|Dungeons & Dragons creature|
In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the piercer is a vermin. It resembles almost exactly a stalactite (similar to a darkmantle), only with eyes in the sides. The piercer is actually a giant gastropod of which the pointy, stalactite-esque part is its shell. Its tail and other such parts can almost never be seen. Its color ranges from brown, to black, to gray, to green, to blue.
Piercers live in colonies of ten or so individuals (though very deep in the earth, colonies of hundreds are said to exist). When attacking prey (of which the dropping and impaling methods will be described in the combat section), they often fall down in unison, making the area briefly very dangerous. Piercers, though unintelligent, are aware of others in their colony. Piercers can go for days without food, having a second stomach which slowly digests and stores reserves of fat. They are often hunted for the substances involved in this, as it can be used to preserve foodstuffs. Piercers can also be eaten, having a taste similar to that of snails.
Piercers have acute senses of hearing and touch, and can easily detect when prey comes. When it does, the piercer crawls to the roof of the cavern ceiling (they live underground) and disguises itself as a stalactite. When prey gets near enough, it drops down and impales them. It then proceeds to eat them. If the piercer misses, however, then it is in deep trouble. Fallen piercers are slow and easily slain, and their only defense takes the form of a weak acid which they excrete. This acid is usually enough to discourage most attacking creatures, however. Piercers are interested only in food and have no value for treasure.
Piercers cannot speak and are regarded as neutral in alignment.
According to lore, the darkmantle is supposedly the result of an evolutionary cataclysm between piercers and lurkers. It is thought that the reason for this is because a fallen piercer was simply too hopeless. Because dropping from the ceiling is their only form of attack and because of their slowness in getting back onto the ceiling, a piercer that had fallen and missed was simply a sitting duck. The darkmantle overcame this by evolving webs of skin which allowed it to fly, and hence, ascend to the ceiling more quickly.
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