Sylvan Alp Tree
Alp trees are a member of the Necrofoenae family, and a very close cousin to the Sylvan Incubus Tree. Like the Sylvan Incubus, it produces a fungal growth that i much like a nondescript yet alluringly aromatic fruit. However, the fruit of the Sylvan Alp Tree kills in a very different manner.
Those who partake in it, fall deeply asleep into a catatonic state, filled with vivid, surreal dreams. These may be nightmarish in nature, or perhaps dreams of carnal lust. They are equally as likely to be dreams of penitence or glory - all depending on the persona of the victim.
Whereas the Sylvan Succubus Tree sweeps it's quarry underneath it's roots and digests it that way, the Alp Tree uses dexterous, vine like extensions to pick it up, and wrap tightly around it. From here, the tree produces micro-needles (about the size of a jellyfish's stinger) which slip into the pores of the prey. The sleeping prey is hoisted up into the thick branches of the tree to be digested, while it's still living; thus earning the tree it's vampiric nickname.
There are records of those who are strong enough of will to wake themselves from the dream the fungus induces - but only once the dreamer acknowledges that he is sleeping and his/her surroundings are in fact, immaterial. Not an easy task - considering that the poisonous fungus stimulates the persons mind in such a way that he is convinced that those around him are in fact real, by appealing to his personality through the use of familiar places and faces.
Those who wake have a slight struggle to writhe free of the prehensile grip of the Alp Tree, though the vines offer only token resistance. From here, the victim suffers no ill, except for a weeks worth of red, spotted sores covering all of his/her exposed flesh.
Go to Comment
While the Incubus Tree fits into my world, I acknowledge after reading your comments that it's not entirely conducive to anything less than a party of UBER PCs. So this is my offering to all of those who want to use the basic idea of a carnivorous tree, in such a way that the PCs entire experience doesn't simply ride on a single save.
I can see it now: A Tank being assembled ten minutes before battle; giant crane arms pull components from large steel truck boxes and slap them together like legos, finally the cockpit, complete with driver is inserted, and a conveyer belt sends it out of the garage - ready to be driven to the front. Very cool, very futury, well balanced and pretty original. I like it.
Callandor Torpedo, Lucient Series;
The Callandor Torpedo has seen heavy usage in assaulting planets with MADDS, utilizing X-Ray waves to effectively fry the organic cryo-brains that control the cohesive and multilayered defense systems both in orbit and on the ground.
However, the Callandor weapon system has floundered in the past when assaulting heavily defended skybases. While the initial approach and tactic of using the planet's star as a shadow has been effective, once the torpedo becomes tracked and locked, it's simply a matter of speed and luck that determines whether or not the torpedo reaches the Skybase.
The makers of the original ClearSight project saw that the Callandor weapon system was typically able to breach Skybases with smart manouevers that would tilt the success in favor of a well planned offense. However, these options came rarely, especially when dealing with a defense system that was veritably omnipresent and all seeing.
From this, came the Lucient Series Callandor Torpedo, equipped with a host of onboard defenses that gave it's already surgical precision, an even sharper edge.
Firstly, the Lucient Series Torpedos were equipped with two rotary flare generators, which launch over a hundred flares per bandolier. Combined with it's already formidable manouverability, and powerful engine the torpedo can rocket past point defense drones with little fear. At six bandoliers total, these flares are instrumental in creating a smokescreen of light and heat so thick, that heat-seeking cluster missiles are rendered virtually ineffective.
On the same tangent, the rear mounted engine has been reformulated to a pulse engine and with a cold-core reactor. Should there ever come a time when the flares malfunction or run out, the droid brain can enable a "Stealth mode" at reduced speeds, running off the pulse engine while keeping internal temperatures low.
Lastly, the Lucient Series Callandor Torpedo, boasts a new function from which it recieves it's title. If the Torpedo is in imminent danger of being interrupted, the droid engages a last ditch "hail Mary" attempt. A nuclear "Shaped Charge" in the body detonates a controlled but powerful explosion, creating a massive, halo shaped blast which catapults the warhead foreward. The light is blinding, but is more bluster than blast. This brilliant, halo explosion is often mistaken for the decimation of the torpedo, when in actuality it the warhead is still plummeting in the direction of it's target. Reaction to the blast by MADDS can be varied - Skybases determine immediate threat by determining a series of complex algorithms, including last known projectile velocity and angle, as well as distance from the closest skybase, and whether or not nearby cryo-brains were affected by the cast-off radiation from the halo blast.
This addition has increased the to-hit rate of the Callandor Torpedo by 25%, though the entire suite of these innovations has skyrocketed it's price well over 250% making it a worthwhile, but expensive gamble.
From your perspective then, orbital defenses are pointless?
I see you are trying to tear apart the usefulness of static defenses but... to be honest I haven't invested the time or effort into researching FTL comms or drives or any of that. I just took the idea of a networked superfortress spanning the entire orbit of a planet and ran.