|Alignment:||Lawful neutral (good)|
|No. Appearing:||2-12 (2d6)|
|Armor Class:||5 (4 with shield)|
|Movement:||6, Fl 18 (B)|
|No. of Attacks:||1 bite or weapon|
|Damage/Attack:||1-4 or by weapon|
|Special Attacks:||Poison frost|
|Size:||M (6’ tall)|
|XP Value:||Drone: 15|
These creatures are a race of insect-humanoids that have adapted to arctic temperatures. Sha’az are enemies of the haun.
Fluffy white down protects them from the icy weather. The down is thickest at the four hind leg extremities, which are also protected by dense felt-like growth. Although the sha’az torso and head are near-human, its six legs are more insect-like. The chest is rather broad, ending in a thin, muscular waist.
The creature’s six legs allow it easy movement on the snow. It can hold on to sheer surfaces or slippery ice with its strong, retractile hooks at the leg extremities. The two front legs end in a series of smaller, prehensile hooks that enable the sha’az to manipulate objects or weapons. The sha’az often stands on its four hind legs, and keeps the rest of its body erect.
The sha’az warrior is male. It conceals four fragile, translucent wings in the white down of its back. These wings enable flight in all but extreme weather conditions.
Underneath the white down, a sha’az body is quite skinny, and partially covered with chitinous plates on the thorax, back, and shoulders. The remainder of the body displays wiry muscles under a thick gray skin, especially on the abdomen, neck, and legs. Its face displays near-human features: a mouth, a hooked nose, and deep set eyes, with a thick, white mane on the top of its head. Two large, serrated mandibles jut out of its cheeks.
Combat: Sha’az avoid combat if isolated. They prefer fighting in groups, especially when hunting. In the face of great danger, sha.az usually attempt to alert the rest of the hive.
Sha’az are advanced enough to use weapons and shields. They do not wear armor. Warriors commonly use spears, swords, nets, or bows. These warriors are capable of using their bows in midflight, with a -2 attack penalty in addition to other adjustments.
As an alternative to weapons, a sha’az warrior can bite a foe with its venomous mandibles. The poison causes the victim to freeze, inflicting 1-6 points of damage per round, until the victim successfully saves vs. poison. The victim is allowed one saving throw per round, with a cumulative -1 penalty each successive round. At 0 hit points, the victim is frozen and dies. The sha’az warrior can only use its venom once a day. Mandibles alone inflict 1-4 points of damage.
Each hive has a queen that fights like a 10 Hit Dice sha’az with 10th-level clerical spellcasting abilities. Her drone servants which are the female Sha’az are flightless and fight with a -2 attack penalty. The drones’ mandibles are not poisoned. They fight only if no other choice is available, or if the queen is in some sort of danger. Drones are not normally armed.
For each ten sha’az warriors, one has a limited empathic ability which allows it to communicate with his queen, when it is away from the hive. It is a knight with maximum hit points. The ability can be used at will within 900 feet. Within a mile, the knight has a 10% chance of failure per round of usage, which increases another 1% for each extra mile of distance between the knight and his queen. The maximum chance of failure is limited to 90%, regardless of the distance. When failing an empathic roll, the knight loses its empathic ability for the remainder of the day.
Habitat/Society: Sha’az live in hives dug into arctic glaciers. A hive contains 30-60 sha’az (1d4+2×10). Half are hunter/warriors, while the remainder are drones that tend the hive and serve the queen. A queen lays eight-pound eggs that ensure the survival of the hive. She is the only sha’az capable of casting spells and of making magical objects. Sha’az are literate and use a combination of words, movements, and scents to communicate.
A queen lives several centuries. Occasionally, she engenders another queen who leaves when it is an adult so it may establish another hive. This new hive is a loyal vassal of the motherqueen. Social status among sha’az depends on how close to the mother-queen one’s hive belongs. There can be many layers of mother-daughter allegiances among sha’az hives. When a queen dies, her drones ritually seal the entrance to her hive. Soon thereafter the mourning hive dies of asphyxiation. Its vassal hives, if any, then become vassals of the oldest related mother-queen.
Ecology: Sha’az hunt for food and feed on polar bear, whale, seal, deer, or haundar. They also trade shell pieces with other races. Their enemies are the haun that prey on their eggs. The eggs contain a substance that alters resistance to psionic effects. Haun use it to help maintain control over their giant mounts, the haundar.
Last Modified: January 17, 2014, 13:01:55 GMT
◆ 1742 ◆