Sahugain - Degenerate fishmen and shark-kin, the Sahugain haunt the brackish reefs near the Topaz Isles. The Sahugain are said to be born by the last hateful breath of drowned Hayai nomads, cursed now to swim the sea in endless hunger for the flesh of their former people. They war with the kraken-men and can be found, occasionally, in the employ of adventuring guilds and head-hunters who seek to contend with beasts of the deep.
Locathah - Sand and ochre-colored fishmen who can be found in the lower docks and markets of the Yellow City, often seeking to purchase foreign intoxicants. The Locathah encountered by most are pilgrims, searching for the "the true dream of the haunted sea" which is an alleged primal god-head state that can be tapped into by those of the right sensibilities. Many a cult or magus can count Locathah among their henchmen as a result of this.
Giant Crab - The giant crabs of the Bay of Morays are naturally occurring animals that feast upon the detritus of the Yellow City. Less scrupulous managers of crab-fighting troupes will make use of the far stronger but far less intelligent giant crabs rather than deal with the potential rebellions of crab-men proper. This practice would be frowned upon, but few are able to tell the difference between the two creatures.
Tako - As goblins are to man, tako are to the kraken-men. These octopi-folk wage petty wars among themselves and anyone unfortunate enough to stumble into their coastal cave-dwellings. Of note, a tako can be bargained with so long as their payment is made in knives. Tako view knives as the teeth of a great leviathan, and those who would use such "teeth" in treachery invite upon themselves misfortune.
Selkie - Shapeshifting female spirits of Hayai folktales, the Selkies of the Bay of Morays take either the form of a tropical monk seal or a manatee depending upon their age and power. Young Selkies are intensely curious about the surface world and take upon the lithe form of seals as a show of their playfulness and exuberance. Older Selkies, who know well the cruelties of the Bay, take the form of manatees, their hides pock-marked by the sufferings inflicted upon them. The Slugmen of the Yellow City have heard tales of marrying Selkies for dominion over the sea, and though a fool's errand, many seek to abduct these creatures for such a union.
Basilisk - Imported from deep underground and from across the sea, Basilisks are a companion beast that were for many decades considered to be en vogue by the decadent Slugmen of the Yellow City. Their popularity comes and goes as pets, with those discarded by their Slugmen owners either ending up captured by poisoners and freelance torturers or running wild in the slums, gorging themselves on cockroaches and pariahs.
Reef Giants - These titanic anchorites dwell deep beneath the Bay, meditating in contemplation of some greater being to whom they owe their loyalty. Occasionally one awakens, instructed by strange whispers to pilfer and plunder the riches of other beings and bring them to the deepest trenches of the sea. Though usually solitary, they occasionally gather in family groups best comparable to a brahmin household in both opulence and hierarchy.
Giant Squid - While often noted as warbeasts of the Kraken-men, the giant squids of the Bay of Morays are naturally occurring entities which seek only to feed upon whales, manatees, and other large ocean-dwelling creatures. When spurred on by Kraken-men, they seem to possess a hive-mind and a cruel cunning that allows them to take delight in twisting men apart.
The Hundred Kingdoms & Lahag
Beholders - Conjured into being in ages past by a cabal of magicians who studied among Sangmenzheng, the Beholders are aberrant elder entities of paranoia made flesh. Originally intended to protect fakirs and shahs from the plots of their enemies, the Beholders engaged in horrifying tortures of the flesh and consumption of potential beings who could harbor thoughts of harm in their hearts. Many early kingdoms were destroyed to the last by Beholders who sought to protect their charge, only to consume them to protect them from the threat of these degenerate kings taking their own lives.
Ettercap - Ettercaps in the Hundred Kingdoms are foul champions of the Spider Goddess, formerly high ranking cultists who have lost their minds and humanity to be blessed with her venomous mien. These spider-faced demons can be found in sealed temple rooms where they are fed failed aspirants, in the wild where they hunt those who do not bare her mark, or on the fringes of settlements that worship the Elephant Demon--as such places are always ripe with gore to feast upon.
Gloomwing - These gigantic moths dwell within the haunted jungle of Lahag, and those who know of them claim them to be the cause for many an angry ghost. Making use of baleful pheromones and hypnotic powers, gloomwings ensnare their prey, eat their physical shell, and leave their shadow to wander the jungles as a wraith. The unfortunate soul who is implanted with the eggs of a Gloomwing has their spirit devoured, casting their immortal soul from the cycle of reincarnation and into oblivion.
Intelligent Plants - Lahag and the fringes of the Hundred Kingdoms are rife with terrors, including the very flora of the land. The haunted jungle is filled with carnivorous spidery white creeper vines which throw pollen-coated thorns the size of knives, those struck by them suffer extreme necrosis and rot away into rich soil within a matter of hours. Mantrapper plants are common both in the jungle and the private gardens of the Hundred Kingdoms, where such plants dissolve their victims in acid and produce hallucinogenic "corpse honey." Though of the dozen additional dangerous plants of the jungle, the most notable is the Yellow Musk Creeper, whose musky puff ball flowers can grant angry spirits physical form and infect the living into becoming mindless thralls.
