Thundarr’s riding along like he always does, complaining about the weather – the snow, in this case – and Ookla’s cold. If any kid thinks that being cold gives you an actual cold, we can now blame Thundarr the Barbarian for the origin of this meme.
Anyway, it’s not long before an alien ship crash lands just as our heroes try to cross an ice bridge. This causes Ookla to tumble off his mount and into the lair of an ice wolf. Ice wolves are big white wolves with a horn on the nose. Also, when provoked they are fond of baring their cat-like claws, cartoon style.
- Ice Wolf (CR 4, HD 6d8+18)
- N Large Elemental (Cold)
- Init +2 Spd 50
- Senses Scent (Ex); Low-light Vision (Ex); Darkvision (Ex): 60 ft.; | Listen +7, Spot +7
- AC 17 (FF 15, Touch 11)
- hp 45 (Disabled -3/Dying -17/Injury 17)
- Saves: Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +6
- Atk +10 base melee, +5 base ranged; Grapple +15; Face 10’x10′;
- +11 Melee (Bite 1d8+10/crit 20/x2);
- SA: Trip (Ex)
- SQ: Subtype: Cold, Racial Traits: Elemental, Icewalking (Ex)
- Abilities STR 25, DEX 15, CON 17, INT 2, WIS 12, CHA 10
- Feats: Alertness, Run, Track, Weapon Focus: Bite.
- Skills: Hide + 0, Jump + 15, Listen + 7, Move Silently + 4, Spot + 7, Survival + 2.
- Trip (Ex): An ice wolf that hits with a bite attack can attempt to trip the opponent as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an attack of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the opponent cannot react to trip the ice wolf,
Most critters in Thundarr are fierce but difficult to take seriously (bear snake, anyone?). But the alien thing lurking in the crashed ship is pretty scary stuff. Unlike other episodes, the Stalker from the Stars at first appears only in quick flashes. The writers actually show some restraint to preserve the mystery of the Stalker, a bright red-salamander like beast that can melt ice with its eye rays and spins webs from its claws.
Stalker from the Stars
- Stalker from the Stars (CR 6, HD 15d8+45)
- NE Large Aberration
- Init +7 Spd 30 or Climb 30
- Senses Low-light Vision (Ex); Darkvision (Ex): 60 ft.; | Listen +10, Spot +10
- AC 17 (FF 14, Touch 12)
- hp 112 (Disabled -3/Dying -17/Injury 17)
- Saves: Fort +10, Ref +10, Will +11
- Resistance: Cold (Ex): 5, Damage Reduction (Su): 5/Magic, Resistance: Electricity (Ex): 5, Damage Reduction (Su): 5/Silver, Fast Healing (Ex): 1,
- Atk +17/+12/+7 base melee, +13/+8/+3 base ranged; Grapple +22;
- +13 Ranged (Eye Rays 2d6 fire/crit 20/x2);
- +17 Melee (Bite 2d8+7/crit 20/x2) and +15 Melee (4 Claw 1d6+3/crit 20/x2);
- SA: Web (Ex) , Poison (Ex) , Blood Drain (Ex) , Charming Gaze (Su) , Children of the Night (Su)
- SQ: Blood Dependency (Ex)
- Abilities STR 24, DEX 17, CON 17, INT 6, WIS 15, CHA 10
- Feats: Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack: Bite, Improved Natural Attack: Claw, Lightning Reflexes, Multiattack, Stealthy.
- Skills: Bluff + 2, Climb + 18, Craft (Trapmaking) + 4, Hide + 12, Listen + 10, Move Silently + 7, Spot + 10.
- Goods: Trapmaker`s tools.
- Web (Ex): A stalker can cast a web eight times per day. This is similar to an attack with a net but has a maximum range of 50 feet, with a range increment of 10 feet, and is effective against targets of up to Medium-size (see page 102 in the Player’s Handbook for details on net attacks). The web anchors the target in place, allowing no movement. An entangled creature can escape with a successful Escape Artist check (DC 20) or burst the web with a successful Strength check (DC 26). The web has 6 hit points and takes double damage from fire. Stalkers can also create sheets of sticky webbing from 5 to 60 feet square. They usually position these to snare flying creatures but can also try to trap prey on the ground. Approaching creatures must succeed at a Spot check (DC 20) to notice a web or stumble into it and become trapped as though by a successful web attack. Attempts to escape or burst the webbing receive a +5 bonus if the trapped creature has something to walk on or grab while pulling free. Each 5-foot-square section has 6 hit points and takes double damage from fire. A stalker can move across its own sheet web at its climb speed and can determine the exact location of any creature touching the web.
- Poison (Ex): Bite, Fortitude save (DC 13); initial damage 1d6 temporary Dexterity, secondary damage 2d6 temporary Dexterity.
- Eye Rays (Ex): The stalker can fire beams from its eyes that inflict fire damage with a range of 30 feet.
- Blood Drain (Ex): A stalker can suck blood from a living victim with its fangs by making a successful grapple check. If it pins the foe, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution drain each round the pin is maintained. On each such successful attack, the stalker gains 5 temporary hit points.
- Animate Objects (Su): Once per round, an object the stalker targets with its eye rays animates as though by the spell animate objects (caster level 20th). These objects defend the stalker to the best of their ability.
Thundarr is very concerned about Ookla getting better, which leads him to seek shelter with what might be an Eskimo tribe. The Stalker from the Stars follows Thundarr and crew to the village, which leads to a terrifying moment where the Stalker wraps a pleading old man in webbing and drags him off to parts unknown. If there was an episode that might give a child nightmares, this one is it.
Thundarr, usually in the role of the ambusher, has the tables turned on him. It turns out Thundarr’s not very good at coordinating anyone, which becomes readily apparent as the Stalker snatches the villagers one by one.
By the time the six-limbed alien finally makes an appearance it really delivers on the spooky promise of everything we’ve seen before. It looks like a red slug complete with eyestalks, two pairs of jointed claws, and wicked jaws. Its webbing is immune to the Sun Sword, although Ariel can apparently remove the webbing with just a kick.
Ariel points out that the creature’s fangs probably mean it’s a blood-sucking vampire, which is why it cocoons its victims. Did I mention all this takes place in an abandoned amusement park? The writers went for that Lovecraftian feel.
It’s not long before Ariel is kidnapped by the Stalker, although in a refreshing twist she frees herself. The alien attempts to flee with its prey, but Thundarr decides to deal with the beast “The Thundarr way!” A climactic battle ensues on the ship and spills over to the outside, whereupon the Stalker animates a bulldozer with its eyes. Apparently having the ability to shoot rays means you can animate whatever old technology you want.
The creature eventually loses the fight. Ariel deduces that the Stalker caught Ookkla’s cold, a clever nod to War of the Worlds. In fact, this episode plays like Who Goes There? (or, if you prefer, John Carpenter’s The Thing). Incapacitated in a phone booth of all things, Ariel sends the creature packing. Which is rather nice of her – invade Earth, try to suck the blood of a bunch of innocent villagers, and all you get is sent home with a stern warning!
Want more? Subscribe to this column; follow me on Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar. Become an examiner and get paid to write today!