Parasite Husk

Medium undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 8
Hit Points 45 (7d8 + 14)
Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
14 (+2) 6 (-2) 15 (+2) 3 (-4) 10 (+0) 5 (-3)

Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
Senses passive Perception 10
Languages
Challenge 1 (200 XP)
Proficiency Bonus +2

SPECIAL TRAITS

  • Death Burst. When the parasite husk is destroyed, its animating worms erupt in a final frenzied attempt to claim a new host. Each creature within 5 feet of the husk must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or take 5 (1d10) piercing damage and be exposed to Parasite Infestation.
  • Parasite Infestation. A creature damaged by the parasite husk’s worms must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be infested with parasitic undead worms. While infested, the creature is poisoned. At the end of each long rest, the creature repeats the saving throw, ending the infestation on a success. On a failure, the creature regains no hit points from finishing the long rest. The infestation can be cured with lesser restoration and similar magic.
  • Sense Life. The husk can magically sense the presence of living creatures within 30 feet of it. It knows the general direction they’re in but not their exact locations.
  • Undead Nature. The parasite husk doesn’t require air, food, drink, or sleep.

ACTIONS

  • Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 12) if the target is a Large or smaller creature and the parasite husk isn’t grappling another creature.
  • Worms. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d8 + 2) piercing damage. If the target is grappled, it is exposed to Parasite Infestation.
  • Vermicular Surge (Recharge 5-6). The worms inside the husk tremble terribly, then lunge forward all as one, urging their husk onward, heedless of the damage done to it. The husk moves up to three times its speed. This movement is not slowed by difficult terrain. If the husk passes through difficult terrain during this movement, it takes 7 (2d6) bludgeoning damage.

ABOUT

The horrific rituals needed to raise a body from the dead and imbue it with the foul energy of unlife require tapping into deep stores of necrotic energy.

Whether through carelessness, mishap, or simply the fickle hand of fate, this energy is not always directed as its summoner wishes. The parasite husk is one example of necromantic magic gone awry.

A parasite husk manifests when the ritual to create a zombie utilizes a corpse that hosted unwelcome parasitic guests. The most common example found in these bodies is the tapeworm, although other, fouler infestations no doubt exist.

Deprived of nutrients upon their host’s death, these creatures slowly wither away, their tiny corpses remaining within the deceased. These small carcasses provide another possible receptacle for the unholy necrotic energy of the creation ritual.

In the right circumstances, the necrotic energies can awaken these parasites, and instead of a mindless and relatively docile zombie, a significantly more dangerous creature rises from the dead. The reanimated parasites quickly move throughout the corpse and gain the ability to direct its movements, albeit in a lumbering and ungainly fashion. Any necromancer assuming their new creation will be under their control is quickly dissuaded of this notion. Indeed, many parasite husk infestations begin with the unfortunate summoner as their first victim.

At first glance, a parasite husk appears identical to a normal zombie. However, closer examination reveals a constant and disturbing motion under its skin, as the multitude of ravenous worms within slither erratically and animate the shambling body. These worms can sense living beings and are drawn to them with the more insidious desire to spread and infect new hosts. As a husk draws nearer to a living creature, more and more of its foul denizens erupt from the dying flesh and strain towards the new, more vibrant body.

The most common type of parasite husk is the worm variety, such as the one presented here. However, there also exist parasite husks consisting of undead ticks, lice, fleas, and similar burrowing pests.

These ectoparasite husks lack the reach of a standard parasite husk but move much faster and erupt into larger clouds of pests when their husk is destroyed.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Battlezoo Bestiary (5E) © 2022, Skyscraper Studios, Inc.; Authors: William Fischer, Stephen Glicker, Paul Hughes, Patrick Renie, Sen.H.H.S., and Mark Seifter.

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