1. Monsters that "swallow whole" have been a part of D&D for a long time. Whales, Purple Worms and of course the Tarrasque all can gulp down enemies with ease. Rules on fighting within a monster vary through the editions (1st edition was particularly nasty). In all cases however, being swallowed whole was a tough situation considering the poor victim had to either escape some sort of grapple (i.e. climb out the mouth) or use a light weapon to cut his way out of the monster's stomach, all the while various stomach acids and internal organs do damage each round. Nearly all of these gargantuan creatures are softer on the inside fortunately so this isn't a losing battle.
The stomach capacity of these creatures is remarkably humorous. In 1st edition, a 36-HD Sperm Whale could swallow a whole ship and crew alive, and indeed in the belly of the beast is where you found a whale's treasure! In 3rd edition they quantified the amount that every Swallow Whole monster could eat as if it were an eating competition. For example, the Tarrasque at colossal size can hold 2 Huge, 8 Large, 32 Medium, 128 Small, or 512 Tiny or smaller creatures in its gullet. Nice to know, eh?
2. Infravision vs. Low-Light Vision is an old but good topic in D&D. Just check out this rant by Sean K Reynolds. I understand why designers got away from old school infravision, but when we were younger these considerations were not important. Now the older and more educated we get, with the advance of technology included, some fantasy-science concepts tend to clash I guess. Ah well. For the purposes of the cultist's infravision goggles, these work both ways. Nyah!
3. Speaking of cultists, we now learned that the they were not directly responsible for the simultaneous defeat of several evil gods and the Greater Boneheart. It was still an impressive stroke of luck (or bad luck) though! Plus, Iuz is going to be unhappy when he returns and finds out Dorakaa is missing...
4. At last! The 'BIG' surprise I was building up to in this storyline was the most powerful monster in all of D&D, the Quazar Dragon. Lest you think I'm pulling your chain, this dragon is seriously a published 1st edition monster; albeit from a less-than-serious Dragon Magazine #96 famous for the last word on high level adventures, "Nogard". Raise your hand if you've played that one! Anyhow, check out the stat block on this bad boy:
(Draco Godawfulus Armageddonus)
by Susan Lawson
FREQUENCY: Only once
NO. APPEARING: 1 (unique)
ARMOR CLASS: -4000 (equal to sixteen miles of iridium plating)
MOVE: Effectively infinite
HIT DICE: All there are
% IN LAIR: Nil, lives in interstellar space
TREASURE TYPE: Planets may be found in stomach
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: One world's worth per bite
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Belch causes 10,000d6 damage to all beings within one million kilometers
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Has no enemies
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Magic? What's that?
ALIGNMENT: Perpetually hungry
SIZE: L (120,600 km from nose to tail
PSIONIC ABILITY: Psionics? How do you spell that?
The dreaded Quazar Dragon is actually an alien lifeform that consumes whole worlds to sustain its energy requirements. It is especially attracted to worlds where enormous quantities of magic may be found, and it can detect the presence of such planets from a third of the distance across the Galactic Disk. Such worlds are usually in the terminal stages of what the gods call "The Monty Haul Syndrome" in which a handful of characters has managed to seize control of their entire world's supply of magic items and are busy making even more.
The first clue that a "Monty Haul" world is about to be eaten comes when the characters walk outside their gold-plated +8 castle walls, wearing their +22 platemail of prismatic invulnerability, and see the sun disappear. This is a sure indicator that the Quazar Dragon has opened its 28,260 km wide mouth and is about to swallow the planet whole. The only possible way to save oneself in such a situation is to immediately throw all the magical items one can get hold of into a sphere of annihilation. The Quazar Dragon will take about 12-48 hours to close its mouth, so the characters do have a little lead time. ALL magic, every scrap of it, every teensy weensy itty bitty bit of it, must be destroyed. If this is done, there is a 5% chance the Quazar Dragon will change its mind and not gulp the planet down.
The deities themselves cannot undo or have any say in the actions of the Quazar Dragon, and to be perfectly honest, none of them want to do so. The Quazar Dragon has gotten rid of many planets on which characters dared call themselves the equals of the gods, and the gods are quite pleased with the overall result, even if it does mean having to go back to the drawing board and create another new planet.
The Quazar Dragon has no natural enemies, being immune even to bumping into neutron stars. It uses the vast amount of energy it takes in to launch itself across interstellar space at trans-light velocities, ever searching for another inflated world to have for a light snack.
5. I'm pretty sure if the Quazar Dragon's stomach can hold planets it would totally break 3rd edition's swallow whole stomach capacity charts. Tarrasque who?
6. Lastly, for those of you who are also fans of Marvel's Mighty Thor, the Quazar Dragon could only be based on one monster... Jormungand the Midgard Serpent! My favorite issue of all time is the Mighty Thor #380 drawn and written by the great Walt Simonson. The issue was one of a kind, in that Thor battled the World Serpent to the death in a series of full-panel scenes which back then was unheard of. But how else could you portray something so huge in one tiny panel?
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