Have a COW (Creature of the Week) #14: Volare Spica

While sitting at the edge of a soccer field this past weekend, I had an odd thought for a creature for Aliens & Asteroids… A low-gravity flying critter that has adapted to its environment.

Design Thoughts

These low-gravity fliers will cause some grief to any Space Marines traveling to the stormy skies of Illunium in the Stellar Graveyard. I liked the idea of the critters in a horror film I saw a while back, plus a bit of environmental description… and it scared me, so I of course had to write about it. I have this horrific idea in my head of a bone-white gangly critter with daggers for elbows climbing through a windstorm using those daggers like pitons in the ground.

Creature – Volare Spica

The Volare Spica are a bat-like low-gravity mammalian species with angular elbows in the wings and legs and sharp, bony protuberances that can be used as spikes in the ground, weapons in combat, or knives to cut open prey. The huge storms on Illunium roam the surface like the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, devastating swaths of land in the process. The good thing is that the storms move slowly across the planet. The bad thing is that the winds inside swirl and kick up a choking cloud of gasses and dust that incapacitate most life forms, if not killing them outright. The Volare Spica are equipped to glide high above these storms to locate their prey, then dive quickly to the ground where they use their spiked elbows to anchor themselves as they work their way towards it.

Image (right) By _Phyllostomus_discolor2.jpg: Karin Schneeberger alias Felineora derivative work: WolfmanSF (talk) Р_Phyllostomus_discolor2.jpg, CC BY 3.0, Link

The edges of the storm, where the calm atmosphere meets the whirlwind, can grind flesh from bone on most creatures – but these awkward gliders have toughened up to use the storm as their primary hunting ground, with amazing sight able to pinpoint tasty morsels from afar by their heat signatures and a sense of direction to find them in the maelstrom.

  • Volare Spica (Mid-level): Attribute 12, AR3/AP15, HP 12: Traits: Winged (10m)/Legged (5m), Claws + Ripper (2d6 damage), Tough Hide + Plated Armor (AR3/AP15), Observant

Tactics: These creatures hunt in packs of 2 or 3, but often sacrifice a kill to the eldest of the species who travel in the eye of the storm. One will pin a victim to the ground while another uses its elbows to rip large chunks of flesh from its bones.

Possible Enhancements

The more experienced of these creatures will learn to use their natural talents and work together with others of their kind:

  • Grab – Temporarily immobilize a victim by pinning them to the ground.
  • Melee – Using their sharp clawed elbows in combat as swords.
  • Rip – Working together, two can tear a Grabbed victim into pieces.
  • Sonic Ray – A loud screech, meant to pierce the storm, can be used to wound victims and provide location assistance to others of their kind.

These critters are not to be trifled with and could definitely cause some difficulties to a party attempting to rescue survivors of a damaged craft or base suddenly lost in the storm.

Looking for more creatures for your Aliens & Asteroids campaign? Check out the rest of the Creature of the Week series!

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