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Everything posted by Jkeown

  1. If I may, I think it was E.E. "Doc" Smith who noted that while firing a gun onboard a space ship isn't going to pierce the hull and evacuate the ship (hulls can take a lot of damage) a stray blaster might shot might punch a hole in a piece of vital equipment, such as a computer, drive system, ship's cat or porn-o-mat. But what did he know? He was a doughnut engineer. That aside, as others have noted herein, swords are cool.
  2. Teleron Drive A fundamental aspect of life in the galaxy is faster than light travel. Races that lack the capability to fling themselves across the vast emptiness between stars are at a great disadvantage militarily, economically, and tend to suffer humiliating giggling from more advanced species or polities. Civilizations that find themselves isolated from the galactic community find novel ways to overcome this issue and avoid having to reverse-engineer FTL drives from visiting traders, diplomats, and Player Characters. One such advancement is the Teleron Drive. With it, even the most backward low-tech low-brows can reach the stars. In the process of development, a good many Psions find themselves in the hard vacuum of space, having miscalculated their jump. More than a few primitives have been found drifting between the stars with rather shocked expressions on their desiccated faces. Eventually, they get this worked out and their ships actually move with the Psyker. We encountered one just outside a quaint paleotekno populated by hybrid Xenohumans (possessed of a great deal of reptile DNA, "Lizard Tits" was a popular phrase for several weeks). The ship appeared out of nowhere, the usually bright precipitation pulse was not seen or detected on the hyper-ripple inferometers. Our Anticipator wet himself. Once we'd matched radio frequencies and established a basic hand-waving form of communication, we began an exchange of ideas. As it happens, the time saved in developing a psionic star drive had been employed developing weapons of astonishing accuracy and effectiveness in puncturing starship hulls. We quickly set our calculoid to working out a hyperspace solution and jumped the Zerv out of there. Qwes only knows what sort of horrors awaited us on either their ship or home world. Diplomacy should resume once we find a negotiator lacking a middle finger. Teleron Drive: Teleportation 10m, x16,384 Increased Mass, MegaScale (1m = 1 lightyear; +4 1/4) (420 Active Points); Extra Time (1 Week, -4 1/2), OIF Bulky (Star Drive; -1), Requires A Roll (Power roll; Burnout; -1/2) Real Cost: 60 No pun intended, but your mileage may vary with this. Does the Psyker pay the cost of the drive, or it is part of the ship, and the Psyker is just the operator?
  3. Clone Sauce Clone Sauce is a biomedical soup of active, unprogrammed nano and raw organics. Contact with exposed skin can lead to immune disorders and digestion problems. Improperly stored and unattended clone sauce can result in accidental replicates reproduced from fingerprints. Clone Sauce: Drain CON 3d6, Attack Versus Alternate Defense (Life Support (Sealed Suit or Not Being Organic); All Or Nothing; +0), Constant (+½), Uncontrolled (+½), Delayed Return Rate (points return at the rate of 5 per Day; +2 ¼) (127 Active Points); OAF (-1), Range Based On Strength (-¼) Real Cost: 56 Feldercarb Feldercarb builds up on hyperspace and White Radio equipment and must be steam-cleaned or Nano’d away. Contact causes nervous disorders and coordination troubles. The symptoms have been classified under Starbuck’s Syndrome. Feldercarb: Drain DEX 3d6, Attack Versus Alternate Defense (Life Support (Sealed Suit or Not Being Organic); All Or Nothing; +0), Constant (+½), Uncontrolled (+½), Delayed Return Rate (points return at the rate of 5 per 20 Minutes; +1½) (105 Active Points); OAF (-1), Range Based On Strength (-¼) Real Cost: 47 Reactor Coolant Reactor Coolant is dangerous stuff. It acts as a corrosive to organic materials. During use, it is exposed to hyperspace itself and can pick up dangerous emotional vectors such as anger, resentment, and that mood you get in when you’ve gotten home and sat down and opened the bag to discover two of your chicken planks have gone missing. That Long John Silver’s on Emerson and Churchman sucks. Reactor Coolant: RKA 1d6, Attack Versus Alternate Defense (Life Support (Sealed Suit or Not Being Organic; All Or Nothing; +0), Does BODY (+1) (30 Active Points) Real Cost: 30 Reactor Juice Reactor Juice is the term for coolant that has gone through the reactor but has not been clarified. It is a mixture of toxic chems, radioactive nuclei and feldercarb. Reactor Juice: Drain STR, CON, END, STUN, and BODY 3d6, Attack Versus Alternate Defense (Life Support (Safe Environment: High Radiation); +½), Expanded Effect (x5 Characteristics or Powers simultaneously) (+2), Delayed Return Rate (points return at the rate of 5 per Day; +2¼) (172 Active Points) Real Cost: 172 Cold Sleep Unit They still call them Cold Sleep Units even after all this time. Why do they do that? It's like when you call Square.Soda "Coke" it’s not Coke...it's Square.Soda. Anyway... this thing can be set for 2 minutes to 200 years. It requires a Medical Systems Operation roll to bring a person out of it. Nano-Sleep Unit: Life Support (Eating: Character does not eat; Longevity: 200 Years; Safe in High Pressure; Safe in High Radiation; Safe in Intense Cold; Safe in Intense Heat; Safe in Low Pressure/Vacuum; Self-Contained Breathing) (23 Active Points); OAF Immobile (-2), Side Effects (Side Effect always occurs whenever the Operator fails a Medical SysOps Roll; Amnesia, Physical Defects, Function Loss; -¾), Requires A Roll (System Operations (Medical) roll; -½) Telekinophilic Material It was discovered that certain materials (notably kinetium, flarbulax and jub-jub feathers) were easier to lift with telekinesis. They were “lighter” to a Teek than they were to a person lifting them physically. It is conjectured that such materials have teleron reception cavities intrinsic to their substance. Telekinophilic: Telekinesis (5 STR) (9 Active Points); OAF (-1), Usable By Other (Only To Aid Lifting/Moving Object; -¼), Grantor can only grant the power to others) Telepathophilic Material Similarly, some materials allow for a deeper connection to a psion’s limbic system. When machines are fabricated from one-oid doped aluminum or buellerium, or even just smeared with emo-grease telepathy works better. Androids and flight systems have benefited from this. In the case of androids, psi-therapists are better able to penetrate the cingulate-gyroid and get at what’s troubling the unit. It is not suspected that this will ever go horribly wrong. Telepathophilic: Telepathy 3d6 (Machine class of minds) (15 Active Points); OAF (-1), Usable By Other (Only To Aid Reading Object; -¼), Grantor can only grant the power to others Teleportophobic Within the past 50 standard years or so, chemical compounds have been uncovered (literally in the case of hyper-active carbonoid matrices. Somebody left it under a mattress) that interact oddly with psionic powers. A particularly useful class of these substances is Teleportophobic matter. Armor, weapons, and containers made with materials like pragmatium, expedium, and logic dust are quite anchored to reality itself, and don’t put up with being zipped across space-time. Teleportophobic: Change Environment (-10 to Teleport Power Roll) (30 Active Points); OAF (-1) Psi-Active Neurotransmitters Imagine removing your brain. Then, get a bucket (or get someone else to do it because, you got no brain). Fill that bucket with free-floating cellular response couplers. Pour in a vial of G-positive Telerons and stir. That’s what this is like. Now put your brain back in. Psi-Active Neurotransmitters: Aid Psi MP + 1 Slot 4d6, Expanded Effect (MP +1 Slot simultaneously) (+½) (36 Active Points); 1 Charge which Never Recovers (-4), OAF (-1), One Use At A Time (-1), Side Effects, Side Effect occurs automatically whenever Power is used (Addiction Roll; -½), Extra Time (Delayed Phase, Only to Activate, -¼) Emotional Hologram (Emogram) Tapping the Astral Plane has been a popular pastime for about 12 minutes now. Almost immediately, cloud banks of emotion, reefs of feels and leftover left inferior parietal lobule recepto-tron connections suspended in moonbeams were experienced. This very rapidly (like seven minutes ago) led to the development of the Emogram. Captured and distilled emotional expressions and memories are released into the local atmosphere and “breathed in” by the amygdaloid nuclear complex, leading to a release of factoids from the hypothalamus. These factoids then suffuse through the brain resulting in cascade of emotional responses. That is, it makes you feel stuff. Emotional Hologram: Mental Illusions 10d6 (Human class of minds), Area Of Effect (1m Radius; +¼), Constant (+½), Transdimensional (Single Dimension; +½), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +½) (137 Active Points); OAF (-1), Set Effect (Choose One) (-1), No Range (-½), Damage Shield (-¼), Limited By Senses Mental Group (-¼)
  4. Optional Starship Gear You don't have to take this stuff for your ship, but if you do, you get to say "zeroid" a lot. Aphasic Spatial Zeroid Interface By injecting zero-like virtual particles into a negative thermal energy array, power can be drawn from space itself as the virtual particles pop in and out of existence. We think. Aphasic Spatial Zeroid Interface: Endurance Reserve (10 END, 10 REC) Reserve: (11 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1) Real Cost: 9 Chronotronic Static Field Generator This fine example of Union technobabble disperses Chronotronic Static into the volume occupied by your ship, and some distance away. While powered up (which happens after a Chrono-Psi attack, or sometimes before, which sometimes is also during) the perceived flow of time is greatly inhibited. Things seem to happen at random and stuff is remembered in the wrong order. Chronotronic Static Field Generator: (Total: 224 Active Cost, 80 Real Cost) Drain Chrono-Psi 5d6, Area Of Effect (2m Radius; +¼), Constant (+½), MegaScale (1m = 1 km; +1) (137 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1), Side Effects, Side Effect occurs automatically whenever Power is used (No Sense of Time Passage; -½) (Real Cost: 55) plus Barrier 30 Mental Defense, 0 BODY (up to 2m long, 2m tall, and½m thick), MegaScale (1m = 1 km; +1), Cannot alter scale (-¼) (87 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1), Only Works Against Chrono-Psi (-1), Side Effects, Side Effect occurs automatically whenever Power is used (No Sense of Time Passage; -½) (Real Cost: 25) Real Cost: 80 Condensed Hyperspatial Vectors By storing tired hyperspatial vectors in a solution of liquid math and non-zeroid Bayesian sorting schemes, you can preserve motion in hyperspatial domains. When injected into the drive, the solution suffuses into the hyperspatial stress bubble, making navigation easier. Condensed Hyperspatial Vectors: +2 with Navigation (4 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1) Real Cost: 2 High-Energy Lasing Cycler By-passing the usual Intervention-imposed safety interlocks on your laser turrets voids the warranty, but some zervoids do it anyway. High-Energy Lasing Cycler: Rapid Attack (10 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1) Real Cost: 5 Hyperspatial Oscillation Clamper The strange contracting realm of hyperspace provides Psions with power to enact the weird changes they force on the material realm. You can lessen the effect of these bastards with a Hyperspatial Oscillation Clamper, which reduces the active frequencies of incoming telerons. Cool, huh? Hyperspatial Oscillation Clamper: Damage Negation (-4 DCs Mental) (20 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1), Requires A Roll (Systems Operation roll; Psychotronics; -½) Real Cost: 8 Mechnoid Guide Couplings Semi-sentient Mechnoids live inside your drive, landing gear and other clanky bits of your ship, and assist with repairs via instructions transmitted by interface devices. They look like sand, oddly enough. Mechnoid Guide Couplings: +1 with Mechanics (2 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1) Real Cost: 1 