Help me fill my planet with monsters


Advice


Hello friends~ It's been quite awhile since I last ran a pathfinder game, but I've gotten a group of friends who are eager to play. A few of them are new to Pathfinder, but not especially new to tabletop gaming, so we're running a homebrew campaign.

We're doing a sci fi/fantasy mix with some planet hopping and a little bit of limited tech (trying to keep the planet hopping mostly to portals so I don't need to replace a bunch of the fantasy stuff with tech rules), and I'm using the same universe Golarion exists in (along with the rest of the established Pathfinder stuff for ease), but most of the planets the players are going to be visiting are going to be in a solar system outside of Golarion's system, which is where my homebrew stuff comes in.

I've written up a small description of the first planet, and a few of the most important civilisations/communities roughly around the parts of the planet my players will be playing in, but peeling open my old bestiaries has me feeling lost about which monsters I should be adding into encounter tables/plothooks/etc. and reskinning to fit the planet. I'm also pretty sure there's been new monsters released in the few years I wasn't really playing the game. So I'm looking for suggestions!

My players will be on this planet until probably roughly level 5-6, so I'm trying to focus more on monsters lower level parties could take on.

Planet Description:
Similar to Akiton, but located in a different solar system. Red deserts (mars style), orange-ish sky in the day fading to starry indigo skies at night. Forests made of a variation of bush to tree sized thorny plants and thin coniferous trees. Most living plants are dark in colour. Thin streams and the occasional lake are found in these ‘oases’ (to be generous), whereas the large stretches of wasteland imply there at one point may have been oceans. Tall, jagged mountain ranges can be found throughout the planet. There are icy poles, but it's very unlikely the players will be travelling there.

Other details:
no mechanical change in gravity
thin atmosphere but no mechanical effect beyond flavour
two moons

Description of societies established on planet:
itarii (Strix) - have civilizations in the difficult to reach peaks of the mountains. More advanced and established than Golarion Strix. Larger population. Largely xenophobic and isolated. Unfriendly to players but not aggressive.

Shobhad - similar to Akiton communities and tribal units. Often warring for resources. Mostly hostile to other societies and groups but a few communities have begun to capture and trade ratfolk as slaves to the imperial cheliax settlement and outposts in exchange for alien goods and technology.

Ysoki (ratfolk) - small communities and bands. Found mostly within the forests but travelling bands can be met within the deserts as they hunt for food or other resources. Highly mistrustful of other races but will likely be one of the races that is most easily befriended by the players. Most likely to flee conflicts unless in large groups.

Imperial cheliax (combo of many races, mostly human and tiefling) - small relatively new settlement on surface of planet. sustained by resources brought from other planets through portals. Also includes a handful of outposts. Not especially friendly with any other civilizations, but sustains relationships through contractual trading. Have begun to take on ratfolk slaves native to the planet. Will be the group that the players originate from, but will likely become hostile to them as the plot continues.

Will likely change some of the names/reskin the races to make them unique.

Any suggestions welcome~ I'm sure I'll probably overlook something important. Also if there's major geography/environmental continuity errors feel free to point those out too before my players do.

Thinking of making one of the next planets they travel to one of those orphan planets without a sun. Chilly.

Quick Edit: Bonus points if I can get said monsters in pawn form

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Gnolls!

Tribes of nomads, importing slaves, exporting sausage.

Include related monsters, like ghouls, flinds, leucrotta, dire hyenas, other evil demonic canids, Yeenoghu cultists, maybe an exotic mount, like flightless birds or bipedal dinosaurs or dire lions or dread dung beetles or monstrous scarabs (hollowed out and undead?).

Girralons. On a rocky plain with lots of stones to hurl.

City of Bronze: just-out-of-the-Stone-Age genies. Still friendly with the azer. A neutral ground trading center. Lots of palace and temple and arena intrigue.

Neogi trading ship. Maybe a social encounter, but they can be encountered later on other worlds....


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Creatures that thrive in arid climates like reptiles, creatures that thrive at night to avoid the hot sun, creatures that live in mountainous regions or subterranean areas.

Behirs

Monstrous bats

Monstrous insects, snakes, and rodents

Earth and Air Elementals as summonable creatures

Fiends if those planes are accessible as summoned creatures in the areas dominated by Cheliax.

Sczarni

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I would image that planet like Mars might have more unique monsters typical to it's ecosystem.

It reminds me of the Dune movie honestly. Large titanic worms that roam the planet, unique societies which all struggle for resources such as food, electrical energy and of course water. From monsters, I would imagine many sand and earth type beings being present throughout the planet such as earth elementals, insects of many kinds, plants that strive in low water environment, etc. But I would imagine that of greater danger would be planet hazards and not necessarily monsters themselves. When you are dehydrated, starved and taking a heat, even a few goblins might pose a serious threat to anyone.

Adam


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Kasatha would probably fit as a humanoid race, due to their Nomadic tendencies. Gnolls too.

To go with desert creatures: Dust Diggers, Behir, Lamia.

Is there a max level that they may reach on this planet? (Could suggest a few higher CR mobs as final threats / Enemies if they stray to ice caps etc)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

This planet description immediately made me think of Darwin IV.

If you're feeling up to custom monster statblock creation, then do yourself a favor and hunt down a copy of Expedition by Wayne Douglas Barlowe.

I'm particularly fond of the Daggerwrist.

EDIT:
It looks like someone actually statted them up for 3.5, along with several others from the book.


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Water would be scarce and probably a valuable commodity, you could have kasatha water raiders who rob and kill travelers for their water for themselves and also to sell.

