Monster of the Week: The Grain Giant

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Also Known As: Grain Creature, Grain Golem

Description: The grain giant is, as the name implies, a large creature made out of grain. Most grain giants are roughly humanoid in appearance, but other forms are possible, with a serpentine form being most popular non-humanoid morphology. The size of a grain giant depends on how much grain it has absorbed into its body. A grain giant who forms in a typical silo is 30-40 feet tall initially.  

BMA Classification: Grain giants do not intentionally seek out humans and destroy them, but their incredible power and indiscriminate search for more grain makes them a significant threat to human life. Therefore, the Bureau of Monster Affairs classifies them as a monster.

Powers: In addition to being large and destructive, grain giants are capable of using their internal grain supply as a weapon. The Grain giant will funnel the mundane wheat through small openings in the outer shell at high speeds, creating a powerful spray that M-Forcer Maria Gonzalez dubbed the “wheat beam.” They can also alter their physical form, but the process is so difficult and time-consuming that they rarely do so.

Vulnerabilities: Grain giants can only be defeated by disrupting the electrical field that creates its consciousness and enables its movement. This can be accomplished by widely separating the grains (explosives or extreme wind have both been used successfully to achieve this) or by destroying the coherence of the field using another powerful electrical field. The Grain Brain (see below)  was destroyed by the electromagnetic pulse created by a tactical-yield nuclear explosive.

Biology and Habitat: A grain giant develops when a bioengineered form of wheat called DR-174 invades a wheat field. DR-174 (created by Agamemnon Industries in 1987) was intended to be a radiation-resistant form of grain that could feed people in the aftermath of a nuclear war. An unintended result of the experiments was that the grain had a weak electrochemical charge almost comparable to a neuron. DR-174 will easily crossbreed with other wheat strains, resulting in whole fields of infected grain, all of which are charged. While unharvested, DR-174 poses no real threat, but once stored in silos and grain elevators it reaches a critical mass. The closely compacted grains begin to function much like a brain, with simple linkages occurring that form the grain equivalent of a neural net. The grain then becomes a thinking thing capable of movement by manipulating the individual grains through its neuro-electric field. The newly-formed grain giant will break free of its containment and begin moving off in search of more grain to add to its mass, stripping field after field. While only DR-174 wheat grains will actually be able to join in the neural net, the creature can draw sustenance and mass from normal grain. This grain is kept inside an outer shell formed of the DR-174.

Sightings: So far gain giants have only been encountered in the American Midwest, but they could potentially form anywhere grain that has been contaminated with DR-174 DNA is stored. The first grain giant appeared near Peoria, Illinois in 1989 and the number of occurrences per year steadily increased throughout the early 1990s as DR-174 seeds spread from one field to the next.

In 1993, the world witnessed a frightening phenomenon called the “Grain Brain.” It was a particularly bad year for DR-174 infestations, which resulted in fifteen separate and nearly simultaneous grain giant occurrences. Three of these creatures intersected with each other to create a mega-grain giant which, exhibiting intelligence, began seeking out others of its kind and absorbing them. This mega-giant managed to absorb 12 of the 15 separate grain giants. The increasing intelligence brought on by its huge number of DR-174 particles resulted in a sapient being that eventually communicated with humans and attempted to take control of the world for its own benefit. Only through the valiant efforts of Topeka M-Force agents was the Grain
Brain defeated.

In 1994, researchers finally discovered the culprit for the phenomenon and Agamemnon Industries voluntarily ceased distribution of the DR-174 seeds. Since then, the number of grain giant appearances has steadily declined, but at least a couple still form in America’s grain belt during each harvest.

Additional Information: DR-174 can only be identified through genetic testing or by the use of a process that can detect the electrical charge of the grain, processes few farmers are willing to pay for. Starting in 1998, the Department of Agriculture began conducting its own tests on crops in high risk areas. Unfortunately, funding cuts in 2003 has greatly reduced the programs’ effectiveness.

The possibility of another Grain Brain seems unlikely, but M-Force Agents are warned to be particularly cautious of extremely large grain giants that might develop the intelligence needed to precipitate another Brain.

Body: 16*
Brain: 6
Nerve: 15
Job: Giant (12)
*If the grain giant’s size gives it a significant advantage for a Body roll, the GM should roll 2 dice and choose the best result.
Gimmick: Wheat Beam (15)–In addition to taking damage, any character hit by a wheat beam must make a Body roll. If the roll is less than the grain giant’s Gimmick roll, the target is knocked down by the wheat beam and loses his next action.
Limited Shapeshifting (10)–To change its physical form, the grain giant may make a Gimmick roll. If the roll succeeds, the shape change takes 1 hour – (roll x 5 minutes). While the shapeshifting is taken place, the grain giant’s form is not cohesive enough for it to take any physical action. If the shapeshifting roll fails, the grain giant has failed to re-form. It may make a new Gimmick roll after an hour to reassemble itself. The size and shape of the grain giant’s form are limited by the amount of DR-174 grains present in its body.
Weakness: Electrical Fields (15)–Small electrical shocks (tasers, etc) cause double damage if the grain giant’s Weakness takes effect. If the grain giant is given a serious electrical shock or otherwise exposed to a strong electrical field, roll Weakness. If the Weakness takes effect, the giant is neutralized and becomes an inert pile of grain.
Skills: None
Armor Rating: +2
Damage Bonus: +5 (wheat beam); +3 (melee attack–punch, kick, trample, etc.)
HP: 35
Yum Yums: 2

The stats above are for a typical 30-40 foot grain giant. For each additional 10 feet, the creature gets a +1 to Body, Armor Rating and Damage Bonus; +2 Brain; +10 Health Points, and an additional die for Body rolls where its size is advantageous. It should be noted that that a considerable amount of the grain absorbed by a grain giant is destroyed to provide energy for the absorption. As a result, a grain giant grows very slowly after its initial formation–on average, about 2 silos worth of grain must be absorbed for the giant to grow 10 feet.

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