By D.J.

Alien. Beastial. Parasitic. Savage. Unstoppable. The Symbiots began as a hybrid of human telepath and parasitic alien during the Second Republic.

This work deals with mature themes and concepts. You've been warned. Furthermore, it contradicts the core material in some ways, developing Symbiots in a different direction.

Alien. Beastial. Parasitic. Savage. Unstoppable. The Symbiots began as a hybrid of human telepath and parasitic alien during the Second Republic, but have since evolved into something far more. Their technology allows them to breach sealed Jumpgates, harness the elements as weapons, and grow all manner of other devices equal to the technology of the second republic. And while they were sealed from (what would become) the Known Worlds, they almost certainly expanded into countless systems and habit ations beyond Criticorum, growing larger and stronger with every planet they infected. Everything you are about to read is speculation at best. Battle reports and observations keep accumulating, but the Symbiots so rapidly adapt and only less quickly evolve that they become obsolete by the time we receive them. But if there is to be any hope in defeating the Symbiot hordes, we must understand them first.

Plague and Carrier

Before we can discuss the Symbiots, we should first differentiate between the Symbiots and the plague they carry. Some people like to think that the disease is the same thing as the carrier, and this is simply not the case. The disease has one function, and one ability only: the addition of organisms to the Lifeweb. Nothing else. It can not reason, it can not plan, it can not even truly move. But it can infect organisms on a cellular, and spiritual, level. And with this infection comes unity with the Lifeweb and destruction of the self.

The plague itself is an anomaly. The original Xolotl aliens used a variant of it to rebuild infected organisms into their image, but the current strain doesn't carry any single genetic code for imprinting, but rather dozens. As the disease passes from carrier to carrier, it takes their genetic information and adds it to it's own. Each new carrier is infected with the cellular data of dozens of different creatures, mixing and matching to create a new organism. Furthermore, the disease is as much a construct of Wyrd energy now as it is a physical disease; this infusion of Wyrd energy not only allows carriers to link with the Lifeweb, but it also allows the disease to pass from species to species, plants to animals. It is this Wyrd nature of the disease that makes it so contagious and inescapable.

Carriers are those organisms which aid the plague in fulfilling its objective of infection. Carriers transmit the disease, as well as letting it incubate within them, adding the carriers' knowledge and makeups to the impulses of the Lifeweb. In return, the Lifeweb dictates its needs to the carriers, giving them the needed information and bodies to fulfill their tasks. If the Lifeweb needs more soldiers in a region, it will contact the carriers in the region through the medium of the Symbiot plague, and fill them with instinctual impulses regarding the task they are to complete, while telling the cells of the body to change along certain lines.

Also, do not make the mistake of thinking that there are castes or classes of Symbiots. While one Symbiot may be labeled a "Breeder" and another a "Warrior", these are merely manifestations a single Symbiot -currently- takes. It may change from one role to another within hours, it's body changing as it mind receives new instincts to follow. The only exception to this are the Free Symbiots, but they aren't the True Symbiots, so they are a minor exception.

Now this is a grossly simplified view of the interactions between plague, carrier, and Lifeweb, but it will serve as a start. A key element should be noticed now however: a no point can a person say "this is a Symbiot" by looking at a single part. Calling a carrier, the plague, or the Lifeweb a Symbiot is equal to calling an arm, a skin, or a nervous system a man.

Lifeweb versus Lifesea

A few speak of the Lifeweb as the guiding force behind the Symbiots. The urge that drives and dictates their actions. However, this is only partially true.

The Lifeweb links all Symbiots with one another in a vast, primal awareness. A microbe on Daishan has no awareness of an infected human on Holy Terra. But through the Lifeweb, the microbe may leave subjects of the infected human alone, without the human's knowledge or participation; the human in turn feels an urge to send his spies to a region of Daishan where the microbe is, for no logical reason at all. This is just one dyadic interaction though; imagine an interstellar web of seemingly illogical actions and reactions that all the individual parts obey yet have no awareness of. Much the same as your brain takes information from one part of your body to move another part; you don't think of the billions of cells involved in gathering, processing, and reacting to the data, and the billions of cells don't think of you. But what force is it that dictates the actions of the Symbiots? How are they able to plot and invent and expand so astoundingly well?

