29 Responses to 706 – White Smoke Mountain • 74

  1. Heh. Nice grapple check—at least until the GM remembers vampires can assume gaseous form. Or did they lose that in 4E?

    Heh. I just had an evil thought. Vampire gets grappled by Octopussy—and pulled into a tank of holy water. That would teach that blood junkie. 😛

    • I had the same thought to begin with, because that vampire really looks like Enkidu, but that doesn’t explain the cephalopod, or why it’s wearing one of Zobbie’s shoulder-pads, while remembering she’s a druid does.

      I always love looking at squids and octopuses on nature shows, but I’ll scream like the girliest of girls if I ever had to be in the water with a live one swimming near me. Same with insects. Can you be a “remote-help” entomologist through a video-call?
      Not to mention I’m scared shitless about any creatures at sea, thinking they’ll probably attack me where I can barely move anyway.
      Anyone else has a fear of deep waters(not only because I’m a bad swimmer and had a near-drowning experience as a child), having the feeling that something’s just gonna come up and take a bite?
      It’s just so dark down there, you KNOW something hungry is waiting for you… 😮

      What kind of animal scares you guys/gals? Apart from all those awful, evil, murderous “humans”, of course.

      • Candiru, the dreaded toothpick fish. Those are the little guys who were thought to swim upstream when you peed and get stuck. They don’t, of course, but the idea still makes me squirm. I was lucky enough to spend a few days watching the Orca feed on the Valdez Peninsula in Argentina a few years back. They literally swim up the beach to snatch baby seals which they slaughter violently and playfully. Watching a 35 foot Killer Whale bat a 50 pound seal a hundred feet through the air before ripping it apart leaves an impression. It sort of ruined the beach for me. Whales are definitely scarier than sharks. A shark is just a big, bitey fish but a whale has a huge brain so it can really put its mind to hunting you down.

        • Orcas like to go out and find blue whales during their birthing season in packs. They distract the mother and then rip apart the baby calves.

          Then they swim away. That’s right – no eating, just brutalizing and then running away. Absolutely awful dickbag douchewagon act right there.

          And dolphins are STILL bigger dicks than orcas. I’m pretty big into marine biology, but I like all the invertebrate stuff. All this backbone and complex, sophisticated central nervous system stuff makes them way too similar to humans.

          Oh, and polar bears scare me. The whole “big enough to bite off your head without trying” coupled with “actually like the taste of human flesh” combines to a pretty frightening deal. If you ever go far north you will notice that parking lots are REALLY far away from buildings. That may seem really dumb to you at first, but then you’ll learn about how polar bears used to hide between vehicles and wait for people to come out of buildings like a pez dispenser…

          • A Wild Polar Bear Appeared!
            Wild Polar Bear Used Ambush, Its Super Effective!

            Tsed Has Lost 🙁

            Om Nom Nom

        • actually, it’s true about those fish who swim up your urethra. I saw a show on discovery – monster fish or river monsters I think it was called – where the host travels the world looking for fish myths and proving/disproving them. Mainly myths about fish big enough to swallow a man, but in this one episode he was looking at a myth about a body that was found to have been eaten from the inside out, leaving only a couple of bullet sized holes on the skin. a side ‘quest’ in that show was the myth about fish that swim up your urethra. He interviewed a man who had it happen to him and the doctor who treated him. Then they showed a video taken from an endoscope stuck up the mans urethra, and you could see the fish there, and the fish was also preserved after removal.

          Oh, and about the fish that eat you from the inside out? – true as well. Though they are not particularily attracted to humans, and prefer dead carcasses, if you stand still long enough, they assume you are. The body supposedly found was thought to be of a man who fell drunk into the river.

          • Speaking of “eaten from within”, I recall some kind of worm(east-Asiatic?) whose eggs infest fish(?), so if you eat them raw, like in sushi, you end up having worm eggs inside your brain, and then it’s lunch time.

            There’s also a worm in Africa that lays its eggs in ponds so when you drink the water the larva go into your foot and grows inside, munching happily away. And when it wants to get out it borrows to the surface making your legs hurt like it’s on fire, so you want to put it in some nice, cool water, right? Which is also where the worm likes to come out, of course.

