Design Blog: Dune Strider - The Apex Predator

Name: Dune Strider (Limulus Quinavigant)

Typical Height: Approx. 35 ft. (10.67 meters)

Typical Length: 30 ft. (9.14 meters)

Typical Weight: 17.5 Metric Tons

Physical Description: Quite possibly the largest creature discovered on the Dunes of Cape Cod, the Dune Strider is a massive crustacean with a strange, brown shell looking much like that of a horseshoe crab. This shell is impervious to most small arms, with bullets and light munitions alike simply bouncing off of it when struck. On its back, the creature has a massive tail, pulsing with magical energy which hangs behind it. This tail is prehensile, and the Strider can use it to pick up objects or prey, bringing it close to its mouth located beneath the shell. Its most defining feature, however, is its multi-jointed legs, ten in total, which cause it to stand over 30 meters above the ground. Underneath the shell, the creature is somewhat fragile, however, but still has rows of razor sharp teeth and spines underneath, making it one of the Dunes’ apex predators.

Diet: Without jaws, the Dune Strider has evolved an incredibly disturbing mutation: muscles in the teeth. Feeding mostly on larger fish, seals, and other fleshy prey they find roaming in the deeper waters or the sandy beaches, the Strider tends to grab creatures with its large tail, rubbing them against their hooked and barbed legs to grind its prey into a size suitable for their mouths, and places said prey into their comparably small mouths. Their teeth move like a grinder, crushing the food and pushing it upwards into its body for digestion.

Behavior: As stated before, the Dune Strider is a dangerous apex predator, well known across the Cape as a deadly beast, not to be trifled with. When hunting for prey, the Strider will bury itself in the sand underneath it, waiting to feel vibrations above. By the time it rises from the sand, it is often much too late for its prey. With multiple natural weapons, such as its tail, rapier-like legs, and thorny spikes tipped with a strange mercury style toxin underneath, the Strider fears nothing. As far as every Dune Strider is concerned, it is the prime aspect of life, and this is expressed individually. There are occasions where Striders tend to get into bouts with one another, attempting to kick and slash at one another until one either retreats or dies. Violent, vicious and deadly, the Dune Strider is not to be trifled with.

Ecology: The Dune Strider has no natural predators, with its only true fear being humanity. Yet, a single Strider has enough intelligence to know that a single human can do very little to it, and its fear is often minimal when presented with such a minimal threat. It would take multiple humans, possibly a legion or more, to deal significant damage to one of these incredible creatures. The Strider is feared by nearly everything across the Dunes of Cape Cod that has a basic survival instinct, as well as a few creatures that do not; a terrifying show of force due to the extent of magical mutation.

Lifecycle: It is unknown exactly how long a Dune Strider can live. Most of these massive creatures end up either killing each other, or being destroyed by humans in self defense. Some, however, speculate that a Strider can easily live over 100 years if left undisturbed. Mating for Dune Striders is a process that very few are lucky (or unlucky) enough to see. While the Striders themselves have no particular gender, they do not reproduce asexually. Rather, by using their tails, they are able to transfer genetic code from one to another, allowing the recipient to lay eggs at the bottom of the ocean. These eggs can take up to 20 years to hatch if left undisturbed.

Human Relations: While not a menace to society, Dune Striders are deemed as incredibly dangerous, and a high priority target to destroy if construction projects are to proceed in places where they usually roam or hunt in. Their bodies also have a large amount of incredible resources in and on them, including their bulletproof shells, powerful teeth, and spiny legs. Most interestingly however, is the Strider’s copper based blood. This blood can conduct electricity incredibly well, giving their tails a vibrant, electric pulse, and can be used for a variety of uses if gathered correctly.

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