Amid this hissing cloud of glistening cockroaches is a disheveled vagrant with wasp-like stingers extending from its palms.
Speed 30 ft.
Str 10, Dex 21, Con 15, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 15
As a swift action, a morgodea can open its layered hide and expel a brood of cockroaches into all adjacent squares. This cloud moves with the morgodea. Creatures other than morgodeas and cockroaches within the cloud at the beginning of their turns take 1d6 points of damage. Any creature damaged by the cockroach cloud must succeed at a DC 15 Fortitude save or be exposed to a dose of morgod jelly. Area-effect attacks that deal 10 or more points of damage to the morgodea destroy its cockroach cloud for 3 rounds, after which a new brood matures and the morgodea can unleash its cloud again. When a morgodea dies, its brood disperses.
Vermin are normally mindless, but this empathic communication imparts a modicum of implanted intelligence in them, allowing the morgodea to train cockroaches and giant cockroaches and use them as guardians (although it does not grant them skills or feats). Cockroaches and giant cockroaches never attack a morgodea unless magically compelled to do so.
Morgodeas produce a pale, clear jelly from their bodies that acts as a powerful and addictive hallucinogenic. Creatures unwillingly exposed to morgod jelly can resist its effects with a successful DC 15 Fortitude save. The save DC for a morgodea’s jelly is Charisma-based.
A morgodea can stir the morgod jelly in an addict’s system. As a standard action, it can place an impulse into the mind of a single creature suffering from morgod jelly addiction within 60 feet. This functions as per the command spell, but the morgodea and its target do not need to hear or understand one another. Alternatively, the morgodea can inspire visions of insects crawling under the target’s skin, sickening the target for 1d6 rounds. A successful DC 15 Will save negates either effect. This is a mind-affecting compulsion effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Environment any urban
Organization solitary, pair, or infestation (3–6)
Morgodeas are sinister syntheses of fey and vermin who lurk in the filthy underworlds of cities. Compelled to corrupt and debase, these disgusting creatures deal in a pleasure that can plunge their victims into the depths addiction and madness. Morgodeas appear as human or elven vagrants covered in dirty rags. These “rags” are actually layered flaps of hide the morgodea can open to reveal a brood of cockroaches crawling amid its waxy, yellow flesh. Large pores in its body constantly weep a pale, thick jelly that sustains its nest of vermin and inspires euphoric visions in humanoids.
In combat, a morgodea’s cockroach brood erupts into a flesh-eating cloud to defend their master. The fey itself can extend a hidden chitinous pincer from its abdomen, and needle-like stings from the palm of each hand. It uses its massive claw to restrain victims while it injects them with its addictive venom again and again. A victim caught in this way is overwhelmed by the morgodea’s drug-like poison, and the prey’s consequent hallucinations render its attacker indistinguishable in the teeming mass of hissing, gel-smeared insects, even as the morgodea holds it in place. A morgodea stands 5 to 6 feet tall and weighs around 200 pounds.
Morgodeas once cleaned filth and refuse from glittering cities. Some ancestral crime corrupted their entire bloodline, and saw their people banished to the Material Plane, where their bodies twisted and warped to mirror their foul, covetous hearts. They can eat any sort of rotting organic matter, but prefer the flesh of humanoid creatures rendered comatose by their addictive jelly. These awful monsters keep such victims alive as long as possible, carefully consuming only those parts of their victims’ bodies that will not necessarily kill the prey. The addict’s brain is the foremost delicacy, and saved for a final feast.
Morgodeas reproduce by inserting a single egg into a comatose addict. Within days, the egg develops into a larva, which burrows its way into the brain and consumes it, and then begins to merge with the brainless body.
Throughout this time, the parent keeps its young hidden away in a foul place, while the body emits a pheromone to attract cockroaches from the surrounding area to inhabit the corpse—laying eggs and multiplying by the hundreds—while feeding from the jelly produced by the growing larva. After 4 weeks, the body reawakens as an adult morgodea, already host to a large swarm of the insects and covered in porous, waxy flesh that weeps its own supply of morgod jelly.
Despite this transmutation, the victim’s face remains recognizable, resulting in mistaken sightings of missing people. Occasionally, individuals searching for down-and-out friends and family members instead find themselves the monsters’ latest victims.
Morgodeas are strongly attracted to sprawling urban areas, where they nestle against the dark underbelly of civilization. Such settlements must be large enough to provide a level of anonymity to their inhabitants.
Morgodeas’ secret infestation of cities is like a foul disease creeping through the bloodstream to infect the vital organs of society. An infestation begins with a lone morgodea claiming a lair—often an abandoned building or sewer—and clearing the surrounding area of other predators before it begins selling the dubious pleasures of its jelly to the desperate and demented.
Soon thereafter, the monster’s growing number of thralls secure its place in the underworld and bring it rotting meats and fruits, strong alcohols, and sugary sweets in payment. Eventually, those overwhelmed by addiction slip into a nightmare-filled coma before becoming a meal or a newborn morgodea.
A morgodea’s nest slowly grows alongside its influence and stock of customers. A full infestation of morgodeas rarely contains more than five or six of the creatures, and even then, only the largest of cities and metropolises that can sustain such numbers without rapid detection of the nest. Morgodeas in excess of this number leave the nest to seek out new settlements to infest, or else are devoured by their own families long before they gestate from their larval states.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #99: Dance of the Damned © 2015, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Richard Pett, with Stephanie Lorée, Michael McCarthy, Alistair Rigg, F. Wesley Schneider, and Todd Stewart.