            I also don’t like horses very much. They’re very big, heavy and can kick your brains out quite easily, or even bite you(their long time among humans has accustomed them to the taste of human flesh! 😯 ).
            Though I admit it’s mostly because the only horses I got to view up-close were ridden by stupid, show-off young people of a certain ethnic minority group around these parts, who liked nothing more than riding them at full speed around people, so it’s more like hating guns because some rednecks are always shooting around you.

            Snakes, obviously, are another major creep factor, and anyone who likes them is an evil Visitor in disguise!
            I killed a ~4 ft viper a couple of years ago when it popped from under a parking car just next to us, using my late dog’s chain collar. I was scared silly but since I always got kinda…aggressive towards threats to my doggy, I started smacking that snake until it wasn’t really moving(aside from random twitches, that’s scary too, you don’t know if it’s still alive or not)…and then some. And then some. I was in a crazy frenzy, really.

            ETA: Found the African worm and edited my text.

            • Speaking of parasites.

              Ever notice how there’s no moose farther south? Weird, isn’t it? It’s because of a kind of snail. They carry the larval form of a kind of parasite, and when the snails get eaten by large ungulates (unintentionally, they’re just munching grass) the worms go looking for a specific part of the spine. In white-tailed deer. The deer are more or less fine, the parasites don’t do enough to actually make themselves felt.

              Moose, as you may have guessed, are definitely not white-tailed deer. The parasites get lost and begin drilling into the moose’s brain – with all the foreseeable consequences.

            • Dracunculus? Yup, that’s it. The dragon worm.

              I remember with fondness the courses on parasite ecology. Really fascinating. But no thing I wish to experience for myself.

              As for getting worm eggs, or rather cysts, in your brain, unfortunately, that’s not restricted to tropical climates. There are lots of different types of tapeworm, many of them native to the northern hemisphere, and except for the human tapeworm (which is specialized towards human hosts), tapeworms can infest all kinds of mammals (like canids i.e. foxes, felines i.e. house cats, mustelides i.e. weasels, ursids i.e. bears, rodents, ungulates i.e. sheep, and pinnipeds i.e. seals) and also fishes. But many of them will die in a human host’s intestines after a while beucase it’s the wrong host.

              No, the problem is that many parasitic worms have a lifecycle that switches between an intermediate host (a hoofed mammal or rodent) in which the parasite infests inner organs or muscles and develops into cysts, and a definite host (a carnivore like a wolf or fox) which eats the infected meat and then carries the adult worm in his intestines, expelling the worm’s eggs.

              (Not to mention the parasites that hop back and forth between ants and ungulates by infesting an ants brain and forcing it to climb up blades or grass and cling there until they’re accidentally eaten along with the grass by an ungulate. Or the one that switch between snails and birds… but I digress.)

              When a human eats such meat or fish raw, he ingests the cysts and the worm then develops in his intestines, which is usually not lethal. But if a human ingests the worm eggs, usually by eating something tainted with the feces of an infested animal (or his own, if he is himself already a carrier of a tapeworm and does not carefully wash his hands, which is called re-infection), he becomes an intermediate host for the parasite, which will leave the intestine and travel into the muscles, eyes or the inner organs, like liver or brain, where it becomes a cyst, which may grow and be mistaken for a tumor, especially since some cysts metastasize. Look up parasitic diseases called Echinococcosis and (Neuro)cysticercosis.

            • Kevin, it seems that my reply to Orald I just posted was eaten by your server. Could you have a look, please?

              • I bet it described such a scary monster that the server got amnesia in an attempt to stop it from haunting its soul.

                @TSED, there’s also a parasite(worm, I believe, and possibly the same one you’re referring to) that infects snails and makes them go up to the top of flowers etc so that they would get picked up by predators. In the show that I saw them cows ate the snails while grazing, but IDK if it really hurt them.
                The scary bit is how the worms infest the snail, hijacking its brain and doing crazy stuff in its eye-stalk, pulsating and making weird colors.

