Word of the Day: inculcate
Environment: Any inhabited enclosed environment, especially caves or dungeons
Organization: Solitary, then in groups
Attacks: Inculcid tend to pick on a single target, weakening them before slowly dominating them with an infectious acid. Inculcid often use abilities they were particularly fond of in their previous form.
Defenses: Viral multiplication
Weaknesses: Inculcid fare poorly against large groups composed of primarily defensive combatants with the determination to banish them from the area. Specialization in heat and acidic resistances help as well.
Background: Scholars agree that if the inculcid could work together, they could’ve easily banded together and dominated the world by now. Thankfully, inculcid are self-important controllers that isolate themselves from other inculcid in hopes of spreading their own likeness through viral multiplication, unable to understand why other living beings wouldn’t want to feel the way they do. They typically try to invade areas with an easily contained population, such as caves or dungeons, and convert the natives in order to gain control of the area for themselves.
Tactics: Inculcid aren’t clever so much as they are brutal. An inculcid will immediately attack anything it sees, attempting to dominate it through a painful one-two tactic. Every so often, an inculcid produces what looks like a chain link made of a slimy rod of cartilage. The link is spewed at an incredible temperature, searing through armor, skin, and bone before binding to its target, crippling them significantly and lowering both their defenses and their resistances to debilitating effects. With great effort, the link can be removed, but it is painful and leaves a horrible wound that burns while bleeding out. Once a target is crippled by a link, the inculcid lashes them with its weapon-like tendrils that degrade armor while infecting them with a nasty acid. The acid eats through the skin and seeps into any open wounds, and once it infiltrates the enemies immune system it begins a fairly rapid takeover that turns the victim into an inculcid, sprouting several links that burst from various parts of the body. For this reason, inculcid appear in many different shapes and forms, often retaining an ability or two from their previous life, and inculcid rarely work together as the acid pulsing through the veins feels so invigorating that they can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to join in the exact feeling.
While actively seeking inculcid is ill advised, large groups of adventurers may seek out areas inculcid have invaded in hopes of restoring the area to its natural state, as inculcid can be horribly problematic. The most important thing to remember when fighting inculcid is that they are viral – if one of your party members gets overwhelmed by inculcid acid, you have not only one less ally, but one more enemy! Thankfully, inculcid transformation isn’t permanent, and forcefully removing the links will allow the acid to drain from its host, though often leaving them in a terrible state or potentially killing them entirely.
The goal to fighting inculcid is to always have the upper hand. Their cartilage links are debilitating and painful, and the wound they leave are nasty and make infection incredibly likely, so your best bet is to pack extra layers of defense such as powerful heat and acid resistant armor, extra layers of armor, and defensive spells or abilities. If the acid can’t get to your flesh, it can’t eat through it, and if the link doesn’t take hold it binds to your armor instead, causing you no direct harm. Since inculcid won’t focus a single target, it’s important that you keep most of your party heavily defended and the rest of your party at a safe distance. You can expect a tough time purging a location of inculcid, and your armor will definitely suffer from the experience, but it is often necessary to protect the natural environment, plus the heart of the true inculcid – the one that infiltrated the area initially and propagated its image – is valued incredibly highly by alchemists and wizards. Though dangerous, others dilute the blood of an inculcid and use it recreationally for the empowering high it gives them as it burns through their system.