by Jacob

Steal This Monster: Chameleon Drake

This is Difficult

I’ve been wanting to do a monster Steal This article for a while, but hadn’t been able to come up with a new monster. Every idea I had halted in its tracks, since it was almost guaranteed to be a copy of some already-created monster in some way or another. But I decided to get over it, since that’s sort of how all other things were created. I just wanted to be certain it’s different enough from other popular creatures that it’s worth posting.

So, after some thinking, I’ve come up with the Chameleon Drake. By the way, you’re likely to see a lot of dragon- or lizard-based creatures for my monsters. I just like them too much.

Physical Description

Chameleon drakes are quadrupeds whose front shoulders come up to about 3 to 3 ½ feet. They’re lithe bodies are about 8 feet from head to rear, with another 8 feet of tail. Their shape is largely draconic, with no wings and a fairly short snout. Their heads have a crest that sweeps back just a little past the back of their heads and two prominent horns; one shorter one coming from the middle of the snout, with the other, much taller one coming from the top of the head and sweeping back a little. Their eyes are just like a chameleons, and so are their tongues, which can reach up to 5 feet away.

Abilities

Despite having other chameleon-esque traits, the chameleon drake really gets its name from its ability to ‘go invisible’. While it technically doesn’t change the color of its skin to hide, its skin is the only part of the drake that’s affected by the camouflage. It bends light around its body, making it extremely difficult to see. Only slight tremors of light, the tips of its eyes, and the inside of its open mouth give away its position.

Its tongue is capable of traveling at great speeds towards its prey, sticking to them and pulling them into its mouth full of sharp teeth. Its aim is near perfect, and its tongue travels so quickly, most creatures don’t have the reflexes to even attempt to dodge it. Slicing at the tongue will usually cause the drake to detach and retract it before it attempts to disarm you with it.

Its tail is powerful enough to hit people with as well. But that tail strength is also used to hang from tree branches, since chameleon drakes are excellent climbers.

Lastly, with eyes that can move independently, chameleon drakes are capable of watching a wide spectrum of direction around them, making it difficult to flank. Also, trying to distract it and make it focus on one person is quite difficult, since it only ever uses both eyes to look at one thing under one circumstance, described in the next section.

Limitations

In order to aim its tongue, the chameleon drake needs both of its eyes to focus on the target for depth perception. Smart adventurers would take this chance to attack from behind. Unfortunately for those smart adventurers, the drake already knows that it’s more vulnerable at that point in time, so it only does so if there’s only one or two people left (that it knows about). Otherwise, it uses its claws, tail, and teeth to fight.

Due to the chameleon drake being a lizard, it needs warm itself in the sun at times, so it cannot be invisible at all times, since that would cause the sun’s light to bend around it. Also, using its invisibility uses a lot of energy, so the drake tends to only go invisible when it hunts or when it senses that it’s in danger.

When invisible, if the drake decides to use its tongue, it can be much more easily spotted, since the inside of its mouth becomes visible.

Tactics

Chameleon drakes prefer to hunt with stealth, so they’ll get up in a tree or crouch down low and use their camouflage to stay hidden before they attack. From there, they may jump out and attack with teeth, claws, and tail if there are more than one or two people there. Otherwise, it’ll lash out with its tongue and drag its prey in immediately to eat.

Environment

Chameleon drakes live in jungles or very thick forests, where they can get around in the trees and they have plenty of food. They need it to be moderately warm year-round, since they’re lizards and need to soak up heat, being cold-blooded and all.

Variants

One thing about the chameleon drake that you could add is the idea that its tongue is poisonous. This would give it more reasons to use its tongue, and it wouldn’t have to use its claws, teeth, etc as much. That way, you could focus more on showing off the monster’s uniqueness.

Another thing that you could change would be its camouflage. You could make it less mystical and make the drake change its skin color. Since I gave no numbers for how well it can hide with it anyway, you can use whatever numbers you like.

New to Steal This…?

If you’re new to the Steal This… series, go to the Steal This… manifesto and archives to find out what it’s about or to see the other Steal This… articles.





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