FREQUENCY:             Very rare
ORGANIZATION:          Solitary or bands (1-3)
DIET:                  Carnivore
INTELLIGENCE:          Exceptional (15-16)
TREASURE:              See below
ALIGNMENT:             Lawful Neutral

NO. APPEARING:         1 (1-3)
ARMOR CLASS:           0 (-4 when invisible)
MOVEMENT:              15 (12 in trees)
HIT DICE:              12+3
THAC0:                 8
NO. OF ATTACKS:        2
DAMAGE/ATTACK:         See below, Strength bonus (+6)
SPECIAL ATTACKS:       Surprise
SPECIAL DEFENSES:      Invisibility, immune to elec.
SIZE:                  M (7' tall)
MORALE:                Champion (15-16)

The violent, powerful race known as "Predators" are the big game hunters of the Known Spheres. They are large, 7 ' tall humanoids with reptilian, yellow-green skin which has dark brown to rust colored markings. Their heads are roughly oval-shaped and elongated, with tentacle-like manes. They have two sets of mandibles surrounding a small mouth. Predators have only a highly developed sense of infra-vision (250 yards) for sight. All heat sources are visible to them (unless masked by magic or directly covered by a much cooler substance). Their other senses are quite sharp, but they mostly rely on their sight to track their prey.

Combat: A Predator will always try to attack first when hunting. It can surprise its prey in the first round of battle by means of a special Control Bracer that generates improved invisibility, which allows it to stay invisible as it attacks (although a slight shimmering can be noticed). This bracer has other functions as well: it can act as a homing beacon, it can be used as a two-way communicator, and it can set the Predator's Battle Helmet (which usually detects invisibility) for detect magic, true seeing (both twice per day), and magnification up to 10 times farther or closer than normal vision. If the hunter is killed, the bracer activates a self-destruct device in 3 rounds, destroying the body, the equipment, and anything around it in a 20d6 fireball 100 yards in diameter (unless the bracer is destroyed or disconnected from the armor before detonation). Predators often set this for automatic, but it can be set to work manually. Predators attack in a hit-and-run fashion, giving their prey time to regroup and allowing for more attempts to surprise the prey when the hunt resumes. Predators can mimic human and demi-human voices with 85% accuracy to lure prey into a trap.

The weapons a single Predator can use in a hunt is more than impressive. Their arsenals run from the conventional to the magical. To determine what weapons a Predator is packing, roll 1d6. The weapons are numbered in order from least to most powerful:

  1. Basic Weapons: The double-bladed wrist gauntlet and the hunting spear are the most common equipment, often used only for minor hunts. No Predator leaves home without these two necessities. The wrist gauntlet has a set of double blades made from a special alloy known only to Predators. These do 1d8 damage. The hunting spear is a telescoping weapon that starts as a handle 15" long and extends to a length of 6' with the touch of a button. It can retract in the same way. It does 1d10 damage.
  2. Net Gun: This small, hand-held device fires a strong wire net at the target with effectiveness up to 20 yds. The net has barbed weights around the edges that pin the prey to the ground, or any other suitable surface. The wire inflicts cuts each round, doing 1d4 points of damage to the victim, who must roll twice on the Open Doors Strength table to escape. Rate of fire is 1/5.
  3. Blast Gun: This is an extremely powerful firearm; a large, heavy, breech-loading handgun with a 11/4 inch bore. It has a rate of fire of 1/2 and the range of 150 yards. A Predator will carry a bandolier with 6-15 rounds of ammunition. The blast gun does a hefty 2d8+4 points of damage, doubling with an attack roll of 20. Only the Predator's 18/00 Strength keeps it from being knocked to the ground on an attack roll of 5 or less.
  4. Combo-weapon: This magic weapon is often carried in place of the hunting spear. It has a wide, curved, fan-shaped blade at one end, capable of 2d6+2 damage, beheading on an attack roll of 18+. At the other end is a multi-tipped spearhead that acts as a sword of goring on a roll of 17+ (1d8+3, double, normal, triple damage).
  5. Disk of Death: This magic weapon can cut through 1/2" of steel, be used in melee for 1d10+1 damage, and be thrown at a target for 2d10+2 damage. When thrown, it will sever a limb with a natural attack roll of 18-19, and sever a head with a natural roll of 20, returning to the thrower each time. Using it in this manner drains one charge. The disk has 2-5 charges per day and a range of 80 yards for Predators (To Hit bonus x 10 yds + 50 yards base range).
  6. Energy Caster: A powerful piece of technology, the energy caster is a small, shoulder-mounted cannon that delivers a blast of intense blue energy at ranges up to 100 yards. It has 36 charges per day, and is aimed by three tiny red dots projected from the Predator's helmet, which adds +1 to the attack roll. The control bracer is used to adjust the power setting (See Table Below).
    Energy Caster Settings
    Damage:   Range:    Charges Used:
     1d6      10 yds       1 charge
    2d6+1     20 yds       2 charges
    3d6+2     40 yds       3 charges
    4d6+3     60 yds       4 charges
    5d6+4     80 yds       5 charges
    6d6+5    100 yds       6 charges

This weapon cannot function without the Battle Helmet or the Control Bracer attached. This weapon is also the power source for the self-destruct device.

