This time in Vestitas we have the nest of a large swarm of bats who periodically ambush characters throughout the jungle hexes, and my deep wilderness, wildlife focused encounters continue to be the bare minimum of interesting I feel is allowable to make it onto the hex crawl at all. This encounter also makes reference to stat blocks that are only half-written, and those references may be revised when I go back and fully write the creature stats.
Summary: A huge swarm of bloodsucking bats nests in a large cave. They range out across most of the jungle and are more than happy to feed on humans.
Discovery: At night, the cavern is constantly awake with the sandpapery wings of bats coming in and out of the cavern. That this is the lair of those goddamn bats that have been pestering PCs in random encounters throughout the jungle should be obvious (unless the PCs are so lucky as to have gotten this far without encountering any, in which case it should still be obvious that this bat swarm is worth investigating).
Exploration: The bats nest primarily around a bend in the cavern, where the light of day cannot reach them. Any attempt at entry into the cavern will cause the night time swarm to descend upon the characters entering. This swarm is only a small fraction of the total number of bats roosting in the cavern, as most are busy hunting. Characters wounded by any kind of rending or explosive weapon, including the bats’ own natural weapons, will become a target for the bat swarm, which will pursue them deep into the night, however the bat swarm can be intimidated into retreating if the swarm has lost at least half its number and is being attacked by anything noisy (chainswords, lasguns, autoguns, bolters, but not power weapons or flamers), which is particularly disconcerting to bats with an excellent sense of hearing.
Confrontation: If the characters attack the roost during the daylight, they will awaken the entire bat swarm at once, and will have to fight the daylight swarm. The bats are not weakened by daylight at all, however they do suffer a level of fatigue due to having been woken from sleep. Bats will not pursue attackers very far outside the cavern during the day, as they just want to be left alone to sleep.
If the characters attack at night, then they fight the two night swarms, the small one hanging about the cavern immediately and the larger one as dawn approaches and the bats return home to sleep. Just like during daytime, bats just before dawn will not put much effort into pursuing fleeing characters, as they mostly just want to go to sleep.
The lack of any traits for poor vision is not a mistake. Bats are not actually blind. Their sonar sense only works in reasonably quiet environments, and while regular ambiance will not drown out their sonar, gunfire will.
Rewards: With the bat nest destroyed, characters will no longer randomly encounter goddamn bats while traveling through jungle hexes. The emptied cavern is also sheltered from the elements and easily secured against enemy attack, which players may find useful. The bats roost fairly close to the surface since, after all, they have to leave every night, but the cave system itself might potentially extend much further if you’d like to give your players more room to build a wilderness base or want an excuse to play Adam Kaluza’s the Cave.