I finally tracked down a copy of Ark of Lost Souls. I like the Space Hulk Mission Generator stuff that supplements the adventure, but I was disappointed that there were no new critters (at least nothing that hadn’t appeared in one of the other games within the WH40KRP line). It seems to me that they should have included a variety of ‘vermin’ in addition to the major xeno races.
Here are some beasties that I created for random encounters within a Space Hulk on a series of missions that I recently ran. Note that these monsters are intended to serve as ‘nuisance’ encounters, adding to the general atmosphere of menace aboard Space Hulks (and reminding veteran gamers of old-school ‘dungeon crawl’ rpgs)- they are not intended to serve as principle adversaries.
Radioactivity is a common hazard aboard Space Hulks, damaging both cell structure and DNA, and creatures exposed to dangerous levels of radiation for extended periods must adapt or perish. Some creatures seem particularly well-suited to high-radiation environments, sometimes developing stable mutations over a few generations which counter the effects of constant exposure to deadly energies.
One such mutated creature is the rad-spider, a nightmarish spawn of common arachnids. Rad-spiders have developed great size and a metal-hard carapace to not only survive but thrive in radioactive conditions, where they pose a substantial threat to anyone or anything which strays into the mutants’ territory.
Rad-spiders look like man-sized versions of their smaller ancestors. They have thick gunmetal-grey carapaces ‘cooked’ by radiation to the molecular density of steel, and eight legs ending in needle-sharp points. An eerie green glow emerges from joints and cracks in the carapace, adding an element of the unnatural to their already-horrid appearance.
Their hunting grounds are usually crisscrossed with thick strands of webbing; a successful auspex reading will reveal that these sticky strands are both organic and moderately radioactive, but Scholastic Lore: Beasts is required to conclusively identify the webs for what they are. Touching a web immediately alerts these patient ‘ambush hunters’ of the presence of potential prey. Their traditional tactic is to hide and wait for prey to approach; when a potential meal gets within range, they spray a mass of sticky webs at the target to tie them down, and then charge into melee, stabbing their prey with their viciously sharp arms and biting with venomous mandibles.
WS:55 BS:25 S:45 T:45 Ag:58 Int:12 Per:33 WP:48 Fel:-
SKILLS: Awareness (Per), Climb (Ag) +20, Concealment (Ag), Dodge (Ag)
TALENTS: Catfall, Furious Assault, Hard Target, Swift Attack
TRAITS: Bestial, Clutch-Bite*, Dark Sight, Fear (2), Improved Natural Weapons, Multiple Arms, Natural Armour (5)
*If a rad-spider hits an opponent with two arm attacks in a single round, it may make an additional bite attack as a free action; this attack is at +20 to hit.
ARMOUR: Molecularly-Altered Carapace (5 All; Doubled vs. Radiation)
WEAPONS: Web-Spew (20m; S/-/-; Snare, Recharge); Stab-Arms (1d10+6 I; Pen 4); Bite (2d10 R; Pen 0; Tearing, Toxic)
Conym (singular and plural) are strange creatures believed to have evolved in an asteroid field in a long-forgotten solar system, where they subsisted on cosmic radiation and traces of organic residue found among the inhospitable rocks. At some point, a breeding population of these xenobeasts took up residence on the outer hull of an Imperial voidship, where they prospered as parasites, draining energy from vulnerable wires, junction boxes and outlets. Their rapidly multiplying numbers scuttled off onto spaceport docks and ‘infected’ other vessels before their existence was discovered, to the point where innumerable Imperial voidships now bear populations of these creatures clinging to their hulls. Concerted efforts at exterminating the vermin have met with only limited success, and many ship captains have resigned themselves to simply controlling their numbers, with regular sweeps of the hull by voidsuited ratings or armed servitors killing as many as they can. Within a matter of months, however, hidden clutches of eggs hatch new generations of energy parasites and the cycle begins again…
The dark, leathery bodies of conym resemble huge inverted triangles, with short clutching claws at the tips of the arm-flaps and three prehensile tails extending from their terminus. They have no heads to speak of, just a cluster of feeding suckers between their ‘arms’. There are two pulsing bladders low on the conym’s otherwise flat body; these contain waste gases produced by the creature’s bizarre digestive processes. A conym can expel this gas in directed jets, giving the creatures effective ‘flight’ in the zero-gravity conditions to which they are native.
