If you go to a majestic and mysterious low-gravity red planet, expect to fight a shobhad. In fact, if you don’t fight a shobhad, you haven’t gotten your money’s worth. I would complain to management pronto.
(Be warned: Management is probably a telepathic floating brain. That kind of thing happens around here all the time.)
The cover model for James L. Sutter’s Distant Worlds, the shobhad draws on the classic pulp novels of the past, particularly the Green Martians of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoom. Teased during the Second Darkness Adventure Path and properly statted up in DW, shobhads are the classic dangerous-but-honorable alien barbarians—proud people who prize strength and courage over the trappings of urban civilization. Adventurers who interact with them will need to prove themselves by strength or cunning, not book learning, to prove they are not sheep in the eyes of these giants.
Of course, you can dump the low-gravity pulp stuff and just put shobhads in your world, too. Either way, they are a clear sign to the party that they aren’t in the Kingdom of K’ansas anymore.
Blasted by undead mind-mages, adventurers awaken on another world entirely. On the one hand, in the low gravity they are able to achieve astounding feats of jumping and strength; on the other, they are prisoners, lab experiments for a floating brain-like creature called a contemplative. The scientist wants to see how they fare in battle against the planet’s native shobhads. To survive the party will have to kill the giants or free them from the contemplative’s magic slave collars.
Adventures book passage on a crystal sky skiff but have to take up arms when the captain reveals himself as a slaver and Servant of the Scroll. Once he and his men are defeated, the party will have to win over or otherwise bully the shobhads in the crew. Otherwise the giants will mutiny and divert the skiff to shobhad lands, scuttling all the adventurers’ plans.
As the elves fall into their Twilight, humans rise in Tanniel, building soaring castles, smooth roads, and bustling cities. With three of the seven High Forests now open for proper logging, their shipbuilding progresses at lightning speed as well. Now some adventurers have been asked to join the expedition to find Jorash, the fabled continent all humankind once came from, back before their tattered arks landed on Tanniel’s shores. But the Jorash they find is not the land of plenty and chivalry from the old stories. Instead they discover floating orc fishing villages, cliffs guarded by half-dragon sphinxes, and vast plains where four-armed giants hunt the local humans like game with weapons that strike farther and faster than any crossbow bolt.
—Distant Worlds 63 & Pathfinder Bestiary 4 242
Am I the only one who pronounces the “bh” in Shobhad in the Irish way, as a “v”? …Probably.
(Dibs on “Siobhan the Shobhad” for my next online profile name.)
Speaking of which, I love that the suggested languages for shobhads, beyond Common and Giant, are Dwarven, Draconic, Gnoll, Orc, and Sphinx. You could easily design a whole planet based on on that list. (Or a continent—see above.)
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