CBM’s, Mutations, and more esoteric advancements have been a core part of progression and challenge in CDDA. However, at a certain point these great foundations can get a bit squeaky. So I have been thinking of a new layer that could be added to this pleasing foundation. Dregs, now by “Dregs” I don’t mean scuttling shackled servants, or hunched zombies but, vulnerable slowly moving viscous masses.
These entities could conjoin and consume “hosts”. For instance let’s say it came in contact with a swarmer zombie, while this pawn of the Blob isn’t exactly supple or intelligent it sure beats rolling around from place to place. Thus, the conjoining begins when the “Dreg” (originally called Crawler before I knew their was already a creature with that name) adheres to its ride and is permanently changed. As time progresses the “Dreg” will diverge from its vulnerable kin and integrate itself further into the prey or companion. If the pair are in a tough spot then the “Dreg” will rend itself from its ride and escape with vigor. That is where the player comes in.
As one can imagine the player is a large threat to individual dead heads which includes those that are hosts for these masses. A fused “Dreg” may encounter this human and find food, shelter, or death. I imagine that if it and it’s previous host (while still being attached) was shot or stabbed repeatedly then it wouldn’t be compliant. If this variant can be reasoned with then a pact may be formed and this Dreg can call you it’s final destination, or just eat you once it is fused to your skin.
Their would be a safer option however, finding and merging with a pure Dreg that hasn’t integrated with a creature yet (most of these pure strains are spawns of Alpha Dregs). Now why would you, a presumably sane human being let this clearly dangerous creature become a part of yourself? Many reasons actually, for one armor, clothing, and exposure are no longer your problem as you now have a fully aware second skin that does all of that. Of course this does have problems, at least in the beginning. While it may start out as a sappy slurry that slows you down and barely dampens blows it could over time change to become rock hard, extremely elastic, acidic, electric, or grow a more “enthusiastic” weapon. It can also withstand sudden mutated growth and shrinking the player may develop. Another is intelligence as one can imagine two minds are better than one, especially when the second is alien in nature. A large drawback that can’t be avoided from this boon is nutritional demand skyrockets, as now you need to feed and water yourself and a constantly improving and ravenous mass (maybe this wasn’t such a fantastic idea?). On the plus side your eccentric new “friend” will happily consume blob infested corpses, living dead heads, and anything else nutritious without hesitation. Perhaps it will even share its bounty with its host if it has enough excess.
Now that some basic functions and features have been addressed let’s focus on other aspects of these hypothetical beings. Once the first Dreg has assimilated in the player the flood gates open. The human body is only so big and can only provide so much space. This doesn’t mean that their is only enough room for your primary Dreg just that you can’t have an endless amount of subservient Dreg.
Secondary Dregs become accessible once the first Dreg has effectively become a permanent part of you. The lessers serve as tentacled whips, mewling blades/bludgeons, and bone lobbing “guns”. These can’t be stored as they require connection and can only survive off of nutrients provided by the Alpha Dreg and adapt/change more directly. While the Alpha may disagree with becoming near indestructible at the expense of extreme slowness it has no qualms ordering the subservients to change however you like, provided you have the nutrients to spare. From barbed tips, poisons, and hungry tubes variety is available.
How does one come across other Dregs then? Their are three ways, the first is to tear it from its previous host and have your Alpha “convince” it get in line. The second is to “produce” them yourself although they won’t be as varied or intelligent as the other strains. The third is option is acquiring them from spawning grounds (Alpha Territory) and picking among the eager vassals.
Some options won’t be available for Dreg evolution unless Alphas are absorbed or lured into joining. So if you want to lean into extreme tank territory you need to bleed for it. This applies to the Alphas as well, which makes you a suddenly very appealing target. (Unrelated but I forgot to add in that the size of the player will affect how many secondary Crawlers they can support with tiny players having very little, while inconveniently large players have a lot.)
Then there are the different strains for these made up creatures. I have thought of a couple already but I would like to hear some of your ideas as well.
• Crimson Strain - These red and toothy Crawlers are the most violent and battle hungry amidst the Crawlers theses monsters desire speed and conflict above all else. They fixate on serrated claws and wire thin whips to bleed out the opposition. They will only collaborate with those with violent tendencies that have the might to support them. Like most other Crawlers it is extremely vulnerable to fire and will avoid it with dread.
• Emerald Strain - With sickly green “skin” this thin Crawler undulates with surprising speed and potent poison. This strain combats with poison and disease and detests direct conflict. While it is undeniably conniving it does tend to enjoy the company of the conniving and frail.
• Voltic Strain - This Crawler is more akin to a battery than its kind. It primarily feeds on electricity and hunts the dead heads that can generate an astonishing amount of it. They care little for standard humans and are only interested in those that posses CBM’S or copious batteries.
• Pure Strain - While clear and meek in appearance they are the foundation that all Crawlers build upon. Pure Strains are the most desperate and impressionable among the Crawlers and aren’t picky. It will change based on the physical and mental aspects of their first host (if the host has any mental presence), or instructions sent from the hosts Alpha.
• Violet Strain - It shimmers with lavender colored tendrils and satisfying patterns beckoning all to commune with this mass. It is the only strain that is specifically designed to persuade humans and other sentients to its aid. With silky utters and vibrant wiggles one would be deranged to avoid it. This strain is obsessed with its perfection and preservation of as many humans as possible whether for cattle or other reasons is unknown. Hooked Tendrils, skull splitting booms, and grace are how this Strain deals with conflict.
That’s my idea for a new tool/monster, I would love to hear your criticism and suggestions for this entertaining hypothetical.