As I populate my otherworldly menagerie, I have ventured into a second beloved fandom, Star Trek, for this week’s intergalactic creature, the Horta. As you might have gathered from my review of Star Trek Adventures (STA), I really like the latest ST RPG. “The Devil in the Dark” was one of my favorite episodes from the original series.
Description: Hortas are sentient, silicone-based lifeforms native to the planet Janus VI. They are roughly hemispherical “blobs” of silicone and trace elements and are colored red, yellow, and gray-green. They move through rock as easily as most species through atmosphere and secrete a strong acid. An extremely long-lived species with a silicone-based physiology, all but one Horta would die every 5 millennia. The surviving “Mother Horta” would protect all the Horta eggs and eventual hatchlings. Odd physiology, lack of humanoid speech organs, and (probably) limited ability to remain in oxygen-based environments no doubt all contributed, in some degree, to the first-encountered Horta being mistaken for a beast and a vicious one at that. Hortas are not vicious, but a Mother Horta will use any means to protect the eggs, which appear as near-perfect spheres of silicone with a satiny or metallic sheen. It is difficult for Hortas to communicate with most humanoid species and vice versa. Telepathy and “acid etching” messages in rock were the first methods used successfully, and perhaps the Janus VI miners and the adult and hatchling Hortas found other workarounds.
HORTA [Major NPC]
Values: Protect the Young (Mother Horta only), Taste the Galaxy (Hortas are open-minded and eager to explore other worlds)
Stress: 13 Resistance: 3
Geology, Melee, Tunneling
Acid (Melee, 5 Challenge Dice, Intense, 1H, Deadly)
*Invulnerable (Weakness: altered Type 2 Phasers)
Design Notes: This was my first exercise in creating an NPC for STA. The Engineering and Science Discipline scores (and the Geology and Tunneling Focuses) represent a Horta’s natural knack for finding rocks and minerals and moving underground. The species wouldn’t have survived its first 50,000 years if Hortas made tunnels that were prone to collapse! I opted for a fairly high Insight Attribute to represent the Horta’s openness to working with other species. The Janus VI Mother Horta, after all, was still willing to try communication even after the miners destroyed so many eggs, resulting in a new partnership. Background and other “fluff” is taken from both STA core rulebook (p. 41) and the Memory Alpha Star Trek wiki.
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