Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sparkian Biology

As noted earlier, the exoplanet Spark has an unusual biology which often harmonizes with uses of electricity due to natural elements in their environment. This is an unusual circumstance which has led to many fascinating species to be studied by transhuman explorers. However, many species on Spark are not docile or peaceful, and due to their sensitivity to electricity, many of them regard transhumans and their equipment as an annoyance or hostile intruder, and may be territorial. Below are listed several species which may prominently threaten the life or limb of an explorer on Spark.

Thunder-lizards are a common pack hunter on Spark, most dominant in the areas of thin, low forests and plains near the terminus region - and thus one of the most commonly encountered by explorers. Their biology appears to be somewhere between a reptile and a mammal, with live birth and warm blood but their physical structure internally and externally also has similarity to large lizards - and no mammary gland analog. They are hexapeds, with sharp multi-purpose claws, a very fast overland speed and dappled grayish scales, and are the size of large dogs. While they appear to have decent spectrum of vision and smell, their most interesting feature is a pair of conical horns on top of their heads which integrate with their bioelectric senses. They can use this to hunt, to sense the location of nearby packmates and even oscillate their bioelectric fields to perform rudimentary communication - like how other animals would use audio or scent cues. Unfortunately for explorers, Thunder-Lizards are territorial, and the use of electronic equipment by some transhuman gear and morphs strongly alerts them to it's presence, which can cause them to be violent and aggressive in response.
Threat Level: Yellow
Numbers: 2-6
COG 5 COO 15 INT 15 REF 15 SAV 5 SOM 15
WIL 10 INIT 6 SPD 1 DUR 25 WT 5 DR 38
Claws & Teeth: 50, 1d10+3 DV AP -2
Fray/Armor: 30, 3/4
Perception: 40
Move: 4/20 Walker
Skills: Freerunning 40, Infiltration 30, Intimidation 30, Scrounging 40, Unarmed Combat 50
Ware: Bioelectric Sense, Shock Tolerance
Native EMF: An individual Thunder-Lizard can alter its own electromagnetic field to perform simple communication with packmates at 5 meters in close conditions, 50 meters in open. This can be used to relay an emotional state, or basic commands or details like "come here" or "run away".
Stress Test: 1d10/2 SV

The "salt vampire" is an aggressive parasite common to forested or otherwise covered regions in the terminus and dayside regions of Spark. While most of the local fauna has 6+ limbs, the Salt Vampire only has four, but makes up for it with a short, prehensile tail and a long, flexible neck which ends in a mouth ringed in hollow, hypodermic-like teeth. In general, it resembles a giant leech with legs, a gray-green creature about the size of a small dog. It has no visible sensory apparatus, and appears to sense purely by bioelectricity. While they somewhat resemble amphibians, they do not perfectly analog any terrestrial classification. They appear to be opportunity "hunters", striking prey fast to siphon blood or other fluids (and hopefully associate metals and salts) before the prey can properly dislodge them. If the target is too large to kill in one sitting, they will often detach and scuttle away, using their incredibly flexibility. Salt Vampires have ambushed several transhuman explorers, including some synthmorphs - much to the perceived disappointment of the vampire. If threatened, they will use teeth and claws to scrabble at an enemy before leaping away.
Threat Level: Yellow
Numbers: 1-2
COG 5 COO 20 INT 15 REF 15 SAV 5 SOM 10
WIL 10 INIT 7 SPD 1 DUR 20 WT 4 DR 30
Latch On: 40, Subdual. If successful, next Action Turn the Salt Vampire will bite with it's mouth inflicting 1d10/2 DV (round down)  AP -1 (no defense). After that, the Salt Vampire will suck blood and other fluids from the target for 1d10/2 Turns unless dislodged, dealing an automatic 3 DV each turn which ignores armor and cannot be defended against.
Claws: 40, 1d10+3 DV, AP -2
Fray/Armor: 30, 0/0
Perception: 30
Move: 4/16 Walker
Skills: Climbing 50, Freerunning 50, Infiltration 60, Scrounging 30, Unarmed Combat 40
Ware: Bioelectric Sense, Grip Pads, Prehensile Tail
Traits: Small Size, No Eyes, Limber (1)
Stress Test: 1d10/2 SV

