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(TFT) Apes with snakes in their heads.

Apes with snakes in their heads.
(c) 2014, By Richard Wayne Smith

An ancient wizard long ago from the Jungles of the Ceakloosh 
delta created this 'species' as servants to aid him in his work and 
war.  He has magically bred a combination worm and demon 

A parasitic worm grows in the brain of a local species of ape, 
giving it additional intelligence and magical powers.

These worms gradually replace the brain tissue of the host.  At 
first the worms give the host a boost in IQ and make the host
tractable to the wizard's commands.  Later, the further destruction
of the brain causes attribute loss and a sudden decline and death.

The ancient wizard attempted to make the worms more flexible,
in order to control humans but the experiment was only partially 
successful before he was burnt alive.

The infected apes kidnap ordinary apes and humans to 
reproduce their species.

Occasionally, an host proves resistant to the affects of the worm.
These beings can live long lives, and now rule this strange 
parasitic species.

A new host is captured and worm eggs are implanted deep in the
flesh over the spinal column near the base of the skull.  In 2 days 
the eggs hatch and begin to work their way into the spinal cord.
The worms are tiny, less than 1/10 of a mm in length and can not
normally be seen with out a magnifying glass.  The victim will 
notice a slight itching at the point of implantation, which goes away
when the worms reach the central nervous system (which has no
pain receptors).

After a month the worms begin breeding in the brain itself.  They 
consume brain tissue but at a very slow rate.  The victim will 
normally last 3 to 5 years before so much brain tissue is consumed
that the host hits a geometric increase in worm volume and dies.

After about one month, the victim will notice 'voices' in their head.
These are other worms attempting to communicate.  This stage
lasts perhaps a further month.

For two months, it will seem that the voices have collected into a
new personality, which can mentally communicate with the host.
The host will gain information from other hosts telepathically, and
the alien mind will give insights and a different perspective on 

The host gains +1 IQ (worm intelligence) for all purposes.

After about four months from time of infection, the new personality will 

start giving orders and strong suggestions.  If the host wishes to 
continue doing his own affairs, then he must make saving throws vs IQ.  

(The worm donated IQ DOES help in these rolls.)  The rolls start off 
at 1 or 2 dice vs IQ.  However these increase by a die per month, up to 

a maximum of 5 dice.  The host should roll once or twice per month, at 

times when the host resists doing what the worms wish.  Even one 
failure will result in loss of consciousness and the worms permanently 

taking over.  The character is considered brain dead.

6 months after infection the host gains two spells.  Misty Eyed and
Pain Strike (detailed at the end of this article).  The host can use
these as he wishes.  Note that they do not use up any of the host's 
memory, they are bred into the worm intelligence.

About 12 to 18 months after infection, the host loses 1 IQ due to 
brain damage, but gains 2 extra points of worm IQ.  (For a net gain 
of 1.)

About 3 years after infection, the host will lose another point of 
IQ (brain damage) but gain 2 worm IQ (again a net increase of 
1 IQ).  But their DX will decrease by one and ST will decrease by 5% 
round up.  (Much of strength is coordinated by precise control of the 
muscles.  This control is being eroded.  The muscles remain strong, 
but they are no longer being used to best effect.)

After about another year, the host gains a final point of worm IQ.  
This is known as a fully mature infection.

Soon after this, most hosts will experience an sudden increase in 
worm numbers in their brain with bad consequences.  IQ, DX and ST 
will decline by 1d-2 points per month.  Roll separately for each 
attribute every month.  If any attribute reaches zero, the host dies.
The host will become weak, uncoordinated and act like there is an
arguing set of personalities in his mind.

During this stage of the infection, the worms spread to the nerves
thru out the body and lay eggs in great numbers.  Eating the flesh
has a small chance of causing infection.  However, cutting a bit of 
meat, and washing it in a slightly alkali water bath will cause the 
eggs to float to the surface, looking like a greasy scum.  Smearing
this scum in an open wound of the appropriate species will almost
certainly cause an infection.  (Doing so close to the brain, speeds
the process of gaining control a bit.)

In about 5% of the cases, at the stage of a mature infection, the 
behaviour of the infection changes.  The massive numbers of tiny 
worms swim together and form a mass of 2 to 5 large worms.  
These will develop jaws and start eating their way out of the skull.  
This controls the infection and prevents the attribute loss and death.

However, the large worms eventually break thru to the open air, and 
will twist about in the air.  The skin will heal around the worms and 
grow into them.  The worms will grow eyeballs inside their mouths and 
look out upon the world.  These horrible looking snake things will 
writhe about staring at the world, (tho they could be hidden under a 
large hat perhaps.)

