||Forests or subterranean
||3, Fl 18 (C)
|No. of Attacks:
||S (2' wingspan)
Stirges are bird-like creatures that drink the blood of their victims for
sustenance. They have four small, pincer-like legs that they use to clamp onto the
necks of their victims. They are rusty-red to reddish brown in color, and their
eyes and feet are yellowish. The dangling proboscises of stirges are pink at
the tip, fading to gray at the base (near their heads).
Due to an instinctive ability to find and attack weak points, stirges attack
as 4-Hit Die creatures, rather than 1+1. Their long proboscis inflicts 1-3
points of damage when it hits, and drains 1d4 points of blood every round
thereafter. When a stirge drains a total of 12 points of blood from a victim, it becomes
bloated and flies off to digest its protein-rich meal.
Stirges must be killed to be removed, due to their strong grip. If an attack
against an attached stirge misses, make another attack roll against the victim's
Armor Class to see if the attack hits the victim instead. Caution is advisable
when attempting to remove an attached stirge.
Stirges form nest-like colonies in attics, dungeons, and copses of trees.
Although they resemble birds, they hang upside down when sleeping, indicating that
stirges may be closely related to vampire bats.
Stirges can breed in captivity, but a constant supply of blood is needed.
Stirges mostly kill low-level humans, animals and children, so the arrival of these
predators in any civilized territory is always a cause for alarm. Fortunately,
even a low-level group of adventurers or town militia is usually capable of
ending the menace with little or no loss of life.
Stirges have an acute sense of smell, can see in the dark, and can sense heat
sources within 200 feet. These senses keep stirges informed when living
creatures enter their habitat. Creatures with a natural AC of 3 or better are usually
immune to a stirge's blood draining attack, since their hides are too thick to
penetrate. As a consequence, huge nests of stirges live symbiotically with some
evil dragons. Characters who protect their entire bodies with special leather
or better armor (this special armor costs two to three times more than normal
armor) can safely approach a stirge. Even the slightest gap in the protection is
seen and smelled by the creature, and a successful attack roll means the
creature has broken through the weakness and locked on.
After a stirge has gorged itself by draining blood, it sleeps for one day,
plus one day for every 2 points of blood it drank (the maximum sleep period is
after drinking 12 points of blood -- seven days). During this period of rest,
silent attackers can impose a -2 penalty to the stirges' surprise roll, as the
beasts wake slowly and remain drowsy for a few moments. They are most vulnerable at
this time. While certain species of stirges prefer to dine on human blood,
most are content with any large mammal, like cows, moose, and deer. Experienced
druids and rangers usually recognize the traces of a stirge colony by the
occurrences of mysteriously drained and dead animals in the vicinity.
A stirge colony's territory extends for only a mile in diameter, so stirges
move around a lot after they've drained a region of the available blood. Often,
the presence of stirges is only discovered long after the colony has departed,
making it very difficult to track them.
There are rumored to be exceptionally large varieties of stirges deep in the
densest tropical jungles. Though they are only 2+2 Hit Die creatures, they
attack as 8 Hit Die monsters. Purportedly, they have a paralyzing poison in the tips
of their sharp snouts that is highly prized by local tribesmen. Jungle stirges
have been known to mingle with giant vampire bats. None of these larger
versions have ever been captured or examined by sages, so nothing else is known about
their strengths or weaknesses. What little of them is known came from the
cannibals and head hunters of the jungle regions.