CN Medium fey
Init +5; Senses low-light vision; Perception +22 (+30 in space)
EAC 25; KAC 26
Fort +13; Ref +13; Will +15
Immunities cold, fire, vacuum
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (Su, perfect)
Melee tail whip +20 (2d12+13 S)
Ranged electrical blast +18 (2d8+12 E)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with tail whip)
Offensive Abilities sensor song
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; melee +20) 1/day—confusion (DC 23), overload systems (DC 23) 3/day—arcane sight, charm monster (DC 22), discharge (DC 22), nondetection At will—holographic image (2nd-level, DC 21), spider climb
Str +1; Dex +5; Con +4; Int +2; Wis +3; Cha +8
Skills Bluff +27, Culture +27, Stealth +22
Languages Common; telepathy 300 ft.
Other Abilities no breath, wake rider
Environment any vacuum
Organization solitary, pair, or choir (3–12)
Electrical Blast (Ex) As an attack, an asteray can unleash an electrical blast with a range increment of 70 feet at a single target.
Sensor Song (Ex) An asteray can “sing” electronic signals that mask or mimic sensor readings. As a standard action, an asteray can create a false image of an object as if it had cast the 4th-level version of the spell holographic image (CL 12th). This false reading affects only electronic sensors. Multiple asterays can sing together, increasing the caster level by 1 for each asteray beyond the first singer for the purposes of determining the spell’s range and area affected.
Wake Rider (Su) By touching a starship, an asteray can bond to the energy wake it leaves as it travels. This allows the fey to match speeds with the starship and ride along with it, treating the ship as if it were the “ground” so long as it remains within 100 feet. If the starship enters hyperspace, the asteray can choose to accompany the ship into hyperspace, or it can disengage as a reaction and remain behind.
When humanoids first learned to ply the seas and oceans, they encountered many beautiful and dangerous beings who cavorted in the waves and lured their vessels onto the rocks with enchanting songs. In time, they learned to differentiate the playful mermaid, the cruel rusalka, the bloodthirsty scylla, and their kin, and with that knowledge, the damage these strange beings could inflict was minimized. But when humanoids blasted into the stars, they found a new array of mischievous, mysterious creatures that threatened to lead their vessels into danger. Chief among these threats is the wily asteray.
Delicate and angelic looking in zero gravity, asterays are a race of vacuum-dwelling fey that ride the solar winds between space debris, asteroid belts, and planetary rings, playing in the dust, dancing in microgravity, and seeking new and beautiful sights. Their bodies consist of little beyond lightweight, flexible bones and the powerful sinews that bind them together, creating a vaguely humanoid upper body and a lower body consisting of a large appendage that absorbs cosmic radiation and grants the fey the ability to propel itself through space. With elegant forms and diaphanous tails, they appear gentle and welcoming. Wide eyes—blue or green in color—express a variety of emotions, though apart from their eyes and the long, thin slit for a mouth, asterays have featureless faces. They are well adapted to life in the void, with sensitive vision, a variety of natural spells, and the capability to generate powerful bolts of electricity to defend themselves. They are also ravenous beyond compare. While space dust and solar radiation carry just enough nourishment to fuel their antics, asterays hunger for organic molecules. They pause their endless dances to scour asteroids and explore wrecked ships for sustenance. When food grows too scarce or boredom overwhelms them, asterays crawl into the dark corners of space and hibernate for weeks, months, or years at a time.
Often called “deep angels” for their habit of following ships through the vastness of space to scavenge any discarded treats and pick hulls clean of organic stowaways, asterays can also become menaces. The electronic signals they produce to communicate with one another mimic the sensor signals emitted by most starships, and in the eons that planet-bound creatures have explored their territory, asterays have learned to “sing” false sensor signals, mimicking ships’ distress signals or cloaking navigational hazards such as high-density debris fields. Individual asterays are a danger only to smaller spacefaring vessels, but several working in tandem can lure even well-equipped warships to their doom thanks to their inherent magic. While few of these fey are cruel enough to hunt humanoids for food, they hold few qualms about eating whatever remains after a frightened crew ejects from a incapacitated starship, including the corpses of any fallen.
Asterays originally spawned in those few magic-rich star systems where the First World naturally overlapped with the void. For eons, they remained confined to these backwater systems, unable to reach inhabited areas within their lifetimes, but the first mortal vessels to explore space provided the fey an exit. Asterays can ride the cosmic wakes of starships, regardless of their speed, hitchhiking on these explorers like remoras on a shark, and for much the same purpose. Today, most settled star systems boast at least a small colony of the capricious fey. Their domains are often in spots that have easy access to major space lanes, and they are marked by large cave-pocked asteroids where the asterays build their nests and hoard treasures. Wrecked ships invariably float through these spaces, often serving as new navigational hazards the fey either cloak with their sensor songs or use as tempting targets to lure in greedy scavengers.
While not inherently malicious, asterays are alien in mind and deed. They understand that most creatures need air, water, and food, but they have difficulty prioritizing others’ needs over their own hunger and amusement. Much of their apparent cruelty and greed stems from this alien mindset and boredom; thus, those travelers who can amuse them or compel some level of empathy stand to gain powerful allies in the void.
A typical asteray is about 7-1/2 feet from its head to the end of its tail, though it could appear quite shorter if its lower appendage becomes bunched up or twisted. An average asteray weighs only 75 pounds.