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Flora and Fauna

Modified on 2012/06/24 19:39 by Kerrick Categorized as Deathlands, World


   The nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons used during Skydark have had a profound effect on the flora and fauna of Deathlands, resulting in everything from gigantism (larger than normal versions of plants or animals) or dwarfism (much smaller versions) to completely new species that breed true. This section deals with all the new and varied lifeforms that appear in both series. The list is divided into flora and fauna: mammals, birds, fish and reptiles, insects, and miscellaneous (things for which there is no classification, or for which there is too little information to properly classify). Unless the mutant in question is a true-breeding species native to many areas (like screamwings), it has a book reference. All other book references are where the creature in question makes its first appearance.

Flora

   Misc Plants
  • In Homeward Bound, the companions spot some weeds on the bank of the Hudson River, in the nuked-out ruins of Newyork. They're sickly green in color, with tough twisted stems lined with serried bristles and circular seedheads that drop poisonous spores.
  • In Dectra Chain, the companions encounter a massive bed of sentient kelp; its fronds are lined with hundreds of needles designed to pierce the skin and give it a better grip on prey.
  • In (Vengeance Trail), the ruins of a facility in Kansas City is covered in vines with spore pods; the pods shoot forth seeds capable of piercing the skin, where they immediately grow into vines that take over the victim's body (Vengeance Trail).

   Feeder: These creatures live in the desert; they take the form of a cactus, using their camouflage to lure people or animals close, then attacking with barbed tendrils, dragging them below the ground to feed.

   Mindblast Mushrooms: These small, button-like mushrooms grow underground in radiation hotspots. They release spores that, when inhaled, cause violent hallucinations (Breakthrough).

   Needle Grass: Needle grass grows in clumps in dry areas; it is as hard as steel, and razor sharp - it can pierce even the toughest leather. Wounds inflicted by needle grass are almost guaranteed to become infected, resulting in the loss of a limb and most likely death by blood poisoning. (Encounter).

   Tangler: A species of sentient vines that have limited mobility; they can sense living prey nearby and entangle it (Skydark Spawn) (Note: This is not the same tangler that appears in Bitter Fruit; those tanglers are genetically engineered, not mutated).    Vine Master: A vine master is a massive, sentient plant creature consisting of a large central mass of plant matter and hundreds of tendrils. It hunts by sending forth the tendrils to seek out living beings; a tendril that contacts prey immediately infests it, enabling the vine master to control it. Living beings taken over are called vine puppets; puppets immediately turn on their comrades, their only aim to infest more victims. Presumably, the vine master feeds off the bodily fluids of puppets it captures, as well as setting down roots to draw nutrients from the soil like other plants (Eden's Twilight).

   Wart Rot: Wart rot is black mold with yellow flowers sprouting from it. Anyone inhaling its spores (either from the flowers or from the mold itself) will be subject to a horrific death as the spores multiply inside its body, destroying flesh and eventually leaving nothing but an empty sack of skin filled with mold (Savage Armada).

Fauna

Mammals

   Cats (including big cats)
  • Mutant mountain lions, panthers, and cougars (which are essentially the same animal with different names) are common to Deathlands in the same areas they inhabited before - mostly the West Coast, American Southwest, and the swamps of the South. They grow to a huge size - some can top 15 feet - and are highly aggressive.
  • In Hellbenders, a scouting patrol encounters a huge pack of feral cats; they have apparently evolved a hive mind and have large fangs that ooze paralytic venom.

   Dogs and Wolves
  • In Latitude Zero, Cort Strasser and his companions encounter several huge wolves - they stand 4 feet at the shoulder and weigh 4-500 pounds.
  • In Doom Helix, the companions encounter a pack of mutie coyotes. They are a little larger than normal, with yellow-spotted gray fur and a spongy mass of flesh on the top of the head that supports overdeveloped jaw muscles.

   Other Mammals
  • In Shockscape, the companions run into a gigantic grizzly bear in the Colorado mountains. It's 20 feet long and 6 feet tall at the shoulder.
  • In Keepers of the Sun, the companions go hunting miniature wild pigs. The animals are the size of large cats, have no tusks, and are nonaggressive, going so far as to rub up on people's legs and making purring noises.
  • In The Mars Arena, one of the barons' men has cultivated a horde of mutie monkeys. These monkeys are the size of chimpanzees, but have wings and enlarged teeth and claws, and are flesh-eaters.
  • In Crucible of Time, the companions encounter a trio of mutie rats. They're about four feet long, with another 5 feet of tail; the skin is leprous, with a mix of fur and scales, and the lower jaw is underslung, filled with a triple row of teeth.
  • In Rat King, the companions are attacked by hordes of mutie ground squirrels. They're slightly larger than normal (about two feet long) with enhanced musculature, oversized fangs, and sharp claws. Unlike normal ground squirrels, these ones eat meat; they attack their prey in waves, seeking to overrun and kill it.
  • In Downrigger Drift, the companions jump to a redoubt in Wisconsin; the lower levels are infested with creatures that are a cross between boar and rat. They largely resemble rats, but have upthrusting tusks and pig-like rear legs. They grow much larger than normal: the smallest ones are about 18 inches long, while the strongest ones are close to six feet long. The rats are organized in a hive run by a gigantic queen, which is about 20 feet tall and 60 feet long.

