Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ecology of the Crab Men from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition & The Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea Rpg Systems For Your Old School Campaigns

So you thought that all of my posting about the 'U' series of modules and then The Secret of Bone Hill was over and finished? Well your Uncle Eric is back with a twist or two to bedevil your players with yet and it involves crabs. But this just doesn't involve just any crabs but space going Lovecraftian humanoids crab men from  Poseidonis. The U series main villains are the Sahuagin who once the characters have cleared out the entire run of the Salt Marsh run of modules. Who will fill the vacuum once they've been taken out? Well once again Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers comes to the rescue. The Referee's Manual contains one of the more advanced alien races are the Crabmen. These monstrous humanoids are actually an advanced race of alien humanoids who have settled in Hyperborea  from their home world  of Poseidonis in spacecraft.
 These humanoids are advanced tool users and have high technology, they're very weird and dangerous. Certain species of Picts worship these humanoid bastards and the Crabmen are expansionists  as well. With such a void left by the defeat of  the Sahuagin or Deep Ones this will be seen as weakness by the Crabmen who will see such a defeat as prime opportunity. The residents of Salt Marsh and the Lenore isles might be caught within a cross fire of such an underwater war. This is a prime opportunity to bring the PC's into the action where heroism might help turn the tides of blood back. These Crabmen also use laser pistols and more. They are are highly organized, intelligent, and dangerous to those races around them. Not to much is known about them though. There was some speculation among players of mine who have encountered them that these Crabmen might not be cognitive or even conscious in the traditional sense of the word. They could share a gestalt telepathic hive mind that centers around a higher controlling intelligence. These beings might have different species or rolls within the Crabmen's hierarchy or colonies.
 Crabmen are prime opportunists of the highest order looking out for the needs of the colony and creating soldiers, workers, hivers, and others as the details of the colony's needs dictates.
There are certain conceits within the text of these monsters but why would they bother with the humans around them besides being prime sources of protein? For that we must look to the original source material for the Crab Men. In this case its the Fiend Folio from Advanced Dungeons and Dragons first edition. The original Crab Men worker class is described as attacking anyone who might have silver or silver items upon their person? Why would a species of aquatic humanoids be attracted to silver a metal which has the properties of purity and luster according to myths and legends? The Crab Men of the First Edition Fiend Folio attack anyone suspected of carrying the metal. " Crabmen greatly value silver and will go to any lengths to obtain it, even attacking a character suspected of carrying any item made of this metal. In normal circumstances, however, they are quite pacific creatures, though from time to time an instinct makes them leave their coastal dwelling to mount a savage raid inland, roaming in bands of 30 or 40 creatures and pillaging all property in their path, not hesitating to attack those who would defend." The answer is quite simple really the commonly encountered Crab men are workers who have an inbred instinct to collect the metal for their colony. 

For ages silver has always had an association with magick & mysticism as well as the occult. The crab men use the material for time space gates in their space craft's faster then light drive systems, it holds a special religious place because of its significance within their lives. Live, breed, and continue to expand. The interesting part is the fact that the Deep Ones have kept the Crab men in check all these years in the U series and the Sinister Secret of Salt Marsh. Other OSR campaign settings and retroclones spring to mind,especially those of a weird or dark fantastic bent. Imagine Crab Men coming to shore off the coast of Spain ala 2001 Lovecraftian horror film after the Deep Ones have been defeated to slaughter anyone left on shore. The Deep Ones might be the only thing keeping these things from expanding onto the harbors and dry land. Shades of Lamentations of the Flame Princess or Realms of Crawling Chaos from Labyrinth Lord suddenly spring to mind here.

What will happen now that the Deep Ones have been defeated and their colony's machinations have failed? How will Salt Marsh, Restenford, and the Lenore Isles cope? Well my dear friends that is going to be up to you and your dungeon master.

Please note that none of this speculation and campaign notes are a part of the main story line or Setting of Hyperborea or of the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea game. Nor is this an attempt to violate the trademarks or copyrights of the holders of that game nor of the U series of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons modules or the L1 series. This is all of my own invention for a personal table top rpg adventure campaign. This post is for entertainment and educational purposes only.

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