[Runequest] [RQIII]Razor Shells

Roger Benham rog_benham at hotmail.com
Thu May 7 06:10:35 EST 2009

This sounds so much like Dark Sun it isn't true!
> Date: Wed, 6 May 2009 17:05:37 +0200
> From: postmaster at runequest.za.org
> To: runequest at rpgreview.net
> Subject: [Runequest] [RQIII]Razor Shells
> I read a write up about a D&D sourcebook regarding wastelands, deserts,
> dried up seabeds etc in a magazine the other day. Well my sometimes
> overactive imagination kept me awaye that night. What kind of wierd little
> creature could I spring on my group in a dried up sea bed. Apart from
> petrified forests of coral, perhaps dangling tentacles of mutated
> symbiotic irikanjis (SP). Then it came to me, the razor shell, one that
> does not just look like a razor:
> The nicely formatted article is on my site at
> http://www.runequest.za.org/article/articleview/189/1/0
> but below is the description. I made most of it up, checked out what
> wikipedia said about normal razor shells and reference the ammonite in
> mythworld for some tips:
> Razor Shell (Ensis arcuatus incognitus)
> Not your regular razor shells that are often fished for in the sea bed and
> make a tasty shellfish treat, but a rather more sinister variety.
> In the desolate wastes of a dried up sea bed lurk the razor shells. These
> are close descendants of the more mundane razor shells found under the
> seas sands, but have been forced to evolve as their habitat dried up.
> The shells still eke out an existence beneath the harsh wastelands of the
> dry seabed and have managed to do so via some remarkable adaptations.
> Their original cylindrical, cut throat razor, shaped bodies have grown
> longer. The bottom most section which is deepest in the sand sports long
> barbs, which help anchor it in place, but still allow it to burrow forward
> (downwards). A denser and harder shell protects the organism from heat and
> water loss, allowing it to go for long periods without water, while also
> providing internal pockets wherein moisture can be stored in times of
> rain.
> Its most remarkable and devious adaptation however is the means whereby
> the shell is able to sustain itself. Where its ancestor filtered the water
> for tiny organisms, no such contemporary nourishment now exists. Instead
> the shell has had to become a devious ambush predator. The upward facing
> portion of its body has developed a barbed harpoon tongue of razor sharp
> hard mother of pearl. This harpoon is held inside the shell waiting for
> pressure from above, the Razor Shell having positioned its top end just
> below the ground level. When sufficient pressure is applied, coiled
> muscles shoot the harpoon upward. This action is similar to that employed
> in the nematocyst of the hydra polyp or jellyfishes stingers.
> The razor is not as subtle in subduing its prey as a jellyfish however as
> it has no poison. Instead it relies on the devastating damage its harpoon
> does as it pierces its preys flesh. This is where the Razors length and
> anchoring barbs, as well as its extremely strong muscles, play their role.
> The part of the shells body that is attached to the harpoon can stretch to
> double its normal length. With the harpoon anchored in place, its prey is
> unable to escape and eventually succumbs to exhaustion, blood loss and
> shock. This does not mean that the Razor Shell waits for its prey to die;
> indeed thin feeding tubes extend through a small hollow at the tip of the
> harpoon and start to dissolve and devour the preys living flesh moments
> after the harpoon strikes.
> While Razor Shells can grow up to a meter long and project harpoons that
> could be lethal to larger animals, their primary prey is smaller animals.
> However they do not appear to be able to distinguish potential preys SIZ
> and often cause a nuisance as they lacerate feet or damage horses inner
> hooves and cause lameness. Most shells encountered are a more manageable
> size of roughly thirty centimetres, although there are always travellers’
> tales of monstrously sized shells that have skewered horses from beneath
> the ground.
> Razor Shell
> Characteristics Average
> STR 2D6 (6D6)* 7-10 (25-30)* Move 1
> CON 2D6 7-10 Hit Points 10
> SIZ 1D6 + 2 5-6 Fatigue 19
> INT 2 3
> POW 1D6 + 4 8-9
> DEX 1D6 4
> Hit Location Melee (D20) Missile (D20) Points
> Lower Shell 01-05 01-02 6/3
> Upper Shell 06-18 03-19 6/3
> Harpoon Tongue 19-20 20 6/5
> Weapon SR Attack % Damage
> Harpoon 1 75+10 1D4 + 2 (1D4)#
> Note: The shell lies in wait just below ground level and will shoot its
> harpoon directly upwards as soon as it perceives pressure from above. As
> such it has a very high probability to hit. Due to its position in the
> ground it will only be able to strike the lower limbs of large prey,
> whereas small prey can be struck in most logical hit locations.
> # Damage is always impale damage. Treat as a regular impale but also note
> an additional 1D4 damage per round that the harpoon remains in the wound
> where the Razor Shell still lives and starts digesting its prey.
> * The higher STR score is to represent the shell anchoring itself in the
> ground should its victim try to match STR on the resistance table in order
> to pull the shell from its burrow.
> Skills: Hide 100%
> Armour: 6 point shell armour.
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