Cerberus Sector is home to billions of diverse species, making it a surprisingly colorful area of space from a zoological standpoint. Each of the major systems within the sector, even Caulfeld, supports an ecosystem. From the dry ice fields of Trisep to the swamps of Vale, new discoveries are made almost daily. What follows is a short list of some of these creatures.
All illustrations on this page are courtesy of Khairul Hisham.
The bog leopard has a porous, spotted hide that ranges in color from a dull gray to a deep green. Its head is long and streamlined, with three scimitar-like fangs projecting from its lower jaw, and a series of three black eyes spread evenly across what would be its forehead. Equally at home on the shore or in the water, bog leopards have been known to attack children and adolescents, as well as single adults of any species. Bog leopards are oviparous, laying two or three eggs at a time. Popularly kept as pets and guard animals by other amphibious species, bog leopards are quickly becoming scarce as their nests are raided by poachers.
Despite its name, the bog leopard is not a mammal, but an amphibian, which is native to the swamps and fens of Travis. The creature vaguely resembles a 1.5 meter long feline in body shape, but possesses a pair of strong, frog-like hind legs.
search 4D+2, sneak 5D
climbing/jumping 6D+2, swimming 4D+2
Amphibious: Bog leopards can breathe both below and above water, though they are uncomfortable if exposed to dry or arid environments.
Bite: The bite of a bog leopard inflicts its Strength score +1D in damage.
Leaping Ability: Because of their powerful hind legs, bog leopards can leap incredible distances. As such, they receive a +3D bonus to any Climbing/Jumping skill checks made to jump or leap.
Move: 12 (land), 8 (swimming)
Size: Up to 1.5 meters long.
Lone males occasionally challenge for the right to mate with the females in a given flock, and these challenges are typically to the death. When hunting, the birds move with eerie stealth through the underbrush. Flocks of butcher birds have been known the bring down adult r'yaks.
Butcher birds are small flightless avian predators that hunt in small family units that consist of between 5 and 10 individuals (roll 1D+4 to determine how many butcher birds are in a flock). The flocks are extremely territorial, and will fight other flocks for dominance of a specific hunting ground. The birds are a mottled brown in color, with short necks, pale underbellies, and razor-sharp tripartite beaks. There is typically only one adult male per flock. Male butcher birds are larger than females, and have a distinct patch of blue feathers covering the undersides of their necks.
search 3D+2, stealth 5D
Beak Attack: When alone, butcher birds can attack with their razor-sharp beaks. A standard beak attack does the bird's Strength rating in damage.
Group Attack: In order to hunt prey larger than themselves, butcher birds attack as a unit. When attempting to bring down a larger animal (or character), the birds make a single, combined roll to hit. For each bird past the first in the flock, both the to-hit roll and the damage roll are increased by +1 pips. This means a flock of ten birds attacking one target would gain a +3D bonus on both their to-hit and damage rolls. Armor protects normally against this damage.
Size: 35 centimeters in length
Their wide mouths are equipped with six large, down-turned tusks, which they use to forage for roots in the frozen soils of their homeworld. In the wild, they travel in small herds that rarely number more than twenty individuals. They were domesticated long ago by the Haodith, who ride them and use them as beast of burden. These Lantra have been carefully bred by their Haodith masters, who diligently maintain the same Lantra bloodlines that have been used by their families for centuries. Some of these bloodlines are bred and trained for war, though they are rarely used in armed conflicts these days.
Lantra are four-legged mammalian herbivores, kept warm in the cold landscape of Roweleni by a dense layer of blubber beneath their thick white hides.
System: Roweleni II
Kick: While normally peaceful (unless trained to be otherwise), an irritated lantra can deliver a devastating kick that inflicts its Strength code in damage.
Tail Signals: Lantra are equipped with stubby, paddle-like tails. The animals have developed a language of tail signals, and can communicate simple concepts to one another by using their tails. Those Haodith who ride lantras often learn to interpret these signals.
Thick Hide: The thick hides of the lantra grant them a +1D bonus to resist damage from physical attacks.
Size: 2.5 meters (at the shoulder), 4 meters in length
The scales that cover their bodies are olive-colored, complemented by a bright orange ridge that runs the length of their backs and tails. They often rise up onto their hind legs when scenting the air, and can easily dwarf a grown human when doing so. Prairie monitors rarely attack living prey unless it is helpless, and tend to avoid confrontation in the face of stiff resistance. If provoked, a prairie monitor will rise to its hind legs and emit a loud hissing sound, and project a stream of foul, bacteria-laden saliva into the opponent's face.
