World 937, nicknamed "Rustidium" by the Celestial Cartography Guild is an example of a world where industrialization went horribly wrong. At some point a mix of tainted magic, pollution, and disease pushed the dominant civilizations into a resource rush, and then into global war. Biological, chemical, necromantic, druidic, robotic, and eventually "dirty" atomic warfare between Superpowers led to a massive collapse of several nations. Full-out atomic war followed, leaving a planet incapable of sustaining civilization at all.
Tainted by wild magic, roaming undead, lingering disease, and radiation, Rustidium would be the list of Forbidden Planets, but the Guild, at the urging of the Chaos Wizards has kept an observation station over the planet to let the world serve as an exemplar as to why certain technologies and magics are forbidden, even to the Godless.
Accordingly, many of its most significant threats are catalogue by the CCG to assess dangers to forays both on Rustidium and similar worlds.
Many engineered viruses remain in spore form in ditches, cisterns, underground chambers, etc. Especially tainting water and local flora. Most cannot be cleansed simply by boiling the water. Magical purification is the only means available that can be certain to render local foodstuffs safe. If it is unavailable, focus on eating meat protein and gathering rainwater. Do not collect standing groundwater.
These diseases are not immediately lethal. They are designed to transform humanoid life into biological weapons. Most of the viruses themselves have mutated and decayed over generations of mutation and radiation exposure. They are now far less predictable than they were when they were used 1300 years ago.
If players are exposed to Mutagenic Plagues they must Save vs. Poison or contract a mutation disease. So long as they are infected, they do not heal naturally. Additionally, they must make an additional save each time they wake up from a night's sleep. If they fail, roll in the random mutation table. To recover they must make three saves in a row.
3 Develops a distended jaw, prehensile tongue, and hooked teeth, gains a bite attack
that deals 1d3 damage.
4 Develops a Foul odour and leaks sebacious fluids from new glands.
5 Suffers from skin lesions and bone warping. Takes 1d4 damage.
6 Suffers from extensive mutation of internal organs. Takes 1d4 damage and
permanently loses 1 Constitution.
7 Character can no longer digest anything but raw meat. Humanoids smell
particularly delicious. You must make Save vs. Spells to resist eating freshly
fallen foes or allies.
8 Goes completely berserk, a tracking allies until at least one is dead before testing
for morale. Will eventually become a troglodyte under the GM's control.
Low standing water is also often tainted by radioactive fallout. While this fallout is fairly decayed, it still can cause burns that cannot be cured by normal means.
Any standing water found indoors or underground in Rustidium has a 2 in 6 chance of being irradiated. A character drinking or partially immersed in the water takes 1hp of damage that cannot be cured except with a restoration or neutralize poison spell.
Much of the landscape of Rustidium is covered with jagged metal from the ruins of industrial-era technology. Just navigating the landscape exposes explorers to the danger of being cut on razor sharp rusted metal. Any visitors are advised to seek immunization to tetanus before visiting this world and wearing protective gear.
Left-over shells, land Mines, and booby traps litter the most devastated parts of the landscape. A specialist should scout ruins before any other team members enter them.
Flora & Fauna
Thorny yellowish "rust melons" grow all over the ruins of Rustidium which are one of the safest food sources available. Their vines naturally filter radiation and viruses, ensuring an edible if tough and difficult to eat fruit. Those wanting to eat the melon must contend with a leathery rind and protruding spines that emerge at odd angles from the melon's core. It is advisable to cut flesh from the melon and examine for thorns before eating.
The larger risk is from a species of carnivorous plant nicknamed the biting melon. This ambush predator settles down near a patch of melons and remains motionless. It is nearly indistinguishable from the rust melon until its "melons" reveal themselves to be snaggle-toothed maws when it attacks.
Both rust melons and biting melons produce vines that are tougher and lighter than hempen rope and can be used as such if the outer skin is carefully burned off.
Biting Melon: SZ: Large; Atk: bite (1d8) and tendril (1d4); AC: 7; HD: 4; MV: 30' (10'); SA: Coil, Savage; ML: 9; Int: 1; AL: N; #appearing: 1; XP: 175
Coil: When a creature is hit by the Biting Melon's tendril attack it must Save vs, Paralysis or be coiled in the Biting Melon's vines. Thereafter, it automatically takes 1d4 damage at the beginning of the Biting Melon's turn. Coiled creatures cannot move or cast spells and a attack at - 4. They may use their action to make a Save vs. Paralysis to break free. A Biting melon may have three human-sized targets coiled at once. It cannot make tendril atracks if it has three coiled targets.
Savage: as its action, a biting melon may choose to latch one of its maws onto the head of a creature currently trapped in its coils. It attacks at +4 and deals 1d8+4. Any creature reduced to 0hp in this manner is decapitated.
There are a few small clannish groups of Humans and Dwarves can be found scattered across Rustidium. Despite having over a millennium to rebuild, they remain scavengers with no meaningful civilization beyond simple farming. It is evident that generation of exposure to the Mutagenic Viruses left in the environment have affected their levels of aggression and cognitive abilities.
Attempts to offer aid and membership in the Great Liberation have been met with deception and then violence; they have stake, killed, and eaten every off-worlder they have encountered.
Cannibal: Atk: hand axe (1d6) or pipe rifle (1d8); AC 7; HD: 2; MV: 120' (40'); SA: Stealth; ML: 8; Int 9; AL: C; #appearing: 4d6; XP: 35
Cannibal Chief: Atk: hand axe 1d6), chainsaw (3d6) or junk shotgun (1d10); AC 6; HD: 3; MV: 120' (40'); SA: Stealth; ML: 8; Int 11; AL: C; #appearing: special; XP: 50
Stealth: Cannibals move silently and hide in shadows like 4th level thieves. Cannibal chiefs do so like 5th level thieves.
