Twenty-six years ago, bioarcanist Tiffany Talaxador took the world by storm when she released her first original monster: the owlbear. Voted “Most Creative Creature” that year by readers of The Silversun Chronicle, the owlbear has earned a special place in the hearts of brave adventurers and frightened townsfolk everywhere. Now, Tiffany is gearing up to unleash a new beast on the world.
“It’s not a fusion,” Tiffany told the Chronicle‘s intrepid reporter, Malfrak Duggems. “People hear ‘Talaxador’ and they all go, ‘oh, that’s the owlbear girl. Made something new, has she? Probably a, hm, a dog-squid or something.’ But it’s not. The owlbear was great, loved it, really put me on the map, of course. I don’t begrudge it nothing. But that venue–that well has dried up, yeah? No interest in fusions anymore.”
Talaxador is referring, one assumes, to the disappointing performance of her hotly-anticipated owlbear follow-up: a beaver/duck combination that she dubbed a ‘platypus.’ Unfortunately, the platypus bombed at market; small in size and lacking a sharp beak, it simply didn’t pose a credible threat to adventurers.
“It’s cute and all that, and it has them poisonous spurs, but it just don’t scare me,” noted a letter featured in this very publication shortly after the platypus’s release. “I can bash a half-dozen platypuses myself, easy, and I’ve only been adventuring a few weeks at this point.”
Talaxador has had middling success in the creature creation racket in the years since. Though a few of her monsters have found niche appeal with certain swashbuckling heroes, she’s yet to recapture the success of her inaugural beast. But, according to Tiffany, that’s about to change.
“I think my new monster is going to really turn some heads,” she told the Chronicle. “Question: are you afraid of beholders?”
Beholders were, some may remember, ranked fourth in our recent “Most Atrocious Aberration” reader poll–a sure sign that they are indeed considered quite frightening!
“I figured, ‘right, a beholder is all eyes and that, yeah? And what’s worse than eyes?’ Teeth, is what. So it only made sense, then–I needed to make mouth-based beholder. So that’s what I’ve done.”
That’s right–Talaxador’s newest monster is nothing less than a beholder covered in a half-dozen hungry mouths! Everywhere an average beholder would have an eye, this canny arcanist has instead placed a pair of snapping jaws. Imagine it: a floating orb, its center dominated by a massive ring of razor-sharp teeth; long stalks ending in biting maws issue forth from the crown. It might sound too good to be true, but its exactly what Tiffany Talaxador has delivered.
“I call it the Chompster,” the mage says, beaming with obvious pride at the creature (which was contained behind a wall of force for Malfrak Duggems’s safety).
This ingenious critter is able to sense prey via smell, using a snake-like tongue to ‘taste’ the air. It retains the beholder’s natural ability to float–but what of the aberration’s iconic eye-beams?
“That was the trickiest bit,” Talaxador admitted. “I knew the Chompster would need something at least as good as eye-beams or no one would take it seriously. Then it hit me–breath weapons!”
The Chompster has seven mouths in total: the large, central one on the main body, as well as six individual ones on stalks around the ‘head.’ Each is equipped with a different sort of breath attack. The central mouth is capable of a powerful sonic scream; then, moving from left to right cross the cranium, the smaller mouths feature fire breath, ice breath, electric breath, acidic spit, and the ability to exhale a toxic vapor, respectively. And the sixth?
“That one’s special,” Talaxador explains. “I call it ‘Little Bitey.’ It’s not a breath weapon at all–it’s actually a modified vampire jaw! you don’t want that one sinking its fangs into you, believe me.”
While each mouth has equally sharp teeth, ‘Little Bitey’ is also equipped with the ability to drain its victim’s blood. Terrifying!
So, when can the public expect to see Chompsters inhabiting their dungeons, mineshafts, and other popular adventure locales? According to Tiffany, final testing is underway and the monsters will begin rolling out around the change of the season, so keep your eyes peeled–one might take a bite out of your town this winter!