Interesting Icthyoid Implications (From Shore to Sea Spoilers)


Adventures


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

So... Everyone in Blackcove is turning into a Gillman, on the way to becoming Skum.

Now... the PF Bestiary says Skum are all males, and that's why they have to have the sex with human females.

Since there are gill-tainted women, (some of which are rather far along, like Sara Vanderholt) ... does this mean the women are all becoming (fish)Men?

Scarab Sages

Maybe it's all second-generation (or later) Skum who are born male?

Maybe Skum have the genetic ability to be born either gender, but the conditions of the Underdark cause them to spontaneously develop as males?

Maybe Sara's a freak anomaly, and she's going to be very busy?


Drakli wrote:

So... Everyone in Blackcove is turning into a Gillman, on the way to becoming Skum.

Now... the PF Bestiary says Skum are all males, and that's why they have to have the sex with human females.

Since there are gill-tainted women, (some of which are rather far along, like Sara Vanderholt) ... does this mean the women are all becoming (fish)Men?

I can answer that!

The simple answer is..."only sorta not really." =-)

The mutation of the female villagers isn't due to a breach in the "breeding rules" of the skum, but rather the mutating nature of the island's energy field known as "the Warping," as detailed on page 12. The female villagers who have undergone 'the change' (like sweet, lovely Sara -pucker up!), have done so because of their long exposure to the island's field, Mohl'omog's slime, and the fact that most of them have some "true" gillmen blood, as described on page 19. Since they also have a lot of ulat-kini taint in their blood after years of breeding with the creatures, their ultimate mutation is a bit more stable than the random way it affects PCs, so you get to see Sara and some of the others with gills and aquatic traits that the females would not have developed otherwise if left alone in the village to live their lives.

But, you could certainly rule otherwise if you wanted to make an exception and deal with the implications! That could be exciting! You might decide that after the close of the adventure, the villagers escape without the cure, and a new female breeding stock for skum develops. This would lead to a temporary increase in the skum population, threatening the coastline of Cheliax a generation from now with raids from the waves. Of course, all the resulting offspring would be male, but it would increase their raiding party numbers and maybe tip the balance in the region. PCs might have to venture below the sea to destroy this rapidly breeding skum colony to stop the attacks. Hold on...I'm feeling a sequel coming on... =-)

The implications were left intentionally vague, though. The way I saw it, the females would just never fully change, and cease mutating once achieving their potential gillmen form, never reaching that next stage of evolution to become true skum, because, like you pointed out, skum are all male, and we stayed aware of that while writing. But that's just me. Do what's FUN! =-)

Brandon

Sovereign Court

Some female amphibians and reptiles can spontaneously swap genders when not enough males are around. Perhaps something like that happens to convert all female vilagers into male skum?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

... Oooh, neat! A direct author response! First of all, just wanted to say I rather enjoyed this module as a sort of... sympathetic take on the Shadow Over Innsmouth where you feel more for the half-fish villagers.

Also, I really enjoyed the tentacle attack encounter. Really snazzy.

Brandon Hodge wrote:


But, you could certainly rule otherwise if you wanted to make an exception and deal with the implications! That could be exciting! You might decide that after the close of the adventure, the villagers escape without the cure, and a new female breeding stock for skum develops. This would lead to a temporary increase in the skum population, threatening the coastline of Cheliax a generation from now with raids from the waves. Of course, all the resulting offspring would be male, but it would increase their raiding party numbers and maybe tip the balance in the region. PCs might have to venture below the sea to destroy this rapidly breeding skum colony to stop the attacks. Hold on...I'm feeling a sequel coming on... =-)

The implications...

Personally, there's a side of me that's really attracted to this idea (and not the side that likes to kiss lady sea-bass, even. Well, not just that side, anyway.) What if there was something even more deliberate going on?

Consider the possible idea that the skum were trying to use a combination of the Aboleth's warping radiation and their mating forays as a controlled breeding program to (re?)introduce females into their species.

Certainly, access to true breeding female skum would make them a much greater threat to the coastline of Cheliax, but think also of the prestige it would give them among their own kind. Controlling the only population of true-breeding females, the Bloodcove skum would have all of the other tribes by the... er... short-scales. They could present or withhold breeding rights to other tribes, binding those who curry favor closer to their heel, and diminishing those clans who turned against them. Even if the breeding program created a female skum that can birth/lay other females, the Bloodcove skum could keep it under control by keeping the pollywog females and only giving back male tads, and it would be more sustainable that way.

Really, you could forge a Skum Kingdom out of that kind of nastiness.

Grand you, the potentiality of becoming brood-mother skum makes the plight of the Gillwomen of Bloodcove all the more of a Fate-Worse-Than-Death!


Drakli wrote:
Good stuff

I like it. Sounds good if the players are into the really weird X-rated "Whoa what the--" kind of material in games. Way creepy, maybe too creepy, so it's awesome.

Definitely not recommended for the squeamish. Whugh!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ice Titan wrote:
Drakli wrote:
Good stuff

I like it. Sounds good if the players are into the really weird X-rated "Whoa what the--" kind of material in games. Way creepy, maybe too creepy, so it's awesome.

Definitely not recommended for the squeamish. Whugh!

First thing I thought of was the Broodmothers in Dragon Age -- pure, horrible brilliance.

I really like this idea...maybe you could do a whole campaign arc off of that :)


I vote for it to be like Mules.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
roguerouge wrote:
I vote for it to be like Mules.

I don't get it.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Cesare wrote:
roguerouge wrote:
I vote for it to be like Mules.
I don't get it.

A horse and a donkey can have offspring. It's called a mule, and it's sterile. Technically a male donkey and a female horse produce a mule and a male horse and a female donkey produce a hinnie, but typically they're all called mules.

Note (and I didn't know this) that about 1 in a million mules is actually NOT sterile. Interesting.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

*slaps forehead* I knew that.

The fact that mule was capitalized probably threw me off. The image of South American drug mules crossed my mind when I read that. My bad.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I would definitely like to see a "Revenge of the Skum Lords" sequel. ;)


Twowlves wrote:


Some female amphibians and reptiles can spontaneously swap genders when not enough males are around. Perhaps something like that happens to convert all female vilagers into male skum?

Just like Jurassic park

Sovereign Court

MerrikCale wrote:
Twowlves wrote:


Some female amphibians and reptiles can spontaneously swap genders when not enough males are around. Perhaps something like that happens to convert all female vilagers into male skum?

Just like Jurassic park

And in Real Life.

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