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Author Topic: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!  (Read 886 times)

SHARK

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Greetings!

In my own campaign world, in many regions, I have large populations of Giant Insects. With some thought, I have considered the wider impact of such populations of Giant Insects on the surrounding natural environment, as well as community settlements. Imagine having swarms of hog-sized Giant Ants, frequent encounters with dog-sized or cow-sized bumble bees, wasps, beetles, and such like. I have often used populations of large hordes of 500-lb. hog-sized Giant Flies. The Giant Flies are not generally *immediately* lethal to an adult human, though increased bites by a Giant Fly or several bites made against the person by several Giant Flies can of course become fatal.

Such developments have increased the overall level of violence, hostility, danger, as well as the increasing occurrence of diseases. Disruption to local farmer's work, berry-collecting, fishermen going about their work, woodcutters, and soon are frequently disrupted and made more difficult. Bands of locals simply must be on guard to fight off groups of giant insects of whatever kind as a normal routine part of life. There have also been some additional commercial developments--the development of different kinds of insect-based food, as well as using harvested bodies and body-parts of giant ants, giant beetles, giant dragonflies, giant snails, and more. Such developments have become so well-established as to become significant aspects of various local cultures, communities, and economic systems.

How have you used and developed Giant Insects in your own campaigns? Have such Giant Insects generated different dynamics in your campaigns? Have there been developments reflecting the populations of Giant Insects that were surprising to you?

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

Ghostmaker

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2021, 10:39:41 PM »
Greetings!

In my own campaign world, in many regions, I have large populations of Giant Insects. With some thought, I have considered the wider impact of such populations of Giant Insects on the surrounding natural environment, as well as community settlements. Imagine having swarms of hog-sized Giant Ants, frequent encounters with dog-sized or cow-sized bumble bees, wasps, beetles, and such like. I have often used populations of large hordes of 500-lb. hog-sized Giant Flies. The Giant Flies are not generally *immediately* lethal to an adult human, though increased bites by a Giant Fly or several bites made against the person by several Giant Flies can of course become fatal.

Such developments have increased the overall level of violence, hostility, danger, as well as the increasing occurrence of diseases. Disruption to local farmer's work, berry-collecting, fishermen going about their work, woodcutters, and soon are frequently disrupted and made more difficult. Bands of locals simply must be on guard to fight off groups of giant insects of whatever kind as a normal routine part of life. There have also been some additional commercial developments--the development of different kinds of insect-based food, as well as using harvested bodies and body-parts of giant ants, giant beetles, giant dragonflies, giant snails, and more. Such developments have become so well-established as to become significant aspects of various local cultures, communities, and economic systems.

How have you used and developed Giant Insects in your own campaigns? Have such Giant Insects generated different dynamics in your campaigns? Have there been developments reflecting the populations of Giant Insects that were surprising to you?

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
If we're talking fantasy, I adhere to this:



Although I did have an interesting ranger NPC in one game. He wore ankheg-carapace armor and rode a giant mantis.

DM_Curt

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2021, 10:46:02 PM »
Sounds interesting. Too bad half my table would go "Ew!" at giant insect minis.

palaeomerus

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2021, 11:05:25 PM »
I did a "food of the gods" thing once where lots of things grew bigger and oxygen levels were way higher leading to a lot of deadly fires and explosions as well as giant voracious but curiously misshapen animals including bugs who are also sort of fragile given how oversized they are.
Emery

hedgehobbit

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2021, 10:15:40 AM »
In my own campaign world, in many regions, I have large populations of Giant Insects. With some thought, I have considered the wider impact of such populations of Giant Insects on the surrounding natural environment, as well as community settlements.

Was this thread inspired by this article: "Concerning Growth In Number Of Giant Flies As Adventurers Keep Slaying All The Giant Spiders"

https://babylonbee.com/news/adventurers-slay-giant-spiders-and-now-the-land-is-overrun-with-giant-flies

“This is why I hate adventurers,” said the unnamed man who runs the inn in the nearby town of Wolfwater. “They just see some ‘monsters’ and say, ‘Hey, maybe if I kill that, I’ll get some good experience, and perhaps it will drop some gold.’ And they never think of the long-term consequences.”


SHARK

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2021, 03:43:38 PM »
In my own campaign world, in many regions, I have large populations of Giant Insects. With some thought, I have considered the wider impact of such populations of Giant Insects on the surrounding natural environment, as well as community settlements.