Survival Kits: These handy kits include 3 powerful vials of ultra-healing potion (4d8) and one regeneration potion (10d6 over 2 turns). Homing beacons are also carried for a quick pick-up.

Predator Plate Mail: This special armor is made from the same alloy as all Predator equipment. It automatically saves against fire and cold attacks and, like the weapons, is immune to acid damage. Predator plate mail gives an Armor Class of -2, decreasing to -6 when invisible.

All Predators are naturally immune to electricity, in fact it restores 1 hit point per die of damage that would have been taken (a 4d6 lightning bolt would restore 4 hit points). This immunity does not apply to the blasts of their energy casters.

Habitat/Society: Very little is known about this mysterious, deadly race. They seem to have rank among their kind, the basis of which is probably strength and hunting skill. They organize their hunting bands according to status; the higher ranking members getting first pick of the strongest of the prey. On some occasions, up to eight Predators will go on safari to a remote planet for a special hunt. Traveling in their spelljamming Slayerbarge ships, the hunters disembark and pursue the monstrosities known to space-farers as Aliens (q.v.). How they know where to find these creatures is uncertain, but some speculate that they actually transplant these monsters to a desired planet (one not inhabited by sentient beings who would get in the way) so that they might hunt them for some sort of Predator rite-of-passage. For whatever reason, seven young hunters (9+3 HD) dressed in Predator plate mail and under the leadership of an older, more experienced leader (12+3 HD) hunt the Aliens without their heavier magical weapons or their invisibility (which has no effect on creatures without eyes). Armed only with wrist blades, blast guns, hunting spears and/or combo-weapons, these adventurers may suffer 50% losses during the hunt. Those that survive are apparently elevated in status, and may return some day to lead the hunt themselves.

The Predators' homeworld has never been seen or visited by humans or any other race (at least none have made such a claim). Likewise, no one has ever seen a Predator female or child, although they are rumored to exist. They apparently have no clerics of any kind, but the existence of Predator mages are a documented fact. Called pilot mages, these magic-users accompany hunting parties to the surface, piloting the Safari shuttles to either deposit the hunters and leave, or sit and guard the landing craft while they hunt. They are usually much older than the hunters (though by no means feeble) and range from Level 10 to Level 15. They can cast spells from the schools of Abjuration, Alteration, Invocation and Evocation. Aboard the Slayerbarge mother ship are two high level arch-mages called hunt mages. These are Level 16-18 spelljammers who pilot the slayerbarge.

Predator Spelljamming Ships:/> Slayerbarge: The largest and most often encountered (though seldom seen) Predator ship in wildspace, the slayerbarges are greatly feared by all intelligent spacefarers. They are constructed of ceramic and all decks are completely covered by a shell, making standard boarding attempts almost impossible. The barge is also armed with powerful energy cannons which can fire in a forward arc only. Much larger cousins to the shoulder-mounted models, these cannons deliver higher damage at considerably longer ranges. Energy Cannons have a range of 6 hexes, ROF 1/1, THAC0 14, 2d6 Hull damage. Each slayerbarge can carry four Safari shuttles (which each having one energy cannon) and four one-man landing pods. A slayerbarge is manned by a crew of at least five; 2 hunt mages, 4 pilot mages, and the captain or "hunt master." It can carry an additional 73 Predators if necessary. The slayerbarges have three uses. The first, and most common, is as a transport, carrying hunters to their favorite spots. The second is as an exploration vessel, scouting out new territories and new game. The third, and most infrequent, is that of a battleship (assuming anyone wants to make war on them).

Safari Shuttle: A short range transport, the safari is used mostly as a shuttlecraft. It can typically get along with a crew of one helmsman without much trouble. The safaris have their own cloaking helms and have plenty of storage space for weapons, gear, and trophies. The safari is the only known Predator ship capable of making a landing (but only on dry land). During times of war or combat it can be converted into a fightercraft, blasting enemies its energy cannon.

Predators never attack other ships in flight. They may follow them home and hunt the crew, but never in the depths of wildspace. They are fiercely protective of their ships and equipment, and would rather destroy them than let them fall into enemy hands.

Ecology: Predators are big-game hunters, like any other, with exception that they seem to see every other race and species as potential prey. Some have ventured that the Predator plays an important role in the cosmic scheme of things, keeping sentient beings on their toes (or similar appendages) and actually helping to "improve the breed." One thing is known: Predators have visited certain worlds over periods of several centuries, and may have favorite hunting grounds that have been there longer than the current inhabitants. No one is certain how long-lived their race may be, but estimates are up around the 200-300 year mark.

Although seemingly brutal and savage, Predators do have a "Code Of Honor" and rules of the hunt that they always seem to follow: