Unlike grasshoppers, pernicons were brightly colored, pale brownish yellow with mixtures of light blue, yellow, and red. They were notable for a set of sharp pincers on the end of their abdomens.
Pernicons were active at night, leaving their mounds at dusk to search for moisture, which they took in from dew found on plants and rocks. They could detect water using their sensitive antennae, and some species of pernicon would change colors when they detected a source of moisture.
Like crickets, pernicons made clicking noises by rubbing their hind legs together. Some scholars supposed that this was a language of sorts, but there was really little evidence for this.
Pernicons would swarm together when attacking. Their method of attack was to leap upon their targets and seek to implant their abdomens, which ended with sharp pincers, into exposed skin. They were more than capable of squeezing under clothing or armor to find bare flesh. Once the pincers were clamped, they would not release, even if the pernicon were killed. Once the abdomen was embedded, the insect would begin sucking bodily fluid from the victim through its tail.
Pernicons typically lived in the border regions of deserts. They were found in the desert of Anauroch in the ruins of Ascore. They also inhabited the Midwood of Cormanthor and the Farsea Marshes of Cormyr.
A pericon colony lived underground in a cone-shaped mound of dirt and sand. Such mounds were usually between three and five feet high and was covered in holes, through which the insects entered and exited. Each colony tended to keep about three miles from another, although they occasionally shared territory.
Pernicons laid eggs during the rainy season. Three hundred pernicons would lay about a pound total of eggs.
The antennae of pernicons were prized by desert nomads, because they vibrated and hummed when near water. Some said that were said to be able to detect a large water source from as far as 120 feet away. Others claimed that the maximum distance of detection was rather twelve miles! Pernicon hunters used the clacking sound of pernicons to track them down. A whole, live pernicon could sell for a much as ten gold pieces.
Pernicons were a favored food for brass dragons and lamias, and both creatures considered their eggs a delicacy. Some desert tribesfolk agreed, and the going price for pernicon eggs was 50 gold pieces per pound. Even if their taste was not preferred, pernicons were so full of moisture that eating about a dozen could provide a human with not only a significant source of protein but also about a quart of water. Because of this, some desert peoples called the pernicon the "walking cactus".
- John Nephew (April 1986). “The Ecology of the Pernicon”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #108 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 22–25.
- John Nephew (April 1986). “The Pernicon: A New Version”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #108 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 25–26.
- Tim Beach, Donald J. Bingle, Al Boyce, Vince Garcia, Kris Hardinger, Steve Hardinger, Rob Nicholls, Wes Nicholson, Norm Ritchie, Greg Swedberg, and John Terra (1992). Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix (MC14). (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-56076-428-7.
- Don Turnbull (1981). Fiend Folio. (TSR Hobbies), p. 72. ISBN 0-9356-9621-0.
- Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 28.
- Jennell Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 40. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
- slade, et al. (April 1996). “The Wilderness”. In James Butler ed. The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (TSR, Inc.), p. 61. ISBN 0-7869-0391-0.
- James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Explorer's Manual”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “Explorer's Manual”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 20. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
- Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. ?. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.