Monday, November 03, 2014

Threats of the Galaxy: The Aboleth

In the course of the exploration of the universe, there have been a few places that most cultures, no matter if they are Concord, Klingon, Romulan, Autocron, or Tau, avoid at all cost. These systems are far too dangerous to explore, the things or artifacts found there should be left alone for the good of the galaxy. The area of space known as the Whispering Dark is just such a place.

The Whispering Dark lies deep in the Core, in an area of space already notorious for supernovas and black holes. Before the true danger of the sector was discovered, it was first seen as a waypoint in the chaos of the coreward sectors, an area of seeming calm in a sea of ancient, dying stars. The sector was doubly inviting by the abundance of M Class planets with plenty of resources, and no sentient life already staking a claim. The richesh of the sector, which was called by many names in many tongues, but all essentially translating to Heaven or Shangri-La, seemed to only grow in abundance the further into the center of the sector. It wasn't until explorers discovered "the Nexus" that they realized that this Shangri-La was in actuality Hell.

The first clue was that there were already starships on the surface. A few were recognizable, but most were of unknown origins and some appeared to be very, very old. Scans showed a vast network of tunnels leading deep within the Earth, and strange energy readings would register deep beneath the surface. The crew of the Verdance, a deep space exploration ship crewed largely by Ithorians, Humans, and T'sa, landed and prepared to explore the caverns.

The Verdance is the first and only known Concord ship to escape with any of its crew alive, though they did not stay that way for long, and much of the Concord's information on the Nexus and the Aboleth comes from those surviving crew members' logs. They landed on the planet and noticed signs of struggle on some of the ships; blast marks and other damage pocked the hulls of several of the ships. Long dried blood smears were found on the outsides of some hulls near hatches, and there appeared to be signs of weapons fire in the rock around the area, especially more towards the mouth of the nearest cave. At this point, many of the crew wanted to leave, but they said they felt compelled to venture forward as if someone was gently calling to them. They entered the cavern and began their trek into the earth.

The cavern was found to be artificial, though there was no lighting or any sign of technology except for ancient and unrecognizable bits of metal or tech occasionally found along the passage floor. The further they got into the passage, the desire to keep moving forward became undeniable, but fear won out with several crew members. That's when they were attacked. The attackers wielded mostly primitive weapons, but some did use slugthrowers and energy weapons, though the weapons appeared to be in various states of decay. Most stood about 3 to 4 feet tall, though there were a few 5-6 foot tall beings mixed in their number. All had the look of humanoids evolved from piscean life forms. As they would come to find out, these beings are called Murlocs and Skum. They were eventually overtaken, most of the exploratory crew was killed, but five captives were taken deeper into the planet.

Their journey took some time, though how long they couldn't tell due to the pitch darkness. Eventually they reached their destination. A large cavern sparsely lit by luminescent fungi and filled with water. From the water rose buildings, most appeared to be housing, while others looked like ziggurauts and pyramids. The entire area felt wrong, as if space were somehow warped. The captives began to feel nauseated by the effects of the cavern. They were brought to the water's edge and out of the gloom rose a giant, fish-like being. It spoke into their minds with such force that one of the captives dies from a massive brain hemorrhage.

The crew were subjected to various tests. The beings they now know to be called Aboleths, had nothing akin to contemporary technology. The tests were done with psionic powers and crude instruments of stone and some sort of solidified slime. They were probed for information on the galaxy, on technology, on forms of life. They were also tortured to test the limits of their bodies. After some time, the survivors escaped. A couple thought that they were allowed to leave, that their escape was too easy even though they were harried by Murlocs and Skum most of the way back to their ship. When they reached the surface, they found that the crew that was left back at the ship was slaughtered. Gore trails led back into the cavern mouth. Their ship was torn apart, but still functional. As they made their way off-world, they were harried by some of the ships on the surface likely crewed by Murlocs and Skum though neither race seemed to have the technological know-how or even the intelligence to pilot a spaceship. All the while they kept hearing the whispers, now turned to curses and images of death and malice, in their minds.

