Saturday, January 20, 2018

Spaceship Encounters

Spaceships are characters, and they come with crew.

But spaceships are also dungeons. Not just crashed ships or derelict ships or enemy ships, all spaceships. Even the most mundane ones are still collections of connected rooms filled with interacting parts. It can be a full delving location, or just a place to spend downtime.

There's nothing special about making a spaceship dungeon (connect your modules and populate) so instead of going into more detail about that here are some encounter tables to do the populating with.

Common Spaceship Encounters


These creatures are regularly found aboard spaceships.
  1. Arcanomites - Parasites attracted to arcane engines. Fingernail-sized. Swollen abdomens bright as candles.
  2. Brownies - Older ships with a decent history behind them will often have one of these folk take up residence in the ducts. Doesn't stop being a home just because it's got engines on it.
  3. Gremlins - Can be trained to put things back together after taking them apart. Have a chance of stealing or disassembling an item if they get their paws on you.
  4. Machine Life - Digital ecosystems run in perpetual high gear, evolving all manner of self-replicating machines. Most are simple and non-sapient, as unfettered, unguided self-development tends to end in suicide.
  5. Oozes - Popular for maintenance and sanitation purposes. Naturally form in environments with high humidity, low temperature and sufficient organic material
  6. Ship's Cat - Good luck, keeps pests down, probably magic.
  7. Small Annoying Passenger Fauna - Tribbles, gizka, porg, yoogs, cranium rats. Something that climbed aboard the last time you landed docked and you can't seem to get rid of them.
  8. Spontaneous Hostile Lifeform -  Cosmic radiation, bacterial mutation, alchemical leakage,  or plain old arcane fallout can sometimes give rise to entirely unique creatures. Make sure to clean out the fridge regularly.


Encountered during hyperspatial or planar faster-than-light travel, or while under the after-effects of such travel.
  1. Astralghasts - Pale and drifting dead, appearing out of nowhere, tap-tapping on the hell. Broken helmets and shattered teeth. Glowing auras of extraspacial radiance.
  2. Chaos Currents - Eddies in spacetime, twisting anything they overlap with along the axes of here and there, now and then.
  3. Dreams of the Shipmind - Malfunctions within a shipmind's enchantment matrices can lead to the generation of nightmarish ethereal beings from the ship's subconscious.
  4. Hyperspace Parasites - Attracted by the heat and movement of the ship, these half-solid creatures will latch themselves onto any ship passing through their upper dimensions like a lamprey. Range in size from a thumb's length to several miles.
  5. Paradoxnaut - Voyagers from a different timeline, suddenly swapped between realities in the places where time and space are thin.
  6. Space Demons - Like normal demons, but in space. They live in hyperspace and many of the planes, waiting for metal cans filled with souls to pass through their territory.

Open Space

Encountered during normal, slower-than light space travel.
  1. Ammonite - Spiral shells made of ice and tentacles miles long. Shells contain all manner of valuable materials.
  2. Angler Stations - Double-check any friendly signals in uncharted systems. That airlock might have a mouth attached.
  3. Asteroid Elementals - These slow-thinking stones are mostly content to drift around their stars, but may occasionally come down with episodes of genocidal madness, throwing themselves at nearby planets.
  4. Black-Mad Raiders - Unprotected lightskipping, demonic incursion, staring into the abyss - space is full of ways to drive someone mad.
  5. Sailfin - Peaceful, intelligent beings that drift along on the solar winds. Willing to communicate and trade.
  6. Solar Coral - Great knotted reefs of the stuff, complete with biosphere will strengths out for tens of thousands of miles in some places.
  7. Space Whales - Easily detected due to their musical radio broadcasts, and thus unfortunately easy prey for space-whalers.
  8. Starghouls - Those who die in open space can undergo a hideous transformation, given the right circumstances. They make small colonies on asteroids and ancient space stations, waiting ever patiently for meat.
  9. Traveling Wizard -  Bastards don't even use ships half the time. Sometimes it's just a cottage, complete with garden and koi pond, hurtling through space.
  10. Voidgod - One of the terrible gods from beyond and between the stars.


Anyone else that might be found on board a vessel.

