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Danger Level: Low
Likes: Free food, Particular sounds
Dislikes: Sunlight, Other particular sounds, Intruders without food
Attack Method: Strangles and smothers foes with tail, Before engulfing them in its neck
Handrosphinxes are large, off-white creatures with pinniped-like bodies and a long, thick tube instead of a head and neck. Their forearms are sturdy and end in large catlike paws, and their rear half extends into a long, flat tail with fingerlike projections on its end. The handrosphinx either drags itself along the ground, or walks clumsily with its tail folded underneath it and hopping like a sea lion.
Handrosphinxes have a soft texture to the touch, like suede, and feel neither hot nor cold. When pierced with a sharp object, the wound will release a corrosive gas which causes headaches, nausea, and eventual death through prolonged exposure.
Their most striking feature is the tube on their shoulders, which has a pitch-black interior that absorbs any light cast into it. The mouth of this tube seems to be the creature's "face", as it will point it toward people or noises of interest. Sections of the tube will freely peel away in hand-like sections, occasionally in such profusion that you can see straight through the creature's neck. The handrosphinx appears capable of controlling these hands, folding and waving them in a mimicry of intelligent expression, and snapping them seamlessly back to the whole if disturbed.
Appearing without fanfare in caves, ruins, and other dark places with few visitors, handrosphinxes are surprisingly placid despite their unsettling appearance. Intelligent enough to remember friendly faces, they are easily won over with regular offerings of food. Omnivorous to a fault, they will happily eat rotten food, or even less food-like materials such as rubber or wood. While a food-rich diet (as opposed to a materials-rich one) marginally increases their very slow rate of growth, they appear not to actually require regular sustenance. They have, however, been observed eating at the walls and floor of their lair to expand it.
Handrosphinxes emit creaks, plinks, distant rumbles, and other noises expected of a very large cave system. They also respond to favored sounds by faintly echoing the noise back, though individuals who have had their voices repeated by the handrosphinx report "a great existential distress."
Handrosphinxes are briefly tolerant of strangers in their lairs, but without a placating offering of food will display agitation through active, grasping motions with its mane of hands. They also exhibit this behavior to noises, smells, or colors they deem unpleasant. Anything foolish enough to ignore these warnings will be beaten into submission with its muscular tail, before being devoured in its tube-neck.
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• Handrosphinxes can be propagated by removing a throat-hand from an adult handrosphinx and planting it in a shady spot. It will find its way to a suitable nearby lair when forgotten about, and an adult handrosphinx will appear there about a month later. The hands cannot leave their spot when observed regularly, making clusters of them a popular garden feature among certain eccentrics.
• Peeling off a hand can be tricky, as the handrosphinx will merge them back with its neck when one reaches out to grab them. Given sufficient reflexes, a hand can be seized and will then break off cleanly at its base without much issue. You will however have a very annoyed handrosphinx and had best leave its company quickly.
The hands should ideally be planted in a spot free of direct sunlight as soon as possible, but can be stored within the pages of a hardback book. Do not forget about the book's contents.
• While the peeling hands of the handrosphinx may be removed relatively easily, removing other body parts is not recommended. The severed body part will attempt to strangle or smother the attacker, while the rest of the body will rapidly melt into a corrosive sludge and deadly fumes
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