Sunday, April 9, 2017

Now Available: Horrors of the Lifechain Volume II

Hey, just wanted to warn everybody that Horrors of the Lifechain Volume II is now available for sale at www.rpgnow.com. I just added the file about five minutes ago. Go buy it if you need some nasty space beasties in your campaign.

This was an interesting book for me because of one reason: It marks my upgrade to a slightly less outdated layout program! After nearly a decade using Adobe Pagemaker 7.0, I finally made the switch to Adobe Indesign CS2. Yeah, CS2 is only a few years more current than Pagemaker, but those few years of programming evolution makes a difference. Earlier this year I upgraded to a new laptop running Windows 10 and Pagemaker wasn't playing very nicely with my new operating system. Images were coming out pixaleted, text was muddy, and there were occasional glitches.

I don't begrudge it because I'd been using Pagemaker nearly 20 years after Adobe stopped supporting the program and like I said, got nearly a decade of use out of the program. (Best $40 I ever spent was picking that disk up used.)

So far, I'm liking CS2 a lot. Horrors of the Lifechain Vol II was a fairly simple PDF but it came out looking about as good as any of my Pagemaker releases, so I'm at a baseline level of competence with the program already. And though Horrors didn't include any charts (which are the bane of my existence) I did a few test PDFs with charts to make sure I got the hang of that aspect of the program down as well. I'll only get better as new releases roll on, and I've got another few projects on deck.

Talk to you soon, and let me know what you think of the new layout!
CHRIS



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Cover Art: Horrors of the Lifechain II and additional critters

At right is the cover illustration for Horrors of the Lifechain Volume II, which is a Malcolm McClinton illustration from Inkwell Images. I've decided the creature depicted will be the (currently) first critter in the bestiary, a CR 15 master villain inspired heavily by the Overlords from Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End. They actually fit in perfectly with existing Lifespawn and cosmic threats, and are a thematic team with another race of similarly manipulative, emotionless alien geniuses: my own version of Kube from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. (I've included these critters as a minor Singular-blooded Lifespawn called the Quadi, and you'll meet them in the final draft.)

Lets take a look at the mechanics for my cover-boy.



Administrum – CR 15
Large LN Outsider (lawful, psionic)
XP 51,200
Init +2 Senses Darkvision 60 ft, true seeing, Lifesense 300 miles, Perception +27    
Languages Celestial, Galactic Common, Stonecutter, telepathy 100 ft

Defense
AC 29 Touch 11Flatfooted 27 (-1 size, +2 DEX, +4 natural, +13 inertial armor*)
HP 20d10 +80 hp (190 HP)
FORT +10 REF +14 WILL +16
(+8 bonus against transmutation and psychometabolism effects)
Immune ability damage/drain, disease energy drain, poison, Lifespawn mutation
Resist Electricity 10, Force 20, Fire 20, Pleasure 10
Weaknesses

Offense
Spd 40 ft Flight 80 ft (poor)
Melee +24/+19/+14/+9 unarmed strike (1d10+4 bludgeoning plus stunned 1d6 rounds (F-DC 24 negates), 19-20/x2)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th Concentration +26)
Constanttrue seeing
1x/day – interplanetary teleportation

Psi-Like Abilities (ML 20th Concentration +30) 
Constantinertial armor (included in stat block above, augmented to +13)
At Willmodify matter
-          quickened magic missile (5d4 force)
1x/day – mind switch (W-DC 23)
-          psychic chiurgury
-          psionic revivify
-          time regression
1x/year – astral seed

Statistics
Str 20 Dex 15 Con 18 Int 22 Wis 19 Cha 21
Base Atk +20 CMB +26 CMD 38
Feats Combat Manifestation, Craft Wondrous Items, Craft Psionic Items, Deep Focus, Deep Impact, Iron Heart, Iron Will, Improved Iron Will, Forge Ring, Psionic Weapon, Wild Talent
Skills Autohypnosis +29, Bluff +28, Craft (alchemy, chemical)* both at +29, Craft (jeweler)* +19 Diplomacy +28, Intimidate +28, Knowledge (arcana, civics, history, religion, the planes)* all at +29, Perception+27 Sense Motive +18
*swap Craft and Knowledge skills as desired to differentiate various Administrum

Ecology
Environment any
Organization usually accompanied by a variety of powerful Inevitable servitors, humanoid allies and underlings of up to company strength, or vast private, high-tech armies
Treasure

Special Abilities
Collective Judgment (SP)
A group of six or more Administrum can work together to impose vast genetic and psionic changes upon the evolution of a single species. Doing so requires six or more Administrums to meditate together for at least 6 hours plus on additional hour per Administrum beyond six.

