Dungeoneer’s Diary #4 – Trapdoor Bees

Posted: September 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

I really stepped on this bitch!

© 2017 G.N. Jacobs

I step on bees…barefoot. No lie GI, I literally step on bees. And get stung on the same left foot every time. This has happened three times in my life to date. Walk across the grass as a kid while on a family vacation – YEEEEOOOW! Go to the beach with other parts of my family a couple years later (it was black, might be a wasp) – YEEEEOOOW! Go many, many years with nary an incident while making sure every bee in my field of view stays in my field of view, if you see them they’re not the problem. Let them do their pollination thing well away from the more deadly of a farmer using neonicotinoid pesticides or me on a mild bee freak out. 

I was going so well until this week when a bee enters my living room. There’s a small hole in my balcony screen that seems to let occasional bugs in, but few out. I had the door open because shit it’s hot. It buzzes around scary me just enough to reach for the nearly empty bug spray can leftover from moving in. Sometimes it’s the noise. Other times the little fucker dive bombs me trying to figure out why my light fixture that could look like a flowering tree isn’t producing nectar and baking the shit out of her with CFC radiation.

This goes a couple days where I really don’t like my time on my favorite couch with the bee overhead. No, I don’t do full blown phobias, but I am nearly grinding my teeth as I read, write and watch TV. I reached for the can at least twice spraying it like a duck hunter giving off warning shots. I need the bee-specific version of the ballistic missile defense radars from the Sixties because I’m not even coming close to making bee meet bug spray. Little yellow and black bitch will get a Strategic Draw Declare Victory and Go Home result largely because she’s too stupid to reverse course through my screen out the way she came.

So two nights ago, there’s no bee. I’m doing my thing barefoot and then there is the bee. I get the can. I step around between the coffee table and the TV. I put the can down on the coffee table. I wonder if I just close the door and wait her out instead. Sure enough, I put my left foot down on the one of many throw rugs covering my crap carpet and – YEEEEOOOW! – feel a familiar sharp sting running through my left heel.

I don’t see anything but what may or may not be a stinger left in me probably with Captain Ahab’s curse translated into Bee – “From hell’s heart, I stab at thee…” I yank it out with pliers and the venom reds up my foot for the next few days. Judging from the lack of buzzing on the nights in between, I got the bitch…pyrrhic victory. I confirmed the body count walking through the spot I stepped near just before this writing session (see picture).

Now, how do I look less like a douche being the guy who steps on bees, the last one on his own carpet? I know! There’s got to be an RPG monster in here somewhere! Because, if I can’t milk this moment overblowing this moment the way Peter Benchley nearly ass-fucked Great White Sharks with Jaws, I’m not sure why I have my imaginary creative license.

I’m pretty sure Dungeons & Dragons has already covered the giant deadly versions of Apis Mellifera (honeybee). Giant bees and wasps have been a feature of adventure movies since forever. Insects just look like they’re out to get you; probably it’s the compound eyes. So why not scale them up to get the most bang for your scare investment?

Original Battlestar Galactica tossed the survivors of the ragtag fleet onto a planet where their alien hosts welcomed them with open arms promising food and rest. They discovered the honeycombs into which anesthetized humans were shoved into next to an egg (typically a wasp behavior, but who’s counting?) somewhere around the third commercial break. Apollo and Starbuck shot it out trying to save the ones they could and then they discovered the deal with the Cylons. I’m surprised Adama didn’t order the planet blown up Death Star style with one of the Galactica’s three big missiles later used to blast a basestar.

Ringo Starr famously squished a bee sized about like a dinner plate (too large for normal bee and too small for giant bee) onto his friend’s face in Caveman. The point was a green and goopy joke getting all over the guy’s face. I’m pretty sure Ray Harryhausen didn’t include giant bees or wasps in his movies because the great stop motion artist might have been too busy with skeletons, genies, flying horses and scorpions to get around to it. So, of course, there is a listing in the Miscellaneous Beast section of the Monster Manual for Giant Wasp (tomato, tom-ah-to) and Swarm of Insects. Someone’s paying attention to the things that scare the shit out of us in our dreams.

However, the assumption is RPG wasp/bees will act like wasps and bees flying around searching for food or defending nests. Images of adventuring parties swinging swords and trying to get the right bead with the arrows should now flood our imaginations. None of which allows me to flog my dead hobbyhorse of bees that lurk on my carpet just waiting to ambush me, by inflicting the same on countless players to come.

Bees that wait in ambush? I’m thinking of a bee that flies just ahead of the party and burrows into the ground ahead just like a Trapdoor Spider tasting the vibrations in the ground and wait for it…wait for it…pounces just when the big juicy fighter gets too close. Does she go for the fighter with all those muscles smacking her mandibles at all that protein? Does she go for the guy in the funny robe and hat remembering the last time the wizard blew up wrong taking out three of her sisters?

Frankly, I don’t know. You, Dear Reader, are more likely to get into a game before I do and each Dungeon Master will do his or her evil thought energy the way that feels best. Bees that lurk in ambush will spark an interesting backstory tap dance for how bee/wasps with known behaviors suddenly come out of the egg as the unholy love child with a Trapdoor Spider. Each DM deciding to do something a little different will invent the right mix of behavior to get the most out of the bee. Do they have epi-pens in the Forgotten Realms? More importantly, cans of Raid and matches?

Will I use Giant Trapdoor Bees myself as a monster? Ask me when I break the pattern for much of my entire RPG life (game implodes after three sessions on average) and I resume being the sadist behind the DM Screen. Will I have to do penance because bees are good things that pollinate plants and write a positive representation to get out from under hypothetical silly people who can’t take a joke? Probably not, everybody squirms just a little bit around bees and wasps. Take your pollination a little further down the road, Missy!

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