Imagine an electric eel, but wrapped in barbed wire and capable of flight. Now imagine that launching itself at your face in a darkened corridor nd you have an idea of what it’s like to fight an electrovore.
Electrovores are CR 2 magical beasts and have two abilities, both tied to electricity. Electrical Discharge (Ex) lets an electrovore spend a resolve point to discharge a blast of electricity in a 10 foot radius, dealing 1d6+2 electrical damage and staggering foes, though a DC 13 Reflex save can half that damage and avoid the condition. This works well in concert with Siphon (Ex), which restores a resolve point every time they score a critical hit against a technological creature or item.
Electrovores are winged pests that gnaw through the wiring of spaceships, combining the exotic nuisance of Star Wars’ mynocks with the inescapable pervasiveness of rats on seventeenth century sailing vessels. It’d be easy to overlook them, at a mere CR 2, but they add a splash of something most monsters don’t: mundanity. Sure, dragons are running planet spanning empires and daemons are waging wars to invade the Material Plane, but those are problems for high level players. Electrovores are the kind of monster day-to-day people have to deal with, and that in and of itself is rather novel. Most people don’t grab their +2 autogun and leap into the fray, they just call an exterminator and try to get on with their day. It’s like finding a pet dog on a space station: a neat peek into everyday life in the setting.
Of course, don’t make the mistake of writing them off just because they’re common pests. Anyone who’s had to deal with a pack of rats will tell you they’re just as nasty as any larger animal, and that’s only amplified when you add wings and some nasty electrical abilities to the mix. In terms of flat combat electrovores are about what you’d expect of low-level challenges, with one minorly damaging attack, but it’s in the special abilities that the electrovore shines. If an electrovore feels too threatened it discharges all the energy it has built up, electrocuting everything within a ten foot radius at the cost of one resolve point. This synchs nicely with their ability to regain a resolve point when they deal critical hits, siphoning energy from their target to fuel themselves. Add in their immunity to electricity and their tendency to travel in groups and you get a mass of spiny, winged eels that can fill a room with a chain reaction of electrical explosions. But all that’s assuming you want them as a direct challenge for your players. For the more lateral and conniving GM’s, electrovores perfectly fit the role of saboteurs. The threat of a non-functional starship is probably one of the strongest threats you can wave at your players. They rely on it to get from place to place, so being trapped in a dead hunk of metal or stranded on an alien world are potent dangers. A spaceship damaged by the predations of an electrovore or two makes an excellent motivation to seek out a repair shop or land and try to fix it on their own, both good ways to send players towards the waiting jaws of the plot. After the fact works just as well, and finding a day or two into their foray onto an alien world that their engines are now scrap metal can help serve as impetus to expand their exploration to try and find resources to repair their craft. Though if you do either of these, make sure they at least get to kill the electrovores before they seek out repairs. A nice, minimally threatening fight help it feel like a problem they stopped before it got worse rather than a set of railroad tracks.
On a smaller scale, electrovores are still potent pests. Waking up from a rest to find they’ve made snacks of all your high-tech gear is a way to up the challenge, though frustration usually increases as well, so plan accordingly. Alternately, any sufficiently powerful technological item, such as the kind players would be seeking as part of their mission, would surely attract their attention. Here’s a few ideas to work electrovores into your game:
- Electrovores have always been a problem on Plotus Station, but recently it’s gotten much worse. The hives have become linked into a single hivemind, forming a single intelligence that isn’t satisfied with batteries and transistors. The swarm has begun working its way to the station’s power core with the intent to devour it and gain enough power to travel the void of space without needing to hitch a ride on a spacecraft, uncaring of the lives that would be lost if the station went dark. Even if such a disaster is averted, there’s still the issue of what caused them to form such a mind in the first place and if it can be stopped from happening again.
- Colonial Governor Lantal 4 is an android who’s fairly well known for her support of the Mechanical Freedom movement, and several rumors attest that she provides shelter for groups of their operatives in the colonies she oversees. Whether or not the rumors are true, someone’s taken umbrage with the governor and has taken steps to remove her from power. The latest attempt on her life takes the form of a dozen electrovores, starved for days in a common wooden box and trained to target her electrical signature before being released into her home.
- The cargo ship Anadar has experienced numerous power failures recently, from flickering lights to failing airlocks. Investigation reveals a nest of unusually vicious electrovores who attack several engineers rather than fleeing further into the depths of the ship. Despite the danger posed by these feral creatures they are nothing but side effects of the true danger, a corporate saboteur who released them into the ship to disable security measures and allow him to retrieve a particular item from the high security cargo hold.