Posts Tagged ‘ant’

I’m very dis-ant-pointed

May 5, 2010

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…


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!

I Dream of Ants that can Sing and Dance

May 4, 2010

Continuing on with the monsters from the Bestiary, this time I change things slightly. Our next two creatures are being examined together. While I should say this is because of how bad I’ve been at updating lately, it’s really because they’re so similar as to be basically two different takes on the same creature. Certainly, the guys at Paizo must’ve felt that way, since both are on the same page.

Now, put your antennae together for the…


It’s a very fitting irony that we have another big bug after everything I wrote about the ankheg; after all, everything I wrote there is true here also, more so in fact. The giant ant just doesn’t seem threatening in any regard because, well, common ants aren’t really more than a nuisance – a single ant is barely worth being noticed, even if it’s big.

In fact, I’d so far as to say that this guy looks rather adorable; he makes me think of “Anty” from Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Remember Anty? Certainly, the giant ant doesn’t seem overly threatening, and even the descriptive text doesn’t have any menacing overtones, noting how a nest of giant ants doesn’t have as many members as a normal-sized nest would.

By the way, anyone else think that the name of this creature is redundant? I mean, shouldn’t it be called the Gi-Ant?

*crickets chirp*

…yeah, that was incredibly lame, I admit it.

As far as adventure potential goes, however, I think that a giant anthill might just be the coolest dungeon ever. Remember how that ant farm you had as a kid looked? Imagine one of those on a human scale. I have no idea why the PCs would need to infiltrate one, or for that matter what treasure there’d be or what enemies they’d face (besides the obvious), but it really seems like a fun idea.

Ideally, I’d find a way for the giant ants to be sentient, and have them mischievously stealing food while singing a happy song. Not so for these next creatures.


Paizo’s inclusion of the army ant swarm is self-evident in its justification; these are the only kinds of ants that really evoke a sense of fear in people. Rightly so – army ants are the Nazis of the insect world.

Simply calling them “army” ants implies that there’s a rigorous sense of order to what they’re doing. These insects have a specific goal in mind, and are going to use force to achieve it. And of course, it’s no use fighting them; there are thousands of them to replace each fallen soldier, and each is a menace.

Just look at that picture to the left. That aggressive red coloring. Those soulless, angry eyes. The pincers spread wide as if about to attack. Clearly, we’re looking at a well-trained, ruthless killer. You can practically see the ranks, marching in formation, sweeping over any and all resistance.

I don’t know about you, but I can almost hear their battle hymn now…

Oh yeah – evil to the core, that’s what those things are.