   Cuddlies: Cuddlies are small furry creatures about the size of a cat. They have honey-gold fur, large brown eyes, and short stubby legs, and are very friendly.
   A strain of cuddlies that lives in Canada, however, has mutated to become quite aggressive; these cuddlies use their nonthreatening appearance to get close to their prey, then attack by leaping at their victim and using their razor-sharp claws and teeth to slash it to death (Chill Factor).

Insects and Arachnids

   Insects
  • In Ice and Fire, the companions are attacked by a horde of mutie cockroaches in a redoubt; the things are a foot long, with copper-blue carapaces and proportionately larger jaws capable of delivering a nasty bite.
  • In Northstar Rising, the companions encounter a swarm of mutated bees; these bees have "scaled bodies of turquoise and silver, narrow wings that beat with dazzling speed[,] and stings like hooked barbs, their tips glistening with a highly toxic venom".
  • Later in the same book, they run into army ants on the march. These ants, however, are nearly a foot long with an acidic bite. They are intelligent enough to build a pyramid to climb a tree where the companions have taken refuge.
  • In Emerald Fire, Dean is attacked by a huge butterfly that attempts to drain blood from him via a long proboscis. It injects a mild paralytic to keep its victim still while it feeds. The butterfly looks like a swallowtail, but it's about 18 inches long and has wings shading from bright crimson to deep vermilion.
  • In Circle Thrice, Ryan is attacked by dozens of mutie centipedes. The things are about two feet long, with carapaces like polished brass and oversized mandibles.

   Scorpions and Spiders
  • In Genesis Echo, the companions enter a redoubt infested with small mutie spiders; most are about the size of a baseball, with brown furred legs, black stalked eyes, and large pincers. Their venom is very mild, however.
  • In Fury's Pilgrims, Dean runs afoul of a horde of large spiders who have spun webbing over a large section of a redoubt. They are no larger than a softball.
  • In Bitter Fruit, Ryan is attacked by a huge desert spider that can camouflage itself like a chameleon.
  • In Encounter, Ryan is on patrol with Poet and Hunaker when they encounter a scorpion 2 feet long. They kill it and find its nest, full of babies 6 inches long.

   Pokies: Pokies are beetles that resemble a cross between a borer beetle and a termite. They are black and 2-3 inches long; their legs are tipped with barbed spikes, and they have oversized mandibles. They feed only on human flesh, burrowing into any orifice they can find.


Fish, Lizards, and Reptiles

   Fish
  • In Dectra Chain, the group is attacked by a gigantic creature that appears to be a killer whale/great white hybrid; they estimate its length at 60-70 feet.
  • In Twilight Children, the companions are on a fishing expedition on Lake Champlain when they're attacked by a pike that's close to 20 feet long.
  • In Circle Thrice, Mildred is attacked by a half-dozen tiny eels while sailing down the Tennessee River. The eels are five inches long, about the size of a man's finger, with triple rows of needle teeth and a dozen protruding eyes.
  • In Breakthrough, a group of villagers catch a monstrous catfish that's about 30 feet long.
  • In Separation, the companions are attacked by a gigantic eel off the coast of the Carolinas.

   Mucksucker: This creature is a mutated form of lungfish (a breed that can breathe air and can travel short distances on land with stiffened forelimbs). It is generally considered more of a nuisance than a general threat, though larger specimens have been known to attack humans. They are bottom feeders, lying in the mud to grab whatever comes by.

   Lizards and Reptiles
  • There are many references to gigantic snakes of various species, as well as monstrous alligators and crocodiles.
  • In the ruins of Newyork, Ryan spots several gigantic alligators that he estimates at close to 30 feet long (Seedling).
  • In Shockscape, the companions jump to a redoubt where a section of the walls is riddled with hundreds of tiny snakes that can bore through stone. They're albino, 1-3 feet long, and have a double row of teeth. They attack prey by lunging out of their holes and latching onto a convenient target.
  • In the Florida Keys, Michael Brother is attacked and carried off by a monstrous sea snake that they estimate at about 100 feet long (Deep Empire).
  • In Rat King, the companions encounter a gila monster that's about 20 feet long and 5 feet tall; it has a long prehensile tongue coated with acidic poison.

Birds

  • Going down the Hudson, south of the ruins of Newyork, the companions are attacked by a group of gigantic seagulls - they have wingspans of around 15 feet, and beaks that are 9 inches long (Homeward Bound).
  • In Dark Carnival, Ryan is attacked by a horde of mutie frogs. They are about two feet long, with bright blue skin decorated with red stripes; they also have a double row of teeth, which are poisoned.
  • In Latitude Zero, the companions are attacked by a mutie hawk or falcon (possibly a kestrel); it is very small (its wingspan is less than a foot) and colored black with copper highlights. It had a razor-sharp beak, could fly at an incredible rate, and could also hover like a hummingbird.
  • In the ruins of Newyork, Ryan is attacked by five mutie seagulls. The things have a 6-foot wingspan and clawed feet, and appear to be smarter than normal - they use rudimentary tactics against him (Seedling).
  • In Sunchild, Doc is attacked by a mutie hawk with a ten-foot wingspan and black feathers that are hard as iron, most likely developed to resist the acid rains that plague that region.

   Screamwings: Screamwings are a breed of mutie bird that has become widespread throughout Deathlands. The things are vicious and will attack anything they perceive as food or a threat, usually in swarms. They are most often drawn to blood or loud sounds, like engines or gunfire. Screamwings are small - generally no more than 1 foot long, with a wingspawn two to three times that. They resemble reptiles more than birds - scaly skin, claws, a mouth full of fangs, and a prehensile tail.

   Thunderbirds: Gigantic mutie eagles that inhabit the Canadian town of Thunder Bay. They are large enough to carry off a full-grown buffalo, and their claws and beaks are strong enough to tear through metal. Additionally, their scales are hard as iron, making them very hard to kill (Hell Road Warriors).

Other/Unknown

   Random creatures are listed in order of appearance; creatures with names (species that breed true) are listed afterward.
  • At the end of Pilgrimage to Hell, the companions jump to a redoubt in the middle of a rad hotspot. Just before Ryan turns to leave, he sees something shapeless and "blasphemously huge" moving at speed toward the redoubt.
  • In The Mars Arena, Dean encounters a creature in a pond. It has several long tentacles, one of which has three eyes, and a mollusk-like shell housing a large mouth.
  • In Cold Asylum, Michael Brother encounters something in a redoubt that is "kind of lizard, kind of snake", over eight feet long. It has six legs with clawed feet, a ruff of fur around its neck, at least eight eyes on stalks, a huge mouth filled with needle-sharp teeth, and a long tail. He kills it by crushing it under a sec door.
  • In Hellbenders, the group encounters what appears to be a giant sandworm, about 15 feet in diameter and an unknown length, which they drive it away with a massive amount of firepower. Later, another group encounters a second (or perhaps the same) sandworm, which is 50+ feet long.
  • In Downrigger Drift, the companions take shelter under an overpass during a rainstorm and are beset by mutie leeches. The things are no larger than normal, but live on land instead of in the water. They have enlarged teeth and an air bladder they can inflate to float on the air and can sense heat, which is how they find their prey.

   Flapjacks: Flapjacks are small muties about the size of a dog, with a flat, disc-shaped body (hence the name). They lurk in trees and drop onto their prey, latching on with multiple hooked tentacles, then drain the victim's blood. Even if the victim can get the flapjack off, its hooks break off in the victim's flesh, causing blood poisoning Gemini Rising.

   Scagworms: Scagworms are large centipede-like creatures about 6 feet long, with a black carapace, domed head with huge pincers, and many legs. They live in underground burrows and venture forth at any time to find food. They are also known for simply exploding out of the ground, grabbing their prey, and shooting back into the hole. Scagworms gestate their young inside their bodies; when a mother gives birth, the spawn eat their mother's flesh. Scagworm flesh is quite tasty and nutritious, for those brave (or foolhardy) enough to hunt them (Sunspot).

   Skikes: Skikes appear to be a mutated form of skate (a smaller cousin to the manta ray) that has limited flight capability. They are 1-2 feet across and have a long tail ending in a barbed, poisonous stinger. There are at least two species: one native to the mountains, and another that lives in the water; both kinds have camouflage ability and are very fast and agile (The Mars Arena).

   Zombie Worms: Zombie worms are native to a small area in Canada, where they live in the soil. They burrow into living or dead flesh, taking over physical control of the body and forcing it to attack living beings, seeking to infect them as well (Hell Road Warriors).

  
Copyright
DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of Gold Eagle / Worldwide Library, and are used here strictly under Fair Use guidelines.
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