Prairie monitors are large reptilian scavengers that wander the hills and plains of Nilea's equatorial regions. They grow up to two and a half meters long, are strongly-built, and walk low to the ground on all fours.
search: scent/taste 4D
Bite Attack: The bite of a prairie monitor does Strength +2 damage, and wounds caused by such a bite are 90% likely to become infected.
Claw Attack: Prairie monitors have large claws that they use to tear carcasses apart. These claws inflict Strength +1D damage.
Spittle: If provoked, a prairie monitor will unleash a stream of foul saliva at a foe's face/eyes. A successful attack will blind the monitor's target for 2D rounds. If proper medical attention is not received within an hour of the attack, the victim must succeed at a Difficult Strength check or suffer from a terrible septic eye infection that could lead to blindness in one or both eyes.
Size: 2.5 meters long
Python weed is a generic term used by the settlers of Vale to describe any one of a number of species of carnivorous plants that kill their prey through constriction. Plentiful throughout many of Vale's equatorial swamps, python weed tends to grow around areas that have high concentrations of Valean truffles. A single python weed actually consists of an entire community of plants which can spread out to a diameter of between one and five meters wide, and which can grow up to a meter in height. The weeds mimic harmless plant species, and the difference can only be discerned by someone who is familiar with their habits. Even after a victim expires, the tendrils continue to tighten their grip, digging deep into the victim's body where they drain organic nutrients.
Strength 2D to 6D
Constriction Attack: A patch of python weed can attack one human-sized individual for every two meters (or fraction thereof) it is in diameter. Grappling attacks are made as usual, with success indicating that the victim has been snared by the weed's tendrils. A victim can break free of the tendrils by succeeding at an opposed Strength check against the weed, and one check is allowed per minute. Once secured, the plant will begin to slowly constrict the victim with its tendrils, inflicting damage once per minute. Constriction does 1D of damage, plus 1D per minute that the victim has been ensnared. This damage can never exceed the weed patch's Strength +1D.
Disguise: Python weeds have evolved to mimic any number of harmless plant species. Anyone unfamiliar with Vale's botanical offerings will be at a loss when detecting python weed. When about to encounter a patch of python weed, characters should be allowed a Very Difficult Survival skill check (anyone having lived on Vale for over six months gets a +2D bonus to this roll). Success indicates that they notice the python weed and recognize the danger it poses (by noticing an exposed corpse in the root tendrils, for example).
Strength: The Strength rating of a python weed patch depends on its size. A patch has a base Strength score of 1D, with an additional +1D for every meter it is in diameter. Thus, a 1 meter diameter patch would have a Strength score of 2D, while a four meter diameter patch would have a Strength score of 5D.
Susceptibility to Fire: Python weed takes double damage from fire-based attacks.
Size: Individual patches range between 1 and 5 meters in diameter.
R'yak eyes stuffed with Orunzian caviar are an expensive delicacy on Travis.
R'yaks are bull-like creatures, with thick, shaggy hides and three knobby, twisted horns that sprout from the crowns of their heads. R'yak are deep gold in coloration, and match the shade of Trisep's abundant grasslands. They travel in large herds, grazing as they go. Easily domesticated, they are valued for their flavorful meat, hides (which makes exceptionally strong, thin leather), and fur.
hide 3D, search 2D
Camouflage: R'yak blend in well when roaming the grasslands of their home planet, and gain a +2D bonus to their Hide skill when in such an environment.
Horns: An enraged r'yak will often use its three spiraling horns to make a ramming attack which inflicts Strength +1D damage.
Size: 2.2 meters (at the shoulder)
Coloration varies from a dull gray to a dark brown. Their large, flat feet enable them to traverse loose sand and silt with little difficulty, and while their eyesight is poor, their sense of smell is quite acute. Though not a direct threat, they have been known to enter colonial dwellings at night and feast upon whatever they can find, including sleeping colonists. Zurds actively hunt silt beetles for food, and their shells are often polished and made into jewelry.
Though these armored creatures resemble abnormally large insects, they are actually six-legged tortoise-like reptiles with a thick layer of chitinous scales that cover their backs. Almost a meter long, and up to thirty centimeters high at the shoulder, silt beetles are solitary omnivores that comb the bleak surface of Xalandra IX in an endless search for food.
Bite: Silt beetles have a nasty bite which inflicts Strength +1 damage.
Sense of Smell: When searching for food, silt beetles are able to sniff out organic matter surprisingly well. When hunting (which is pretty much all the time), silt beetles gain a +2D bonus to Search rolls that involve using their sense of smell.
Thick Scales: The thick shell-like scales that cover the silt beetle's back provide the creature with a +1D bonus to resist all forms of damage. If rolled onto its back, the silt beetle is helpless, and the armor does not protect against attacks to its stomach.
