I bought my son a big bag of giant bugs, so it wasn’t long before I started thinking about using them as role-playing game props. The bugs are big — really big — so that makes them all the more formidable. The fun part was figuring out what each bug was. The next bug profiled is an old standby: the ambush predator known as a praying mantis.
Wikipedia credits praying mantises with their colloquial name because of the typical “prayer-like” stance, although the eggcorn “preying mantis” is sometimes used since mantises are predatory. Mantises have two grasping, spiked forelegs (“raptorial legs”) in which prey are caught and held securely. The articulation of the head is also remarkably flexible, permitting nearly 300 degrees of movement in some species, allowing for a great range of binocular vision.
Mantises are exclusively predatory. They will only eat meat that they have caught themselves. At huge scale they are true menaces, devouring herd animals and people. Mantises are ambush predators, camouflaging themselves and standing perfectly still. When a target strays close, the mantis lashes out at remarkable speed. If a giant mantis cannot find prey, a common occurence given its size, it will hunt down its food.
Giant Praying Mantis (CR 5, HD 12d8+48)
N Huge Vermin
Init -2 Spd 20 or Fly, Poor 40
Senses Darkvision (Ex): 60 ft.; | Listen +2, Spot +21
AC 13 (FF 13, Touch 6)
hp 102 (Disabled -4/Dying -19/Injury 19)
Saves: Fort +12, Ref +2, Will +6
Immunity: Mind-Affecting Attacks (Ex)
Atk +15/+10 base melee, +5/+0 base ranged; Grapple +25; Face 10’x10′;
+15 Melee (Claw 2d6+8/crit 20/x2) and +10 Melee (Bite 1d8+4/crit 20/x2);
SA: Improved Grab (Ex)
SQ: Racial Traits: Vermin, Mindless (Ex),
Abilities STR 27, DEX 6, CON 19, INT –, WIS 14, CHA 11
Skills: Hide + 9, Spot + 21.
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, the giant praying mantis must hit an opponent of Medium-size or smaller with its claws attack. If it gets a hold, it squeezes.
Squeeze (Ex): A giant praying mantis that gets a hold on a Medium-size or smaller opponent automatically deals 2d6+8 points of claw damage and bites at its full attack value of +6 each round the hold is maintained.