They were able to out-maneuver their attackers for a time. Largely due to their attacker's unfamiliarity with the ships they were operating and the sad state that most of ships were in. Still, the whispers in their minds continued. Two crew members committed suicide, unable to bear what they were hearing and seeing in their mind any longer. The final remaining two crew members were able to send a message to the nearest Concord system. Their ship was found in open space years later, inoperable and with multiple hull breaches due to weapons fire. Since that time, the Concord has declared that system off-limits to all Concord members. They also sent word to surrounding stellar nations of the dangers of the Whispering Dark. Still, the sector is a pool of calm in a dangerous part of space and the tales of ancient artifacts and abundant, untouched, resources keep the foolhardy returning.

After the Illithid Invasion was broken, it was reported that many Illithid ships were seen entering the Whispering Dark. It has been hoped by many that the Aboleth will deal with those Illithids, but if any species can fight off the maddening effects of an Aboleth's whispers it would be the Illithids. Illithid activity in and around the Whispering Dark makes it appear that they have found a way to fight off the effects, stay away from the Aboleth, or possibly even joined forces with the beings. It has been theorized that the Illithid and Aboleth may be related in some way thanks to the descriptions of a feeling of wrongness about them, a description used to describe the Illithid as well. It could be that the Aboleth were originally not from this galaxy (or even this reality).

Aboleth were described to be around 25 feet long and have the look of a mutated catfish. They have three eyes situated vertically. Their mouths are sucker-like and rest underneath the front of their heads. Four long tentacles allow them to move on land, though they do not appear to be able to live out of water for very long and do not move on land easily. Their flesh is smooth and is blue-gray in color with pink underbellies; a coating of thick, poisonous slime covers their bodies and smells of rotten grease. Their long bodies terminate in a crescent shaped tail.

Aboleth psionics are powerful, able to reach across many light years to touch the minds of any sentient being. Although they appear to only be telepathic, there does seem to be an element of mind control in their abilities as well that only seems to increase in power the closer sentient beings get to the Nexus. Still, even if one is able to fight off the mind control effects, the near constant barrage of foul imagery would be enough for even the strongest mind to crack under the strain.

Aboleth for Savage Worlds
Aboleth (WC) Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d10, Strength d12+1, Vigor d12+2
Skills: Fighting d6, Intimidation d12, Repair d10, Swimming d12+3, Notice d12, Spellcasting d8
Charisma: +2; Pace: 2; Parry: 5; Toughness: 17 (3)
Edges: Arcane Background (Psionics), Frenzy, Improved Frenzy, Level Headed, Quick, Strong Willed, Weapon Focus (tentacle)
Powers: Confusion (hypnotic pattern), Disguise (illusion), Obscure (illusion), Puppet
Special Abilities
• Armour +3: Slimy skin.
• Tentacles: Str+d8; Reach 1"; Slime.
• Darkvision: No vision penalties for darkness (range 12").
• Aquatic: Swimming Pace of 15", and cannot drown.
• Slime: Make a Vigor roll, on a failure reduce Vigor by 1 die step.
• Size +5: Twenty-five feet long; Toughness +5.
• Large: -2 to attack medium-sized foes, they receive +2 to their attacks.

(Thanks to the Savage Worlds Monster Finder for the stats for the Aboleth. Find it here as it is an excellent resource.)

Aboleth for Rogue Space
DRM +5; TP U; SZ Z; MV 60' (swim) or 10' (crawl); AR M; DM M; SP *
Aboleth can see even in pitch darkness. 
Aboleth cannot drown in water and can survive on land for up to an hour before needing to immerse themselves. 
Slime: Those damaged by a tentacle attack must make a Fighting roll against TN 9 or suffer a -2 penalty to all FASER rolls until the victim is immersed in water or until a med pack is successfully used on the character (no Hit Point restoration when treating Aboleth slime). 
Psionics: Aboleths are potent Espers. They have the powers of Cloak, Suggestion, and Telepathy. They roll Empathy checks with a +5 bonus. 

(Murlocs and Skum will get their own entries in the near future.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment.