Don't Go Near the Water!
Monday, August 4, 2008
So the waters of Riddleport harbor are alive with things that find people delicious. A pirate or smuggler who falls overboard generally has only a few minutes to get to shore or clamber back on board a ship before a shark, bunyip, reefclaw, or other predator catches his scent. In some cases, though, those hungry predators don't wait until someone falls into the water—they can flop ashore to hunt for food if necessary. One notorious local predator with this unnerving habit is the swamp barracuda.
Of course, the swamp barracudas have long been a menace along the shores of the Varisian Gulf, and the local Sczarni families in particular have a unique working history with these beasts. Take the following as an example as to why it's generally a bad idea to annoy these criminals.
The Fish Tank: Owned by Jaster Frallino, the head of the Magnimarian Sczarni gang known as the Gallowed, images of glassy-eyed sea serpents and scandalously clad mermaids stare stupidly from the timbers of this peeling sea-blue caravan wagon. Within, the roomy wagon holds a single battered stool and a four-foot-tall glass aquarium filled with murky water. Inside the glass tank laze Frallino's three fat pet swamp barracudas: Verna, Argarno, and Big Mal. In Frallino's displeasure, several lazy thugs and untrustworthy business partners have lost a toe, a nose, or a whole hand to "The Boss's Fish," and more than one of the crime lord's enemies have gone into the tank headfirst. It's also rumored that the Sczarni boss keeps a collection of mysterious, rusted keys at the bottom of his chummy aquarium, guarded by his beloved pets.
The swamp barracuda is one of four new monsters presented in Pathfinder #13's Bestiary.