Vegepygmies who also kill travelers and maybe even fight with the kasatha for water to keep what small vestiges of plant life alive. Maybe they even live underground in carefully tended gardens where they expose the plants to short periods of light and then cover them up against the harsh environment.

Undead cities absolutely thriving in the brutal environment, possibly offering some nightmarish semblence of law and mercy in the wastes. Blood is the currency of staying the night (either hitpoint cost per day for stay, or constitution damage per day, meaning the required constant care of a healer working overtime for all party members. Think of the hitpoint cost or constitution DAMAGE (not drain) as a similar effect to something like a giant mosquito being attached to your character and drinking blood). I suggest constitution damage over hitpoints, as clerics can easily fix hitpoint loss every day. The most dangerous creatures here would be the living who don't want to pay the cost themselves but take it from someone else, perhaps they've even paid the cost a lot and their bodies are emaciated and weakened and they're desperate not to have to pay the cost themselves. Because of the security of the place, they'd rather stay here and murder visitors than go back to the wastes.

Stone mimics that take on the form of shade giving rocks. Every time players seek shelter in the wastes, there's a percentage chance they sought it out next to one of these.

Oases ruled by constructs created by beings from the elemental plane of water who are usually tended to by beings from the elemental plane of water who tend to the constructs in shifts. Their plan is to return all water on mars back to the elemental plane. They go out on raids and one construct tends to be more powerful than a roving band of kasathas or vegepygmies. Essentially a promise of death when one sees them coming, they kill whoever possesses the water to take it back.


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Sand Sharks, i.e. reflavored bulletes.

Sandworms, i.e. reflavored purple worms

A Shaitan city

Scarab swarms

Lots of random tombs with undead.

Ancient constructs guarding random locations / performing random tasks endlessly. (Imagine an abandoned construct ordered to dig a well 10,000 years ago.)


Okay there's definitely stuff here that didn't even come close to crossing my mind. Thank you for this! Water being a scarcity was something that I wanted to play up, and exactly how that effects the creatures and societies and how they interact.

Razoack wrote:


Is there a max level that they may reach on this planet? (Could suggest a few higher CR mobs as final threats / Enemies if they stray to ice caps etc)

I'm hoping to have the players travel off this planet by around level 5-6, mostly because the end goal is for them to find their way to Golarion with an artifact. But I mean, as a homebrew, realistically the players could find any number of reasons to stay longer if they make it work (or even return to the planet). I guess it wouldn't be the worst idea to be prepared for that.


In_digo wrote:

Okay there's definitely stuff here that didn't even come close to crossing my mind. Thank you for this! Water being a scarcity was something that I wanted to play up, and exactly how that effects the creatures and societies and how they interact.

Razoack wrote:


Is there a max level that they may reach on this planet? (Could suggest a few higher CR mobs as final threats / Enemies if they stray to ice caps etc)

I'm hoping to have the players travel off this planet by around level 5-6, mostly because the end goal is for them to find their way to Golarion with an artifact. But I mean, as a homebrew, realistically the players could find any number of reasons to stay longer if they make it work (or even return to the planet). I guess it wouldn't be the worst idea to be prepared for that.

No problem In_digo. I saw the 5-6 but assumed that was going to be the majority of their time but didn't know if they would hit 7th perhaps.

If you wanted to have some creatures in the snow region a Remorhaz could be interesting but not terribly difficult (it is a Huge creature CR 7 though so might be epic for level 5/6 characters to face).

Ice Trolls can be easy fodder (CR 4), but still regional.

If you wanted something slightly higher, you could fight a Frost Worm (CR 12), a Svathurim (CR 11) or a Shantak (CR 8 but would fit with your idea of planetary travel)


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Reskinned undersea creatures go along way towards being alien, mainly because they are not used much.

If you can give them fly, maybe because that are helium filled gas bags that usually stay very high in the atmosphere it might give an even more alien feel. Maybe a kind of flying manta rays are a normal mode of transportation. They could be a type of filter feeders that filter the sand for "Spice"

Perhaps some aliens are simply invisible unless they attack, because they have a natural invisibility "field" when out of combat but are visible in combat. The idea that there is a desert plane that might be actually crawling with creatures you can't see is kinda terrifying. Possibly these creatures are blind when invisible... making for tense moments with players trying to sneak through a herd of potential death.

I suppose "Sand Worms" are used a lot... maybe a sand Aboleth? Mucus becomes spores. Instead of breathing water victims grow a type of pili and the ability to burrow under the sand a foot or two addtionally instead of slime skin they gain a sun allergy and must remain buried in the sand until night... or skip that and just use the stats for a different feeling sand beast.


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When I think of fantasy on Mars, I think of Barsoom.

White Ape: White colored Gorillon.
Calot: Behir
Thoat: Probably just horses (elephants for Greater Thoat?) with new flavor, extra legs, flat tail, coloring
Banth: I'd probably go with a Dire Lion with an extra pair of claw attacks and an extra pair of rake attacks.
Apt: Probably go with reflavored scoprion folk (regular scorpion folk would fit in well too)

Other monsters that would 'fit' with this sort of setting.

Ahool
Ankheg
Catoblepas
Chupacabra
Cytillipede
Eel Hound
Gorilla Bear
Kamadan
Leucrotta
Peryton
Raggoth
Tigrilla
Wolf-Spider


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If you want to play up the alien setting idea, take a look at Dark Sun. That setting's creatures would be appropriate. There's at least one homebrew Dark Sun thread here. Just search it up.


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JosMartigan wrote:
If you want to play up the alien setting idea, take a look at Dark Sun. That setting's creatures would be appropriate. There's at least one homebrew Dark Sun thread here. Just search it up.

There's some D&D 3e stuff from Athas.org as well.

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