|Hurwaet||Swamp Wiggle||Salt Wiggle|
|Climate/Terrain:||Any/Space||Temperate and subtropical/Swamp, bog, marsh||Temperate and subtropical ocean coasts|
|Frequency:||Very rare||Very rare||Very rare|
|Intelligence:||Very (11-12)||Average (8-10)||Average (8-10)|
|Armor Class:||4 (5)||4 (5)||2|
|Movement:||9, Sw 12||9, Sw 18||6, Sw 24|
|No. of Attacks:||1||2||3|
|Damage/Attack:||1-8 (weapon)||2-8 (weapon)/2-7 or 2-7/2-7||1-4/1-4/9-16|
|Special Defenses:||Fog cloud||Fog cloud||Fog cloud|
|Size:||M (6½’ tall)||M (7’ tall)||L (9’ tall)|
|Morale:||Elite (14)||Champion (15)||Champion (15)|
The hurwaeti are an ancient humanoid race distantly related to both sahuagin and lizard men. In space, they usually function as mercenaries, common crewmen, or occasionally as pirates, traders, or salvagers operating their own ships.
Hurwaeti have thick, tough scales; these are very small, hard, and shiny, so that their dark olive-green hides look smooth and glossy (many observers mistake this gloss for dampness or slime). They have long, frog-like legs, webbed fingers and toes, and gnome-like faces with large ears, pointed noses, and long, sharp chins. Adult hurwaeti have short, sparse beards and tufts of coarse hair atop their heads. Venerable adults tend to have long beards, thicker tufts of hair, and bushy eyebrows. Adults are between six and seven feet tall and weigh from 190 to 230 pounds. A hurwaet can live for 300 years.
Hurwaeti favor simple clothing, usually long, brightly colored loin cloths, and belts and packs for carrying equipment. They detest the body paint favored by lizard men, but they like to wear lots of jewelry. Particular favorites are large earrings made from ceramics or shells, as well as arm bands and wrist and ankle bracelets.
Combat: Hurwaeti favor large shields and swords in combat. They typically arm themselves with slings or javelins for ranged combat. Although neutral, they have lawful tendencies and usually can be counted on to follow orders. Their long, powerful legs make them good jumpers; a fully-equipped hurwaet can leap eight feet straight up or 20 feet horizontally, making them good troops for boarding actions. Leaping hurwaeti working with a squad of swooping hadozee make truly irresistible boarding parties. A shield improves a hurwaet’s Armor Class by 1. They can wear armor if they choose, but armor is ineffective unless it improves their Armor Class to 4 or better. Each adult hurwaet can cast fog cloud once per day, as a 9th-level caster. If faced with imminent defeat, a group of hurwaeti will use their fog cloud ability to conceal themselves and confuse enemies. They use the concealment to escape, regroup for a counter attack, or even to board an enemy ship.
Habitat/Society: The hurwaeti were once a great spacefaring race that had colonized many systems, spreading art, civilization, morality, and an philosophy favoring altruism and discipline throughout the spheres. But an ancient war broke up their empire and killed the brightest and most energetic individuals. The destruction stranded the hurwaeti colonists, leaving them to degenerate into the swamp and salt wiggles. The remaining spacefarers became impoverished wanderers, content to simply earn a living for themeselves and their tribes.
Hurwaeti tribes are made up of clans, each ruled by an elder. The senior clan head – usually the oldest and wealthiest – governs the tribe. All disputes within the tribe are settled by appealing to the tribal chief. When a chief dies, a new chief is chosen by election from among the clan elders. Young hurwaeti gain wealth and status by serving on their clan ships or by venturing forth independently.
Huraeti speak their own archaic tongue, which features a difficult, convoluted syntax and includes hisses and clicks; most humans and demihumans find the hurwaeti tongue difficult to learn and even harder to actually speak. Lizard men, not surprisingly, usually can master it without much difficulty. Hurwaeti also speak the tongue of lizard men and whatever racial tongue is common to their tribe’s home system, be it human common or a demihuman racial tongue.
Hurwaeti are generally accommodating and nonaggressive, if a bit covetous and mercenary. Nobody gets anything from a hurwaet for free. Nevertheless, hurwaeti share other races’ hatred toward the neogi and are similarly hostile toward eye tyrants and illithids. This has led some scholars to conclude that the war that ended the hurwaeti empire probably was fought against all three races simultaneously. If this is the case (and the hurwaeti aren’t saying), they did well to survive at all. In any event, a hurwaet will never surrender to a neogi, illithid, or eye tyrant, or to any ship that might contain members of these races; hurwaeti will do anything to avoid capture in these cases, though their usual course to doggedly fight until killed.
Hurwaeti usually are found as crew on other races’ ships. Their ability to refresh a ship’s atmosphere with the fog cloud ability makes them valuable members of any ship’s crew. Their ability to follow orders and jump between ships makes them very useful in combat or other dangerous situations. All adult hurwaeti have spacefaring and ship-handling skills.
Hurwaeti who don’t own ships travel in small groups that consist of individuals of the same sex and about the same age. Such groups live, eat, and work together. If one member is mistreated or becomes dissatisfied, the whole group protests to their employer. If greatly disaffected or dissatisfied, the whole group quits the ship at the first opportunity (their personal sense of honor keeps them from inciting mutiny).
