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Requires the use of the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game, published by Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

13 xenobiological
and stellar hazards
by philip Reed
In the official future rules for the D20 Modern Inc., and the official future supplement, also pub-
roleplaying game there are two stellar hazards and lished by Wizards of the Coast, Inc..You can find both
two xenobiological hazards, hardly enough variety at your favorite local game store or online at any
for any campaign that stretches from one end of the number of roleplaying game vendors.No other Ronin
galaxy to the other. While I have written a few new Arts products are required to use this PDF.
hazards for the Future: Datastream subscribers,
and several hazards written for D20 System fantasy
games could be used, its my opinion that the over-
FUTURE: DATASTREAM
worked gamemaster running a futuristic campaign As of the time of publication, Ronin Arts Future:
can always use more hazards to throw at his unsus- Datastream subscription service is running, intro-
pecting players. ducing new material for futuristic campaigns five
times each week. For more information on the
For ease of use the stellar and xenobiological haz-
Future: Datastream, including subscription infor-
ards presented in the future SRD are also included in
mation, please visit the official forums at
this PDF.These are in addition to the 13 new hazards
www.d20projects.com.
that are included herein.

WHATS REQUIRED TO OPEN GAME CONTENT


All of the text of this PDF is presented as open
USE THIS PDF? game content. While this means absolutely nothing
In order to use Future: 13 Xenobiological and to your campaign it does give other publishers per-
Stellar Hazards you will need the D20 Modern mission to use this material as long as they follow the
roleplaying game, published by Wizards of the Coast, open game license (see the end of this PDF).

Copyright 2005 Philip Reed.You may not distribute this document without permission of the publisher.Some portions of this document are present-
ed as open game content,see the Open Game License at the end of this document for more information.
Ronin Arts and the Ronin Arts logo are trademarks of Philip Reed and Christopher Shy.For more information on Ronin Arts,and Ronin Artssister com-
pany,Studio Ronin,please visit www.roninarts.com and www.studioronin.com.
'd20 System' and the 'd20 System' logo are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast,Inc.and are used according to the terms of the d20 System License ver-
sion 6.0. A copy of this License can be found at www.wizards.com/d20.
d20 Modern and Wizards of the Coast are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast,Inc.in the United States and other countries and is used with permission.
Stellar Hazards

stellar hazards
As originally presented in the future SRD, stellar
hazards were designed as a vehicle for subjecting DARK MATTER CLOUD
characters and creatures to the dangers of radia- Undetectable and rare, a cloud of dark matter
tion. In the interest of expanding the flexibility of a type of matter that can only be seen with
stellar hazards, the following new hazards involve advanced (PL 9 or higher) equipment though its
damaging a ships hit points, sensors, and commu- effects on gravity can be detected as early as the
nications gear. Information Age (PL 5) can have devastating
effects on any starship unfortunate enough to cross
COSMIC RAYS paths with this hazard. Dark matter clouds float
seemingly aimlessly through space, rarely a con-
Cosmic rays, unlike solar flares, cannot be predict- cern for starships or their crews.
ed. Consisting of subatomic particles moving at rela- When a starship comes into contact with a dark
tivistic speeds, these rays can penetrate miles of solid matter cloud most clouds are one tactical square
mass (though extremely few get through the Earths in size though a few reports of larger clouds have
atmosphere without colliding with other atoms or been recorded in the past the ship immediately
molecules, effectively rendering them harmless). In suffers 4d20 points of damage as the dark matter
space,these subatomic particles can cause severe cell particles come into contact with the ships hull.
damage, even genetic mutation. After suffering damage, the pilot must make a suc-
cessful Pilot check (DC 20) when leaving the affect-
ed tactical square on a failed check the ship suf-
ABOUT THE AUTHOR fers another 4d20 points of damage as it pulls away
from the cloud.
Philip Reed has been working professional-
A starship equipped with sensors that makes an
ly in the roleplaying game industry since 1995.
active sensor scan (see the Computer Use skill in
In that time he has worked for such companies
the future SRD) over an area of space affected by a
as West End Games, Privateer Press, and Steve
dark matter cloud can correctly locate the clouds
Jackson Games.Today Philip spends his days at
position on a successful check (DC 30). Once detect-
home running Ronin Arts, writing and design-
ed by sensors the starship can track the clouds
ing new games, and reading whatever books
position for 3d4 rounds after which point the cloud
interest him at the time. To learn more about
must be reacquired. At PL 9 or higher the DC to
Philip Reed and Ronin Arts please
detect a dark matter cloud drops to 20 (or, in cam-
visit www.philipjreed.com/php and
paigns featuring equipment that can see dark mat-
www.roninarts.com.
ter, no check is required).