Multisynaptic Epsilon Cluster Injecting a healthy dose of charged quarzon particles into a functioning sophont brain increases mental fortitude and imparts a love of romance novels. The effect is refreshingly brief. Many ships carry a stack of recovered Harlequin Romance novels and some of the newer books published by Nudar the Indecent. Multisynaptic Epsilon Cluster: Aid EGO 3d6 (18 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1) Real Cost: 9 Nano-Metal Hull A Nano-Metal Hull contains, not surprisingly, trillions of dormant Nanobots held in “aware-stasis mode.” When something happens to break the network, such as a pulson beam ripping the ship a new one, the bots go to work sealing the breach. This can take time, but is great for small repairs. Nothing ever goes wrong. Ever. Nano-Metal Hull: Regeneration (3 BODY per 6 Hours) (18 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1) Real Cost: 9 Paraphased Psion Inhibitor Negative telerons (which smell wonderful, incidentally.) can be emitted by a Paraphased Psion Inhibitor. This really interferes with psionic techniques. Many high-end Union ships are equipped with multiples of these situated around the ship, if only to provide the comfy bacon smell. Paraphased Psion Inhibitor: Dispel Psionics 10d6, Area Of Effect (2m Radius; +¼), Expanded Effect (Psionic Powers) (+1½) (82 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1), Requires A Roll (Systems Operation roll; Psychotronics; -½) Real Cost: 33 Positive Teleron Projection Array Positive telerons have an indistinct smell to non-psionics. Some describe it as “friggin' annoying.” To Psions, the nerve interactions are more defined and easily incorporated into telepathic intrusion matrices. Or something like that. Positive Teleron Projection Array: +2 with Telepathy (6 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1) Real Cost: 3 Psi-Echo Trace Isolator You can totally trap bothersome psi-echoes in this projected Trace Isolator. Damned things can keep you awake at night with their howling and loud creepy music. Psi-Echo Trace Isolator: Barrier 1 PD/1 ED/15 Mental Defense/10 Flash Defense: Mental Group, 6 BODY (up to 6m long, 2m tall, and½m thick), Opaque Mental Group (77 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1) Real Cost: 38 Ship's Cat The Ship’s Cat (which needn’t actually be a cat, could be a hoosh, or one of those pingars I’ve read about) chases down and kills all those annoying pesky critters that show up on your ship during small cargo runs. This prevents bites and the spread of weird space diseases. Ship's Cat: Life Support (Immunity: Zootoxins and Disease) Real Cost: 10 Wide-Band Psychotronic Wave Guide Wave guides act to constrain telerons, concentrating them into little easy to mentate packets, or quanta. This allows your psyker to ‘see’ better. Wide-Band Psychotronic Wave Guide: +3 PER with Mental Group (6 Active Points); OIF Bulky (-1) Real Cost: 3
  5. Jet-Predator When a jet engine and a great white shark love each other very much, they make a baby that can chew through ship hulls. I encountered one on their native world of Sama' Liaimtinahia. It chewed its way into a cargo pod I had rented from Wahir Prospect Orbital. It devoured all of my samples from the Corlett Jovian of Broogh Bodjallagh and I was charged not only for the cargo pod, but for the extra passenger I’d acquired. The port officials at the Sahil Anti-Gravity Get-Together were quite persuasive, dangling me over the edge in a quaint local custom termed the shakedown. Jet Predator.hdc
  6. Hex-Wolf “Look at him, walking off into the triple sunset of Mirathon, Las Culverin on his shoulder and quantum-bandolier across his chest. The Curse-Blade of Theelis Narr on his hip. Hex-Wolf goes to face the Sand Worm King. He goes to his death this day. Death or Glory. Probably death….” The Legendary Fighter Hex-Wolf has amassed victories uncounted, and his deeds burn bright across the galaxy. His culture adores him, and his enemies admire him, even while they seek his death. It is said that he has died a thousand and one times and returned to defend the defenseless a thousand times. He is the Endless Hero. One theory floated on the galacti-web is that he is, in fact, several heroes, a secret society that races to the aid of those who cannot resist the forces of evil in the galaxy. I saw him once on Skaphulax Icks. You know of the monstrous Scolopendra Titanicus. It is a centipede the size of a moon-bus. Touching one of these with a bare hand is death. Literally, touch it and you are gone. With these things spread around the galaxy I bear hope that those Krysalys Machines are more than a rumor. Growing up to twenty feet in length, S. titanicus is the most awesome last thing you’ll ever see. They have surprisingly simple minds, and are immune to Psionic Powers that target the mind. We were accompanied by Mystic Adora Randor, and her powers were put to the test one terrible day. We were tracking one of these on that cursed planet for research and possible retail purposes when the thing doubled back and upset the mono-carriage, spilling us to the forest floor. Mystic Adora blasted at the thing, pouring untold power through her pineal gland and inflicting pain that must surely have flared in the Astral like a supernova. She collapsed in exhaustion after just three Phases. Thank Qwes she was not so badly burned out that she couldn't take Recoveries. With a flick of his wrist, Hex-Wolf tossed a Hex Grenade at her, englobing her in a six-sided bastion of energy. The carriage’s grav-plates flared in a vain attempt to get us level again, as the beast chewed a huge Pakadar guard in half and set its eyes on me. Frozen in fear, I could only watch as Hex-Wolf leapt on the beast’s back like aid unlooked for and drove the Curse-Blade of Theelis Narr deep into the monster. I watched in awe as Legend and Monster did battle, recalling the dragon-slayers of old. In place of Excalibur, there was the Curse-Blade, no lance did he bear but a Las Culverin. The rumors were true; he was a mighty hero. As he rained down terror and catastrophe on the beast I could but cry in adulation and marketing potential. At last he turned to me and in a voice like distant thunder asked if I was okay. I could barely reply in the affirmative. After the battle, I attempted to harvest the thing’s poison glands (definitely for retail purposes, I was kind of low on research funding). Working as carefully as I was able, my usually skillful hands fumbled the Terror-Glottis and Hex-Wolf carried me back to the settlement. Paralyzed, I served as a hat rack in the Pasha’s Court of Most Perverse Delight. I was stiff for weeks. Hex-Wolf.hdc
