Campaign of the Month: December 2016
Gamma World 2754
The thoracic region, head, tail and legs of these creatures are encased in variously-colored chitin. They resemble a cross between the terrestrial isopod bathynomus and a giant sow-bug. The body is protected by a segmented shell of steel-hard chitin. Beneath are six segmented appendages that can extend up to 1 meter from the main body. Each appendage can function interchangeably as arms or legs. These members terminate in six 15cm segmented ‘fingers’ able to grasp and manipulate complex objects. The head is a triangular shape with four long glowing antenna projecting from the central ridge. Four pale pearl white eye-bulges are located along the top ridge of the triangle. Two additional sensory organs (nature unknown) are located on the front edge of the head. The small mouth-parts are hidden beneath the head at the pointed end. The creature typically walks semi-upright on the 4 rear appendages, but can scuttle along on all 6 as well. The segmented tail can be curled up into the shell. All Xarmids can curl up into an armored ball in 1 AT (-2 AC), but cannot move or attack in this state. Xarmids cannot tolerate exposure to earth atmosphere and wear self-sealing armored vacuum-suits.
These 1-meter Xarmids serve exclusively as specialist pilots (aka, ‘bugstronauts’). Their coloration is gray-streaked red.
HP:30/PE16/PS8/DX16/MS12/CN12/IN12/M:4km/400m/12m/AC:5(AC6+armored-vacsuit)/D(typical): Energy Pistol + 2 small e-cells.
These Xarmid variants serve as specialist technicians, equipment operators and general laborers. Their 1.5-meter long/tall bodies are colored ocher-yellow streaked with chalk blue. Otherwise they are similar in appearance to other Xarmids.
HP:40/PE14/PS12/DX14/MS10/CN14/IN16/M:8km/600m/16m/AC:4(AC5+amored-vacsuit)/D(typical): Energy Pistol + 2 small e-cells.
These Xarmids serve as security troops and soldiers. Their heavily armored exoskeleton is satin-black streaked with purple. The sowbug-shaped torso is two meters in diameter and much bulkier than other Xarmids.
HP:60/PE12/PS18/DX12/MS8/CN16/IN10/M:8km/600m/16m/AC:3(AC4+armored-vacsuit)/D(typical): Energy Carbine + 2 large e-cells, 2x Plasma Grenades
- Brain-bug (‘Controller’)
These Xarmids serve as local autonomous supervisors and coordinators. The thoracic region, head, tail and arm-legs of this 1-meter long/tall creature is covered in a thin exeskelton of pea-grean chitin streaked with orange. Their silverfish-shaped torso and limbs are frail compared to other Xarmids. The large wedge-shaped head is doubled in size.
HP:20/PE18/PS8/DX14/MS14/CN12/IN16/M:4km/400m/12m/AC:6(AC5+armored-vacsuit)/D(typical): Control Rod + 1 small e-cell.
Tendrakkai Warriors (Leapers)
A hermetic sect of warrior-monks serving as slave-soldiers. The Tendrakkai became servants of the Sreelathans thousands of years ago prior to achieving Stellar status. In the ancient ‘Pact of Nandakai’ these proud warriors swore eternal service to the Sreelath in exchange for survival. The Tendrakkai have a complex code of honor which is poorly understood by their employers, who take their service for granted. This Sept of 16 warriors is dissatisfied with their current assignment and could perhaps be convinced that these specific Sreelath are unworthy of their service (mention of the operational Daedalus and the well-known Continuum prohibition against conquest or enslavement of other star-faring or ‘Stellar’ species is required; SPEECH:HARD at minimum).
These tall, wiry humanoids stand 2.4 meters high on long triple-jointed legs. Their bodies are very dense compared to terrestrial organisms (250-350kg), giving them incredible natural armor, strength and the ability to make fantastic leaps up to 30 meters in any direction. They cannot breath earth atmosphere and wear respirators or their special ‘Energy Armor’ (raising their height to 2.8 meters).
HP:120/250kg/PS25/DX18/MS16/CN20/IN15/M:24km/1800m/32m(or 30m leap in any direction)/AC:3(natural) or 1 (Energy Armor)/D:2x unarmed attacks for 2d6+10(WC3) or Weapons:Energy Hammer:6d6+10(ROF:2/WC:4),Energy Projector:10d6(ROF:2/WC:11),MIssiles:8d6(ROF:1/area:5m-6d6/WC:13)
• Physical Description
The Sreelathans exhibit bilateral symmetry, walking upright on two legs with two arms and standard abdominal and thoracic regions topped by a ‘head’ containing sensory apparatus. The Sreelath must have evolved in a very wet, hot and relatively high-gravity world. They can swim very quickly, squirting forward and back using dorsal and lateral vanes much like a terrestrial Humbold Squid. The typical specimen resembles a large humanoid about 1.8-2.4 meters tall with a mass of 90-150 kilograms. The epidermis is a thick rubbery integument with dead black coloration. Legs are reverse-jointed at the knees. The feet are broad flat ovoids with 7 large suckers arranged around the radius of the foot. Arms are long rubbery appendages with 2 joints ending in conic ‘hands’, each with four 12-20cm manipulative tentacles. The head structure rests directly upon the ‘shoulders’ of the thick torso with very limited mobility (10-20 degrees left/right or up/down). Three large 15cm glassy black eyes are set 40 degrees apart about halfway from the tip of the pointed skull, providing 360-degree monocular vision and 120-degree and binocular vision in the forward arc. Auditory and olfactory senses are provided in combination by a pair of scaly/comb-like silvery-black antenna 15-30cm long (length increases with age) projecting up and back from either side of the skull. The mouth is a round sucker-like orifice ringed with 3 rows of cutting and grinding teeth, hidden below a flap of skin hanging down from the ridge that runs from the crown of the skull to the bottom of the ‘head’. Six 30-40cm flexible tentacles surround the mouth and hang down well below the flap of protective skin.
