So you are trapped in the depths of the Veins, or marooned on a desert island, or left freezing at the summit of a mountain. You are in a scenario where the body is burning calories fast and the beef jerky ran out long ago. Its time to decide what you are willing to do to survive.
I was surprised to see how the issue of Cannibalism seems to be another large dividing point between OSR games and Modern editions of the “world’s oldest rpg.” On the OSR side we often see it as a choice of necessity, the gritty dangerous lifestyle of the OSR adventurer requires one to often make do or die choices. So long Bob the Hireling, I hope you taste better than you smelled. On the Modern side, it only takes a few moments of Googling searching to find dozens of threads, debates and arguments about in game cannibalism. Is it Evil? Is it cannibalism if my gnome eats an orc or just other gnomes? Will it make the Paladin fall even if there is no other survival choice? Etc. etc.
[Side Note: Googling Cannibalism OSR mostly gets you evolutionary biology studies on Operational Sex Ratio and brood cannibalism among competing males]
The topic is present enough throughout the community that I think it only fitting to have a wide variety of cannibalistic resources.
Endo vs. Exo vs. Xeno Cannibalism
Endocannibalism is the eating of other members of your species specifically within your social group. When Anthopologists use this term, generally speaking they are referring to various funeral rites where parts of the dead would be ritually eaten as part of the mourning process. There are cases of making a sort of bone-meal gruel from the ashes of the departed loved one all the way up to the Fore people who would make sure the entire body was consumed. A large part of these endocannibalistic rituals appear to be for returning the life force of the departed individual back to their society.
Exocannibalism is the eating of other members of your species OUTSIDE of your social group. Many times we see this practiced in warrior cultures where fallen enemies would be eaten in a ritualized manner. Some do this as a means of gaining a sort of spiritual or physical power from devouring the strength and skill of their foes. Some do this as a means of a predator-prey aspect, reducing their enemies to an animalistic sub-human status through treating their meat like that of any other animal.
Both Endo- and Exo- cannibalism can take a practical form in which the dead are eaten due to a lack of sufficient resources elsewhere. The Great Famine of 1315–1317, for example, supposedly saw mass instance of cannibalism born out of the desperation. The Custom of the Sea is well known to sailors, where the drawing of lots would decide who lives and who is eaten. And few have not heard of Flight 571 or the Donner Party.
There are, of course, also the insane. Jeffrey Dahmer, Dorángel Vargas, and Armin Meiwes might come to mind. And the ending scene of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (don’t watch this if you don’t want to spend the next few days vigorously scrubbing yourself).
These, however, all take into account a world with a single dominant thinking species, us. In the fantasy and sci-fi worlds of RPGs, you have a nearly limitless variety of thinking creatures to potentially eat. I would like to propose then a term per the Endo/Exo standard.
Xenocannibalism is the act of eating species beyond one’s own that possess approximately human or beyond levels of intelligence and culture. This is something that, in a fantasy scenario, have wide impacts on how societies, religions, and cultures perceive cannibalism.
Take for example Meriadar, god of the Mongrelfolk. Meriadar is a deity of tolerance, patience, and craft. He is also a deity of hunger, for while he is concerned with the meeting of all of those Maslovian needs, he understands that in the “eternal now” hunger is the greatest and most immediate of those needs. He and his chosen race are a mishmash of pretty much everything else, looking like Igor’s side projects made of spare parts. Given their passive nature but hideous appearance, it is of little wonder that they are often persecuted from all sides. They are, therefore, a group who is usually quite resource poor. I feel a society like this might practice Endo and Xeno-cannibalism, both for practical and ritual purposes. Scavenging for food means any resource of meat should not be turned down. Furthermore the old “you are what you eat” aphorism may apply more deeply to this mixed up race, anything eaten adds to their diversity. If your party is among the Mongrelfolk they will do their best to make you feel welcomed, and if any of you should die among their company they will make sure no part goes wasted.
You could also look at the Thri-Kreen who will literally eat anything, but given the hellhole that Athas is, there is little surprise there. The desert Mantis-Folk don’t practice this out of any sort of malice, it is pure practicality. That said, Athasian Elves put off a pheromone (especially when afraid) that is especially stimulating to the Thri-Kreens’ hunger. Unlike the Mogrelfolks’ completely passive cannibalism, the Kreen practice an active predator-prey cannibalism. Unlike real world examples, however, the Kreen show little or no signs of treating other species as though they were lower and there is no ritual significance in eating another sapient(sentient? whatever) creature. In the deserts of Athas, food is food. We see this as well in the Veins, especially with the Newt-like Olms. If calories are available, it is beyond sin to leave them to be wasted. To NOT be eaten by the Olm would be considered the highest dishonor.
