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Template Grafts | Universal Monster Rules

Swarming Telelith

Source Alien Archive 3 pg. 110

Swarming Telelith Tier 2

N Small starship magical beast
Speed 12; Maneuverability perfect (turn 0); Drift
AC 17; TL 17
HP 35; DT —; CT 7
Shields light 50 (forward 13, port 12, starboard 12, aft 13)
Attack (Forward) slam (6d4)
Attack (Turret) hurl debris (4d4)
Power Core small telelith heart (120 PCU); Drift Engine none; Systems mk 4 armor, mk 4 defenses; Expansion Bays none


Engineer (1 action) Engineering +12 (2 ranks)
Gunner (1 action) gunnery +6 (2nd level)
Pilot (1 action) Piloting +13 (2 ranks)


Environment any vacuum or the Drift
Organization solitary, pair, or knot (3–12)

Special Abilities

Auto-Destruct (Ex) When a swarming telelith drops to 0 Hull Points, it explodes as if it activated a self-destruct system.

Hurl Debris (Ex) A swarming telelith can hurl debris at short range. This weapon has the point (+8) special property.

Living Starship (Ex) A swarming telelith 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 when the swarming telelith takes critical damage. A telelith’s brain can’t gain the wrecked condition.
1–30Circulatory SystemCondition applies to all gunner actions
31–60Nervous SystemCondition applies to all pilot actions
61–90HeartCondition applies to all engineer actions except patching or repairing the heart
91–100BrainCondition applies to all actions
Slam (Ex) A telelith can use its slam only against a target in an adjacent hex. This attack has the ripper special property.


Teleliths, often called “living asteroids,” look like irregular rock chunks dozens to hundreds of feet across. Difficult to distinguish from ordinary asteroids tumbling through space, teleliths are silicon-based entities with a rudimentary intelligence and a predilection for disguise. Teleliths feed on metal and are particularly drawn to dense or highly refined materials, such as those found in space stations and starships. Although some teleliths are scavengers, drifting lazily through asteroid fields to feed on metal-rich finds, others are ambush predators. Such teleliths lurk amid asteroids, wreckage, or other debris, waiting to launch themselves at passing vessels.

Teleliths fight by slamming into their foes or hurling halfdigested chunks of rock or metal through their pores. These creatures continue to grow throughout their millennia-long life spans, and older teleliths develop strange abilities, including a strong electromagnetic field that works like a starship’s shields. In addition, these larger, fiercer teleliths can launch mineral shards from their pores at railgun speeds. These teleliths also develop peculiar organs that contract in a metaphysical fashion to create a bizarre temporary wormhole that connects nearby points in space. The telelith uses this ability to “blink” across space, ambushing its prey or evading danger, although a pilot with quick enough reflexes can follow the telelith through this spatial distortion.

When feeding, a telelith unfolds its stony carapace to reveal serrated mandibles and fourteen grasping appendages. Although vaguely resembling terrestrial isopods such as pill bugs, which roll into a ball for defense, an unfolded configuration is not the telelith’s natural or preferred shape. A telelith unfolds only to eat, clinging to surfaces with its graspers while it grinds metal with its mandibles and absorbs the resultant powder through feeding vents. Once its meal is done (or sooner if the telelith senses danger) the telelith snaps back into its meteor-shaped configuration. Xenobiologists have observed that teleliths don’t otherwise unfold, not even to breed.

When it does decide to breed, a telelith releases gametes onto a solid surface through the same pores the creature uses to hurl debris. Once a second telelith does the same, infant teleliths gestate in egg-like nodules attached to the fertilized area, sometimes referred to as “void barnacles.” The nodules never hatch, but instead form the initial shell for a juvenile telelith, which breaks off when it’s ready to feed.

Although they lack a language or culture, teleliths are social creatures. They are most often encountered in large groups. Stories of asteroid fields composed mostly of teleliths that gather around and feed on massive planetoids seem fanciful. However, such fields might be mating gatherings or regions where countless telelith hatchlings have emerged from hibernation.

A telelith can suspend its life functions indefinitely to survive tumbling through space without nourishing materials. Elder teleliths also work together to launch nursery asteroids into interstellar space after breeding. Teleliths have no way to enter the Drift on their own, but they have hitched rides on or been pulled into the Drift by starships. For all these reasons, the creatures can not only be found within the Drift, but they can also be encountered throughout the galaxy.