When an organism is joined to the Lifeweb, its very nature is consumed as well. Its instincts, thoughts, and memories are all absorbed by the Symbiots. However, these elements do not go into the Lifeweb. At least not as such.

Instead of joining the Lifeweb, the essence of each organism joins the Lifesea, a vast conglomerate of drives and impulses and knowledges. It is from here in the Lifesea, that the Symbiots are coordinated and directed towards their goals. The Lifesea itself is composed of thousands (maybe millions) of nodes, each node composed of an amalgam of similar impulses and instincts, in the form of Wyrd energy. The nodes of the Lifesea transmit information and urges to Symbiots along the Lifeweb, directing the actions of the Symbiot hordes. If the carriers serve as bodies, the plague as neurons, and the Lifeweb as a nervous system, the Lifesea can be thought of as the brain. And as more life is added to the Lifeweb, more experiences are added to the Lifesea. And it is this fact that explains why the Symbiots seek to infest sentients to rapidly; for as the Symbiots add intelligent members to the Web, it simultaneously adds their -intelligence- to the Sea.

But don't let this talk of "Lifesea" and "Lifeweb" and "nodes" confuse you. As Wyrd constructs, all of these things may or may not exist in a tangible form, but rather as some strange otherworldly emanation. The Lifesea may be the substance that composes the Lifeweb, or it may simply pluck the strands of the Web. Maybe both, probably neither.

True, Hybrid, and Free Symbiots

It was said earlier that there are such things as "True" and "Free" Symbiots. But there are also such creatures as "Hybrid" Symbiots, and possibly many more besides.

When a being is infested by the Symbiot plague, many outcomes are possible. Infestation is inescapable, as the Wyrd composition of the virus defies normal disease transmission vectors. However, this Wyrd composition reacts differently based on the Wyrd emanations of those it infects. And it is believed that this conflict between the Wyrd of the disease and the Wyrd of the infected is what create variant Symbiots. True Symbiots are those who are fully infected by the plague. Their bodies are completely joined to the Lifeweb, and their minds are absorbed into the Lifesea. True Symbiots are formed when the plague infects a host with very little or weak Wyrd energy. Plants and low insects almost immediately become True when infected, while higher animals take longer. Sentient minds, able to direct Wyrd better than other life, can take even longer. But a strong will is no defense if the Wyrd is weak, and such targets rapidly turn True.

Hybrid Symbiots are created as True Symbiots, but with a few differences. Should a person be infected with a weakened strain of the plague, or his Wyrd patterns are chaotic (as with some insane or emotionally disturbed people), the plague is unable to fully sieze a person, and creates a Hybrid. Hybrids are torn between two worlds; they remember their previous existence and can think rationally, yet they are constantly bombarded with urges from the Lifesea through their weakened connection to the Lifeweb. And while they can resist these urges with great determination, doing so is a life-long conflict. Free Symbiots are formed when the plague manages to infect a person filled with Wyrd energy. Such people are so charged with their own existence that the Lifesea can't fully subjugate them. Instead, Free Symbiots receive faint impressions and urges from the Lifesea, which often fills them with feelings of peace and tranquility. Whereas Hybrids are caught in a tsunami of impulse, Free Symbiots are merely sticking their toes in a tranquil pond.

However, whether True, Free, or Hybrid, a Symbiot's soul is constantly being further merged with the Lifesea. While this has little meaning to a True Symbiot, who is already joined body and soul, it is very important to Free and Hybrids. As the plague further adapts and changes to match an individual's Wyrd emanations, that individual becomes more strongly joined to the Lifeweb. Free Symbiots soon become Hybrids, while Hybrids soon turn True. Occasionally, an individual is so filled with Wyrd and will, that he can never turn True. Once the plague has fully infected a person's body, it will die without connection to the Lifeweb, just as a heart dies without connection to the brain.