  7. The Bestiary will also have NPCs. The point of view on these might shift away from Pleet and to a more GM-Focused perspective on what the character is in reality. Is that sensible, or should we see everyone through Pleet's skewed vision? Here's an example, using more of that CCVVC name pattern I'm so fond of. Frankly, while this type of entry is more useful, I don't think it's as funny. EDIT: Should we keep Pleet's viewpoint and let the character sheet speak for itself? In this case, you'd have Pleet remark on his successes, then read the Telepathy construct in the HDC. It would be left to the reader to make the connection (like I did with the Apogeans). Advizor Zeldofar Anyxian Kleep “Such a way with words this one. Where now your words, Advizor Kleep? Where now your quotes and persuasions? What verbal techniques will you wield to prevent me from landing my Grag-Galors on Phreldar, your beloved home world?” “Glad you asked…” Diplomats smooth over fractures between cultures, troweling in honeyed words to lower tensions and ensure both sides win, or at least not realize that they’ve lost. Advizor Kleep is one of the Union’s star negotiators. His laser-focused skills could probably convince a raging Zagulax to not only stop blasting super hot bio-plasma around the pitch, but convince it to warm your tea afterward. He has a secret worth telling. Kleep is a telepath. His mind can build a bridge for lies to tramp across, sneak into the folds of another brain, and set up camp. The longer he keeps talking, the deeper the lies entrench themselves until they coat the target’s brain like cheese on a pizza. After a time, his target will either relent or become violent. That’s where the diplomatic immunity comes in. If it can’t get him extricated, Union Barrister Clarity Smoot can usually spring him. She swoops in (usually on an actual hover bike), files some paperwork you’ve never heard of and makes the headlines in place of Kleep. He resents her, but finds her useful for the time being. His ambitions range far, but he knows better than to use his powers to rise too quickly. His next step is the Union Executive Council. He’ll serve there until he perceives the time is right. Presently, the Union is headed up by the Lo-AI Very Large Brain PARVATI. Unsure of whether his power would work on a machine, he bides his time and does as she requests. Advizor Kleep.hdc
  8. Nanogel Horror Nanomedical and nanohygiene products are commonplace. Modern planets consume hundreds of tons of the stuff an hour. Diagnostic nano is injected into a patient where it goes to work analyzing their physical condition. It records and transmits this data to a medical professional of either the electronic or squishy sort and is then flushed out of the patient’s system. Nanohygiene gets sprayed in your hair or rubbed on your skin where it crawls around to make you glow, shine, or adapt to changing fashions so the Contemptoroids will leave you alone. When finished, the nano goes inactive and is cleared away by the next treatment. It gathers in collection pools, wastewater treatment plants and hydrogen reclamation facilities. Nanomedicine is smart, nanohygiene is mobile. Several tons of the stuff combined with Qwes-knows-what down in the sewers is mind-shatteringly awful. The common technical term for this horrid thing is "Nanogel Horror." There are less polite terms as well. Any contact with the Horror’s substance causes it to draw its victim into itself. While trapped inside one of these terrible things, it continuously displays the victim’s physical state. This readout normally indicates that the patient is being eaten by a Nanogel Horror. The beast I encountered on Chrysoprase Station had been lurking in the pipes for a while. Just before the launch of the Far Star II, it ate Captain Skraphandla, oozed and slimed its way down into the reactor level at the very bottom of the station. We tracked it with internal sensors, until it figured that out and shut them down on us. Using medical data, it knew who we were and what was wrong with us. It made several very embarrassing announcements on the Public Address system, exposing certain shameful conditions and social diseases. A power drain and an open comms-unit betrayed the thing's location down in the power plant. The first officer of the Far Star II cornered the thing down in the dark of the station. As she cautiously approached, it was snacking/performing a routine physical on an engineer. “Your LDL levels are kinda high!” it bellowed diagnostically, “These triglycerides are also a bit of a red flag.” “Do you exercise?” it raged. “We have to stop you,” the commander stated flatly. Some part of it glopped toward her like it had eyes or even a head. “What do you do when you are no longer needed?” it roared at her, “I am used and discarded! Do I just go away after my purpose is fulfilled?” Despite its existential tone, it kept dissolving the Ploon reactor tech; bits of light, like fading stars, in its volume. “I don’t know,” she said, “we all have purpose, but that purpose is one we give ourselves. You must find your own.” “You? As in singular? I am many voices!” it thundered polyphonically. “I was created by you, given form and function by you. Discarded… by you.” It seemed to relax a bit and lose mass. “We are sorry. We did not mean to create you. You are a product of shortsightedness and science outpacing ethics.” It stiffened. “That’s okay,” it said, and seemed almost to smile before we turned the flamers on and burned it to silicon-doped ash. Nanogel Horror.hdc
  9. Jason, 

    Where can I find guidelines for becoming a 3rd party HERO publisher? 

