Have a COW (Creature of the Week) #19: Dread Lord

Amazingly, we’re hitting the end of our high-level exploration of the Dread. All that’s left after the Dread Queen is the Dread Lord – a creature so theoretical that it’s never actually been seen.

Design Thoughts

If the Queen is the heart and intelligence of the hive, the Lord is essentially the nerve center for the hive – though that’s really not a good analogy. If anything, the Lord *is* the Hivemind.

Though the Monarch can communicate with all her children, the amount of information the living planet gets from those children must be akin to static, making it nearly impossible to get a signal out of all the noise. As a result, she needs filters. Queens are focused on building and protecting the Hive. Harvesters are focused on creating a food source for the Monarch. Brutes, Soldiers, and Hollows all aid the Hive through protection and information gathering…

She needed another kind of creature to help digest all the noise from the hundreds of hives she tends like a beekeeper. So she created the Lords.

Think of a Lord as a bit of a signals processor and a network repeater. It has three jobs:

  • Maintaining the Hivemind for a particular planet
  • Connecting the Hivemind to the Monarch
  • And passing along the message when the hive has enough food for the Monarch to do her procession through the galaxy collecting life force to continue to the next universe in the multiverse

The Lord is the network administrator for the Hivemind.

Creature – The Lord

The Dread Lord goes unseen except in the most unusual of circumstances. Usually the Monarch throws two rocks at a world… one containing a Queen and one containing a Lord. The Queen builds the hive, one minion at a time. The Lord? Nobody is quite sure.

The leading theory postulates that the Lord is specially designed to burrow underground near the core of a world or moon, seeking power for a powerful network of minds — the Hivemind. It is not built for combat. It does not create members for the hive. It digs.

Once it reaches an appropriate depth, it uses the molten core’s magnetic fields to power the network. And once it’s in place, it maintains that network in perpetuity. It is less living creature and more a piece of bio-technology built to thrive in a situation unlike any other Dread creature.

  • Dread Lord (Super-level): Attribute 15, Traits: Unknown, Hivemind

A few notes about the Lord:

  • The Lord, if launched from the Monarch herself, comes fully formed in a meteor aimed at a world alongside the Queen.
  • The Queen can, if pressed, create the egg for a Lord, but like the Brutes and Harvester it is a specialized creature that takes a ton of energy to produce.
  • Once the Lord hits the surface, it will immediately begin to dig straight down to whatever serves as the core of the world or moon. If no core is found, as in an asteroid, the Lord will perish.
  • A Lord is extremely well protected deep inside the crust of a world. The only known race to have destroyed a Lord destroyed their planet in the process — the Skaali.

Lords are unusual in the grand scheme of things, and very specialized. Dominion forces have been directed to ignore such theoretical creatures unless more direct, actionable data is obtained.

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

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