This last point may have some people confused. Why would the Symbiots kill the people they most strongly want? Aren't the Symbiots the guardians of all life? The key thing to remember is that Symbiots value survival far more highly than life. They would kill a million humans if that would end the threat humans posed, or a billion, or a trillion. They might not seek a species extinction, but assumably they would sacrifice one to save others. Even True Symbiots are not exempt, as they are targeted by Symbioticized parasites and predators. Species over individuals, survival over one life.


There is no escape from the plague. It infects everything, it misses nothing. And yet the Gannoks seem immune. They are not immune, at least not fully.

When the plague enters a Gannok's system, it is unable to infect the creature's cellular structure. It can infest the microbes that live on and in the alien, but it can't infect the alien itself. Many theories have been suggested, but none seem too plausible. If the Gannoks had radically different Wyrd patterns that prevented Symbiot control, wouldn't psychics have already noted them? If the Gannoks had some sort of hyper-immunity to disease, wouldn't they be immune to more than Symbiosis? And if it was some cellular strength or regeneration the Gannoks possess.

why are they immune when much stronger and regenerative creatures are not? Some conspiracists believe the Gannoks are all already infected, and simply act as deep cover agents for the Symbiots. Other say the creatures have sold themselves to the Dark for protection. Neither option seems likely, but both have a few adherents.

The Forms

When people think of Symbiots, they often think of a shape shifting creature, part man part other. However, Symbiots are more complex than this. While many people believe that Symbiots only have two forms, a Normal form and Mother form, the truth is much more astounding. Each Symbiot can take countless forms, limited only by the amount of genetic information the plague gave it.

The Normal form of Symbiots is largely the same as that of the uninfected host. While many people assume that the Normal form is used exclusively for infiltration purposes, this may not be the case. In this form the Symbiots live their day to day lives, eating, breeding, and dying; seemingly continuing the generations for further Symbiotic infection. However, on a cellular level, one can tell that the host organism is no more, as its cells have all been replaced by radically different biological constructs. While the carrier may act uninfected, it is as much a Symbiot as any battle beast on Stigmata, and it will obey the call of the Lifeweb.

The Mother form is far more commonly seen by humans, as Symbiots often take this form when near hostile sentients. The Mother form is a battle and infection form, allowing Symbiots to spread massive amounts of the plague or do large amounts of damage, quickly and easily. The Mother form is a mixture of various traits and features from several species. A human may have a carapace skin covering, sonar hearing, poison spittle, superhuman strength, and a dozen other features besides, each taken from a different organism that had been previously infected by the strain of the plague he now carries. Furthermore, each Mother is covered with special glands that grow the plague; some Symbiots can even project excretions from these glands. Mistakenly believed to be a "Breeder caste" due to the ease at which they can spread the plague, all Symbiots have the potential to spread their disease.

The Mother form is also unique in that a Symbiot can rapidly (within minutes) change from Normal to Mother. However, Symbiots can also enter a Pupal form, in which they can achieve astounding changes to their bodies. Besides making permanent changes to the Mother form, a Symbiot in Pupal can also completely change his normal form. As the Pupal form can take weeks to complete, Symbiots must binge on food before entering it, using fat reserves for the massive changes about to be made. An infected boy might enter the Pupal form, his body covering itself in a thin chrysalis, and split open to reveal thousands of plague carrying fleas. Meanwhile, a pack of infected dogs enter Pupal form together in a big heap, and merge into a massive war beast. One creature splits into many, while several merge into one.

Such is the nature of the Symbiots.

Symbiot Technology

Guns that create meteorological attacks, organic ships that can survive the depths of space, and the power to use the Jumpgates. The Symbiot mastery of science and technology is currently equal to that of the height of the Second Republic, and possibly still growing. Symbiot technology seems to deal almost exclusively with either the tailored design of organisms or the harnessing of natural phenomena for a multitude of ends.

Symbiots might create a device which targets tornadoes against massed, hostile forces. Some reports even indicate that the Symbiots have managed to replicate solar activity in the form of a "sun bomb"; no one chooses to consider the possibility. They have also been observed controlling entire ocean movements, for reasons unknown. Focused earthquakes, instantly created volcanoes, guns that shoot lightning, troops able to direct hurricanes, bombs made of sunlight, and rain herding devices; these are the ways the Symbiots flagrantly use the environment to pursue their agenda. However, it's not the only form of technology they use.

Symbiots also create many tools and devices from their carriers. They might have a swarm of ants merge into a giant tank, while they direct a pack of dogs to alter themselves into a what can only be called a "homing plasma missle"; the "tank" fires the "missles", and the Symbiots begin a militray assembly line of sorts. Even their space ships are based along this principle, with vessels composed of scores of carriers, merged together to harness the power of the solar winds for travel. Some have even speculated that the Symbiots might be able to use their Lifeweb and Wyrd to travel at the speed of light between star systems; another thought that gives terror to those who hear it.

In place of nanotechnology, Symbiots use microscopic organisms to the same effect. Many of their more impressive feats, like rain herding, are achieved by billions of tiny creatures that break down, move, and reassemble material. It is almost certain that Symbiot planets are filled with countless microorganisms whose sole purpose is to convert inorganic elements into nutrients for larger Symbiots. There have been reports of Hybrid "ambassadors" who exist within a cloud of these mites, being formed only when it feels the need to speak and returning to the cloud of life when feeling silent; such a creature could conceivably only be killed if the entire cloud of mites was destroyed. There are even some speculations that these microbes could be use to counter manifestations of Wyrd energy; the scholar who first announced the possibility of an Empyrean's death by fleas was executed for heresy shortly therafter.

Finally, the Symbiots will use inorganic technology as needed. Numerous reports from Stigmata indicate that Golem soldiers and tanks, as well as remote piloted craft, are all susceptible to Symbiot infestation and use. The Symbiots apparently take a self-sufficient machine, and replace it's electronic AI or remote piloting input, with an organic cluster that receives orders from the Lifeweb. However, why Symbiots chose not to use inorganic technology exclusively is very odd. Perhaps they desire to constantly keep themselves surrounded by the Lifeweb or maybe they just conceive how inorganics could be used to achieve tasks. Metal and plastic are too alien for them to understand. The most likely explanation is that Free and Hybrid Symbiots direct their limited numbers of True Symbiot followers to infect such devices, seemingly to better strengthen their forces.

It is important to remember however, that Symbiot logic is not the same as human logic. Their urges to build and create stem not from individual awareness, but rather from Lifeweb dictates. An Engineer, turned into a True Symbiot, may design massive star ships and crop planting methods, but he has no more interest in his works than he has in a tree stump and some weeds. All of his great work and creation is driven by the Lifeweb, which uses his knowledge and that of all the others in the Lifesea, to direct him with urges and instincts. It's not stupidity, it's not brilliant, it's just different.

Theurgists, Psychics, Antinomists, and Symbiots

During the Symbiot Wars, humans discovered that Symbiots had a strong weakness to psychics and theurgists. Considering that Symbiots are based of Wyrd, and that psychics manipulate Wyrd, this outcome of events isn't too surprising. While it's been discussed how a mastery of Wyrd can postpone Symbiosis, those who have large amounts of Wyrd often have other ways to confront the creatures as well.

Theurgists use their faith in a higher power to channel and direct Wyrd energy, and a community of theurgists can work even greater feats than one alone. The ability of theurgists to contact and receive aid from Empyreans of the Light (while banishing those of the Dark), leads some scholars to speculate on the possibility of theurgic domination of the Lifesea nodes. Most clergy consider the idea of a divine manifestation as nothing more than "imprinted Wyrd energies" to be high blasphemy and heresy, but a few of the Brother Battle Order have considered a way to destroy Symbiot nodes.

