Mar
16
2017
1

Creature Seed: Dwarfrest Cats.

Dwarfrest Cats – Google Docs

 

Dwarfrest Cats

 

This attractive breed of domestic cat, despite the name, has spread quite a ways from the Dwarven retirement community of Dwarfrest County (old Dwarves typically have respiratory and bone issues that make aboveground river valleys with good sunlight attractive to them). Dwarfrest Cats can be distinguished by their short tails, narrower bodies, and oversized ears; their fur is rich and thick, with colors ranging from dark grey to black. Their whiskers, while not truly retractable, are arranged in a way that they can be slightly extended at need.  Both the sight and the hearing of a Dwarfrest Cat is phenomenal.

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Mar
07
2017
1

Creature seed: Bloodworld Vampires.

This concept intrigues me.

Bloodworld Vampires – Google Docs

Bloodworld Vampires

 

The ‘Bloodworld’ being, of course, ours.  The vampires are only somewhat from this planet: the rest of them comes from the dark, cold, and dry depths of space.  Bloodworld Vampires are a terrifying combination of infectious agent, spy, and harvester.  But they’re not here to invade, any more than the farmer invades his orchard.

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Mar
05
2017
5

Creature seed: Free-Range Emotion Squid.

I swear, I just said the first thing that popped into my head and saw where it went.

Free-Range Emotion Squid – Google Docs

Free-Range Emotion Squid

 

Well, technically that should be the Free-Range Emotion Octopus, but the current long-term Uplift projections suggest that the first truly sentient neo-Octopi will start being produced in no more than ten years.  So, basically, best to avoid a potential marketing issue before it even starts, right?  Best practices, and all that.

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Mar
01
2017
--

Creature/Item Seed: Gunpowder Wasps.

Gunpowder Wasps – Google Docs

Gunpowder Wasps

Never allow the sophonts at the Galactic Uplift Bureau’s Surreptitious Assistance Department too much free time.  Or access to trashy Old Earth vidshows, apparently.  GUB-SAD operatives can get themselves into all sorts of trouble that way.

The basic problem is this: most oxygen-nitrogen water worlds in the Milky Way galaxy have roughly similar biospheres, and that’s not even remotely accidental.  A standard biological package of photosynthetic bacteria was apparently introduced to every planet that looked like it could support it (don’t ask anybody in the various Galactic governments who, or Who, did that). So, you can introduce new species into a particular planetary mix.  If you have that sort of mind.

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Feb
21
2017
--

Creature Seed: Hyper-Mega-Goanna.

Hyper-Mega-Goanna – Google Docs

Hyper-Mega-Goanna (HMG)

 

Well, goannas were merely mildly venomous Australian monitor lizards, about man-length in size; which is to say, no more or less unusual than any other animal native to Australia.  But then there was an almighty electrical discharge in the skies above Australasia; the first reports of somewhat altered goannas appeared shortly thereafter. The current generation of Hyper-Mega-Goannas (blame the tabloids) all have a length of about 15 feet, and it’s not entirely clear that the HMGs have stopped growing as a species.

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Feb
12
2017
--

Creature Seed: Arcturian Jewel-Mites.

Blame this.

Arcturian Jewel-Mites – Google Docs

Arcturian Jewel-Mites

 

Humanity first came across these gorgeous, horrible pests during the First Glimmer Expedition.  Glimmer is an extremely pretty, but only barely human-habitable planet orbiting the red giant star Arcturus, and creatures like the Jewel-Mites are a large reason why the place is only barely habitable.  Simply put: Jewel-Mites eat gemstone.  One particular type — the kind that’s most hardy offplanet — eats diamond.

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Feb
10
2017
1

Creature seed: Skullcrabs.

Blame this.

Skullcrabs – Google Docs

Skullcrabs

 

These creatures are why most civilized realms frown on the gratuitous use of zombification as a means of powering galleys.  It admittedly seemed logical enough at the time: undead rowers don’t tire, don’t need food or water, don’t try to revolt at inconvenient times like the middle of a sea battle, and don’t really ‘die.’ They just break, and when one does that you can just toss it over the side.

 

And that was the problem. The combination of sea water, undead flesh, and the peculiar metabolism of certain crustaceans has created the Skullcrab: it superficially resembles a allarming-looking purple-black hermit crab that uses a skull for a shell, but it’s actually a lot nastier than that.  Basically, Skullcrabs are unholy (in the academic sense of the term) hybrid creatures that have a continuous hunger for meat and the inherent intelligence of baboons. Individual Skullcrabs can be nasty surprises for a human, although not usually fatal ones; but when you get about a hundred of the things in one place, it can be bad.  They’re organized enough to operate via pack tactics, smart enough to swarm sentries first, and know enough about technology to cut ropes and wreck equipment.