                And then there’s a solitary wasp species that injects insects with its eggs while also paralyzing them, then it drags the helpless but alive victim into a little tunnel it made and seals it off. The larva hatch and devour it from the inside while it’s still alive.

                Lampreys of course are one of God’s sickest jokes. They’re toothy nightmares that latch on to suck blood. I guess leeches are in the same category, but they’re much smaller and more of a gross-factor.
                But then, getting lots of them on your body at once is quite common if you get into infested waters.

              • The worms I read about weren’t all that “tropical” anyway, I believe it was mentioned in relation to Japan because of sushi. I think there’s a picture of someone’s infested brain in some site, the name of which escapes me, that shows lots of horrible pictures.
                Anyone knows the name of the site? I could really do with some interesting pictures. I mean, uh, research! I’ll suffer through for science!

  2. Sorry this is unrelated, but I wanna test my new gravatar. How does it look?

    *EDIT* AH PHOOEY. it didn’t change on here. At least not on my end anyway… I tried putting an actual mugshot in this thing cuz I am sick of robotnik.

  3. Bleh. I will never go to Africa or South America or any other country in which there are bugs that lay eggs in my skin. I hate parasites. So effing gross. I won’t go into the ocean either, on account of every time I look at the thing I just know it wants to kill me. I will however go out on a boat, because I love boats. Not sure where the trust of boats on the ocean comes from, but I’ve almost drowned in the ocean at least twice when I was little and I will not step foot in the damn thing anymore.

    RE: The comic: That vampire does look an awful lot like Enkidu. It makes me wonder if maybe it was him hiding in the dark copping a feel on half naked Zobbie, or just that the vampire looks a lot like Enkidu cause it’s hard to draw dudes with pointy ears that don’t look the same when you have a certain art style. I think Enkidu would try to cop a feel, but I think he’d be pretty open about it.

    • Yea, Enkidu’s the type to pinch a nipple like Fleece while also making a rude joke, not the type to stalk in the darkness for it. He’s just not smart/subtle enough.

      But don’t let boats fool you- they’ll sink right away and leave you all alone with the horrible man-flesh craving monsters that fill the seas! Not to mention they have awfully flimsy, half-open railings and they rock all the time, trying to trip and send you into the jaws of said monsters(or just to drown in those lonely, cold, bone-crushing depths).
      I’ve only really been in one yacht while on vacation in Eilat when I was about 10-12 y-o, and couldn’t for the life of me understand what was fun about sailing, the red-sea(so named for all the BLOOD the terrible sea-monsters have spilled! 😮 ) or the general principle of not being inside an air-conditioned room in 40C temperatures.

      I think I’m OK with planes though(only flown one short time though)- birds don’t scare me. Well, maybe Great Tits do, now that I know what they can do to bats. 😛

  4. Is Zobbie channeling Buffy in the first panel? It reminds me of that scene when Spike was chained up in Buffy’s bathtub in Season 4 and she was leaning in, explosing her neck, just out of his reach, and taunting him.
    Spike: “Giles! Make her stop!” 😆

    You know, Kevin, when I read today’s comic the first time, I was confused. I thought they had fed Enkidu to a vampire squid, and the joke, the punchline of the strip was that she-Zobbie had been the first, “obvious” choice to lure a human-shaped vampire, but instead Zobbie had punched out Enkidu and thrown him into the vampire’s lair. And that the “Stupid bitey vampire!” speechbubble came from the guy that looked like Enkidu, instead of from the cephalopod. (I guess it looks more like a kraken, not a squid.) 😕

    But I couldn’t shake the feeling that something about that scenario made no sense. I must’ve stared at those panels and re-read the strip three or four times until it finally dawned on me that Zobbie was the cephalopod… mainly because the rope was tied around the creature’s body. At first I had thought Bunker and Freya were in the process of tying up the creature with the rope, after having it yanked out of the lair. It took me a while to notice the shoulderpads. And the orientation of the characters (cephalopod to the right towards Bunker, and the guy to the left towards the door) implied that they had yanked the guy from the lair, using the kraken as a “grappling hook”, not vice versa. 😐