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This is a follow-up to How Can I Protect Medieval Villages From Plops? and concerns Chompers, one of the Little Four (the four most common weak monsters). Why are Chompers a problem?

Chompers are giant eggs (the size of an elephant bird's egg, let's say) with beady eyes, a big horizontal "crack" for a mouth, and two tube-like legs, each tipped with a suction cup. They are always hungry, partially because they grow (just enough to notice) every time they fill their bellies and thus can evolve quickly just by eating one large source of food. Because of this hunger, and their raven-level intelligence, and just a tad of magic, Chompers always find villages, and find them an ample source of food.

This is a problem, as Chompers have shells as hard as tooth enamel, can disgorge a bucket's worth of their powerful stomach acid (which can dissolve anything organic in little time; hairs dissolve almost instantly in this acid while a piglet takes two hours to dissolve) at almost any time, and can climb slick surfaces (HA! Glazed walls won't stop me!), eat through wooden doors, and generally cause all sorts of nasty problems. Thus, my question is How Can Medieval Villagers Protect Themselves From Chompers?

Context and Clarification:

  1. By medieval, I mean Europe from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the Renaissance. This should give you an idea of what the villages will be like.

  2. Chompers are as smart as ravens, which can use tools, and learn to: speak, use a camera to take pictures, and even place listening devices in places where they can A) pick up conversations and B) not be found easily. This means they can learn and adapt reasonably well to human traps and tactics.

  3. Chompers can climb (somewhat)smooth surfaces but not rough ones; they can climb bricks, glass, pottery, hewn stone, and concrete but not craggy tree bark or rough stone; the latter cases don't allow a Chomper's suction cups to grip properly.

  4. Chompers start out with shells as hard as tooth enamel, which grows (thicken and expand outward) and hardens every time they fill to capacity. (Sort of like molting, but without, y'know, the molt.) This means they'll get harder and harder to take down, up until they reach the size of an average pig-at that point, the Chomper tips over, sprouts two new legs, shifts its mouth to the round end of its body, and becomes a Quad (short for Quadruped). Before that, they're a Biped.

  5. Due to magic and natural selection, Chompers are immune to pretty much any hazardous substance peasants can come up with, and the few exceptions they'll be able to sense if it's tainting food left for them. The only exception is alcohol, but Chompers should puke that out before it poisons them, at least that's what I think.

  6. Due to magic, monsters like Chompers "spawn" regularly, so you can't just kill them all and be done. You have to deal with them. Additionally, Chompers can eat Plop, and Plop let them because that's how an even worse monster arises (one outside the scope of this question, but that will show up in a similar question soon).

  7. My question is asking about methods that would A) prevent humans from being swarmed and overwhelmed by hordes of hungry Chompers on the streets and B) would keep Chompers away from children, food, and sleeping individuals. Basically, making life bearable because living among walking eggs that will eat you alive given a chance is kind of stressful.

  8. Same as in the question above, **I'm specifically looking for:**repulsion methods, to keep the Plops away from people; offensive methods, to lower the Plop numbers; and strategic methods to lessen the danger of being attacked or eaten by Plop. These methods should not be magical, as the typical medieval villager (in my setting) does not have access to magic. More specifically, I'm asking how the villagers can make themselves as safe as possible from Plops.

Criteria for Best Answer (Repeat of last question's criteria):

  1. The best answer will include active and passive methods; methods that require human action to work and others that work without interference. I count behavioral patterns as active methods.

  2. The best answer will thoroughly cover multiple viable methods and explain why they'd work.

  3. Said methods should be viable for medieval villagers, something they can actually come up with and produce. That being said, human ingenuity is quite something, so I'm willing to be lenient on this one.

I appreciate your input and feedback, so if there is a problem, please let me know; if you decide to VTC or downvote, please explain why so I can fix the problem. Thank you.

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Stucco Walls

Chomper acid can melt organics, but presumably not stonework, and their suckers can climb stone work, but not textured stuff like tree bark. So, to combat them you need to treat the lower sections of all of your walls with a highly textured stucco. Since chompers are so short, and presumably not great jumpers due to their hard shells, you just need to apply a layer of the stuff to the bottom couple of feet of any building to prevent them from getting in.

Instead of the tall expensive stone walls used by major cities, smaller villages would be fine with just a thin waist high boundary wall with a quicklime based stucco facade. This is something pretty easy for peasants to make using what was pretty common knowledge in the medieval period.

Since chompers have sucker feet, we can also assume they are bad diggers; so, they can not really undermine your walls very easily either.

