Sathar Monsters Without Number

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by Tom Verreault

The following article is a conversion of classic Star Frontier sathar attack monsters to the Stars Without Number rules system.  This article is also part of a series of conversion articles that will tackle converting SwoN to the Star Frontiers setting. Ironically, the article on character creation will be in the following issue since this article is preempting it for the sathar theme of this issue.

There are some substantial differences between the two systems. An apex predator in SwoN moves 40m per 6 second turn but the quickdeath in SF is rated at Very Fast, which translates to 120m per 6 second turn. Clearly this creates an imbalance. The solution is that since this is a conversion to SwoN the following chart is used to convert movement rates in general.

Movement Rates

Speed

Very Slow

10'

Slow

15'

Medium

20'

Fast

30'

Very Fast

40' or more

The second major difference is the scale of damage. Characters in Star Frontiers begin with higher stamina than their counterparts in SwoN and further rely on technology to deflect damage with defensive suits and screens and the weapons have a have a high damage output per turn. A combat by skilled and well equipped characters in SF tends to be short and bloody. Weapons in Swon have a much lower damage output per turn but since the characters start with low hit points combat still tends to be short and bloody.  Despite the fact that SwoN is a leveling game, the hit dice for the player characters is not additive. Instead at each new level the hit dice for the character are completely rerolled and if the total is higher than the current hit points then the hit points are increased otherwise they remain the same. Thus advancing a level does not automatically improve hit points.

The challenge in converting creatures is that in SF an apex predator can have a damage expression of 6d10 (usually representing multiple modes of attack: bite and claws which are rolled in one attack) while a SwoN apex predator could have multiple attacks rolled separately with lower individual damage expressions.  For purposes of this conversion, SF creatures will have their damage expressions reduced but referees are encouraged to modify them if they find that the creatures do not present enough of a challenge or too much of a challenge for the player characters.

SwoN has a morale rule but most sathar creatures are cybernetically controlled and thus will never flee in combat. Those that are not cybernetically controlled are engineered to attack viscously and are not likely to flee in combat. All sathar monsters have morale of 0 if they are cybernetically controlled but a creature like a wild quickdeath may be given a higher morale score so that it could potentially flee a losing battle (though such a fleeing quickdeath is very likely to lick its wounds and begin stalking its former opponents).

Quickdeath

The quickdeath is a bio-engineered attack monster designed to be the ultimate land predator. It looks like a powerful, thick-necked jaguar with razor sharp claws. Its brain is located at the base of its neck to facilitate the four eye stalks that retract into its head when it attacks. Its tail has a poison dart that can be shot once every four hours. Along each side of the creature are three tentacles that end in suction cups that the quickdeath uses to grab a victim and drag the unfortunate prey into its mouth for an automatic attack each turn until a successful strength check to break free. (Once the quickdeath has used the tentacles to stuff prey into its mouth it no longer rolls for its bite attack).

The hide of the quickdeath is tough and covered in a viscous slime. It reduces damage from projectile weapons and acts as a reflective armor against lasers; ½ damage for both. The reflective nature of the hide provides good camouflage making it 70% undetectable to within 120m. Since it retracts its eyestalks when it bites the creature is blind in the moment it attacks. Anyone fighting a quickdeath can avoid being bitten by keeping a man sized “dummy” or target between him and the quickdeath which will be attacked 50% of the time.

Females lay hundreds of eggs per year in clutches of 50. The first quickdeath to hatch in a clutch eats the other eggs.  Thus only one quickdeath hatches per clutch. They can be encountered as mated pairs or singly in all terrains except the mountains. Their special abilities make them dangerous ambush predators and persistent stalkers.

The sathar also employ these creatures as infantry support during ground battles. It is presumed that they use a cybernet implant to do so.

Quickdeath

Armor Class

6

Hit Dice

6

Attack Bonus

+7/+7/+7

Damage

1d10/1d10/tentacles (special)

No. Appearing

1 to 2

Saving Throw

12

Movement

80'

Special Attack

Poison Tail dart (Range 30/50)

Toxicity 7, Interval 10 minutes, Virulence 3, Effect 1d10 damage

Special Defense

Immune to Needler Weapons, 1/2 damage from laser and projectile weapons, 70% chance to remain unseen until within 120'

Morale

15

Terrain

All except mountains

First seen in SF-0 Crash on Volturnus

Slither

The slither looks like vegetation while lying in ambush and it does derive some nourishment from photosynthesis.  It is 20 meters long and two meters wide looking like a cross between a worm and a centipede. Its eyesight only detects movement but the creature can also sense salt and water.

