Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ecology Of Dave Hargrave's Star Spider For Your Old School Space Opera

A modern reference guide to the space spider and much more "The Arduin Eternal Bestiary And Treasures book. 

Marcus Orearlus addressed the floor of the college of Alchemists and Elementalists. "Ladies And gentle brothers of the Holy Corporate Empire. Nineteen of our best hyper space carriers have been destroyed. The burnt corpses of some of our best and brightest astronauts  have been found aboard. The counsels of the empire are meeting right now and the slaughter shall continue unabated unless we know our enemy. I tell you now it is not life as we know it! 

This is not a new enemy but a very old one that we face! The Space Spider has stalked us through the ages! We must beware its tendrils and its eye that burns with the light that never warms. I myself have heard the howling, sucking, roar of this stalker from between the dark of the stars. Observe the stellar scope for a three vi broad cast of the Ultra probe incident."

I refer you now Ladies and Brothers to World Space Commission Medical Department form regarding the status of one Captain Tony Cellini and the reports that are attached.  May the Gods themselves have mercy on his soul." 
"9 March 1996. At Alpha's Technical Section, Astronauts John Koenig and Tony Cellini and Professor Victor Bergman were working out the final details of the Ultra Probe, a high-profile deep-space mission to explore the then-newly discovered planet Ultra. This tenth planet, discovered by Bergman in 1994, showed every indication of being habitable. Both equally qualified, Cellini and Koenig could not decide which of them would command the mission. The two friends left the choice up to a coin-toss. Cellini won.
The Ultra Probe departed from the Interplanetary Space Station on its seven-month journey on 6 June 1996. Cellini and his crew (astrophysicist Doctor Darwin King, radiation expert Professor Juliet Mackie and medical officer Doctor Monique Bouchere) experienced no difficulty during the voyage. On arriving at Ultra, they marveled at its similarity to Earth and preparations were made for a manned landing. While orbiting behind Ultra—out of direct communication with Alpha mission control—the ship encountered a collection of alien spacecraft. No life signs were detected from any of the derelicts. By consensus, the crew decided to dock with one of the silent vessels.
As the airlock opened, there was an unexpected phenomenon—swirling light, raging wind, screeching noise—and King shouted to Cellini to close the airlock. Emitting a deafening electronic scream, a huge, vaguely octopus-like creature with prehensile tentacles, one blazing eye and a fiery maw materialised, filling the aft portion of the main module. When King attempted to seal it off with the emergency bulkheads, its incredibly strong appendages prevented the closure of the doors—which shorted out the ship's auto-systems. The crew's efforts to defend themselves came to naught. One by one, they were hypnotised into inaction by the creature, devoured alive, and their smoking remains regurgitated.
Cellini was trapped in the command module by the system failure. After a hasty repair job, he released the jammed door in time to witness the death of the last of his shipmates: Monique Bouchere. He fired on the creature, the laser beams bouncing off its armoured hide. Cellini retreated to the command module, pursued by the monster. Fending off the creature's tentacles with a fire axe, he sealed the doors. He then blasted the command module free from the body of the probe-ship to use as an escape craft. In a brilliant manoeuvre, Cellini managed to slingshot around Ultra on a return vector for home.
After a six-month journey, he reached Earth barely alive, sustained by survival rations and sheer courage. His accomplishment was soon overshadowed by the world-wide disbelief of his horrific tale of the alien monster. While recuperating in an Earthside hospital, Cellini was visited by one Helena Russell on behalf of the Space Commission Medical Department to evaulate his competency. From the start, the Italian astronaut poured on the charm, discussing diverse topics ranging from Father Christmas to his own sex life. When the conversation turned to the Ultra Probe incident, he became physically and verbally agitated. Helena was forced to order sedation as the hysterical Cellini pleaded with her to believe him.
World Space Commission executive Commissioner Dixon summoned Cellini, Koenig and Bergman to his offices on Earth. He stated bluntly that there was no evidence on the flight recorder of any 'monster'. He judged that Cellini bungled the decompression procedure, killed his crew and refused to accept the blame. When questioned, Bergman and Koenig tried not to implicate their friend, but were forced to admit there were no facts to support his tale—or refute it, Koenig cheekily rebutted. Dixon ended the interview by stating the ultimate fact was that 'space adventuring' was terrifically expensive. His overwhelming priority was protect the space programme from the financial ruin the probe's failure would bring. Dixon grounded Koenig and Bergman as punishment for their ‘misguided’ support of Cellini. The scapegoat himself was then sent for extended psychiatric assessment.
Time passed, and Dixon's tenure as commissioner ended. Bergman was again welcome on Alpha as a visiting scientist, and Helena was posted there as head of the Medical Section. In September 1999, Koenig was appointed base commander to resolve the Meta Probe crisis, and he transferred his friend Cellini back to Alpha's Reconnaissance Section. After the Moon's breakaway, all memory of the Ultra Probe incident was obliterated by their struggle to survive in a hostile universe—until Cellini's irrational behaviour on this night revived the controversy...

