Kraatar Flora and Fauna

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April 16, 2016 - 11:31am

Kraatar’s Flora and Fauna

Although the planet Kraatar was originally detailed in the TSR module “The Dark Side of the Moon,” descriptions of its plants and animals were omitted, probably because the characters were dealing with intelligent adversaries. One can assume that since the original human settlers became more pastoral as their technology wore out, they didn’t face too many threats to their existence. However, every world has its own natural challenges. Kraatar is no exception.

Red Algae

During the spring, red algae blooms are triggered along the Yatiz Sea. This algae is toxic to most Frontier races and animals. Characters must make a standard Stamina check with a -10 percent modifier to avoid being affected by the poisoning if exposed to an algae bloom through their eyes or an open wound. Dralasites must make an STA check with a -20 percent modifier. Characters who swallow water contaminated by the algae must also make a check with a -20 percent modifier.

The red algae’s toxin is a S3M2d10 poison; it causes 3 points of damage for every minute for 2-20 minutes. Red algae poisoning can be treated with an appropriate anti-toxin.

Fortunately drinking water can be easily treated to remove the algae using purification tablets – which takes 10-20 minutes – or by using unscented chlorine bleach and a filter such as a shirt. This process would take 2-3 hours.   

Wahhal Trees

Although not the tallest trees on Kraatar, the Wahhal has one of the broadest trunks and the largest canopy of leaves on the planet. The main trunk’s girth at ground level can be up to eight meters in diameter with multiple large branches that sprout off. The tree’s canopy can be up to 50 meters in diameter with a maximum height approaching 30 meters.

This tree grows in the scrub border between the Flatlands and the Uplands. Human settlers have used it for many purposes such as furniture making, for woodcarvings, construction lumber and even for firewood.

Yatiz Amoeba  

Type: single celled organism

Number: 10-100

Move: Swimming, very slow  (1 meter per turn)

IM/RS: 1/10

Stamina: N/A

Attack: 1 per amoeba present (cumulative chance)

Damage: N/A

Special Defense: None

Special Attack: Damage to internal organs (“brain eating”)

The Yatiz Amoeba is microscopic, being about 10 micrometers in size, or one-fourth to one-fifth the size of a human hair. It primarily lives in warm, still waters such as some of the inlets along the southern waters of the Yatiz Sea plus lakes, ponds, muddy puddles, rock pits, slow moving and shallow streams, untreated swimming pools, etc. It can live in both fresh and salt water, but is easily destroyed by properly treated municipal water or by field water purification equipment including a few drops of chlorinated bleach per liter of water.

Once in the nostril – or in a Vrusk’s breathing spicules on their abdomens – the amoebas are attracted to the chemicals that nerve cells use to communicate with one another. (Keep in mind, no normal Vrusk likes to swim – and certainly not without some kind of underwater breathing apparatus – which pretty much mitigates normal exposure to the amoeba.)

Traveling through the olfactory nerves of the victim (the nerve that connected with sense of smell), the amoeba can make its way into the frontal lobe of the brain where they can infect their hosts. Should this occur – the chance of a successful attack is equal to 1 percent times the number of amoeba’s initially present. If infected, the character will suffer a S10/D8 infestation, meaning the amoebas will cause 10 points of damage every 20 hours for 160 hours. Should a character’s Stamina reach zero, they will die.

In the case of Dralasites, the amoeba attacks them through the eye nerves, causing readily apparent swelling and a partial loss of vision while the infestation lasts. Characters receive a -20 percent modifier when using ranged weapons or with skill or ability checks that rely on vision.

An afflicted character can make a current Stamina check every 20 hours to see if his immune system will naturally fight off the amoeba infestation. If that occurs, no further damage is taken, otherwise the infestation continues.

Yatiz Amoebas are fairly common and are normally harmless, except during the spring season when the red algae blooms stimulates the creatures to seek out hosts for reproduction. As noted earlier, the danger for characters and creatures in waters with high concentrations of these organisms comes when water gets into their nostrils from activities such as swimming, diving and other water sports.

Amoeba infestations also can occur in characters who dip their heads into hot springs or use steam baths or vaporizers or who’ve cleaned their nostrils with neti pots filled untreated water.

Many native Kraatarians tend to shun the water when a red algae bloom occurs, as a way to try to avoid the amoeba, but they have developed a drug treatment for it called Yatcort. A normal success roll will mean the condition is neutralized. A failed check means the treatment failed and another one cannot be given for 20 hours. A roll of 01-05 would mean the treatment was miraculously successful, healing all damage; while a roll of 96-100 means the treatment caused an additional 2d10 worth of damage.

