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Template Grafts | Universal Monster Rules


Velstrac

Source Alien Archive 2 pg. 128
Sometimes called “kytons” by mortals, velstracs are cruel fiends who dwell on the Shadow Plane. Each velstrac seeks to unlock its highest potential by following a path of methodical, self-inflicted pain while also psychically feeding on the fear and anguish of mortal creatures. Velstracs care only for this path of pain and its mystical destination; they see “lesser” beings as nothing more than stepping-stones for their own ascension.

Transformation requires a velstrac to excise pieces of itself, spiritually and physically. Dross is cut away and replaced with grafts—artificial or natural, flesh or spirit, magical or technological. Each graft brings the velstrac closer to its ideal state and increases its power. In this practice, velstracs are more fanatical than even the Augmented are about cybernetic augmentations. The emotions and pain experienced during each step, they believe, cause spiritual evolution.

Legend holds that the first velstracs emerged when mortals conceived of cruelty as an acceptable means of personal advancement. The goodly gods, astonished and dismayed, chained the velstracs in Hell. However, instead of struggling against their bonds, the velstracs subsumed their chains and eventually escaped into the Shadow Plane.

Velstracs leave the Shadow Plane to prey on sentient creatures. They maintain installations and portals in dark locales, launching forays into the Material Plane from such places. Most mortals who fall into velstrac clutches are doomed to live out the remainder of their days—or minutes—in agony. However, such mortals can sometimes become velstracs themselves. The supposed methods of this shift differ wildly, but all involve terrible suffering that only escalates after the transformation is complete. These newest velstracs often become anchorites, fiendish ascetics devoted to the torment of themselves as much as of others. An anchorite’s first act must be to willingly mutilate its flesh, showing its dedication to the velstrac way.

Anchorites are among the lowest-ranking fiends in the velstrac hierarchy. Often working in pairs or squads, they are crafters, gophers, and soldiers. Anchorite labor produces the majority of velstrac equipment, from their starships to their hide armors with inward-pointing studs and spikes. Anchorites take pains to make their creations macabre and ornate. These velstracs also make up the rank and file of velstrac exploration teams and starship crews.

In battle, anchorites aim to inflict maximum amounts of delicious agony upon themselves and their foes. Sharing pain is an ecstasy to anchorites as they guide each other along the path of evolution. Few velstracs of any sort refuse to telepathically pair with an anchorite and at least taste its pain, and it’s a rare and disgraceful act for an anchorite to refuse to share with another. A stronger velstrac who takes advantage of an anchorite to survive an otherwise deadly conflict is not considered to be acting dishonorably because in velstrac doctrine, the weak exist to serve the needs of the mighty. All velstracs answer to the demands of their strongest, the velstrac demagogues.

Velstrac Starships

A clear hierarchy commands all velstrac groupings, including the fiends’ starfaring forces. The velstracs’ fast and sleek corvettes serve as heavy scouts and raiders, cutting into enemy territory and fleets like serrated blades. In starship combat, corvette crews fight as they would in personal combat, with the aim to deal maximum damage as brutally as possible. After strafing disabled ships with chain cannons, corvettes usually make boarding maneuvers to take prisoners. Corvette anchorite crews have even been known to use their escape pods as ballistic weapons against ships with weakened defenses, hoping to overcome those defenses and, perhaps, to improvise boarding at the same time.

Velstrac Flensers

Velstracs wield flensers—blades designed to slice skin from muscle and muscle from bone—sometimes mounting these knives on rifles as bayonets. Flensers are honed to supernatural sharpness and powered to vibrate with the rhythms of the wielder’s body. Velstracs have mastered the art of using these advanced melee weapons to inflict wounds while keeping targets alive. The table above shows an array of flensers, which can be purchased only in the darkest corners of the galaxy.

Aliens in the "Velstrac" Family

NameCR
Anchorite4
Cantor9
Heretic8
Sexton11

Velstrac, Heretic

Source Starfinder #12: Heart of Night pg. 60

Heretic CR 8

XP 4,800
LE Medium outsider (evil, extraplanar, lawful, velstrac)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +16

Defense

HP 125
EAC 20; KAC 22
Fort +10; Ref +10; Will +9
Defensive Abilities integrated weapons, regeneration 5 (good or silver); DR 2/—; Immunities cold

Offense

Speed 50 ft.
Melee integrated singer velstrac flenser +20 (2d6+14 S & So; critical 1d8 bleed)
Ranged integrated aphelion laser rifle +17 (3d6+8 F; critical 1d6 burn)
Offensive Abilities unnerving gaze (30 ft., DC 16)

Statistics

STR +6; DEX +2; CON +4; INT +0; WIS +0; CHA +0
Skills Athletics +21, Intimidate +16, Stealth +16
Languages Common, Infernal
Gear aphelion laser rifle with 2 high-capacity batteries (40 charges each), singer velstrac flenser with 2 batteries (20 charges each); Augmentations accelerated datajack, mk 2 dermal plating, respiration compounder, standard speed suspension, vocal modulator

Ecology

Environment any (Shadow Plane)
Organization section (2–5), squad (6-12), or platoon (13-25)

Special Abilities

Unnerving Gaze (Su) A heretic’s visage causes viewers to doubt all of their most deeply held convictions. A creature that fails a DC 16 Will saving throw against this gaze is confused for 1 round. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Description

From a distance, heretic velstracs resemble humanoids enhanced with cybernetic weapons and other augmentations, but a closer look removes all doubt about the nature of these outsiders. Their cybernetics seem to twist their flesh, even splitting it open in places to expose muscle and bone. Most heretics have dark leather plates sutured onto their flesh while pitted iron masks with holes for eyes are riveted onto their faces. Heretics integrate their weapons into their bodies; usually, one arm is replaced by a velstrac flenser, and a laser rifle is attached to a shoulder on an articulated chassis, allowing the weapon to pivot in all directions.

To other velstracs, heretics are seen as crude butchers lacking finesse and subtlety. Heretics consider the consensual exchange of pain to be the weakest form of torture and despise it for its lack of true danger, preferring to engage in what they refer to as “vital combat” with their victims. It is rare to find a heretic on its own, as they tend to form close-knit bands that seek out intruders to the Shadow Plane and deliver righteous pain unto them.

Once every few centuries, a velstrac demagogue reveals themself to a platoon of heretics and charges them with a vital “holy mission” that involves the outsiders traveling to a world on the Material Plane and cleansing it of all life. These targets aren’t chosen randomly; they are usually ones inhabited by sentient creatures whose souls are mostly stained with corruption and whose deaths will create more velstracs.

Extra Content

The following extra content was found for this creature:
- Velstrac (Creature Subtype) Graft Template