At the end of this time, the Administrum chooses a single intelligent species on the world. All children in utero or under two years of age are affected by the uplift spell, becoming more intelligent and gaining Psionic abilities. They are considered a new species, separate from their parent. Simultaneously, the unmodified parent species is affected by reproductive apocalypse (F-DC 25). The FORT Save DC for this effect increases by +1 per additional Administrum participating in the ritual.

Honed Lifesense (EX)
Though it is not a Lifespawn itself, and considers Lifespawn mutation to be a corruption of healthy cellular activity, the Administrum has a Lifesense with a range of 300 miles.

Iron Heart (SU)
The Administrum can never be compelled to a sexual act against his will. He is immune to any form of mind-influencing effect that would compel or influence sexual behavior or a sexual response. Whether or not the Administrum is immune to a specific ability depends on context. For instance, he is immune to charm person if the spell would compel him to sexual behavior with the caster or one of the caster’s allies, but not if the same charm merely compelled him to drop his weapon and surrender.

Perfect Genome (EX)
The Administrum cannot be genetically engineered, can never gain the Lifespawn subtype nor Lifespawn feats. The Administrum receives a +8 racial bonus on saving throws against transmutation and psychometabolism effects.

Nature
Administrum are the self-appointed overseers of advanced, technologically adept societies who are on the verge of a vast evolutionary leap into a race of powerful psions. Administrum guide this transition, sparking it artificially with their vast powers when necessary, regardless of the opinions of the unevolved. Administrum take no pleasure in the extinction of non-psionic species, but do not see evolutionary genocide as a tragedy, any more than it is a tragedy when a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. Administrum consider it their prime duty to protect and guide the new breed of psions their tampering conceives.

Administrum follow an exacting pattern when initiating contact with a ‘project’ species. Initial contact is handled by intermediaries, as the Administrum trade technology with planetary governments, offering revolutionary technology like fusion power, FTL travel, advanced genetic engineering, teleportation tech or occult technology as gifts to radically upgrade the world’s standard of living and technology base. Over time, Administrum take greater roles in planetary leadership, eventually drawing the world into their vast, far-flung empire. After a previously agreed period, usually 7 to 10 planet-years from first contact, the Administrum reveal themselves publicly, as the race knows its demonic appearance tends to terrify most species. Secretly, an Administrum cabal will use its uplift ability about this time, changing the race forever and dooming the adults of the species to gradual extinction.

Administrum hate and fear Lifespawn. They will not tamper with a world they know to have been previously visited by Great Watchmakers (Just BTW, Great Watchmakers are a CR 30 homage to Jack Kirby's Celestials, also found in this book!), World Seeders or other Lifespawn demi-gods. Even the plausible rumor of Watchmaker interest can cause Adminstrum to abruptly break off contact and write-off a world, regardless of their level of prior tampering. Administrum use intermediaries and catspaws to exterminate Lifespawn infections wherever they are found, especially those of the Mother and Nemesis bloodlines, which they find especially distasteful and unpredictable.

Administrum resemble devils right out of the collective mythology of mankind and other sentient species. The race disdains decoration and usually goes nude or nearly so, dressed only in simple robes, toga or loincloth. The species moves slowly and always speaks softly, in a calm, rational and controlled manner. They are not prone to displays of temper, even in the heat of battle or at the moment of their own deaths. Administrum are legalistic and pedantic in the extreme, though they consider contracts made with less-evolved species subject to revision in the name of the greater good…. A good their eugenic schemes define for the galaxy. 

