Archives of Nethys

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Vathori

Plant of the Swarm-Born

Source Starfinder #21: Huskworld pg. 52
Location The Vast
Settlements Thirokhia
Diameter x1; Mass x1-1/2; Gravity x1-1/2
Atmosphere Normal
Day 32 hours; Year 196 days

Before the arrival of the Swarm, Vathori was a world of reclusive humanoids and few indigenous threats. After dealing with predictable raids from another planet in their system, Vathorians pooled their resources to create the Aegis. This massive planetary force shield could be raised when their systems detected incoming invasion forces. Unfortunately for the Vathorians, when the Swarm attacked—mere years after the Signal allowed the Vathorians’ bellicose neighbors to build Drift engines—the hordes came from an unexpected direction and offered no such warning.

The insectile horde devoured the raiders who had long plagued Vathori, annihilating that civilization utterly. It then fell upon Vathori in massive waves before the Aegis could be raised. Yet raised it was, severing the Swarm’s vanguard components from the bulk of the interstellar menace. After crashing upon the shield, to no avail, and unable to sense its missing components through the psychically impenetrable Aegis, the Swarm turned its attention to other planets and other systems, leaving the Swarm trapped on Vathori to clash in a war of attrition against the Vathorians.

Scientists among the Vathorians came to believe the Swarm would eventually win. But rather than give in, they devised a genetic weapon to use against their biotechnological foes and unleashed it as a virus. However, this pathogen had unforeseen consequences as the Swarm adapted and the virus mutated in response, possibly spurred or assisted by an external influence such as errant magic or an extraplanar force. Whatever the case, the virus started rewriting the genetics of all living creatures on Vathori, merging Swarm with indigenous species.

Today, all fauna and some flora on Vathori possess insectile features, from herd beasts scuttling up green cliffsides to millipede-like serpents slithering through the planet’s saline megarivers. The Vathorians of old are no more. Their descendants honor the statues of their precursors and fossilized carapaces of mighty Swarm components alike, and their forms are those of anthropomorphic insects. A drive for exploration sometimes verging on the desire for conquest reffects their Swarm heritage, and many Vathorians now look to the stars with a burning hunger instead of trepidation. Internal-threat assessors shut down the Aegis long ago, and within the past decade, other systems have made first contact with the Vathorians.

Some xenobiologists studying the planet’s unique Swarm-born life-forms have raised concerns over the volatility of these creatures' DNA, wondering if they could somehow become “activated” by the Swarm hive mind. On the other hand, some shirren priests of Hylax claim the events of Vathori were a miracle, perhaps even indicating the Swarm might yet be assimilated into galactic society.

Vathori has the following notable sites.

The Great Ancestor: The remains of a tremendous Swarm component rest upon a mountain’s steep slopes. Many Vathorians make pilgrimages to the mountain’s base every 20 years. No taboos against delving into the titanic corpse exist, but most prefer to pay their respects from below it. Inside this corpse is a trove of Swarm technology, which could provide the wider galaxy yet more advantages against the Swarm. Would-be explorers must tread carefully, though, since unmutated Swarm components slumber in suspended animation within, and interlopers risk unleashing a tide of ravenous members of the Swarm upon their devout descendants.