Ogres, trolls, Jack-and-the-Beanstalk style Hill Giants, and such are fully malevolent Xenocannibals in most of their depictions. There is an element of satisfaction and glee from these beings in their killing and consuming of creatures that are capable rational thought. “I likes mine raw,” “Grind your bones to make my bread” and so forth. These are the full on examples of the Predator-Prey aspect of cannibalism, the act of making the victim of your feasting (because in this scenario they are always a victim) into a lesser being fit only for consumption. To the ogre, all of the trappings of civilization vanish in the stew pot.
So if you take anything from this, see that Cannibalism can come in many many flavors. Practical, ritual, benevolent, and malignant. The gnome paladin might fall if they eat the goblins the party just killed, but the Olm paladin will absolutely fall if they don’t.
Okay so this is a fun one. Eating members of your own species for medical effect. Sounds weird right? Well it was a surprisingly common folk medicine King’s Drops, Mummia, Mellified Man, Brahamin Pills, Armsünderschmalz, Placenta Pizza, and Gladiator Blood to just name a few. The Bencao gangmu, the end-all-be-all of Chinese traditional medicine, lists 35 “human drugs” derived from human body parts and excreta.
The things to remember here is, as long as it is medical, no one at large seemed to really be considering it cannibalism. The same time that Europeans were framing native Americans as savage cannibals, they were standing under beheadings to catch fresh blood and King Charles II of England was drinking alcohol steeped in a human skull. Executioners in Germany were making a killing (excuse the pun) in the side business of selling human fat to cure gout. This bigotry was not lost on everyone, with Michel de Montaigne famously notes in his essay “Of Cannibals”: “I find that there is nothing barbarous and savage in this nation, by anything that I can gather, excepting, that every one gives the title of barbarism to everything that is not in use in his own country.”
Anyways, here are some Cannibal Medicines for the party to consume!
Armsünderschmalz: “Poor Sinner’s Fat” made from the fat of executed criminals. If the criminal was a thief, you might do better making the candle out of it. Sinner’s Fat is supposedly an effective cure of various pains and for tuberculosis. A poultice of Sinner’s Fat will allow a character to reroll a save against a pain based effect or a lung-effecting disease.
Brahamin Pills: A pill made from the flesh of one born seven times to a priestly caste. This is a sort of transubstantiation (see sacramental wine and Eucharist), in which the flesh supposedly becomes the flesh of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. This little pill offers “liberation through taste” essentially a free ride to Buddhahood and freedom from the cycle of rebirth. A character taking a Brahamin Pill is filled with semi-divine energies an become capable of flight for a day, furthermore all their negative Karma up to that point is cleared.
Gladiator Blood: Won’t lie, this was essentially Roman Viagra. Get a mouthful of fresh warm blood from an especially beefy warrior and see your own stamina rise to the occasion. In game terms, if it works, clear all your fatigue.
Kings Drops: Powdered human skull mixed with strong alcohol or chocolate, meant to treat a variety of ailments of the head and mind. King Charles II drank it for headaches supposedly. Probably not a whole lot more effective than just drinking strong grain alcohol. In game terms, if it works, allow a reroll on any illness, disease, or curse specifically affecting the head or mind.
Mellified Man: This one is a bit of a process. Take a willing elderly person and have them consume nothing but honey for a month. Have them bath in only honey for the same time. Pretty soon they’re dead and their corpse is brimming with honey. Take that corpse and stick it into a stone coffin full of honey, seal, and let ferment for 100 years. The resulting “confection” is supposedly able to heal any bodily wound. In game terms treat a bite of Mellified Man as a potion of Cure Serious Wounds, Cure Disease, and Cure Poison. Furthermore it heals any fractured or broken bones. It does not, however, regenerate lost limbs.
Mumia: Mmm, powdered Mummy. Really, originally this should have just been a folk cure using bitumen but multiple mistranslations and cases of mercantile greed has resulted in the ancient dead being ground up to snort. It also makes for a pretty good brown paint. If it is fake Mumia, made of random corpse-ashes and pitch, the only thing you are getting it a hole in your pocket and placebo effects. Real Mumia you have a 5% chance of having all the effects of Mellified Man and a 50% chance of contracting Mummy Rot. Lesson, don’t go eating mummies in a world where they actually do rise from the grave to terrorize and worse the living.