A summons from Main Mission calls him away from Medical Centre; waiting for him on the big screen is an image of a jumbled assortment of alien craft. Despite five years' time and a distance of uncountable light-years, Koenig uncannily knows it is the spaceship graveyard Cellini had described encountering behind Ultra. Further investigation reveals the main module of the Ultra Probe still docked with one of the derelicts. Koenig agrees to investigate, and Cellini feels redeemed. Helena, though, is concerned by Cellini's unnatural calmness.
Boarding Eagle One, Cellini tells Koenig he is going up front to apologise to Carter for his earlier assault. However, he again knocks Carter unconscious and hijacks the Eagle, leaving the passenger module (and Koenig and company) behind on the launch pad. He radios his old friend, informing him that the beast is his enemy and he must face it—alone.
Koenig's Eagle Two docks with the probe-ship; he and the Security team enter the main module to witness the epic battle. Cellini's lifeline is yanked free by the monster and the astronaut is devoured, his ravaged corpse ejected to lie by those of his fallen comrades. Koenig reckons the monster's weakness could be its massive, exposed 'eye', and retrieves Cellini's axe. Evading the flailing tentacles, Koenig dives in and, hacking away at the eye, slays the monster." 

 "From that incidents and my own research I have across several assessments. The Dragon Space Spider makes its lairs within the wrecks of space craft. It uses the wreckage as both lair and for procreation. These space craft become a web of hyper dimensional energy for these monsters acting as anchor in the local space time continuum.
These uncaring predators are gluttons feeding on as many victims as they can. They roast all of the life essence and vitality from their victims.
They have the characteristics of both dimensional shamblers and the dread Hounds of Tindalos.
 These beings use combination of psychic lure and assault to force their victims within range of their tentacles. The monsters mouth  orifice is like a blast furnace stripping a man to a burnt shell in seconds and absorbing the soul. The creature is a glutton feeding on as many souls as it can stuff into maul.
The creature is capable of moving across time and space within moments. It departure signaled within the span of moments by a light show of swirling lights and a rushing of wind, light, and psychic insanity.
This wind is accompanied by fog generated but both the creature itself and its body being suspended between our reality and else where. Some have sworn the Outer Darkness and others have said lower dimensional spaces." 