DEEP SPACE WAVE


An unprotected creature exposed to radiation Similar to cosmic rays (see above), a deep space
from a cosmic ray shower is treated as highly irra- wave is a stream of molecule-sized particles mov-
diated for the purposes of determining the radia- ing rapidly through space the source of deep
tions effects (see Radiation Sickness in the future space waves has yet to be discovered.When a deep
SRD). space wave impacts a starship the particles rip

2
STELLAR HAZARDS
through the ships hull, creating millions of molec-
ular holes that breach the starships hull (fine size RADIO ECHO
hull breach, see Decompression in the future SRD). Space, especially regions close to inhabited
A starship equipped with sensors that makes an worlds, is overrun with radio echoes from the past.
active sensor scan (see the Computer Use skill in In some instances starships stumble across areas of
the future SRD) over an area of space affected by a space in which intense radio echoes have near-cat-
deep space wave can correctly locate the waves astrophic effect on the starships sensors and com-
position on a successful check (DC 20).A deep space munications gear. A typical radio echo is a line of
wave is a line 5,000 ft. wide stretching through an disruption 10,000 ft. wide that stretches complete-
entire star system. A starship equipped with a par- ly through a star system any starship that passes
ticle field is immune to the effects of a deep space through this line of disruption suffers the adverse
wave. effects of the radio echoes.
Unprotected characters and creatures that are A starships sensors are reduced by two cate-
exposed to radiation from a deep space wave gories of effectiveness when inside a radio echo
shower are treated as moderately irradiated for stream. If this reduces the sensors category below
the purposes of determining the radiations effects Class I the ship effectively has no sensors until it
(see Radiation Sickness in the future SRD). leaves the affected area of space.
Example: A starship equipped with a Class VI sen-
ORBITAL SWARM sor array is treated as possessing a Class IV when
subjected to the effect of radio echoes.
Around once-technologically advanced planets Starship communications systems excluding
that have experienced an apocalyptic event, leav- a drive transceiver, ansible, or any other PL 9 or
ing them reduced to the Stone Age (or other PL higher equipment are completely worthless
below the Information Age), there is frequently a when the ship enters a radio echo stream. This
debris field littered with long-forgotten, malfunc- includes the starships internal comm. systems.
tioning satellites, spacecraft, and orbital stations.
Radio echoes can be detected with a standard
As the centuries pass, much of this debris falls to
active sensor scan (see the Computer Use skill in
the planets surface and is destroyed. Sometimes,
the future SRD). When encountered the starships
though, gravitational and galactic forces act in
comm. system is filled with thousands of commu-
unexpected ways to create a dense swarm of debris
nications from the past, all of which are overlap-
that continuously orbits the planet, hampering any
ping each other making it impossible to under-
attempts to enter or escape the planets atmos-
stand anything received by the ships comm. sys-
phere.
tems.
A world surrounded by an orbital swarm
requires six Pilot checks (DC 20 + 2/PL of the world
before the apocalypse) anytime a starship enters or SOLAR FLARE
exits the planets atmosphere. On each successful Solar flares release tremendous amounts of
check the starship suffers 2d8 points of damage electromagnetic energy (including harmful ultravi-
from debris; on each failed check the starship suf- olet rays and X-rays), as well as highly charged pro-
fers 2d20 points of damage. tons and electrons.The effects are comparable to a
An orbital swarm could be cleaned up, though it radioactive blast from one hundred million billion
would require months of work. There have been tons of TNT (compared to the 20,000-ton equiva-
reports of weapons that can generate an orbital lent blasts that destroyed Hiroshima and
swarm around a planet though those reports are as Nagasaki). Fortunately, while solar flares arent
yet unsubstantiated. If they were true, a military rare, they are predictable.
armed with such a weapon would hold a signifi- An unprotected creature exposed to radiation
cant strategic advantage over an enemy world. from a solar flare is treated as severely irradiated
for the purposes of determining the radiations
effects (see Radiation Sickness in the future SRD).

