Nothing in the Darkhive is more alien than the Shellbrood. (It also helps that I had the works of HR Giger in mind when thinking about these creatures)
The Shellbrood combine exoskeletal bodies, with crablike pincers, segmented limbs and bony protrusions, with tentacles, slime and protoplamsic amoeboid ooze. These are the alpha predators of the Darkhive, regardless of the technology, psychic powers or mutations possessed by other survivors. Alone, these creature could wipe out a family of merchants travelling through the hive, but they rarely act alone. The Shellbrood operate in swarms and have a hive mind that links them as a single functional unit with many limbs in many places.
Often the first evidence of a Shellbrood infestation is a simple loss of communication with a hamlet or village. If raiding parties are sent to the settlement and don't return, money and favours are called apon. The largest group of the deadliest warriors and most dedicated fanatics are assembled for a scourging party to wipe the entirety of the Shellbrood warren from the hive. When all traces of the Shellbrood are eliminated, the party disbands...this could be weeks, months or even years later, those who sign onto a scourging party accept that it is a commitment to complete the task regardless of the cost or duration of the campaign.
If enough casualties are sustained in the scourging party, drastic measures are taken. The entire area is quarantined and Hiveguard are summoned to completely rebuild the Darkhive around the infestation.
Despite the constant shadow war against the Shellbrood, they have never been completely removed from the Darkhive. They breed too quickly, and generally live too far from survivor contact. It is only on the occasions when the territories of Shellbrood and Survivor overlap that the fires of warfare start raging through the tunnels of the hive.
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