Was this thread inspired by this article: "Concerning Growth In Number Of Giant Flies As Adventurers Keep Slaying All The Giant Spiders"

https://babylonbee.com/news/adventurers-slay-giant-spiders-and-now-the-land-is-overrun-with-giant-flies

“This is why I hate adventurers,” said the unnamed man who runs the inn in the nearby town of Wolfwater. “They just see some ‘monsters’ and say, ‘Hey, maybe if I kill that, I’ll get some good experience, and perhaps it will drop some gold.’ And they never think of the long-term consequences.”

Greetings!

*Laughing* That's a in article! I like it, but no, I hadn't seen that article until you posted it. I have had Giant Insects in my campaign world forever, and was doing some thinking on how such a reality may affect the surrounding environment--namely, what kind of impact would the existence of several varieties of large, unending numbers of Giant Insects have on local Human communities, as well as communities of other humanoids?

I of course thought of food. People currently eat all kinds of insects around the world, from Grasshoppers and Beetles, to Ants, Snails, and others. So, I if Giant Insects were around, they no doubt would go on the menu quickly. ;D Then, I also thought of Giant Insect resources, like their chitin, hides, eyes, stingers, wings, legs, mandibles. All of those such things, being Giant-Sized, would no doubt be utilized somehow in the crafting of clothing, armour, or weapons. So, there would be a market developed there, for certain. There are also some considerations on the kinds of impact that Giant Insects would have also on the maintenance of agriculture, commerce, roads, border security, all of that. Giant Insects swarming about would it seems increase the likelihood of an increased militarization of any Human community, or group of humanoids. Communities simply must have a vigorous force ready to defend the community against a large attack by Giant Ants, or a rampaging Giant Beetle--or a hal dozen or dozen Giant Flies moving into the village. I have easily swatted and killed over a dozen flies working in my garage, and I can tell you, having even a decent number of normal flies around you is constantly annoying, and disrupting, to the point where I had to stop doing what I was doing, and focus on killing a doen or so flies. I just imagine, well, things would be very different if the Flies weighed 300 or 400 pounds, and were the size of a hog! *Laughing* That, I imagine, would certainly make them potentially lethal in their attacks, particularly being bit by such Giant Flies more than once.

Plus, I have a dozen Giant Fly miniatures in my collection of miniatures for D&D. They are 32mm, and are on their own clear *flying stands* so they definitely come in handy. The Player Characters often encounter them everywhere, which is nice, too, for keeping the Player Characters on their toes. Giant Flies, being hungry, belligerent, and absolutely stubborn, stupid, and heedless of any danger to themselves, can be encountered anywhere. In the middle of the town, out in the countryside, inside dungeons, sewers, wherever. Flies go anywhere for food, and attack relentlessly. Other kinds of Giant Insects are also interesting, too, and insects pose a different kind of threat than humanoids, or even other kinds of monsters. Insects, being prolific in their breeding, are likely to have seemingly endless numbers, so the Player Characters will never likely "Get Rid of Them". The Giant Insects are an opponent and threat, but also almost like an environmental condition. They can sometimes be defeated, for a time, but they will be back. Then, of course, Giant Insects, much like normal insects, hate humanity and seek to annoy, disrupt, bite, sting, and eat us at every opportunity. And, as many insects are also absolutely fearless, they charge forth, heedless of any danger to themselves, so Giant Insects make excellent combat opponents that need no other kind of explanation. They do not need a rationale, nor do the insects worry or experience fear. They eat, and attack anything they detect in their territory. Giant Insects are also immoral, and remorseless. They view eating Human men, women, children, all as equally tasty, so anyone is likely to be jumped on and ruthlessly attacked. Giant Flies for example, would absolutely terrorize women and children being outdoors. Men, farming, fishing, woodcutters, or doing whatever, would also find that Giant Flies would be dangerous, and a threat. I can just hear the women and children screaming though! As an aside, you no doubt are familiar with how women absolutely *shriek* currently whenever they encounter a spider...or God forbid, a snake...*laughing*

So, I see many interesting uses for Giant Insects in the campaign. They serve as a constant threat to people everywhere, but in a somewhat different manner than monsters or humanoids. The Giant Insects serve as a reliable food source, and impact local diet and cuisine. Then, of course, Giant Insects are also resources themselves, supplying bodies, ingredients, pincers, stingers, and so on for clothing, armour, weapons, and alchemical uses, too! Thus, I think that Giant Insects are a fun and rewarding addition to virtually any campaign.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

Trond

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2021, 05:01:29 PM »
I think I would include my favorite insect: Asian giant honeybees (well, in a fantasy world I guess they would be giant-giant honeybees) , with societies hanging under cliffs and producing hallucinogenic honey.

