Leeches are parasitic creatures that are among the simplest animals in existence. They are invertebrates with no higher cognitive functions, and they operate on the basest of instincts: feed and reproduce.
The common leech is a tiny invertebrate with limited sensory organs; they can detect light intensity, vibration, and temperature, all of which help guide them in their quest for prey. There are three distinct varieties differentiated by feeding methods: jawed, proboscis, and consumption. Leeches with distinct jaws and teeth use their more advanced mouth structure to bite a host and cause bleeding. These creatures secrete a chemical that prevents blood clots from forming, ensuring a steady food source.
Leeches that possess a proboscis feed much like mosquitoes, inserting their proboscis into the skin and draining the blood from the veins beneath. These creatures have a similar chemical they secrete to dissolve any blood clots that form. The final kind are slightly larger and gain sustenance through swallowing their prey and digesting it. These creatures are still very small and feed primarily on smaller invertebrates.
There are much larger versions of typical leeches in existence, although thankfully these nightmarish creatures are rare. They can be created through exposure to certain chemicals or radiation wavelengths. This is occasionally done on purpose, but more frequently through industrial accidents or illicit toxic waste disposal. There have been incidents of these creatures being created through unknown, possibly natural means, – but these occurrences are exceptionally rare. Giant leeches typically resemble their smaller brethren in every way except scale, although they are obviously more mobile and have been observed to be considerably more aggressive.
Another type of leech exists, although they are far less understood than the more mundane versions described above. Over the course of the past century, there have been a handful of incidents documented wherein perfectly healthy, everyday people have fallen prey to strange creatures that can only be described as “psychic leeches.” These creatures, which paranormal experts have thus far failed to classify, look almost identical to normal leeches, though slightly larger. Psychic leeches do not seem to be intelligent; rather, they feed on the mental and possibly spiritual energies generated by a normal person. The victim slowly grows weaker and more subdued, with diminished cognitive faculties, until they die. These psychic leeches appear to be considerably hardier than normal leeches, with an extraordinary resistance to physical damage and environmental changes.
Their origin remains unknown, although theories abound. Some believe they are extraterrestrial in origin, while others think they are an artificially created life form intended for use as a military weapon. Still others attribute them to evolution or even mystical rituals, a theory that has its roots in ancient African myths about summoned demons that drain the life from one’s enemies. Whatever the truth, the dangers these creatures represent cannot be overstated.
Reflexes 2D: brawling 4D, contortion 3D
Physique 1D: running 2D
Perception 1D: hide: self-only 3D+2, search 3D+2
Strength Damage: 1D
Fate Points: 0
Character Points: 0
Body Points: 19
Wound levels: 3
Natural Abilities: attach (on a successful brawling attack, the leech attaches itself to its target; forcibly removing a leech causes 1D damage to the target); drain (once attached, inflicts 2D damage per round until removed); small size (scale value 15)
Note: Giant leeches have 3D in Physique, drain 4D damage per round, have a Move rate of 3, and have a scale value of 9 (small). Psychic leeches have 5D in hide: self only, have a Move rate of 2 and a scale value of 14 (small), and drain one pip of Presence, Knowledge, or Perception per round until the victim is dead.