It has powerful grinding mandibles ringed with tentacles which can attack one creature while it employs its coil attack on another creature and it can coil about another creature and burn it with the oily acid secretions of its body. It must recoil to make a new coil attack each turn.

Slithers are part of the sathar program to genetically engineer attack monsters to destroy (or perhaps cleanse from the sathar point of view) ecosystems on inhabitable worlds. Thus the slither can be found anywhere the sathar have visited.

Slither

Armor Class

5

Hit Dice

10

Attack Bonus

+8/+8

Damage

1d12/1d12

No. Appearing

1

Saving Throw

10

Movement

10m

Special Attack

Surprise Attack & and may attack two targets at once

Special Defense

None

Morale

12

Terrain

Salt flats and near water

First seen in the Alpha Dawn rulebook.

Froggs

Froggs were engineered to resemble common species of terran frogs that have been found on colonized planets in the Frontier. They remain invisible 85% of the time and attack with surprise. Their attack is to leap at the face, biting for one point of damage, and leap away. They only make one random attack and if they miss they disappear into the surroundings. Only characters with a dexterity of 16 or better have a chance at hitting one.

Note the Sundown on Starmist module has 10 engineered nuisance vermin like the clinging lilies and the froggs. We’ve only listed a sampling here.

Froggs

Armor Class

7

Hit Dice

½

Attack Bonus

1

Damage

1

No. Appearing

1 to 10

Saving Throw

10

Movement

40m

Special Attack

Surprise

Special Defense

None

Morale

NA

Terrain

Jungle and forest where seeded

First seen in SF-3, Sundown on Starmist.

Cyboslug

The cyboslug is an engineered creature that spits flame from its cybernetically implanted flamethrower. It can cling to walls and ceilings. Its body is covered in a reflective slime that reduces laser and flame damage.

Cyboslug

Armor Class

6

Hit Dice

3

Attack Bonus

6

Damage

1d10

No. Appearing

1 to 5

Saving Throw

14

Movement

10m

Special Attack

Flame thrower (Range 30/50)

Special Defense

1/2 damage from lasers and flame

Morale

0

Terrain

Anywhere underground

First seen in SF-1, Volturnus, Planet of Mystery

Cybodragon

A cybodragon is a huge lizard with cybernetic implants. It can attack with its bite, claws and two metal tentacles. Its eyes have been replaces with lasers and each may attack a different target and a flame thrower has been installed in its mouth. The eye lasers can shoot 5 times and the flame thrower can shoot 10 times before their ammunition reserves are depleted.

In prolonged battles the sathar will employ a support unit to change out power packs for the eye lasers. It requires two sathar technicians four combat turns to change a power pack. They and the cybodragon must remain stationary for all four turns.

This is an attack monster used for shock and awe tactics in combat it is not likely to be found without sathar handlers nearby. The cybodragon can be controlled by a rider or by wireless means.

 

Cybodragon

Armor Class

5

Hit Dice

10

Attack Bonus

+12/+12/+12

Damage

1d12/1d12/1d12

No. Appearing

1 to 2

Saving Throw

12

 

Movement

40m

Special Attack

2 eye lasers 1d12 (Range 300/500), 1 flame thrower 1d8 (Range 30/50)

Special Defense

None

Morale

15

Terrain

All, except mountains and dense forest

First seen in SF-2 Star Spawn of Volturnus & The Official Character Record Sheets.

SlaveBot

Slave bots are cybernetically controlled sapient beings. The sathar implant them with a cybernetic device to control them and are able to use the skills of the slave. They do not react to pain and can punch in a manner that would normally inflict pain on the one throwing the punch. Alternately they can use weapons and tools they knew how to use in their prior life. Slave bots are usually controlled by a tubed sathar brain and operate as its limbs but they can also be controlled by the same cybernetic control units used for quickdeath and cybodragons.

SlaveBot

Armor Class

7

Hit Dice

1

Attack Bonus

2

Damage

1d10 or weapon

No. Appearing

1 to 5

Saving Throw

15

Movement

20m

Special Attack

Punching

Special Defense

None

Morale

0

Terrain

Any but usually defending installations

First seen in SF-1, Volturnus, Planet of Mystery.