Thursday, October 23, 2014

On the Silgurians

IInsectoid bipeds, 2 legs, odd numbers of weak and flailing arms.  Compound eyes not suited for Aereth surface levels of light.  They are demon-worshippers, and communicate via pheromones, hand gestures, vocally, and use low-level empathic projection.  Their communication patterns are very complex and so some extra-dimensional beings find the nuances enjoyable in this 3D meat-space.

Millennia ago the Silgurians boasted proud warriors 2m tall and firm of frame, but ~2/3 of the way through the development of the race they discovered trafficking with other-reality beings  They were perceived the Galaxy over as worshipers of demons/chaos/devils and not fit for trade or diplomacy, and they asked no quarter and gave none in unceasing squabbles with nearby races.  Using vile sorcery and anti-gravitic Shoggoth Drives and nega-energy cells, they marched over their quadrant spreading like a plague of flies for hundreds of Aereth years.  Happily, their technology was prone to cataclysmic failure (possibly due to demonic influence) and they sunk into degeneracy 2000 years ago.  They stand at less than half of their former stature, now, and much of their sorcery and technology is lost even to them.  In an effort to bolster their meager gene-pool, a last act by their bio-mancers was to develop a retro-viral method of reproduction in which victims of their bites slowly transmogrify - at least partially - into Silgurians themselves.  While this opens new vistas of perception and abilities, including a chitinous shell and a variably-active 6th chakra, the victim loses much in the way of their former personality.

DCC Silgurian stats:

Silgurian: Init +3; Atk claw -2 melee (1d3) or by weapon +0 melee; AC 14; HD 2d6; MV 30', 50' flying; Act 1d20; SP transforming bite; SV Fort -3, Ref +6, Will +3; AL C.

The Silgurian may bite once per combat, in order to transfer virus-laced saliva and enzymes that will slowly turn the victim into a Silgurian-compatible version of itself, in order that it bring much-needed genes into the race's foundering gene-pool.  Usually it will only select a superlative specimen, whose status is broadcast visibly, psionically, and/or via pheromones - sometimes unwittingly.  That is, a Silgurian will only attempt the bite on a character that has some ability above 15 - even Luck, but usually not Stamina or Personality for reasons that will become clear.

Three saves are required, at stated intervals:

1) At the time of the bite, a character will make a DC 12 Fort Save, or else the process of transformation begins.  If the character passes the save, she will still take 1d4 temporary Stamina damage that will heal naturally.  Also, owing to the psychic assault that the bite instigates, they will get any spell rolls improved by the number of Stamina points damage taken for 1d4 turns, minus the character's Stamina modifier (or in negative modifier cases, added!).  This psychic effect is temporary!  If the character fails the initial save, they immediately pass out for 1d10 turns, appearing dead but a close inspection reveals a high fever and stiffening and mottling of the skin.
2) That night/sleep cycle/whatever, another DC 12 Fort save is needed.  Failing this, the character will be wracked with pain as various tissues transform into chitinous, unyielding, and also not necessarily bilaterally symmetrical arrangements.  They are transformed into space vermin.  This initial stage is quite horrifying, but purifying spells or clerical healing that can heal 3 or more dice of damage will stop the process at once - but will not repair the damage done.  In any case, the character immediately gains 3 points of AC to their base, although they lose 3 points of Personality to boot.
3) Finally, a low-level fever sets in, and the character will feel psionically empowered and sensitive, as well as generally hungry and discombobulated.  Any mind-affecting attacks will have improved die to rolls or damage at the Judge's discretion for the remainder of the transformation.  After 1d8-Stamina modifier days have passed, the transformation into a Demi-Silgurian is nearly complete.  A failed DC 17 Will Save at the end of the period means that going forward, the character will feel the urge to mate with Silgurians, have rough and thorny chitinous armor plating, lose an additional 3 points to Personality, (to a minimum of 4), and become bonded to a Patron of their choice at the 14-17 level (acquiring the Patron's visible mark). 

It is said that a thousand years ago, foolhardy sentient beings sought out the Silgurians to undergo this painful and repellent process, to speed their congress with beings from the 5th and higher dimensions. So it goes.

DCC Silgurian Patron ideas:

Some come to mind immediately, for example Enzazza - Queen of the Hive, but any Patron could work if given suitably space-faring and/or insectile themes.  The Hivelord of Elfland.  The Firewasp Obitu-Que, The Dust Storm from Beyond Space.  The Silgurians weren't particular in their grasp for power, and reached full psionic and sorcerous maturity fairly early in their lifecycles and did not ever develop moral or ethical philosophy.  They tended to become imprinted to the most powerful being they could become aware of.


Silgurian technology is sleek and deadly and glittering, but prone to failure in dramatic fashion.  They do not seem to comprehend the power they hold, nor do they show concern for the immense danger that visibly shrieks to escape from, say, a laser pistol or sonic sword they craft.  It was thought that Silgurian nega-batteries stored unstable energy from the Black and Formless voids (Negative Energy Plane) but it was proved by Professor Arthur Morgarion in QR2267 that these were merely clever arrangements of radioactive crystals that generate low-powered fusion.  Of course, the arrangements of the crystals entailed days-long rituals of sentient-being sacrifice and warpstone showers, so the issue is left for scholars to debate.

Any fumbles that happen while Silgurian technology is in use will invariably lead to 1d6 modified up or down by Luck at the player's discretion or Fate points if those rules are in play - a Fate point moves the result up the chart and increases power of summoned demons:

1) Phlogiston disturbance!
2) Total protonic reversal: the technology erupts into a blast of chilling, soul-searing energy, doing 1d24 points of damage to everyone withing 50 feet
3) Summon a type I demon
4) Summon a type II demon
5) The holder/user/operator is shifted to either several miles away in an inconvenient direction, or else 1d10 days into the past (possibly attracting Tindalos Hounds/Weeping Angels/Chronocops)
6)  Summon a type III demon

postscript:  Also - listening to The Good Friends of Jackson Elias podcast - fun Brits (they cuss a lot but I can't keep 'em sorted out). Talking in this episode about mind-transfer scenarios and Down Below/Somewhere Else spaces. I think I'll use mind-transfer again going forward but maybe not party-wide since it got to be a little squidgy.  The Silgurians surely have sorted out extra-dimensional spaces and those kinds of things, which could really whack out a map.  Hmm.  That could be good.

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