Posts Tagged ‘ Stars Without Number ’

Z Is for Zoetic

zoetic: (adj.) of or pertaining to life

The Maisha of Dunia have achieved widespread fame for their peaceful ways and medical skill. Dunia itself is slightly smaller than Terra at a distance that gives the world a cold climate. The polar regions are inhospitable to human life, and even the middle latitudes prove uncomfortable much of the year. The Maisha cultivate coniferous vegetation which humans tend to find unpalatable but nutritious. Other agricultural staples include a wide variety of lichens and fungi, many of the latter grown in subterranean farms. Dunia’s population stands in the hundreds of millions, mostly Maishas, but the world does play host to a significant number of off-worlders.

Atmosphere: Breathable mix
Temperature: Cold
Biosphere: Human-miscible
Population: Alien civilization
Tech Level: 4 with specialties
World Tags: Pilgrimage Site, Psionics Academy

Maisha live at a tech level comparable to most of human space, but they excel in the field of medicine, including some medical psitech. The pretech manufactories that produce these wonders are zealously guarded by the Maisha, and Dunian medtech is an enormous source of income for the world and its citizens.

Maishas are insectoids, somewhat resembling humanoid grasshoppers. They have difficulty with human languages. Few humans have learned any of the various Maishan dialects at much more than a basic level, for the human mouth and pharynx cannot adequately produce many of the subtle clicks and chirrups that comprise Maishan phonemes. Maishas are herbivorous, and they tend to find the idea of consuming animal flesh repulsive in the extreme.

Maishan society is matriarchal and oligarchic, and a single religion dominates public and private life. Zoeticism is a deceptively simple faith that emphasizes preserving life and respecting the innate dignity of intelligent species. Due to Zoeticism’s influence, Maishas tend to be pacifists. They reject the use of violence as a means of gaining advantage or in the pursuit of justice. Zoeticism teaches strongly against the rightness of revenge.

The Grand Zoetic Temple in Mji, Dunia’s capital city, attracts visitors from throughout the sector. Many come just to see the site, and the Maishas welcome these interstellar tourists with open arms. A few off-worlders, however, seek enlightenment, hoping to rid themselves of burdens both physical and psychological. The most skilled devotees of Zoeticism, all of whom are Maishas, practice Pona, a semi-psionic discipline that aims at mental, spiritual, and physical perfection through ascetism, meditation, and the martial arts.

Pona is a martial art (as described in the excellent Mandate Archive Collection 2011). Maisha can buy skill levels in Pona as a class skill, while non-Maisha purchase skill levels in Pona at non-class skill point rates. This applies even to non-Maisha warriors.

Weapon Groups: Unarmed only
Level 0 (Novice): The novice can maintain the vital life processes of a mortally wounded creature with a touch. This functions like the biostasis psychic power. A non-psychic adds 2 points to his System Strain when using this ability, regardless of its success. A psychic adds half as much System Strain. Also, the novice’s unarmed strikes inflict 1d4+1 points of damage. This damage is non-lethal and a victim reduced to 0 hit points is either unconscious for 1d4 minutes or helplessly restrained by the martial artist, at the artist’s discretion.
Level 1 (Intermediate): The martial artist becomes resistant to harmful substances, gaining a +2 bonus to all saving throws versus diseases and toxins.
Level 2 (Master): The master’s strikes do 1d8+1 points of damage. This damage is non-lethal and a victim reduced to 0 hit points is either unconscious for 1d4 minutes or helplessly restrained by the martial artist, at the artist’s discretion. The master may perform a nerve strike as an attack, taking a -4 penalty on the roll. If the attack roll succeeds and the victim the fails a Physical Effect saving throw at a penalty equal to the master’s Combat/Pona skill, the victim suffers double non-lethal damage from the attack.

A Maisha’s exoskeleton gives it a natural Armor Class of 7. Otherwise, despite their appearance, they are comparable to humans in most respects. Even the largest Maisha tend to be small by adult human standards. Maisha cannot have a Strength greater than 14 or a Dexterity of less than 14. A Maisha cannot be a warrior.

Normal Maisha
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1/2
Attack Bonus: +0
Damage: 1d2 punch
Skill Bonus: +1
Saving Throw: 15+
Movement: 30 ft.
Morale: 7

Pona Master
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 4
Attack Bonus: +3
Damage: 1d8+1 unarmed
Skill Bonus: +3
Saving Throw: 13+
Movement: 30 ft.
Morale: 10

This Pona master is also a psychic. She has mastered levels 1, 2, and 3 of the Biopsionics discipline. She has up to 4 levels in as many as two other disciplines. She uses her mastered powers freely, and she has 11 power points for triggering her other discipline(s).

