Black and yellow stripes cover this winged insect’s bulbous abdomen, which ends in a dagger-sized stinger.
Giant Ground Wasp CR 4
Ground wasps grow their eggs inside of a living host. Implanting eggs in a host is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity, and the target must be helpless but alive. Once an egg is implanted, it exudes paralytic enzymes that not only keep the victim in a state of perpetual paralysis, but also keep it nourished and alive— and fully aware. This condition lasts until the egg hatches 1d6 days later, at which point the larvae consume most of the host, killing it. Any magical effect that removes paralysis or disease (such as remove paralysis, remove disease, or heal) destroys the eggs, but mere immunity to paralysis or disease does not offer protection.
Environment warm desert
Organization solitary or hive (2–20)
Though most people think of deserts as desolate and dead lands, the rocks and sands harbor an impressive array of life. Invisible during the heat of the day, hundreds of species of animals and insects—both magical and not— call these sandy expanses their home. Life in the desert requires hardy bodies and clever adaptations. Some of these adaptations make vermin capable of threatening passing caravans and armed travelers.
Hard exoskeletons help the giant insects retain moisture in the oven-hot temperatures of the desert. Like many other desert creatures, which have evolved to bite, sting, prick, or irritate, most desert vermin possess some manner of venom to deter attackers or to take down prey. The same adaptations that allow these vermin to thrive in the desert also make them a threat for adventurers who brave the dunes in search of lost lore or treasure.
In areas of dense vegetation, ground wasps can destroy crops and ruin the land with their burrows, but in the rocky and sandy desert, living creatures are most at risk from these dangerous vermin. The blistering heat of the desert can damage delicate eggs laid in exposed locations, so ground wasps have evolved to lay their eggs safely in the bodies of their victims. They keep to their shallow burrows during the hottest parts of the day, but remain near the opening to ambush creatures that wander near.
A fully-grown ground wasp is 2 feet long, with a wingspan of 5 feet, and weighs 22 pounds.