Also don't forget giant-giant Asian hornets (a.k.a. giant murder hornets). The worst enemy of bees, and a pretty good villain overall I think :D

Greentongue

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2021, 05:41:16 PM »
What is the natural enemy of these insects?
Part of why their number stay under control is being at the bottom of the food chain.
If instead, stripping the land bare of food is their control, that doesn't leave much for anything else.

SHARK

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2021, 06:09:04 PM »
I think I would include my favorite insect: Asian giant honeybees (well, in a fantasy world I guess they would be giant-giant honeybees) , with societies hanging under cliffs and producing hallucinogenic honey.

Also don't forget giant-giant Asian hornets (a.k.a. giant murder hornets). The worst enemy of bees, and a pretty good villain overall I think :D

Greetings!

Hi Trond! Giant Hornets! YES! They sound awesome!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

SHARK

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2021, 06:27:01 PM »
What is the natural enemy of these insects?
Part of why their number stay under control is being at the bottom of the food chain.
If instead, stripping the land bare of food is their control, that doesn't leave much for anything else.

Greetings!

Well, Greentongue my friend, I think that with the establishment of Giant Insects--being themselves "Unnatural"--then plausibly, they would likely have a whole set of natural and unnatural predators in a fantastic world that would help keep the Giant Insects from taking over everything.

Giant Snakes; Giant Spiders; Giant Birds--Axe Beaks, Giant Ostriches, Giant Chickens, Giant Ravens, Giant Vultures. Giant Rats, Giant Weasels, Giant Lizards, Reptiles, and Giant Boars, too. Giant Frogs and Toads, no doubt would be devouring them prodigiously. Various kinds of Salamanders and Fish, too.

Then, of course, well, in a world stuffed full of lots of other humanoid races besides Humans, there are plenty of other threats and hostile factions that would likely also routinely prey upon and harvest populations of Giant Insects. If Humans find Giant Insects edible for food and useful for other various products and resources, it stands to reason lots of other folks would also, whether they are Ogres, Orcs, Beastmen, Goblins, Gnolls, Bugbears, Lizard Men, Tabaxi, Dragonborn, Teiflings, Minotaurs, or whatever else. I think that even Elves, Dwarves, Halflings and Gnomes, they too would naturally gravitate towards preying upon various Giant Insects as well, again, for the same reasons that Humans would.

Can you imagine the value of honey captured and harvested from a colony of Giant Bumble Bees? ;D

Yes, I am reminded of that historically, there have been strong trade elements involving honey, especially from the Slavs, and the Norse from ancient times onward. ;D

So, I would think that there are plenty of sources of predators that would keep Gant Insects from simply overrunning everything. Interesting stuff to think about, for sure my friend!

I also just love using my Giant Fly miniatures on my Players in encounters. "EWWW! Help! Help! Giant Flies are biting me!" *Laughing*

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

hedgehobbit

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2021, 11:09:38 PM »
Giant Snakes; Giant Spiders; Giant Birds--Axe Beaks, Giant Ostriches, Giant Chickens, Giant Ravens, Giant Vultures. Giant Rats, Giant Weasels, Giant Lizards, Reptiles, and Giant Boars, too. Giant Frogs and Toads, no doubt would be devouring them prodigiously. Various kinds of Salamanders and Fish, too.

I'm afraid that if you are playing in a campaign full of giant insects and an assortment of giant animals which eat them, that you might as well play in a game where humans are tiny.

It might be a better idea simply to limit such giant creatures to a particular part of the game world. That way their hugeness would be more impressive and not just a normal day-to-day part of life. (Besides, you'll need somewhere for giant flowers to grow if you expect giant bees to collect any pollen rather than just trampling the flowers).
« Last Edit: October 18, 2021, 11:13:06 PM by hedgehobbit »

Pat

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2021, 11:39:16 PM »
Giant Snakes; Giant Spiders; Giant Birds--Axe Beaks, Giant Ostriches, Giant Chickens, Giant Ravens, Giant Vultures. Giant Rats, Giant Weasels, Giant Lizards, Reptiles, and Giant Boars, too. Giant Frogs and Toads, no doubt would be devouring them prodigiously. Various kinds of Salamanders and Fish, too.

