image from Frobidden Planet

image from Frobidden Planet
Graves of Altair IV

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Necronauts

- they came from Undead Space!

From a universe within the negative material plane where the dominant life form is undead, comes an (early) technology adopter, and it has breached the dimensional plane!  

Inspired by equal parts the Micronauts, a few bad TOS Star Trek episodes, and  Judge Death and the Dark Judges, come negative material explorers here to explore, to conquer, and to feast!

Rising up through the Lifewall, these technologically advanced explorers from the Negative Zone, a parallel universe beyond the Negative Material Plane, come here to explore, to conquer, and to feast!

Appearing as semi humanoid transparent armored shells, often manifesting a multicoloured halo or aura (of the kind shown in kirlian photography but in normal sight) up to three feet distant from them.  
Being negative material creatures, they are both undead and, ultimately, made of antimatter.  Their suits allow safe non-corporeal projection with limited interaction in the “mysterious positive material universe.”
Note - as they do originate from the Negative Zone, YES they  can be turned as though undead.  

Necronaut traits
Made of antimatter
Any kind of flesh to flesh or normal campaign matter to necrotic anti-flesh will set this off.   Add both party’s total hit points together.  Roll that many 12 sided dice and inflict that damage on everything in about a kilometer radius.
The Necronauts will not get out of their suits for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER.
Any character destroyed thus should be allowed a DC 20 will save; if successful that character has a 50% of being spontaneously reassembled but now made of antimatter and on THEIR side of the Lifewall.  If the entire or most of the party translates across you have your work cut out for you.
Removing one of these creatures from their suits would be a catastrophically bad idea.  But it will. end the threat (and several player characters likely) and possibly stop any more from coming (maybe.  It might guarantee a larger, heavily armed, squad in future.

Beyond the lifewall
The reality raiders come from a place where evolution works in reverse;  ancient complex forms rot and decay giving rise to lesser ones;  on their homeworld, evolution is based on decomposition.  Functionally, they are undead.   They can be turned like undead, and attempting to heal them will inflict damage.   Conversely, their healing arts inflict damage on all things in the campaign world.  
Turning will simply end the encounter; after the turned immediately depart back to their origin point, the rest of the team will also depart in an organized manner.   This return to base however will almost certainly lead to a larger more actively hostile force returning in 12d100 days.  
They will not understand the turning or any of that; they do not have gods where they come from and certainly no clerics so the entire class will be alien to them.

The Negative Zone - From whence they came; a parallel universe located on the far side of the Negative Material Plane, presumably made of antimatter.  AT least one of the equivalent worlds in that universe is advanced enough to attempt to send voyagers “up” through the soft space area for various purposes.  It is of note that the rules of magic are very different in that universe and so certain things that are impossible here are not there.
It is possible that the entire plane is inhabited by the forces of undeath.  Living beings seem offensive to them.   A peculiar form of necrotic evolution is common to beings from this area of their universe.
Attempts to voyage into their universe, breaching the barrier of negative energy (the “lifewall” as the natives call it, the “death-wall” from Jaldipoor’s perspective)  that prevents such transit magically, invariably bring back bizarre necrotic parasites, and possibly diseases.

Role playing these bleak explorers and very Judge Death-like Conquistadors
In  a way you are lawful - you act per a particular hierarchy of orders in a milito-scientific manner.  BUT natural law to you means necrotic evolution resulting in a form of undeath, likely animated by the soul fragments of those living beings in our universe killed via energy drain.   LIfe and all it’s forms to them are terrible alien monsters;  tho samples should be taken back to their universe for analysis.  
The Encounter  will likely begin fairly abruptly as the two types materialize in a flash of blue and indigo translocation energy, some 2d100 feet distant at the closest. They will appear in a tight organized grouping all within 20’ of one another.
Anyone who is actively seeing the etheric plane (or any other type of multi-spectral seeing the unseen seeing into the other worlds ability really, at the Ref’s option) may first see the scout or scouts seemingly rise out of the ground semi translucently and take position before the remainder seem to do so, as if rising out of some great hidden pit.  Once they are all in position the rest of the party will be able to perceive them as they complete their voyage.  