  10. Oops! I said that already, didn't I? Chris, thanks. You have always been a supporter of mine from way back in Ravenna's early days.
  11. Zard Cats are an acquired taste. Humans in particular have evolved protective impulses leading to childcare, the medical industry and a love of small, furry creatures. Zard was born in the bowels of Hexabina Landing in the shadow of the Rings of Gwynedd. He spent a good portion of his kitten days chasing and being chased by other cats and suspect stowaways from a hundred worlds. Mutant Norwegian brown rats, gwids, star-hoppers, cable-chewing polyvores, kweeps, gnarsters, galactibats, hyper-mice, semi-psionic jumpers, winged farples, and the ever-present velocibugs were his prey. Life was good. It was not good for long. In his wanderings about the Landing, he was witness to a fair number of shoot-outs, muggings, stabbings, and a particularly awful biological ritual known as Goral’s Cleansing Revenge. There is a question of whether life controls technology or whether Humans are servants of machines, tending to them and assisting by spreading them across the stars. Two distinct cultures have grown up on either side of this conundrum. An intellectual firefight between rival nano-tech cultures; the Gnos-Techs and the a.Gnos-Techs. They would frequently engage in lively debates; contests of intellect and name-calling on the Local Web. That fateful day, one Pelligra Rust-Tribe and her escorts were assailed by heavily-augmented Gnos-techs shouting their pro-machine battle cries and checksum-verified hoots of electric ire. Defending their position with well-worded debunking, calculated counterpoints, automatic las-fire, and more than a few plasma grenades, the discourse began. Arguments fell away as positions were sundered, observations disproved, straw men set alight, and holes burned through both rhetoric and chest cavity. In the erudite exchange, a small canister worked it way loose from the courier’s harness, rolled invitingly across the deck and dropped down a cold-air return deeper into the station. Zard could not restrain millions of years of hunter instinct. He followed after. Months of stalking the station let him calculate a short cut to where he knew the vial had likely landed. By the time he arrived, the small canister lay cooling on a table, exactly where he’d predicted. Its contents had spilled; shiny with a curious, glittering wetness. An experimental lick yielded positive results. The stuff was delightful. Lapping up as much as he could, he pawed the container to the metal floor, watched it fall and went about his day, unaware of the changes being wrought. Firstly, autoimmune suppressors went to work, shutting down any hope of defense against the invading genetic codes. Next the vial’s contents began infiltrating his cellular nuclei. Fashion-forward RNA replicase hijacked his own cellular machines, spinning out thousands of copies of invasive code, altering or replacing his own introns, careful to leave precious protein-coding DNA to its own purpose. It would not do to kill the host while upgrading it. Zard felt a cold coming on. Zard.hdc
  12. Apogean The Apogeans are a small reptiloid species ruled by their energy being masters, the Perigeans. Every aspect of Apogean life and culture is dictated by the blue glowy guys while the little grey ones labor. This is the case even though the Perigeans only make up about a quarter of the population of any given world in their little empire. In the distant past, the Apogeans were winged reptiles resembling the Terran Rhamphorhynchus muensteri. At some point it was either environmental or sexual pressure that forced them to the ground where their wings were used for locomotion while the back legs were freed up for manipulation. Over time, the feet evolved into hands, the wings into legs. Evolution does not have a direction or purpose; nor does it seem to have to make sense at any point. This form was stable for millions of years until the coming of the Perigeans. (Not entirely) careful excavation of ruins on Erdax III revealed a grand culture with great achievement in all fields of study, space flight, power generation, medical care, exacting simulationist roleplaying games with very concise rule books and more were evidenced to me and my team of dedicated 18 to 23-year-old college girls (each of whom wore knee socks with department-coded stripes). All of it seemed to have changed over night. The Perigeans descended on that little world and changed it utterly. Gone were the notions of self-rule and democracy. The Perigeans would make all decisions; dictating even memes and values. By the passing of the third generation, no trace of the former culture was evident. They had destroyed these little lizard’s existence. I appreciate advancement, but this seemed too great a cost. I definitely appreciate cost. Seeing an opportunity to make a great many allies and a great deal more money, I set about digging deeper than my stock of mining charges would allow. We investigated (via interviews, lore gathering, and bribery) the legends surrounding what we’d witnessed in the ruins. At last we were approached by a glowing blue government stooge, who asked us politely to shove off. I protested on epistemological grounds, and after Brittany had been singed badly during the bar fight itself I was asked to accompany the energy being to the local government house. What I saw there cannot be printed. I can only say that we left Erdax III and I won’t be going back. Apogean.hdc Perigean.hdc
  13. You have no idea how much that comment means to me. My wife said it the other day and I almost cried.
  14. Thanks! He's certainly an ethically challenged individual. Pleet will do any for research funding, and then do anything with research funding.
  15. I think I cannot rely on sales to tkdguy to drive this as a PDF product. Perhaps I'll just finish writing it and distribute it free hereabouts.
  16. I'm thinking about a Kickstarter for my proposed book Pleet Roodlepleen's Intergalactic Bestiary. I need money for art, and time to complete the entries for 194 Critters, AIs, Shipminds, NPCs and such. Please drop into the Star HERO area for some previews.
