Many a deep spacer has heard the legends of the massive, squid-like creatures that roam the outer reaches, making their home in abandoned spaceships and stations, but few have seen one and lived to tell the tale. These shy creatures have anywhere from two to six tentacles that are lined with textured suction grips. They use their tentacles to dig into the systems of old ships and stations, wearing them like a shell. While some ships are more suitable than others for the Derelict Dweller, they have proven to be remarkably intelligent creatures, often controlling a ship’s systems in order to move and defend themselves, though not with any of the purpose of a more sentient species.
The Derelict Dweller gives off a low-grade magical charge at all times that can provide power to the wreck they are inhabiting. While it is theorized that a crew could survive on and use a ship powered by a Derelict Dweller, no one has yet tested this hypothesis. Oftentimes, explorers cannot distinguish between these leviathans and truly abandoned ships until they have disturbed the slumber of the beast. An injured or cornered Derelict Dweller will abandon its home if it means its continued survival, or if it has outgrown the shell. Despite the danger these creatures can pose, they have been known to play games of chase with spaceships on at least one occasion.
The Derelict Dweller begins its life on a planetary body, as it lacks the void resistance of its parents. No sooner has the Derelict Dweller hatched than it seeks out the husks of metal objects and vehicles such as pulse cycles and land speeders. From the moment they enter the world, the magical energetic aura that surrounds them can be used to power vehicles, even those bearing riders.
The youngest of the species are not as shy as their older counterparts, and in fact, their curiosity of other species sometimes leads to their deaths. Even a baby of the species is nearly ten feet long. The infant inhabits land vehicles until such time as a bigger home is necessary. Since their growth is inhibited by the size of the object they inhabit, it is feasible than a Derelict Dweller may remain an infant for decades until it is forced from its small home.
Juvenile Derelict Dwellers prefer to spend their time on a planet until they are too large to avoid constant detection. They have learned the lessons of youth and become hermit-like as they seek out a larger shell. They tend to make their homes in orbital ships, atmospheric vehicles, and occasionally large abandoned buildings. As they are not yet adults, juveniles rarely have more than four tentacles, thus limiting the scale of the structures they can effectively inhabit.
While they share the void immunities of their adult counterparts, the juvenile Derelict Dweller benefits from a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere, in addition to consuming minerals. Not all juveniles make it to adulthood, as being planetside markedly decreases the creatures’ mobility. Thus, many juveniles prefer stationary homes and can often be found in ship junkyards.
Derelict dweller stat blocks and abilities can be found in the upcoming Galactic Primer on Natural Environments, one of the rewards of the Spaceships & Starwyrms Kickstarter launching on April 25.