. However this seems like a fun chance for an extension of the race into a race-as-class.
Starting Equipment: Loincloth, Stomach-Mouth (As Medium Weapon), Net
Starting Skill: 1. Trapping 2. Tracking 3. Cooking
Prereq: You must be of the Akehaloi race (or have been transformed into one). You cannot choose Template A from this class unless you have Template A from another class.
A: Net Master, Man-Eater, Headless
B: Strong Tongue, Expanded Gut
C: Swallow Whole
Net Master: The Akehaloi are such masters of the net that they may interact with is similarly to a magic user casting Bind. As long as the Akehaloi have one hand touching the net’s line, they may command it to do the following actions: Coil, Coil & Knot, Loop, Loop & Knot, and Tie & Knot, as well as the inverse of these. Coil folds the net into a neat stack, Coil & Knot folds and ties the net into an easily transportable package, Loop loosely wraps the net around an object, Loop & Knot ties the target up per Entangle and Tie & Knot fully wraps the target in the net. The net and the knots are non-magical and the Akehaloi must still throw the net at the target for it to work. For the purposes of grappling via the net, the Akehaloi count as having 2 points higher Strength.
Man Eater: The Akehaloi are omnivores, however they have a particular taste for humanoid flesh. They can tell how many rations can be extracted from a person or corpse and where the most delicious parts can be found. If they prepare a ration where the primary component is meat, the ration heals +1 HP (in addition to any other effects).
Headless: The Akehaloi lack a head. This means they are immune to vorpal weapons. This also means they are incapable of wearing any sort of headgear. Their chest-face also means they cannot wear armor that isn’t specially crafted for them.
Strong Tongue: The Akehaloi tongue is around a 6 inches wide and three feet long. While not especially agile, it is it tough and can pack quite a punch. They can slap to deal 1d4+Strength Bonus damage and coat the target in a film of saliva. The tongue can also interact with objects about as well as a hand with thick padded mittens, being capable of lifting a hot pan out of an oven but not suitable for wielding a weapon.
Expanded Gut: The vast majority of the Akehaloi is gut. You have 3 extra inventory spaces that can be used without penalty in your gut. They cannot store anything sharp, poisonous, or similar without experiencing the expected effects.
Swallow Whole: On a critical hit with a bite attack, the Akehaloi can choose to swallow a man-size target whole. A swallowed target automatically takes bite damage each round, but may may a strength check to attempt to escape. A target may also attempt to cut their way out using a dagger or smaller sharp edged weapon.
Limos, Goddess of Hunger, The Ur-Ghoul
In the depths of time where Concepts first took shape, one of the earliest to form was Hunger. Gravity hungers for mass and Stars auto-cannibalize themselves into oblivion, it is of little wonder that we who are made of star-stuff are so driven by our base hungers. Limos is that hunger given shape, Hunger as defined by the minds of humanity.
This is the hunger that drove King Erysichthon to sell all his possessions and his daughter for food, a hunger that eventually led to him eating himself. This is also the hunger that you feel after finishing off a 10 course meal and are offered a wafer thin mint. Hunger beyond gluttony and beyond famine, hunger for the sake of hunger. To Limos, the acts of biting, chewing, and swallowing are sacred but digestion, survival, and satisfaction are of no consequence.
Limos has no dedicated cults or worshipers among the living for those who attract her attention quickly turn upon one another in their increasingly desperate hunger. She is, however, a major figure among the more religiously inclined Ghouls. Limosian Ghouls claim that their endless hunger is because their stomachs are connected directly to Limos herself, their every meal goes to feed Mother Hunger. Some claim that their continuous glut is an attempt to satiate Limos so she may not infect others with her horrid desires. Others exalt in the Hunger and purposefully seek to induct the still living into the cannibalistic spiral towards Ghouldom.
She has been known to bless those who live to eat. She has also been known to contracted by other deities to curse the supposedly deserving. It is very hard to tell the difference between her “blessings” and “curses.”
Endless Hunger- Cumulatively double rations needed everyday, stomach works as Bag of Holding.
Zombism- Immune to pain, -1 Int, Wis, Cha each day without brain-food
Predator Sight- Gain low-light vision and blindness in bright light
Grasping Claws- As Ghoul of equal HD, no fine motor control
Taste of the Sun- Glow like a torch, immune to fire damage, attract the attention of Tzitzimitl every night.