" These monsters exist in timeless dimensional limbo where the passage of time means very little and yet they can lay dormant for thousands of years. The beasts move along a terrasact of foamy dark lower realities. They often have several lairs along inter dimensional axis routes.
If you refer to page 42 of my report we shall exam the tendril strength of these creatures which is just as capable as a small "space kraken."  The most heidious power of these beasts is of course the so called Psychic Death Kiss.  These monsters once encountered can track prey that has escaped them years or months later. They act as sort of "paranormal murders" stalking those who have escaped their grasp. Sometimes upwards of ten years or more eventually the creatures will come for their prey."
"They're presence is denoted by a howling murderous roar and a soul sucking wind that is generated by the mouth of these monsters. Indeed their inner gullet is like an atomic blast furnace.
Please pay no attention to the magus high guard who have entered the meeting around you. "
Marcus Orearlus paused and sipped his water for a moment collecting his thoughts and paid special attention to Gelbrus Cronos the Elemental guild master in the front.
" As I have said I have had personal experience with these monsters. The doomed Argos mission encountered the lair of these beasts in late August three cycles ago when we were exploring the Pyrius sector.  Only myself and my late wife survived the encounter. The guild master himself authorized the expedition but I digress."
 "This is not the only species of the Space Spider that mankind has encountered. The Gods themselves have cursed mankind going back thousands of years and only recently has this species brought to light. Please observe the Tri di again." 
" These monsters are very similar to their larger brethren but only exist in a fixed point in time and space. They have been called by a psychic key of man or by placement by the Gods. They often patrol a territory of some 300 acres. These areas are always bathed in the same dimensional fog as that which is produced by their larger relatives.
They are far more dangerous and have the singular ability to calcify a man in seconds. The victim must stare the monster in its single eye for only a moment for the process to begin."

" Further research indicates that the victim is both alive and aware the during the entire time they are petrified by the monsters. They are locked in a state of torment and the monsters feed upon their very souls as time passes. The beasts have veritable garden of stone statues that they feed off of. Victims within this state can last ten to twenty years of time.
 "The medusa is a very stealthy hunter and able to sneak up its prey with its attack. A single glance and the very soul of the victim is frozen along with their flesh. And why the eye? Because it is the window to the soul.
 Upon our colony of Alphas II we encountered such a beast. 
 The medusa had been dormant for more then ten years within its valley. Cyber centurions working on behalf of the colonists disturbed the sleep of this monsters. We lost half a company to the creature. The results of this encounter are well known. Please see report 23 in your briefing"


"Gelbrus Cronos the Elemental guild was also responsible for this outrage and only then did we learn that these creatures and their larger brethren have visited mankind many times in the past.
There was ruined temple upon the colony world and within its halls were indications that millions of years ago during the Atlantian period of these creatures were summoned to Earth with astonishing regularity. Because of the necro dimensional magic of certain Atlantian sects the fabric of space time was weakened allowing these creatures free access to the  Earth's space time. Most of these spells or psychic keys have been lost in the mists of time. However certain indications also point to activity of these monsters during the so called Twilight years after the Atomic Wars.
Also similar symbols were found within the caverns of Mars. Could ancient Barsoomian psychic rites have paved the way for these monsters there as well? Why even my own beloved wife sub combed to the lusts for the human soul that creatures exhibit. Gelbrus Cronos the Elemental guild is sitting upon such a symbol right now. Notice the lights beginning to dim my friend and that roaring that your hearing right now. I was also aboard the Argos. I escaped it you see but one never really escapes it. The dreams come. My wife knew that. Let me comfort you and tell you all about it in our final  moments together.This meeting is now over"
 The strange lights began to swirl and rushing got very loud indeed and the screaming began

