Saturday, October 22, 2011
Undead Anonymous the Fourth: Ambush Predators
Old-school horror movies used the sudden shock of the killer jumping out of the bushes to put a fright into the audience. The terror of Jaws came from having what appeared to be a peaceful day at the beach turn into a nightmare as the shark pulled its victims underwater. These killers are called ambush predators, due to the fact that they lie in wait for their prey to come into range before lashing out with quick and deadly aggression. Many exist in real life such as sharks, alligators, spiders and many birds of prey.
The key element of ambush predators is that they strike only once, intending to either kill their prey outright or to drag them away to a safe place to finish them off. They simply do not continue their assault if the first strike is unsuccessful, choosing instead to retreat and wait for an easier target. This kind of enemy usually has good camouflage abilities or lives in an area where there are plenty of hiding places. Monsters such as piercers, lurkers above, and landsharks can be used as fantasy ambush predators. Mundane creatures such as octopi, alligators and large birds can also fit the bill as well. As long as the players don't see it coming, you can have them on edge.