On the positive side, once a character has successfully fought off an Yatiz Amoeba infestation, the antibodies produced by his immune system will give him a +30 percent resistance to any future exposures.

Dentz Ripper   

Type: Small Carnivore (scavenger)

Number: 2-20

Move: Flying, fast (95 meters/turn); Walking, very slow (10 meters/turn)

IM/RS: Flying, 5/50; Walking 2/20    

Stamina: 20

Attack: 40

Damage: 1d5 beak, 1 point claws

Special Defense: None

Special Attack: None

Native World: Kraatar (Tristkar)

The Dentz Ripper is one of a number of similar avians found on several planets throughout the Frontier, leading some ornithologists to believe that the mysterious Tetrarch Societies seeded them. Kraatar’s rippers are a smaller species that tend to look for carrion in the Flatlands and the Uplands. They are not found in the mountainous terrains where the air is too thin to breathe and fly.

Looking vaguely like a cross between a pterodactyl and a vulture, the Dentz Ripper flocks in large numbers around carrion. Their brown-orange feathers tend to have a smell of decay.

If a flock has more than 10 birds they may attack small animals or injured creatures. When they do attack, they swoop in at the intended victim. As they pass, 1d5 of their number will slash at the target with their beaks or claws. However, if more than one-tenth of the flock is killed, they will scatter a distance away and call for others, waiting for another chance to strike. If their prey is alive, but prone, the rippers will land and hop up to it, pecking at it with their beaks. About 1d10 of the flock will try this type of attack any one turn.

Azzort Giraffe  

Type: Large Herbivore

Number: 1-20

Move: Fast (100 meters/turn)

IM/RS: 5/45       

Stamina: 120

Attack: 45

Damage: females: 3d10+2 kick; adult bulls, 4d10+5 stomp

Special Defense: Thick skin, reduce PGS damage by one-fourth

Special Attack: Stampede Attack, score 50, 6d10

Native World: Lowland on Kraatar (Tristkar)

The Azzort Giraffe is a long-necked, long-legged animal native to Kraatar. It shares qualities of mammals and reptiles, so it does not quite fit into either category. Warm-blooded, the creature also has a scaly, thick skin with short hairs. (The hairs are more actually more feathery like.) Because of its thick skin, it takes one-fourth normal damage from PGS-style weapons, but grenades, missiles and beam weapons have a regular effect.

An adult Azzort Giraffe stands upwards of 6 to 8 meters tall with its nearly 3-meter-long neck fully extended. It can rear up on its hind legs while its snake-like forked tongue to reach leaves 2 to 3 meters above its head.

Eating the leaves of vast Wahhal trees that live in the scrub bordering the Flatlands from the Uplands, the Azzort Giraffe is more of a curiosity to most Kraatarians. When migrating, however, herds of these creatures can trample vegetable fields. Human farmers have wiped out many of the giraffe’s from their lands. Only in recent times has the Commercial Council regulated such slaughters to prevent the species from going extinct.

Individual animals can deliver a vicious kick with either their fore- or rear legs.

When spooked, a herd will attempt to escape, with the possibility of stampeding any creature or object in their path – though they will try to avoid. If the stampede “attack” is successful, characters can roll a Reaction Speed check to reduce the damage by half.

The adult bull(s) – which are 10 percent of the herd present, rounded up – will attack a threat for 1-5 turns while the rest of the herd escapes before fleeing themselves. The bulls, which are stronger and larger than the females, can deliver a stomp attack.  

Female Azzort Giraffes will create a nest by digging a hole in warm sand or dirt and laying a clutch of eggs. The male and female will then take turns laying on the eggs to keep them warm and safe from predators while their mate eats. Once the young are born, the female produces a milk-like substance that Vrusk have learned can be processed and can provide great nutritional value to their kind.

Some ranchers – many of them Human, but some are working for Vrusk trade houses – have begun raising vast herds of the giraffes. Because some of these creatures occasionally escape, it has raised the ire of many farmers who respond by poaching the herds, leading to a range war. The KLC has condemned Azzort Giraffe ranchers as working for the vast Vrusk conspiracy to eliminate other Humans on the Kraatar.    


