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Starfinder – The Thing

The Thing, by Wayne Douglas Barlowe. From Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials
The Thing, by Wayne Douglas Barlowe. From Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials

Winter is here, and with the coming of the cold and snow I can’t help but think of a certain Antarctic scientific outpost and the terribly alien shape shifter that showed up one day. I am, of course, referring to The Thing, as chronicled in the 1982 movie by John Carpenter, and originally from the short story “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell Jr. Presented here is an adaptation of the thing for Starfinder.


CR 8

XP 1,200

N Medium aberration (shapechanger)

Init +0; Senses blindsense (life) 10ft; Perception +16


EAC 20; KAC 22

Fort +10; Ref +10; Will +7

Defensive Abilities independent budding, regeneration 3 (fire)


Speed 30 ft.

Melee morphic weapon +19 (3d4+14 S/P/B)

Offensive Abilities morphic weapon


Str +6; Dex +0; Con +4; Int +2; Wis +0; Cha +0

Skills Disguise +21, Survival +16

Other Abilities hibernation, perfect consumption, phage forms


Environment any

Organization solitary


Hibernation (Ex) the thing can enter a state of hibernation for an indefinite period of time when food is scarce. The thing slows down all its internal processes, appearing to any cursory examination as dead, but retaining the ability to come back out of hibernation should it detect a change of circumstances, such as sensing life with its blindsense (life) ability. While hibernating the thing can withstand extreme environmental conditions, even the vacuum of space, indefinitely. However, fire or even heat of a sufficient extreme, destroys the thing regardless.

Independent Budding (Ex) any time the thing takes 5 or more slashing damage it can choose to shed a portion of its form, budding off a new creature that retains all of the knowledge and abilities of its parent. The thing must spend 1 RP and take 10 minutes of uninterrupted rest before it can use this ability again. The new bud is size tiny, has the stats of a CR 1 combatant, possesses all the abilities of the thing, and may immediately begin using its phage forms ability. After 4 hours, assuming the bud has found sufficient biological sustenance, its size increases to small and it has the stats of a CR 4 combatant. After an additional 4 hours, so long as it continues to eat, the bud becomes a full grown thing, effectively identical to its parent save for the experiences gained since it was budded off.

Morphic Weapon (Ex) as a swift action, the thing can transform any part of its body into a natural weapon. When it does this it chooses whether the weapon will do blunt, piercing, or slashing damage. It retains this ability even when using its phage forms ability, or when subject to any other polymorph effect.

Perfect Consumption (Ex) anytime the thing consumes a biological creature it stores the entire genetic imprint of its prey. Not only does the thing gain the ability to take on that new form, it also has access to everything the prey knew in life. This means that when using phage forms the thing can attempt to disguise itself as a specific individual it has consumed, gains a +15 inspiration bonus to Disguise checks, and may use its prey’s skills and memories as though it possessed them itself. This does not unlock class abilities, but does mean the thing can use the highest skill rank of any individual it has ever consumed when attempting skill checks.

Phage Forms (Ex) as a full round action the thing can change its form to that of any biological creature it has consumed in the past. This functions as the change shape ability, with the limitations that the thing can only change into biologic creatures it has consumed in its lifetime, that it retains its independent budding, morphic weapons, and regeneration regardless of form, and that regardless of whatever form it takes on it can never gain fire resistance or immunity.

The thing is best presented in a closed door mystery type setting. Coming to a spaceship, outpost, or space station disguised as some harmless stowaway, the thing quickly leaves a trail of mysterious disappearances as it consumes victim after victim. Intelligent, and quite confident in it’s ability to blend in with its prey, the thing can all to quickly overwhelm a small population, and provide a mystery for your players to solve in addition to a battle or battles as they discover the nature of the threat they face. While it is not included in the stats here, feel free to give the thing access to armor, weapons, and equipment if it makes sense for it to have them – it is a sentient, if completely alien, monster and is quite capable of using tools and technology to achieve whatever goal it might have.

Categories: Article Writing

Jeremy Corff

Artist and Writer