Monday, July 15, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Scorpion Men

I first ran into Scorpion Men, not in the pages of an AD&D Monster Manual (which still would not appear till 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendiums, though I do seem to recall them in a module for 1st ed, can't remember right now), but in the pages of the infamous "Simon" Necronomicon from the 80s.  You remember this one.  It was sold in books stores right next to the D&D books near the occult books.   Hell. We treated it AS a D&D book!

We used them a bit back then, often as reskinned Driders, using the Necronomicon name, "Akrabu".

Later they popped up again in 2nd Ed under the name Tlincalli and Manscorpion.   Though I never really used them then since I was deep into Ravenloft and these creatures didn't fit what I was doing at the time.

Much, much later I revisited these guys and used them in my Buffy/Willow&Tara/Unisystem game The Dragon and the Phoenix.   Here I went past the rather thin details in the Simon Necronomicon and included more detail from Babylonian/Sumerian/Akkadian myths.  Here they were called Aqrabuamelu or Girtablilu, names later picked up by later D&D authors and homebrewers.

Whatever the name these creatures all shared a number of traits.  They were huge scorpions with the centaur-like upper bodies of men, covered in red chitin like that of giant scorpions.  Some had human hands, others had the pincers of scorpions.  The first ones were created by Tiamat to avenge the death of her consort Apsu.  They are one of the creatures that were responsible for her name "Mother of Monsters".   Later it is said they guard the gates of Darkness so the Sun God may enter at the end of the day. Their site is terrible to behold and they cause death with a glance.

Additionally, there were the "Tzitzimime" of the Aztecs which were believed to be the spirits of fallen gods (demons?) that took the form of scorpion men.  Hedetet of the Egyptians was a scorpion headed goddess who would later be absorbed by Isis.

Here are the Scorpion Men for the Blueholme Journeymanne Rules, my current "Basic" of choice these days.

SCORPION MEN
AC: 3
HD: 10d8
Move: 45
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 sting, or 1 weapon
Damage: 1d6 (claw) x2/ 1d4 (sting) or 1d8 (weapon)
Special: Sting save vs. Poison 4d8 (half with save)
XP: 1,700  (2,200 xp for Scorpion Women)
Alignment: CE
Treasure: None
Abilities: +2 Strength, -3 Charisma
Climb Surfaces +15%, Hear Noise +5%, Read Languages +5%, Read Scrolls +5%, Use Wand +5%



And for D&D 5e.

Scorpion Man
Large monstrosity, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 90 (10d10 + 40)
Speed 45 ft., climb 45 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
18 (+4)     16 (+3)     18 (+4)     13 (+1)     14 (+2)     8 (-1)    

Skills Perception +5, Stealth +9
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Draconic, Undercommon
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)


Spider Climb. The scorpion man can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Web Walker. The scorpion man ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The scorpion man makes three attacks, either with its longsword or its longbow. It can replace one of those attacks with a sting attack.

Sting. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 2 (1d4) piercing damage plus 18 (4d8) poison damage.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage, or 8 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage if used with two hands.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage plus 4 (1d8) poison damage.

Description

Scorpion Men (and Women) are horrid creations from the dawn of time.  Believed to have first been created by the Goddess Tiamat, they have since moved on into the service of other gods.  Set is known to employ many of these creatures and ones that are less evil serve Hedetet.
Standing over 7 feet tall and 9 feet long these creatures are large and strong.
They can attack with their claws or weapon as some (50%) have scorpion claws for hand and others (50%) have humanoid hands that can hold weapons.  All possess a stinging tail like that of a scorpion that can sting one attack per round.  The attack does 1d4 points of damage plus poison. The poison of the attack can do 4d8 points of damage or half with a save vs. poison/Constitution.   Those immune to poison attacks take no poison damage.
Scorpion Men are often used as elite guards. They typically armed with a long spear, a khopesh sword or a longbow.

Scorpion Women: These creatures appear as their male counter-parts save for a scorpion's head on top of a female torso. Their lower parts are still that of a scorpion.
Due to their connection to both Tiamat and Hedetet, they make excellent magic-users and witches.
They may cast spells as a 7th level witch or magic-user.   Scorpion women are much rarer than males, being outnumbered 1 to 10.

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