What's not to love about a gigantic, fiendish shark-like creature with bony, plated and ridged hide, bound in chains and stuck with weapons like some kind of weird piercings? The seas of DARK•HERITAGE and TIMISCHBURG both could be home to this sinister White Whale of a beast.
Orcs in TIMISCHBURG are not necessarily the savage brutes with absolutely no redeeming qualities that you find in other settings. Rather, orcs are much like half-orcs are often portrayed—except without obligatorily nasty orc parents. They also aren't necessarily so monstrous in appearance. A gray skin color, tusks, and pointed ears, yeah—nobody's going to mistake them for humans. But they are more human-like than Warhammer or Warcraft orcs, certainly.
Sometimes in space opera, we focus on exotic but ultimately human-friendly planets. After all, if we want people to run around sword-fighting and wearing capes in a swashbucklery fashion, we have to limit how much we deal with the truly hostile alien environments. But sometimes a stark, gray, airless lunar landscape says SCIENCE FICTION as much as anything else does, and AD ASTRA specifically does allow for a patina of hard sci-fi aesthetics, at least. Although it deliberately eschews very much actual hard sci-fi...
One of my absolute favorite parts of the Lord of the Rings is Book I; the hobbits' flight with Strider to Rivendell. Although analyzed tactically, the Ringwraiths seem to be surprisingly ineffective, they are however, very effective atmospherically. I find the Ringwraiths to be perfect as an actual horror element in the moat iconic example of high fantasy a fascinating juxtaposition, and think all fantasy should cultivate at least some of that horror element. I've decided with FANTASY HACK, of course, to eliminate the wide array of incorporeal undead; there's a single stat-line for ghosts. However, they do come with an almost a la carte range of options; turning spells into spell-like abilities, and at the upper end, giving them essentially the same spell-casting abilities as the lich. Which, along with a fear-causing special ability and maybe a STR draining special ability (the Black Breath) allows them to be Ringwraiths for all intents and purposes. But maybe rebranded a bit, like the picture above has done.
I've almost always taken an iconoclast position by default on a lot of questions. If T. rex is everyone's favorite dinosaur (and it seems like it is) then I'm going to prefer a just as big carnosaur. Just because, I can't like the same thing everyone else does! I know, it seems childish and stupid, but it's a knee-jerk reaction for me that I've had for as long as I can remember (growing up as a little 5-6 year old in Texas during the time of Roger Staubach, I had to pick the Raiders as my team just because it was too easy to like the Cowboys.) This is Saurophaganax, the bigger closely related cousin to Allosaurus from the very latest Morrison Formation. So it's a local to the American southwest; yet another reason to love him. Finds so far come from Oklahoma and New Mexico, but it probably wandered farther afield. It may have been a denizen of the more xeric southlands, though—further away from the Sundance Sea.
A collection of concept art for space-ships for Bungie's Destiny. These are a bit smaller than what most AD ASTRA PC groups would travel in, although if AD ASTRA PCs were more wont to travel alone, this is what they'd travel in. That doesn't really well-represent the notion of the group of player characters as a more or less coherent party, though—so slightly larger ships would be more the norm.
Although I haven't yet figured out exactly how, I really love that gigantic, obviously artificial ring around that planet, and I want some AD ASTRA world to have one.
This is what a really nasty witch or sorceress; a real BBEG, in a FANTASY HACK game, would look like. Complete with a nasty daemon companion of some kind. Probably a Hell Hound, although giving it something other than flame breath would be interesting.