Type One Necronaut - scout

Necronaut Scout  (1-3): Init +;  Atk +5 Waveform blaster fire (2d8+2, 300 ‘); AC 15; HD 3d12 ;hp 33, 28, 23; MV 25’; Act 1d20; SP Analyzer, necronaut traits; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +3; AL  Lawful - functionally Chaotic.
Description - a transparent humanoid figure, perhaps five feet in height, apparently glowing from within with a rosy-golden light that makes it difficult to concentrate on.  Nonetheless, waves of chill radiate out from the figure, which seems to float or levitate, rather than walk upon the ground.   Two golden eyes BURN as they look upon you….
The figure floats in a slight envelope of apparent antigravity;  looking into the light it’s eyes shed will inflict a one time -2 penalty on immediately subsequent action.
Analyzer - a handheld advanced sensory device; it maps and attempts to categorize all of these strange alien forms of matter.  It has a variety of functions
  • Inert Materials Analysis - Scans up to 60 cubic feet of inanimate non living matter / round, disintegrating it in the process.  May later be reintegrated or stored as a data pattern for later analysis.   Simply does not work on “bizarre alien life” i.e. the player characters and the living.
    • In the unlikely event that a character is made of nonliving material (an Imperishable Body for example) they will find their consciousness lives on for a time in a place of utter nothingness they will eventually perceive as darkness until reintegrated or the analyzer or it’s are destroyed
  • Energy Field Analysis - The primary tool for exploring “this strange new universe of living things made of strange positive energy.”  Will identify advanced technology, magical items, and active clerics, elves, and wizards immediately though indiscriminately.  May also be used to analyze one of the energy fields (spells) so created; well enough that subsequently, the Analyzer may be able to functionally create a dispel magic for purposes of Spelldueling. Attempting to neutralize such a spell operates as a normal spellduel save for the following
  • The Scout’s turn tracker begins at 8 not 10.  The scout can only counter with a dispel magic like effect.   Their action dice for this purpose is a d16.    (Subsequent encounters with the necronauts will move the tracker’s starting position to 9 and move the action die to a d20.)
The Scout’ spellduel ability is Intended as more of an interesting annoyance than existential threat; needless to say do not expect scouts who engage in this behavior to survive long.   In play, scouts tend to annoy the party wizard or whomever for a round before most die rolls lead to the scout getting mysteriously (to the players) vorped out of existence.
Neutral Waveform blaster - an energy weapon firing directed beams of short lived ‘neutral’ (protomatter) jacketed particles that work equally  well on all forms of being - living and unliving alike.   
Does absolutely nothing v. conventional inert matter (if the analyzer can break it down, then the Waveform blaster can’t affect it)   
Dmg 2d8 +2 to living or undead matter. (Even medieval armor is proof against it under the circumstance)

Type two - commander
Necronaut commander  (1 or 1-6 number): Init +3; Atk Field projection blade  +3 melee (2d8) and/or lasersonic rifle +6 missile fire (1d12+2, 1000’); AC 18; HD 5d12+/-x; hp 53 or  hp  46, 45, 44, 40, 39, 37;  MV 35 (hover); Act 1d24; SP necronaut traits; wave field nullifier  SV Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +5 ; AL Lawful (chaotic).
Larger, bulkier versions of the other units, these seem to be made of nested shells of semi transparent material with the faint outline of a skeleton located deep within;  in fact a thin veneer of bright red flesh exists but tightly over those bones.  More detail is difficult to ascertain due to a small box carried in both hands that is sending out waves of alternating black and white light that distorts everything around it.

The military end of the operation; essentially shock troops here to assess and protect the scouts during initial recon.  Subsequent expeditions will see more of them operating on their own, establishing a secure base of scientific operations.

Wave Field Nullifier
Allows them to create negative energy fields heal their injured and, in theory, to resist the effects of channelled positive material energy but they as yet have not had to figure that out yet.
Can also inflict damage on the living of course.
Device functionally has 5 stored charges that each inflict 3

Lasersonic Rifle
A strange and apparently foreign technology to that carried by the rest of them, this is a “conventional” energy weapon made out of a magical protomatter matrix; allowing it’s use by the Necronauts; presumably they have secured control of its manufacture from some third party…..
A dual focused sonic attack using a super pumped targeting laser to deliver the attack and with precision.  
Rifle setting one is an overwhelming stun force sonic attack.  One target at a time must succeed a DC 20 Fort save or be rendered unconscious after taking 1d4 points of damage.
Setting two (provided it hits the target’s ac) inflicts 2d6 heat and light damage, as well as 2d4 sonic damage.  Characters may save Fort DC 18) for half in both cases.
Some will carry a Field projection blade - a blade shaped projected force field that allows for melee combat and will not cause a matter antimatter explosion. Good things to have.   The force field is not radiant but instead seems to be made of the absence or warp of light around it.  It does 2d8+1 on it’s own to living things and can safely be assumed to be able to chop through most things of light density and tensile strength.

Type three - Conquistador of Unlife
Monster Name (xx number, if applicable): Init +3; Atk weapon +6 touch (2d8 xp drain) or TriGun +5 (varies see below, 450’); AC 20; HD 7d12 ; hp 63  MV 30; Act 2d20; SP Touch of death; Effect Fields, necronaut traits; SV Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +8; AL Chaotic..
The most easily mistaken for undead, these green glowing spectres seem semitransparent and only semi material at all times, though anything they touch or pass through seems affected.   Once they become engaged in some manner of interaction however they change colour, from white, to red, to black. Sometimes appearing to be two or three different beings at once. (All of which comes from the various distortion effect fields)

The Type Threes wear much more advanced “Effect Field suits” that allow them to interact with almost any material thing safely - but on contact with the living the effect creates a life energy drain.  
Type threes only manifest when violence has repeatedly been visited upon the explorers, especially once most of a team has been killed.   They pursue with single minded purpose the destruction of that which caused that, and is quite thorough in assessing and cleansing ‘secondary threats’ as well (it considers most life inimical however so….)

Tri-Gun - has three settings’
  1. Negative blaster +5 to hit, does 2d8 necrotic damage
  2. High explosive +6 to hit, fires 1d4+1 mini missiles each doing 1d5, target is on (chemical) fire for three subsequent rounds taking 1d3 each round, fort save dc 14 negates damage.
  3. Deathgun a single target must make a DC 20 fort save or drop, possible survival subject to later rolling the body results.
Also has Target seeking - the Type III can name a single target which the weapon will strike at for +7 inflicting an additional 2d5 damage above and beyond the above.

Effect Field Generation
Death Field - drops everything in a 50’ radius unconscious and with but 1-4 hp remaining.
Vampirism Channel  - drains 6 hd/round from one target at a time;  stored life energy is used to power abilities, recharge weapons, and stored in anti-energon vac tubes for later analysis.
Touch of Death - the field is set to “spectral” and the touch of the type III inflicts a bizarre form of necrotic cancer on contact with living flesh, tumoring the afflicted character with rotting sores for 2d6 hp damage, a point each of Stamina and Strength damage,  and a DC 16 Fort save or be struck dead.   These sores will likely require the work of a great cleric or an even greater quest to heal if one survives the attack.
Hope they aren’t contagious.

Should the / a type III be defeated or if for any reason at that point additional forces are mounted, at that point you are looking at something akin to an actual invasion.   At that point the fragging lifesies will be sent Patient Company.
Patient Company, should you want stats for it, would likely consist of
at least several “type IVs” - the Death Marines,
and at least one Type V - an Agent of the Necro-Singularity, the last of which should be a match for a very high level party on their own.)
And scads of the above.  


The Type III is, even though statted wildly inconsistently (like the rest) is a party killer.  Pure and simple.   I should pro’lly have dialed back a bit but as it is….it doesn’t really feel butch enough to me.   Add or subtract those fields all you like. I was going to give it an advanced form of the Scout’s analyze (aka disintegrate) power but that seemed just...excessive.
Not something I’d throw at a party less than six honestly. Note: have yet to run a game that got higher than third level so take my comments with a grain of salt.
Also the Type III is actually based more off of Judge Death than Barzon Karza but I couldn’t find a suitable image - the colors in the Karza one are spot on tho.

I include the idea of Patient Company for completeness but that sounds like a game ender to me.  Maybe a good one?

If you have the  2015  gong farmer's almanac (and...why don’t you?), consider also using the Anti-matternaut from Volume 2 (which also inspired this encounter!) .  I might suggest having the anti-matternaut appear a few rounds prior to the rest of them, in anticipation of colossal energies being released.    If they have been seen in proximity to the anti-matternaut any consulted sage or loremaster may suggest they may be the same thing from different ‘avenues of spacetime’ - different timelines from the same weird universe perhaps.  
Loremasters.  *snort*

And because this hasn’t gone on long enough…… Optional extra

Qualzarius Rann - Explorer and adventurer
Qualzari Rann, Quantum Scout  Init +5; Atk weapon +2 vibroblade (3d6) or lasersonic blaster +5 (variable, 130’);  AC 16; HD 5d10+3; hp 51;  MV 90 flightpack, running speed ⅓); Act 1d20 + 1d16; SP whatever the Ref wants; SV Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +4; AL Lawful.
Vibroblade does 3d6 per hit/ 60 minutes run time before recharging
Lasersonic blaster - identical to the lasersonic rifle above but stage the damage dice one one step each.
Flight pack - cool flying device; partly antigrav, partly reactionless thrust, part jetpack.  Likely cooler than you.
Enigma field generator - aka fistfuls of plootwavium;  at the least it’s likely what they used to pursue the necronauts to the character’s homeworld and plane.  Go wild with it tho, make him the champion of his people…..

Rann hails from one of the seven nested Microscopic universes known to sages; his is presently being invaded by the same anti-matter universe that has sent the Necronauts to the campaign world.
His initial appearance is diminutive (likely he may be mistaken for a tough talking heavily armored pixie or such at first) no more than a few inches high, but as he spent centuries exploring various quantum realities prior to the invasion, he is used to strange environments and thinking on his feet.  
At the Referee’s option he may, in subsequent encounters, be joined by:
Martwinette Vau, dual plasma pistol wielding valkyrie princess of her Necronite occupied homeworld,  
Kublau Kinse’ the Farseeker heir to his Grom/earth elemental worshiping warrior race, wielding a mighty sword of his ancestors, and  
Zzz’kkkk’llip (Called Cricket by her companions) - an exotic but jocular insectevroid who has fled her homeworld under an assumed identity to dodge out on her obligation to birth millions of offspring - instead serving as the Farseeker’s  spear maiden against the Necrothantic Invasion (and she fights and flies with the rocket lance of her people).