A small parasite found on the planet Deon.
This is a fingernail-sized parasite that seeks to burrow into a host near the base of the neck, where it can feed on brain fluids. To stimulate production of certain preferred brain chemicals associated with anger and aggression, the parasite infuses the victim with a cocktail of steroid-like chemicals that cause dramatic muscle growth and steroid-induced “’roid-rage” (the process takes about 15 minutes). Once the creature has pushed its unwilling host to its limits (until the host is killed or expires from its abused biology), the ‘tick abandons ship, along with a dozen offspring, to begin the process anew with fresh hosts. The berserktic normally feeds on other Deonese predators (in which case its effects are only 25% of that described here) but it has found a new favorite crop of prey in the humans and humanoid Minions now invading the tunnels of Deon, as humans and those most like them are even more susceptible to the ‘tic’s effects. Survivors tell horror stories of entire work crews being transformed overnight into raging muscle-monsters and slaughtering each other.
The Berserktic has begun appearing as a Parasite in the Biowizardry marketplaces of Desslyth, though it is unknown if the Splugorth are able to successfully breed the creatures, or are selling off a stock of them acquired before the Blood Riders took over Deon.
As parasites, these creatures are small and simple, desiring only to attach themselves to a host.Host Type: Warm-blooded creatures
Host Environment: Attempts to site itself at the base of the neck or between the shoulderblades, as close to the spinal column as possible.
Reproduction: Berserktics are hermaphrodites, producing about a dozen offspring after they’ve gorged themselves on their dying host.
Average Life Span: 3 years
As parasites, they grant a number of bonuses, and side effects, to their host bodies.
Explosive Muscle Growth
Bersektics cause a massive surge of muscle growth in their hosts by a cocktail of steroid-like chemicals. +3d6 P.S. and is regarded as Superhuman
The skin takes on a leathery texture with tumor-like cartilage growths that toughens the host's skin. TRIPLE the victim’s original SDC.
Due to the steroid-like chemicals being pumped into the host, they host becomes irrational and hostile, unable to tell friend from foe. The host must make a roll save versus insanity or go berserk; +1 to strike, +5 save versus Horror Factor, +1d6 to P.E., and the host effectively feels no pain while in the berserk.
The host suffers a number of side effects while the Berserktic is part of them.
While berserk, the host is -3 to dodge, -3 to strike with melee weapons, and is effectively -6 to strike with modern and ranged weapons( more likely to use them as clubs).
The muscle-bound victim needs to consume massive amounts of food to keep all that extra muscle bulk fueled. Must eat their body weight in food every 24 hours. The victim acquires a hankering for high protein foods like meat, and may resort to cannibalism, eating his victims, in order to remain stoked.
The explosive muscle growth DOUBLES the victim’s weight, and HALVES P.B.
Long Term Effects
The victim is in danger of suffering cardiac arrest, pulmonary failure, stroke, and blood clots. The host can go for its P.E. in days of full bore activity(2-3 times as long if the victim isn’t constantly being stirred into a killing rage by the presence of others) before the body begins breaking down; roll versus coma/death every time the infested host gets into combat/heavy exertion, a failed roll means the victim suffers a heart attack or blood clot(takes 4d6 to Hit Points, 1d6 of which will be permanently lost/cannot be healed without advanced medical attention or magical restoration).
Generally the victim lasts only about 2-3 weeks under the influence of the Berserktic (most die much sooner due to violence).
Means of Elimination
The parasite can be removed surgically. The damage to appearance, and to the heart and internal organs is permanent, and may require long-term care to keep the condition from worsening.
Market Cost: 85,000 credits through the Splugorth market. Berserktics are being marketed as a quick enhancement for ‘cigarette soldier’ cannon-fodder or gladiators.