APAGear II Archives Volume 2, Number 10 November, 2000


Terranovan Sand Coral

Silicus Ageri Polypidia

Harman Meyerhoff

Historical Background

Originally discovered in the third century of Terranovan colonization, the Terranovan Sand Coral came as a rude shock to settlers traveling through the equitorial deserts around what is now Jan Mayen. As the logbook of its discoverer, Matthias Ageri, recorded later: "It was as if snow had somehow come to this infernal desert during the night, as every case of equiptment, every vehicle, and even several of our tents were covered with a thin crust of these whitish flakes."

Upon further investigation, he wrote; "Now that the initial shock has worn off, our resident scientist, Dr. Zhou Engatti, has identified these "snowflakes" to be some sort of quick-blooming fungus that apparently sprouts during a dew and encrusts whatever moisture it can find. Like my airing laundry."

One more recent and quite notable report of coral growth was the discovery of a War of the Alliance era Warrior Gear preserved within an enourmous coral spike, presumed to have grown so large, so quickly, because of the gears' breached water tank. A nearby spike yielded several human bones, and is presumed to be the pilot.


The Terranovan Sand Coral is not actual coral, but rather a strange plant hybrid with charachteristics of both Terran barnacles and fungi. The corals' life cycle consists primarily around the infrequent dewfalls that occur in the deep desert, where its inert spores are almost literally reconstituted by the trace atmoshperic moisture. Immediately following the reconstitution, the polyp attaches to a moist surface and begins rapid expansion, gorging itself to over 500 times its initial size with whatever moisture it can find. Then, using silicates from its surroundings, it quickly weaves a protective crust, similar to a tiny barnacle, and over the long wait for the next dew, begins slowly converting its water reserves into more spores via a small photosynthetic node, extruded from the shell pore during dawn and dusk. Eventually, the parent exhausts itself, and consumes itself creating the last few spores, which are stored until ambient temparature drops and humidity increases, at which point it uses a small explosion of air (ingested during cold nights and heated by metabolic activity prior to ripeness) to expel its seed.

All that remains is the shell, usually a whitish concretion made of fine sand particles, up to half a centimerter in diameter.

The Eye of Ageri coral subspecies differs only in the fact that a parasitic microorganism grows over the outside of the shell, consuming excrement. As these microogranisms die, they form the irridescent "polish" that makes the shell so valuable.


While the relatively rare Eye of Ageri coral, with it's two-centimeter diameter and brightly irridescent mother-of-pearl analog shell is prized by desert nomads and collectors alike, the more common varieties are more of a curse than blessing. Common varieties commonly accumulate over water tanks, in ventilation ducts, and any other inconvenient place. Spores often are as indistinguishable and omnipresent as dust, until a chance drop of water triggers the eruption of a coral bud.

Also, large blooms often attract flocks of Fiirks' Hawks, fist sized desert birds that will sometimes mob larger prey that venture nearby during a feeding frenzy.

Rumors regarding some varieties medicinal properties (purportedly housing a pseudo-penicillin symbiotic bacteria) are currently unsubstantiated, but not altogether impossible.

Gaming Hooks

The Ageri Coral is a random natural disaster of sorts, and can be used to cause spontaneous chaos by encrusting objects, persons, and anything else moist and available. Its proclivity for growing on any surfaces or objects that collect dew also can lead to the possibility of finding useful objects preserved under layers of coral. Lastly, any gamemaster who has frustrated his players with Coral once too often can always throw a valuable Eye coral their way in the hopes of buying back their goodwill.

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APAGear II Archives Volume 2, Number 10 November, 2000