Type: Medium Carnivore

Number: 2-10

Move: Medium (70 meters/turn)       

IM/RS: 6/55       

Stamina: 50           

Attack: 70

Damage: 3d10 bite, 1d10/claw

Special Defense: Thick skin, razor back (1d10+5 against any creature trying to hold it)  

Special Attack: None

Native World: Kraatar (Tristkar)

One of the top predators of Kraatar the Wolfgar. Like many of the planet’s land animals, it shares reptilian and mammalian features such as warm bloodedness and an ability to nurse their young. Early human settlers thought they acted wolf-like, hunting in packs to bring down larger prey, and gave them a wolf-like name.

Wolfgar are intelligent. Once Human settlers hunted enough of their kind, they soon learned to avoid settlements and are wary of humans and many other Frontier races. Some humans have tried to domesticating younger Wolfgar – with limited success – to train them to act as a shepherd dog would.

Because actually domesticating wild Wolfgar into something tamer may take centuries, some companies – notably PGC-GGS Biosynth – have begun using the creatures to make cyborgs that will respond to spoken or electronic commands. PGC-GSS Biosynth is a joint-venture company between the Pan-Galactic Corporation (PGC), which owns 51 percent of the firm, and the Vrusk trade house called Gst’Gar’St (GSS). Because the Vrusk are involved in making Wolfgar cyborgs, the KLC has charged that this is yet another bug conspiracy and that they are no better than the Sathar for developing “war attack monsters.”

Wolfgar normally attack by surrounding its prey. Individuals will lung in, some making feint attacks while their pack mates look for openings to bite at the victim’s flanks. Once one or more Wolfgar can lock their jaws on the prey, the pack will attempt to bring the creature down and begin tearing into it with teeth and claws.

Because of their thick, scaly skin, Wolfgar take one-fourth normal damage from PGS-style weapons, but grenades, missiles and beam weapons have a regular effect. If a character attempts to grab a Wolfgar, he is likely to impale himself on the creature’s spiky back (a 25 percent chance) and receive 1d10+5 points of damage.

Trained Wolfgar

Initially taken as pups from the wild, these Wolfgar are barely domesticated and tend to be “one owner” animals. They will obey simple commands and will “respect” other Humans and other races and herd animals that they’ve been trained to not attack, but “tamed” Wolfgar can be temperamental. Several tragic incidents have occurred where a trained Wolfgar has killed young members of an owner’s family or attacked neighbors or the animals they are supposed to protect. For these reasons, many Kraatarians are wary of these creatures.

Cost: 1,200 Credits (for a well-trained animal); Monthly upkeep: approximately 50 Credits


The barebones Cybo-Wolfgar has a level 2 robotic controller supplementing the animal’s natural nervous system. It has the following programs: restrain, and self-defense. It is also equipped with a chronocom so it can receive and follow radio commands and can easily be programmed to not attack certain individuals and animals. If the robotic controller is deactivated, the Wolfgar normally is unable to function until it is reactivated. But sometimes the creature may turn wild, attacking anything around it.

Initial Cost: 4,500 Credits; Monthly Upkeep: approximately 50 Credits


Type: Tiny insects

Native World: deserts, Kraatar (Tristkar)

Kraatar is home to a number of small, flightless bugs that the original human colonists called “skitters” due to their long, thin legs and how they quickly move around. Most are harmless to the Core Four races and their pets and livestock, though a few are pests to crops. At least two found in the desert regions – the spiny desert skitter and the poisonous desert skitter – can pose a hazard to travelers. A number of bug repellants are a must for those venturing into the hinterlands.

Spiny Desert Skitter    

Type: Tiny omnivore, insect

Number: 6-60

Move: Fast (90 meters/turn)

IM/RS: 6/60       

Stamina: 1

Attack: 40 swarm; 10 individual

Damage: 1 per insect

Special Defense: N/A   

Special Attack: Swarm  

Native World: deserts, Kraatar (Tristkar)

Native to Kraatar’s deserts, the Spiny Desert Skitter is a tiny, omnivorous insect that comes out at night to mostly feast on the night blooming desert plants and carrion. Its name comes from its long, spiny legs – nearly 5 centimeters long – that allow them to cover great distances on the shifting sands.

Dark brown with red swirls, the spiny skitter has been known to attack incapacitated animals and people in mass swarm attacks. Typically they will go after several characters within a 10-meter radius, so if an attack is successful, divide the damage by the number of characters and other creatures present. The bugs may cease attacking after about half of the swarm is killed – a 50 percent chance each turn after the swarm’s number has been reduced.

Most of the time, spiny desert skitters avoid taking on large animals. If a character is not wounded or incapacitated, roll a 2d10. A result of 2-4 means the swarm will attack because, perhaps, the character(s) wandered too close to a nest or is wearing something that attracted the bugs. All other results mean that the skitters will ignore the characters, even if some of their number are captured and killed.