Lets take a look at one more creature from HotL2 before we close up shop for the afternoon. The Bleakmoon Tyrant first appeared in 2009's Galaxy Command as the iconic setting bad guy. For this revision, I choose great stock art from One Man Studios/Critical Hit Studios. Mechanically, the revised Bleakmoon Tyrant fights like a combination of Darksied and obscure 80s cartoon baddie Mon-Starr (from Silverhawks). He's another high-level adversary, somebody to wade through as a final 'mini-boss' before standing up to campaign defining adversaries like Artemis or Genesis.


 
Bleakmoon Tyrant – CR 22
Huge LE Outsider (evil, lawful, lifespawn, native)
XP 615,000
Init +3 Senses see in darkness, sensors equal to a military-grade capitol ship, Lifesense 10,000, Perception +43           
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Draconic, Galactic Common, Infernal, Stonecutter
Aura Dark Matter Corona (30 ft, 4d6 force and slowed, F-DC 41 partial)

Defense
AC 32 Touch 20 Flatfooted 29 (-2 size, +3 DEX, +1 shield, +12 equipment, +8 deflection)
HP 37d10 +296 hp (500 HP)
Damage Reduction 10/epic and good
FORT +34 REF +17 WILL +24
Immune Fire, Force, disease poison, suffocation, vacuum, radiation
Resist Cold 20, Electricity 20
Spell Resistance 32
Weaknesses Lifecount 3

Offense
Spd 50 ft Flight 200 ft (good), Space Flight 2,500 ft (perfect)
Melee +46/+46/+46/+41/+36/+31 cruel, vorpal handaxe (1d6+13, 20/x3)
Ranged +38/+33/+28/+23 obliteration beam (10d10 force, 20/x3, 10,000 ft range increment)
Ranged Touch +38/+33/+28/+23 victimizing gaze (target loses all Resistances/Immunities for 5 rounds, W-DC 41 to negate, 20,000 ft maximum range)
Special Qualities No Breath, Greater Starflight
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 37th  Concentration +43) 
5x/day – baleful polymorph (DC 21)
-          bestow curse (W-DC 21)
3x/daykinetic kill weapon (R-DC 24)
1x/dayaeons crash down (W-DC 25)
-          dominate monster (W-DC 25)
-          nuclear impact (DC 24)

Statistics
Str 30 Dex 16 Con 26 Int 18 Wis 16 Cha 22
Base Atk +37 CMB +49 CMD 62
Feats Cleave, Dazzling Display, Deadly Stroke, Double Slice, Far Shot, Great Cleave, Greater Sunder, Greater Weapon Focus (hand axe), Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved Sunder, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Point-Blank Shot, Power Attack, Shatter Defenses, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (hand axe)
Skills Craft (blacksmithing, gunsmith, mechanical) all at +25, Flight +36, Intimidate +46, Knowledge (arcana, local, the planes, tactics, technology) all at +44, Perception +43, Stealth +36
Gear pair of +3 cruel, vorpal handaxes

Ecology
Environment any (native to the prison world, Bleakmoon, in the Outer Necklace)
Organization accompanied by vast armies of minions, including fearsome Korbus legions
Treasure vastly beyond triple standard (but good luck taking it)

Special Abilities
Bleakmoon Mutation (SU)
As a full round action, the Bleakmoon Tyrant can empower a willing ally with cosmic potency that bestows the Fiendish and Giant simple templates upon that creature. This transformation lasts for 24 hours or until the ally is slain. The Bleakmoon Tyrant can empower up to 35 HD worth of allies with this ability per day.

Dark Matter Corona (SU)
A corona of strange gravitic effects surrounds the Bleakmoon Tyrant at all times. Anyone who ends their turn within 30 ft of the Bleakmoon Tyrant suffers 4d6 Force damage and is slowed for as long as they remain in the aura and for 1 round after leaving it. A successful DC 41 FORT Save halves the Force damage and negates the slowed condition, but this save must be repeated for each round of exposure.

If the Bleakmoon Tyrant chooses to suppress this aura, his Deflection bonus to Armor Class is also suppressed.

