Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Aliens for X-plorers: Meduzhans

An adult Meduzhan (medua)

Meduzhans hail from the core of the known galaxy and are an ancient race. They evolved eons ago from the airborne oceans of a long gone gas giant world near the galactic core. Their longevity has bred in them resentment and a bitter hatred of most other sentient races. Because they've grown to endure the physical demands of the vacuum of space, they deliberatly overbreed and use offspring to form "clouds" inside which other members can travel--as a spacefaring vessel. This has allowed them to spread to many sectors of known-space.

Physical Characteristics
Meduzhans have no need for atmospheric support and can thrive in the void of space as easily as they can underwater or in a pressured environment. It's not understood how they deal with these extremes. Meduzhans live a multi-cycle lifespan which includes several stages, of which only three are known:

Larval meduzhans forming a cloud

Larvae - These seedling creatures are about the size of a grape and travel in great clouds in interstellar space. They are translucent white to a slight pink in color. They appear to prefer space or worlds without atmosphere, but they've been found on more terrestrial planets. Bizarely, they seem to be able to hover, though their small size makes them prone to climates with high winds. Larvae can only communicate with their own species in this stage. They act in hivemind and at the command of their elders (when present) but they are curious about their environment--even appearing innocent to unfamiliar beings.

A cloud of larvae are capable of forming large spacefaring shells for their older siblings. Only the larvae are capable of interstellar travel via folding space. Older specimens lose this ability for some reason when they mature other talents.

Young adult medua

Medua - This mobile, adult stage looks to humans as a giant, dome-shaped jellyfish, complete with nematocyst (tentacles), save for a great black-on-black eye at the center. Medua appear most graceful--gentle even--and seem to float in slow motion in mid-air in atmosphere (sans the difficulty of their younger siblings). Medua take on a variety of tints to their mostly translucent bodies (silver, purplish, sickly green or yellow are among the most common).

Average size is approximately 4 meters in diameter, but older forms have been known to get as large as 20-25. There have been sightings of what may constitute "ancient" specimens topping out at 40 meters (note: these behemouths have only been seen in space, and even so--fleeting glimpses). Medua communicate telepathically (see below) with any sentient race. To humans and most humanoids, they have harsh mental "voices" that can cause migraines if dialog goes on for too long.

Some varieties grow long tails, which seem to indicate some sort of elite psionic warrior class.

Approximation of the "dominu" form
Dominu - About 1 in every 1,000 meduzhans are genetically predisposed to reach this later stage of development. Observational evidence seems to indicate that this form is reserved for the higher echelons of Meduzhan society (nobels and the like). Dominu are tall tower-like versions of their younger selves, with their medua forms resembling their "head" and two series of stalk-like trunks stacked on upon another. A second, longer series of nematocysts extends from the joining of these two trunks (at the midpoint). They have not feet, but tails that barely caress the ground when in motion.

Dominu have learned to cultivate their personas and their mental "voices" are actualy very pleasant, almost "velvet" in disposition to most humanoid races. It's likely that they practiced this talent to aid in their Machivellian schemes.

Dominu retain all of the special abilities of their medua counterparts (those of 4 meter diameter).

Special Abilities

Paralysis: Larval meduzhans have only one special ability, much like our earthly jellies in that they possess nematocyst tentacles for stinging and capturing prey. Their stingers are most lethal while juvenile, rendering enemies' muscles useless (Save vs. Paralysis). Once larvae reach maturation stage they are able to call up their secondary ability...

Psionics: Meduzhans begin manifesting a range of psionic abilites--which activates their hidden bioluminescence--as yound adults (around 1 meter in diameter) and can develop these well into adulthood. Abilities seem to shift in their maturation, a proces that's not well understood. (e.g., telekinesis shows up late and tops out early.) Though we're not sure how old (in human years) they are when their powers develop, Earth spies have created the following chart to assist wary travelers and soldiers alike (m = meters):
  • 1m diameter - telepathy,  touch only | Will Domination via touch (Presence [PRE] Save) attempted on all they encounter | Mind Blast, touch only (renders 1d6 PRE damage
  • 4m diameter - telepathy, range: 3.5m | telekinesis, range: 5m | Will Domination, range: see telepathy | Mind Blast, range: 15m, damage is level x d6 | Mental Illusions, level x d6 rounds 
  • 10m diameter - telepathy, range: 25m | telekinesis, range 100m | other abilities same as 4m
  • 50m diameter - telepathy, range: 1 lightyear | telekinesis 1 light year | Psionic monster at this point - see forthcoming entry for K Class Meduzhans
Will Domination: Meduzhans are all about controling their prey. Once a victim has been captured by their tentacles, they will seek to impose their will on it through mind control. This, in effect, renders them their prey into physical puppets. Victims most roll a Save vs. PRE to avoid being dominated.

Once captured, victims become the "body" to a floating medua "head". Meduzhans are notoriously fiendish manipulators--convincing enemies with hallucinations and a masterful understanding of the fears and psychological weaknesses of many sentient races.

A victim who is released (or freed) from the control of a meduzhan will need to roll a Save vs. Poison to survive the neurotoxins that remain in their system and avoid having hit points reduced by half. The victim tends to go into shock after being de-toxed, so medical facilities are often required for full recovery. Purplish sting marks from a meduzhan domination attacks will mark the victim for life, without cosmetic surgery to hide the scars. Meduzhans who encounter a past victim with have a +2 chance to re-dominate thorugh intimidation by guilt-shaming the victim for being "weak".

Other psionic abilites may also develop.

The aliens have an angelic like quality that often disarms the sensibilities of their foes. Their gentle beauty and grace is a monstrous facade. They are unkind, cruel overlords that perceive nearly every sentient species as subordinate and therefore fit only to be dominated. Meduzhans rule by a high council of elders ascend through assassination and a corrupt political hegemony. They often disagree, save for one task, which is to maintain--at all costs--their queen Opolyotta, who is considered the sole progenitor of the species. Her whereabouts, appearance, and basically anything about her are kept secret. It is known however that she has no direct influence on the council, but only seems to "grace" their decisions through "prayer".

Vocational Aptitude
Most meduzhans are private and/or independent agents who prefer to rule subordinate species single-handedly. In occasions of war, they are called to a meeting place somewhere in space and may form a cloud of adult meduzhans who then willingly sacrifice their bodies to form giant battleships. Only nobels are allowed to crew these vessels which are among the most formidable weapons in the known spaceways.

Mostly though, medua-stage individuals will find themselves either seeking to create their own personal empire or building a private fortune as a dishonest merchant. In these cases they may be masquerading as another species via psionic puppetry or even mental illusions (the more powerful telepaths can manage this). They consider themselves overlords who rule the weak by divine right.

Meduzhans are much stronger, more agile, and hardier than they appear, but have no need for coverings, and they abhor physical weapons. They often inject themselves with all manner of chemical or genetic enhancement, it's thought this boosts their abilities or give them new ones. These pollutants could affect their appearance (color, gelatinousness, etc.) as well.

Note: This entry assumes familiarity with X-plorers ruleset, but could easily be converted to your game of choice.


  1. Scheming jellyfish. In our hearts, we always knew it. Very cool!

  2. Thanks guys, I credit my prejudice against the evil ones to a nasty sting when I was 9. They deserve every megawatt of hot laserfire they get!

  3. P.S. I'll do stats for these guys soon.