Aliens: Fireteam Elite ceiling-crawled its way to shelves last month. While the game was applauded for its action, it left some critics wanting more from its campaign. Thankfully, Dungeons & Dragons is the perfect place to tell long, hefty stories, so Alien fans looking to scratch that itch could find a way to do that through the tabletop-RPG.
There are quite a few elements that go into designing a homebrew encounter for the iconic Xenomorph, most of which can be easily adapted from other materials for those who want to speed up the process. Regardless of whether the party plans to protect a nearby town, seek adventure or is simply looking for a payday, creating an Alien-themed adventure is sure to give even the most courageous parties a run for their money.
Where Could a Party Encounter a Xenomorph?
Space likely isn't the first place a party thinks of to host their Dungeons & Dragons campaign, but luckily these monsters feel right at home in deep, dark caves and musty dungeons that are common on the Material Plane. Thanks to its already dreary aesthetic, a Dungeon Master could also choose to place a Xenomorph in the Underdark, where it would undoubtedly feel at home in the shadows.
Feel free to adapt the cramped quarters of a dungeon or mineshaft tunnel system to fit the needs of the adventure. The only requirements are a map capable of housing an adventuring party and nursery-type areas which should be located throughout the area. Bodies littering the space could also have lootable items to help keep the party afloat.
How Should the Xenomorph Play?
DMs who are pressed for time could re-skin an appropriately challenge-rated beast (preferably something stealthy) instead of homebrewing a monster from scratch. The players don't need to know what's really under the hood, and while the CR system isn't perfect, it can be a helpful guide for determining appropriate statistics.
The party should fight several aliens (mechanically speaking) to the death, although they should be under the impression it is a singular entity. Once a Xenomorph fight has bene completed, instead of dying, it can attempts to snatch one of the party members, forcing a collective Dexterity saving throw. A pass will ensure the party stays together, while a failed save will result in the closest player to the alien being abducted and reappearing in the nearest nursery area. Flavor-wise, it makes an unstoppable retreat upon reaching zero hit points while grabbing someone as it leaves.
What Traps to Set Up in the Area
After a few encounters with the alien, the party may feel the need to take a rest -- which of course could be one of many traps laid throughout the adventure. Any player on guard alone should be asked to roll a Perception check with disadvantage against stealthy attempts to abduct them throughout the night, or be thrown into a nursery area without combat or alerting the rest of the party.
The party could fall victim to sound traps (such as crunching glass, knocking over debris or failing to stop an explosion) that initiate Dex saving throws. If failed, these could alert the Xenomorph to the party's location, initiating an encounter. The party may also meet noisy NPCs lost in the area, which could also function as traps if they aren't dealt with silently.
How to Adapt the Xenomorph Nursery
For players trapped in the Xenomorph's nursery, escape should be no easy feat. DMs could emulate being trapped against a wall and struggling to fend off an oncoming facehugger by asking the player to make a Strength save followed by a Constitution save (with disadvantage if the player failed the first save). Failing the Constitution save could result in the player being poisoned for the rest of the adventure, which the effects worsening should they make subsequent trips to the nursery.
After this, the player can be freed from the nursery and able to rejoin their party. Depending on the DM's world-building, the player may need to find their way back to the group on foot or via magical means.
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