Ekolids were insectile obyrith demons commonly found in swarms under the Prince of Vermin, Obox-ob, that embodied the deep, primal fear of infestation. In their many eyes, all other life forms were merely incubators to host their eggs before a gory birth.
Ekolids were insectoid in form, although closer observation revealed they were far worse than any typical pest, and exactly what kind of insect they were was unclear. They appeared as a terrifying fusion of ant, spider, and scorpion, with three membranous wings on the thorax.
Despite being 2 ft (0.61 m) long and 45 lb (20 kg), their structure helped them look much larger than they really were. Their spindly legs spread almost 6 ft (1.8 m) across, and their bodies ended in a swollen bulge of flesh from which a writhing swarm of tails protruded, each tipped with an upward-curving ovipositor.
Ekolids varied in color from brown to red, though normal traits included a pale, yellow underbelly and vertical, crimson mandibles gnashing below a cluster of black eyes.
Ekolids were intelligent creatures ruled by the constant, primal urge to reproduce. The only recognizable emotion they demonstrated was delighted chattering, displayed when their young burst from a host.
Ekolids were incredibly fast creatures that scuttled, climbed and flew with near-supernatural speed. Though their individual stings and bites weren't particularly deadly on their own, they could strike several times in less than a second, and their injections implanted the enemy with an egg that would swiftly hatch.
As obyriths, the presence of ekolids infected non-demons with a specific form of madness, in their case, parasitosis. Those that succumbed to their mind-warping influence started hallucinating that tiny, biting insects were infesting their hair, skin clothes, a permanent itching distraction that would forever impede their concentration until the condition was cured. The presence of several ekolids made it harder to resist the delusion, but the condition didn't worsen after already contracted, and one would be immune to a particular individual's influence for a day after enduring it.
Despite being quite intelligent, ekolids made use of simple tactics in combat. Ekolids relied mainly on their speed, and would rush to implant all potential victims and enemies with at least one egg each before retreating to await the birth of their young. Any survivors would be swiftly re-implanted to begin the cycle anew.
Ekolids didn't normally form their own societies, but nor did they typically travel alone. They usually moved in roving packs, constantly on the prowl for more victims to implant without concern for plundering treasure or gear. The greatest exception to this rule could be found in the 663rd layer of the Abyss, Zionyn, the seat of ekolid power. Zionyn consisted of a series of jagged badlands surrounded by shuddering syrup seas of thick resin, and aside from the ekolids it was infested with all manner of fiendish vermin and aberrations. Unlike ordinary ekolids, the natives of Zionyn often became things like bards, clerics, rangers and rogues, and carried appropriate gear.
It was here that the ekolids built their vast, complex hive cities, horrific parodies of decadent and degenerate human societies. After a living creature was used to host young, the industrious ekolids of Zionyn coated them in the putrid ooze of their oceans, which completely hardened at the exact moment of suffocation. The corpses were then used as building material in the gruesome towers and other structures of their buzzing cities, each sculpture capturing its own horrifying moment in time.
Inside ekolid cities were chattering markets that supplied poisons from dozens of worlds, but their dedicated purpose was supplying exotic slaves for incubation. The choicest captives were used in what were known as "performance hatchings", where vast swarms of ekolids gathered in massive, open-air forums to watch the high nobility of ekolid kind impregnate them. In these wild sessions, the ekolid that caused the most graphic death received the highest honor.
Ekolids were the minions of Obox-Ob, serving as the vile nobles of his demonic aristocracy in Zionyn. The ekolids constructed cathedrals, as well as vast temples dedicated to the Prince of Vermin, and their buildings of preserved corpses brought him great glee. Despite this, Obox-Ob's bitter rage led him to bring ruin to his own ekolid servitors, yet they still worshiped his fearsome fury.
Outside of Zionyn, ekolids were particularly prevalent on Driller's Hives, the 2nd layer of the Abyss, and on the Plains of Gallenshu the 377th layer. The former layer was ruled by the Chattering Prince Tharzax, demon lord of poisonous insects, and was home to massive hives of insects that eternally warred against one another, while in the latter layer the ekolids served as a constant menace for the native armanites.
Despite their importance in their culture, the meticulous Zionyn ekolids had little patience for mortals and often attacked them on sight, creating deadly situations on the rare occasion a group of them came to the Material Plane. Once there, they often started constructing recreations of their homeplane, covering existing stone structures with corpses rather than using them as the main material.
Hundreds of eggs could be generated within an ekolid's body in only an hour, so the only thing limiting their violent reproduction was the availability of living victims to infest. Though they weren't a disease and creatures immune to diseases could still be infected, remove disease spells could also destroy unhatched eggs.
Using their ovipositors, they implanted eggs just under the skin of their victims, only for the eggs to hatch a few seconds afterwards. Once the egg hatched, a ravenous grub would consume its way out of its host, leaving the victim incredibly nauseous and in serious pain due to the deep, bloody holes in their bodies.
The infantile grubs, though ravenous, were effectively harmless, able to killed rather easily, but they grew to maturity in only six hours. Fortunately for non-ekolids, the voracity of the young worked against their race as a whole, ensuring that only one or two siblings would survive after their siblings had been cannibalized.
Rumors and Legends
Rumors spoke of truly gargantuan, as well as unusually dim-witted, ekolids, though if such creatures existed, they likely did so only on the farthest fringes of the Abyss.
- The Masked Witches
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 38–39. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- Richard Lee Byers (2012). The Masked Witches. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0786959827.
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (2006-06-20). Fiendish Codex I, Part 2: The Lost Annals: Additional Layers. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. Retrieved on 2017-09-15.
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 73. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- Ed Stark, James Jacobs, Erik Mona (June 13, 2006). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-7869-3919-2.
- Robert Lazzaretti (1994). “The Abyss map”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 1560768746.
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