Ultimate Filter- Immune to ingested poisons and potions (good and bad)
Bloody Show- Piercing/Slashing damage causes double damage and dramatic fountains of blood, as Grease spell.
Bulk Hulk- Cannibalistic rations give +2 Str and -2 Dex, Stealth, Move
Killer T- Immunity to all disease, body consumes itself halving physical stats
Deadman’s Tongue- Can speak with dead, can’t speak with living
Cannibal Magic Items
Hand of Glory-The preserved left hand of an executed thief. The hand retains much of its former owner’s talents and may be animated to attempt to unlock any door the owner comes across. It picks locks as a Thief of equal level to the owner. If the hand is not given a share of treasure similar to that of a hireling, it has a cumulative 1-in-6 chance of strangling its owner in their sleep then becoming a wild Crawling Claw. Treasure given to the Hand of Glory is greedily grasped at then vanishes. Tastes like leathery pork.
. Tastes not unlike the french fries of a particular clown’s fast food restaurant.
. Some versions of the Hand of the Magi may allow for the use of the cantrips of other Wizard Schools. The hand must be kept clean, perfumed, and be told daily of its beauty or it will cease to function. Tastes like pure sugar and pop rocks.
Limos’ Breath– A whiff of foul, rotted meat and gurgling stomach acids, said to be the captured exhalations of Limos herself. A target breathing this foul miasma must Save (against Con or Magic or something) or be infected with a terrible hunger. The affected target will only benefit from rations if the quantities are tripled or are prepared from cannibalistic ingredients. Exposure to the Breath everyday for a week transforms the target into a Ghoul. Tastes like every rancid hunger belch ever combined into one.
Other Types of Cannibalism
Sexual Cannibalism– Usually when the female eats the male they just mated with. Think Preying Mantises, Scorpions and Black Widows. Now think Drow Matrons.
Filial cannibalism– Eating the the young of one’s own species. Happens a fair bit in nature, often it seems to be due to overproduction, removing competitor spawn, environmental factors and such. In mythology, you probably know the story of Kronos devouring his divine children. Titus Andronicus has an especially grisly depiction of unwitting filial cannibalism.
Adelphophagy– This is eating one’s siblings before birth. Think of absorbing a phantom twin or infant sharks devouring one another in their mermaid purse sack. Oophagy is similar in more developed spawn eating the lesser developed sibling eggs. Sahuagins, lizard folk, Snake-People all seem like likely candidates.
Preta/Gaki/Hungry Ghost/Lesser Ghoul
Appearance: A human parody, lank hair, leathery skin, impossibly thin neck, tiny malevolent eyes and mouth, huge distended stomach
Wants: To satisfy their hunger
Armour: As Leather
Move: As Normal
Damage: Claw 1d6
For our purposes, Gaki come in three basic forms, each have one of the below attacks:
Torch Mouth– Eating a ration’s worth of food causes this Gaki to vomit fire 1 round later, acting as a 1 MD Fireball.
Needle Mouth– With mouths so small that even a pea could be difficult to consume, these Gaki’s vent their frustrations in keening wails acting as a 1 MD Shatter. They must take a deep breath on one round and release the Shatter on their following turn.
Putrid Mouth– This Gaki’s mouth continuously pours a foul poisonous miasma. Any within 30′ of the Gaki must Save (vs. Con or Poison) or take 1 damage per round. Covering the mouth and nose with a cloth is enough to stop this effect.
Gaki are incarnate spirits who are the results of violent or unhappy deaths. They fiercely hold onto their mortal desires but are denied them all. The greatest of these desires are hunger. They crave real meals, but their corrupted forms are only able to eat unsatisfying amounts of disgusting alternatives. Ashes, human waste, hair, corpses, and the like. Unlike Ghouls, they derive no pleasure from this experience. Their forms are also incredibly sensitive to changes in temperature and light. A full moon deals 1 fire damage per round to a Gaki and full daylight deals 1 cold damage per round.
Eating a Gaki is ill advised. They taste of excrement and ashes. Swallowing down even a small amount of Gaki flesh inflicts a random Curse.
Appearance: Short chubby humanoids with small eyes, extremely long tongues and clown-white skin
Wants: To taste everything
Armour: As equipped
Move: As Normal
Damage: See Below
Swallow Whole: If a target is below 3/4 of their HP, a Qu may attempt to swallow that target whole. There does not appear to be an upper limit to the size of the creature they can eat. The target must Save vs. Death or be destroyed completely.