If the snakes are cut away, they will regrow in about a month.

Hosts with large snakes will live a normal lifespan.  Since the normal 

hosts die young, a population of apes with worms in their heads will 
have perhaps 50 to 70 percent of their living population with the large

The hosts with the large worms rule their species.  However, they
can rarely successfully reproduce (all too often the fetus' developing
brain is eaten), so they work to maintain a normal population of 
apes to recruit from.  Their higher intelligence allows them to do
many things to help the normal apes, often resulting in higher than
normal population of large apes in an area.

The best leaders are human as they are MUCH sneakier and more
capable.  However, the worm species was not perfected for humans.  

When infecting humans the worms are far more likely to grow in 
numbers exponentially, soon killing the host.  At least 2/3 of the 
time, the host will under go the steps above, but at 6 times the 
normal rate.  The monthly attribute losses (when that stage of the
infection is reached) are 1d-1 rather than 1d-2 .  In these cases, the 

host never develops the large worms, 

Even if the explosive growth does not take place, 1/2 of the remaining
hosts suffer from the human mind and the worm mind not integrating
properly.  Rather than the worm mind taking over, the human mind
(usually mad) keeps breaking out and taking control of the body for
short periods: typically 30 seconds to about 5 minutes.  The host may
suicide or attack the other worm infected hosts.  Such hosts are 
usually destroyed by the other infected as dangerous.

This species is quite secretive and goes to some trouble to hide them
selves deep in jungles and forests.  If word of them gets out to human
cultures, they often will secretly move hundreds or thousands of km 
to find a new hiding spot.

Most of these tribes are ruled by a human with big worms.  When this
human is lost, or close to dying, the tribe will often try to kidnap a
number of humans hoping for a successful infection and a new leader.
(They may well need 100 or more victims before they find one which
works.)  Typically a raiding party will sneak far from their normal home
while finding people to take.

In slave using societies, they may well use a human host to simply 
purchase the hosts they need to infect.

A small party of human adventures is a fine prize.  Who would notice
if they died somewhere?  The Apes with snakes in their heads will 
often go to some trouble to capture an entire adventuring party.

The normal treatment is a Cleansing.   The dead worms in the brain
after the treatment will, about 25 percent of the time, cause a weeks
worth of confusion (less 1 to 3 IQ) and mild fever but, this will clear
up.  This is longest with the greater effect, if the ex-host had a long 

term, well established infection.

The IQ gains caused by the worms are lost of course, and all attribute
losses caused by the worms are permanent.

In the 300 years since the creation of the species infections of humans
have successfully increased to double the initial rate.  Thus it seems 

that this species is slowly becoming a better human parasite.  It used
to be that human lead tribes were rare, now they are becoming more
common.  This has resulted in the tribes becoming less fearful and 
much more dangerous.

These spells may be cast WITH OUT TAKING AN ACTION.  The
caster simply rolls vs DX to cast, in addition to taking a normal 

Misty Eyed   (IQ not applicable) Special spell 
This spell is like an "anti alertness".  Victims of the spell tend to 
look things.  They think that they are watchful and alert but gorilla 
sized figures may be able to sneak away or even into the victim's camp
without being noticed.
Subjects of this spell will have the GM roll 3 additional dice for them 
notice anything unusual.  Also, the caster of the spell is NEVER 
automatically noticed.  If the caster walked directly in front of the 
in broad daylight, the subject would still have to have the GM roll a 
3vsIQ to notice it.  (Ignore this special caster effect after the first 
during a combat where the caster is attacking.)
Strength cost is  7 fST per individual affected.  The subject must be in
line of sight and within 8 Mega Hexes of the caster.  The effect lasts 
one minute and may be maintained at double fST cost regardless of

Pain Strike (IQ not applicable) Special spell.
This magical attack does 1d-2 damage (minimum of one point).  The
damage is much like the Death Spell and is equally hard to defend
In addition to the damage, the victim feels a wave of terrible pain.
They must make a 2vsIQ roll or be unable to take an action for the rest
of this turn.  (A high DX figure who has already gone is thus partly 
immune.)  The subject of the spell will be at -6 adj DX for the pain
unless they make a 4vsIQ.  (Failure of this 4 die roll by only 1 or 2
points halves this penalty to a -3 adjDX.)
Strength cost is 5 fST.  The caster must have a line of sight to the 

subject and must be within 5 megahexes.  Their is no duration for this

Let me know what you think.

Warm regards, Rick.

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