So, they can't go over, they can't go under, and they can't melt through. They are also just big enough that they can't really squeeze through holes small enough to go unnoticed the way that something like mice or insects can... so defensively speaking, you can keep them out of where they don't belong pretty easily. This would be enough to make human villages very unattractive targets since they would just be wasting all their time futilely trying to find their way in.

I'd also recommend using poisoned food traps. While Raven like intelligence might be enough to avoid a snare trap, a free meal is tempting no matter how intelligent an animal is. So, if your villagers poison bits of the food they produce and leave it outside of their walls, then the chompers will choose the easy task of eating free food over the hard task of getting past the wall. If evolution is a thing in your setting, then over a few generations, this could lead to the chompers having a taste aversion to human foods further making villages unattractive places to scavenge. In the end, your chompers will learn it is best to avoid humans (as most dangerous creatures have learned), and while chomper encounters might still happen now and then in the wilderness, the fact that they avoid where people live would be enough for humanity to survive the occasional missing woodsman or caravaneer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very thoughtful and thorough answer, I like how it protects the people and will protect Chompers. However, it also made me realize something I forgot to add.... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Mar 2 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ Here it is, I hope this doesn't hurt your answer too bad: "Due to magic and natural selection, Chompers are immune to pretty much any hazardous substance peasants can come up with, and the few exceptions they'll be able to sense if it's tainting food left for them. The only exception is alcohol, but Chompers should puke that out before it poisons them, at least that's what I think." $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Mar 2 at 3:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Alendyias How about two part poisons? You could feed it two things that it can individually stomach, but when it eats them together, it dies. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_chemical_weapon $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Mar 2 at 4:07
  • $\begingroup$ That would work, yes! Smart thinking! I'm glad I didn't foil the poison part of your answer, it brings me great relief to know that. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Mar 2 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ A bit late to the game here, but would a strong base work for a poison, to react with the acid? Maybe something lime-based? $\endgroup$ Sep 7 at 20:51
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In days of yore, before the medieval, when tribes wandered because they hadn't quite figured out a plow yet, there was really only one defense: A constantly-vigilant patrol of warriors, day and night, and a fire (or bog) to incinerate (or drown) the pests.

Thousands of years ago, dogs joined the patrol. Some were bred to sniff out the pests and lead their human pack-mates to them. Others were bred to jump high, to knock down the climbers. Still others were bred to carefully pick up the pests in their powerful jaws, carry them to the nearby drowning-pit, and to hold them under.

Hundreds of years ago, when folks developed the tools and skills to cut stone and make mortar, they built a village wall with overhangs. The walls couldn't keep the pests out, but slowed them down so the (smaller) patrol and their dogs could catch them. A smaller patrol meant a more productive labor available for farming and industry and specialization.

During the present (medieval) era, everybody lives within the village walls. The wealthy live in stone-built houses. Most others live in houses built partially of stone. Even the poorest families have several of the breeds of dogs. Every able-bodied adult has a weekly shift with the Patrol, keeping the walls clean and the drowning pits filled.

The children have duties, too: Feeding the patrol's dogs, counting the weapons at every Patrol shift change, and (of course) doing extra farm work...since the adults lose one day each week to Patrol work.

Every village has a smithy to maintain the weapons and specialized tools -- often long-handled two-handed tongs to grab a pest securely, pluck it off the wall, and drown it. But also swords to chop their legs, pry-bars to lift their suction-cups, chisels to cut through the shell, etc.

The inventory of iron and steel for the smithy is monitored by the local Baron, as is the Patrol's weapon inventory. The Baron can't afford too many goons, since so much of the productive effort of the village is spent on defense. If you have a Patrol shift, don't be late when the muster-horn sounds -- the Commander of the Patrol is not at all forgiving.

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  • $\begingroup$ I really like the historical format, and the realism, but is there a dog big enough to pick up a Quad? They're pig-size, so....this also doesn't look sustainable, surely there is a safer way to take care of Chompers? $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Mar 2 at 3:57
  • $\begingroup$ If that's the need, so will go the dog's breed. Admittedly, I envisioned them pulling Chompers off. For Quads, they'll bark until a human pack-mate comes along to handle it. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Mar 2 at 3:59
  • $\begingroup$ Or maybe they'll be outfitted with metal sheaths for their fangs and claws, giving them more penetrating power. They really just need to knock down, pin, and beat up a Quad, so they can probably do it! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Mar 2 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer, I will definitely be using canines and Guard Patrols in my setting! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Mar 29 at 16:37
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Passive natural resources

The problem is that many defences quickly become very intensive and out of reach for many villages. Building a wall is an incredibly intensive work that requires constant maintenance. And how Chompers work, you need special walls that can be hard to come by. Lets go over a few alternatives.