Cannibal bands travel in groups of 4d6. For every 8 cannibals there will be a cannibal chief. All cannibals carry makeshift firearms that can be fired only once per combat. They carry 2d4 rounds of ammunition each.
Hit-and-run: Gamma raptors can move part of their movement, attack, and then complete their movement as a part of the same action. A PC may attack a Gamma Raptor as it moves away, but they suffer a - 4 penalty to the attack.
Contagion: The first time a Gamma Raptor is encountered, roll a d6. On a 1, the raptor carries a weak strain of the Mutagenic Plague; saves against it are made at +4.
During the wars that devastated Rustidium, zombified bodies were sent into tactically sensitive areas with orders to kill anything that enters their vicinity. Normally, zombies are limited by their decay; eventually they become too rotten to move, begin to fall apart, and deanimate. However many of these weaponized zombies were heavily irradiated. They still remain too radioactive for saprophitic bacteria to settle on them, and so they do not rot. They continue to patrol their interdiction zones and attack intruders, often causing radiation burns with their touch.
Hot Zombie: Atk: claw (1d8); AC 8; HD 2; MV: 90' (30'); SA: irradiated; ML: 12; Int: 1; AL: C; #appearing: 2d4; XP: 25
Irradiated: If a Hot Zombie does 7 or more damage on an attack, 1 of that damage cannot be healed except with a restoration or neutralize poison spell.
These noisy, rattling bicopters are the remnants of an AI-driven experiment in automated warfare. They are designed to be able to self-repair and assimilate new equipment. Over the centuries they have modified themselves to run on heavy water. They have built in ammunition factories, and are often equipped with strange weapons. They would be more formidable if they were not reliant on corroded junk for materials.
As it is, they have become unstable, prone to malfunction, and easily confused. They often swoop down to check the identity of wanderers, only to fly off satisfied that they are authorized personnel of armies gone 1300 years. They occasionally start following Dwarves like lost pets. Other times they kill on sight.
Killdrone: Atk: machine gun (2d6); AC 6; HD 2; MV: fly 180' (60'); SA: Erratic, Special Gear; ML: 11; Int: 6; AL:N; #appearing: 2d4; XP: 30
Erratic: Killdrones use their own reaction table as below. Re-roll reaction any time the Killdrones takes 4 or more damage.
Special Gear: Killdrones have a 2 in 6 chance each of incorporating special equipment that imitates a low-level spell usable once. Roll 1d4 for the spell: 1. a flamethrower that works like burning hands; 2. a flash that works like light cast on a target's eyes; 3. a foam bomb that works like web; 4. a micro-missile rack that launches a magic missile. All cast as if by a 3rd level Magic-User.
2 or less EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! The Killdrones will not relent until all
humanoids nearby are dead.
3-5 The Killdrones will pursue the PCs until they flee indoors and underground.
6-8 If the party does not include a Dwarf, they will monitor them from above, and
hold off until they perform a hostile act. There is a 1 in 6 chance of them
perceiving anything involving magic or weapons as hostile.
If they do include a Dwarf, there is a 1 in 6 chance that Killdrones will "escort"
them. They will side with the PCs in a battle with enemies that don't include a
Dwarf. This will last for 2d4 hours, after which the Killdrones will fly off.
9-11 The Killdrones will escort the party for 2d4 hours, attacking any hostile creatures.
12+ The Killdrones will escort the PCs for 4d6 hours. For each Dwarf in the party there
is a 1 in 6 chance a Killdrone will adopt the Character and follow them around.
Megaroaches are only seen deep underground or in areas with dense ruins at night. These dog-sized cockroaches are afraid of light. They will never enter an area of bright light, but they are brazen about attacking lone targets in the dark. Their spittle is highly caustic, and can damage armor.
Megaroach: Atk: bite (1d6); AC 7; HD 1; MV: 150' (60'); SA: Corrode, Photophobic; ML: 7; Int: 1; AL:N; #appearing: 3d6; XP: 13
Corrode: If a Megaroach successfully hits an armored target, that target must Save vs. Wands or their armor loses 1 AC point of value. Once the armor provides no protection, it is destroyed. Each point of AC requires the attention of a capable armorer and 10% of the cost of the armor to repair.
Photophobic: Megaroaches will always flee from areas of bright light, and must succeed a morale check to enter dim light.
These creatures are what is left of the human and demihuman populations that tried to hide from the apocalypse in subway tunnels, basements, cisterns, and other unsealed underground hideouts. Bombarded with dark magic, mutagens, bio weapons, and radiation, they have been reduced to quivering, semi-gelatinous things that shamble in the darkest deeps, living on rats and megaroaches. Their kissing, slurping, and babbling sounds are known to make explorers go mad with fear. While they are individually slow and weak, they live in numbers and work together to drive prey into crowds.
Slow Mutant: Atk: tentacle (1d4); AC 9; HD 1+3; MV: 30' (10'); SA: Gibber; ML: 6; Int: 5; AL: C; #appearing: 6d6; XP: 19
Gibber: the soft whispering, babbling, slurping, and cooing sounds of the Slow Mutants is disorienting. Those hearing it must make a Save vs. Spells at the beginning of each round or they are unable to move more than 15' that round, and get a -2 penalty on attack rolls.