Let's Build a Monster, "Oooh, Look Honey, its a sathar death yeti, how cute!"

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 7:14am
Has anyone taken their kids to a Build a Bear Workshop? Well this aint that.

This is a collaboration project to build a new sathar attack monster/bio-construct.

Rules:
1. Basic idea is Community collaboration and submission to the SFman. I'll do the work of writing it up and push it along, looking for concensus in the posting and I'll break ties/ non concensus situations

2. Its a cold weather creature that the sathar bring to the dance on cold or snow bound planets/ environments.

3. Must be as "BAD Arsed" as the Quick Death

Temporary working name is Death Yeti (subject to change just needed something)

A. Carnivore or omnivore? Herbivores are not usually all that scary.

B. Size- any is possible (but I would think Tiny is probably not going to work and Giant wasn't what I was looking for initially but its certainly on the table.

C. Move, IM/RS, STamina, will probably all be determined after size and type though we dont have to follow the exact numbers on the tables of average creatures.

D. Attack and damage should be influenced by what we come up with.

E. Special Defense: Absolutely

F. Special Attack: Absolutely

Now Post
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
February 6, 2012 - 8:17am
Omnivore but prefers meat.  The sathar want to be able to drop it off and then have it survive for a long time in the region it is seeded into.  Being an omnivore gives it the better chance of survival in my opinion.
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 8:25am
Like a grizzly? An eating machine that can and will eat anything but loves his meat. Oh yeah left out reproduction on the above list.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 10:24am
I agree with Terl Obar that Omnivore seems the way to go, especially in an arctic environment.

One thing about creature examples from here on earth in regards to arctic environments: Many creatures are bigger.

On average, polar bears are the largest land omnivores on the planet; though on an individual basis the Brown bear holds the record as the largest ever recorded, if you take an average of the overall population of both species, the polar bear wins out.

The arctic hare weighs in at about 12 pounds...compare that with similar species in warmer climates and you'll notice a very big size difference!

Wolverine: Largest member of the weasel family, etc...

My point, such as it is, is that this beastie should likely be something that, if not altogether large, should at least be the largest member of its respective species. On the other hand, a large or giant monster might be a bit mundane as you see such monsters in a lot of scifi settings. The sathar are well known for tinkering with genetics so pretty much anything is possible. Even a warm-climate species genetically altered by the sathar to tolerate arctic climes (imo).

The niche of this creature will have a large role to play in determining its size I would think. Determine what niche you want this creature to fill and compare it with what you know from the animal kingdom here on earth in order to get a feel for what it might be like (as far as size, etc).

Similarly, poison isn't something you see much in an arctic environment (at least not here on earth - I'm looking at this through that lens atm). Rather, creatures are powerfully built for tooth and claw-style combat. Again though, the sathar could tinker and do pretty much whatever they want right? Regardless of the tampering that the sathar do the basic creature is going to be close to the template that nature uses. So I'd begin first by fashioning the creature as seems realistic in a natural setting - and then adding a couple sathar 'improvements' after that.

It may be fun to deviate from the mundane a bit in regards to the animal type. Bears, cats and wolves (or similar such creatures) seem to be fairly common in the Star Frontiers encyclopedia of critters. Something altogether alien would be preferred I would think. Barring that, maybe a large terrestrial fowl could be interesting. 
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 10:36am
So for special defense...

There are several examples of creatures that live in an arctic environment that use camouflage as a defense. Polar bears (or offense in their case as it allows them to sneak up on prey), seals, foxes, hares, ptarmigans and caribou that I can think of off the top of my head.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 10:39am
Special attack...
In the arctic ambush is the primary form of assault employed by carnivores/omnivores. Polar bears use it on seals, foxes use it for mice and wolves use it in conjunction with chasing and pack behaviour. It is probably the most common form of 'special attack' utilized in the arctic here on earth.  
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 11:10am
I was also thinking that poison might not fit the theme. Large would be a good size category naturally carrying high stamina and attack values. Though a medium creature could work if you increase the number. Plus I was also thinking there could be a cybernetic version that could be tougher. Camouflage is an excellent defense. Thick fur and hide could offer some damage reduction. NOTE TO SELF: check D&D 4. O edition books for cold based daily & encounter abilities to rip off. Was also thinking it could have some over sized nasal passages for processing smells, perhaps even sporting a unique shaped nose/skull structure like some dinosaurs giving it a strong ability to track by scent. With unusual nasal passages there would be an ability to create unusual vocalizations: wailing cries. A GM could draw out an encounter with wailing cries from two hunting creatures as the circle in on their prey. Through in a little snow storm to limit visibility and the PC's could have a rough time. Camouflage on top of light cover from a snow storm could add up to hard cover.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 11:10am
Another consideration when dealing with a sathar genetic construct (at least in my opinion):
Proliferation of the newly introduced exotic species.