Moat

A moat is also pretty intensive and requires a lot of water. However, the Chompers seem to be heavy, so they would need to walk into the water and hold their breath, which I think isn't very feasible. This would deter or kill many of the Chompers. Needing water is tricky. Pumping it up from underground is incredibly intensive, so you would need natural resources. A river or high ground water like in a bog might help with natural defences and little effort. Many villages won't have such places or water available, or year round available. And again, depending on the situation, it can be very intensive work to build and maintain it. So what would other villages use?

Spikes

There is something that is very detrimental to these Chompers. It's their mobility. It is safe to assume they are steady and strong, but also slow and unwieldy. Wooden spikes are used against cavalry. Yet we can use smaller versions to just deter these Chompers. Put them close together, spikes angled to outside. The idea isn't to kill the Chompers, but to make it so they can't move past it. The suction cups have too little to purchase on while they can't force their way past these spikes. They can use their acid, but this takes time and probably doesn't clear a large area. If you include pits or moats with the same idea, with sticks sticking out so if they go in (or with traps they fall in), that they can't come out easily. If you can use materials that are immune to the acid, like rocks or just stone round sticks (assumed from your reactions on the answers with walls), you've got a fully passive system that requires some but not full time maintenance. If you include very small spikes that can penetrate their feet, you can also prevent them from moving at all.

Natural resources

To protect yourself more naturally, you can use many sorts of plants that grow thick and unpassable. Grab bramble bushes and just plant them all around your village close together. They provide food and an incredible thick tangle of branches that can't be pushed through by the Chompers. It is easy to maintain, grows automatically, replaces itself over time and even if you have the ones that fully die off once in a while you'll have plenty of bramble bushes that have grown by that time to still be practically impenetrable. The spikes can also potentially damage the legs. These bushes grow on a large portion of the planet and can protect many villages year round. Bramble bushes aren't the only option though.

Sledgehammers

Finally, you will still need to get rid of some Chompers. They seem dangerous, but can still be easily dealt with. As mentioned before, they likely slow to move and to turn. This is an incredible weakness against a much larger and faster foe like a human. Grab a big hammer, a buddy and start running. One can distract while the other runs past. The enamel shell is nice, but likely no match for the brute force of a big hammer. Ram the egg and it'll break. Won't it break catastrophically? You'll knock it off balance and you can start whacking until it does break. You can also run around them and grab them. They have only their mouth, eyes and legs to wriggle with, so you should be able to hold them easily. You can then drown them, cut off their feet an leave them there. Especially this last one can be a great resort, leaving the immobile but still alive Chompers around the village to prevent new spawns (if it works like that). You'll reduce their dangerous presence by a ton.

Conclusion

All of these still require some starting effort and maintenance, but are largely passive so your villagers are still able to do their normal daily tasks. The Chompers are dangerous, but can still be relatively easily dealt with.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very thoughtful and thorough, thank you! I've been considering giving the Chompers gelatinous insides to help protect them against bludgeoning attacks, do you think that would make the sledgehammer idea unfeasible? $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Mar 2 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias the innards helping depends wholly on the shell. If it's stiff and unbending it won't matter. It'll crack before the innards are a factor. If it does bend, it is only a little better. If you pin the egg against the ground or a wall and hit them the force has little place to go, so the full force is put into the shell instead of partly into full body motion. The egg will be cracked. But hey, they might've some acid spraying out on breakage, making sledgehammer tactics much less feasible. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Mar 2 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ Great, thanks for your input! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Mar 2 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ I may have picked Nosajimiki's answer, but I want you to know your answer was great and I will be accounting for spikes, moats, and plants when I design my world's villages. Thank you! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Mar 29 at 16:36
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Immobilize them before proper disposal. the only mean for them to move is those tube-like legs

  • tripwire trap cutting it out (if you say it shell also somehow wrap around "flexible" -tube) then you have to look into tar (or other high viscosity substance to stop them), mud should worked too.
  • can scale wall? let them. with slope design wall + soap water, see how that suction cup gonna work
  • strategically build city/town on top of hill. so you can use sling-shot ballista to trip them and watch they roll down the hill into pit or river

and yeah, already spoiled how to kill it. by drowning them. (with large amount of water, so their acid will get neutralized, stopping them from destroying your tool/ struggle against etc) the approach is how you encounter them, if it those you immobilized by cutting it leg then it will be a lot easy, just roll them to the nearest water body. if it the group that stumble down the wall/hill then you have other group of soldier with paddle?(idk what it called rake? pole with board at the end to keep pushing them from getting out of water, you get the idea) and more soap water if they try to climb out. (also, soap is base too, so that another plus)

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  • $\begingroup$ Very good answer! I especially like how it'll deal with Plop as well, making it viable for my last question of this type! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Mar 2 at 3:33

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