by T.A. Saunders ©2011 v1.0
Diet: Blood parasite
Activity: Any time
Socialization: Colony infestation
Special Talents: Stridulation
Special Attacks: Blood Disease
Locality: Most common in the Tashrani Desert area, but can be found anywhere on Imarel.
Longevity: Anywhere between thirty and forty days.
Class Type: All Singing Lice attack as a non-classed humanoid, 50% base hit.
The Singing Louse has a distinct dark crimson color, which does not vary much between males and females, with long rigid wings that can fold over the creature’s large thorax. It is only the male of the species however that has the special ridges under the wings to produce the infamous song that have been the embarrassment of many a host and the attraction of many a female Singing Louse.
Singing Lice, or more commonly known as Tashrani Love Bugs or Crotch Crickets can be found nearly anywhere on Imarel, though it is thought they originated in and around Tashran. It was the first Tashrani gypsies who discovered the pests while settling the area; known for their promiscuity, the gypsy folk quickly learned the need for personal sanitation and the sanitation of their surroundings, for fear of the incredibly embarrassing chirping this particular species of lice is known for.
Incredibly contagious, the Singing Louse infests the pubic region of its host and can survive for short periods of time on animal furs, bedding and clothing to facilitate their spreading. Most commonly however, the Singing Louse spreads through sexual contact and once infested on a host, will spread at an alarming rate, even for a species of lice. Infestations are noticeable in the first few hours, as the chirping sound is distinct and can be heard at a conversational sound level. While intermittent at first, as the infestation grows and the ratio of males to females increases with the rapid hatching of their nits, the chirping becomes more common and can disrupt attempts to Hide in Shadows and Move Silently. Further, as the infestation grows, the itching and pain resulting from the parasites biting the host can disrupt spell-casting for the break in concentration it can cause.
Singing Lice are not sanitary creatures and carry with them a host of diseases, the most prevalent is the Singing Louse Blood Disease. if not cured within three days of its onset as a result of an infestation, the blood disease can cause the loss of physical stamina and strength and if left unchecked for long enough (two weeks or more) blindness can occur. In the case of the blood disease, an herbal remedy involving Bloodroot can cure the disease, or can be cured by magic. Actual infestations are cured with a powder derived from the Gambler’s Noose vine.
As mentioned previously, the Singing Louse highly contagious, for having the ability to not only survive on clothing, bedding and the like, but for being able to actually fly short distances. While not prone to the stridulation that the males perform once infested on a host, it is possible to find a place of heavy infestation with a very fine cloud of these pests buzzing around. Many Tashrani harlots will burn special candles made from Lasher Cow fat, beeswax and heavily diluted Jukuarai extract. While this may ward off an infestation in a room, a personal infestation can only be cured in the previously mentioned fashion.