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Template Grafts | Universal Monster Rules


Source Alien Archive 2 pg. 86
Among the most feared and deadly apex predators on Castrovel, a nyssholora is a dinosaur-like monster that stalks the wilderness across both Asana and the Colonies. These fearless hunters eat whatever they can catch and kill. They have plagued lashuntas and formians enough to figure prominently in the mythology of both species for millennia.

A nyssholora resembles a tyrannosaur, standing on its hind legs and counterbalancing its massive head with a long, muscular tail. A nyssholora has a pair of upper appendages with claws that resemble scythe blades, as well as a smaller pair of similar arms the creature uses to mark its territory and communicate its location to offspring, hunting partners, or a mate. A wide maw filled with two rows of fangs dominates the creature’s head, and eight beady eyes run in two vertical rows along the bridge of its nose. A wide, flat crest tops its skull, behind which writhe a mass of short, smooth tentacles. A smaller bundle of tentacles tips the nyssholora’s tail. These tentacles serve two purposes. First, the nyssholora uses them to collect energy from the atmosphere. Second, they aid the nyssholora in sensing the presence of telepathic prey, including formians and lashuntas. Stealth in the plains is all but impossible for a creature the size of a nyssholora, and it makes little effort to camouflage itself, sporting bright neon striations of yellow and orange across its thick purple or pink hide.

Nyssholoras nest and lay eggs, and both parents keep watch over unhatched young in the treacherous Castrovelian wilderness. Brooding nyssholoras are particularly aggressive, due to hunger and the desire to protect their offspring. When young nyssholoras hatch, they remain in the nest for only a day. They then stay near a parent, learning how to hunt. Juvenile nyssholoras become more and more independent over the course of a month and then set out on their own or in small groups that typically end up breaking up a couple months later. Adult nyssholoras have been known to respond to distress calls of their own offspring up to a year after separation.

The people of Castrovel hunt nyssholoras to keep their numbers down. Big-game hunters collect the beasts’ phasic claws, the third segment of the creature’s forearms. These bladed talons are sharp, but their real danger is that they vibrate at ultrasonic speeds, creating a blade of concentrated sound waves that precedes the physical structure of the claw as it swipes through the air. This can cut through even extremely dense materials. Because of these adaptations, Castrovelian scientists have long believed that nyssholoras evolved to hunt prey that had both telepathy and preternaturally strong armor. This hypothetical prey has long since vanished from Castrovel, but the nyssholora, lacking predators to challenge its position at the top of the food chain, has remained. More than one nyssholora has used its talons to carve open vehicle hulls or cut into city walls to get at prey.

Similarly, the volume and force with which a nyssholora releases its low, resonant roar are enough to weaken the structural integrity of buildings and concuss the bodies of other creatures. This mighty bellow offers potential prey an early warning to the beast’s approach since, in the absence of overwhelming ambient noise, a nyssholora’s cry can be heard as far as 20 miles away. The beast’s roar is so iconic that an entire genre of loud, growling music popular among korasha lashuntas adopted its name—originally as an insult from the style’s detractors, but quickly embraced by fans. Nyssholoran roar performances can be heard in counterculture hot spots throughout the Pact Worlds.

In its horizontal walking pose, an adult nyssholora is 15 feet tall at the hip but can stand upright to over 20 feet. The typical adult nyssholora stretches as much as 40 feet from the tip of its tail to its nose and weighs 15 tons, although formian and lashunta legends tell of epic specimens two or three times recorded sizes. Juvenile nyssholoras are less than half the size and weigh almost 2 tons.

Aliens in the "Nyssholora" Family

Adult Nyssholora11
Juvenile Nyssholora4

Nyssholora, Juvenile Nyssholora

Source Alien Archive 2 pg. 86

Juvenile Nyssholora CR 4

XP 1,200
N Large magical beast
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, telepathy sense 60 ft.; Perception +10


HP 50
EAC 16; KAC 18
Fort +8; Ref +3; Will +6
Resistances electricity 5, sonic 5


Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +13 (1d6+9 P) or phasic claws +13 (1d4+9 So) or tail scourge +13 (1d4+9 E)
Multiattack bite +7 (2d6+9 P), phasic claws +7 (1d4+9 So), tail scourge +7 (1d4+9 E)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Offensive Abilities breath weapon (15-ft. cone, 4d6 So [see text], Reflex DC 13 half, usable every 1d6 rounds)


STR +5; DEX +0; CON +3; INT -4; WIS +1; CHA -2
Skills Athletics +15


Environment temperate or warm plains (Castrovel)
Organization solitary, pair, or pack (3–6)

Special Abilities

Breath Weapon (Su) A creature that fails its saving throw against the breath weapon is also staggered for 1 round. This breath weapon ignores an object’s hardness.

Phasic Claws (Su) A nyssholora’s claws ignore half an object’s hardness.

Telepathy Sense (Su) A nyssholora can sense any creature within 60 feet of it that has telepathy, limited telepathy, or a similar ability, such as that from a mystic’s telepathic bond. This sense works through walls or other obstacles, functioning like blindsense (vibration) and sense through (vibration).