Alternate names: Producers, Elder Thing Food, Chemotroph Shoggoths, Pando II/Pando Jr (one specific entity)
Some shoggoths, whether by design or evolution, developed as autotrophs—organisms that produce their own food source using a combination light, water, and/or other chemicals. While the most common autotrophs people are familiar with are plants, which create their food source via photosynthesis, most autotrophic shoggoths rely on chemosynthesis. Living along hydrothermal vents in the darkest depths of the Earth’s oceans, they have no natural predators…luckily, their metabolic process for converting hydrogen sulfides into food is inefficient, which keeps them from growing and/reproducing unchecked.
In their natural habitat, autotroph shoggoths tend to be on the small side for shoggoths, and relatively docile. They get everything they need right where they’re at, be it methane or hydrogen sulfide or some other inorganic food source. It is when outside sources start to meddle in the (un)natural order of shoggoth-life that instability enters their life, and like most living things, they don’t always do well with change.
MUSK COLONY, first Mars Colony
In the early years of the 21st-century, Galilee Heavy Industries discovered one such extremophile in a cold seep off Innsmouth, MA, where the Atlantic Continental Shelf plummets down to the abyssal plain. Their decades of research and experimentation on the rare breed of shoggoth led to them entering the aerospace industry, initially as a supplier and then an operator of lunar and Martian bases, Galilee Heavy Industries became a multi-planetary corporation, and operates the first true colony on Mars: Musk Colony. It’s also the only name in interstellar space exploration (see Salo’s Glory and Red Eden, by Stygian Fox Publishing), as other companies and even countries don’t have the resources to compete.
Galilee has a patent for a megaflora chemolithotroph, affectionately nicknamed “Pando II.” This shoggoth, covering 200-acres of the regolith of the canyon floor (its root system goes much deeper) is, per the patent, just a genetically modified clonal forest. Musk Colony is situated directly atop this SIZ 5,000 shoggoth, on the floor of narrow section of the Valles Marineris.
The Science Behind the Musk Colony
At the base of the colony, sits Pando II, a massive, black clonal forest (shoggoth). The chemotrophic behemoth uses oxygen in its metabolic processes of converting hydrogen sulfide into its own food source, respiring water (vapor) and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide particles are then ionized and accelerated, slamming into gold a gold mesh which shears off the carbon molecule, leaving breathable O2 for the residents of the colony.
Polyethylene-woven domes are stretched across the canyon, high enough along the walls so that clouds can form and precipitation can occur naturally. The radiation-shielding domes, combined with the depth of the canyon, limit radiation from penetrating Musk Colony. When surface radiation levels are outside of the accepted tolerance limits, citizens of Musk Colony take shelter in old lava tubes that have been repurposed as shelters.
The canyon rim is accessible via several lifts, and there is a sizeable lab and satellite base on the rim itself, as well as a small nuclear reactor and an extensive solar array farm for the colony’s power needs.
Food is 3D printed, using an edible paste derived from Pando II and flavor packets. Galilee Heavy Industries claims that the food is vegan, as Pando II is supposedly nothing more than a genetically modified plant. And it isn’t just the colony that Pando II provides food for, but nearly every Martian outpost, as it’s far more cost effective than importing food from Earth.
Yet another secret kept from the majority of colonists, an aerosolized Tricyclic Antidepressant (TCAS) is pumped into the air supply at very low dosages. Anyone who has been at Musk Colony for at least a month typically suffers no side effects and tends to be fairly happy and laid back…just like Pando II, which relies on a lot of oxygen for its own metabolic processes. Newcomers, however, tend to report symptoms of constipation and urinary issues, dry mouth, blurred vision, dizziness, tachycardia, memory impairment, delirium, sexual disfunction, increased sweating, and, for anyone suffering from a severe side effect, suicidal thoughts.
(12D6+10) × 5
(12D6+10) × 5
18D6 × 5
1D6 × 5
1D6 × 5
2D6 × 5
Average Hit Points: 52
Average Damage Bonus: +5D6
Average Build: 6
Average Magic Points: 7
Move: 7 rolling 10 swimming
Attacks per round: 2
A typical autotrophic shoggoth covers a 5-yard/meter square and is able to spawn any number of tentacles, mouths, claws, etc., with which to attack its opponents with. It may also attempt to engulf opponents. It typically produces appendages similar to what it’s seen on other creatures in its natural habitat.
Engulf: each person engulfed within the shoggoth is attacked separately and each must make a successful opposed STR roll or be sucked apart (usually meaning instant death*). If the shoggoth attacks more than one target, it must divide its STR among all the targets. Those held within the shoggoth’s bulk can strike back only on rounds in which they make a successful STR roll. Once engulfed, for each round a victim is held within a shoggoth, they suffer the shoggoth’s damage bonus in damage—rupturing, crushing, and being sucked into pieces—note that if more than one person is being engulfed, the shoggoth’s damage bonus should be divided by the number of people engulfed (e.g., if DB is 8D6 and 4 people are being engulfed, each would suffer 2D6 damage per round). A shoggoth can engulf any number of enemies; however, the total SIZ of those engulfed may not exceed the shoggoth’s SIZ.
Fighting 50% (25/10), damage DB, or Engulf (damage DB divided by the number of targets, see above)
Dodge 8% 4/1
Climb 80%, Jump 60%, Stealth 40%
Armor: none; halve damage caused by fire and electrical attacks; mundane weapons (incl. bullets) deal only 1 point of damage per hit; regenerates 2 hit points per round (death at zero hit points).
Sanity Loss: 1D6/1D20 Sanity points to encounter an autotroph shoggoth.
Pando II, giga-chemolithotroph shoggoth
5 rolling and climbing (does it really need to move?)
Attacks per round: 20*
Pando II is truly massive, on a scale the likes of which should never be encountered in an actual fight. It is, however, vulnerable to attacks all along its accessibly surface area, and only capable of 20 individual attacks per round, typically with no more than one focused on any one target at a time (unless it’s a very large target). With its attacks split so, its effective DB is only +5D6.
Rather than spawn new pseudopods to attack with, Pando II most likely uses its trees, shrubbery, and other shiny black “flora” that already exists across the Valles Marineris floor. If it is attacking something in on of the caves of lava tubes, it may resort to using its’ root system instead, both to attack or prevent something from escaping.
Engulf: up to 20 targets may be engulfed by Pando II. Each is attacked rolled separately and each must make a successful opposed STR roll or be crushed in the undulating folds of Pando’s body (usually meaning instant death*). Divide Pando’s STR among all the targets. Those held within its bulk can strike back only on rounds in which they make a successful STR roll. Once engulfed, for each round a victim is held within Pando, they suffer its damage bonus in damage—rupturing, crushing, and being sucked into pieces—note that if more than one person is being engulfed, Pando’s damage bonus is divided by the number of things engulfed. Pando can engulf up to 20 enemies; however, the total SIZ of those engulfed may not exceed Pando’s SIZ.
Fighting 80% (40/16), damage DB, or Engulf (damage DB divided by the number of targets, see above)
Climb 40%, Stealth 40%, Tolerate Humans Living On & Eating It While Drugged (99%)
Armor: None; halve damage caused by fire and electrical attacks; mundane weapons (incl. bullets) deal only 1 point of damage per hit; regenerates 25 hit points per round (death at zero hit points, provided the “root system” is destroyed, too).
Sanity Loss: 1D10/1D100 Sanity points to actually encounter Pando and truly understand everything about Musk Colony.