Psychics lack the power that groups of theurgists would likely provide, but they are perhaps more potent individually. Psychics have powers and abilities, like telepathy, which the Symbiot Lifeweb can't handle; attempts by psychics to penetrate the thoughts of a Symbiot or even the Lifeweb itself are met with little to no resistance. However, contact with a Symbiot can be discomforting at best, and communication with the Lifeweb is a sure means to destroy one's mind.

Antinomists are often accused of being in league with the Symbiots, using Symbiot creatures as servants and spies to spread the Dark between the stars. And while some antinomists have means to summon and control Symbiotic creatures, this is due more to their weakness against Wyrd and not some evil nature on the part of Symbiots. If an antinomist can control a dog, a Symbiotic is even easier prey.

Because all three groups can interact very easily with the Lifeweb, the Lifeweb seems to see them as its primary threat among all sentients. When faced with mundane and psychic forces, the Symbiots always try to deal with the psychic forces first. In some cases, Free Symbiots have been known to infiltrate and infect covens, hoping to neutralize a threat to Lifeweb before it must be faced.

When Symbiot War

War is not a normal response for the Symbiots. The only resource they seek is the addition of all life to their Lifeweb, and they can achieve that quite easily through the use of microbes which taint a planet's ecosystem. Once the lower rungs of the food chain are joined, all higher tiers will follow. But if this is the case, then why do the Symbiots go to war? Survival, as always, is the key.

When the Symbiot Wars first broke out, it was largely a matter of humans using force to prevent infection. The Symbiots in turn used limited force to ensure infection; they would kill a regiment to get to a city, but would rather not kill anyone. But as anti-Symbiot tactics became used more heavily, and psychics entered the battle in massive numbers, the Symbiots lashed out more aggressively. No longer able to afford the luxury of time or ineffective resistance, the Symbiots lash out.

While all life is precious to the Symbiots (as either members of, or waiting additions to, the Lifeweb), Symbiot life seems to be more highly valued. Massive attacks against Symbiot establishments result in massive retaliations. Should the Symbiots lose ground, they don't resort to "scorched earth" tactics, but instead drive all plants and non-essential animals underground and into a Pupal form; usually to create the next wave of soldiers. And while they won't decimate a planet's ecosystem, they will use horribly disruptive technologies that threaten it; the sun bomb is just one example. Survivng Symbiot life will regenerate and resestablish itself, while weaker life dies or is fed to the web. In most cases, the Symbiots are prepared days in advance for the effect of such mass destruction weapons, and their casualties are very low.

Symbiots also use tailored diseases and parasites extensively, targeting soldiers and supplies alike. Metal eating bacteria, crop mutating germs, egg injecting flies, and the like are all used to great effect. The demoralization an army faces when it's food is gone and it's men infested with maggots is more effective than face-to-face battle. While Symbiots don't give themselves protection from their own threats during peace time, all Symbiot organisms fight as one army during war. As for their bio-weapons, Symbiots are fairly limited as to what items they can produce within a region. While imperatives and knowledge can be passed by the Lifesea through the Lifeweb, the raw materials (in this case Symbiot plague containing the desired genetic blueprints) must be present before construction can begin.

Subterfuge is not a Symbiot trait. While Free Symbiots will use it to great effect, the Symbiots don't seem able to comprehend the idea of hiding their natures to better infect people even though they understand stealth and trap laying well enough. No one is quite sure why this is. Some believe it's to protect Symbiots from the results of their inevitable detection, others believe that the plague is most reliably spread by Symbiots in the Mother Form. Others have even suggested that the disease can only be transmitted by the emotional and physical conflict that is created through the battle for survival.

And as the war progresses, the Symbiots adapt to their enemies' tactics. During the Symbiot war, various chemicals were used to treat food supplies to prevent infection; the Symbiots adapted to thrive off of the chemical. When heat and limited radiation was used to treat early Symbiot infection, they changed and became able to accelerate their growth rate in such situations. Such changes are hardly universal tho'. Techniques that don't work against Symbiots in one region, will be fully effective in another, and Symbiots can't make themselves immune to everything fully; no matter what technique used, some Symbiots will not be able to beat it. "Swapping" methods is a short-term solution however, as the Lifesea seems to communicate countermeasures within a matter of days to Symbiots in other systems. The use of Wyrd as a medium of communication seems to be terribly effective.

