CLASS: ZOMBIE SPAWN
The Escarghoul originates from a transmissible cell line believed to have originated when a scavenging gastropod was encysted in a developing zombie embryo. This cell line expresses epidermally for a short period as a lattice of plasmodia that may be transmitted from one zombie to another in the mucus of slugs, snails or related monsters, and typically has little effect on the host until spawn incubation, with 90% of infected embryos developing as Escarghoul.
An Escarghoul is composed mostly of a putty-like soft tissue, possessing only a pair of large, well developed eyes on muscular, contractile stems, a prehensile tongue and a limbless, rudimentary skeleton dominated by oversized jaws, any of which the creature can discard and regenerate as needed. Through it feeds primarily on nonliving matter, it shares the almost universal craving among zombies and their spawn for living or recently deceased brain tissue, and can slowly but steadily gnaw through the thickest bone.
The creature's flesh is uniformly capable of powerful adhesion, able to exude adhesive mucus it can saturate with predigestive enzymes as necessary. Millions of microvilli dig deep into materials softened by enzyme activity, forming an almost unbreakable bond until the creature willingly releases its hold. It employs these adaptations most famously in its selection of a "shell," a durable foreign object it will bind to and carry with it to better protect its posterior. Over time, its flesh grows across the surface of its shell in branching, pulsing channels, and it is even strong enough to swing the object as a weapon.
BEHAVIOR: An Escarghoul regards its shell as an intrinsic part of its personal identity. Molluscoid monster shells, large vertebrate skulls, small tree stumps and metal scrap have all been observed, but they most favor tall, flat slabs of stone, and those born in the ancient Corpse Sea often find one of the meaningless, mock headstones carved by moderately intelligent undead. If forced to discard its shell for a quick escape, it may subsequently retrace its slime trail to retrieve the object when conditions are more favorable.
Though seemingly lazy and dim-witted, the Escarghoul has a fairly logical and strategic mind, intelligently applying its malleability, adhesion and strength to slow, steady victories against larger and more formidable creatures.
Escarghoul love rain, ascending vertical terrain en masse to bask in precipitation.
UNDYING: all Zombie Spawn exhibit rapid regeneration and biological immortality, persisting for as long as some portion of their biomass remains intact.
SLUG SKIN: the Escarghoul has strong, elastic and semisolid flesh that can fuse as will to solid surfaces.
SCAVENGER SHIELD: the Escarghoul is never willingly without a strong, heavy object bound to its tissues.
Contents copyright Jonathan Wojcik