General DescriptionFire Slime is a colony of heat-seeking microscopic insects. These insects are vulnerable to temperature extremes, both too much heat and too much cold is deadly to the colony. Given that they are insects, Fire Slime colonies need to find sources of warmth (not so much heat) to survive due to limited built-in temperature regulation. The most intriguing thing about Fire Slime is that they are so called not because they are an actual Slime, but rather because they are capable of moving like a Slime. The amorphous blob construction of the Fire Slime colony allows the colony to freely ungulate over the terrain or even float like a gas as needed. Fire Slime is extremely dangerous to adventurers as it presents as a fire when waiting in ambush or as a smoky, flickering cloud when actively hunting. When sitting as a fire, Fire Slime is capable of crackling and flickering like a fire does. Unfortunately for the slime, astute observers will notice that the slime's attempts to mimic fire sound more like popcorn or cooking grease. Another observation onlookers will make is that Fire Slime colonies have the ability to flicker in almost exactly the same way fires do. As a result, Fire Slimes can be difficult to detect without focusing on what appears to be fire in passing. The other major ability of Fire Slime is its cold aura. This aura has the ability to penetrate walls or arcane barriers. Individuals affected by the aura report that it is potent enough to make them feel like they stepped into a meat cellar without a coat. Even with magical protection, the cold aura of the Fire Slime will still be felt. This aura is not strictly sourced from magic or pheromones. It is sourced somewhere in between.
The Fire Slime is a colony of microscopic insects. As such, these bugs need to fill different roles in order for the colony to survive.
BreedersThese members of the colony are responsible for creating young. They absorb the heat provided to them by the S6inkers. Breeders can only accept a set amount of heat at a time, which limits the growth rate of the colony to whatever the heat processing capacity of the breeders is. Destroying the breeders of a colony will ensure that it eventually dies out due to lack of replacement members. Breeders replenish the cloning using asexual cloning much akin to the budding of certain spineless sea creatures.
SiphonsSiphons specialize in absorbing heat out of their prey aggressively and efficiently. Once attacked, victims can expect to feel themselves getting unnatural cold. The colony also unleashes a pheromone, this pheremone causes a sinking feeling in the victim that helps to immobilize them due to a sense of hopelessness. Eventually, the heat absorption process leads to unconsciousness and death. Victims will find themselves rapidly moving through the stages of hypothermia, but frostbite does not occur no matter how big the Fire Slime swarm is. It should be noted that Fire Slimes are difficult to remove from their prey once feeding begins. The best bet at survival is to introduce a concentrated source of heat that will force the swarm to disengage to protect itself.
SensorsSensors enable the colony to identify a heat source it can use to feed the Breeders. While Sensors have no draining abilities themselves, they do have the ability to detect prey from miles away and can provide a guided path to the targeted creature. Once the colony gets to striking range, it is the Sensors that will lead the final lunge to envelope their target and begin the siphoning process.
Growth Rate & Stages
A Fire Slime swarm begins as a small collection of insects that have broken off from a much larger swarm. These splinters will go through the process of capturing birds, rodents, and other small animals in order to build up the mass of the colony to the point that it can process larger prey. Once the swarm reaches the size that even large prey is unable to satisfy the Breeders, then the swarm will splinter.
Ecology and Habitats
Due to their sensitivities, Fire Slimes will not be found in an area that exhibits extreme weather events. Whether these events are extreme temperatures or extreme weather systems, Fire Slimes will attempt to avoid areas with weather that is dangerous to the colony. Fire Slime colonies have been observed moving through hazardous areas in pursuit of prey, but such excursions are rare and a marker of a much bolder strain of Fire Slime.
Dietary Needs and Habits
DietFire Slimes need to feed off heat in order for the colony to grow. Without enough heat, the Breeders of that colony will be unable to reproduce, eventually the colony will be unable to sustain itself and members will die off. The preferred prey of Fire Slime swarms is large animals and sentient beings. Both are concentrated sources of warmth that can feed most Fire Slime swarms completely. Once fed, the Breeders bolster the membership of the swarm, and the swarm moves on to hunt more prey.
HuntingFire Slime is typically encountered in two scenarios: when it is actively hunting, and when it is lying in ambush. While actively hunting, Fire Slimes present as a smoky, flickering cloud. The colony flows with winds just like smoke does, but Fire Slimes do have the ability to override the directing of wind currents. Overriding wind currents requires a great deal of energy from the colony, but they will expend that energy to reach prey. While lying in ambush, Fire Slime will appear as fire. The colony will flow over anything underneath them just like real flames. This is done to intrigue potential prey and draw it into striking distance. Once the colony detects the prey has gotten close enough, the Fire Slime will lunge out and capture its victim within the colony.
This creature cannot be domesticated. It is known that Fire Slimes are drawn to areas with concentrated sources of warmth. This can cause a great deal of heartache for unprepared farms and villages. Cities are usually too densely populated for Fire Slimes to hunt without getting overfed and destroyed.
The Fire Slime possesses a hive mind. No one member of the colony can process much information at a time, but the collective Fire Slime can act in unusually precise manners. Fire Slime colonies have been observed molding themselves into incredibly complex shapes in their ambush mode, while simultaneously maintaining some smoky tendrils as a form of early warning system. Some Fire Slimes never seem to settle into their ambush state, these roving predator colonies are typically quite large and are known for taking down exceptionally large prey.
These colonies are viewed as common dungeon pests. The reality is that this creature is a major threat to oblivious adventurers.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Fire Slimes have the ability to mimic the yellows, reds, and greens of real flames. This is done by the individual members of the colony using a version of active camouflage to create the desired visuals.