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Dust Manta

Source Alien Archive 2 pg. 46
On desert worlds throughout the galaxy, strange, ray-like creatures make their home in sand flats and dunes, moving through the terrain as if through liquid. On the tidally locked Verces in the Pact Worlds, these terrors are known as dust mantas, and they reside in the eternal sunlight of the planet’s Fullbright hemisphere. Those who observe dust mantas from afar might presume them to be peaceful creatures with an idyllic life, but scientists and adventurers who approach them without knowledge of their brutal ways often find this to be the last mistake they ever make.

Dust mantas closely resemble giant versions of common rays, with a beige coloration that allows them to blend in to their sandy surroundings and a nasty-looking tail capable of injecting a horrific toxin. Dust mantas burrow through sand as easily as their aquatic counterparts glide through water, which allows them to quickly close the distance to their prey. They attack with their stingers, injecting a dangerous toxin that quickly breaks the victim’s body down to dust; dust mantas are filter feeders, and they rely on this toxin to disintegrate food sources into filterable particles. To dust mantas, dissolving prey in this way is not cruel, but simply a matter of everyday survival. In Fullbright, dust mantas gravitate toward areas in which they can find prey, most notably the Outcast Peaks and the shirren colonies in the Temora Desert. Dust mantas are also known to frequent the Oasis Temples scattered across the desert, awaiting travelers who seek those lush and verdant anomalies.

The average dust manta stretches 10 feet across and weighs 1 ton.

On rare occasions, a dust manta can develop into the larger and more ferocious dust manta monarch. These enormous rays have three tails that allow them to inflict massive damage, as well as a more potent toxin when they deliver their deadly stings. Dust manta monarchs can create localized dust storms that choke and blind those creatures unlucky enough to be caught within, making it easier for the dust manta monarch and any accompanying dust mantas to ambush their unfortunate prey. When food is scarce, a single monarch might roam the desert with a pack of smaller dust mantas, scaring up enough prey to feed the whole fever.

The typical dust manta monarch stretches 20 feet across and weighs 8 tons.

Dust Manta Hides

In Fullbright, some brave-or perhaps foolish-game hunters in the Outlaw Kingdoms pursue dust mantas for their desertadapted hides, despite the inherent danger in doing so. Those fortunate enough to survive their hunts craft suits of light armor from the hides, using nanocarbon filaments to stitch the armor together.

Aliens in the "Dust Manta" Family

NameCR
Dust Manta6
Dust Manta Monarch12

Dust Manta

Source Alien Archive 2 pg. 46

Dust Manta CR 6

XP 2,400
N Large magical beast
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, sense through (vision [sand only]); Perception +13

Defense

HP 90
EAC 18; KAC 20
Fort +10; Ref +10; Will +5
Defensive Abilities desert hide; DR 5/—; Resistances fire 5

Offense

Speed 15 ft., burrow 80 ft.
Melee stinger +17 (1d8+9 P plus dust manta toxin)
Offensive Abilities burrowing charge, sand spit

Statistics

STR +3; DEX +5; CON +2; INT -1; WIS +1; CHA +0
Skills Acrobatics +13, Athletics +13, Stealth +18

Ecology

Environment warm deserts
Organization solitary, pair, pod (3–8), or fever (3–8 dust mantas plus 1 dust manta monarch)

Special Abilities

Burrowing Charge (Ex) A dust manta can leap into action at breathtaking speed. A dust manta that takes the charge action using its burrow speed doesn’t take the normal charge penalties to its attack roll or its AC, and its target must succeed at a DC 14 Perception check or the target is flat-footed against the attack.

Desert Hide (Ex) A dust manta’s tough, sand-colored hide protects it against the dangers of the desert, granting it DR 5/— and resistance to fire 5. In addition, if a dust manta is at least halfway buried in sand or any fine, similarly colored substance, it can attempt a Stealth check to hide as if it had cover or concealment.

Sand Spit (Ex) As a standard action, a dust manta can spew sand at its foes in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in the area must succeed at a DC 14 Reflex save or become blinded for 1 round.

Dust Manta Toxin

Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude DC 14
Track Strength; Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds
Effect At the dead state, the victim’s body disintegrates into dust. A creature that dies as a result of dust manta toxin can only be brought back to life by spells such as miracle, wish, or another similarly powerful effect.
Cure 1 save