I’m very dis-ant-pointed

Looking at the title for this post, I really need to stop making such horrible puns if I want my readership to improve.

Today’s monster showcases once again why the creatures in the Bonus Bestiary are lame. Not only thematically, but also in terms of being cheap – case in point, the guys-o at Paizo couldn’t bring themselves to request two different pieces of art for these two monsters. Okay, maybe they did and it was just a page layout thing – since this is once again two monsters squeezed onto one page – but either way, there’s only one picture here.

Given that, I’m going to cover both of these things in one entry. So without further ado…

ANT LION, GIANT and ANT LION, MATURE (GIANT LACEWING)

According to Wikipedia, nobody really knows where the name “antlion” comes from (yes, it’s normally one word). That’s perfectly in keeping with the nature of this monster, since while it is a real insect (albeit much tinier), it’s also one of those ones that nobody knows or cares about. Very apropos.

So yeah, it’s a big predatory bug. It lays a trap of shifting sands. It matures into a dragonfly-like creature. Whoop-de-do. Other than the trap-laying part of its entry, which the giant lacewing form doesn’t even have, this is really isn’t anything you won’t find with yesterday’s giant ant. Likewise, the lacewing has nothing to recommend it – the giant wasp, for example, not only has poison, but is just scarier in every regard because it’s a giant frickin’ wasp!

I’m honestly very curious as to why Paizo wanted this monster done at all. It doesn’t seem to bring much to the table in terms of game-play value, and is hardly iconic in any sort of mythology, game history, or fiction. I have seen the rare giant antlion in some stories (for example, as an early boss in Final Fantasy IV), but it’s just not important enough to be noteworthy.

I’d say that the lesson to be learned here is that not everything that falls to the cutting-room floor is worth saving, but that seems like a very cynical lesson. After all, maybe there’s a gamer out there who has used the ant lion in his game, making it a rousing success of an encounter for their players? If so, please tell us all about it in the comments below!

This brings us to the end of our overview of big bugs (for now). Tomorrow, more do-gooder outsiders!

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