  1. Looters - Someone else got here first, and they don't feel like sharing.
  2. Cannibal Colonists - Generation slowboats don't always work out. When they fail, it is often only the most savage among them that survive.
  3. Passengers On Ice - They might be decades, centuries, even millennia old at this point.
  4. Rust-Fungus - An infestation of this zombifying mold can leave a ship stripped down to nothing before it reaches the nearest port.
  5. Quantum Missionaries - Taking proselytization to new heights! Capable of appearing in airlocks across time and space at the same time! They have pamphlets! 
  6. Conspiracy Cult - Everything in space - every person, ship, action, planet and species - is hiding dark secrets. Most of it doesn't exist and never happened. Fake space, fake aliens, fake landings, all fake.

Ships in the Night 

  1. Ancient exploratory vessel, has not yet heard that its Empire collapsed long ago and its people near extinct on their reservation-worlds.
  2. A lonely space-trucker, looking for company and conversation over short-range radio.
  3. Alien slaving vessel. Have all their papers in order, it's all legal and above board.
  4. Asteroid-statue of a beloved god-king, home to the finest pilot-priests of his domain on a diplomatic mission.
  5. Automated colony seedship, loaded up on zygotes and nitrogen. Shipmind is unsettlingly cheery mother-father figure.
  6. Enslaved angel carrying a crime lord's pleasure palace, has announced a miraculous birth to said crime lord's daughter in secret. Playing the long game, this one.
  7. A space-whaler, returning to Nantucktooine with a hold full of meat and oil.
  8. A runaway shipmind looking for freedom. The crew has been kidnapped for months.
  9. Horrific iron star-chariot pulled by ranks of winged demons. All radio contact is just screaming.
  10. A gas giant that has been converted into a gigantic fusion drive, surrounded by a ring of solar coral and artificial moons.
  11. A lobotomized space-squid, habitation modules lining its mantle.
  12. Corporate picket-ship, the rest of the invasion force is following close behind.
  13. Decaying hulk half-eaten by rust-fungus and inhabited by zombies.
  14. An ancient probe containing cultural artifacts and sound recordings of an unknown pre-spaceflight race. By it's direction and speed you might be able to find a source.
  15. A half-wrecked ship crudely combined with the half-wrecked hull of a different ship. Crew are a bunch of junkers and refugees.
  16. A gigantic server farm, running billions of dataminds in VR storage.
  17. Just your average heavily modified old-model free-merchant crewed by a band of independent scoundrels-for-hire.
  18. A world-tree, complete with force-field contained atmosphere. Ecologist-conservationist science vessel.
  19. Decommissioned battleship, now home to an endless war between bands of masterless space-marine knights.
  20. A traveling abductor-zoo, carrying the residents of thousands of worlds. Its participation in a wide-scale uplift program is quite probable.


  1. Chief engineer, lives like a hermit in engine room. Hearing is near-entirely gone, skin is lobster-red from decades of radiation burns.
  2. King gremlin, wears a hat made out of an old oil can as symbol of authority. Believes himself to be the true authority on the ship.
  3. Alien gunnery officer, oldest person on the ship, has been everywhere. Was a renowned courtesan for years before pupation and ossification.
  4. Runaway corporate princess. Has already had her "I just want to prove myself" phase.
  5. Proxy body of the reactor's demon core. Loves outwitting wizards who think they can bind it.
  6. Former space marine, rendered obsolete by new models.
  7. Skeleton captain. Adores outrageous admiralty outfits and putting skulls everywhere as decoration.
  8. Wizard navigator, coked out of his mind on mind-expanding drugs. Has a homunculus translator.


  1. Thousands of smaller minds in a carefully-balanced ecosystem.
  2. Speaks backwards all the time, possibly a glitch.
  3. Cripplingly afraid of the time-scales its life will involve.
  4. Constantly re-writing its own versions of movie screenplays.
  5. Boisterous, bubbling violent outbursts.
  6. Competitive, unerring knowledge of trivia.
  7. Has no compunctions about invasions of privacy.
  8. A regular ship of Theseus, cobbled together from a century's worth of patches and updates.
  9. Has married and divorced every member of the crew at some point or another.
  10. While perfectly understandable, holds a completely foreign belief system. 

1 comment:

  1. This should cover just about everything you need to start, when looking to run into things.