• Stats: MS:16-24/IN:14-20/DX:12/CN:18/PS:16-21/PE:15/HP:90-150/AC:4(natural),2(armored vac-suit)/MV-Ground:6km|600m|12m,MV-Swim:36km|2400m|54m
• Attacks: 2×3d6(WC:1-arms),1xPossession:MS attack to control 1 being with organic brain including androids and cyborgs. Victims are controlled and can use all powers & equipment as directed. SL can continue to act and move & attack additional victims. Up to 3 victims can be controlled simultaneously, but only 1 possession can be attempted per AT. Possessed victims fall unconscious for the initial AT then obey commands on subsequent turns. Victims recovering from possession likewise fall unconscious for that AT, recovering next AT. Each successful possession permanently reduces MS by 1
• Defenses: to organic brains, Sreelathans appear as an amorphous whorl of darkness surrounding a large blind spot, causing -4 to-hit for all melee/unarmed/weapon attacks directed at the Sreelath. This can be temporarily defeated by a free MS check, one per AT vs. any single SL, lasting the duration of the current encounter.
• Language and Culture
Sreelath language is inaudible to human ears, only sometimes detected as a hissing or thrumming susurrus of sound. Sreelath culture is based on organizations of extended-family ‘Septs’ which engage in a highly productive competition for dominance using guile and subterfuge rather than direct conflict that would be harmful to the social corpus. Each Sept strives to out-do the others in all accomplishments including finding and sabotaging, then exploiting, infant pre-stellar civilizations. The Sreelath interstellar empire is loosely administered by the Septs who administer specific worlds or sectors. The top ‘Sept’ rules the empire’s administrative apparatus through a form of limited oligarchy for a non-specific period of years until voted out of power by a 2/3rd majority of other Septs.
Biology: The Sreelaths are carbon-based life forms sharing a biology similar to certain water-based Terran systems. They require oxygen for their metabolic processes and do not regulate their temperature internally. Oxygen is absorbed and stored through chelated copper (similar to the Terran lobster). Lifespan of the typical Sreelath is over 300 standard Earth years, contributing to their penchant for long-term projects spanning hundreds of years.
Asexual Pathogenesis with externally deposited frog-like soft eggs (all Sreelaths are nominally female). Modern reproduction is largely artificially engineered and managed. Eggs and young are nurtured in crèches until early youth, at which time the young are incorporated into Sept society.
- Vision: standard human-visible light spectrum, additionally extending 30% farther into the UV spectrum (similar to that of terrestrial bees). This provides double the normal effective night vision on clear terrestrial nights, but half normal human visual range and acuity on bright sunlight days.
- Smell: including eyes and feathery antenna rather than ears. Sense of smell is roughly twice as sensitive as humans (but substantially less than the terrestrial canine).
- Touch: tactile sense is 30% less sensitive than humans.
- Hearing: hearing extends into the low-frequency range 50% lower than humans can hear, but stops 30% below typical human high-frequency sensitivity.
- Sreelathans require food imported from their home world or grown in their space craft or underwater bases (huge annelids, sac-like food creatures, masses of slug-like worms, etc.), but are not poisoned by terrestrial proteins and relish the ceremonial consumption of certain human organs including the lungs, liver and brains, preferably while the victim is alive and conscious.
• Environmental Tolerances
- Temperature extremes: 30c-90c. Mean comfortable temperature is around 70c (158f). Temperatures below 40c cause progressive freezing damage to unprotected flesh followed by death in 20 minutes. Relative humidity of no less than 80% is considered comfortable. The Earth is largely a cold and dry wasteland to the Sreelath.
- Gravity: 1.3 earth normal. On Terra, Sreelath ground movement speeds are approximately +25% that of the native humans with a physical strenth in the 18-20 range. Speeds underwater approach that of a terrestrial sea-lion (3x a human swimmer).
- Atmosphere: require 40% less oxygen than humans and several other trace gases not found in sufficient quantities in earth atmosphere, making the earth atmosphere poisonous and deadly within 5 minutes of exposure. Sreelath are capable of fast long-distance movement underwater, and actually maintain several hidden terrestrial bases in the deepest abyssal ocean trenches. They do however require artificial gills to remain submerged for more than 30 minutes. Armored environment suits provide protections against pressure and cold in the deepest reaches of the oceans.
- Pathogens: Not susceptible to infection by any known earth organism (bacteria, virus, parasite, etc.). Earth poisons are 60% likely to affect Sreelaths with identical results (death, unconsciousness, etc.). Standard medical procedures and drugs that would be effective on humans are only 20% likely to have the desired effect, and 40% likely to have negative consequences (additional damage, or intensity 3-18 poison). Constitution is typically 16-18.
- Physical Damage: high bone and body density make the Sreelath fairly resistant to damage from physical blows (CN:16-24;16-24d10 hit dice; the average CN:16 specimen has 100 hit points and high-caste leaders upwards of 200 hit points). The thick rubbery hide functions as a natural armor (AC:7) and provides substantial resistance to sonic or laser weapons (half damage), or blaster/fusion weapons (-25% damage).
• Mental Powers
- Sreelathans have very high mental strength and are able to dominate the organic minds of their servants and victims, including terrestrials. Successful possession by a Sreelathan has been proved to cause permanent disability and chronic nightmares.