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Waterskippers and their Nests

Waterskippers are carnivorous animals, occuring naturally throughout the Eighth. Recently, the Rooted Empire has engineered Waterskippers to live underground, and has employed them to defend their tunnels. When Onsuary floods strike dungeons, the Empire uses the underground lakes to insert waterskippers.

After reaching maturity, two Waterskippers will make a nest on the water, scavenging branches from nearby areas and solidifying them into rough piles with their saliva. After the nest is finished and a brief mating dance is performed, the female occupies the nest and begins to spawn offspring at a prodigious rate, three times faster than the roach queen, itself no slouch in this department. The offspring immediately begin to look for food, seeking any nearby prey. Waterskippers do not leave the water as a rule but will leap onto land to attack. The Waterskippers' unwary prey can easily become overwhelmed by the sheer number of attacking beasts.

Detailed Behaviour Analysis

Waterskippers follow the roachlike movement rules, but only move on water. They may additionally move onto any square that doesn't contain either a Wall or a closed door if there is a target on the square they wish to kill.

Every 10 turns, if there's a visible target in the room, water skipper nests spawn a single Water Skipper on an empty Water square surrounding them. The square chosen must be water, and must not contain any standard obstacle or the player. The square chosen will be the one closest to the nearest target.

If the Water Skipper Nest is brain-controlled, then it will use the brain's distance to decide. Otherwise, it uses the Pythagorean theorem. In the case of ties, priority is given in the order of NW, N, NE, W, E, SW, S, SE.