Friday, October 1, 2010

Fauna: Nikac Anemones

Nikac are 1-4 meter tall, non-aquatic anemones that live among the deeper parts of the canyonlands of Zeth. While technically an animal, they appear as large, plant-like clusters of needles, which are nearly the height of the animal's trunk. They are affixed to the ground using a system of short root-like feet. This enables them to move--albeit at an incredibly slow pace over a long period of time--at basically the same rate that a vine might grow in a tropical rainforest.

Needle Attack 

Nikac are able to detect neurotransmitters in roaming prey. They can target and fire their long needles up to 5 meters away. Once the nikac has fed, a signal is sent from the main body and the needle disintegrates. Needles appear in a variety of bluish-grey varieties with pink or yellow tips when fresh and decompose into a whitish bone color when deactivated.

Nikac Feeding Habits

The sharp ends of the needles excrete a chemical-based sedative and an electro shock (depending on the variety, via the pinkish or yellowish tip) that allows it to stun/incapacitate its prey. The nikac can fire the needles up to 10 meters away. The animal then feeds off of the prey's electro-chemical energy by transmitting it psionically to it's trunk. The psionic connection is made using a gland at the base of the now detached needle. The "food" can then be used to regrow limbs, new body parts such as needles, or increase its overall body size, depending on the target. A nikac will feed on anything it senses can provide it with nourishment.

Nikac Relationship to Muscolites

Upon reaching puberty, muscolites must grapple with the beasts in order to retrieve a fresh needle they will fashion into a javelin for hunting and defense (+1 to hit a target up to 100 meters for anyone trained in javelin hurling). Muscolites must rely on their training and a single paring knife with which to make a clean cut. Offworlders would do well to be better equipped.

For Off-worlders

Nikac needles are a rare and precious find indeed, scoring high prices on black markets. Since nobody wants to go to Zeth to get them, they are highly prized by collectors and top-notch bounty hunters/soldiers of fortune. A word to the wary, have a muscolite demonstrate it's use before making off with one (assuming you procured one yourself under muscolite supervision). Failure to use the needle properly has a good chance of causing a mishap/injury/death. A single round of accident prevention training should prevent any problems.

Nikac Needle Misfortune Table (1d10)

  • (1) Will not respond to psionic commands and no bonus when thrown (rendered inert)
  • (2-3) Psionic rejection of new owner causes intense migraines for 1d4 rounds, rendered unusable by anyone for same duration
  • (4-5) Energy drain as electrical, physical (-HP, PHY, STR, or CON, your choice) 1d8+1
  • (6-7) Energy drain as electrical, physical (-HP, PHY, STR, or CON, your choice) and psionic (INT or PER) 2d6
  • (8-9)Discharge causing electrical (HP) and psionic (PER or INT) damage (2d6)
  • (10) Explodes causing electrical (HP) and psionic (PER or INT) damage (4d6+2)
These stats can also be used to determine damage when wielded by a trained user against an enemy target.

FREQUENCY: Uncommon; forests are typically hidden in canyon bottoms
NO. APPEARING: Forests of 60 or more
HIT DICE: 1d8+1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: Projectile needle (range 10 meters) with chemical sedative combined with electroshock - 3d4; 1 successful attack, victim must roll save vs. stun; 3 successful attacks, victim must roll save or fall unconscious for 1d8 rounds; feeds psionically off stuck victims also suffer energy drain (1d8+1)
SPECIAL ABILITIES/SKILLS: Regeneration at 1d8 rounds; detect other nikac through psionic link for colony and migratory purposes
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nikac communicate basic information about prey location, climate, and migratory direction through a psionic connection. Maximum range is unknown.

Written generically for D&D and X-plorers.