It's all well and good that the critter in question can rip off your head and not think twice about it. But here's another consideration; crashing the food chain. A critter that can kill you outright and one that can also wreak havoc on the ecosystem could lead to much more than simple terror tactics. 

An ice world for example, likely won't have a huge number of native species. A genetically altered terror from a different planet that is capable of reproducing offspring at a prodigious rate could have a huge and very disastrous effect on the ecosystem of such an ice world. Wholesale famine could end up following after a decade or so of infestation. Leaving the sathar with a world that they can practically just land on and claim with very little left to stand in their way.

Of course this scenario wouldn't be the norm I wouldn't think as most worlds would have enough overlapping species that it would be exceedingly difficult to purposely crash the entire food chain in this manner. But I could certainly see this tactic as viable in some cases.

I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 11:20am
You mentioned a good sense of smell Jedion. Something to note that isn't common knowledge: Some species of bird have an incredibly good sense of smell. Vultures for example, can smell roadkill from 10 miles away. And let us not forget that one popular school of thought concerning dinosaurs is that modern day birds have an awful lot in common with say, t-rex.

Perhaps a t-rex-like creature that sports feathers for keeping warm in an arctic environment...
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 11:28am
Rollo wrote:
You mentioned a good sense of smell Jedion. Something to note that isn't common knowledge: Some species of bird have an incredibly good sense of smell. Vultures for example, can smell roadkill from 10 miles away. And let us not forget that one popular school of thought concerning dinosaurs is that modern day birds have an awful lot in common with say, t-rex.

Perhaps a t-rex-like creature that sports feathers for keeping warm in an arctic environment...
A feather covered snow raptor?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 11:39am
I couldn't see it as a reptile due to the cold and the nature of a reptile's biology. But - birds and dino's seem to be closely linked. So something with the mannerisms of a velociraptor but with the biology of a bird sounds plausible to me.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 11:51am
Rollo wrote:
I couldn't see it as a reptile due to the cold and the nature of a reptile's biology. But - birds and dino's seem to be closely linked. So something with the mannerisms of a velociraptor but with the biology of a bird sounds plausible to me.
I should have specified that I was thinking of a mammal with one of these dinosaur like forms to its nose, giving it both the sense of smell and vocalization ability that such dinosaurs are believed to have. In this way it wouldn't look like an earth mammal yet be very believable as a snow creature.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 12:29pm
I did a bit of digging and came up with a couple examples of what I think you may be considering.

http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/mesozoicmammals/p/megistotherium.htm

and

http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/mesozoicmammals/p/andrewsarchus.htm

These examples might help flesh out the critter you're imagining. :)
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 12:54pm
Here are a couple pictures of the creature from 'The Relic' (1997). Add some white fur maybe?

I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 1:01pm
The look of the tail reminds me of the quick death. Massive claw attack and mandibles that don't let go. With the quick death I feel that they tried to give the PC's a chance and made it so that it might bite the straw gummy instead. For a creature like this have it shake the creature it bit for one turn and toss it shake and toss does 2d10 damage ability save at minus 10-20% for half. This gives the PC bit by it a chance to survive as the creature goes after another target.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 1:36pm
Reproduction is live birth, mother hollows out a deep burrow and births about five and leaves. The strongest eats the others voraciously then enters a comma like hibernation were it undergoes some rapid growth and changes. Within a month or three it emerges as a smaller version of the parent and begins the circle of life.