Victimizing Gaze (SU)
As an attack action, the Bleakmoon Tyrant can fire a lance of burning crimson light from his dark gaze. This is a ranged touch attack with a 20,000 ft maximum range and no range increment. The target is severely debilitated on a hit, losing all forms of Damage Reduction, Spell Resistance or Powered Resistance as well as all forms of Energy Resistance or Energy Immunity. This loss remains in place for a maximum of 5 rounds, with the target gaining a DC 41 WILL Save at the end of each round to end the effect early.

Nature
The Bleakmoon Tyrant is one of the most dangerous and ambitious cosmic warlords to ever have emerged from the churning, hyper-Darwinistic cauldron of the innermost reaches of Phallus Space. Over the last ten millennia or so, the Bleakmoon Warlord has carved out a sphere of influence and power stretching across endless parsecs of crowded, teeming and hazardous space. The Tyrant’s frightful, cosmos-rattling power and imperial ambitions has attracted the attentions of even the Old Gods, and it is testament to the Bleakmoon Tyrant’s tactical acumen that Their attention has not eradicated him.

The Bleakmoon Tyrant is a slaver without compare and without mercy. The Tyrant is a specialized dealer in unique and exotic Lifespawn slaves, mind-warped and modelocked Battlechangers and other highly valuable prey. The Tyrant maintains a network of space pirates, slavers, star-criminals, mercenaries and xeno-horrors stretching across galaxies and spanning multiple planes of existence. The Tyrant rules from his redoubt on the fortified moon Bleakmoon, a skull-like, crater-scarred world under the dying, crimson light of one of the Phallus’ myriad captured suns.

The Bleakmoon Tyrant’s origins and true nature are unknown, as the immortal Tyrant is known only by his gleaming armor, the color of blood. Thought the Tyrant’s gender is unverified, common rumor holds that the Tyrant is a male, likely of either the potent Singular or Genesis bloodlines.

The Bleakmoon Tyrant truly lives up to his name. Though a tactical genius, he is prone to underestimating his enemies, and enjoys sadistically taunting his foes or torturing them rather than killing them out-right. His child-like rages and melancholy are legendary, and woe to any underling who brings him bad news. Not only does the Tyrant shoot the messenger, he usually wipes out their entire
bloodline for good measure. The Tyrant is a petty sadist, who makes excellent use of both his spell-like abilities, more conventional tortures and the skills of entire worlds of slave-breakers to destroy his slaves mentally and spiritually while reshaping their physicality to his needs.

The Bleakmoon Tyrant is an immense armored biped clad head to toe in blood red cyber-armor forged from exotic, ultra-dense star-steel. The narrow slit of the Tyrant’s helm reveals pulsing red light with the exact radiation signature of the dying star that Bleakmoon itself orbits. The Bleakmoon Tyrant is a joyful and dangerous combatant, a crimson blur of death and pain wielding twin mono-molecular axes and firing optic blasts capable of scuttling a military corvette. His electronically modulated voice is a demonic snarl of hatred.








Friday, March 31, 2017

Horrors of the Lifechain Volume II




It’s been about a month since I last posted. Partly that’s because for the last year or so I’ve been working at a local college as a janitor for my ‘civilian’ job. The pay’s decent and I’ve been getting decent benefits, including medical and dental. Dental was a big advantage a few weeks ago, as I ended up having some teeth pulled. That was mentally, physically, and financially a blow: I’m terrified of dental surgery and it’d been years since I’d been to one. Plus, just the physicality of the surgery was pretty miserable, when I left the dentist, I felt like I’d been in a life and death struggle, just poisoned by fear and adrenaline, shaky for days. 

Plus, even with the dental insurance, my copay took a big chunk out of my discretionary funds, saving and art budget. So a couple of projects got delayed. (On a happier note, a toy fair in San Antonio took up another chunk of change but to more enjoyable ends, as I picked up about 200 dollars worth of random Transformers, including some nice G1 catches.) Add to that, the fact I’ve been either at work or at home and haven’t really felt like posting means I’ve been unfortunately silent.