Virtually mindless, the conym are driven by the most primitive motivations: hunger and reproduction. While they can survive by absorbing the cosmic radiation common within most solar systems, they prefer to feed on the concentrated energies employed by Imperial technology. Having evolved with no predators or competitors, they are utterly fearless in pursuing their next ‘meal’, and have little sense of self-preservation.
WS:35 BS:- S:45 T:50 Ag:40 Int:10 Per:25 WP:25 Fel:-
SKILLS: Awareness (Per) +10
TRAITS: Bestial, Blind, Crawler, Energy Siphon*, Flyer (3), Size (Hulking), Strange Physiology, Unnatural Senses (40m), Void-Spawn**
*If the conym is in control of a Grapple against an opponent bearing a prominent energy source (such as an Astartes backpack generator), instead of trying to inflict damage, it may try to drain energy from the power source. The grapplers make opposed Strength tests (up to two allies may assist each combatant, as per a standard grapple); if the conym succeeds, roll a d5 and apply the result, +1 per degree of success, to the Power Unit Critical Effects chart on page 163 of the Deathwatch Rulebook. Also, a conym is treated as having Unnatural Toughness (x2) against attacks which deal energy damage.
** The conym is unaffected by vacuum, and functions normally in zero-gravity; it may only employ its Flyer trait in zero gravity. A conym treats normal gravity conditions as ‘high gravity’ (see Deathwatch Rulebook page 210), and cannot function at all in high gravity environments.
Trylloids are crustacean-like scavengers frequently found on Kroot warspheres, where they occupy a niche comparable to rats on Imperial vessels. A trylloid resembles a flattened lozenge of segmented carapace about the size of a man’s shoe, with numerous small legs covering their underside. They have a single eye and twitching antenna on either end of their bodies- it’s easy to misinterpret this a the trylloid having two heads, but it is more accurate to say that their rudimentary ‘head’ is divided into two separate segments.
Trylloids can survive in a wide variety of environments, from Earth-normal oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere to ammonia- and chlorine-filled conditions that would kill most creatures in seconds; they can even tolerate hard vacuum for limited periods.
Naturally skittish, trylloids will normally flee from any movement which they detect, seeking out hiding places where larger creatures can’t follow. This can prove disconcerting to those exploring abandoned vessels, as briefly glimpsed shapes dart into nooks and crannies as they approach…
The only exception to the trylloid’s instinct to flee from other creatures is when a group of the scavengers have discovered a particularly rich food source (such as a dead body): then, the trylloids will attempt to defend their find with the only tool at their disposal. They can spray atomized digestive juices from orifices between their armoured plates, surrounding themselves with an acidic cloud. Likely evolved to blind natural predators, this defense has an unusual effect on unnatural predators: the orange-tinted cloud of acid reacts quite violently with refined metals and other man-made materials, corroding items exposed to the defensive cloud with startling speed.
WS:15 BS:- S:10 T:20 Ag:30 Int:05 Per:30 WP:05 Fel:-
SKILLS: Awareness (Per) +10, Climb (Ag) +20, Concealment (Ag) +20
TALENTS: Hard Target, Paranoia, Resistance (Poisons), Sprint
TRAITS: Bestial, Dark Sight, Natural Armour (2), Size (Puny), Strange Physiology, Unnatural Speed
ARMOUR: Chitin Plating (2 All)
WEAPONS: Acidic Cloud (fills 1 cubic meter per trylloid present and lasts 2d10 rounds; anyone entering the cloud takes 1d5 R damage per round of immersion and must test Toughness (each round) or be blinded for 1d10 rounds [trylloids are immune to this effect]. Further, roll a d10 for each armour location within the Acidic Cloud: if the result is less that the armour value of that location, there is no effect; if the roll equals or exceeds the armour value of the location, its armour value is reduced by 1 until it can be repaired by a skilled armourer with access to adequate facilities. Weapons immersed in the cloud have a 10% chance each round of having their Craftsmanship reduced one stage [so that a Master weapon becomes Exceptional, or an Exceptional weapon becomes Common; a weapon that is already Common becomes either Unreliable if it is a missile weapon or Primitive if it is a Melee weapon.])
