The Artila's body is physically frail and comprised of segments, with a fully grown Artila made up ten to twelve segments. Movement is achieved by lateral undulation of these segments. Despite being worm-like, the skin of the Artila is scaled and shed bi-annually. The Artila expectorates acid from its mouth at the front tip of its body. Due to the large amounts of acidic substances passing through this area the Artila's fangs are required to have a high resistance to wear. Most of its body warmth is outwardly drawn.
The average length of an Artilla is 5 spans (9'); it's height is 5 spans (3 ' 9") and it's weight is 140 stones (1960 lbs.).
The main use of an Artila is in combat. They are specialized to spit a magical bolt of acid on their enemies. In-game on the three later Geneforge games, the first attack deals magical damage while the second attack every turn is an acid attack. While Artilas are mainly for ranged combat use, they do have fangs to protect themselves when up fronted. These fangs are resistant to wear, although they still can tear apart the skins of their enemies. In-game, these fangs are extremely weak compared to their Acid (or in Geneforge 5, Poison) attack.
Artilas are very weak to melee attacks, although can resist magic attacks easily. Even with this resistance, they are still physically frail and do not have many Hitpoints. Thus, a single magic attack from enemy Artilas can kill another Artila with the acid damage.
Artilas are described as having relatively refined minds, although they are not capable of speech, communicating by hissing and growling. Although they display 'minimal rogue tendencies', Artilas have been known to go rogue when separated from their master for extended periods of time.
Artilas come in many variations, including:
A Searing Artila is a much more powerful Artila in terms of damage. They cost 30 essence to create, and are blue in color. These creations deal much more damage than their normal counterparts, but still take melee damage easily. They can be created in earlier versions of the Geneforge series.
The word 'Searing' can be a reference to the magic spell Searer, which is essentially the same as an Artila ranged attack.
Plated Artilas, like the Searing Artilas, are also much more powerful than their normal counterparts. While they may have some form of damage boost, their power comes from the fact that they are much more resistant to attacks. This gives them a boost in hitpoints and resistance. Plated Artilas are available in the later games of the Geneforge series, as a replacement to the Searing Artilas.
A very special form of Artila. This specimen is found in Greenwood Isle of Geneforge 3. It has a very potent venom attack and one of the hardest creations to kill for a low-leveled player. When it dies, it drops Blood Poison, an ingredient used for the magic anvil. This version of the Artila is purely rogue and cannot be shaped by a player except through modding of the Geneforge game code.
The Inferno Wyrm is a form of Artila developed in the Drypeak Mountains, either by the Barzites or the Takers. It is usually purple in color. Rather than spitting acid, the has the power to coat large numbers of opponents in waves of flame. This effect appears to approximate that of the Aura of Flames spell. Inferno Wyrms have greater resistance to magic than other strains of Artila.
These creations are the simplest of all magic creations, however are very useful in the beginning. An Artila costs 12 essence to create, and 5 more for the 2 intelligence boost. While expensive for beginner shapers, creating Artilas gives payback. They have a long range attack that deals magic damage first, then acid damage at subsequent turns. This can be compared to a Searer attack, which does the exact same thing. In melee combat, Artilas can be killed quite easily. Their bodies are unsuited to melee attacks, however do well against magic.
Later in the game, (end of beginning to middle) Artilas are usually replaced with the more popular Vlish.
Artilas are evidently not hard to defeat, only to get to. Their attacks can strike players as they get to them, and flee backwards when being approached by Battle Creations. It is best to either attack them with ranged weapons that deal Physical, Fire, or Ice damage, or simply rush to the Artila. Using several creations for the Artila to attack rather than you is useful for a Shaper.
A common tactic amongst most players with four or more Battle Creations is to surround the Artila on all four sides. This prevents it from using its ranged attack, forcing the creation to rely on its weak melee attack. A variation of this tactic is to corner it, requiring only two or three Melee Creations to finish the job.
Artilas cannot speak at all. The only hiss and growl
Artilas have been seen to be quite intelligent, intelligent enough to get bored.