From the definition in the monsters manual where they appear, it seems that they are a symbiont, but they also seem to be referred as separate creatures that can reproduce and create symbionts...
So... how do bionoids come about exactly, and why are they so rare? Since I realise my question is a bit unclear, here's the two pieces of text that confuse me:
This part seems straight-forward, the bionoid attaches to a host creature as a sort of parasite or symbiont and after a while it "falls off" and becomes an independent creature.Even bionoid reproduction is invasive. The eggs of mature bionoids are disc-shaped with a single crystalline "trigger" in the center. This crystal serves a multiple purpose: it is an attractant to potential victims since it makes the egg look like a magical item. and it is also the young bionoid’s eye. When a potential host touches the crystal eye, the host’s essence marks the egg. The egg bursts, attaches to the host, and grows as a symbiont, eventually separating and becoming a separate, nymph bionoid.
But then we have this bit, that seems to indicate that if you touch a bionoid egg and are a not an orc, you suddenly become a full-blown bionoid that only shows it's true nature if you "hulk-out" in the presence of danger.If elves, humans or other humanoid races touch the egg, it infiltrates the victim, creating another adult bionoid. The new bionoid has the abilities described above, but appears only when danger threatens, whereupon the host "monsters out" into the bionoid monster form.
This final bit (which actually appears before in the text) confuses me further. It seems to imply that bionoids can reproduce "normally" and form family units. However, the bit that I've put in bold text is what throws me off. It seems to imply that bionoid symbionts are separate creatures and these are the ones that "infect" others, turning them into bionoids.Though rare, a bionoid family can comprise hundreds of members, always led by the individual who started the unit, either the original bionoid or its full-blooded descendants. Bionoid symbionts are welcome to join the unit, but must vow to avoid (and avoid infecting) residents of the outside world.
Can someone explain to me exactly how this creatures work? They are basically Guyvers, which makes them awesome, but they could also be interesting background creatures for the game. Also, I'm curious as to why they seem to limit their own numbers, how many bionoids are out there?