However, I’ve not been idle and I’ll be releasing a new monster book with between 45-50 new creatures either this weekend or early next week. This will be Horrors of the Lifechain Volume II, introducing a host of dangerous new Lifespawn and space-themed monsters, including unique riffs on some of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy monstrosities. There's a few creatures I'll be commissioning original artwork for, but most of the new monsters will be specifically designed around an existing piece of stock art. Others are being illustrated with either artwork that went unused from previous projects, whil a few are few pieces of repurposed art. I'm also planning to include a ton of new monsters usable against Anthro and Battlechanger characters, specifically, tying into those cultures backstories and taking advantage of their specific weaknesses. I want to specifically offer thematic bad guys to players and GMs who've picked up either Fursona Unleashed or Battlechangers: Ironworks. 

So lets take a look at a pair of the new creatures you’ll meet up in this upcoming sourcebook as well as the stock art I’ve chosen to illustrate them.

 The first, the Eradica, was a pretty fun critter to design. I based it on the giant insectoid death-machines that made up the Ga Lak Tus swarm in Warren Ellis' Ultimate Galactus trilogy. I found a cool stock illustration from Jacob Blackmon of Purple Duck Games that reminded me of the Ga Lak Tus bugs, so I included this monstrosity. I think they fit in pretty well with the other Lifespawn. The fact I was able to use this creature to reskin and repurpose one of the neatest new monsters in Paizo’s Bestiary III was just gravy. 

(For some reason, Blogger isn't letting me post the image I'm using. Don't worry, you'll see it soon enough.)

Eradica – CR 15
Gargantuan CE Undead (lifespawn)
XP 51,200
Init +5   Senses Darkvision 90 ft, Lifesense 500 miles, true seeing, Perception +6 
Aura Desecration (20 ft radius, acts as desecrate)

Defense
AC 28 Touch 13 Flatfooted 26 (-4 size, +1 DEX, +1 dodge, +15 natural, +5 profane)
HP 22d8 +154* hp (253 HP)
Damage Reduction 15/slashing and good
FORT +14* REF +10* WILL +21*
Channel Resistance +4 Spell Resistance 26
Immune undead traits
Resist Cold 10, Electricity 10, Fire 15
Weaknesses Lifecount 4

Offense
Spd 60 ft Fly 120 ft (average) Space Flight 2,500 ft (perfect)
Melee four +25 stings (2d8+13 piercing plus 3d6 energy* plus energy drain, 20/x3)
Special Attacks Energy Drain (1 level, F-DC 26)
Special Qualities All-Around Vision, Greater Starflight
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 20th Concentration +26) 
Constant – desecrate (* Eradica acts as an unholy altar- effects included in statblock above) 
-          true seeing

Statistics
Str 36 Dex 13 Con – Int 3 Wis 22 Cha 20
Base Atk +16 CMB +29 CMD 40
Feats Cleave, Dodge, Dreadful Carnage, Following Step, Furious Focus, Great Cleave, Hover, Improved Initiative, Intimidating Prowess, Mobility, Power Attack, Step Up and Strike
Skills Fly +2, Intimidate +43

Ecology
Environment any
Organization vast, numberless swarms, though only one Eradica ever touches down within the same geographic region. If that Eradica falls, it is not usually replaced, and the destruction of the world continues unabated.
Treasure incidental

Special Abilities
Anti-Life Energies (SU)
The energy damage inflicted by the Eradica is of no particular type and not subject to energy resistance or immunity. A creature destroyed by this energy is destroyed, along with all their gear.

Desecration (SU)
The Eradica’s body is surrounded by a continual aura of anti-life energies that acts as a constant desecrate spell. The Eradica itself acts as unholy altar, and the creature benefits from this effect, as noted in the stat block above. Undead created by the Eradica’s spawning vector ability gain +2 HP per HD.

Spawning Vector (SU)
The Eradica exists primarily to spread the anti-life taint of undeath. Any creature slain by the Eradica rises in 1d6 rounds as a free-willed wraith (B1), or a dread wraith if the slain creature had 15+ HD.  These wraiths are not under the Eradica’s direct control, as the Eradica exists only to spread chaos and death, but they will not attack the creature under any circumstance. 

Nature
Eradica are legendary and deeply feared Lifespawn who have extinguished as many civilizations as there are captive stars orbiting the Phallus. These nearly mindless, instinct-driven genocide machines are compelled by the Singular’s unknowable will– worlds where other Lifespawn bloodlines predominate, or whose actions attract the Singular’s dreaming attention – are scoured bare by their great hordes. Such swarms can eclipse a sun as they descend into the killing zone. Repelling an Eradica swarm is a task for the greatest and most powerful Lifespawn paragons, and only if the entire might of the system unites behind their champions. Few are up to the task.