 

As for a Skullcrab’s lifespan… it’s unknown, but it’s at least a few decades. Or possibly centuries. When they run out of food a Skullcrab will simply go dormant; they certainly can’t be starved to death.  Indeed, the only really reliable way to put down a Skullcrab is to, well, crush the skull.

 

Fortunately, they absolutely cannot reproduce on their own. To make new Skullcrabs you need to take a reanimated corpse that’s been submerged in seawater after being surrounded by organized death and destruction, then feed the corpse to a hermit crab.  Said crab will eventually take over the skull as its new shell, thus completing the Skullcrab transformation process.  And that process will not happen en masse if people remember to not use zombies as galley rowers.

 

Also:  do not eat Skullcrabs.  That one’s just on basic principles, though. Eating revenant flesh never ends well.

 

Feb
03
2017
--

Creature seed: Corni.

Blame this.

Corni

 

Most people don’t realize that dryads were only one of many species that were, broadly speaking, a magical combination of animal and tree.  This is probably not too surprising: not to be indelicate about it, but humans tend to notice right off the bat whether a particular supernatural species can be, ah, interacted with without risk of later social ostracism. The ones that are not tend to fall through the taxonomic cracks.

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Feb
02
2017
--

Creature Seed: Pollies [GURPS]

pollies-google-docs

Pollies [GURPS]

ST 20; DX 5; IQ 5; HT 40;

Move 3; DR 10; SM +2

This species is originally from a frigid planet with no oxygen in its very thin atmosphere, and covered with extensive but shallow seas of somewhat diluted glycerin.  Pollies are technically amphibious; it is more accurate to say that they do not breathe and are mostly resistant to changes in atmospheric pressure.  Modern breeds have been genetically adapted to live comfortably enough in vacuum; they are not suited for Earthlike conditions. The species is about the size and weight of a 20th century minivan; it has four eyes (two each, front and back), four mouths (one on each side), and a set of cilia on which it slowly moves around.  Pollies reproduce by egg-laying; the eggs typically outgas a mildly disgusting smell to discourage predators.

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Jan
20
2017
--

Creature seed: Thundercows.

I can’t help but wonder if somebody else has had this idea before.

thundercows-google-docs

Thundercows

These bioengineered animals were designed to circumvent the high-technology ban that Galactic civilization slaps on trade between advanced and primitive planetary cultures. Said ban is interesting, actually: the primitive planetary cultures hate that ban because they can’t buy cool gadgets from advanced civilizations. The advanced planetary cultures also hate that ban because they can’t sell cool gadgets to primitives.  And the Galactic government hates the ban because everybody screams at them over it and the paperwork is sometimes almost literally murderous.  And yet, nobody can ever manage to get the relevant laws repealed. It’s either weird, or a conspiracy: take your pick.


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Jan
19
2017
1

Creature seed: The New Saxony Silk Rat.

Blame this.

the-new-saxony-silk-rat-rattus-sericum-google-docs

The New Saxony Silk Rat

(rattus sericum)

 

This species of domestic rat appears to have been cultivated for its wool for at least six thousand years.  It is somewhat larger than a Norwegian rat: feral specimens average about a foot and a half long, and about three pounds in weight (a fully-bred Silk Rat is a bit larger).  The species is fully domesticated, and make affectionate, intelligent, and loyal pets.  The wool of the Silk Rat can be gathered or sheared without harming the rat, and is particularly valuable for its uncanny resemblance to silk. Depending on the location, in fact, Silk Rat wool is either openly sold as a silk substitute, or it is passed off as actual silk. The species is typically kept in check by local predators; most carnivores find them tasty snacks.

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Jan
14
2017
--

Creature Seed: L.E.M.M.I.N.G.S.

lemmings-google-docs

Linked Emitting (Magic/Mental) Interplanar Navigation Guidance System

(L.E.M.M.I.N.G.S.)

 

Ten million million possible alternate dimensions that the first Pathfinder teams could have accessed, and they manage to find one where at least some of the locals could laugh at the acronym.  What are the odds, huh? …Don’t actually try to calculate the odds.  The Pathfinders get oddly superstitious about anything that looks like it might be magic, and amateur statistical analysis is high up on the list.  At the absolute minimum you’re supposed to ground yourself first.

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