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Template Grafts | Universal Monster Rules

Giant Space Tardigrade

Source Alien Archive 3 pg. 40

Giant Space Tardigrade Tier 4

N Medium starship magical beast
Speed 6; Maneuverability good (turn 1); Drift
AC 18; TL 18
HP 65; DT —; CT 13
Shields light 60 (forward 15, port 15, starboard 15, aft 15)
Attack (Forward) plasma cannon (5d12)
Attack (Port) light plasma cannon (2d12)
Attack (Starboard) light plasma cannon (2d12)
Power Core tardigrade brain (150 PCU); Drift Engine none; Systems basic computer, basic medium-range sensors, mk 4 armor, mk 4 defenses, upgraded heavy weapon mount (forward arc); Expansion Bays none
Other Abilities living starship, redundant lobes, rugged, self-repair, void adaptation


Engineer (1 action) Engineering +10 (4 ranks)
Gunner (1 action) gunnery +9 (4th level)
Pilot (1 action) Piloting +15 (4 ranks)
Science Officer (1 action) Computers +10 (4 ranks)


Environment any vacuum
Organization solitary, pair, or endurance (3–8)

Special Abilities

Living Starship (Ex) A giant space tardigrade is a living creature so immense that it functions as a starship (and thus engages only in starship combat). It has no crew, but it can still take crew actions using the skill bonuses, ranks, and level listed above. Modifiers for its size, speed, and maneuverability have already been factored into its statistics. Use the following table to determine the effects when a giant space tardigrade takes critical damage.

Redundant Lobes (Ex) The first time the giant space tardigrade’s brain is wrecked, the creature automatically switches to its redundant lobes, removing all critical damage conditions from the brain.
1–20Sensory bristlesCondition applies to all science officer actions
21–50Weapons arrayRandomly determine one arc containing weapons; condition applies to gunner actions using weapons in that arc.
51-80PropulsionCondition applies to all pilot actions.
81-100BrainCondition applies to all engineer actions except hold it together and patch.

Rugged (Ex) A giant tardigrade is particularly resistant to radiation and EMP pulses. It is unaffected by starship weapons with the EMP special property and suffers no effects of radiation from irradiating starship weapons.

Self-Repair (Ex) A giant tardigrade automatically regains 1 Hull Point every hour.


Among the most durable creatures in existence, giant space tardigrades are truly enormous relatives of the microscopic water-dwelling tardigrades found on many worlds. Like their smaller cousins, giant space tardigrades resemble lumbering bear-like creatures with a segmented body and eight legs. Although all tardigrades can withstand the vacuum and radiation of space for a time, giant space tardigrades are at home in airless environments, drifting through space to find food. Due to the rarity of sustenance in the vast gulfs of space, giant tardigrades can eat nearly anything and are often aggressive in their attempts to destroy and consume starships they encounter. Some trade corporations and stationmasters put bounties on giant space tardigrades that have proven to be a nuisance, and a popular joke among spacers is that the best thing to devour or chase away a giant space tardigrade is a bigger one.

Giant space tardigrades are notorious for their durability and ability to survive even the most extreme conditions. A giant space tardigrade can withstand immense heat, pressure, and radiation; explorers have spotted them drifting through radioactive nebulae, the crushing atmospheres of gas giants, and intense solar flares without sustaining any harm. Even a badly wounded giant space tardigrade can completely recover in only a few days. They are not biologically complex, but their pudgy bodies contain several supplementary systems—such as duplicate nerve clusters and redundant brain lobes—to help ensure their survival. Giant space tardigrades are particularly resistant to dehydration and starvation, as they can temporarily replace the water in their bodies with a durable protein, which causes them to shrivel slightly but allows them to survive in a state of quasi-hibernation for decades.

Although not much more intelligent than animals, giant space tardigrades can develop distinctive personalities that some starship crews have learned to recognize. Although most giant space tardigrades tend to be aggressive from hunger, some are playful and curious. Giant space tardigrades are good at recognizing starships they’ve seen before, and they can harbor grudges against vessels that attacked them years or even decades earlier. Giant space tardigrades also remember starships that treated them well or led them to food, and they sometimes play simple tricks on these old “friends”--like soaring out from behind a large asteroid to surprise them, or batting a satellite or comet playfully toward the vessel. Some giant space tardigrades express obvious preferences, such as a tendency to nuzzle smooth kasathan starships or flee from bony Eoxian vessels.

When angry, a giant space tardigrade can pose a serious threat, particularly to smaller starships or those with novice crews. A giant tardigrade is equipped with several natural weapons, and is able to draw upon its inner energy reserves to emit powerful beams of plasma.

Veteran starship crews know that giant space tardigrades are resistant to several types of common starship weapons. A giant space tardigrade will sometimes feign defeat to lure attackers closer, and canny crews know to watch for tricks. After a giant space tardigrade is finally vanquished, such crews sail in to harvest the most precious parts of the creature, much like ancient whalers converging on a defeated whale. Giant space tardigrades have components valuable in certain industries; their hides are remarkably durable, and researchers study their nerve clusters in search of medical breakthroughs.

Although most giant space tardigrades are around 120 to 160 feet long and weigh 200 tons, there have been sightings of creatures at least twice this size. A giant space tardigrade can live for centuries, or even longer if forced into many long periods of hibernation.