Ksarik CR 4
HP 52 RP 3
EAC 16; KAC 18
Fort +8; Ref +6; Will +3
Defensive Abilities fast healing 2; Immunities plant immunities
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.
Melee tentacle +12 (1d6+9 B plus ingested adaptation)
Ranged acid spit +9 (1d4+4 A) or thorn dart +9 (1d6+4 P plus carrion spores)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Offensive Abilities ingested adaptation
Acid Spit (Ex)
As a standard action once every 1d4 rounds, a ksarik can spit a glob of acid at a target within 60 feet.
Ingested Adaptation (Su)
Whenever a ksarik deals damage to a living creature with its tentacles, it siphons off a portion of the target’s genetic code and psychic resonance, temporarily reshaping its own physiology and psychology to match its victim’s. This grants the ksarik one of the following abilities (provided the target has it) for 1 minute: blindsense (up to 60 feet), blindsight (up to 60 feet), darkvision (up to 60 feet), damage reduction (up to 5/—), resistance to one type of energy damage (up to 20 points), burrow (up to 40 feet), fly (up to 40 feet, with maximum average maneuverability), swim (up to 40 feet), or water breathing. Alternatively, the ksarik can gain the ability to understand (but not speak) up to three languages that the target knows, gain the target’s weapon proficiencies (its tentacles can operate two-handed weapons in this state), or change the damage dealt by its acid spit ability to any one energy type dealt by one of the target’s supernatural attacks. A ksarik can maintain only one adaptation at a time, and gaining a new adaptation ends the previous one. A ksarik can spend 1 Resolve Point to extend the duration of an ongoing benefit by 8 hours. It can also spend 1 Resolve Point to gain a second adaptation and sustain them both simultaneously.
Thorn Dart (Ex)
A ksarik can fire one of its thorns as a ranged attack. The dart has a range of 100 feet, deals piercing damage, and exposes the target to carrion spores.
Carrion Spores Type disease (injury); Save Fortitude DC 13 Track physical; Frequency 1/day; Cure 2 consecutive saves
Effect When an infected creature reaches the comatose state, 1d10+10 Diminutive ksarik seedlings burrow out of its flesh and wriggle away. This ends the disease and deals 1 piercing damage for each ksarik seedling.
Environment temperate or warm forests
Organization solitary, pack (2–5), or infestation (6–11)
Ksariks’ ancestors lived as mindless, animate plants that scavenged for food and sprouted their seedlings within corpses, rarely posing more than an incidental threat to other species. Millennia of ongoing strife between the planet’s formians and lashuntas bombarded these primeval ksariks with psychic energy, and only decades before the two factions’ recent peace deal, the plants began exhibiting rudimentary intelligence and a predatory drive. In an unsettlingly small number of generations, ksariks have developed a pack mentality, low cunning, and the preternatural ability to adopt competitors’ strengths.
A typical ksarik is a 12-foot-long quadruped made up of dense plant matter, including specialized tissues such as powerful tendons, woody internal supports that resemble bones, and flexible sheets of lignin that serve as a form of armor. Its head is immense and stocky, comprising approximately a dozen feeding tendrils that obscure its underdeveloped mouthparts. Its eyestalks project from either side of its head, providing a wide range of vision that sacrifices much of its ability to see targets immediately in front of it. To make up for this, a ksarik’s feeding tendrils are covered in an array of unusual sensory organs: some can discern the source of smells, while others sense movement and changes in light.
Originally occupying a niche between decomposers and scavengers, ksariks adapted to sniff out carrion and digest every piece of a rotting corpse. A ksarik’s body produces a steady supply of several different acids that help it break down food into a more manageable form, and modern ksariks regularly employ these acids in self-defense and hunting. The plants also have numerous thorns that grow along their legs and back. Botanists theorize that these also served as self-defense when the ksariks were slower-moving creatures that resided lower on the food chain. Now, however, ksariks use these thorns as a form of reproduction, firing them into live prey and infecting those creatures with spores that gradually grow into nascent ksariks that feed on the host, and then painfully burrow out of the flesh days later. The spores must be fertilized beforehand in a process that resembles sexual congress between two ksariks, leaving both with a supply of seeds that remain viable for months afterward.
The most fearsome of the ksarik’s abilities is its capability of extracting and assimilating other creatures’ genetic codes, temporarily mimicking its prey’s adaptations. Studies suggest this ability is as much tied to a ksarik’s physical characteristics as it is some rudimentary psychic ability that allows the plant to adjust its body in accordance with a stolen genetic blueprint. Most of this code is unstable within the plants, meaning ksariks can rarely maintain an adaptation for more than a minute or, at most, a few hours.
However, trace amounts of foreign DNA remain, and it appears that parents are able to pass lesser versions of their adopted abilities to their offspring.
This enhanced evolution has drawn ksariks into otherwise unsuitable habitats, where they have quickly outcompeted other species, even driving several of them to extinction. Due to this explosive growth, most lashuntas consider them an ecological nuisance, though xenobiologists have lobbied against the species’ eradication until it can be properly studied—especially now that the ksariks have begun absorbing and demonstrating signs of rudimentary culture.
The most notable evidence of this cultural development is the lilting melodies ksariks sing when in close proximity to one another. Scientists have yet to discover the purpose of these songs, as their best efforts to determine if they provide any information to the plants has failed.
What’s more, their attempts to replicate the sounds only lead to angering nearby ksariks, the creatures being seemingly affronted by the endeavor. These sounds appear to emanate directly from a ksarik’s skin instead of any particular orifice, a fact that opponents of ksarik conservation hold as proof that the plants aren’t purposefully making them. Of course, those on the other side of the argument believe it doesn’t matter from where the songs come.
A handful of scientists who have spent countless hours studying the ksariks’ ingested adaptation ability have discovered a formula that provides a facsimile of that power when imbibed. This magical serum alters users at a genetic level, granting them the ability to withstand energy attacks.
Adaptive Serum Level Varies Magic Item Bulk —
mk 1 Level 4 Price 350
mk 2 Level 8 Price 1,500
mk 3 Level 12 Price 5,500
A dose of adaptive serum consists of a small piece of ksarik flesh (usually the tip of one of its tentacles) floating in a slightly alcoholic tincture. For an hour after you consume an adaptive serum, the first time you take energy damage, you gain resistance against that type of damage for that attack and for the remainder of the hour or until you rest 10 minutes to regain Stamina Points, whichever comes first. The amount of energy resistance you receive depends on the level of the serum. A mk 1 adaptive serum grants energy resistance 5, a mk 2 adaptive serum grants energy resistance 10, and a mk 3 adaptive serum grants energy resistance 15.
Starfinder Alien Archive © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: John Compton, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, Amanda Hamon Kunz, Jason Keeley, Jon Keith, Steve Kenson, Isabelle Lee, Lyz Liddell, Robert G. McCreary, Mark Moreland, Joe Pasini, F. Wesley Schneider, Owen K.C. Stephens, James L. Sutter, and Josh Vogt.