A Swarm of Roaches

Cheap movies do not have to be BAD movies. I was reminded of this today, as I watched the 2000-bug-horror-b-movie „They Nest“ (as a re-run on the website of the German TV station tele5).

The plot of this creature-feature centers on a foreign breed of cockroaches that act like an organized hive, has mandibles that allow them to bite AND a poison that allows them to paralyze victims. One or two bites will not bother an adult man, but when a swarm of these creepers washes over a victim, the poor soul will find itself unable to move while some fat, egg-carrying bugs crawl in through the mouth, begin to nest in the stomach area and thereby kill the victim. A few days later, the larva have hollowed out the carcass and a new swarm of bugs is ready to find a victim.

Cheesy as hell, isn´t it? But the effects of the movie were “okay” and !much! better than what Asylum churns out in its movies, the characters did not felt THAT artificial (or: over the top) as they usually do in b-movies. It is not a “has-to-be-seen”, but it is not the wrong choice for a lazy afternoon, neither.

And the movie´s “monster” can be turned into such a nice RPG encounter. Something that will make player characters run, unless they have something like flame throwers or grenades at the ready. Here is my Mutant Future(tm) compatible version of it:

Mutated Nesting Roachswarm:

No. Enc: 1d3 swarms (4 swarms)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 45´(15´)
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: 1 (Engulf, and thereby Confuse and Poison)
Damage: Poison (see below)
Save: L0
Morale: 11

XP: 30 (per swam) are suggested

This is the variant of the basic Insect Swarm (p. 77; MF core rules). A roachswarm will engulf a victim it is in contact with as an attack. Aside from the the effects of Confusion (see modified table below), a character that is engulfed by a Roachswarm gets bitten multiple times and must pass a Saving Throw vs. Poison. This Saving Throw will get a (-1) penalty on the second attack, a (-2) on the third and so on. When the first Saving Throw is failed, the character will be stunned and suffers a (-1) penalty on all dice rolls for the remaining turn. On a second failure or on a failure of a Saving Throw with a penalty of (-2) or worse, the victim will become paralyzed for a turn. If there is nobody to help the victim, the swarm will eat some of the character´s flesh (1d4 points of damage) and begin to nest inside of the victim. A dose of Anti-Tox will cleanse the invasion from the victims body, but if none is administered on the second day after the infestation, the character is doomed to die a horrible death on the third day (and a new swarm will crawl out of the corpse on the fourth or fifth day).

!Confusion ! Nerves ! Panic !!! (d10):

1-3: Victim does not move but attacks the swarm
4-6: Victim does something ineffective and/or stupid
7-0: Victim may act as usual


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