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I have toyed with the idea with a certain creature in my head for quite some time, and with the creature design challenge, I thought this would be a great time to ask about it here.

The basics of the creature is fairly simple. It is a ferocious manticore-like beast, but the end of its extremely long tail is fused to the tail-end spine of a human. This human is an exact replica of a real human, with working internal organs, brain and the like, however, the human is part of the manticore as well.

The creature likes to hunt noble souls, by taking its human tail as an angler-fish like bait, making it run around and screaming for help, then while the heroes are distracted trying to help and calm down the human tail bait.

Now herein lies the problem. How can the human tail bait thing be preferably physically connected to the manticore in a reasonably non-vulnerable way, while also allowing the manticore and the human tail bait to have a large distance between them, enough for the 5m tall manticore to lay in wait?

Notes:

  • The creature is created by some powerful wizard, from dust and the corpse of a human, with loads of magic.
  • The human tail bait thing will appear to also be in distress and claim that it is bound to the manticore chimera. This is a ruse to make the heroes drop their guard in order to try to save the human tail bait thing. The human tail bait has no self, it is the manticore chimera.
  • As noted above, it is preferable for there to be a physical organ connection, but any other means may work as well.
  • The creature is fully intelligent, and can speak from both its manticore mouth as well as its human's mouth.
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  • $\begingroup$ If anyone at all can help me refine the name of the question, feel free to edit that, I can't think on how to phrase what I want in a sentance $\endgroup$ – grimmsdottir Mar 19 '15 at 12:37
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    $\begingroup$ I want to suggest a better question title, but I'm still a bit confused about what you're asking. Hopefully my answer was useful, but I think the question needs a little more focus. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Mar 19 '15 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ I don't have time for a full answer, but having the connection appear as something like a rope or vine tied around the bait's neck could be a great disguise. So, your hero sees a man bound by the neck, shouting for help. The 'rope' leads to someplace out of view. When the hero comes close enough to try cutting the man free, the monster pounces. Could be extra macabre if upon close inspection, they can tell the man is a corpse-puppet. Another thought is to make it a noose, and have him struggling while hanging from it. This would make the hero rush to his doom faster. $\endgroup$ – Bryon Mar 19 '15 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ "Disguising connection between chimera and connected human lure?" - for title $\endgroup$ – Dan Smolinske Mar 19 '15 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ Not a full answer, but the manticore could probably smuggle itself into places. Find a covered wagon big enough for it to fit into the back and have the tail bait sitting in the drivers seat tending to the horses (connecting 'tail' between bait an manticore could easily be concealed in the seat). Wheel itself into a small town...center of a monastary?..before jumping out into a crowd of people. If it prefers the 'noble souls', dipping his tail in a vat of beer and leaving the driver/tail bait to look like a drunken old man asleep at the wheel could stir up some 'help'. $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Mar 20 '15 at 0:57
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Disguise the bait as a fellow noble soul.

Your intrepid heroes are travelling along when they spot something ahead. On closer investigation they find that it's an (apparently dead) manticore, with a knight pinned underneath who's been stung by the tail - in fact, it's still impaling his body. On closer investigation the knight is stirring weakly and calls for help - he claims that he managed to finish the creature, but he's weakening from the poison and is unable to free himself. Won't the heroes help him move the manticore and give him first aid?

Of course, being noble souls, your heroes will immediately rush forward to help this knight out...

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for being like my answer, only much simpler and easier for the manticore. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Mar 19 '15 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ I like this answer, it's simple, however, it negates the need for the connection between the manticore chimera and the human lure $\endgroup$ – grimmsdottir Mar 20 '15 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ @grimmsdottir: not necessarily. If the manticore can control the lure, it can make it clear that the lure is "alive" which make it more likely for people to rush in without taking any precautions. It can cry out or move around in pain, for example. $\endgroup$ – Dan Smolinske Mar 20 '15 at 1:28
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The first problem you'll have to overcome is that the 'bait' has a tail; of course, we know it's the tail of the manticore, but to the 'heroes', it looks like some guy with a giant tail sticking out of his back, which could probably be followed all the way back to the real problem.

To solve this, you'll need some form of cover, something that the bait can hide its tail behind. I'd suggest it shouldn't run around, but instead should stand mostly still, or even lie on the ground.

But you still need it to attract the heroes. So let's say there's a ruin of a cottage (manticores are excellent at creating ruined cottages, so long as there are spare cottages nearby). The manticore slides in under the rubble and thatch of the roof, and wriggles its tail until the head and upper body of the bait are barely visible. When the heroes walk past, they hear the pained cries of a man, and quickly find him 'pinned' under a large stone. Perhaps he tells them a story of a fearsome manticore attack that killed his family. Being nice people, they of course run over to help the man, and now are near enough to become easy prey for the manticore.

Another option could be the manticore lying in wait on a cliff face, with the bait appearing to be a man hanging onto the cliff edge for dear life. Or the manticore could hide behind a large boulder while the bait peeks out, maybe pretending to be hurt and thus using the boulder for support. In all of these situations, the manticore can hide itself relatively easily and still be very close to its bait, thus not requiring too long or delicate of a tail. I would even go so far as to say the bait doesn't even need legs (or even human organs), especially if the manticore is able to clothe it in a long robe.

EDIT: As per your 3rd note and the fact that some manticores supposedly have scorpion-like tails, I came up with an alternate idea, of a mind-altering poison. The manticore finds a lonely traveler, and instead of eating him outright, it poisons him with a swift strike from its tail and leaves him bleeding on the road. When the traveler awakens, suddenly he can't remember where he was going, and his vision has become blurred, but he has a vague recollection of a traveling companion, a close friend or family member, who is now nowhere to be found. The man panics and stumbles around, searching for this imaginary person. When the heroes come by, the man pleads with them to go back with him to the spot where he lost his friend, and help him search. They can see that he's been hurt, and of course want to help, so they follow him right back to where the manticore is hiding.

With this method, there is no physical connection between the manticore and the bait, but the bait can be easily replaced and the manticore still gets a viable weapon on its tail. It could even still have the man-shaped tail, to masquerade as the imaginary companion, but it would no longer have to be as lifelike, as the only one it has to fool has been drugged/poisoned.

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  • $\begingroup$ Pretty good answer, I like the idea of the mind altering posion, as manticores were known for their potent poisons $\endgroup$ – grimmsdottir Mar 20 '15 at 0:34
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Since this is a magical creature, the fake human doesn't even need to really exist at all. Simply give the Manticore a special illusion-projecting tail that allows it to project any type of illusion they like - optionally with audio illusions, but equally valid to make the Manticore an expert at throwing its own voice.

This would mean that the 'human' isn't actually attached to the Manticore though, so it would spoil the monster a little bit if that is absolutely essential. Or it may be a corpse that is made to look alive BY illusions, either focused from the manticore's tail, eyes, or some other part of the manticore (which would also allow it to hide its true body with the same illusion).

From there, whatever form you feel would be most 'alluring' to the noble types can be used, since as an illusion, it can take any form it likes.

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  • $\begingroup$ Exactly. Solve impossible magical problems by adding more magic. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. Mar 19 '15 at 22:28

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