Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Threats of the Galaxy: Dire Wraiths


The dreaded Dire Wraiths hail from a mysterious area of space known as the Dark Nebula in the Goldarak Sector, the most coreward inhabited sector in the Alpha Quadrant. The people of Galador have known about the aggressive and duplicitous species for some time. The Dire Wraiths made themselves known to the Galadorians as they made their first forays into space exploration. The Dire Wraiths waged a war of sabotage and subterfuge seemingly in with the goal of destroying Galador's space programs and plunging their civilization into chaos. The Wraith War was a long and bloody affair for the Galadorians, but one in which they prevailed. However, the Dire Wraiths have continually been a menace to peaceful people of Galador and have set their sights many of the civilizations of the Alpha Quadrant the more that the Galadorians trade and travel further into the galaxy.

What has always perplexed not only Galadorian scientists, but also military tacticians and historians that have studied Galador's struggle with the Dire Wraiths, is the species strategy in combat. During the time of the Wraith War, the Galadorians were just entering into the first stages of the Gravity Age and were easily outmatched both in technology and numbers by the Dire Wraiths, but the wraiths never launched a full offensive. The only times during the war that they showed massed force was when the Galadorians entered the Dark Nebula, and each time were repulsed suffering heavy losses. In the end, the war was declared "won" when the Wraiths were driven back into the Dark Nebula. The other puzzling aspect of the Wraith War is that the supposed goals of destroying Galadorian culture that started the war only made their civilization stronger. The various nations pulled together to form a united front against the Dire Wraiths, and any other threat that could be found in the galaxy, and the technology salvaged from Dire Wraith starships and personal effects propelled Galadorian science forward by at least a century.

Very little is known about the Dark Wraiths. The location of their homeworld inside the turbulent and dangerous Dark Nebula remains a mystery to this day. What is known is taken from eye witness accounts and from the few autopsies that have been performed on slain Dire Wraiths whose embedded atomizers failed to activate upon death. What is known is enough to give all stellar nations a cause for concern.

Dire Wraiths are shapeshifters who can mimic those they "taste" with their needle-like tongues. Tasting does not kill the victim, but Dire Wraiths rarely leave their victims alive. This allows them to change their form, including changes in mass, to mimic species from one meter to four meters in height. This ability to mimic other species allows them to mimic specific beings as well. They do not gain access to the full length and breadth of their memories, but they do gain knowledge into important events, personal connections, and skill sets that allow them to put up a convincing ruse to even those that know the mimicked person best.

Dire Wraith shapeshifting does have limits. It appears that it only works on humanoid or smaller centauroid species of mammalian, reptilian, or avian origin. Insectoid, piscean, and vegetation-evolved species and stranger species like the Dralasites are apparently too much for a Dire Wraith's ability to mimic. Most genetic scans are even fooled by a Dire Wraith's mimicking ability, but a thorough scan will show some slight anomalies virtually imperceptible to most genetic scanners. Plus, only the most highly trained Dire Wraiths can house the genetic material of more than one being, even then most Dire Wraith special agents, or "Ghosts" can only house two or possibly three beings' genetic makeup in their bodies. Most Dire Wraiths lose the ability to shapeshift into a tasted form once then shift back into their original forms, and must taste another being in order to shapeshift again.

Dire Wraiths in their original form is a largely humanoid mass of pink flesh with areas purple that look like bruises. Their hands and feet have only three digits, and their mouths are book-ended by two small, tentacle-like appendages. Their mouths are wide and triangular allowing them to open much wider than most species. Dire Wraiths also sport long tails. They walk with a hunched gait and look ungainly and obese due to their lumpy and plump bodies, but are surprisingly agile and strong. They are hairless and their eyes are stark white with no visible pupils.

Dire Wraiths have made their presence in the galaxy known with several acts of sabotage in many sectors affecting several different stellar nations from Galador to the Concord and even to the Klingon and Romulan empires. Their goals appear unchanged from their first encounters with the Galadorians: cause chaos and hinder technological and cultural advancement. Even though they have struck at rival stellar nations, none of the attacks have been done in a way that would point suspicion at a rival; in fact, in many cases Dire Wraiths have taken credit for their actions. Why this is the case is inscrutable to all military and political strategists and scholars, it is almost like they are attempting to provoke a fight with the galaxy at large all at once. Some theorize that might just be their goal: goad stellar nations into attack en masse on the Dark Nebula where the Dire Wraiths hold sway so completely that they could take out their foes more easily than in open, traditional warfare. So far, no one has taken the bait in 400 years since the time of the Galadorians' Wraith War.

Dire Wraiths in Savage Worlds
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d10
Skills: Fighting d8, Investigation d8, Persuasion d10, Piloting d8, Shooting d8, Stealth d8, Survival d8. (Many Dire Wraiths also have some Knowledge skills in Computers, Chemistry, Politics, etc. depending on their mission parameters).
Pace: 6 (or by form taken); Parry: 6; Toughness: 7
Gear: Dire Wraiths are typically armed with weapons are armor on par with the local culture (generally taken from the victims of their tasting)
Special Abilities
  • Infravision: Dire Wraiths can see in dim light and ignore penalties for poor lighting in all but pitch darkness. 
  • Taste: Dire Wraiths can flick their long, sharp tongues at foes to sample their DNA and then take the form of the person they tasted. This attack does Str+d4 damage and has a range of 2. If the attack causes a Shaken or Wound result, the victim's DNA has been sampled and the Dire Wraith can then take the form of the victim in the next round. No other effect is bestowed upon the victim other than the knowledge that their is now a being that can take their form. 


Dire Wraiths in Rogue Space
DRM +2; TP U; SZ A*; MV Humanoid (30')*; AR L; DM M or V; HP 5; SP *
Gear: Laser Pistols or Laser Rifles, but that can change based on the culture they are found in.
Special: Dire Wraiths can make a tongue attack that does L damage with a range of S. If this attack does damage, the Dire Wraith can take the form of the victim on the next round. This allows them to alter their Movement rate to that of the new form.

3 comments:

Tom said...

Dire Wraiths are great villains.

Brutorz Bill said...

Excellent! I was hoping you would post these. Great villains for a sci fi campaign.

Giles Kiser said...

Thanks, guys! I'm glad you like them.

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