Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Gorgonopsid Space Liches

Jonathan Kuo
Buckle up, ladies and gents, it's time for gorgonopsid space liches. Please pardon the fellow above, he is out of costume.

It's not easy getting into space. Sometimes, a species gets lucky and just stumbles upon some magic that can get them into orbit. Most of the time they never get off the ground at all. Sometimes, a species tells the universe to go fuck itself, beats it up, steals its lunch money, and does stuff the hard way.

Gorgorex was one of those.

Let's not mince words here, they nearly murdered their own planet to get into space. But they got there, and they got there first. Gorgorex civilization was a dominant player in a bubble upwards of 150 light-years across. A dust mote compared to the empire of the mind-worms that would come after them, but it was the grandest of the time and twice as grand besides because it was built upon a near-absolute lack of skill in the spatio-temporal arts.

Magical gravity control was completely beyond them. Faster than light travel was never even on the table. But they had biomancy and necromancy, and with the combination of the two came all their undying biological technologies. The gorgorex abandoned their bodies early in their interplanetary era for the benefits of lichdom; Phylacteries were mass-produced, flesh was traded for bone, and the species entered the age of post-scarcity. There were plans for a Dyson swarm.

It never came to pass, for gorgorex civilization collapsed completely. A glitch in the sigil-programming of their phylacteries would unspin their souls and wipe the storage. This was hard-coded into the enchantment and was triggered by age: roll over a certain date and poof. Gone.

Entire colonies were wiped clean before anyone realized there was a problem. Frantic workarounds were developed, but by the time the knowledge would reach outlying regions time-lag would have wiped anyone who could have listened to the message. Feral fragments of their networked bodies filled the empire; mindless, atavistic, slowly degrading into dust.

Ten Remnants of the Gorgonopsid Space Liches

  1. Umbilical cord space elevator attached to geosynchronous skull-station.
  2. Self-replicating tomb colony filled with deteriorating maintenance ghouls.
  3. Autonomous skeletal drones, programming hopelessly glitched by age.
  4. Orbital lichyard, hatcheries full of stillborn ships.
  5. Rib cage cylinder habitat, left to the pests for ages.
  6. Orbital solar farm, now inhabited by hives of stellar fire elementals.
  7. Fallow terraforming hexes, spotted with seed and gene vaults.
  8. Osteosculpting station, coral tanks still functioning.
  9. Communication hub, still broadcasting messages from the empire's final days.
  10. Sublight cargo vessel, trapped in a long elliptical orbit.

Ten Treasures of the Gorgonopsid Space Liches

  1. Thinking machine in a formaldehyde vat, desiccated but still functional.
  2. An unused phylactery, ruby-red and smooth as oil.
  3. Monofiliment bone-wire sword, still sharp despite the years.
  4. Portable solar-heater, could survive a bomb detonation.
  5. Pre-lichdom ghoul-suit, still able to do EVA walks.
  6. Non-functioning but intact fusion reactor.
  7. Supercoolant unit filled with liquified Ice 9 elemental.
  8. Blob of active metamaterial, currently at child intelligence and growing smarter.
  9. Painstaking recreation of the empire in orrery form, all orbit times to scale.
  10. A GSL's original body, lovingly preserved for nostalgia's sake.

The Conqueror of Time-Space, Heirozonus Zhul

The last of the gorgonopsid space liches, the utterly mad Heirozonus has devoted his unlife to building a gargantuan museum devoted to showcasing all the eras of fantastic deep time. He pilots this patchwork monstrosity of a rotating cylinder through the time-stream, abducting interesting specimens and endlessly revising and adding to the habitat-exhibits found within.

Hook: the player characters wake up from a drugged haze in a clearly-fake model homestead. There are a few recollections of drinking the night before and lights in the sky. Everyone's clothing has been replaced with ridiculous "local garb" that no one in their right mind would ever wear. Outside the house, there is a skeleton-servitor, eyes aglow...


    1. These guys were, unsurprisingly, the most metal.

      1. An interesting way to describe masters of biotechnology. Wouldn't it be more accurate to describe them as the "most sufficiently strong organic carbon"?

    2. Everything I could have hoped for, and more. They should have sent a poet. With an electric guitar. Wait, that's exactly what they sent.

      Also stoked to hear of the galactic mind-worm imperiate, and how the mind flayers/neothelids fit into their outré ecology. Natural enemies? Engineered tools? Bizarrely adapted descendants?

    3. Welp, got here searching for recent gorgonopsid paleoart, anyone mind tell me what's that all about ? Seems pretty interesting

      1. Couple of months ago there was an idea going around the D&D blogosphere of fantastic deep time, and this resulted from that.