These are a colonial, insectoid species which appear to be an analog for eusocial insects, such as bees, colony wasps, ants or termites. Buzzbees have a variety of interesting qualities about their physical structure and behavior that interest researchers, but their defensive measures makes them hard to study. While roughly analogous to many terran arthropods, the Buzzbee and similar species are slightly longer over all, with bodies which have a "centauroid" configuration - they possess four limbs primarily for locomotion on their middle body section, and then on the fore-body behind the head they have another four multipurpose limbs which make them very dexterous. While they do seem to collect nectars and other analogs from plants (and thus help with pollination equivalency) Buzzbees are omnivorous like ants, and will collect scraps of any edible resources they find and return to their hives, though some of this they catalyze or ferment with their own enzymes into a honey-like paste (which is observed to be slightly salty) for long-term storage. They have glittering, almost metallic shells in what may be warning colors, and multiple EM-sensitive eye organs in a configuration which gives them 360 degree fields of view. Most importantly, however, is their electrical adaptations. Buzzbees possess antennae which are capable of minute radio transmissions similar to nano- or microbot swarms, which they can use to communicate positioning and basic information like a threat or resource. They also have stingers like many eusocial insects, but these come in the form of a two-pronged stinger which relies not on venom, but on a small electrochemical charge which they can utilize to arc electricity between the prongs, making a painful shock. Several concurrent stings can even cause disruption to the body similar to a taser.
Threat Level: Orange
Numbers: 1-2 Swarm Units
COG 3 COO 15 INT 15 REF 20 SAV 2 SOM 5
WIL 15 INIT 7 SPD 1 DUR 50 WT - DR 50
Swarm: Buzzbees follow all the normal rules for Swarms. Stats are given for a single swarm.
Shock Sting: 40, 1d10+Shock, Half Armor applies.
Fray/Armor: 50, 0/0
Perception: 30, 50 Vision
Move: 4/30 Winged, 1/4 Walker
Skills: Flight 60, Infiltration 30, Intimidation 20, Scrounging 40, Unarmed Combat 40
Ware: 360 Degree Vision, Enhanced Vision
Natural Radio: Buzzbees have a natural form of radio communication, and can communicate at a range of up to 500 meters in open terrain, or 50 meters in dense terrain. This also means they have an unusual response to EMP grenades. While they do not harm them, if in the area of a grenade they must make a WILx3 test. If they fail, they are stunned for 3 Action turns plus 1 action turn for each full 10 MoF. If they pass, they take a -30 to all their actions, which is reduced by -10 each turn until it passes.
Stress Test: 1d10/2 SV

The Spithian is a vicious predator which appears analogous to a scorpion or some kind of land crab. These long, low creatures range in size from a small to medium dog, and have hard carapaces made with metallic elements to absorb and conduct away electricity. They have twelve, multi-jointed legs for great climbing and land speed, multiple mouthparts/mandibles and very advanced and sensitive optics. They appear to be solitary or breeding pair hunters, who live in the dense jungles and rainforests on the edge of the dayside, and thus are rarely seen by explorers. They do not actively hunt transhumans, but view them as threats or competition, and will engage in intimidation tactics or self defense. Their primary weapons are a set of large crushing or pinching claws which can grow large enough to encircle a transhuman limb, but they also have a long, stinger like tail. However, instead of venom, the Spithian is able to create a natural build up of electricity which arcs to nearby targets with a force similar to modern electrolasers. They use this to stun prey and scare off competing predators, or for self defense.
Threat Level: Orange
Numbers: 1-2
COG 5 COO 10 INT 10 REF 20 SAV 1 SOM 15
WIL 5 INIT 6 SPD 1 DUR 20 WT 4 DR 30
Claws: 40, 1d10+2 DV, AP -1. If the Spithian scores an Excellent Success, it may choose to pinch the target and hold on, similar to a Subdual attack. The Spithian deals 1d10/2 DV per Action turn while pinching the target, half armor applies. If the Spithian is gripping a limb, if it deals a wound it may sever the target limb entirely.
Shock Tail: 50, 1d10/2+Shock DV, 0 AP. Only works on targets inside 5 meters. The Spithian takes a -20 on this attack if the target is Shock-proof or otherwise insulated against electricity.
Fray/Armor: 30, 11/11
Perception: 30, 50 Vision
Move: 4/20 Walker
Skills: Exotic Ranged Weapon: Shock Tail 50, Freerunning 30, Infiltration 50, Intimidation 40, Scrounging 50, Unarmed Combat 40
Ware: Enhanced Vision (Zoom only), Ultraviolet Vision
Traits: Small Size
Stress Test: 1d10/2 SV

No comments:

Post a Comment