3
Xenobiological hazards

xenobiological hazards
In addition to facing dangerous creatures and
harsh environmental conditions, space explorers
must occasionally contend with xenobiological E-FUTURE TILES:
hazards nonsentient forms of life that are, by
their very nature, menacing and dangerous with-
XENOMORPH HIVE
out being openly adversarial. Four of the hazards in this PDF corrosive
Xenobiological hazards are treated more like membrane, Jeffersons Root, space slime, and
traps than creatures. They have Challenge Ratings the space slime pool are depicted in
(CRs), and heroes earn experience points for surviv- SkeletonKey Games e-Future Tiles:
ing or overcoming them. A xenobiological hazard Xenomorph Hive tile set. You can use the
might be a pool of corrosive slime or a patch of Xenomorph Hive tile set to create a minia-
mold that feeds on the warmth of nearby life tures-scale alien environment into which
forms. Its not deliberately predatory, just danger- your players must descend, possibly to never
ous by nature. return. To learn more about SkeletonKey
Games, and their e-Future Tiles series
Additionally, space explorers may also
please visit www.skeletonkeygames.com
encounter non-living hazards (typically unusual
or www.starbaseprime.com.
fogs).

CORROSIVE MEMBRANE (CR 2)


These long, flesh-like strings stretch across
objects, slowly growing to fill entire areas if theyre CYBERNETIC SLIME (CR 3)
left unchecked. A patch of corrosive membrane This black-colored slime is a mixture of artificial
springs from the shell of a character or creature and organic fluids, brought into existence when a
that was completely devoured by a patch of cybernetic component is damaged and left unre-
Jeffersons Root (see p. 5). This foul hazard has a paired. One week after suffering damage, there is a
symbiotic relationship with Jeffersons Root: a cor- 15% chance that an unrepaired cybernetic compo-
rosive membrane patch shrivels up and dies within nent will fill with cybernetic slime, inflicting 1 point
2d6 minutes of being separated from a patch of of Constitution damage to the character for each
Jeffersons Root. day the problem is left untreated. A character that
A single 5-foot corrosive membrane patch deals is completely consumed by the cybernetic slimes
1d2 points of Constitution damage per round (+1 (and character reduced to a Constitution score of 0
point of Constitution drain for each adjacent or lower) is forever lost, leaving behind a 5-foot
Jeffersons Root patch) while it devours flesh. patch of cybernetic slime. Curing a character of
Against wood or metal, a corrosive membrane cybernetic slime before it kills him requires
patch deals 1d3 points of damage per round, ignor- that the damaged cybernetic component be
ing metals hardness but not that of wood. It does repaired and then five successful Treat Injury
not harm stone. checks (DC 15), each check requiring a full day dur-
An injection of sporekill or 5 or more points of ing which time the victim may do nothing but rest.
cold or fire damage destroys a 5-foot corrosive When touched, a 5-foot patch of cybernetic
membrane patch. slime deals 2d4 points of acid damage per round

4
Xenobiological hazards
while it devours flesh. On the first round of contact,
the slime can be scraped off a creature (most likely
destroying the scraping device), but after that it
NEW DISEASE:
must be frozen, burned, or cut away (dealing dam-
age to the victim as well). Against wood or metal,
GENE FEVER
This terrible disease strikes the victims
cybernetic slime deals 1d6 points of acid damage
genetic structure, tearing away at the victims
per round, ignoring the metal or woods hardness.
very genetic identity. Gene fever is dangerous
A character with cybernetics that comes into
and in several systems most that are subject-
contact with a patch of cybernetic slime must
ed to it, if the authorities learn of the sickness,
make a successful Fortitude saving throw (DC 15)
are quarantined and never released from iso-
or the character is stunned for 2d4 rounds, during
lation.
which time the slime devours the characters flesh.
Type: Inhaled/Contact (DC 20).
A patch of cybernetic slime is destroyed if it suf-
Incubation Period: 2d4+1 minutes.
fers 10 points of fire or electricity damage in a sin-
gle attack. Initial Damage: 1 Str and 1 Con.
Secondary Damage: 1d4 Str, 1d6+1

