29 June 2022

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Creature 49 — Mantis, Common Orchid

This is the forty-ninth 4E Anatomy of a Creature, an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index.

Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

Apologies for the breaks between posts. There's a lot to get done and not enough time to do it all.

Mantis, Common Orchid

Related to inshalatas and found in similar areas, orchid mantises are thankfully much rarer. They come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, though have some consistent characteristics between all varieties. There’s also some disagreement among scholars whether some of the different types of orchid mantises are actually different, or represent different stages in their lifecycle. Scholars who support this thesis cite the Servos goliath orchid mantis and the lack of eggs which would accompany their size. This focuses on the common orchid mantis — which isn’t common.

Common orchid mantises are slightly larger than their inshalata cousins, just under eight feet tall. They’re significantly more colorful when not actively concealing themselves and position themselves when hiding to look like foliage and enormous flowers which are found in their habitat. Illusion magic helps them with this concealment and their gregarious nature lends to one of their more dangerous traits. Orchid mantises of all types gather together in areas with vast blooms to wait in ambush. However, if such a place can’t be located, they create it on their own by gathering together. What looks like a beautiful place to rest with flowers rustling in the breeze is a deadly trap for even the wariest of creatures and travelers.

Even beyond this, orchid mantises represent an usual threat to many: they perceive and affect astral space. This means even the most thickly armored and/or agile prey may fall to their claws which bypass those standard defenses. Even creatures which perceive astral space to give them an advantage over potential predators and prey find orchid mantises’ illusion magic difficult to penetrate.

Their claws and mandibles can be used as dangerous and beautiful weapons, and are also prized by collectors and smiths alike for decoration. This is also true for their fragile wings which shimmer in the light and have value in enchanting and some decorations popular in Thera and Travar.

Challenge: Journeyman (Seventh Circle)

DEX: 9 Initiative:         15 Unconsciousness: 65

STR: 9 Physical Defense: 14 Death Rating: 75

TOU: 10 Mystic Defense:          14 Wound Threshold: 15

PER: 9 Social Defense:         13 Knockdown: 15

WIL: 8 Physical Armor:         11 Recovery Tests:          3

CHA: 7 Mystic Armor: 7

Movement: 16 (Climbing 16, Flying 16)

Actions: 2; Bite: 16 (20), Claws ×2: 18 (18)


Ambush (10)

Astral Attack: Attacks can target Mystic Defense instead of Physical Defense.

Astral Sight (16, Simple): As the skill, Player’s Guide, p. 129.

Awareness (16, Simple): As the skill, Player’s Guide, p. 129.

Enhanced Sense [Sight] (4)

Great Leap (10)

Hardened Armor

Omnivision: The common orchid mantis can effectively see in all directions and cannot be Blindsided due to positioning.

Stealthy Stride (18, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 170. This also functions against astral detection

Special Maneuvers:

Clip the Wing (Opponent)
Crack the Shell (Opponent)
Ethereal Attack (Common Orchid Mantis, Claws): The common orchid mantis may spend an additional success to affect Mystic Armor instead of Physical Armor.
Pry Loose (Opponent, Close Combat)
Squeeze the Life (Common Orchid Mantis, Claws)

Loot: Claws and mandibles worth 2D6×10 silver pieces and wings worth 1D6×10 silver pieces.

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