The gongorinans are the spawn of a nascent qlippoth lord, although one could be forgiven for thinking them of them less as offspring and more as parasites. A gongorinan’s basic shape resembles that of an immense, stocky crab, save that they lack all of the features crabs have adapted for an aquatic life—gongorinans are terrestrial creatures. A typical gongorinan possesses no fewer than a dozen stalked eyes, and is capable of extending these eyes from the upper edges of its body just above its mouth to a length of nearly 3 feet, giving it extraordinary vision in all directions. A gongorinan’s mouth is a complex tangle of sliding plates and toothy ridges that rasp and shriek against each other as it speaks and chews, but despite their frightening shapes, these mouthparts are ill-suited for making physical attacks; the gongorinan relies upon its arms for that. Each gongorinan has four of these, and each arm is a different, highly specialized appendage. The humanoid arm is used for fine manipulation or the wielding of weaponry, while the mantislike claw is used to shred flesh and create deep, bleeding wounds. The needle-covered tentacle is used to sting and inject a painful poison to stagger foes, while the pincer is used to snatch and hold victims close for oviposition.
A typical gongorinan stands about 6 feet tall and weighs 800 pounds. When at rest, a gongorinan retracts its limbs into its rock-encrusted body, allowing it to appear remarkably like nothing more than a large, misshapen boulder. Larger specimens known as elder gongorinans exist (and often possess additional and even more dangerous arms), but these are quite rare on the Esperia.
All gongorinans carry within their bodies a brood of horrific egg masses, yet these eggs are not used for the propagation of their kind (that process is governed by a more traditional and yet more nightmarish method best left unspoken). Instead, these eggs carry within their stony shells a raw quintessence of the Abyss, infused with the ichor-seed of the gongorinans’ lord. Whereas most creatures are driven to breed and multiply, the gongorinans are instead driven to seek out humanoid hosts for their eggs. The implantation happens via the gongorinan’s mouth and a hideous ovipositor that’s not quite tongue and not quite toothed prolapsing throat, but something worse. Fortunately for most who might encounter a gongorinan, the process of oviposition leaves the horrid creature open to attack and cannot be performed quickly, yet to the lone adventurer caught and overwhelmed by a gongorinan, this is small comfort indeed.
Once an egg has been implanted, it takes many days to grow, and the gongorinan prefers to carry the unfortunate host off to restrain it in a hidden location. Victims are often cocooned in webs or left stranded in high cavern ledges far above the ground so that the egg can gestate. As it grows, the egg feeds on the victim’s mind, absorbing the victim’s intellect until it has reduced the host to a drooling wreck. At this point, the egg doesn’t hatch so much as it merely merges with the host, effecting a horrific and permanent transformation into a monstrous form. The gongorinan can influence this ultimate form as it lays its egg. It typically chooses powerful creatures that are already found in the region, for these “young” are loyal to their parent and serve as loyal guardians or playthings. Victims retain no true portion of their previous personality, but those who have been rescued from this horrific fate via powerful magic do retain memories of their time as a transformed monstrosity. Many never quite recover from these ordeals, and often develop a peculiar form of madness in which they regard their monstrous life as having been their true life, and their true life as the curse. The most despondent of these victims eventually seek the promise of peace through suicide rather than endure the dreams of their life as a monster—dreams that carry within them a most horrible longing.
Gongorinans are an industrious and intelligent breed of qlippoth, and where they find themselves, they invariably form hive-like complexes to live in. These gongorinan “cities” are labyrinthine affairs with plenty of chambers for their transformed children to live in. In the Abyss, gongorinan hives can grow truly immense, with populations in the thousands, but even Esperia is no stranger to gongorinan hive cities.