Here’s another critter that the PCs are going to have a run-in with while investigating at Rosegard. It’s a variation on a Star Frontiers classic.
|Move:||Very Fast (120 m/turn)|
|Damage:||4d10 bite, claws|
|Special Attack:||Poison dart S10/T3, (RW 60, 10/20/30/40/50), attacks extra creature with maw (10 points damage)|
|Special Defense:||Immune to needler weapons; ½ damage from laser or projectile weapons, 70% chance will remain unseen until within 100m|
|Native World:||Sathar attack monster bred on Pale – all terrains|
The lesser quickdeath is a smaller version of the full-size quickdeaths which were originally released on Pale during the Sathar War and encountered on Volturnus. Where the full-sized quickdeath is about 5m long, the lesser quickdeaths are only about 3m in length. While individually smaller and less powerful, the lesser quickdeaths hunt in packs of 3-4 creatures instead of the solitary or breeding pair nature of the full-sized creatures.
While not as fast as the full-sized version (max speed is only 72 kph instead of 100 kph) they otherwise resemble their larger ancestors. Its great legs resemble those of a jaguar. They maintain the claws on their legs, keeping them razor sharp. These claws are used to attack prey and for climbing. Three sets of smaller, tentacle-like limbs which end in suction cups grow from the quickdeath’s sides. These limbs are used to catch unwary prey and stuff the victims into the quickdeath’s digestive maw. Any creature in the maw takes 10 points of damage until it frees itself (as if breaking free from a hold).
The quickdeath has a long, flexible neck that ends in a snout and large mouth. It has four eyes which are mounted on retractable stalks near the top of its head. The creature’s brain is located at the base of its neck. When the quickdeath strikes, it retracts its eye stalks making it nearly blind. With a successful attack, there is a 50% chance it will actually strike something other than its intended target if that object is roughly the same size as the target and within 2 meters of the target’s position.
The quickdeath also has a long, whip-like tail that can fling a poisonous dart once every four hours. It typically uses this dart as it first engages in melee to strike a secondary, more distant target if one exists.
The quickdeath’s hide is covered by a moist, reflective armor provides excellent camouflage making it nearly invisible until it approaches within 100 meters. Ouickdeaths are constantly on the move, seeking to appease their hearty appetites.
The female can lay hundreds of eggs each year, typically burying them deep in the sand or soil. Egg caches can contain up to 50 eggs (4d10 + 11). The first young hatchling eats the remaining eggs as its first meal, and then sets out to begin its lifelong search for more food.
Ouickdeaths are not native to Pale. The Sathar used advanced genetic manipulation to create them from a common type of cat found throughout the universe. During the invasion of Pale, they released hundreds of these in the area around Point True to terrorize any survivors outside the city. These lesser quickdeaths have only recently been sighted in the areas north and west of Point True in the last couple of years. Originally thought to be adolescents, examination of recently killed specimens show them to be a fully grown subspecies.
There are still many full-sized quickdeaths on Pale. You can use the normal stats for those from page 19 of SF0: Crash on Volturnus for other encounters on the planet. However, the full-sized versions do not figure into this adventure.
The lesser quickdeaths are a newly bred version of the larger creature. They have been bred by a former bounty hunter and recently released into the wild. He originally was simply breeding quickdeaths as a “safer” way to collect the bounties on the creatures. However, about 10 years ago, he had an encounter with some sathar on Pale and was converted to their cause. He has been working on this new version of the creature since then and has been releasing them into the wild for only a couple of years. The lesser quickdeaths are currently only found in the areas around his breeding facility.
Currently there are only about 50 lesser quickdeaths on the planet but their numbers are slowly growing and their range on the planet is increasing.