ENDOTHERMIC MOLD (CR 2) Con, and the victim gains 1 random mutation
drawback.
Endothermic mold feeds on warmth, siphoning
heat from anything around it. A patch of endother-
mic mold is red-brown in color and 5 feet in diam-
eter, and the temperature is always cold in a 30-
foot radius around it. Living creatures within 5 feet GRAVITATIONAL FOG (CR 1)
take 3d6 points of nonlethal cold damage. Fire This harmless looking cloud of fog, a dull gray in
brought within 5 feet of the mold causes it to color, hangs suspended a few feet above the
instantly double in size. ground. Encountered only on small planets and
A 5-foot patch of endothermic mold is large moons with a toxic atmosphere, a gravita-
destroyed if it takes 5 or more points of cold dam- tional fog is a bizarre gravitational anomaly the
age. fog adjusts the worlds gravity (if it is normal) by
one step in a random direction (determine once for

GENE MOLD (CR 3) each fog encountered) in the squares it covers and
those adjacent to it. On a low- or high-gravity
This dull gray-green mold is sometimes created world the fog shifts the affected areas gravity to
when a tank holding a genetic experiment usu- normal.
ally in a thick, liquid-like substance is cracked and A gravitational fog cannot be dissipated high
the genetic material leaks, pooling on the ground winds, artificial or natural, have no effect on the
beneath the tank. If left alone for 1d6+1 days the fog. The only thing that can be done is to wait for
substance begins to grow, forming a 5-foot square the fog to cease to exist on its own; a gravitational
patch of genetic mold. If disturbed by any means fog patch most are a 20-foot cube has a natu-
(touch, wind, etc.), a patch of genetic mold releases ral lifespan of only 4d6 hours.
a cloud of spores that are toxic to any character or
creature that the spores come into contact with. All
characters and creatures within 10 ft. of the mold JEFFERSONS ROOT (CR 5)
must make a Reflex save (DC 20) or be subjected to These thick, heavy tentacles were named for the
Gene Fever (see box). explorer that first reported their existence (and,
Fire destroys a patch of gene mold. coincidentally enough, was the first reported
human to be killed by the hazardous plant-like
creature). The source of Jeffersons Root is
unknown, though it is known that they grow from
spores that drift silently through space. Whenever