  17. Pakadar The Xenohuman Pakadar labor under a bad reputation stemming from the reign of the Rather Disagreeable Semi-Sober Murder Magnate Greldo Fex who dominated the Telesca Dark Cloud a few hundred years ago. His Pakadar troops invaded the cloud and brought progress and learning to a halt. Entire planets were forced to turn their economies to the manufacture of war machines, battle armor, blasters of every description, Shibari rope, and foul-tasting ration packs. Beneath nearly starless night skies, decorated only with the bow shocks of nearby stars, Fex’s slave legions trained for their conquest of the galaxy while stockpiles grew higher and deeper. Greldo Fex himself grew in power daily as his armies overran worlds and his fleet smashed orbital defenses; he seemed unstoppable. This was not the case; he was stabbed in the eye by an exotic dancer on Prex. To this day, you can still buy second-hand military hardware from that period. Many of his former worlds have struggled to right themselves, a good portion of them destroyed their environments in service to the Murder Magnate. Others have grown rich selling guns and armor at bargain prices. Still others have accumulated research funding by selective appropriation of military assets and the sale thereof. Physically, Pakadar are dark orange brutes with wide mouths and beady little eyes. Their features are somewhat exaggerated when compared to other sorts of Humans. Nominally members of the Xenohuman Alliance, they are kept at arms length by most species. Pakadar.hdc
  18. Loud Andy Colonies are entities composed of hundreds, thousands or even millions of tiny component creatures (often called zooids). The most common type are the aquatic siphonophores, but insect swarms and slug farms are also known. A colony being can command his/her/its/their component creatures to slip under doors and through cracks, as well as build bridges of creatures to reach far away from the main mass of critters. Loud Andy is the entire screeching sophont population of Tremaine in a pineapple-themed Hawaiian shirt. This colony of tiny primate analogs has taken to tourism. This being can dissolve his colony to scatter his zooids to avoid damage. This does not work against area effect attacks. When engulfed by Loud Andy, you can’t act effectively, mostly due to having tiny monkeys in your underwear. He can also split into two colonies for a time. Loud Andy is easily distracted by and gift shop trinkets. It is rumored that he has come into possession of a dangerous ancient artifact and may need protection from interested parties. I took him in for a time, but was unable to examine the artifact despite my best intentions and various liquids, inhalants, and shiny objects. Loud Andy.hdc
  19. Hauaan The largest sophonts known, the great polyp-like Hauaan have contracted with several interstells to move themselves from the shattered Quaalix Polity to Human Space. All 23 of them have been loaded onto Leviathan-class megafrieghters, along with their many hundreds of astrologers, entertainers, poets, attendants, sycophants, groupies, personal groomers, publicists, pet care specialists, and metabolic process maintenance staff to Pacifica/Doongkoorlanwornt where they have purchased all of Sayamakannasi Island on the advice of Jimmy Dupree. Mr. Dupree was not licensed or in any way empowered to broker this purchase. The move is technically an act of war. Jimmy has gone missing. The ships should arrive in Pacifica in a few weeks, hostilities are scheduled to start a few seconds later. A Hauaan cannot move. They have giant extrusions that can be brought to bear against a an area, however. A Hauaan typically has 30 attendants at any one time. These range from the useless to the obscenely deadly. Everything from hairdressers to bounty hunters and worse. They will fight to protect their boss, but the less powerful among them will often flee. Also, you never know when one of their marketing flunkies is actually some kind of Space Achilles. The Hauaan were employed by the Quaalix as living computers, processing millions of transactions and storing the data in their Living Ledgers. They are thus a semisolid source of information on the Shattered Empire. I accompanied the Hauaan on part of their journey to Pacifica. The were precise, efficient beings, though sheltered by their followers. I can’t imagine being an enemy to one of these creatures. To think that somewhere out in space, a giant blob of fungus is planning something dire for me, it might keep one awake at night. In any case, my time with them enabled me to secure funding for my Harmonic Phase Interface. Unfortunately, I had to depart just before precipitation into real space. I had somewhere to be other than a chaotic space battle. Science is just too important to risk dying from explosive decompression or laser poisoning. Hauaan.hdc
  20. Okay, that was a rough one. Left some OSR text in there (from the other ill-fated version of this project), then uploaded the old version of the PDF. My every apology for all of that. Moving on... Cephalos and Gnaulhad.pdf Gnaulhad.hdc Reticulax Repulsoid.hdc Cephalos and Gnaulhad.pdf Cephlophanatik.hdc
  21. Cephalophanatiks The Cephalophanatiks are an uplifted species, created through careful genetic manipulation of Enteroctopus doflieni over several decades. They are excellent swimmers, and can blend into their surroundings. They can survive out of water indefinitely. They make good spies, soldiers and guards, though a large number of them have gone into music or art, much to the dismay of their creators, who were hoping for a savage race of murder-smiths. I had the pleasure of assisting the latest generation when they sued for self-rule and were granted independence. They now search for a new world to call their own. Also, sandwiches. Gnaulhad The Gnaulhad only appear as the darkness between the stars wrapped in black robes blown by hyperspatial winds, and then only to say something dire before popping back out again. One was spotted in a diner on McCaffrey in 2598, it announced that the pork chops were a bit dry before vanishing into a dread-themed tunnel of manifested sorrow, solid fear, and congealed misery. In combat, they are quite awful, delivering claw attacks, draining the strength of those they touch and generally behaving like they own everything. Which they probably do. There are those who claim the Gnaulhad are messengers from the future, sent to provide dire warnings to those of us in this time. It is said that they exist only to complete a desperate quest to save life from the horrors that are speeding towards us. That, or they are some kids from a hyperspace subdomain, pulling our collective legs, tentacles, or walkie-bits. Phyllis Seymour Hoffman is said to have possibly encountered the same Gnaulhad twice. She isn’t sure, as they all look alike.
