Here is my take on the hrud, xenos that have been lingering on the edges of the 40Kverse for many years. Credit where due: most of the background info comes from Lexicanum. I originally posted this over in the Dark Heresy House Rules Forum, but I thought that Deathwatch players might also find it useful.
-- THE HRUD --
The Imperium views the noisome xeno race known as the hrud as little more than parasites, foul scavengers with no significant culture of their own. Needless to say, this is not a view shared by the hrud themselves. The hrud are an ancient and far-flung people, who had established colonies on numerous planets long before the sons of Terra left their homeworld to walk among the stars. They pride themselves on their record-keeping, and there are those who speculate that the hrud have information contained within their ancient archives that would open up such terrifying vistas of eldritch aeons that no human mind could absorb the revelations without forfeiting sanity.
The hrud are a dark-dwelling race who inhabit underground tunnel complexes (called juunlak in the hrud tongue), preferably near the settlements of other races. There, they live in secret, using stealth to pilfer the goods they cannot produce themselves. As their numbers increase, the hrud prepare for a peh-ha, or mass migration. This typically involves a small group of hrud ‘scouts’ stowing away on a space-faring vessel, carrying with them the essential components of their warp-based technology. When they eventually arrive at a new world, the hrud set up a secret base and begin stealing the technological items needed to combine with their own components to create a warp gate. Once the gateway is functional, the hrud Raheed, or ‘masstribe’, begins migrating in earnest to the new location.
Unfortunately the sustained operation of a hrud warp gate generates an enormous amount of entropic energy, which can have devastating effects on the surrounding environment. Crops turn to dust overnight, organic materials crumble, and residents find themselves aging at an incredibly accelerated rate, often going from spry youths to do doddering old men in a matter of days. These shocking occurrences are often the first indication a human population has that a hrud infestation is nearby. Since this normally triggers an attempted purge by Imperial authorities, the hrud usually try to keep their mass migrations secret, but their need to utilize the stolen technology of others, including tapping into energy sources to power their warp gates, sometimes prevents them from setting up their colonies a sufficient distance from human population centers to avoid detection.
There is another woe for those living near hrud infestations. The scavenging of these stealthy aliens is not limited to material goods: the hrud also make use of slaves, capturing unwary humans to perform the unskilled labor necessary to keep a colony functioning properly. Many of these slaves die from contact with the toxins perpetually secreted by the hrud, but those hardy individuals who develop a resistance to the poisons sometimes become valued resources to hrud settlements, being viewed by some hrud as loyal ‘pets’, especially if the slave was captured young and stays with the hrud long enough to forget his or her previous life.
In appearance the hrud are rarely perceived as anything more that vaguely humanoid shapes, shorter than the human norm, swathed in ragged robes. Sometimes a ratlike tail is glimpsed dragging behind, but beyond this even those who have had first-hand encounters with the hrud would be hard-pressed to provide any significant details. Even study of hrud corpses is problematic, as these xenos decompose at an incredible rate, putrefying into a loathsome puddle of toxic liquid shortly after death. Those rare individuals who have seen living hrud without their traditional robes describe them as hairless creatures with large, black eyes and limbs which are not jointed, like those of humans, but segmented, in the nature of a spine.
WS:23 BS:33 S:25 T:25 A:(8)43 INT:35 PER:33 WP:35 FEL:13
SKILLS: Acrobatics, Awareness, Climb, Concealment +20, Contortionist +20, Dodge +10, Forbidden Lore (Xenos), Search, Shadowing +20, Silent Move +10, Speak Language (Hrud), Survival, Tech Use.
TALENTS: Ambidextrous, Exotic Weapon Training (Hrud Fusil), Jaded, Leap Up, Melee Weapon Training, Talented (Concealment).
TRAITS: Dark Sight, Light-Sensitive*, Poison Secretions**, Entropic Aura***, Size: Scrawny, Unnatural Agility.
*All Tests are at -10 in direct sunlight or equivalent illumination.
**The toxins produced by the hrud’s state of semi-decomposition render them dangerous to the touch. Any creature whose bare skin comes into contact with a hrud must pass an Ordinary (+10)Toughness test or lose 1d10 points of Toughness for 1d2 months. If the creature is exposed to these toxic secretions a number of times equal to 10-TB and survives, it develops immunity to hrud poison (most slaves encountered in hrud communities will have developed this immunity).
***Repeated exposure to the corrupting energies of their warp-based technology has led to the hrud permanently radiating an aura of entropic energy. This aura has the following effects: First, it renders hrud immune to the aging effects of their warp gates. Second, it dampens a percentage of light in their vicinity, allowing the hrud to make Concealment tests even while under direct observation. Third, non-living items near a hrud will age approximately 10 times faster than normal. This has little impact on machinery or other metal items; the most obvious consequence of this effect is to cause food to spoil within minutes of being near a hrud. Finally, the entropic aura will cause the body of a slain hrud to decompose at a highly accelerated rate, completely dissolving into a foul, toxic liquid within an hour of death.
ARMOUR: Reinforced robes (3 All; Primitive)
WEAPONS: Hrud Fusil (100m, S/-/-, 2d10 E, Pen 5, Clip: 1, Rld: Full; Overheats, Warp Weapon), Hrud Picknife (1d10+2 I, Pen 1d10, Toxic). Also, there is a 30% chance that a hrud will be carrying a scavenged back-up weapon. These are 75% likely to be some form of standard Imperial pistol, with a 25% chance of being something more exotic, such as a xeno-manufactured weapon which the nomadic hrud picked up during its travels. Scavenged weapons will only have half their clip capacity in ammo remaining. There is a 50% chance that the hrud has practiced with the weapon sufficiently to acquire the appropriate Weapon Training Talent; otherwise, it suffers the normal penalties for unskilled weapon use.
GEAR: 2d10 reloads for the Fusil; miscellaneous tools and other odds and ends stolen from unwary previous owners.
About 1 in 20 hrud will be ‘chieftains’, members of their leadership class. Approximately 25% of hrud are ‘tinkers’- those charged with building and maintaining the hrud’s technological implements, from their ever-present fusils to the mysterious warp gates which they use to spread across the galaxy. These items are usually built with scavenged materials around a core of ancient, irreplaceable components which have been handed down from generation to generation since the earliest days of hrud migrations.
As hrud; +5 to all stats; 12 Wounds; add the Navigation: Ground and Security Skills, and the Polyglot Talent. The chieftain will automatically have a scavenged back-up weapon with a full ammunition load, and the appropriate Weapon Talent to use it.
As hrud; +5 to BS, A, WP; +10 to Int, Per; add the Chem Use skill and replace Tech Use with Tech Use +20.
ADVENTURE SEED: Contact has been lost with an Imperial colony on a Frontier World. The last message from th settlement was a garbled distress call, ending with "... I think they're xenos…". Upon investigating, the Killteam finds the formerly cultivated land around the colony reduced to a barren wasteland. A search of the site discovers many mummified human bodies, but only a few survivors: doddering, senile old men carrying the identification cards of- according to the colony's official records- young children…
Before you say hrud are too weak to pose a threat to Space Marines, hear me out. I picture hrud opperating in groups of three in combat: one fires it's fusil (hald action), then hides (hald action); the next reloads its fusil (in hiding); the third takes a full aim action (in hiding). With Warp Weapon attacks coming from unseen hostiles all around the Killteam, I think three hrud would make an interesting 'nusiance' encounter, while six would be a legitimate threat, and nine or more would make for an "Okay, let's re-think this 'frontal assault' strategy" moment…