Life can be found almost anywhere in our galaxy- even the inhospitable void of space contains the occasional life-form, from tiny microorganisms that drift about at the mercy of the solar winds, to colossal macro-predators like the near-legendary Void Drakes, creatures of nightmare large enough to menace even an Imperial Battleship.
Astrolytes are frequent prey of the mighty Void Drakes. They appear to be spherical clusters of spines, some up to a kilometer long, tumbling thru the inky void, migrating from one breeding-ground nebula to another on journeys estimated to take millions of years, making astrolytes one of the longest-lived organisms known to the Imperium. They propel themselves through space by ejecting bursts of bioplasma from their hollow spines. Only rarely do astrolytes rise to the level of even a minor nuisance to the Imperium, but the parasites many of them contain have recently become a cause for concern among the xenologists of the Magos Biologis.
‘Khug-worm’ is the name given to a particularly dangerous parasitic species known to infest some astrolytes. Fully grown khug-worms measure three meters from end to end, with a body shape comparable to a Terran fluke worm. Their thick hide is leathery and tough, offering protection that compares favourably to man-made flak armour. They move by undulating their bodies in a forward motion, supplemented by the action of a row of suction cups that ring the outer edge of their bodies. These suckers can grip with sufficient strength to allow a khug-worm to move along walls or ceilings with ease. Around the ‘head’ end of a khug-worm’s body, these suckers elongate, forming a ‘collar’ similar in shape to the hood of a cobra. These elongated suckers are capable of independent movement, functioning like crude tentacles which are primarily used by the giant worm to pull food into its lamprey-like maw, where it is rasped apart by multitudes of triangular, diamond-hard teeth. Khug-worms are extremely difficult to kill: in addition to the protection provided by their tough hides, they lack the vulnerability of having major organs. Instead, their vital processes are performed by numerous redundant ‘mini-organs’ spread throughout their bodies.
There are two means by which citizens of the Imperium sometimes come into contact with these creatures. Rarely a voidship will find itself running low on food stores, and, upon finding an astrolyte, the ships’ enterprising captain will attack it with an eye toward butchering its fleshy interior to feed the crew. This process sometimes leads to the parasitical inhabitants of a dead astrolyte being transferred aboard an Imperial vessel- much to the chagrin of that vessel’s original occupants. A khug-worm deprived of its host can become a very effective predator as it searches for new sources of organic matter to consume. The other means of encountering a khug-worm is on a Space Hulk.
When a migrating astrolyte gets swept up in a warp storm, it is usually killed; its crude form of propulsion is rarely strong enough to escape the pull of even a minor breach between universes. Dead astrolytes compacted into a Space Hulk are typically crushed outright, forcing any parasites they contain to migrate into the body of the Hulk in search of a new food source.
While most xenologists believe that khug-worms are simply dumb beasts, a vocal minority speculate that they may in fact be sentient. As evidence of this claim they point to documented instances of encounters with khug-worms where the creatures adopted seemingly intelligent tactics, such as drawing prey into an ambush when more brutal direct attacks have failed. Of course, there are a number of advanced predatory species that employ similar tactics- but these skills have been handed down through innumerable generations, not learned within hours of entering a new environment…
WS:45 BS:- S:50 T:(8)45 Ag:40 Int:25 Per:20 WP:45 Fel:-
SKILLS: Climb (Ag) +20, Contortionist (Ag) +20
TALENTS: Resistance (Cold)
TRAITS: Blind, Constrictor*, Crawler, Fear (2), From Beyond, Natural Armour (5), Natural Weapons, Regeneration (2), Size (Hulking), Strange Physiology, Sturdy, Undying, Unnatural Senses (15), Unnatural Toughness (x2)
*Gains Unnatural Strength (x2) on the second round of grappling, and Unnatural Strength (x3) on the third and subsequent rounds of grappling.
ARMOUR: None (5 All)
WEAPONS: Crush (2d10+5 I; Primitive)
I hope some other GMs find this useful- and feel free to post any of your own creations.
Edited by Adeptus-B, 23 February 2014 - 12:47 PM.