Stirge - The Stirges of Lahag have the bodies of brightly colored birds and cruel, adaptive proboscises made from draining away blood from specific body parts. Some can inject a venom which liquefies muscle, others melt away bone, but all are known to cause paralysis in victims. Jungle Stirges gather in large colonies, building nests from the rotting bodies of their victims. Due to their large "noses" and general horrifying abilities, Stirges are considered to be heralds of the Elephant Demon and can be found building their nests as far away from Lahag as Runggara Ban.
Wraith - Derelict shades, wraiths cling to the mortal world by way of their last dreadful memories. Ancient kingdoms can be overrun by wraiths who exist in perpetual agony of their city-state's downfall, attacking outsiders in the hopes of infesting their bodies and fleeing the calamity that seems nascent. Wraiths produced by gloomwings exist in pure torment, lashing out at the living in the hopes of displacing their souls and fleeing the jungle.
Wight - Wights in Lahag are formed from the cursed bodies of royalty, drowned in the God River by demons. At night they crawl from the waters, seeking to devour outlanders and those who would not pay them homage. Their bones are carved with hellish embellishments and their flesh painted in rot that tells the stories of their downfall. Those of their bloodline or who pay them a respect may learn from the wights the true names of demonic entities.
Bullywug - Along the God-River there are many degenerate tribes which have entered into more devoted unions with their totemic gods, and among the most notable are the toad people who dwell in the muddy mangroves. Cannibalistic to their young, eternally hungry, bloated and corpulent, these batrachian people view anyone other than their own people as a threat. Lamarakhi hunters who travel through their areas will often wear elaborate horned frog masks and slather themselves in mud, as this is often enough to fool a Bullywug.
Catoblepas - These creatures are meandering swamp beasts with long necks, pig-like snouts, and matted hair which obscures their face and vision. They eat brambles and pond weeds, gnaw upon ginger root, and only upon nights of the full moon do they become a true threat. On such nights the Catoblepas desires to feast upon the flesh of virgins, and their eyes become visible and to gaze upon them causes madness.
Dryad (Jungle) - Dryads of the Lamarakh are the spirits of mangrove and swamp baobab, and thus are either guardians who dilettante the river from the land or predatory demons who seek to allow for the destruction of man's influence. They manifest themselves, typically with flowers woven in their hair and whorls painted upon their bare flesh. Those who lay with men, depending on their predilection, either grant the man divine rite to protect their people from the evils of the River, or they absorb their mate into their own flesh, making use of his soul as a homunculus meant to render the tribe into ruin.
Grippli - If the Bullywug are degenerate tribesmen, then the Grippli are what they once venerated before falling into horned frog totemic degeneration. The Grippli are a breed of jungle spirits who dwell within the low-hanging fruit that hangs above the river. When they fall into the river they are born as brilliantly colored frog-people who will help lead people back to known paths, villages, or show them rich fishing areas.Though now in an age where the Bullywug exist in force, the Grippli are seldom kind to those who do not prove themselves worthy of their boons.
Weretiger - Dwellers of the river-forest know well the tale of the Weretiger. A lost prince from the Hundred Hundred Kingdoms came to the jungle in the hopes of beseeching it for aid against those who butchered his family. He was a timid and kind man, but now he saw enemies everywhere and had become a vicious man himself. The jungle took pity on his soul and bifurcated his essence. In times of peace, when his enemies were not around him, he would be a man as he once was. But in times of rage, a demon would burst from his skin in the form of a tiger. The lost prince may have passed away many moons ago, but his spawn and some of his victims possess a similar curse--unburdened without his empathy.
Intelligent Plants - see Hundred Kingdoms entry, but in Lamarakh they are water-logged, vicious, and often aquatic.
Vodyanoi - If the River is divine, then the vodyanoi are its crusaders. Hulking entities that resemble powerful pot-bellied pit fighters with the heads of knobby-hided whales; all obfuscated under endless tangles of strangling reeds and feasting eelings who suckle for the blood of the river's chosen. Some tribes of the river hold the idea that the vodyanoi were once objects of worship and deserving of respect, while others have legends of profane and vicious sacrifices in which the creatures would maul and rip apart the flesh of virgins until the river ran red. Regardless, when the river demands blood, the storm clouds gather, the air grows rich with thickness, and the vodyanoi seek out enemies with terrible claws and the rippling energy of electrical eels.
Will o'Wisp - The shadow fires of Lamarakh dance along the edges of the river, inside the mouths of totems, behind the eyes of jangseung statues. They are the spirits of the ancestors, mischievous and baleful as often as they are kind and a boon to travelers. They delight in wayang puppetry, often joining in to increase the lighting quality and better animate their chosen heroes and villains. In the event of a wicked encounter with such beings, they are known to accept coinage (or even just coin-shaped items) thrown to the river. They will dive for such items, snuffing out their lights, and ceasing to be for a time.
Next time - Part 2.
Next time - Part 2.