Blue Magic: A Qu learns the power of the creatures they consume. When a creature with a supernatural power is consumed (such as fire breath, telekinesis etc), a Qu has a 1-in-6 chance of obtaining that power.
Qu are followers of the Way of the Gourmand, a philosophy that encourages its followers to sample the taste of everything. If it exists, a Qu will try to taste it at least once and perhaps a few more times in combination to fully appreciate the taste. This has made them into the ultimate omnivores. They are, however, not often interested in eating the same meal twice and you therefore don’t really see a Qu eating an entire village. A Qu’s ever out tongue is able to recognize every component and ingredient of whatever they taste, even knowing the type of spoon used to mix the dish or if magic was used in the preparation.
Yes this is fully stolen from Final Fantasy 9.
Eating a Qu tastes something like getting a mouthful of every item at a buffet and an apothecary at the same time. Roll 1d10. 1- As a Random Poison 2- As Rotten Meat 3-6- As Normal Meat 7- As Random Potion 8- Gourmet’s Tongue: Instantly recognize all components of anything tasted 9-Wizard’s Tongue: As Gourmet’s, can also taste and identify magic 10-Quception: Transform into a Qu.
Appearance: An 20′ tall skeleton
Armour: As Plate + Shield
Move: Normal, unless he wants to move faster
Damage: See Below
Grab and Bite: If an unaware target is hit by the Gashdokuro’s grab attack, Save vs. Dex (or Str or Paralysis whatever works.) On a failed save the Gashadokuro immediately grabs, lifts, and bites the head off of the target.
Immense Hunger: Any within 60′ of the Gashadokuro must save or feel an incredible hunger. Each round without food adds a level of Fatigue to the affected character. Those who have engaged in cannibalism are immune to this effect.
Gashadokuro are formed from mass graves of those who died from starvation. These immense Skeletons rise from their graveyard or battlefield haunts in the hours between midnight and sunrise, seeking singular victims to state their hunger. While in pursuit of a target, the Gashadokuro is completely silent and is surrounded by an large bank of concealing thick fog. One little known giveaway to its presence is a persistent ringing in the target’s ear that suddenly goes away right before the Gashadokuro attacks. Once it has eaten one victim, the Gashadokuro vanishes until the next midnight.
It is possible to make a Bone Soup from the bone of a Gashadokuro, giving one their silence and fog generating abilities 7 days. But during that time the consumer is haunted every night by a voice screaming for the return of its bone, denying the consumer any ability to sleep or rest.
Appearance: IT IS HUMAN, MORE HUMAN THAN ANY OTHER HUMAN
Wants: HUMAN THINGS
Armour: As Leather
Move: Normal, Floats slightly
ATTENTION: If the HUMAN focuses all their attention on a target, their sheer presence begins to crush the target’s mind. Save vs. WIS (or Paralysis). Each round the HUMAN holds their attention on you choose: take 1d6 exploding damage OR spend the round in RELIGIOUS ECSTASY and be unable to attack or approach the HUMAN. At 0 HP the target is restored to full HP and is under the HUMAN’s complete control.
DISMISS: The HUMAN may select one target a round that they completely ignore the presence of. The target is incapable of affecting the HUMAN and the HUMAN is incapable of affecting or even acknowledging the target.
CONSUME: The HUMAN may make a bite attack dealing 1d6 damage. If the target is a human this damage is doubled and the HUMAN is restored an equal amount of HP. If the target “Loves” the HUMAN, the target is completely devoured and the Human increases an HD. A HUMAN reaching 10 HD explode as a maximum power Fireball and is reborn as an Elf.
If you are what you eat then Cannibals are more human than other humans. If you only feed an animal humans, they will eventually contract Theriocephaly and become animal headed humans. If a human ONLY eats human, they will become HUMAN. HUMANS are brilliant. HUMANS are insane. HUMANS love so much vaster. HUMANS hate is so much deeper. A HUMAN is powerful, a HUMAN is charismatic. For the purposes of saves and effects, the HUMAN has 18 in all stats. Humans in the presence of a HUMAN immediately feels a deep connection. NPCs in the presence of a HUMAN roll 1d20. On a 1-2, the NPCs are filled with a murderous hatred for the HUMAN, an inexplicable NEED to see them dead. On a 19-20, the NPCs are filled with a zealous love for the HUMAN, being confronted by the HUMAN is a religious experience. Rolls towards the middle result in similarly strong but mixed feelings with a 10 creating severe swings of mania and depression.