April 30th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

V Is for Veracious

veracious: (adj.) speaking or representing the truth

“Heed my words! The Cerise Queen demands you accept only two dogmas. First, the only sin is failure. Second, everything not forbidden is compulsory. Abide, and the Colony welcomes you. Dissent means rejection and destruction.”

That message, delivered by an intelligent alien species native to Myrmidia to the human colonists of Thessalia II, signaled the beginning of the end. The colonists had come to Myrmidia, attracted by its untouched natural resources and rich soil. Thessalia II thrived almost from the get-go, and the colony grew to include more than 500 families.

The colonists quickly mounted a defense against the Myrmidians. At first, it seemed as if the colonists had little to fear. Their postech armaments proved more than a match for the ant-like aliens. Unfortunately, initial surveys seriously misjudged the size of the Myrmidian population. The surveys also failed to account for the vast psychic powers wielded by Myrmidian queens.

Myrmidian culture, divided into dozens of mutually hostile Colonies, is a telepathic collective. Except for each Colony’s queen, no individual Myrmidian is reckoned of any importance at all. The queen’s will rules over all, and her slightest whim carries the weight of undeniable truth. For Myrmidian workers and warriors, their queen embodies truth. She is incapable of deceit or error, and to disobey the queen is unthinkable. Maybe even literally unthinkable.

Thessalia II fell to the Cerise Queen in a matter of hours once the full force of the Colony was brought to bear. Most of the human colonists died, sliced to pieces by powerful mandibles for food in the birthing caves. The Myrmidians took others captive, adding them to the host of workers.

Atmosphere: Breathable mix
Temperature: Warm
Biosphere: Human-miscible
Population: Alien civilization
Tech Level: 3
World Tags: Tyranny, Warlords

Myrmidian Worker
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 2
Attack Bonus: +2
Damage: 1d6 bite
No. Appearing: 10d10
Saving Throw: 14+
Movement: 45 ft.
Morale: 9

Workers appear very much like terrestrial ants, but much larger, growing to lengths of four feet.

Myrmidian Warrior
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 4
Attack Bonus: +5
Damage: 1d8 bite/1d6 sting
No. Appearing: 2d10
Saving Throw: 13+
Movement: 30 ft.
Morale: 11

Warriors grow up to twice the size of workers. They attack with oversized mandibles and a venomous sting.

Myrmidian Warrior Venom: Toxicity 8, Interval 10 minutes, Virulence 2, Damage 1d8. The first failed saving throw inflicts no damage but instead paralyzes the victim.

Myrmidian Queen
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 10
Attack Bonus: +8
Damage: 1d10 bite
No. Appearing: 1
Saving Throw: 10+
Movement: 15 ft.
Morale: 10

A Myrmidian queen is larger, tougher, and slower than others of her kind. Each queen is the mother and absolute ruler of all Myrmidians in her colony with a maximum range of a few dozen miles. She is in constant telepathic contact with all of her children. A queen possesses powerful psychic abilities. A typical queen has mastered up to level 8 in Telepathy as well as up to 6 levels divided between two or three other disciplines. Most queens have 5d4+15 power points.

April 25th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

T Is for Telomeric

telomeric: (adj.) relating to the natural end of a eukaryotic chromosome composed of a usually repetitive DNA sequence and serving to stabilize the chromosome

Highbeam Multistellar’s most skilled engineers on Bellatrix have created some impressive weapons over the years, including the Bellatrixian plague fungus and the causality virus. In this grand tradition comes Highbeam’s horrific telomeric gas.

This heavier-than-air gas (approximately as dense as carbon dioxide) acts quickly after being inhaled or otherwise absorbed through a mucuous membrane (or even via the eyes). At this time, the active chemicals in the gas attack the victim’s DNA, overwhelming the telomeres of the target population the gas has been designed to effect. As a result, the victims’ DNA replicates out of control, wreaking massive havoc on the victims’ bodies. Death comes quickly, accompanied by a host of ghastly symptoms. Rarely, telomeric gas produces stable, beneficial mutations. Highbeam’s think-tanks are trying to correct this flaw.

Telomeric Gas: Save Penalty -4, Toxicity 12, Interval every 4d6 hours, Virulence 5, Damage A failed save reduces Strength, Constitution, and Dexterity by 2 with a 50% chance that the reductions remain even if the victim is cured.

If you need a good ruleset for mutations, and you don’t have access to TSR’s 1st edition Gamma World, check out this free, zipped PDF of Mutant Future by Goblinoid Games. It’s a great game, and the price is excellent.

