In addition to the rules for space travel and material on the Seren System, Sailing the Starlit Sea also contains a host of new creatures both malign and benevolent. While many are original creations, a few of these are based on classic alien monsters from literature, movies, and fantasy gaming.
Mike Welham, known for his amazing work with Open Design, Rite Publishing, and Clockwork Gnome Publishing, is the creature developer for Sailing the Starlit Sea. His unique creations have been featured in the popular Midgard: Book of Drakes, Campaign Cogs- Finwicket's Bestiary: Along the Faerie Path, Pathways E-zine, Wayfinder, and more. Now he brings his keen vision to Sailing the Starlit Sea with a crew of monsters perfect for any campaign.
So, let me turn it over to Mike as he takes you on a short tour of the creatures he has planned for the book.
Ad’anite - This intelligent and warlike free-floating purple ooze is the predominant lifeform on Ad’an. Until extraplanar visitors showed up on their planet, ad’enites contented themselves with campaigns against each other. Once they noticed the existence of other intelligent life, they ceased their internecine warfare and refocused their plans of conquest to other worlds. The realities of living on Ad’an gives them extraordinary strength on other Seren System planets as well as an amazing resistance to magic. However, rumors indicate lower level spells are actually more effective against the Ad'an, suggesting a dangerous weakness the Ad'an would like to keep secret.
Asterid - A living asteroid or meteor, an asterid lazily floats along in the Seren System’s asteroid belt. Periodically, one or more asterids decides to take a tour through the system, smashing into whatever gets in the way. For a ship plying the starlit seas, this can cause a great deal of trouble if the crew is caught off guard. Fortunately an asterid has limited maneuverability, so watchful commanders easily avoid the creature. This is not the case for an inhabited planet, and entire cities have been leveled by the “playful” creatures.
Cacognost - This ancient fey creature appears withered and distracted, yet kindly. It imparts a lifetime of knowledge to a creature with but a touch, causing the recipient to understand the true workings of the universe. The cacognost truly believes it is providing its victim a great boon, for the creature doesn’t understand how lesser beings cannot withstand the flood of information, which often includes concepts they are not equipped to handle. Invariably, a victim of the cacognost’s gift becomes violently insane.
Comettail - This water elemental rides on a comet’s tail until the comet passes through an inhabited system. A comettail causes terror to any habitation it falls upon, bringing extreme cold, endless mist, and floods. Comets rarely pass through the system, so a visitation occurs once a generation. However, smaller comettails frequently roost on asterids, making the threat of the earth elemental's landfall an ever-present danger.
Coronal - Normally happy to reside within Seren, fiery coronals still leap from the star every now and then to explore the solar system. Gifted with extraordinary speed in flight and superheated bodies, a coronal wreaks destruction on civilizations it visits. As with the appearance of a comet, these roiling balls of fire portend doom for the regions over which they appear.
Exchanger - This race of fleshy plantlike beings travels the universe to experience other civilizations, which they do by taking the place of various members of society. This also supports their survival needs as they consume the people with whom they have traded places. A dormant exchanger travels from system to system in a hard shell, which protects it from the extremes of space. The craft focuses on a large settlement and lands in the outskirts, so the creature can more easily take an individual victim. The victim winds up in the exchanger’s craft, to be consumed while the creature lives the life of its victim. As the victim’s life drains away, the exchanger eventually loses its stolen memories and mannerisms, requiring the creature to retreat to its craft.
Guiding Star - This tiny aberration shines brighter than most stars. Apparently related to the will-o-wisp, a guiding star instead feeds on hope, which it generates by leading other creatures out of danger or to fertile new lands. The creature moves at incredible speeds and is difficult to trap, but rumor holds that a captured guiding star will eventually transform into a will-o-wisp.
Lifebreath - A self-contained pocket of air, a lifebreath travels the Seren System searching for creatures it can help, exhibiting a passion extremely rare among its elemental brethren. Many tales speak of a ship’s crewman adrift in the void of space, running out of breathable air, only to be rescued at the last moment by a lifebreath. The creature also makes appearances on planets, saving creatures who are drowning, trapped underground, or in high elevations with dangerously thin atmospheres.
Living Ship Repair Swarm - All living ships come equipped with repair swarms, which look like collections of diminutive monkeys. These swarms can morph into a variety of tools necessary to fix any problems which occur on a ship. They can also turn into a patch to seal off any ruptures in a living ship’s skin in order to prevent decompression in the ship’s interior.
Living Ship Security Swarm - The nature of a living ship dictates the presence or absence of security swarms. Comprised of individuals larger than a repair swarm’s component creatures, a security swarm has the capability to camouflage itself as well as shapechange into whatever weaponry it determines will be most effective against intruders. A security swarm can patrol the interior and exterior of a living ship. In very rare instances, the swarm will mount expeditions to secure an area around its ship on a planet’s surface or attack other ships in space.
Sigmoid - Seemingly a red flare thrown by Seren, a sigmoid actually hails from another dimension, to which there exist gateways in various stars. This dimension is inimical to magical energy of all types, and a sigmoid occasionally extrudes itself from its home dimension in order to maliciously attack wielders of magic. Spellcasters of all stripes coming into contact with a sigmoid lose the ability to cast spells. This loss comes with an intense physical pain. Victims who don’t cast spells but merely wield magical items do not have any sort of immunity to the creature’s touch.
Zyth - An attempt to create an autonomous pilot for living ships using the morphogenic properties of the repair and security swarms, this experimental creature escaped and now threatens all biological lifeforms. With its ability to assume the aspect of any creature it digests, it can rapidly change shape to meet any challenges it encounters. Its shapechanging also allows it to move among people by hiding in plain sight, mimicking its victims using knowledge of their habits acquired by consuming them. No one has discerned the ultimate motives of a zyth, other than its apparent desire to be the system’s sole apex predator.