The Starfinder Alien Archive 3 Pawn Collection is about to invade game stores near you, and we here at Paizo would love to tell you all about the wild aliens that will soon be available to use as full-color pawns on your tactical battle maps.
Wait, what am I thinking? Telling is fine, but it’s way more fun to show you what these pawns can do!
The encounter below is intended for 1st-level Starfinder characters. It takes place on a small, rocky, terrestrial world with a normal atmosphere and standard gravity, though it can easily be set on any world that PCs visit. You can draw a cozy little mud lair for this encounter’s cuddly denizens on any blank battle map, but it fits particularly well in the crater-like terrain in the southeastern quadrant of the front side of Starfinder Flip-Mat: Asteroid.
You’ll need the following pawns from the Alien Archive 3 Pawn Collection:
- Diatha (2)
- Hobkins gremlin (1)
Giggles In The Muck
The desolate, chalk-white terrain of this rocky planet rises in steep inclines all around, forming a dead-end ravine pockmarked with deep ruts and craters. The air here is crisp and eerily still, though surprisingly breathable to those without environmental protections. A muddy pit burbles at the ravine’s southeasternmost end.
The slopes of this ravine rise abruptly 5 feet into the air. Similarly, the ravine’s ruts dip about 5 feet below the normal ground level. All squares with slopes, ruts, and craters in them are difficult terrain.
The mud pit at the southeastern end of the ravine is about 1 foot deep and full of thick, viscous mud that a natural underground spring keeps heated to a lukewarm temperature. It’s considered a shallow bog (Starfinder Core Rulebook 398), so it counts as difficult terrain and the DCs of Acrobatics checks attempted in its squares increase by 2.
When a PC moves within 25 feet of the mud pit, they hear a strange gurgling noise that sounds like someone is being strangled and urgently needs help. The PC can attempt a DC 13 Will saving throw to disbelieve this assumption. If they succeed, they realize the gurgling is an illusory ghost sound.
Regardless, any PC who moves within 15 feet of the mud pit can attempt a DC 15 Perception check to hear the soft sounds of giggling from a creature lurking in the mud.
When a PC discovers the illusory nature of the ghost sound, comes within 5 feet of the mud pit, or realizes there are creatures in the pit, the pit’s denizens attack (see Creatures below).
Creatures: Crouching in the mud is a hobkins gremlin, who thinks they’re very clever to have befriended a small nest of diathas—slug-like creatures whose volatile internal fluids detonate upon contact with the open air. The hobkins gremlin hopes to lure in and then drive away anyone who stumbles into the area, obsessively stealing any equipment that enemies drop and leave behind.
HOBKINS GREMLIN CR 1/2 XP 200 HP 13 each (Starfinder Alien Archive 3 44)
During Combat When combat begins, the gremlin stands up from the mud pit and hovers an inch above the ground using its minor levitation ability, allowing them to ignore difficult terrain. The hobkins then strategically flanks the nearest PC with a diatha, cackling the entire time: “Your shiny techies! Drops them and you will live!”
Morale The hobkins thinks the diathas’ detonate and explosive charge abilities are hilarious, so if a diatha uses either ability, the hobkins can’t help but spend their next move action laughing hysterically at the aftermath. If they are reduced to 3 or fewer Hit Points, the hobkins calms the diathas and tries to surrender, offering the PCs the gold-stitched patches they’ve collected over the past few days (see Treasure below) in exchange for their life.
DIATHAS (2) CR 1/2 XP 200 each HP 13 each (Starfinder Alien Archive 3 18)
During Combat The diathas instinctively try to flank all PCs who threaten them. Whenever a diatha reaches 4 or fewer Hit Points, it uses its explosive charge ability to make a bite attack and then detonate.
Morale The diathas are mindless and thus will fight to the death as long as they are threatened (unless their hobkins calms them).
Treasure: If the PCs defeat the hobkins and search the mud pit where they were lurking, they can find a small, microcord satchel with a successful DC 15 Perception check. Inside the satchel are a dozen dirty arm patches that bear the symbol of AbadarCorp and a 6-digit number, and are embossed with golden thread. All together, the patches are worth 775 credits.
If the hobkins gremlin surrendered and gave the PCs the patches to spare their life, the gremlin explains how they found the patches on a group of fallen merchants in a bunker about 3 miles to the south. The scene was picked clean of all other valuables, but this might prompt the PCs to investigate and continue their space adventures!
If the PCs return these patches to the planet’s AbadarCorp outpost, they’ll learn that the patches belong to members of a fallen merchant expedition that had been bound for the faraway planet of Castrovel. How or why the merchants died is a mystery that the PCs might wish to solve.
Starfinder Managing Developer
Giggles In The Muck: An Encounter For Your Alien Archive 3 Pawns!
Tuesday, February 11, 2020