|Date Created:||October 12, 2007|
|Status:||Pending personal review|
|Editing:||Please feel free to edit constructively!|
An ever-present threat within the confines of our dystopian cities, the headcrab preys upon our flesh. They are iconic to the threat we face. They represent the immediate danger that the Combine poses to us. The headcrab is not so much a biological weapon, but rather a weapon to break our spirits and leave us shattered, so that when they manage to couple with our heads we will have long since been ready to die.
A headcrab is a predatorial Xenotheric species, whose natural hatching grounds lie within the vast plateaus of Xen. They are however extremely able and adapt to other environs easily, having been injected into Earth's ecosystem with startling resistance to Earth pathogens, and impervious to radiation or toxic wastes. A 'fast headcrab', for lack of a better description, is a small, quadrupedal creature that does not possess a body; its four legs are attached directly to its head and are positioned to allow quick jumps. Unlike other headcrabs however, these fast moving variants can easily match a human for speed and attack with frightening speed. It has a smaller head, at about 14 to 20 inches in size, but possesses longer, more spindly legs and weighs only 3 to 5 pounds.
Headcrabs hunt as they have always hunted, using their silence and stealth to attempt and surprise humanoid victims. It is believed that they have a heightened tolerance for pain and miss the instinct that would motivate personal survival. It is also believed that headcrabs are able to communicate with other headcrabs through scents that only their olfactory senses can detect (it is encouraged that any DM using this resource in their games make personal decisions about the headcrabs' behaviour for balanced gameplay; making one attract others may lead to more action, but may pose a great risk to low level characters). Being natural jumpers, headcrabs get a +12 racial bonus to Jump checks, and their instinctive stealth tactics lend them a +4 racial bonus to Hide checks in the dark.
Alacrity (Ex): A fast headcrab is naturally hasted. When performing a full attack action, a fast headcrab may use its lunge ability on its extra attack as well. The benefits from alacrity are already included in the fast headcrab's statistics block.
Lunge (Ex): Fast headcrabs can attack their victims with a lunge attack. The fast headcrab pounces its target, foregoing conventional reach. This gives any melee attack that it makes a maximum reach equal to 5 + ½ the creature's Jump modifier (20 feet under normal circumstances). If a headcrab hits with its lunge attack, but fails to couple, it lands in the square adjacent to the target after dealing its damage. If it simply misses, it may immediately move away from its target as a 5-foot step, regardless of any movement it has made that turn.
Attach (Ex): If a fast headcrab hits a Medium or smaller creature of Humanoid type with its lunge attack, it attaches to the creature's head unless the creature succeeds on a DC 15 Reflex save. A headcrab that critically hits a humanoid creature can instantly attach. A headcrab that is attached to another creature is effectively grappling that creature and may incite a head couple. Headcrabs have a +16 racial bonus on grapple checks when attached. An attached headcrab may be struck or shot with a weapon, or grappled itself. The save is Dexterity based. Of course, only one headcrab can attach to a certain humanoid creature at a time. Helpless creatures cannot prevent a headcrab from attaching.
Head Couple (Ex): An attached headcrab will attempt to couple with the head of its victim. If it starts a turn while coupling the head of a Medium or smaller humanoid creature, it scores an automatic hit that becomes a critical hit if it succeeds on a confirmation roll (using its attack modifier). When a humanoid creature dies while being coupled by a headcrab, or when a sufficiently intact corpse is coupled later on, a headcrab can extend its neural impulses through the corpse's nerve system through microscopic receptacles on its beak and legs, taking control of it as a neonate 'fast headcrab zombie' in 1d4 minutes.
Overwhelm (Ex): Headcrabs gain a bonus of +1 to their attack roll for each other headcrab that targets the same creature. For example, if three headcrabs attack the same creature, they all get a +2 circumstance bonus to their attack rolls. Bonuses gained from this special ability can never exceed +4, even if more than five headcrabs attack the same creature simultaneously.
Skills: Headcrabs get a +12 racial bonus to Jump checks and are always considered to have made a running start for the purpose of jumping (even although they cannot run). Their instinctive stealth tactics also lend them a +4 racial bonus to Hide checks in the dark.