Friday, June 3, 2016

Guest Post - Monster Analysis 1:The Sahuagin

  I might have occasionally mentioned my 5 sons, 4 of whom play RPGs with me (#5 is only 3 years old, so....)
  Son #4, who is 13 years old, has been kind enough to write an analysis of monsters and promises many more!
  Without further delay, his article:

This is my first in a series of 7-8 monster analysis articles which take the basic descriptions of 1e monsters and rattle on about the implications.

  I'm starting with Sahuagin because come on! They've got probably the longest description in the original Monster Manual besides the 4 Ds(That is, Dragons, Demons, Devils, and Dinosaurs.) besides, they've always been something of a favorite of mine.

Initial ideas: 2 +2 hit dice is pretty tough! That's two more hit points than gnolls, which are no joke themselves. Actually, a little interesting fact is that if you read between the lines a bit, the only thing that makes goblins, orcs, etc beatable at all is the vast majority have two or less hit dice, meaning you can usually match up one human per humanoid and still have a good chance at winning, so the fact that individual Sahuagin have so many hit dice is terrifying. The chieftains have 4 + 4, making them tougher than OGRES! The basic implication of this is that if a Sahuagin raiding party comes ashore to attack a village, the villagers should probably give them everything they want and hope they don't get eaten anyway.

  You can tell immediately that these are not pleasant creatures. When the vampiric manta rays which worship Demogorgon refuse to associate with you, man, that's BAD.

  An interesting fact is that Sahuagin can't go deeper than 1,500' in the ocean...that's not very deep. Sea elves, mermen, locathah, and other underwater civilizations can avoid them completely with no chance of them following by simply swimming deeper.
My initial impression is that Sahuagin are extremely dangerous creatures for coastal towns and cities, and they can prove deadly to PCs who dare go on an underwater adventure.
However, there is much more to the Sahuagin than meets the eye...

Deeper Analysis:
  Upon further reading, you can tell that Sahuagin are actually one of the most dangerous monsters in the game! Looking at the net combat rules, they have extra range over everything when throwing nets which half of all of them have. They are excellent at camouflage and hiding, and even their villages are hidden. A party that goes underwater has to very careful, else they might get hit by a Sahuagin ambush. If the sahuagin attain surprise, their large numbers should easily allow them to net the whole party, and it's unlikely that anybody besides the fighter can get out by themselves, so the Sahuagin are perfectly capable of skewering everybody at their leisure.
  "Devil men of the deep" indeed.

  They can have leveled clerics. No, not shamans or witch doctors, Clerics. And their average intelligence is "High"(13-14).
  And they can have four arms too.

  I mean, obviously.

  Then there's their "history and legend" section, something very, very few monsters in the 1e MM have.

  Really, it deserves it's own article. There's the effects they have on the world written down right for us, right there at the top.

  Actually, one of my personal favorite parts about the 1e Monster Manual is that it doesn't force a campaign on you. It gives "suggestions" and "theories" for the origins and nature of certain monsters, but doesn't restrict your creativity. It says that tritons CLAIM that Sahuagin were spawned by drow, but never in any way insists that these claims are right or wrong. so if you want, Sahuagin could actually be flumphs mutated by meteorites crashing into earth 10,000 years's all up to you, and that's a good thing.

  Now then, you might be reading this and thinking:"how would anyone live the coast? Sahuagin could come out of nowhere and destroy you at any moment!"

  Well, if you read the article on Demographics, you'll know one of the greatest strengths of humanoids is that they breed extremely fast. But what you'll also learn is that there is an implied downside to an average of 2+2 hit dice and a high intelligence: the subtext reads "any injured, disabled, or infirm specimen will be slain and eaten, and even imperfect hatchlings will be dealt with in this way." It looks like any adult male Sahuagin with anything less than 2+2 hit dice, a High intelligence, and a lawful evil alignment are killed and eaten. So, simply put, the reason Sahuagin are not a major threat to civilization as a whole is that there's not that many of them because of draconian eugenics laws.

Oh, there's also the four armed, giant-sized and giant-tough Sahuagin King, but you know what? That's actually very simple. Read it sometime.

Summed up analysis:
1: Sahuagin are one of the most deadly groups in the game.
2: Sahuagin, while problematic, do not pose the greatest threat to civilization out there.
3:It's basically impossible to attack the Sahuagin capitol and win.
4:Sahuagin are devil worshipping mutant fish-nazis

(Feel free to edit and tell me if I'm missing anything!)

Coming next: monster analysis 2: 1e Dragons.