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Starfinder – Better living through Symbiosis

As part of working on another project, I was taking another look at the Symbiends in Alien Archive 1 recently. I like the concept – weird alien symbiots that you can host into your PCs body and gain abilities on par with augmentations. That’s just the kind of strangeness that appeals to me in the sci/fantasy setting. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything like a price or level break down for the symbiends.

Actors Ian Holm and John Hurt on the set of "Alien". (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Another satisfied customer

Given that, here is my break down of cost and level for the Symbiends, as well as for the ones I wrote for Wayfinder #19, which you can find below. Of course, if your players are looking to buy (or sell) these, they are going to have to go out of their comfort zone to find a market for them. Might make for a good side quest for your players, and a chance to use foes templated with their own Symbiends.

DAMORITOSH’S ARM

Level 10 as an item, 25000c value. Fills the Brain and both Arm augment slots. As an augmentation, even with the drawbacks on skills and Will saves, the buff this symbiend provides is quite powerful.

DREAM PEDDLER

Level 6 as an item, 5000c value. Fills the Brain and Spinal Column augment slots. The spell-like and telepathic abilities, while fun, are not overtly strong, and the bonus to skills and saves is well balanced with the drawbacks.

PARAGON

Level 4 as an item, 2500c value. Fills the Brain and Heart augment slots. The bonuses to saves and skill ranks are great, but the penalty to hit points is harsh. Also, this thing comes with its own agenda. Buyer beware.

BARBED TENTACLE

Level 8 as an item, 9900c value. Fills one Arm augment slot. Mostly positive benefits here.

CRIMSON SHROUD

Level 7 as an item, 7140c value. Fills the Skin and Spinal Column augment slots. The Will save penalty is rough, but otherwise a whole lot of ‘hulk smash’ action going on here.

SHADOWSKIEN CAUL

Level 13, 50900c value. Fills the Eyes augment slot. Functionally similar to the long-range Darkvision augmentation, with an added bonus that is greater than the drawback. Hope you didn’t want those eyeballs back.

SKINSHELL SLUG

Level 3, 2500c value. Fills the Skin and Spinal Column augment slots. Largely a fair trade in speed for armor, with a very situational ability.


BARBED TENTACLE TEMPLATE GRAFT

This pale, worm-like symbiend burrows into the forearm or other limb extremity of the host, anchoring itself to the bone or similar structure. Its barbed tail then functions as a weapon-like appendage to the host. The chemicals produced by the symbiend have a flattening effect on the host’s emotions though, leaving them with muted responses to stimuli that once produced strong reactions.

Required Creature Type: Aberration, animal, dragon, humanoid, magical beast, or monstrous humanoid.

Required Array: Combatant.

Traits: +2 morale bonus to Athletics and Acrobatics checks; gain a natural weapon – barbed tentacle (1d6 S, operative), that deals slashing lethal damage, doesn’t count as archaic, has a reach of 5ft + the host’s original reach, and they gain a unique weapon specialization with it that adds 1-1/2 × CR or character level to damage; The tentacle can be used to deliver touch spells and other touch based abilities.

Drawbacks: –2 penalty to Charisma checks and Charisma based skill checks, but the DC of Sense Motive attempted against the host increases by 2.

Systems: arm.

Suggested Ability Score Modifiers: Strength, Dexterity.

CRIMSON SHROUD TEMPLATE GRAFT

A heaving mass of flesh and muscle fiber, a crimson shroud engulfs a hosts limbs and torso, sinking anchoring cilia into the body and overlaying a powerful musculature onto their existing frame. Hosts become irritable and easy to manipulate as the symbiend ramps up their natural aggression at the cost of any sense of caution they might have had before.

Required Creature Type: Aberration, animal, dragon, humanoid, magical beast, or monstrous humanoid.

Required Array: Combatant.

Traits: KAC increases by 1; +4 morale bonus to Strength checks and Strength base skill checks; unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, don’t count as archaic, and gain a unique weapon specialization that adds 1-1/2 × CR or character level to damage.

Drawbacks: –2 penalty to Wisdom checks and Wisdom based skill checks; -2 on Will saves.

Systems: skin, spinal column.

Suggested Ability Score Modifiers: Strength.

SHADOWSKIEN CAUL TEMPLATE GRAFT

A flat black, boneless creature with short tentacular appendages, the shadowskien caul fits over the the top of the head and upper face of the host, sinking fine filaments into the host’s ocular nerves, and entirely replacing their visual senses. Hosts experience mild paranoia, startling easily and jumping at the slightest provocation, as well as an aversion to bright light.

Required Creature Type: Aberration, animal, dragon, humanoid, magical beast, or monstrous humanoid.

Required Array: any.

Traits: +2 morale bonus to Perception checks, and replaces the host’s visual senses with it’s own; They now have Darkvision 120ft and low-light vision.

Drawbacks: –2 penalty to Wisdom checks and Wisdom based skill checks, and gains the weaknesses light blindness.

Systems: eyes.

Suggested Ability Score Modifiers: Dexterity.

SKINSHELL SLUG

This symbiend looks like a slug-like creature under a complex series of chitinous plates. Slowly crawling onto a host, it spreads it’s fleshy body over much of the creature, dissolving the top layer of tissue and fusing itself to the interior structure of the host. The plating remains exposed, providing protection for the host and symbiend. Hosts are often more lethargic after the symbiend has joined with them, and the plating makes movement a bit more difficult.

Required Creature Type: Aberration, animal, dragon, humanoid, magical beast, or monstrous humanoid.

Required Array: any.

Traits: KAC increases by 1, EAC increases by 1.

Abilities: Armored Crouch, at will.

Armored Crouch (Ex): As a standard action, the creature can hunker under it’s armored plates, arranging them in such a way as to prevent as little of the body underneath as possible. As long as this posture is maintained they gain an additional +2 to KAC and +1 to EAC, but their move speed is reduced to zero.

Drawbacks: –2 penalty to initiative checks, and a -5ft penalty to move speed.

Systems: Skin, Spinal Column

Suggested Ability Score Modifiers: Constitution.


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Until next time Starfinders!

Categories: Article Writing

Jeremy Corff

Artist and Writer