5
Xenobiological hazards
the spores come into contact

NEW CREATURE: with a patch of space slime or


a space slime pool they bond
METAL EATING SPIDER SPAWN with the xenobiological haz-
ard, rapidly sprouting until
Metal Eating Spider Spawn (M.E.Spawn), as an anonymous
they fill the squares adjacent
mecha pilot on Xianotis 7 named them, were a terrible threat to the
to the space slime or space
7th Battalion Mecha Corps and, today, threaten the entire galaxy.
slime pool.
During that first encounter the 7th Battalion Mecha Corps lost many
Jeffersons Root lives off of
of their smaller Mecha when they feel into a nest of these metal
organic material and at any
devouring vermin. Since that first encounter on Xianotis 7 the M.E.
point that they sense an
Spawn have been found on many planets. Some are said to even
organic creature passing
survive in the vacuum of space.
through an adjacent square
Metal Eating Spider Spawn are tiny eight-legged beasts that are
the tentacles lash out,
a lustrous black or red in color.They possess a specialized gland that
attempting to grab their prey
produces a powerful metal acid that the spawn uses to soften metal
the target must make a suc-
for eventual consumption.
cessful Reflex saving throw
In combat the spawn focus their attacks on metal opponents or (DC 15) or the patch of
objects, quickly moving into range to spit their acid. If an opponent Jeffersons Root has managed
resists the attack a spawn will often climb onto larger opponents to grab its victim. For purposes
and try to bite them, continuing it bit away at the target until it of holding its victim,
ceases to struggle, after which point the feast can begin. Jeffersons Root has a Strength
Species Traits: score of 20 and the improved
grab special quality. Jeffersons
Darkvision (Ex): Most vermin with visual sensory organs have Root draws its strength from
darkvision with a range of 60 feet. space slime or space slime
Devour Metal (Ex): As an attack action an M.E. Spawn may spit pools for each patch of space
a powerful metal acid, hitting its target with a successful ranged slime or space slime pool adja-
touch attack (15 ft., no increment).This acid does 1d3 points of hard- cent to the Jeffersons Root
ness damage and 2d6 acid damage to metallic objects. They may that hazard gains a +1 bonus
only use this attack once every three rounds. to grapple checks.
Immunities: Vermin are immune to mind-affecting effects. Each round that a victim
Resistance to Massive Damage (Ex): Vermin gain a +5 held, the Jeffersons Root deals
species bonus on Fortitude saves to negate the effects of massive 1d6 points of Constitution
damage. damage while it devours flesh.
Victims that are completely
M.E.Spawn; CR 1;Tiny vermin; HD 1d8+1; hp 5; Mas 18; Init+3; consumed by Jeffersons Root
Spd 30 ft., climb 30 ft. ; Defense 19, touch 15, flat-footed 16 (+3 Dex, are transformed into a corro-
+4 natural, +2 size); BAB +0; Grp -11; Atk +5 melee (1d4-3, bite); sive membrane patch (see
Full Atk +5 melee (1d4-3, bite); FS 2 _ ft. by 2 _ ft.; Reach 0 ft.; SQ p. 4).
darkvision 60 ft., devour metal, resistance to massive damage, ver- An injection of sporekill or
min immunities; AL none; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will -1; AP 0; Rep +0; 15 or more points of cold or
Str 5, Dex 17, Con 13, Int , Wis 9, Cha 7 fire damage destroys a 5-foot
Skills: Climb +11*, Hide +11, Jump +10* patch Jeffersons Root.
Feats: Weapon Finesse(B)
Advancement: 2-3 HD (Tiny), 4-6 HD (Small)
* M.E. Spawn use their Dexterity modifier in place of their
Strength for Climb and Jump checks.

6
Xenobiological hazards

MECHA ROT (CR 3)


While not only mecha may be subjected to this NEW DISEASE:
rust-like hazard, mecha rot was first encountered
on Xianotis 7 by the 7th Battalion Mecha Corps
GRAY SICKNESS
(that same group of mecha that had a brutal Contracted through contact with nanite
encounter with a metal eating spider spawn (see slime, anyone that is killed by the sickness is
box). transformed into a 5-foot patch of nanite
slime. The disease may either be fought
Formed naturally, mecha rot is a dark gray type
through medicine and the victims natural
of slime that latches onto metallic objects, espe-
immune system (following the standard rules
cially vehicles, that happen to pass through a patch
for diseases) or the affected character may
of the hazard.
have any portions of his body that have come
On the first round of contact, the mecha can be in contact with nanite slime amputated.
scraped off a metallic object (most likely destroy-
Type: Contact (DC 16).
ing the scraping device), but after that it must be
frozen, burned, or cut away (dealing damage to the Incubation Period: 1 day.
metallic object as well). Against metal, mecha rot Initial Damage: 2 Con.
pool deals 3d6 points of damage per round, ignor- Secondary Damage: 1d6 Con.
ing the metals hardness. Mecha rot has no effect
on non-metallic materials.
A 5-foot patch of mecha rot is destroyed once it
suffers a total of 20 points of fire damage. SPACE FOG (CR 3)
This dark blue fog, most frequently encountered
NANITE SLIME (CR 4) in abandoned orbital stations and forgotten struc-
This low-powered variant of gray goo (see tures on airless worlds, is a dangerous corrosive
Nanotechnology in the future SRD) looks like a cloud that dissolves metal as quickly as it does
patch of dark brown, dripping slime. Wet and glis- flesh. When an area with a breathable atmosphere
tening, nanite slime clings to walls, ceilings, and is suddenly breached and suffers rapid decompres-
floors in patches, growing and spreading as it con- sion, thousands of particles created from the escap-
sumes matter. It drops from walls and ceilings ing gasses of corpses left in the now airless envi-
when it detects movement. ronment collect. Dormant until the area is re-pres-
When a corpse is left alone with a patch of surized and flooded with a breathable atmosphere,
nanite slime the patchs size expands to fill an adja- those particles can lie in wait for centuries. Within
cent 5-foot square after three hours of consuming a matter of seconds of coming into contact with a
and absorbing the corpse. breathable atmosphere the particles spread
Anyone touching a patch of nanite slime must throughout an area converge, forming into a patch
make a Fortitude save (DC 20). If the save is suc- of space fog.
cessful that character has managed to break off A typical patch of space fog appears as a 20-foot
contact with the nanite slime before it could do any cube. Metallic objects that are taken into a patch of
damage. If the save fails, the nanites have gotten space fog begin to come apart as per the following
into the characters system the character con- table:
tracts a debilitating illness known as Gray Sickness
(see box).
The only way to destroy a patch of nanite slime
is through fire damage (15 points of damage per
square that the slime is in size).

