Across the jagged floor of the vast cavern moves a herd of pony-sized insects. Their long antennae move ceaselessly, probing the herd’s path. At the back of the herd walk four deep gnomes. They nudge slower bugs with quarterstaffs, urging them to keep up with the rest of the herd.
Meatles are large insects resembling eyeless honey ants. A meatle’s powerful rear legs carry it distended abdomen high off the ground, giving them a strangely balloon-like look.
These vermin are heavily domesticated by subterranean races. Meatles spend their time foraging on the strange fungi and lichens that grow deep below the surface. Female meatles are oviparous, laying clutches of pumpkin-sized eggs in shallow burrows several times a year. Eggs hatch in a matter of days, and the young quickly mature…
Meatle (CR 3)
N Medium vermin
Init +2; Senses blindsense 60 ft., scent; Perception +0
AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+2 Dex, +6 natural)
hp 32 (5d8+10)
Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +1
Defensive Abilities vermin traits
Speed 30 ft., burrow 10 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee bite +4 (1d8+9)
Special Attacks stampede, trample (1d8+9, DC 18)
Str 23, Dex 14, Con 15, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 4
Base Atk +3; CMB +9; CMD 21 (29 vs. trip)
Skills Climb +14; Racial Modifiers +8 Climb
SQ blind, docile
Organization solitary, pair, or herd (3–30)
Treasure incidental (milk)
Blind (Ex) Meatles are blind. They navigate their subterranean homes via blindsense and scent. Meatles are immune to effects that rely on vision. They also suffer a 50% miss chance against ranged targets.
Docile (Ex) A meatle’s natural attacks are always treated as secondary attacks.
Stampede (Ex) A stampede occurs if three or more creatures with stampede make a trample attack while remaining adjacent to each other. While stampeding, the creatures can trample foes of their size or smaller, and the trample’s save DC increases by +2.
Habitat and Society
Meatles are herd vermin that dwell in the vast, lightless spaces of the subterranean world. With their remarkable climbing abilities, gravity is a lesser consideration for a meatle herd’s migrations. Despite their mindlessness, they behave much like terrestrial herd animals, such as cows.
Wild meatles are less common than domesticated ones. Most underground settlements have at least one meatle herd to provide food and milk. Some subterranean races use meatle chitin for armor and tools.
Meatles are not aggressive. Their primary tactic is to flee. A spooked meatle herd poses some danger to smaller creatures. When hard pressed, a meatle’s mandibles can inflict serious injury. Fortunately, since meatles are totally blind, it is often easy to evade their attacks.
Deep gnomes know how to milk a meatle by squeezing the terminus of its abdomen. Meatle milk has a sharp odor, much like strong cheese, but it tastes sweet like sugary cream. Meatle ranchers make sweet and soured cheeses from this meatle milk. Many also ferment the milk to make a powerful liquor.
A meatle farmer can make a Craft (alchemy) (DC 20) check to turn 1 pint of meatle milk into a squishy ball about the size of a chicken egg. This meatle milk ball lasts for several days without spoiling. One meatle milk ball provides a day’s nourishment. Many subterranean communities sell meatle milk balls for 1 gp each. A pint of meatle milk typically sells for 5 sp but remains fresh for only 1–2 days. A mug of meatle milk liquor usually costs 5 cp.
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