Should provide stats for a young version, adult and cybernetic? What tech advantages could or would the sathar give one?

And a name? Death yeti doesn't seem to fit. Snow Death?

Special Defense: Camoflague defense for white fur; how does this affect the game mechanically? Counts as soft cover at x distance or more? Chance to surprise?

Special Attack: once it succeeds in an attack it has locked its mandibles on the victim, STR check -10 to break free or it will shake for you like a rag doll on the next turn for 2d10 damage automatic and toss (use grenade bounce table) and randomize the distance (1d10/2 and round up in meters?)

Other details: wailing howl to communicate with mate.

Checked D&D 4.0 for ideas on special defense and attack and nothing jumped at me accept something I'm calling Bloodied Fury- at 1/2 STA an adult creature makes a 30% Battle Rage roll to enter battle rage (half that for a young one) if it enters bloodied fury it will remain on its feet and fight until -10 STA.

PS: the huge paws will act as snow shoes.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 1:32pm
Since there seems a chance to encounter a young and weaker version, yes. I think stats should be made for them as well. Cybernetic version? Sure, nothing wrong with making stats for that as well. If this is a seeded animal though, would the cybernetic version be part of the seeded population? Or would you reserve the cybernetic version to be used under special circumstances?

What cybernetic advantages should/would the sather give them. Hrm, they seem rather fond of flame throwers and laser eyes. Somehow those don't seem particularly suitable here. Perhaps subcutaneous armor plating to increase survivability. Maybe vibroblades for claws. Or infrared vision to compliment the enhanced sense of smell?

I'll think about some name ideas and post them separately. :)
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 1:54pm
About your special defense question concerning the natural cammo.

I've always seen that listed in the creature descriptions as a chance for the creature to be able to sneak to within X meters before being noticed. Without searching through the various creatures (ie, working from memory here) it seems like the chances were usually about 70%. I'll do a search in a few minutes and see what I can come up with.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 2:02pm
Still need a name for this beastie and we churned this out pretty fast.
How about keeping going with the bird idea (Snow Raptor) and do more than one?
for the bird I recommend a medium sized and increased numbers for encounters. cybernetic version is possibly able to control a group.

Is there a snow adapted quick death? Would it be needed with the larger beast we just came up with? Quick Death's description says its engineered from a common kind of cat found throughout the Frontier. it could easily have fur but should loose the partial immunity it has to lasers.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 2:06pm
RE: Special Defenses

Strangler chutes- electric shock if touched
Funnel worm- cannot be noticed unless it attacks
Sand Shark- immune to needler weapons and has hard cover when attacking from burrow
Queequeg-chitin acts as skein suit
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 2:19pm
Here are some examples of how camouflage has been handled with other existing creatures that have been put out there for use.


"While a chameleon snake stays still, it can only be spotted with a successful INT check (against a score of 85). Chameleon snakes use their camouflage for both hunting and hiding, and will strike from a hidden position in attack or defense."

"Drape moss is difficult to differentiate from other, harmless forest growths of similar appearance. A successful Analyze Sample (or Exobiology) use check (score of 50) or an INT check (score 65) will reveal the nature of this hazard."

"Roll a percentile die each time a frogg attacks; the froggs can surprise 85% of the time. Each attacks randomly only once."

"A Funnel Worm's special defense is listed as simply: Unnoticed unless it attacks."

"The mantid's camouflage is excellent.  It can change color to mimic its surroundings giving it a 70% to remain unnoticed until it moves to strike."

"Quickdeath: 70% chance will remain unseen until within 120m of prey."

"When lying still, a Slither is often mistaken for a mound of plants, allowing it to attack with surprise."
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 2:33pm
Okay, some names. :)

Hoary means white, gray, frosty, ancient and old.
Wight means creature, thing, undead and human being.

So some things that come to mind:
Hoary Death
Hoary Wight
Wight
Hoary Terror
Snow Terror
White Caitiff (Evildoer)
Gulo (latin for Glutton)
Hoary Gulo
White Gulo
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 2:47pm
I like Gulo a lot. As well as snow terror and white Gulo. Plus I think cyber Gulo will make more sense then cyber terror for the cybernetic version as I would expect something named cyber terror to be the ultimate terror in cybernetics.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 2:50pm
Alright, so back to the bird-like creature idea.



