Monday, April 12, 2010

TnB RPG: The Star Crusader and Xenoid

One of my favorite "classic" Dungeons and Dragons products is AC9: The Creature Catalogue, a UK-published compendium of monsters that had first appeared in a number of adventure modules up to the publishing date in 1986. One of the reasons I'm down with the CC is that it's got a lot of weird entries, including various unusual constructs, undead, plant life, and even various humanoids. Truth be told, I actually like the Creature Catalogue more than the basic lot of monsters provided in the Rules Cyclopedia or other classic/basic D&D products.

Wikipedia Entry for AC9: The Creature Catalogue.

The reason this book springs to mind is that it is, in many ways, the inspiration for my T&B RPG Monsters & Minions book (and yes, that's what I've settled on for a name...). Pushing a little ways away from the classic D&D-style monsters helps, I think, reinforce the idea that the T&B RPG is an Adventure Role-Playing Game, not just another FRPG. The rules are just as easily implemented in a historical or science-fiction setting as they are in something more fantastical, and to emphasize this, I've included a number of sci-fi monsters. I wanted to present the following two entries as examples. Both of these are patterned (read: ripped off) from existing science fiction entities, although one might be a little easier to spot than the other (although I know I've got at least a few regular readers who should have no trouble figuring them both out).

And so, I present to you the Star Crusader and the Xenoid:

Star Crusader

Attack: +5M/+5R

Defense: +4

Reflexes: +4

Athletics: +6 (+8 Suited)

Detection: +3

Stealth: +0

Avoid: +0

Endure: +6 (+8 Suited)

Resist: +6

Health: 24

Armor: +12(A)

Damage: +4M(P)/+6R(P)


Star Crusaders are enormous, genetically-engineered humans vat-grown to fight against humanity's many enemies in the grim darkness of the far future. Star Crusaders are typically two meters tall and heroically proportioned. In addition, all Star Crusaders wear an advanced, heavily armored battle suit that enhances their already prodigious strength and stamina. These armored battle suits are often painted in garish, menacing heraldic color schemes to denote the various crusader orders to which the wearer belongs.


Vat-grown entirely for the purpose of protecting mankind from the horrors of the galaxy, a Star Crusader knows only battle. Their days are spent either engaged in battle or training for the next conflict, and they seek only service to mankind and a glorious end on the battlefield. While seemingly aloof and uncaring to mere mortals, the Star Crusaders are distant from humanity only because they must remain so in order to face the horrors they regularly confront and remain strong and resolute. Against mankind's enemies, however, the Star Crusader shows only hatred and offers nothing but death.


The two main implements of war for a Star Crusader are the shredder sword and the blast-gun. Shredder swords are heavy, powered melee weapons that tear into their foes with a blade made from vicious shredding teeth that spin and rend anything they touch. The blast-guns of the Star Crusaders are heavy semi-automatic weapons that fire explosive, armor-piercing munitions out to 200 meters.

In battle, Star Crusaders typically advance into the teeth of an enemy's position, laying down a steady fire with their blast-guns to cut down on the enemy's numbers and weaken their morale. Once within reach of the enemy forces, the Star Crusaders set aside their blast-guns and draw their shredder swords, laying about and rending any foes within reach into a gory ruin.

(As an aside, the Star Crusader's Armor Value is marked as Type "A", which is Ablative, meaning it is an advanced armor type that grants full protection against Normal and Ballistic damage types, and half its value against Energy damage. The Crusader's melee and ranged damage is noted as Type "P", which is Piercing, meaning the Armor Value of Normal, Ballistic, and Ablative armors is halved vs. Piercing damage.)


Attack: +6M

Defense: +4

Reflexes: +6

Athletics: +6

Detection: +4

Stealth: +4

Avoid: +6

Endure: +6

Resist: +4

Health: 24

Armor: 4

Damage: +2M


Rumored to have been bio-engineered by some advanced alien race to be the perfect predator, the Xenoids normally stand slightly taller than an average human male, but if standing fully erect, are almost eight feet tall and at least fifteen feet long from teeth to tail. The Xenoid's body is armored in a jet black chitinous carapace covered in spikes and razor-sharp edges, with clawed appendages and extremely powerful jaws, Zenoids are amazingly fast and surprisingly stealthy for their size.


Based around a brood mentality, the Xenoids have a queen that embeds its young in the bodies of incapacitated prey, where the young gestate and grow until they are strong enough to survive on their own, at which point they burst from their host and devour the host's body over the period of the next 24 hours, as the young Xeniod grows with amazing speed. Within a week, given a steady stream of prey, the Xenoid will reach its full size. At this point, it serves as bodyguard for the Queen, as well as defender of the nest and hunter/gatherer of both food for itself and the Queen, as well as incapacitated hosts for further young.

Xenoids are extremely smart, but their totally alien minds allow no methods for reasoning or interacting with them. Although Xenoids have some form of communication amongst the members of their species, it doesn't appear to be a "language", or if it is, it is not verbal. However, they do cooperate together, have no real sense of self-preservation or individual identity, and are utterly without fear. And, unless wiped out, their only drive is to protect the Queen and facilitate the furthering of their species through capturing more hosts for the young to incubate in and feed on after hatching.


Xenoids are unbelievably dangerous creatures. Extremely strong and fast, their very carapaces and even their tails are deadly weapons. All attacks made by Xenoids are made using Weighted Rolls, and they also typically use the Sneak Attack, Charge Attack, and Desperate Blow combat maneuvers whenever possible.

Even more distressing, anyone lucky enough to get within melee reach of a Xenoid and survive long enough to strike back risks being exposed to the creatures Toxic Blood. Anyone in Melee with a Xenoid when it takes damage must make a BP 8 Avoid Check or suffer 1d + Negative Balance points of Acid damage (P) from the creature's corrosive blood, which has a tendency to spray from any wounds or cracks in the Xenoid's carapace, probably as some kind of defense mechanism against attack.

I've got other sci-fi monster and minion listings available for later columns, and there will be more along the way as I continue to work on the supplement. Comments and Questions are always welcome.


Jay said...

Very nice! I like the idea of vat-grown cannon fodder :)

The Xenoids, do you envision them to be like the xenomorphs of the Alien franchise? That's the impression I got (was that not correct?).

Badelaire said...

You are correct sir. They also play off of Games Workshop's Tyranids, which are themselves based on Aliens.