Things That Go Bump in the Spaceship: Dawson's Stobor

Michael O. Varhola

Following is "Dawson’s Stobor," a monster that ties in with Ken Spencer's Pathfinder system article "Things That Go Bump in the Spaceship" in  d-Infinity Volume #3: Children of the Night . It was written specifically for the  Interplanetary game system currently in development by d-Infinity co-publisher  Skirmisher Publishing LLC  and scheduled for release this year.

Dawson’s Stobor
Dawson’s World is one of the older American colonies but is still as rugged and wild of a place as the Frontier worlds. One reason for this is that the planet possesses a very inhospitable climate and only one viable resource, timber. Few people are willing to risk their lives cutting wood in hundred-degree heat on a planet renowned for possessing dangerous fauna and predatory flora. A few years in the American timber camps, however, can earn a person enough wealth to set up a farmstead on the frontier, and thus every year a new batch of loggers arrive on this hot and humid world. That few of them ever manage to save enough money before a crippling logging accident or the planet itself claims them does not deter another set of hopefuls at the start of the next logging season. 

One of the most feared, yet also most beloved, lifeforms native to Dawson’s World is the Stobor, named after an alien that appeared in Robert A. Heinlien’s Tunnel in the Sky, a classic of mid-20th century science fiction. In the novel, the Stobor was an alien that made a loud barking noise and was generally tame, until during certain seasons when it would rampage across the world in a great migration. Dawson’s Stobor is not nearly so blatantly dangerous, but is dangerous nonetheless. 

A Stobor is a small furred arboreal xeno-primate that feeds on insects, fruit, and nectar. It possess four limbs, a gliding membrane stretched between its upper and lower limbs, a long prehensile tail, and a face like a teddy bear. They are known to be affectionate and loyal, serve as excellent guard animals (they bark very loudly when threatened), and make great pets. They also should never, ever be taken off planet. 

A trip into orbit makes the little animals irritable, but they can recover and regain their normal docile and loving temperament. Stobor can often be found on Big Tree Station, Dawson’s World’s primary orbital dock. When exposed to an interstellar jump, the little buggers go completely crazy. They become unreasonably aggressive, extremely predatory, and attack any non-Stobor they encounter. While their claws and fangs can cause nasty injuries, it is their natural defense mechanism, a poisonous spit that can projected up to 20 feet and incapacitate a grown man, that proves the most deadly. Wild Stobor defend themselves using their toxin, communal watching, and agile movements. Most Stobor kept as pets have their poison sacks surgically removed, however this is not always the case. 

Today it is illegal to take a Stobor out of its native system. Before the effects of jump travel were fully understood, however, several Stobor managed to not be killed by their surprised owners and