That li'l guy (Dromaeosauridae) is similar to what I was imagining. Flightless, fast runner, deadly wicked claw on each foot, hunt in packs (2 or more). This type of critter ranged in size from about 2 feet in length from the beak to the tip of tail up to 20 feet.

Since they are covered in pennaceous feathers it seems plausible for us to fashion a similar beast that is tolerant of cold weather if we wanted to. It would have the biology of a bird instead of a reptile so the cold weather wouldn't be an issue. Of course, we can put it in whatever climate we wish to tailor it to. At the time cold weather was what I was considering though.
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 2:59pm
Broader splayed feet, thick downy feathers, perhaps one of those funky dinosaur nose structures and a special ability to track things within 5 km. Natural pack hunter.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 3:10pm
That sounds fine to me Jedion and that is also a pretty straight forward kind of critter...not many frills. Should be pretty easy to write up. I'll start thinking about some name possabilities while I'm cooking dinner. :)
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 3:32pm
Well that's two. Of course any article worth its salt would look better with three. I think a SF version of the wampa from the Empire Strikes Back would match the name Death Yeti. Camouflaged coat as spec defense. And massive damage from his claws. Again pretty straight forward.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Rollo's picture
Rollo
February 6, 2012 - 3:45pm
So I've hit a mental block on names for this bird-like critter. Got to gutripper and darned if that didn't just 'sound' right for the thing. Now I can't think of anything else. :P

Scythe Claw
Gutripper
Rake
Scourge
I don't have to outrun that nasty beast my friend...I just have to outrun you! Wink

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
February 6, 2012 - 4:05pm
If you go with cybernetic versions, they would be the original population seeded by the Sathar.  Any naturally born versions of the creatures would not obviously not have the cybernetic enhancements but just be the raw form (possibly genetically modified) of the original creature.  So encountering cybernetcially enhanced versions would be rare unless the Sathar are still actively seeding the area with monsters.

Plus, if you want seed and forget monsters, the cybernetic enhancements have to be self sustaining.  The cybodragon for example won't be found just wandering around.  Or if it is, it probably won't have the laser guns or the flamethrower working as they will have been used up. There have to be sathar techs nearby to reload them.

I imagine that for the most part, the sathar use creatures that have been genetically engineered to have sustainable advantages like the quickdeath and slither when they are seeding an area to deny it to the native species or wreck havoc on an area for long time periods.  They can just do a flyby, drop the creatures off an forget about them as they start roaming around and terrorizing the neighborhood.  They will continue to breed and cause problems for years unless efforts are taken to irradicate them.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
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TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
February 6, 2012 - 4:15pm
I like Gutripper too. Smile

So what would a cybernetically enhanced quickdeath or slither look like?  Do they have cybernetically enhanced versions of those creatures?

One of the scenes in my book is the Sathar seeding the mountains around the valley containing Point True with some of their attack monsters.  They are using the cybodragons and cyboslugs around the city (where they could be resupplied) to keep people from getting out and I was going to have them drop off quickdeath and slither in the mountains to deal with anyone that did manage to escape.  I'll probably also use any of the creatures we come up with here as well.  But this thread got me to thinking, what would a supped up quickdeath or slither look like? 

And another thought, put a bit of fur on a quickdeath and I think it would still retain the defense against lasers.  The defense is the skin, which is still there under the fur.  The laser might burn off patches of the fur but it would then encounter the laser reflecting skin which would still work.  At least that's my take.  and maybe the fur is white or gray anyway so the coloration isn't much different.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

jedion357's picture
jedion357
February 6, 2012 - 5:08pm
Cybernetic versions are there for potential use by referees that need them. most likely the sathar use them for shock and support roles in direct action with actual sathar warriors. Gutripper works for me. It almost sounds like the only thing the quick death needs for snow adaption is fur. IIRC in SF2 quick deaths accompanied sathar troops in one encounter under control so we can probably assume they had an implant that allowed them to be controlled. But a deadly supped up version is still possible.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!