Eradica are the harbingers of even worse things. Tzitzimitl (B3) often arrive on a world in the dark hours when the Eradica’s presence triggers an exponentially growing undead plague. The Tzitzimitl finishes the work the swarm began, extinguishing all life on the world and utterly destroying the biosphere. Left in the swarm’s wake is a dead, broken and scorched world, a planetary tomb haunted by the ghosts of billions.

Eradica are enormous bio-mechanical insects who stand more than 30 ft high at the thorax. Their hulls are a gleaming, steely black, freezing cold to the touch. Their swollen, fleshly abdomen pulse with sickly milk-light and a similar radiance glows at the widest portion of their long, razored wings. The creature’s head is a rough triangle of soulless compound eyes, proboscis and mandibles.

The second preview critter, the Scorpion Mirage, first appeared in Guide to the Known Galaxy (2008) and has been dramatically pumped up by its revision. The mechanics are cleaner and more concise and the creature is generally tougher and nastier over-all. It's an old favorite of mine, and fits in well with the Battlechangers. This art is by Erik Lofgren of Misfit Studios. 

Scorpion Mirage – CR 14
Colossal CE Magical Beast (Battlechanger, lifespawn)
XP 38,400
Init +4   Senses Darkvision 500 ft, lowlight vision, see in darkness, Lifesense 10,000 miles, sensors equal to a military-grade light starship, Perception +21        
Languages Draconic, Stonecutter, tongues

Defense
AC 26 Touch 6 Flatfooted 26 (-4 size, +20 natural)
HP 16d10 + 160 hp (248 HP)
FORT +20 REF +10 WILL +7
Immune poison, suffocation, radiation, vacuum
Resist Electricity 20, Fire 10, Force 10
Weaknesses Lifecount 3

Offense
Spd 60 ft Space Flight 1,500 ft (perfect)
Melee four +26 claws (2d6+14 slashing, 20/x2)
Ranged two +12 ion barrage (10d10 electrical, 20/x3, 1,000 ft range increment, single shot)
Special Attacks rend (2 claws, 2d6+14 slashing), pounce
Special Qualities Freeze (starship form), Greater Starflight No Breath
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 16th Concentration +18) 
Constantdata read
-          tongues
At Willpirate’s registration (W-DC 15)

Statistics
Str 38 Dex 11 Con 30 Int 11 Wis 14 Cha 13
Base Atk +16 CMB +34 CMD 44 (48 vs bullrush, trip)  
Feats Blind Fight, Cleave, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Skill Focus (disguise)
Skills Disguise +26 (+46 freeze), Perception +21

Ecology
Environment deep space
Organization usually solitary
Treasure standard (usually ‘undigested’ cargo stored in a mimicked cargo hold)

Special Abilities
Fuelon Feeder (EX)
If the Scorpion Mirage kills or incapacitates a creature of the Battlechanger subtype, it can devour that victim’s Fuelon Reserve as a full round action. Doing so restores the Scorpion Mirage’s Fuelon Reserve. Once the its Fuelon Reserve is full, the Scorpion Mirage can expend any Fuelon remaining in the victim to benefit from a Heal spell.

Fuelon Reserve (EX)
The Scorpion Mirage is considered to have a Fuelon Reserve of 2 points. It can expend a point of Fuelon to achieve a variety of effects, described fully in Battlechangers: Ironworks.

Hull Ripper (EX)
The Scorpion Mirage’s claws ignore the Hardness and Damage Reduction of non-magical materials.

Techno-Mimicry (SU)
The Scorpion Mirage’s bio-mechanical anatomy and metamorphic gifts allow it to perfectly imitate a mid-sized cargo or military starship, including mimicking technological and emission signatures such as reactor radiation, IFF transponders and the like. The Scorpion Mirage gains a +20 racial bonus on Disguise checks to pass itself as an ordinary starship.

