The desert realm is a paradox in many ways. Ar first glance, it appears to be a bleak, desolate wasteland with little to offer the imagination. Those who probe deeper, however, find it holds a multitude of secrets. It seems improbable that the oft hostile environment could support life, but a wide variety of creatures manage to survive its embrace. Birds of prey soar over the desolate landscape, reptiles pass between its dunes, rugged planes brave the harsh sun, and the humble duskdigger burrows beneath the surface in an endless quest for nourishment.
Agility 3D: acrobatics 5D+1, brawling: bite 3D+2, dodge 4D
Strength 2D+2: stamina 4D
Knowledge 1D: survival: desert 2D
Perception 4D: hide: self-only 5D,search 4D+1, sneak4D+1
Strength Damage: 1D
Fate Points: 0
Body Points: 16
Character Points: 0
Wound Levels: 3
Natural Abilities: bite (damage + 1D; +5 to combat difficulty; venom injected when brawling success beats difficulty by 5 or more); venom (causes 3 points of damage every 10 minutes until the victim dies or is treated; Very Difficult stamina roll co resist); flexibility (+1D to acrobatics and dodge rolls); small size (scale value 5)
The serpentine-like duskdigger wears plates of light, natural armor along its back to protect it from those who would make a quick meal of it. Although the reptile can slither among the dunes as it searches for new plant life to feast upon, it can rapidly burrow beneath the sand with its short, finlike legs once it ‘s located prey.
The body of this desert denizen has a sandy-gray coloration. Its back resembles sun-bleached sand, its sides deepen to a darker tan and the underbelly ranges from a slight peach-parchment to ashen-white color depending on the current state of hydration for the duskdigger. It takes the former color when sufficiently hydrated, and the latter when dangerously parched.
Duskdiggers are viewed with reverence or disgust depending on who’s talking. They are coveted by nomadic peoples because their segmented bodies can be tapped for their moisture reserves. Those who try to bring life from arid lands despise these pests because they have been known to ruin crops. There have been times when diplomacy skills come in handy as farmers seek to get rid of the pests that neighboring desert nomads uses to maintain their way of life.
Denizens of the underworld prize the creature’s poison sacks because their venom can be distilled into a powerful hallucinogenic substance. Thus, barren worlds that import duskdiggers often seek heroes to protect the creatures from poachers, who harvest the desert dwellers to fuel their drug rings.
A fully hydrated specimen can provide a normal person two days of moisture. To harvest the life-giving liquid, a person punctures one of the creature’s segmented, underbelly compartments and sucks out the gel-like fluid. If kept our of direct sunlight, a duskdigger corpse retains its untapped moisture for up to two weeks after its demise.
Duskdiggers have natural defenses to help keep them from being easily exploited. The natural flexibility of their serpentine bodies allows them to wiggle fluidly, making them difficult to hold. Seizing one of these creatures can be the least of the worries of a would-be harvester, though, as these desert denizens can deliver a nasty, venomous bite. Woe betide the unwary hunter who underestimates them!