7
Xenobiological hazards
Size of Object Number of Rounds Before
Complete Destruction SPACE SLIME POOL (CR 3)
Fine Instantaneous These translucent green slime pools sometimes
Diminutive 1 round form when a patch of space slime is left alone for
an extended period of time, typically several
Tiny 2 round
months. A space slime pool is less hazardous than
Small 4 round
the space slime from which they derive, though
Medium 8 rounds they can still be dangerous to those that find them-
Large 16 rounds selves wading through the substance.
Huge 32 rounds Space slime pools frequently float on existing
Gargantuan 64 rounds pools of water, making them appear deeper than
Colossal 128 rounds they actually are, though some massive, deep pools
have been encountered in the past. A space slime
An object that is removed from a patch of space pool must inflict 6 points of Constitution damage
fog before it is destroyed has a 75% chance that it (spread amongst any number of characters or crea-
will no longer function. The object can be restored tures) each month or else the pool will breakdown
to working condition with a successful Repair check into a power-like dust. Once it becomes dust the
(DC 15) after one hour of work. space slime pool is completely dead and has no
Characters and creatures that enter a patch of effect on characters or creatures.
space fog suffer 1 point of Constitution damage A single 5-foot square space slime pool deals
each round that they remain in the fog. 1d4 points of Constitution damage per round while
A patch of space fog can be dissipated using it devours flesh. On the first round of contact, the
high winds, including winds created by any liquid slime which is as sticky as it was when it
mechanical fans or wind generators. was ordinary space slime can be scraped off a
creature (most likely destroying the scraping
device), but after that it must be frozen, burned, or
SPACE SLIME (CR 4) cut away (dealing damage to the victim as well).
This sticky, translucent green slime devours Against wood or metal, a space slime pool deals
flesh and organic materials on contact. Wet and 2d4 points of damage per round, ignoring metals
sticky, it clings to walls, ceilings, and floors in patch- hardness but not that of wood. It does not harm
es, growing and spreading as it consumes organic stone. An injection of sporekill or 6 or more points
matter. It drops from walls and ceilings when it of cold or fire damage destroys a 5-foot patch space
detects movement (and possible food) below. slime pool.
A single 5-foot square of space slime deals 1d6
points of Constitution damage per round while it
devours flesh. On the first round of contact, the
slime can be scraped off a creature (most likely
destroying the scraping device), but after that it
must be frozen, burned, or cut away (dealing dam-
age to the victim as well). Against wood or metal,
space slime deals 2d6 points of damage per round,
ignoring metals hardness but not that of wood. It
does not harm stone. An injection of sporekill or 10
or more points of cold or fire damage destroys a 5-
foot patch of space slime.