The Scorpion Mirage can change details of its disguise at will, as a full round action. It can change its class, hull design, configuration, as well as electronic signatures, colors and markings.

Nature
Scorpion Mirage are wily ambush predators. Born in the depths of space, these crab
like monsters use iron ores stripped from micrometeorites to sculpt an intricate shell around themselves, an innocuous facade to draw prey into their clutches. Early Scorpion Mirage imitated small ore-rich asteroids, feeding on prospectors and their ships when they came to mine.

As the Scorpion Mirage have evolved, theyhave discovered new capabilities and surprising
wells of cunning. Today, they grow shells mimicking small space-cruisers and single-pilot star fighters. Bioreactors in the Mirage’s guts manufacture radiation signatures similar to those generated by a starship in distress. The creatures can easily mimic common galactic languages, and demonstrate a facility for spacer jargon and military flight protocols. Scorpion Mirages are cunning imitators who enjoy stringing prey along, playing out the con that they’re just another passing vessel.

When a Mirage attacks, its metallic and polymer shell splits apart along previously unnoticed
seams. Beneath the shell, the vaguely arthropodal creature is a horrible medley of sword-like talons and intricate, multilayered and interlaced mouthparts. It raises its mil-spec ion pulse cannons like a charging scorpion before killing, an obvious source for their Terran codename.

Scorpion Mirages hunt for pleasure as often as they do for the rare-earth minerals they need to fuel the bio-reactors in their guts. Most enjoy the game of luring a passing starship in to investigate an interesting ‘derelict’ or pretending to be a ship in distress to gain emergency landing clearance at a space dock. Scorpion Mirages particularly enjoy being brought aboard a larger vessel- they might allow spacers to investigate their disguised insides for hours, only dropping the disguise once their prey realize something isn’t adding up about the mystery starship they’d brought aboard. Scorpion Mirages usually leave at least a few crew alive to spread their legend… though they kill everybody else and if possible destroy the vessel or station entirely.

Scorpion Mirages delight in making huge sectors of space too risky to navigate, and love destabilizing galactic trade. If an especially nasty masquerade or especially juicy kill can spark an intergalactic war, so much the better. The creatures are unfortunately common in the Steel Sector, and the Freegear and Tyrakron governments alike have huge Fuelon bounties on the hulls of these sadistic living machines. 

In addition to Horrors of the Lifechain Volume II, I’ve got several books of new magical items and spells on deck. I’ve been working on three main sourcebooks simultaneously.

Heavy Grimorie
This book will likely be out first and offer tons of thematically appropriate spells and magic items, all based around thinly disguised, futuristic riffs on sleazy 1970s/80s culture and sci-fi tropes. It’s been a ton of fun to write, and I’ve got about ¾ of the art I need for the project already.

Other Magic & Magic Items Sourcebooks
Right now, I’ve got a ton of new spells and magic items gathered together under a single file-name “otherverse occult”. It includes generic, high-fantasy content, items and spells culled from my various Pathfinder releases over the years. Other elements are my take on a variety of historic and public domain artifacts and myths from European paganism. It also features a ton of Anthro specific magic items, Battlechanger spells and magic items, including a ton of awesome artifacts as well as Lifespawn stuff. I’ve also collected every ‘occult-tech’ spell and item I’ve imagined to date for the Choicers of Otherverse America.

On one hand, it’s a huge, confusing file without a central theme, or perhaps too many competing themes. If I put it out as is, it’ll be a big, 300+ page mess. A beautiful mess, but still a mess.

However, the various threads make an interesting whole. I can introduce items, for example, from Norse Mythology, which in addition to playing nicely in any generic Pathfinder RPG campaign, also look and feel good in the hand of an Asatru hero from Otherverse America, or fit well with the parts of the Lifechain that I want to look, feel and play like Jack Kirby’s Asgard. And since Anthros, Battlechangers and Lifespawns are iconic Otherverse races, with a pan-dimensional presence, it makes sense to gather their ‘toys’ all in one place.

So maybe mixing and matching elements ends up producing a tasty dish. Whether this book is one mega-sourcebook or 3-4 smaller books is still to be determined, but in either case, you should be seeing the content pretty soon.

Blessed Be,
CHRIS