If a character has been wounded, is unconscious, tied up or capacitated in other ways, the skitters become more interested. Roll a 2d10; a result of 2-10 means the bugs will make a swarm attack. Otherwise only 1-10 individuals may seek out the character as prey, with only an attack of 10.

When dawn comes, the bugs will scurry back to their nests, deep under the sands.

The original Human colonists developed a repellant using native plants from the Quazzt Depression that effectively drives skitters away.

Later Vrusk explorers discovered a few useful things about the bugs. First, they are edible and can help sustain a character in the desert wasteland. Next, the Vrusk learned that the skitter’s juices act as a natural vitasalt tablet. As a result of these findings, one of the Vrusk trade houses began raising and marketing skitter-based cuisines and skitter juice drinks – products usually that appeal only to Vrusk and Dralasites.

The KLC sympathizers in the Human media have decried the effort by some farmers to raise these skitters for “bug food.”

Poisonous Desert Skitter         

Type: Tiny omnivore, insect

Number: 2-20

Move: Fast (90 meters/turn)

IM/RS: 6/60       

Stamina: 1

Attack: 45  

Damage: 1

Special Defense: N/A  

Special Attack: Swarm and Poisonous sting (S1T2)  

Native World: deserts, Kraatar (Tristkar)

A close relative species of the spiny skitter, this poisonous insect can be distinguished by its bright orange and black body. However, since they are normally encountered at night, it’s difficult to make that distinction unless one is using a “black light” – i.e. an ultraviolet (UV) light or scanner. The bug’s orange swirls glow under a UV light.

Most of the time, the bugs will ignore uninjured characters and creatures larger than themselves. When they do attack, a swarm of poisonous desert skitters will go after several characters within a 10-meter radius. If an attack is successful, divide the damage by the number of characters and other creatures present. The bugs may cease attacking after about half of the swarm is killed – a 50 percent chance each turn after the swarm’s number has been reduced.

An individual poisonous skitter poses little danger to a character, but it is the swarm attack when the bugs pose life-threatening dangers. They also have a poisonous sting. If attacked, a character must make a current Stamina check per sting to avoid the toxin taking effect. If the check fails, the poison is a S1T2, meaning that the character will take 1 point of damage for a two turns starting on the turn after the attack. However, the poison’s duration is cumulative, meaning each successful sting will increase the time it takes the poison to run its course by two additional turns.

Each bug has enough poison to sting twice within a 20-hour GST day.

Example: Darren Dorr, a Kraatar Liberation Corps commando has wandered near the entrance of a poisonous desert skitter nest while preparing to attack a Vrusk explorer, but the predator has become the prey. A swarm of 12 poisonous skitters successfully attack him and he takes 12 points of bite damage, reducing his current Stamina score from 45 to 33. He must now make 12 STA checks and fails eight of them. The poison in his system will cause 1 additional point of damage for 24 turns. He better hope to have an antitoxin drug available because the swarm will attack next turn.

The bug’s poison is effectively neutralized with a shot of antitox or several Kraatar developed anti-toxins. Once an anti-toxin has been successfully administered to a character, it will provide a temporary protection from future poisonous skitter stings for up to 10 hours.

Characters who have been stung may build up an immunity to the toxin – a successful stamina check of 01-05 during an encounter will mean the character’s body will produce antibodies in the future to this particular poison so they will not be affected by it. However, a failure roll of 99-100 means the character is particularly susceptible to the poison and will take double damage in future encounters due to anaphylactic shock. It is important to note which result comes first – a critical success or a critical failure – because that will determine the character’s future – immunity or a serious allergic reaction. Future critical failure or critical success rolls won’t change their initial response. 

Most of the time, when a character is uninjured, the bugs will ignore them. During an encounter, roll a 2d10; a result of 2-4 means the swarm will attack because, perhaps, the character(s) wandered too close to a nest or is wearing something that attracted the bugs; all other results mean that the poisonous skitters will ignore the characters, even if some of their number are captured and killed.

If a character has been wounded, is unconscious, tied up or capacitated in other ways, the skitters become more interested. Roll a 2d10; a result of 2-10 means the bugs will make a swarm attack. Otherwise only 1-10 individuals may seek out the character as prey, with only an attack of 10.

Unlike the spiny desert skitters, the poisonous bugs provide no nutritional or vitasalt-like benefits.

Joe Cabadas