Sunday, August 19, 2012

Eldreth: An alien race for Stars Without Number

Appearance and Biology:
Eldreth are slug-like humanoids that stand about four to six inches taller than humans. Eldreth have smooth skin that ranges from grays to mottled greens and browns, and black hemispherical eyes that stand high on their hairless heads. Eldreth reproduce asexually, a process that occurs but once in their lives. Eldreth naturally live to be about 80 years old. (Although this is about double their lifespan prior to widespread cybernetic integration)
All Eldreth are born with cybenetics. Most of these are "plugs" in their skin that allow them to interface with various Eldreth technology. They also have one internal organ that is entirely synthetic; this organ produces the nanites that regulate the artificial aspects of the Eldreth's physiology.
Eldreth generally eat raw meats for the majority of their diet, and prefer their meat to be slightly decomposed. Eldreth can eat nearly any animal they encounter, though the more unlike their native biosphere, the more they need it to decompose before they eat it.  Eldreth require about twice as much water as a human. They are severely allergic to alcohol and cannot drink it.

History: The Eldreth seem an unlikely candidate for a sapient species. They trace their evolution back to large, carrion-eating slugs that fed off the dead animals of their swampy homeworld. Their planet had such a vicious ecosystem of mutual predation that they were simply the only species that didn't have to fear being eaten by their own prey.

Eldreth history is remarkably free of war; the abundance of carrion on their homeworld, and their relatively slow population growth made wars over resources largely unnecessary.  This allowed them to focus on technology that makes life easier, as opposed to technology that makes it easier to kill your neighbor and take his resources.

Throughout the history of the Eldreth, they have been obsessed with overcoming their physical limitations. They developed cybernetics very early and soon they spread to all walks of Eldreth life. Aided by their relatively simple biology, Eldreth didn't struggle with physical rejection issues the way many races have with cybertech.

The Eldreth have reached a point where they are literally born cyborgs; part of the Eldreth reproduction process involves a cybernetic organ within the body creating a cybernetic organ to be implanted in the offspring. As they grow up, different parts of this artificial organ are deployed and construct cybernetic infrastructure within the Eldreth's body.

The Eldreth discovered the spike drive about four hundred years after the Scream, and have built a modest polity for themselves. They are so far amenable to humans, though they seem to have little intention of sharing the secrets of their cybertech, they sometimes leave Eldreth space to work as technicians and scientists. Some of them have taken to researching cybertech designed specifically for other species.

Psychology: The Eldreth are a species that admires intellectual, particularly technological, prowess. They are curious about alien tech and seem to have little difficulty understanding it. However, the Eldreth believe that the Self must be perfected before looking outward. Many races find the Eldreth selfish or simply self-absorbed, and they are prone to behavior that other species would call "navel gazing."
The Eldreth are not particularly warlike, but their ancient history was filled with tales of behemoth monsters eating each other, but leaving them alone. The Eldreth are therefore somewhat naive about the idea of someone wanting to harm them. Many are easily fooled or manipulated by others. Others, however, are deeply suspicious of other sentient races, seeing them as a new type of predator that may very well prey upon the Eldreth in one form or another.
Eldreth are particularly vexed on the subject of psionics. No Eldreth has ever exhibited such ability. Many tout cybernetics as being superior, seeing as how the Scream didn't touch their race when it left so many other wiped out or with their empires in shambles.

Flavor: The Eldreth are best seen through the lenses of Sagacity and Curiosity. They are deeply ponderous and may even seem slow to others, when in fact they are very calculating and often consider multiple contingencies in any particular situation. The Eldreth are one of the newcomers to interstellar society and often seem to be overcome with wonder at the various things and creatures they encounter. Though their bodies are sluggish, the Eldreth language is very graceful, and sometimes seems out of place coming from a slug-like being.

Eldreth as Player Characters
*A PC must have a minimum Intelligence of 14 to play an Eldreth. Eldreth can have a maximum Dexterity score of 14.
*All Eldreth begin with Computer/0 as a skill, and all Eldreth treat Computer as a class skill.
*Eldreth may ignore up to 3 points of permanent System Strain from installed cybernetics.
*Eldreth begin the game with one of the following:
a.) An integral bio-weapon (treat as a laser pistol with half range, requires 8 hours of rest to recharge)
b.)An integral device equivalent to a compad.
c.) An integral tool-kit (treat as a metatool)
None of these items cause the Eldreth any System Strain.
*There are no psionic Eldreth; they must be Warriors or Experts.


  1. Cybernetic Alien Slugs! What's not to love about them!! Always good to see more SWN posts! You need to get someone to sketch these up for you!

  2. I was just thinking that myself. I have to find someone who is halfway talented and would be willing to do it as a favor. :)

    More races on the way.

  3. Good luck. I can't draw a decent stick figure myself. LOL. I'm hoping to run a SWN campaign when we finish our Pathfinder campaign.