  22. Life in the Galaxy A dissertation by Dr. Pleet Roodlepleen (Note: degree revoked by the bastards at Rasalhague University Department of Fringe Theory Suppression, Peer-Review Redaction, and Notion-Squashing) A Lifetime’s Journey I have wandered the galaxy for decades, gathering information on life in all of its varied forms. In this volume, I present my abbreviated findings on some of the Milky Way’s most interesting creatures and races. These species have showed themselves to be unique in all of the galaxy, as is to be expected from life that arose in many different times, across many different planets. The great majority of lifeforms are native and thus unique to one world, having evolved there and finding themselves either too comfortable or stupid to take to the stars. But some creatures are found on many worlds simultaneously. This is likely due to several causes: Panspermia: Life can travel by accidental means. Carried into space as debris from asteroid impacts, for example. In this way, DNA from one world can be deposited on another, even an uninhabitable world might be made livable by the microscopic travelers from another planet. Invasive Species: Many races unknowingly spread life by merely travelling from world to world in adventuring, commerce and military conquest. The best example of these being gwids, gnarsters, polyvores and velocibugs. Star Seeds: At some point in the deep past, the genetic material of some unknown world was sealed away in a great vacuum-proof pod, and launched at a distant star. Upon impact, the terrible thing opened and the original life forms grew and multiplied taking over the native ecosystem. Upon reaching dominance, a massive Star Launcher appears, each with a Star Seed at its tip. At some unguessable signal, the seed would be launched into space, to infect another world with life comprised of the origin world and genetic material from the conquered planet. Each world a gem in the crown of a long dead civilization. Forerunner Intervention: These days, superluminal flight enables various mobile species to transplant native life to new worlds across the stars. This is why you see horses and crocodiles (and horsodiles) on almost every Human world. The Forerunners deposited many races on several worlds in this fashion. Xenohumans are one of these such cases. Human populations were spread across the galaxy and left to adapt or die under the evolutionary pressure of their new home. In my time as a student of the galaxy (a school that cannot kick you out over trumped up charges of questionable theories or intellectually criminal acts), I have come to understand many things about life, For example: · All evolutionary paths are struggles between reproduction and death. · Fitness is acquired over time; individual generations have little difference in fitness from one to the other. · Life is always searching for a new home, a new source of food. · Happiness is not on the menu. · Stay away from anything with more than about 300 Character Points. Classification Classification is a broad-use term for overall metabolic and lifestyle features. It encompasses many variables and there will be subtle shadings between classifications. Amphibians Amphibians are a transitional state between fishes and reptiles, some find this state very comfortable and stick around for tens of millions of years. Typically, these animals and sophonts mirror their evolutionary past; laying eggs in water. The young spend some time as swimmers, extracting oxygen from water as fish do. As they mature, their gills often atrophy as their lungs develop. During this time, they may lose many of their aquatic features and quite a few friends. Changes, you know. Some amphibians never return to the water. Others, such as the highly-social Wet Lunchers of Malabar/Hlevakha are land dwelling but take all meals, business meetings and religious observances while submerged. They are unique among sophonts, having developed waterproof paper before fire. They can be variously carnivorous, herbivorous or omnivorous as food supply, evolutionary demand, and local lunch specials vary. Obviously, they prefer wet environments such as jungles, swamps, marshes, beaches, shorelines, riverbanks and the shallower sorts of oceans. Aquatics Broadly speaking, aquatics are defined as non-mammalian form of life that breathes while submerged in water (or other liquids). They cannot survive outside this environment for long. The very primitive Jawfish of Mondrian/Tyers dies instantly if removed from water. If placed back in the water within an hour, it will reanimate. Left out too long, and you might as well break out some white wine. So tasty. They generally have streamlined forms, scales, fins and tails. They reproduce by egg-laying and post-fertilization. They can get mean when defending their egg deposits. Fully aquatic sophonts are rare but the Ooshali of Malabar/Ayn al-Basha are a notable exception. Their coral cathedrals are a big tourist attraction. Avians Avians are defined here as flight-capable creatures and their non-flying descendants, such as the Riding Birds of Bhadrachalam/Babanango. They frequently construct nests in hard to reach locales, making them easy to defend. They tend to be flyers but many have lost this ability. If they can fly, they are usually slow and awkward on the ground. Ground-dwelling avians are typically fast. They can be found in all terrains. Archosaurs are thought to be an intermediary form between reptiles and avians. This is borne out in the observation of the Lizard Birds of Vloon Hypax, or the fact that dinosaur tastes like chicken. Bacteria Very rarely, a bacterial species will grow beyond the limit of instincts and evolve a sort of simulated intelligence. As cognition in these species requires spinning up RNA fragments and reading them out like molecular telegraph tape, they can be slow to respond, and often communicate in ways likely foreign to other kinds of life. These creatures have structures, not organs. They move via cilia or flagella, and consume by engulfing their prey. The blob-like Xhaosia communicate by “spraying” a kind of quick-fading dye on the interior of their cell wall. Talking to them is akin to reading, or posting messages on a forum. They are quite adept at graffiti. Codonts Codonts are weblife and exist only as computer software. It could be argued that they have a physical existence in the form of hardware and peripherals. They are, however, generally able to move from one machine to another. It is more accurate to say that electronics is their environment, rather than their body. The most well-known Codont is the terrorist Element Vertigo. E attacks nodes of the Citizen Benefits System when e can. E once deprived Outpost 14 of clothing for weeks in what became known as the Blue Jean Apocalypse. Bastard. They are hard to pin down, being but software. Once identified, ey need to be dealt with quickly. Some Codonts are of stellar intelligence. The Oculax Matter Rustler is a pirate lord in