A tick, bloated to the size of a child’s head, buries its mandibles deep in its victim. Circles of necrotic flesh bubble around the wound.
Tiny beast, unaligned
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 3 (1d4 + 1)
Speed 10 ft., climb 10 ft.
|2 (–4)||14 (+2)||12 (+1)||1 (–5)||12 (+1)||8 (–1)|
- Necrotic Regeneration. While attached to a living host, a necrotic tick leaks negative energy into the host’s bloodstream, quickly closing over the creature’s wounds with scabrous, necrotic flesh. If the host doesn’t already have regeneration, it regains 2 hp at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point. Track how many “necrotic hp” a host recovers via Necrotic Regeneration. Magical healing reverses the necrosis and subtracts an equal number of necrotic hp from those accumulated. When the necrotic hp equal the host’s hit point maximum, the host becomes a zombie.
- Ride Host. When a necrotic tick’s living host has lost three-quarters of its maximum hp from Blood Drain, the tick’s toxins fill the host with an unnatural desire to approach other living beings. When a suitable creature is within 5 feet, the tick incites a sudden rage in the host, riding the current host to a new host. The current host must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or it attempts to grapple a living creature within 5 feet of it as a reaction. The host can re-attempt this saving throw at the end of each turn that it suffers damage from the necrotic tick’s Blood Drain.
- Blood Drain. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 1 piercing damage, and the tick attaches to the target. While attached, the necrotic tick doesn’t attack. Instead, at the start of each of the tick’s turns, the target loses 5 (1d4 + 3) hp due to blood loss. The target must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw. If it fails, it is affected by the tick’s toxins and doesn’t attempt to remove the tick. The host will even replace a dislodged tick unless prevented from doing so for 1 minute, after which the tick’s influence fades. The tick can detach itself by spending 5 feet of its movement. It does so when seeking a new host or if the target dies. A creature, including the target, can use its action to detach the tick. When a necrotic tick detaches, voluntarily or otherwise, its host takes 1 necrotic damage.
Zombie Hosts. Necrotic ticks are normal ticks that have gorged themselves on blood rich with necrotic energy. They grow unnaturally large as they feed, weighing in excess of four pounds when fully engorged. Most begin their voracious lives attached to the backs of animal zombies, and it is not uncommon to find a cluster of them on a single animal.
Death Bite. When the blood of a necrotic tick’s undead host runs dry, the parasite rides its victim to a new host—usually an unfortunate living creature. As it sucks the living creature’s blood, it leaks necrotic energy into the bite wound and starts a process that slowly turns the hapless victim into a zombie one pound of flesh at a time. If no potential hosts are available, ridden hosts hide in dark crevices or in trees, where they wait to pounce on the next passerby and deliver their crawling passengers.
Creature Codex. © 2018 Open Design LLC; Authors Wolfgang Baur, Dan Dillon, Richard Green, James Haeck, Chris Harris, Jeremy Hochhalter, James Introcaso, Chris Lockey, Shawn Merwin, and Jon Sawatsky.