Size: Up to a meter long
When a prey-sized morsel swims or plods nearby, the slumberfish quickly awakens from its self-induced hibernation and pounces, injecting enough venom to kill a full-grown wookie. Once the prey has been consumed, the slumberfish remains active just long enough to find another place to burrow.
The hermaphroditic slumberfish is a venomous predator native to Nilea. Resembling a tawny eel with a broad, shovel-like head, slumberfish can grow up to 2 meters in length. They earn their name by burrowing into loose sands just off shore, where they enter a kind of suspended animation that can last for months or years at a time.
hide 8D, search 4D
Camouflage: When burrowing in sand, slumberfish gain a +4D bonus to all Hide skill checks.
Suspended Animation: A slumberfish can enter a state of suspended animation which, if undisturbed, can last for several years. While in this state, the slumberfish's vital signs are significantly reduced, and will not register on most biological sensors (a Very Difficult Sensors skill roll must be made to detect the slumberfish with conventional sensor equipment). Slumberfish who are "slumbering" may make Search skill checks in order to detect prey as if they were conscious.
Venomous Bite: A successful bite from a slumberfish inflicts the creature's Strength +2 in damage. Any damage result higher than Stunned indicates that the slumberfish has managed to inject a quantity of venom into its prey. The venom does 6D of poison damage.
Move: 14 (swimming)
Size: Up to 2 meters in length.
Like most Valean life forms, the creatures commonly referred to as truffle hunters are a diverse selection of gastropods who hunt for prey in and around the Valean truffle beds. The size of the creatures varies, and can range anywhere from seventy centimeters all the way up to two meters in length.
Truffle hunters are typically long and flat, with a coarse, thorny skin that is covered in a thick coating of venom-enriched mucous. Their heads are crowned by a series of between six and ten tentacle-like eyestalks, and body color varies from a muddy brown to a deep, sickening green. Truffle hunters will eat just about anything, including each other, and they have been known to attack truffle poachers. When attacking prey, the truffle hunter will constrict any available limb, twisting itself around in such a way that its thorny hide scrapes away its victim's skin. The wound unavoidably contacts the creature's poisonous mucous, and paralysis and death normally follow.
search 3D+2, sneak 4D
climbing/jumping 3D+2, constrict 4D
Constriction Attack: When attacking, a truffle hunter will wrap itself around any exposed limb and twist its body. This attack does the truffle hunter's Strength rating in damage, and any result of Wounded or higher indicates that the victim has been poisoned, as well.
Poisonous Mucous: The thick coating of mucous that covers truffle hunters is impregnated with powerful toxins. In some species, the toxin acts as a paralytic, while in others it is instantly fatal. In the case of the former, the victim must succeed at a Moderate Strength roll, or be unable to move for 1D hours. If the poison is toxic, a similar roll must be made, or the victim will take damage from the poison equal to 7D.
Size: 60 to 200 centimeters in length
Vantela are large, six-legged crustaceans that thrive on the icy wastes of Roweleni II. They are possessed of an oblong body that is covered with a thick, spiny chitin. Their legs are tipped with sharp, piercing claws. Vantela have a cluster of six black eyes that peer out blankly from beneath a thick ridge of spines. The color of a vantela can range from white to pale gray, depending on the time of year (they grow paler with colder weather). Full-grown males are a meter high, while females are often two or three times that size.
Male vantela roam the tundra in small groups, hunting for both food as well as elusive females. While hunting for food, the males work as a team, using pack tactics to subdue and kill their prey. If a fertile female is encountered, the males will turn to dueling each other for the right to mate with her. Though not typically to the death, these duels are nonetheless brutal, and many male vantela bear the scars of past duels on their pale, chitinous hides. The victor is allowed to mate with the female. Once her eggs have been fertilized, the pack returns to hunting for food. Female vantela live singly, marking out their territory with complex pheromones. The fertilized eggs of a vantela, which typically number between 10 and 20, gestate in a birthing chamber within the female's abdomen until they hatch. Once hatched, the younglings are on their own.
System: Roweleni II
search 4D, sneak 3D+2
Strength 2D+2 (Males) or 5D+1 (Females)
climbing/jumping 3D+2 (Males) or 6D+1 (Females)
Claws: Vantela can attack with their claws, and inflict Strength +1 in damage on a successful attack.
Eye Cluster: The eyes of a vantela see in a thermal spectrum, allowing them to discern subtle temperature differences. This allows them to easily detect warm-blooded animals. This grants vantela a +1D bonus to all Search skill checks against targets which are warm-blooded.
Natural Armor: Because of their chitin, vantela receive a +1D bonus to all Strength rolls made to resist physical damage, and a +1 pip bonus to all Strength rolls made to resist energy damage.
Move: 12 (Males) or 8 (Females)
Size: 1 meter tall (Males), or up to 3 meters tall (Females)
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