Workshop Codename: Squidbat
Today we begin our foray into working out all the ideas that randomly come to me, inspirations I see online, and ideas from the middle of game sessions. Each workshop entry will have a codename centered around whatever the “prompt” is. We will start easy with a monster idea I had written down at some point: “squidbat”.
Two Types of Terror
Okay, so the whole idea behind the squidbat is, honestly, lost on me. I can only imagine that there were bats involved in some campaign session I was running and someone was surprised they weren’t a Mythos monster. Then I probably said some joke about them having tentacles, pictured something in my mind, and decided I should write it down. The thing is that both squids and bats are generally frightening creatures that exist in the dark corners of the world. As such, they are a great pair to turn into some terrible eldritch horror. In fact this won’t be the first monster with a combination of features from these two animals.
I think the best place to start is by working through the basics about this creature. What features are going to be key? Got to have the wings of a bat, can’t leave those out. Squid tentacles and arms? Definitely! The creature should probably dwell on land. Maybe it can be amphibious, but land will really let us make use of the bat wings. Squids are predatory, generally speaking, and their tentacles allow them to overwhelm prey much larger than themselves. This will help make our monster especially terrible. I think ink might come into play and the swarming we tend to associate with bats might also be a good idea.
Working on the list above, I definitely want to have this be the kind of creature that can show up in the full range between gothic horror and cosmic horror and, hopefully, that nice middle ground of both. A lot of gothic horror has swamps involved or nearby. I especially think of these as a dark background landscape with a lot of fog, which works perfect for us. The squidbats will be amphibious creatures that sleep in groups among the bushes and root clusters of marsh plants. They hunt in packs during the low light hours and on nights lit brightly by the moon.
I picture silent predators that appear to be extremely large bats. At least at first. We’re going to hold onto the squid ink and turn it into a fog that they can create. This will be used both to escape and to confuse prey. Filling an area with fog, the prey will be unable to see but there will be no problem for the echolocation of our monster. Rather than having legs, the squidbat will have arms and tentacles and use those two tentacles to reach out during a fly-by in order to grab prey. Grappled prey will be taken up into the air where it can be devoured. If it fights back the squidbat can drop the prey to its likely death.
I think this went pretty well. Not every entry will get a stat block, but I will try to include something useful in each one. Something that you can use at the table. Oh, and this will be the way the stat blocks look for the Libris Monstrum, which will hopefully have at least one in each entry! Let me know what you think in the comments below and, as always, balancing ideas are welcome!