There are many species of monsters which stalk the lands of The Star-Runner Chronicles world. Some are large and fearsome, some are stealthy and adept at hiding in plain sight, but the pipsquirrel has a different specialty entirely—thievery. So, come along as we take a peek into the secret life of this fuzzy little bandit!
Pipsquirrel Fast Facts
Creature Type: Beast
Elemental Type: Wild/Light
Elemental Weakness: Fire/Heart
Size: 1 to 1.5 feet long
Weight: 1 to 2 pounds
Diet: Nuts, Fruit, and Sunlight
Subspecies: Common Pipsquirrel, Brown Pipsquirrel, Green Pipsquirrel, Blue-Hooded Pipsquirrel (sometimes called the Rocky Pipsquirrel), Iron Pipsquirrel, Black Popsquirrel
Most Applicable Tropes: Metal Slime (Iron Pipsquirrel), Fragile Speedster (all other subspecies), Outside-the-Box Tactic, Bandit Mook, Impossible Thief, Self-Duplication
Getting robbed is a big deal. No one wants to look up and notice that their wallet, or their keys, or their kidney is suddenly missing! But, robbing people is just what the pipsquirrel does…and quite spectacularly, I might add. These tiny forest-dwelling monsters seem to absolutely live for the activity! But, what exactly is a pipsquirrel…?
Appearance and Anatomy
At first glance, a pipsquirrel looks a lot like any normal squirrel that you would find darting through the trees and underbrush of any old forest. On closer inspection, however, you will notice its three pairs of eyes along with the fact that it possesses two pairs of ears and two tails! The extra eyes extend the pipsquirrels field of vision to nearly three hundred and sixty degrees, while the dual tails are used for steering and balance. The two sets of ears may at first seem purely decorative, but research has shown that each pair of ears is connected to a separate set of inner ear organs tuned to separate auditory ranges—one for sub-sonic to the middle range of human hearing and the other one for mid-range human hearing through super-sonic sound.
Most pipsquirrels have very soft, fluffy fur in colors and patterns which make them blend very easily into their surroundings, but afford little protection from physical attack. The exceptions are the blue-hooded or rocky pipsquirrel and the rare iron pipsquirrel. The blue-hooded pipsquirrel’s coat is all gray except for its distinctive cap of blue fur, which covers almost the entire top and back of the head aside from its ears. Meanwhile the iron pipsquirrel is endowed with both great speed and a pelt made of a special steel alloy which deflects most attacks physical…even bullets! The iron pipsquirrel’s unique pelt is very valuable, since the alloy that it’s made of is difficult and time-consuming to create, but makes exceptional armor and weapons.
Pipsquirrels live on a hardy diet of nuts, seeds, fruit, and sunlight. They can eat their weight in plant foods every day, but unless there has been a long stretch of dark, cloudy days they prefer to eat just half that and then bask in the sun at the tops of trees for the rest of their daily nourishment.
They absorb sunlight through special hairs located on their backs and tails. The energy gathered through these hairs is used to aid in digestion—helping them to more thoroughly break down the plant matter and get the most possible nutrition out of the food they eat—and to fuel their magical abilities. Consequentially, a pipsquirrel which has been kept in a dark enclosure for a week with just fruit, nuts, and seeds to eat will exhibit much weaker magical capabilities than a pipsquirrel which has been kept in an enclosure which gets a normal amount of sunlight each day.
For such naughty little troublemakers, pipsquirrels are actually some of the most peaceful monsters in the world. When they swiftly dash out of hiding to jump upon and steal from the bags and pockets of unwitting travelers (which takes no more than a second, even when stealing undergarments right off of the victim’s body), there is absolutely no malice or killer intent behind their actions. They steal because they enjoy the challenge and adrenaline rush which comes from it, and they stay to taunt their victims and incite them to chase after them because they just see it all as one great big game!
Pipsquirrels decorate their lairs—hollows in trees and rock formations called “apartments”, which they typically share with two to three other pipsquirrels—with the spoils of games well-won and seem to always be trying to outdo their buddies. Showing off their thieving prowess is also a very important step in courting a mate for both males and females. Their breeding season is every-other winter, and a female will usually have a litter of three to four young the following spring. When two breeding pairs share the same apartment, they even share child-rearing responsibilities. Because they are such social creatures, they are also among the few monster species which will spontaneously form friendships with people.
They are picky about the people that they associate with, however, and seem to show a preference for thieves, pirates, spies, ninjas, and illusionists—likely out of respect for their skills in stealth, trickery, and theft. In fact, pipsquirrels never attempt to steal from people whom they sense to be especially skilled thieves as a weird sort of “professional courtesy.” Once they befriend someone, pipsquirrels are very loyal companions and some have even been known to sacrifice their lives for their cross-species companions.
When backed into a corner by a predator or unhappy victim of their larceny and unable to use their speed to escape, pipsquirrels use light magic to make a quick get-away. Their spell of first resort is one which creates anywhere from ten to fifty holographic clones meant to confuse the enemy. If their opponent can easily find their real body with their sense of smell or by sensing their thoughts, however, then their next trick is to cast a flashbomb spell and escape while their opponent is blinded. In this way, pipsquirrels rarely have to get into a physical fight and almost always escape danger without a scratch.
That’s it for this week, folks! Join us next week for more fun! Until then, be sure to check out The Star-Runner Chronicles on Amazon.com (print and ebook editions available) or Smashwords (Coming August 26, 2015, so pre-order now!), peep in on my tweets on Twitter, learn about me at a glance on Pintrest, or just archive binge around here for a bit (if you liked this piece, make sure to check out my three-parter on werewolves or any of the articles under the “Magic” or “Monster Manual” categories).
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