April 23rd, 2014  in RPG 1 Comment »

P Is for Pithikosophobic

pithikosophobic: (adj.) abnormally or persistently afraid of monkeys

Mugatos are large, intimidating animals that can reach a height of six and one-half feet (not counting the cranial horn). Covered by a thick pelt of white fur all over their bodies with the exception of their faces and hands, they are similar to the great apes of Earth in their physical proportions and prehensile hands and feet. All of their teeth are sharp and serrated, and their fangs contained a strong venom that can be fatal within a matter of hours. Mugatos have large, thick horns projecting from the tops of their craniums as well as smaller spikes running down the spine.

Mugatos’ natural habitats cover tropical or subtropical forests covering a wide range of elevations from montane cloud forests (7,200–14,100 feet above sea level) to dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level. These creatures live in groups called troops. Troops tend to be made of one adult male and multiple adult females and their offspring. Mugato lifespan is normally between 35 and 40 years.

Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 8
Attack Bonus: +10
Damage: 1d8 bite
No. Appearing: 1d4
Saving Throw: 11+
Movement: 30 ft.
Morale: 11

Mugato Venom: Toxicity 10, Interval 30 minutes, Virulence 3, Damage 1d6

April 18th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

N Is for Nascent

nascent: (adj.) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential

Spacers first encountered nyotagomas during the early decades of interstellar travel as humanity slowly recovered from the Scream’s devastation. The total absence of nyotagomas from surviving pre-Scream records led many to conclude that this species is either a mutation of a previously benign creature, or else nyotagomas entered human-inhabited space as a result of the Scream. Whatever the truth, nyotagomas proved too dangerous to be left alone, and a genocidal program was launched against them. The program seemed successful after several hard-fought years. Attacks on spacers and orbital installations by nyotagomas dwindled to nearly none at all.

Stellae Zaibatsu, an industrial conglomerate focused on planetary mining and metallurgy, took a keen interest in nyotagoma physiology and reproduction. The organism’s ability to survive in the hard vacuum intrigued corporate researchers, who sought better ways for miners to live and work in environments often deadly to humans. As a result, Stellae Zaibatsu xenogengineers made a remarkable discovery.

Nyotagoma reproduce asexually via budding. The adult organism submerges itself in a marine environment and produces several immature organisms, which bud from the parent’s body near the base of its tentacles. After a brief period of growth, these buds separate from the parent, becoming independent marine creatures. If these buds are harvested and subjected to the proper combination of chemicals and genetic manipulation, they cease maturing and enter a symbiotic stage which enables the organism to be grafted onto a human host.

The nyotagoma symbiote, or Nyosym (available in many tech level 4 markets for 10,000 credits), integrates itself with its host’s body and helps regulate the host’s metabolism. A Nyosym host’s gains a +2 bonus to saving throws against toxins and biological hazards. He also gains +1 hit point per Hit Die. These hit points are lost before the host’s own hit points, at a rate of 1 hit point per die of damage inflicted. For example, a host suffering 7 points of damage from 2d6 points of damage would suffer 5 hit points of damage while the Nyosym’s bonus hit points are depleted by 2 points.

Any time a host fails a saving throw versus a toxin or biological host or suffers sufficient damage to deplete the Nyosym’s bonus hit points, the Nyosym has a 25% chance of dying. Should this happen, emergency surgery is necessary to remove the dead organism before infection sets in. Otherwise, a Nyosym with no bonus hit points remaining becomes dormant, recovering 1 hit point per day. The host receives no benefits from a dormant Nyosym.

Adult nyotagomas remain rare in inhabited space, which is a good thing for spacers since adult nyotagomas are highly intelligent and extremely dangerous. In addition to the impressive stats below, a nyotagoma has an effective 16 Intelligence. It can survive in a hard vacuum with ease. It is immune to the hazards of outer space, such as the vacuum, cosmic radiation, et cetera. Extreme conditions, such as flying too close to a star, still prove disastrous. A nyotagoma can fly through outer space as if it were a drive-1 rated starship. These creatures always succeed at Navigation checks. It has extremely acute vision, able to see emissions throughout the entire electromagnetic spectrum. If a nyotagoma forgoes its normal attacks, it can make a single devastating attack 2d12 points of damage that affects inanimate objects like a gunnery weapon.

Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 10
Attack Bonus: +18/+18
Damage: 1d12/1d12 hooked tentacle
No. Appearing: 1d4
Saving Throw: 10+
Movement: 40 ft. fly
Morale: 12

April 16th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »