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Template Grafts | Universal Monster Rules


Source Alien Archive 3 pg. 46

Gwahled Tier 15

NE Gargantuan starship fey
Speed 10; Maneuverability average (turn 2); Drift
AC 29; TL 29
HP 400; DT 10; CT 80
Shields heavy 420 (forward 105, port 105, starboard 105, aft 105)
Attack (Forward) bite (5d12 plus swallow starship)
Attack (Turret) photon flare (2d10×10)
Attack (Turret) graviton net (10d6)
Power Core gwahled heart (500 PCU); Drift Engine none; Systems mk 8 armor, mk 9 defenses; Expansion Bays none
Other Abilities fear-eater aura, living starship, paranormal astrogation, void adaptation


Engineer (1 action) Engineering +31 (15 ranks)
Gunners (2 actions) gunnery +22 (15th level)
Pilot (1 action) Piloting +26 (15 ranks)


Environment any vacuum
Organization solitary

Special Abilities

Bite (Ex) A gwahled can use its bite only against a ship in an adjacent hex. If the gwahled deals damage with this attack to a ship of its size or smaller, it holds that ship in place. As an action, the pilot of the bitten starship can attempt a DC 32 Piloting check to break free of the gwahled’s maw. While holding a starship in its maw, the gwahled can’t move or turn, but it can make attacks with its photon flare and graviton net, or attempt to bite or swallow the same starship. The gwahled and the ship it is holding take a –2 penalty to AC and TL and to Piloting checks to determine movement order in starship combat.

Fear-Eater Aura (Su) A creature that starts its turn within 20 hexes of the gwahled and able to see it (or engaged in starship combat with it) must succeed at a DC 22 Will saving throw or become frightened. A creature that fails by 5 or more is panicked instead. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by the same gwahled’s fear-eater aura for 24 hours.

Graviton Net (Su) A gwahled’s graviton net has short range, and the point (+12) and tractor beam special properties.

Living Starship (Ex) A gwahled 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 engineer, gunner, and pilot 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 table below whenever the gwahled takes critical damage. The gwahled’s brain can’t gain the wrecked condition.
1–30Weapon arrayCondition applies to all gunner actions.
31–60Gravity centersCondition applies to all pilot actions and gunner actions with attacks other than bite.
61–90HeartCondition applies to engineer actions except patching or repairing the heart.
91–100BrainCondition applies to all actions.
Paranormal Astrogation (Su) A gwahled can transport itself through space at astonishing speeds, arriving anywhere in the galaxy within 10d6 days. They rarely do so, except when hungry, and otherwise mostly do so randomly.

Photon Flare (Ex) A gwahled’s photon flare has medium range. To a starship without functioning shields, this weapon not only deals damage but also has the EMP special property.

Swallow Starship (Ex) If the gwahled is holding a starship smaller than it in place, it can swallow that vessel by making a successful bite attack against it. A gwahled’s gullet can hold one Huge ship, two Large ships, four Medium ships, eight Small ships, or sixteen Tiny ships. A gwahled can take an action during the gunnery phase to attempt to incinerate starships inside it, dealing 5d12 damage (divide this damage equally across all arcs, starting with the forward arc and proceeding clockwise) and applying the EMP special property. A swallowed vessel can still attack. The gwahled’s interior has AC 25, TL 25, and DT 5. However, starship weapons deal half damage to the firing ship through a combination of blowback and the gwahled’s physical reactions. If a swallowed starship deals 100 damage to the gwahled’s interior, the ship blows a hole in the creature big enough to attempt to fly through. During the helm phase, the pilot of a swallowed starship can attempt to fly free with a DC 32 Piloting check, or DC 37 if the gwahled has no hole in it. On a failure, the starship remains within the gwahled.


Gamboling through space with inscrutable whims, gwahleds are among the largest fey in existence— and also among the rarest. A gwahled looks like an astronomical object, but it has three eyes and a massive maw capable of swallowing starships. Devouring a vessel garners the gwahled no sustenance, although it can feed on the fear of the doomed crew.

Gwahleds require only this fear to sustain them. They seek mortal fright produced on a planetary scale. A gwahled sleepily wanders the interstellar reaches until it has a vision of a planet with sufficient sapient life and with technology good enough to detect an incoming space object but no means to thwart such a calamity. Once the gwahled has dreamed of an appropriate planet, it travels on a collision course toward that world, behaving as though it were a comet inexorably drawn to the planet’s gravitational field. The gwahled is large enough that if it struck most worlds, the outcome would be an extinction-level event—and it relies on this fact to feed.

As the gwahled draws closer to its target, it siphons the fear radiating from a population aware of its own doom. Once the gwahled is very close to the planet, the fey’s fear-eater aura drives most creatures on the world into abject terror. Few can act rationally in the face of this astronomical horror. Even those who resist the supernatural fear can find themselves giving in to despair as their civilization crumbles around them. From these emotions, the gwahled takes the nourishment it needs. Sated, the creature changes course, moving away from the planet before causing any direct physical harm. It then drowsily continues its journey among the stars, awaiting visions of another world. Although a gwahled’s arrival rarely results in the expected extinction, the visitation can cause civilizations to disintegrate. Countless people die in the fear and confusion. The world’s organizations fall apart as people succumb to desperation or resignation. Horrible accidents and lasting pollution are often the results. Sometimes, national enemies choose the moment of impending doom to enact decisive strikes against one another. Once the population recovers its senses, the devastation has likely set it back decades—if not centuries—in its development.

Comanides oppose gwahleds. These comet fey travel to systems a gwahled might threaten and warn the inhabitants of the peril. A comanide might seek the aid of travelers who can thwart the gwahled on behalf of those it seeks to prey upon.

A gwahled rarely visits the same world twice. However, a few have established cosmic routes among populated planets that have yet to develop adequate defenses. People who expect the titanic fey are less likely to panic at the creature’s approach, but the fey’s aura can still inflict terror and thereby provide the gwahled ample sustenance. Visitors to worlds on a gwahled’s feeding route often find cultures that have religions or stories of a “chaos star” that brings despair, fear, and turmoil on a generational timescale.