It is impossible to forget a HUMAN. Their image, their words, their actions are burned into your memory. When you have forgotten all else, even under the effects of mind-wiping magic or deep into aged dementia, you will remember the HUMAN. Animals will not come within 120′ of a HUMAN. If forced the animals will do all within their power to flee in terror, if restrained the animal would sooner bite off their own tongue. A HUMAN is always driven by an ineffable but almost human goal.
A HUMAN is always accompanied by 2d6 Human Hirelings that are utterly devoted to the HUMAN.
HUMAN tastes like your first experience with chocolate, your first kiss, your first loss. Roll 1d6- 1. Consumed with holy fire and die. 2-5: As Great Meat 6. Become HUMAN.
Appearance: Day: A sickly human, Night: A massive bloodstained wolf
Wants: Drink fresh blood, spread their curse
Armour: As Chain, can only be harmed by magic or wooden weapons
Move: 2x Normal in wolf form.
Damage: Bite: 1d6+Curse
A Rougarou is a form of Lycanthrope or Werewolf that seeks to drink the blood of its victims. If possible it will sneak into the homes or camps of sleeping victims and drink the blood of sleeping victims. The Rougarou’s bite only hurts if they want it to, sleeping or unaware targets do not feel the bite and do not tell the PC how much damage is done by the Rougarou’s bite. Any bitten by the Rougarou become part of a collective curse. Every 101 days the Rougarou reverts to being a normal Human and one of its victims randomly becomes a Rougarou. Unlike Werewolves, the Rougarou is unaffected by Silver and Wolves’ Bane, but Wooden weapons and Salt work in their stead.
As a Rougarou becomes human when they are killed, eating one is the same as eating any other Human.
A Hungry Child
Appearance: A̵̛̟̗̗̋̈́͠ ̶̛̦̬̎͂̈́s̶͉̍̂̀̇͘m̵̞̰̥̙̈͂̓̊͠ͅa̷̠̝̜̦̳͊̍͜l̴̘͈̞͊̒l̸̠̬͕̗̍̍̃́͘ ̴̟̼̫̲̻̇̇f̴̢̧̺͎̍͛̕r̵̪̦̟̭̊͒̿̈͠î̴̭̜̚͜͝e̶̙̣̪̟̳̹͐̓͗̔ń̵͓̓͂̓̚̕ď̴͖̝̬͊͛̓͝ͅl̵̙͌̅́̌͜ͅy̵͕̦̮͎͖̆́̍̎̌̕ ̷͙͚̺͐͋̉c̷̜͉̞̓̈́͌͒̉h̶͔̺̄͘̚i̶̥͓̱̤̗̕ĺ̸͓̠̼͔̎d̴̗̏͂̔
Move: As Normal
Damage: Proboscis Tongue- 1 damage, painless, cannot be healed or regenerated by any means until the Hungry Child is killed.
A Hungry Child appears like a normal child aged between 7 and 10 of vaguely indeterminate gender. A Hungry Child captures children who wander too far into the dark depths of the forest then replaces them. The parents are incapable of telling the difference between their own child and the Hungry Child but others may notice small inconsistencies in behavior or appearance. Over time the Hungry Child eats its parents, siphoning away their muscles and meat with a painless proboscis. Typically this makes the parents look increasingly haggard while the child appears healthy and enthusiastic. Eventually when the parents finally succumb, the Hungry Child vanishes into the forest again and the original child is released.
An Adult Hungry Child molts into something akin to a giant wasp that feeds primarily on nectar and sap.
If you are interested in some very interesting extended reading on Cannibalism, check out:
“Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History” by Bill Schutt
“EAT ME: A Natural and Unnatural History of Cannibalism” by Bill Schutt
“Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors” by Piers Paul Read
“Man-Eater: The Saga of Alfred G. Packer, American Cannibal” by Harold Schechter
“Animal Cannibalism: The Dark Side of Evolution” by David Soulsby
“Eat Thy Neighbour: A History of Cannibalism” by Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly
“Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians” by Richard Sugg
“The City of God” by Saint Augustine – Yes there is a whole section on what happens to cannibals and victims of cannibalism during the final Judgement, tl;dr
This NPR Article on Kuru