The Shelled Ones
Along the shores of the islands in the Necklace of Plenty, strange creatures sometimes emerge from the seas to attack land-dwelling comminities. Like hulking humanoid crabs, walking on four crab-like legs with two sets of arms; one set ending in fearsome claws, the other in hand-like appendages. Tiny black eyes set into a small triangular armoured head surmounted with whip-like antennae and featuring a feathery set of mouthparts. The carapace on the body is a blue-grey, tapering to a jointed fluked tail that drags along the ground as the creature rattles onwards. These are known as the Shelled Ones.

Shelled One incursions seem to be more numerous in spring, and are increasing in frequency on Oksa, particularly after the destruction of Port Linlin. These raids are little more than orgies of destruction, dealing death to young and old alike, with no property stolen and no mercy shown.

Although they seem unintelligent, the Shelled Ones are sometimes seen to be carrying weapon made from a pearlescent material known as seabone, a material traded by the Ti-Kop race. Sometimes a smaller variant of Shelled One is spotted, perhaps directing the carnage, and it has been conjectured that these are the females of the species. Shelled Ones make a clicking sound, but otherwise are not known to talk.

Using Shelled Ones
The creatures known to humans as Shelled Ones are, in fact, a specially bred type of soldier. True Shelled Ones are the smaller type mistaken for females. These are, in fact, males, in the natural form of the race.

Shelled Ones are actually a sophisticated race, creators of the wondrous substance known as seabone, and are generally peaceful. The dread creatures that rampage through coastal lands are the Shriven, Shelled Ones converted by ritual to defend a colony of Shelled Ones. Their appearance means that land dwellers have somehow affected a colony of Shelled Ones living offshore. The Shelled Ones like to live in rocky areas just off the shore, as they are unable to survive in deep waters. Rocky shoals or coral reefs are carved and built into shelters and twisted mazes of tunnels. Food, in the form of algae, and soft-bodied animals like sea anemone and sea slugs, are grown and farmed on the walls of these tunnels. Smaller fish are encouraged by the lack of larger predatory fish, and the depletions caused by the Shelled One fishers are not enough to drive them away. All in all, the Shelled Ones find survival very easy if other races do not impinge their food supply.

True female Shelled Ones are static creatures, akin to a four-foot barnacle. A young female is mobile, but very soon plants herself on a rock and begins to form her shell. Shelled One colonies gather the females together in one area, known as the Chamber of the Queens. This chamber is located deep in the colony for protection, but is engineered to give a high flow-through of water, since the females are filter feeders. Although an individual female is near mindless, gathering them together brings about a hive mind termed a Queen Spirit which guides and rules the tribe. Although it rules as a single mind, since it is made up of smaller intelligences the Queen Spirit is almost like a council in one intelligence, and so decisions tend to be fair rather than dictatorial. One area where the Queen Spirit is typically very strongly focussed, however, is in promoting the safety and well-being of the females.

The Queen Spirit is also a source of tremendous magical power for the Shelled Ones, and a lot of their lives are governed by rituals for directing this power. As well as ensuring the safety and well-being of the colony, one of the major events in the Shelled One calendar is Communion - the mating season. From the second full moon of the year until the third, the male Shelled Ones compete in a month long ritual, consisting of contests of all kinds to determine who has the right to engage in the mating ritual with the Queens. For the Shelled Ones, mating simply consists of dumping egg and sperm into the water and letting the currents do the rest, although the ritual itself becomes a great frenzied dance by the favoured males in the Chamber of Queens, accompanied by the exhaltation of the Queen Spirit. The Communion not only produces all the little Shelled Ones, it re-affirms the unity of the Colony for another year. Those males who won the contest to become consorts of the Queens remain as favoured advisors and messengers to the Queen Spirit throughout the next year.

All terms are approximate translations from the Shelled One language, a mixture of sign language, subtle colour changes and scent. The Queen Spirit talks directly to the soul via telepathy.

Shelled One, Medium Monstrous Humanoid (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 2d8+7 (16 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), swim 30 ft
Armor Class: 15 (+1 shield, +4 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+4
Attack: Trident +4 melee (1d8+2) or trident +2 ranged (1d8+2) or claw +4 melee (1d6+2)
Full Attack: Trident +4 melee (1d8+2) and 2 claws -1 melee (1d6+2)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: None
Special Qualities Amphibious, blindsight 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +4
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 11
Skills: Craft (seabone) +5, Sense Motive +6, Swim +10
Feats: Improved Natural Attack (claw)*, Toughness
Environment: Any aquatic
Organization: Single, squad (2-8), colony (50-100)
Challenge Rating: 1
Advancement: By character class

Combat: Shelled Ones usually wield tridents and shields made of seabone, although seabone nets are popular too. They are able to use weapons in their lower, dextrous limbs and attack with their claws at the same time.

Skills: Shelled Ones have a +8 racial bonus to Swim checks, and may always Take 10 when swimming even when rushed or threatened. A Shelled One may use the run action when swimming, provided it travels in a straight line.

