Monday, August 31, 2020

Solar Sails and Cypher: The Frost Shards

 By Christopher Robin Negelein

Frost Shard       Level 3 (9)

For those doing salvage throughout the Flow, some crews come across a rare find. The corpse of a strange iridescent insect that reflects a sparkling blue when the light dances off the carapace. Such shells are in high demand from both scholars and jewelers. One for the mystery and other for the mystique.

The dead creatures are found around floating wrecks floating out in the invisible edge of the flow and the true void. Those who make a month’s worth of living off of auctioning off a shard corpse tell themselves such creatures are scavengers, not much different than themselves. An important part of the cycle of life out in the strangeness of Flow 

The truth is much worse. 

Despite looking like an animal, a “blizzard” of them move in synchronized patterns that speak to an outside influence, a hive mind or mental domination. If they break formation, it is to scatter as far and as wide as they can to spread their frost and influence to maximum effect. On a standard void vessel, they can create freezing temperatures within minutes. 

As they are the scouting element to a voider boarding action, they perform their purpose admirably, though not all of them survive the incursion. Those killed by the doomed crew often see a blue gas escaping from the dying body of a frost shard.

Motive: To scout ahead and distract a void vessel crew until it is too late.

Environment: The twilight regions of the black void where they wait to be either summoned by a voider craft or get close enough to latch onto an unsuspecting void vessel.

Health: 9

Damage Inflicted: 3 points (or 4 ambient damage)

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Being small and fast, a frost shard has Speed Defense as level 4. 

Combat: Frost shards avoid combat but when they do attack, they try to do it in formation of five to seven  individuals, where they can make a single attack roll  against one target as one level 5 creature, inflicting  5 points of damage.

The rare frost shard, usually bigger than the rest, can also emit a blast of cold in the immediate area that does 4 ambient cold damage (ignores armor) every third turn.

This is in addition to the usual aura of cold emanating from a Frost Shard, which only produces 1 point ambient cold damage which can be mitigated by warm clothing or vigorous activity. 

Interaction: An old friend had a string of lucky finds, bringing in several frost shards. Claiming he knew of a good hunting spot, he sailed off a week ago, hoping his would be his last salvage run and then he would retire from the scavenger lifestyle. He never came back, but his husband has a map and tears in his eyes.

Use: The Frost Shard is the first sign of trouble when a ship gets too far from the Flow and the void gets colder and colder. While avoiding confrontation, the creatures should always just be on the edge of the peripheral vision, always watching.

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