The groups usually form to earn hard cash for the tribe, though they are also on the lookout for mates. When two groups of hurwaeti of opposite sex meet, there is a 35% chance that the two groups exchange two or more individuals (their employers’ objections notwithstanding). Unless they decide to jump ship because of poor treatment, the two groups serve out the terms of their voyages, then quit the ships, ignoring offers of further employment, preferring instead to return to their tribes with their new mates. About 5% of hurwaet groups form specifically to hunt for mates. Such groups stick with their ships though thick and thin until they find mates, ignoring mistreatment, privation and hardship to the limits of their endurance. Once they meet a group of the opposite sex, however, they exchange individuals 60% of the time, and thereafter are not inclined to ignore poor conditions. There are several tales of taskmaster spelliammer captains who thought they had found the perfect crew, only to find themselves short-handed after their hurwaeti crew members had a night on the town.
Hurwaeti who own their own ships use series helms for motive power. Hurwaeti build the same sorts of ships as lizard men do, when they build them at all. Most hurwaet ships are purchased or salvaged, and most are decrepit-looking craft sporting many alterations and repairs. However, hurwaeti are skilled spacers and their ships’ actual condition reflects this.
Although some (5%) hurwaet ship owners are pirates, these usually are restricted to neogi, illithid, and eye tyrant space. Hurwaet pirate ships operating in such space always have six series helms. Most hurwaet ships patrol wildspace looking for wrecks to salvage. They are particularly fond of haunting asteroid fields infested with murderoids. The hurwaeti gingerly pluck wreckage off the monsters’ surfaces, often by trailing lines just long enough for the crew to leap to safety should a hungry mouth suddenly appear. Most hurweat ships operating in dangerous space do not hesitate to offer assistance to any other non-hostile ships for a price. A few hurwaet tribes operate ships that pick up varied cargoes of any commodity that can be sold at a profit. Some of these cargos are converted to finished goods right aboard the ships, the most common of these being textiles, paints, dyes, and jew elry.
Most hurwaet ships carry the standard crew for the ship type, 1d6 heavily armed hurwaet warriors (plate mail, two-handed swords, and long bows), and one or two lizard man, human, or demihuman spellcasters, (clerics or mages of 2nd to 5th level) for defense.
Ecology: Hurwaeti prefer to eat fresh or preserved seafood, but they are omnivores, capable of eating anything humans can, plus a few things humans would find unwholesome.
Like their distant cousins, the lizard men and the sahuagin, hurwaeti reproduce by laying eggs. However, the male hurwaet scoops up the eggs as soon as they are laid and places them inside a special pouch in his abdomen, where the eggs incubate for about eight months before hatching. This habit usually makes it difficult for non-hurwaeti to tell the males from the females.
These degenerate hurwaeti live a barbaric existence as tribal hunters or occasionally brigands. In combat, they use large wooden or hide shields and large clubs. They also can deliver vicious kicks with their long legs. Swamp wiggles are dexterous enough to make such combination attacks without penalty. While underwater, where their clubs are useless, swamp wiggles attack with two kicks. Swamp wiggles also employ simple missile weapons, such as slings, javelins, and darts (1/3 chance for each).
Swamp wiggle communities usually do produce a few artifacts. such as jewelry, pottery, nets, and baskets. If approached from a position of strength, they can be persuaded to trade these items, along with natural products, such as game and fish, for tools, glass beads, and other manufactured goods.
Swamp wiggles are excellent swimmers and have no difficulty squirming through mud, weeds, quicksand, and other watery hazards. This ability tends to makte swamp wiggle ambushes very deadly to creatures accustomed to dry land.
Swamp wiggels reproduce the same way hurwaeti do. About 2% of all young swamp wiggles are born as larger, more aggressive salt wiggles. These evil, voracious offspring usually devour their siblings and often kill the incubating male. Once they emerge from the male’s body, they scurry away to a solitary life.
This largest and most degenerate of the hurwaeti subraces has many traits in common with the sahuagin: aggressiveness, greed, and evil cunning being chief among these.
A salt wiggle is a huge creature with a toothy, gaping maw and powerful limbs. They often are mistaken for scrags, and they are every bit as formidable, though they do not regenerate. Salt wiggles employ no weapons, attacking with their teeth and claws. If both claws hit an opponent, a salt wiggle automatically rends for an additional 1d4+4 points of damage.
Salt wiggles live a primitive, savage existence. They produce no goods of their own, preferring combat to trading; they do, however, enter into alliances with sahuagin, ixitxachitl, krakens, and other evil sea creatures for pay or shared profit. They tend to keep their bargains, but they are opportunistic and ally themselves with the local faction that seems most powerful. Salt wiggles also have been known to ally themselves with pirates or coastal humans.
Salt wiggles do not incubate their eggs inside their bodies; instead they hide them in weedy shallows where the sun can warm them. Salt wiggle tribes do not abandon their eggs, however, and assign one or more tribe members (not necessarily the parents) to guard them until they hatch. Once the young emerge, the guards act as nannies and teachers to the youngsters. Salt wiggles born to swamp wiggles are immediately outcast, if not killed outright. If these creatures cannot get to salt water before reaching adulthood, they haunt rivers or lakes where there is a steady supply of victims. Many make their homes under lonely bridges, where they extort tribute from passersby. Such creatures are often known locally as bridge trolls.
Last Modified: June 10, 2010, 12:06:47 GMT
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