Rejecting the Lifeweb

While the Symbiots are strong, they aren't invulnerable. Ever since the Symbiot Wars, humanity has constantly been developing various means to combat the Symbiots on every front. And in a few cases, humanity seems to be winning.

Creating a treatment against the Plague seems to be impossible. Due to its Wyrd nature, conventional methods of antibiotics and vaccinations are useless; in most cases, the Symbiot Plague takes over the host and the microbe sent to prevent Symbiot infection. And while there have been rumors of a microbe that kills its host when exposed to the Symbiot Plague, no one seriously thinks the Empire would use it.

When it comes to fighting Symbiot foot soldiers, armor-piercing rounds and explosives have proven to be a great aid. While soldiers elsewhere are equipped with spears and swords, those on the front lines of Stigmata are equipped with the best machine guns and artillery the Empire can provide. Even though the Symbiots are capable of rapid regeneration and the regrowth of limbs and nervous tissue, such repairs take hours. And if a Symbiot receives enough tissue damage to kill it, its recuperative potential will be unable to function and its cells will decay. Some also speculate that when a Symbiot receives enough tissue damage to disconnect itself from the Lifeweb, its cells simply lose the will to live anymore. Irregardless, it has become standard procedure to destroy the remains of Symbiots whenever possible. This prevents the carcass from being consumed by scavengers (either denying Symbiot scavengers a food supply, or else protecting untainted scavengers from possible infection), while permitting superstitious soldiers the comfort of destroying the creature "before it can rise again". This logic also applies equally well to Symbiot spacecraft in all regards; Symbiot ships are destroyed along with their crew, to deny soldiers taking trophies or weapons and thus risking infection.

In establishing beacheads in Symbiot terrain, nuclear barrages create a (short-lived) area of security for ABC protected forces. However, while initial waves of Symbiots are destroyed/stalled, future waves will be protected against the radiation and ready for action within days. Chemical dispersions and other forms of energy emissions are equally ineffective in the long run, as the Symbiot adapt to whatever is thrown at them. Currently, only kinetic seems to be the constant killer, and humanity can't dwell on the possibility of Symbiots some day becoming invulnerable to that too.

Wyrd energy has proven to be a very effective countermeasure against Symbiots, as their existance thrives on it. Those who can sense, manipulate, and control Wyrd, can bring great disaster to Symbiot forces. Currently, criminal psychics and theurgists who would once be sent to rot in prison are forced into "Psychic Brigades" among the Garrison instead; those who would be killed in the past simply serve a life sentence in the brigade, all others do a tour of five years duty followed by freedom and the same privileges as any other five year veteran. While some criminals are killed trying to go AWOL or some such, others see their service as a second chance and a source of great pride.

Irregardless of the methods used, or the technologies employed, the Symbiots seem unstoppable. Nuke their forces, and the survivors will shrug off of radiation; send Theurgists by the score, and they'll create a creature that drives -all- Wyrd users into an insane rage; superheat your food to kill any Symbiot eggs, and they'll simply make the eggs hatch when exposed to great heat. Like cockroaches, the Symbiots thrive off of the things made to kill them.

The Symbiots' Valid Political Philosophy

Symbiots do not have a valid poliitical philosophy for the following reasons. They don't care whether or not what they're doing is right or wrong, needed or not, they pursue their goals irregardless of desire, imperative, or logic. They promote nothing, offer nothing, promise nothing, and seek nothing. Survive or perish, live or die. These would be the words the Symbiots uttered, if they bothered to speak. As their technology shows, they aren't stupid, they just don't think like any other advanced form of life.

While Hybrids and Free Symbiots may express the perfection and unity of the Lifeweb, True Symbiots are beyond such concerns or ability of thought.


Why do the Symbiots seek infestation of all life? What do they hope to accomplish? How can we ever know?

The carriers of the plague only obey their natural impulses or the dictates of the Lifesea. The Lifesea in turn is the combined existance of all the carriers. At some point in this cycle, the urge to strengthen the Symbiot race takes initiative. The carriers aren't (usually) aware enough to desire such abstract concepts, and the Lifesea is so filled with urges and desires that the wishes of some fanatic sentients shouldn't be so compelling to all Symbiots. The plague is simply a medium of transmission, and it doesn't seem to be able to carry complex behavioral patterns. However, with the nature of the Wyrd energy involved, anything is possible.


Designing Symbiots

(as much as I hate to do this, I'm slipping into a personal mode here. The following are just my opinions/attitudes on what makes a "good Symbiot". Ignore what you wish.)

Symbiots are unlike any other race in the Known Worlds for several reasons. Among them, is the unique and individual aspect of each Symbiot organism. There is no "warrior race" or "spy race" or "Vorox Symbiot" categories. Each Symbiot is completely different on a genetic level from every other. That being said, many Symbiots -look- very similar on a macroscopic level, and have common characteristics. Just don't think that there's a race of "human-plant" hybrids arguing with the "human-animal" hybrids.

When designing Symbiot Mother Forms, it's best to take a local creature as a base start, and add traits to it. Don't just use traits from one species, or even Kingdom, but rather try to make your base creature as unrecognizable as possible. Accentuate the alien nature of the Symbiots. However, keep in mind that the Lifesea doesn't create freaks for the sake of making freaks; every feature should serve a direct (and often brutal) purpose. A great thing to do when brainstorming ideas for Mother Forms is to research insects, microorganisms, fungi, arachnids, and so forth. Also essential is John Carpenter's remake of "The Thing >From Outer Space" and the related comics by Dark Horse, and David Gerrold's "War Against the Cthorr" series. Stress the beauty and barbarity wrapped up in the creature.

But keep in mind that these creatures serve a purpose. The Symbiots don't just send everything they've got to attack in a suicidal, frontal assualt. While some forces are given that task, others see to infiltration of secure areas, growth of needed tools, serving the wishes of the Hybrids, and the like.

As an example, let's say the GM wants to make a Symbiot on the forested, ocean world of Makah. He decides that a Hybrid Symbiot is using a whale-like creature to disrupt ocean tranpsorts to a city under seige by the Symbiots. The whale's blow-hole has been redesigned to emit an enormous ink cloud to hide it's activities, and given sonar to see by through the ink. It's eyes and lungs have been removed or altered to handle these changes. It's skull and teeth have been converted into a metallicly hardene d series of spikes and blades, which filters it's plankton diet out of the water as well as ram ships. Its diet has been radically altered to cope with the metal it must eat for it's spikes, and its skeleton is different as well. Finally, the entire creature has been given a streamlined shape and enhanced muscle tissue to let it reach high speeds, as well as being given a thin metallic addition to its skin for extra protection. The creature eats enormous amounts of food to keep itself moving, and is smaller than the untainted whales so as to reduce the amount of food it would need. (and before some start to object at a metallic Symbiot, don't forget that the Hybrid Symbiot directs the whale's construction, and that alien life might include large amounts of iron and other metals in ways that Terran life doesn't).

The image is quite simple. A sleek, glistening silver creature, using its sleek fins to better direct it's "head", a featureless mass of jagged metal spikes and filters, into the side of the ship. Once it hits a vessel, it rocks its head back and forth across the craft, trying to consume the precious steel within the ship's hull. As the crew retaliates with gun fire, the creature begins spraying the area with a thick black ink filled with metallic flecks. As the crew shoots madly into the darkness, the creature rams again, from underneath, and continues its meal.... Is this biologically accurate? Probably not. But hopefully it'll give you an idea of how to make Symbiots of your own. Does this mean that Symbiot creatures might be mistaken for native lifeforms to the ignorant. Most certainly.