RuneRites: RICH AND STRANGE
A selection of sea creatures
By Oliver Johnson
When adventuring in a marine setting, be sure you are familiar with the drowning rules (Runequest Appendix E). Also, Borderlands explains how difficult it is for humans and other air-breathers to fight underwater: Air-breathers don’t get their damage bonus underwater. Except for metal-strung crossbows, missile weapons cannot be used. Armour reduces combat skills by 5% per ENC point unless specially designed for use underwater. Attack chances (except for thrusting weapons) are halved after making the ENC reduction. So if the drowning don’t get you the monsters sure will! Talk about being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. -- DM
Folklore: If you wander round the bars and taverns of Deliverance, you will find many an old salt with tales to tell of barnacle men, but few who can claim to have actually seen one. The popular belief among sailors is that these creatures are the liches of pirates so rapacious and malign that they cannot rest in death, but rise up from their sunken ships to torment the living. Most sailors know that disruption is a good way to deal with barnacle men.
Giant electric eel
Dead men’s sighs
You encounter a clam by stepping onto it, so any encounter must be checked against the character’s Spot Hidden. A character trapped by a clam takes 2d6 on the first round, then 3d6 on the next, and so on. The damage does not go on increasing after the sixth round. Armour will protect until it is crushed. Clams can be forced open by combined STR equal to the clam’s own STR (4d6+8) – if a character can improvise a lever of some kind he gets a 50% STR bonus.
Hungry Morguss is a legend among sailors, a monster of folklore spoken of by those who have somehow survived when their ships went down in maelstroms or violent storms. Such mariners will sometimes whisper of having looked down into the ocean’s depths at the moment of disaster and seeing in the waters below a huge, mad, staring face with a gaping mouth, bigger than three large ships, sucking the doomed vessel down in a whirlpool. This evil visage is believed by sailors to be Hungry Morguss, a marine aspect of the devil. We may speculate at leisure as to other explanations. The face of Death himself? A monster, demon or forgotten god from Questworld’s antiquity? A mere phantasm created in the mind of sailors when disaster is imminent? How shall the truth be known?