Though creatures with faces and claws are often fun to include in our games, I think the faceless horrors that can’t be reasoned with are just as scary. Since we have things like slime molds on our own world, I can only imagine that such simple creatures also exist elsewhere in the universe. And so far, those horrors have cropped up in two different ways…
Let’s break this particular class of creature into two main categories: organic and inorganic.
The organic came up in an adventure I wrote for Aethercon last year. And it had some interesting properties. My goal was to create something a bit like an ooze in D&D that could wash over things and cause real havoc.
The inorganic came about on a ship plagued by what Cydyne calls “glitches.” The central computer for a largely automated ship suddenly became sentient and decided it had plans of its own that didn’t include being shut down. As a result, some of the nanite manufacturing resources on board were repurposed to create very simple, reusable nanite building blocks. These blocks were sprayed by mobile drones up and down most of the hallways in the ship, clinging to the walls like diamond dust until needed. And when they were needed, they would form waves that could easily break down any organic or inorganic material into its raw components for future use…
Creature – Mercurial Slime
- Small Mercurial Slime: Attribute 12, AR3/AP15, Traits: Slime motion (5m), Slime Acid (Any inorganic matter it comes into contact with –shoes, uniform, weapons– takes d6 damage, ongoing 2 until removed; if touches skin, it is absorbed and — just like mercury — drives the creature insane). Weakness: Cold. .
- Large Mercurial Slime: Attribute 12, AR3/AP15, HP 12x small slime, same traits as small slime
Shiny, liquid, and seeking out similar elements, this slowly growing ooze begins in a small silicate glass egg formed when the creature was stressed as the moon or world it was once a part of broke apart into a million pieces. Gathering silica from the environment around itself, it formed small spheres that would harden in the cold of space and emerge when warmth was found again. It couldn’t save its whole self, but was able to effectively put itself in a form of suspended animation in the hopes it would somehow survive whatever was happening around it.
These little buggers act like an acid, but they consume mercury, which happens to be in many electronic devices (10% chance x weight of device — the bigger, the more likely). The bigger the device, the more likely the slime is to move quicker (sprinting to 10m/move).
Creature – Nanite Wave
- Nanite Wave (mid-level): Attribute 11, Traits: Waveform (5m), Miniaturization, Programming: Simple, Programming: Advanced, Inorganic Dissolver* (1d6 damage each round until whatever it is gets converted into its raw components)
These waves had a few purposes. One, they were easy to control from afar and redistribute. And two, they had the potential of being terrifying to any potential problems on board. The main computer could take stock of a situation and divide a single Wave into multiple Waves and begin attacking multiple targets at once or re-form into a massive whole creature and just crash over anything in its path.
The Slime is really such an elegantly simple creature, I can’t think of any ways to improve it at this point. But the Nanites…
- Robotic Healing: A Nanite Wave cresting over any of the computer’s drones and act as a “heal,” granting 1d6 HP or AP back to the device.
- Nanite Invasion: A Nanite Wave cresting over an enemy drone could get an attempt to invade and take over such a device. Save vs. Presence to resist. Once infected, a drone could turn on its original wielder.
This could really make some interesting battles in hallways between an automated defense force and an invading group of space marines. Wave after wave of nanites could crash down these corridors, with wildly different effects depending on what they hit.
Looking for more creatures for your Aliens & Asteroids campaign? Check out the rest of the Creature of the Week series!