The star spider is a high level monster from the Arduin Eternal line that has seen action within several of my campaigns. The star spider has been plaguing mankind for thousand if not millions of years. The creatures appeared to have interaction on planet ten and Barsoom.
  • There are three variations of the space spider and only to two are still viable at this time. The Barsoomian variation is extinct at this time. 
  • The Space Spider is capable of moving itself and its lair 1d100 light years in interdimensional space in order to reach its prey. The creature must have left a  "Psychic Death Kiss" upon its victim. Please note that only certain psychic abilities are able to remove let alone detect the kiss. Certain forms of expensive magic, psychic healing  or super science may remove the kiss from a victim. 
  • These creatures are related to Dimensional Shamblers of Lovecraftian Mythos. These beings do not get along at all and compete for the same food source. Mankind is so  much cattle to these beings.
  • These creatures are feasters of souls but their metabolic processes are so alien and mysterious that it is very hard to be sure of the processes of life and true death even applying to them. There are indications that they are immune to psychic,magical, and any type of detection or are capable of masking such. There are indications that these beings are related or exist in areas controlled by the Outer God Yog Shaggoth. 
  • The Medusa variety of the Space Spider is capable of limited shape shifting of mass and tendrils. And due to its nature capable of effecting its victims molecular structure. Resurrection isn't possible by cloning or even divine interaction due to the corruption of the victim's very soul. 
  • Each type is capable of tracking its victims across interstellar distances and seems to stalk as well as send telepathic dreams in order to create fear and insanity with the victim. There is speculation of the monsters simply saucing the meat so to speak 
  • There are indications of this beast appearing in Cimmerian and Atlantian periods of Earth's history. Times when the proto dimensional fields were at their weakest. After the Atomic Wars there was a similar weakening taken full advantage of by monsters of this type. 
  • Though they can be summoned by divine or psychic "magic" rites. These being are immune to 99.9 percent of all magic or psychic control of any type. Once summoned it is best to run away if possible so as not to end up as supper for one of these beings. 
  • The eye beam of the star spider sees into several realities at once. Its attacks are directed from outside of the local space time continuum. 
  • Certain stellar or cosmic terrestrial cosmic objects seem to draw members of this species. These are often objects of power or artifacts of lost or ancient origin. 
  • The tendrils or tentacles of these beings are often used to bleed off the reality bending energies of the monsters. They are laced with 17,000 sets of neo reality sensing nerves. Capable of instantly running through a gamut of realities and planar constants. This appears to be a matter of instinct and not intelligence. 
  • The beasts appear to be capable of storing six hundred and sixty six individual trace patterns in order to trace their prey. 
  • The creatures have a hunger that knows no bounds and they will feed on as many beings as they can stuff within their proto glandular stomach. The medusa extends this stomach over the statues of its victims drawing as much of the sou as it can. Each day taking a bit at time. 
  •  The petrification beam of the Medusa has a range of 60 feet in length and width of 2-3 feet. 
  • The Space Spider Medusa
    Armor Class : 5 (14)
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: Petrifying gaze
Special : Immune to magic, most psychic abilities, regenerates as troll 

 These creatures can be summoned by a summon monster spell but can not be controlled by such. They are very dangerous and have a horde class of XII.
  • "The Medusa" originally appeared in the sword and sandals flick Perseus vs The Medusa. It was designed by the monster maker maestro Carlos Rambaldi himself. The creature later appeared on television as part of the "Sons of Hercules"series The part of Perseus played by  Richard Harrison.
  • The Dragon version of the space spider was originally statted up by the legendary Dave Hargrave for Arduin. It originally appeared on the "Domain of The Dragon" episode of Space 1999. 
  • These beasts have appeared in the Talon sector, the environs of the post Apocalyptic Mars game, and countless other games over the past three years.
    You can purchase the Bestiary from Emperor's Choice Games HERE
    This blog entry is for entertainment purposes only. The author's intent is for entertainment purposes only. This not an attempt to violate the trade markers or copy right of anything discussed or portrayed in the blog entry. This writing however is my own invention. 


  1. I love the dragon from Space: 1999. Such a good episode.

    I've never seen the Sons of Hercules series. More for my "to watch" list.

  2. Sorry I didn't get to your comment Tom any sooner. I've been out all day with work. The Dragon from Space 1999 is one of my all time favorite episodes and I've always wanted to do an "ecology of" article. Those articles were so much the backbone of my campaigns.
    I grew up with the "Sons of Hercules" on a local channel out of New York State back in the 70's as reruns. I've got plans for the "Sons" upcoming! Thanks very much for the comment.

  3. I'll second Tom. "Dragon's Domain" scared the daylights out of me as a boy, & it's always been one of my favourite episodes. Great pest, thanks :)

  4. Thanks gentlemen. I was a bit nervous doing such a classic episode of Space 1999. More coming up gentlemen. Thanks fadeearth for the comment and encouragement.


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