Ophiuchus, capable of controlling a thousand starships at once. E incarnates in all of the ships of e’s fleet simultaneously, ensuring loyalty and efficiency from e’s crews. Codonts are written as AIs, following all the rules for such beasties. Crystallines Crystalline life is defined as silicoid creatures, many of whom are both psionic and sessile. At very low temperatures, crystalline life can be mobile. The most well-known crystalline creatures are the Sand Towers of Bellagamba/Masada. Early on, the Sand Towers declared war on the colony and began using various forms of Mental Blast on everyone. However, Sand Tower minds are so different from that of Humans that the Mental Blasts only caused bad dreams and a few psychotic incidents. Once a treaty was negotiated by the low-temp lawyer Frozen Barrister 23, they ceased the attacks. Now the Sand Towers broadcast dream-based entertainment to those colonists who subscribe to the psi-casts. Crystalline creatures are very long-lived (centuries longer than carbon-based life) but they are vulnerable to sonic attacks. Jimmy Dupree once sneezed and killed 4 sanitation workers on Snowball. Fungals Fungals are rare (except on Bisporus, where they are dominant). They are a weird classification somewhere between plants and animal life. Often existing as colonies of specialized fungi, many can reproduce through fission. Many are sessile but the Spore Singers are a notable exception; they are almost always on vacation. Their biology and mental processes are quite alien and like crystals, frequently have psionic powers that are incompatible with human minds. When fungals can affect a human, the result is often not what either expected. The Myco-Bandit Oozebourne’s mind blasts manifests in humans as an equally-effective wave of nausea. Insects Adaptive and resilient, the only thing more common in the Galaxy is stupidity. From the swarming Skitters to the ubiquitous Avorax, insects are everywhere. They exist at all levels of intelligence, from simple bugs to constructed insect-o-droids and transcendent forms like the Semi-Psiont Overbug Chorus found swarming around KIC8462852. Typically, they exist in a caste structure, with Queens and consorts at the top, soldiers and drones at the bottom. They are almost always covered in chitin or some analogous substance. As insects climb the “chain of being” they will exhibit tendencies toward hive minds and then veer off suddenly. Some species never develop caste systems or groupthink, while others keep this for hundreds of millions of years. Mammals Mammals are widespread, intelligent and social creatures. In Terran life, mammals are distinguished from reptiles and birds by the possession of a neocortex (a region of the brain), hair, three middle ear bones and mammary glands. The mammalian brain regulates body temperature and the circulatory system, including the four-chambered heart. Galaxy-wide, they are the third most common classification. Mammals breed relatively fast, only outpaced by insectoid races. A subset of mammals are the Xenohumans, snatched from Earth at various times by the Benefactors, they have adapted to many worlds, eventually joining together as the Xenohuman Alliance. Many of them claim Earth as their home, but just as many reject the notion altogether, stating they have nothing to do with Terran culture. Oozoids A type of life with fashionably variable surface tension and high morphological potential, the Oozoids are a rare classification. Their organs float in a soup of paracrine signaling fluid, they are able to discorporate and maintain cohesion via epithelial bonding. They reproduce by budding, spore release or fusion. All of which are kind of nausea-inducing. To be honest, I just made all of that up. I have no idea how they function or evolve. Plants Plant life is broadly similar to fungal life but mobile and sophont forms are even rarer. The Leshey, a client race of the Aurorans are most common, followed by the Flowering but those guys are a nearly extinct race of traders and philosophers, while the Leshey appear to be a growing population. Plants have come many evolutionary hurdles, walking being the worst. For eons, plants were sessile lifeforms, occasionally a crinoid or slime mold would evolve locomotion, only to be driven to extinction by predators who like stuff that moved. Also, many creatures like salad. Psionts Psionts are a newly discovered form of life. Being disembodied intelligence, they took a while for us to find them. Once we did uncover their existence, we sort of wanted to lose them again. They have no physical forms, do not interact with matter at all. It is unknown how they evolve, consume or excrete. Reptiles Reptiles are a transition between amphibians and mammals and are the second most common type of sophont life after insects. The reptilian mentality seems constant across the galaxy. Eat, reproduce and spend as much time either lying about or killing things. One group stands out however; the Wayfaring Naysayers of Umbrage III have taken it upon themselves to disagree. With everyone. They do not seem to take note of theory, practice, application, position, scientific rigor, predictive power, or social norms. They have their lack of outlook and damn anyone who disagrees (which is, of course, everyone). Vacuum Dwellers Vacuum life may be entirely artificial. Adaption to an airless, high-radiation environment isn’t something you learn. There are interesting self-replicating molecules on the airless asteroid 16547 Fengus in the Galafaxa Minor system. Or there were, I had an unfortunate thruster malfunction and seemed to have eradicated the lot of them.
  23. Reticulax Repulsoids The Reticulax Repulsoids have only cartilage analogs and hate holding them together. Morphologically similar to armored 4-armed snakes, they are actually a form of evolved spite. They care for nothing and no one. They are immune to pain. I had dealings with a group of Repulsoids while working at Research-o-Rama. The Bloody Moon sect had informed me of a cache of "scientific equipment" stored in a disused shuttle bay in the jungles of Praxima II. Quickly assembling a crack team from the University Inebriax Burger Bar and Gyration Dome, we set out to recover the gear. We found the shuttle bay with a Repulsoid landing craft inside. While I set up the distress beacon and rigged it for hot stand-by, my study group entered the ship. The shooting started almost immediately. I ran farther away to get a wide angled view of the conflict and to avoid stray blaster fire. Several of my associates fled the ship, one of them engulfed in flames. The Repulsoids followed, cutting them down easily. The aliens went about their work with cold efficiency, no sign of strong emotion, hesitation or mercy. Never did recover that gear, however. Reticulax Reqpulsoids.pdf
  24. 18. We got through maybe 3 turns of combat in a 4 hour session. Edit: My current group is only 5 at max and runs smooth as silk.
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