I'm afraid that if you are playing in a campaign full of giant insects and an assortment of giant animals which eat them, that you might as well play in a game where humans are tiny.

It might be a better idea simply to limit such giant creatures to a particular part of the game world. That way their hugeness would be more impressive and not just a normal day-to-day part of life. (Besides, you'll need somewhere for giant flowers to grow if you expect giant bees to collect any pollen rather than just trampling the flowers).
Being tiny creates a lot of complications. Surface tension, strength to mass ratio, how to grow grain that's as tall as a skyscraper, and so on. It's easier to scale up a finite set of things, and not worry about the changes to everything else.

But restricting things to part of the game world is almost always a good idea. It helps create a sense of a wider world when you go new places, and things are very different. Big bugs might go well with a land of Cyclopean ruins. Say the residual magic of the titanic ancients causes it, so they don't spread further than the outer reaches of the fallen architecture.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2021, 11:43:34 PM by Pat »

FingerRod

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2021, 04:00:10 PM »
I put a mosquito-like head on a cherub and had it sucking on one PC’s upper arm, and only a different PC could occasionally see it. The other PC saw it 2-3 times the rest of the session. The party was casting all kinds of stuff trying to find it, and the suckee was rather freaked out.

The player had unknowingly missed a saving throw opening an old chest earlier in the session. The next morning, the PC could see an infected suck hole. Two sessions later, the PC was attacked by a mucus-coated clone of himself. I never explained it.

All of that is to say that insects are gross and can be terrifying. Highly recommend them.

Spinachcat

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2021, 04:18:59 PM »
Palladium's SYSTEMS FAILURE is my fave giant bug RPG.
https://palladium-store.com/1001/product/650-Systems-Failure-RPG.html

It's all the kewl stuff of the Zombie genre, but with giant bugs who can ride electrical lines and capture humans for food. Much fun in actual play and I'd happily run it again, either one shot or campaign.

SHARK

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Re: Considerations of a Campaign Environment that features Giant Insects!
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2021, 04:31:03 PM »
Giant Snakes; Giant Spiders; Giant Birds--Axe Beaks, Giant Ostriches, Giant Chickens, Giant Ravens, Giant Vultures. Giant Rats, Giant Weasels, Giant Lizards, Reptiles, and Giant Boars, too. Giant Frogs and Toads, no doubt would be devouring them prodigiously. Various kinds of Salamanders and Fish, too.

I'm afraid that if you are playing in a campaign full of giant insects and an assortment of giant animals which eat them, that you might as well play in a game where humans are tiny.

It might be a better idea simply to limit such giant creatures to a particular part of the game world. That way their hugeness would be more impressive and not just a normal day-to-day part of life. (Besides, you'll need somewhere for giant flowers to grow if you expect giant bees to collect any pollen rather than just trampling the flowers).

Greetings!

Yeah, Hedgehobbit! I generally also have Giant Insects living in particular regions of the campaign world. There are some campaign regions that only have normal animals and insects.

However, I have just extrapolated from creatures in the Monster Manual, and applied their natural natures and life-cycles. Giant Ants, much like regular ants, as well as Giant Flies, for example, breed enormous colonies and nests, and rapidly become ubiquitous in whatever the local environment is--all the while existing under the presence of numerous predators.

Where I live, for example, throughout most of the year, despite modern pesticides, traps, and so on, there are relentless presence or activity of spiders, ants, and flies. I assume that Giant versions would be equally resilient and stubborn. ;D It's also fun to think about the local human and humanoid communities embracing different kinds of Giant Insects as part of their cuisine, as well as using them in ingredients, armour, and weapons.

Plus, there is also the fun "EWWW!" factor, as the players--but especially the women--freak whenever they encounter Giant Insects, and get bit by them, wrapped up in their limbs fighting and so on. The emotional, visceral reaction to dealing with such Giant Insects I have to say is on quite a different level from say, humanoid opponents like Goblins, Orcs, or Beastmen. Having a female player character engulfed by a Giant Snail and almost drowning from snail slime...yeah, the shrieking gets *loud* ;D

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"