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Grot

“Grot-fucker”
– Common Aeldan insult

Also Known as: Grubs, Gobs, Gracks, Drogs
Habitat: All
Hazard Level: Minimal

Summary
Grots are small, filthy, monkey-like creatures found and loathed throughout Aeldos. A pervasive pest species which defies classification by bearing traits from mammals, reptiles, and insects alike, they are fast breeding, profoundly stupid, and generally known for a variety of disgusting features. Grots can range in size from 50 cm to 120 cm tall and weigh between 20 and 50 kg. They are considered a minor threat to adult humans, though they can be dangerous in swarms and even a minor scratch or bite from lone Grot can transmit a host of diseases. The word ‘Grot’ is used as a pejorative across Aeldos, synonymous with dull witted, foul, malodourous, putrid, or diseased. Wherever humans live, Grots can be found nearby nestled in to grimy burrows feeding off refuse and excreta.

Description
A Grot is a hunched, slimy, foul smelling, beast that lopes along in packs, constantly seeking its next meal. They have two beady black eyes that stare blankly at the world from beneath warty brows, and a mouth filled with multiple rows of broken needle like teeth. Grots use their long barbed tongue and filthy hooked claws to snatch prey such as birds, insects, and rodents. They are often covered in a greasy layer of their own filth and can transmit a host of diseases with a bite or scratch. Grot repugnance knows few boundaries; some Grots will attempt to maim or blind prey by vomiting their corrosive stomach acid onto it.

Highly fecund and voracious omnivore scavengers with a marked preference for meat, the Grot life cycle and appetite would pose a threat to most ecosystems were it not for two factors: their own role in the diets of many un-discerning predators and a host of inherently detrimental species traits.

For example Grots are…
-Cannibalistic, apt to infighting and rife with disease that mitigate their natural fecundity.
-Prone to inbreeding that leads to debilitating mutations.
-Incapable of cooperation beyond swarming potential prey or threats.
-Driven by a cruel curiosity tempered by a deep laziness, profound stupidity and vanishingly short memories, meaning many Grots die in incredibly stupid and self-inflicted ways. For example, the most advanced Grot hunting technique is to maim one of the swarm to encourage its pained cries to draw in potential targets. This not only rarely works, it actively diminishes the groups hunting capacity.

Equally horrific and adverse to species survival, baby Grots or Grotlings are born in a horrific manner; they frequently eat their way out of their mothers and often attempt to devour their father. The enormous size of Grot litters (up to 36 per spawning) often enable the newborns to succeed in overwhelming adult Grots. Failure to do so has an equally detrimental result; Grot parents will devour a significant portion of their brood. Specimens can live for up to 20 years but rarely survive beyond 5, largely due to such self-predation.

Grots seem able to survive on nearly any matter, including fungus, lichen, pine cones, conifer needles, toxic plants, bones, shells, and other generally indigestible items. Some rumours even suggest they are able to digest rocks for sustenance. Grots demonstrate a marked fondness for meat, seeking out rabbits, small rodents, small felines and canines, and any other smallish or unsuspecting target. In the absence of the above, Grots are also happy to consume rotten or putrid meat from the old kills of larger predators or the castaways of human meals.

Grots prefer subterranean living spaces and tend settle in caves, sewers, middens, and catacombs. Grots tend to nest in groups, constructing a nest ‘heap’ composed of stones, rocks, and dirt held together by hardened vomit and dung.

As a food source, Grot meat is nearly inedible to humans. It requires the durable stomach of a true predator to be nourishing or even digestible. To ensure grot-meat is free of diseases and parasites one must cook it to a burnt brick and to stomach the flavor, most people require copious seasoning. Other species such as Grommen, Vargr, and Urpan have no such trouble.

Grot vocalizations are numerous and distinctive. Their wet snorting, ear piercing screech, and repellent growl are easily recognizable warnings to most travelers, and if their sound is insufficient signal to their presence, their smell certainly is; a revolting mix of organic rot and choking putrescence that is difficult to mask outside of mires and middens.

Though some fools have tried to keep them, Grots make terrible pets. They are foul smelling, filthy, diseased, and generally impossible to train as well as being apt to try and eat an owner while they sleep.

There are three subspecies of Grots:

Plain Grots: The most common type, adapted for overland life, though still capable burrowers. Coloration is typically the rotten green or loamy brown conducive to arboreal or plains habitats where they tend to nest in heaps or burrows.
Drogs: A subspecies best adapted to purely subterranean life, having lost their eyes but gained echolocation, albino skin, and thick digging claws. Drog swarms can be found in many deep caves and are often heard clicking the dark long before they are seen.
Grubs: A smaller amphibious subspecies found in swamps and near water and adapted. Grub coloration varies between pale blue and fetid green.