Shelled One Queen, Medium Monstrous Humanoid (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 1d8+5 (9 hp)
Initiative: -4
Speed: 0 ft.
Armor Class: 10 (-4 Dex, +4 natural), touch 5, flat-footed 10
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+1
Attack: Slam +1 melee (1d3)
Full Attack: Slam +1 melee (1d3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: None
Special Qualities Blindsight 60 ft., hive mind
Saves: Fort +2, Ref -4, Will +4
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 2, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 14
Skills: Sense Motive +6
Feats: Toughness
Environment: Any aquatic
Organization: Chamber (10-100)
Challenge Rating: 1/2
Advancement: None

Combat: Female Shelled Ones are non-combative. In extreme circumstances they can provide a weak slam with a feeding tendril, but otherwise rely upon magic and minions.

Hive Mind (Su): Within the Chamber of Queens, the female Shelled Ones form the Queen Spirit, and gain the following abilities:

  • Intelligence 18, Wisdom 18, Charisma 18
  • Skills: Concentration +4, Diplomacy +8, Knowledge (arcana) +8, Knowledge (nature) +8, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +6, Use Magic Device +8
  • Spell-Like Abilities: As cleric, caster level 10th. Spells typically prepared: 0th - cure minor wounds, detect poison, guidance (x2), purify food and drink, resistance; 1st - bless, bless water, command, cure light wounds, sanctuary*, shield of faith; 2nd - augury, cure moderate wounds, delay poison, enthrall, lesser restoration, status*; 3rd - create food and water, cure serious wounds, dispel magic, prayer*, remove disease; 4th - control water*, cure critical wounds, imbue with spell ability, neutralise poison, restoration; 5th - raise dead, scrying, telepathic bond*.

The Chosen can cast spells as per a 6th level cleric, treated as spell-like abilities. The Queen Spirit provides access to the domains of Community, Magic, Protection and Water. Spells typically known are: 0th - cure minor wounds, guidance (x2), resistance, virtue; 1st - bless, entropic shield. magic weapon, sanctuary*; 2nd - aid, hold person, resist energy, shield other*; 3rd - cure serious wounds, dispel magic, protection from energy*.

The Ritual of Shriving
During the spring months, more food is needed to feed the developing Shelled One young, and this is the main cause for conflict with human fishermen. When something threatens the Shelled Ones, they deal with it by wiping it out.

The Ritual of Shriving removes the soul of a male Shelled One and blends it with the Queen Spirit. Thus, it is a form of death, but one considered a great honour. The body of the Shriven One is kept alive by leaving just the tiniest, darkest part of the soul behind. The Ritual changes this husk into the terrible warrior creatures commonly seen by humans. The sole aim of the Shriven is to destroy that which the Queen Spirit wishes them to destroy. As near automatons, they have no instinct for self-preservation in carrying out this order.

Shriven One, Medium Monstrous Humanoid (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 4d8+16 (34 hp)
Initiative: +0
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), swim 30 ft
Armor Class: 17 (+7 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+13
Attack: Claw +9 melee (1d6+5)
Full Attack: 2 claws +9 melee (1d6+5)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved grab
Special Qualities Amphibious, blindsight 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +6
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 11, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 1
Skills: Swim +20
Feats: Improved Natural Attack (claw)*, Iron Will, Toughness
Environment: Any aquatic
Challenge Rating: 3
Advancement: 5-6 HD (Medium), 7-9 HD (Large)

Combat: Shriven Shelled Ones attack simply, grabbing opponents in their claws and crushing them until dead.

Improved Grab (Ex): On a successful claw attack a Shriven One may initiate an immediate grapple check against a Medium or smaller size opponent without proviking an attack of opportunity. On subsequent rounds the Shriven One inflicts claw damage if it successfully wins an opposed grapple check. A Shriven One has a +4 racial bonus to grapple checks.

Skills: Shriven Ones have a +8 racial bonus to Swim checks, and may always Take 10 when swimming even when rushed or threatened. A Shriven One may use the run action when swimming, provided it travels in a straight line.

The Deepest
There are rumours amongst the Shelled Ones of The Deepest, a renegade offshoot living in the blackest depths of the oceans. The Deepest are evil outcasts, shunned by and shunning those who live in the upper and middle waters of the world. The Deepest are said to create Shriven without removing their souls, and their Seabone is of such exceptional strength (due to the pressure) that it can slice through stone as easily as through water. Fortunately, they are said to be only legend....

Sea Bone
Seabone is created by ritual, by specialised crafters amongst the Shelled Ones. It is formed from sea water magically compressed into a firm but malleable mass, and then gently coaxed into shape. The same process can be used to make extremely solid objects, or thin flexible thread (mainly used for net-making). Sea-bone crafting is a long process. It takes about a week of non-stop ritual to pull together "firm water" the size of a bowling ball. During this time, the crafter draws power from the Queen Spirit and is given food by an apprentice. It takes a further one to three weeks to shape the item, depending on its complexity.

Seabone items have no effect on Swim skills due to encumbrance. The Hardness rating of seabone varies depending upon its final shape; typically it is the Hardness of an equivalent item, +1 (hit points are the same). For example, a seabone net has Hardness 1 and 5 hit points. A seabone shield (wood equivalent) has Hardness 6 and 10 hit points. If a seabone item is not immersed in salt water for one hour every day, it becomes brittle, losing 4 Hardness per day. A seabone item reduced to 0 Hardness crumbles into dust. Seawater immersion can reverse this process if applied before the item is fully destroyed. Optionally, seabone crafters may require a feat, Craft Seabone, to be able to draw together the firm water mass needed to create a seabone item.

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