt to make mutual visual contact and transmit a unique pattern of cognowaves to the opponent's brain. Most sentient beings subjected to this attack suffer an immediate, visceral aversion to the sight of the monster's barnace-encrusted surface, and must avert their gaze to continue engaging the creature without an overwhelming sense of panic and nausea. This effect extends to any pattern or texture even roughly evocative of barnacles for a period of hours or even days, and repeated attacks can imprint the victim with a permanent phobia.
A single minded creature of simple interests, a feral Barnaclops slumbers in its festering stew during the day and forages for choice carrion by night, usually ignoring anything irrelevant to its immediate needs. Its only display of individuality is usually exhibited by the mouth of its lair, stacked with a unique arrangement of driftwood, seaweed, fish bones or garbage. It particularly favors objects encrusted with natural barnacles.
Layered with rock hard, sharp-edged chitin, the entire body of the Barnaclops is an astoundingly resilient but flexible weapon, formidable enough without its infectious biome. Virtually ignorant of injury, any portion severed from a Barnaclops can continue to function under the colony's direction, scurrying on a multitude of cilia-like legs until it can be reattached to the collective.
In service to a master, a Barnaclops is unflinchingly loyal but dangerously literal, following its orders to their exact letter and carving the shortest, most direct path of destruction to its goal.
BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION: flesh-eating microorganisms infest the filthy body of the Barnaclops.
DECENTRALIZED NERVOUS SYSTEM: the Barnaclops can function in multiple pieces and reform itself.
BARNACLE ARMOR: the monster's covering of both living and dead barnacles are as tough as stone and sharp as razors, resisting most physical damage and effortlessly shredding an opponent's flesh.
CIRRIPHOBIC GAZE: as a last resort, the monster can instill a mortal fear of barnacles through its psychoactive ocular transmissions.
Contents copyright Jonathan Wojcik