Monday, April 24, 2017


The lusca has a long history in Caribbean folklore as a oh who are we kidding it’s Sharktopus.

(Illustration by Bryan Sola comes from Gizmodo’s io9 and is © Paizo Publishing.)

It gets better.  The Pathfinder version has three heads.  So it’s a Cerberu-Sharktopus!

Okay, seriously, the lusca is actually a Caribbean cryptid.  But since there aren't many details on it besides that it’s an octopus-like creature, I can see why Isles of the Shackles author Mike Shel (or one of his developers/editors) Sharktopused it up.)

At this point you already know whether you’re going to use the lusca or not—you’re either the kind of GM who takes one look at that illustration and starts cackling evilly, or you’re the kind of GM who will never use the lusca and wishes the other GM would stop cackling so you can read your Bullfinch’s Mythology.  Whichever one you are, I wish you Godspeed.

Actually, three more notes, one or all of which may even sway the Bullfinchers.  First of all, if you can’t handle a Sharktopus in your game, there’s no reason you can’t reskin it.  A lusca would be an amazing servant of Dagon, Cthulhu, or some other aquatic power, especially with a template or two overlaid on top. 

Second of all, I’m really interested in the fact that this is such a nasty but practically nonmagical creature.  (What few spell-like abilities it has could easily be explained as natural phenomena.)  There’s something interesting to me about a monster this horrific not being the servant of a god, not being the creation of an arcane madman, not being a very magical creature, just existing.  That’s creepy.  (Of course, any sailor who comes across one will probably think they’ve upset a deity or two anyway.  You can imagine whole island societies falling into chaos just because a lusca swam by at an inopportune moment…)

Finally, this is yet another one of those monsters where you are about to close the book, and then you look again at the stat block and realize…it has languages listed.  Including Common.  It has Int 13.  It can talk.  And that’s a whole different level of Sharktopus…

One of the Red Lusca’s heads is dead—killed by a harpoon.  The other two, sadly, are quite alive, ravenous, and out for revenge.  If the halfling refugees are to be safely smuggled out of devil-tainted Satheriel, Red Lusca needs to die before the flotilla is launched.

Dirigibles are the main mode of transportation on the archipelago-continent of Quina.  In part this is because the floating ore hydrus is so plentiful, and in part because the fauna of the Quinan seas are so deadly.  But when a quest demands a party of adventurers travel to the Shores of Brass, they must go by boat—there is no guarantee they can carry enough hydrus to stay aloft—and that means braving the lusca-teeming seas.

The tritons of Maribus are not the benevolent coral sculptors of most worlds.  Instead, they are coldly militaristic (lawful neutral), their centurions keeping the aboleth and sahuagin hordes at bay while demanding tribute and trade monopolies from the surface lands.  Eventually this leads to a protracted war with the Coastal League of Bartag, and—thanks to the efforts of some impertinent but doughty adventurers—a tenuous peace.  But when the Maribean dictator sends a lusca to the treaty signing, he is clearly trying to restart hostilities.  The same adventurers must somehow keep the lusca from disrupting the signing, devouring the delegates, and sinking the floating tribute-city.

Isles of the Shackles 53 & Pathfinder Bestiary 5 161

April is the cruelest month…for blogging.  Sorry, guys.  My schedule lately has been like Tetris…I clear out my schedule only to have new obligations come down faster.  (Including an apartment-building fire—not mine! *knocks furiously on all the wood*—but still very scary and time-consuming.  It’s been that kind of a month.)

I can’t complain too much though, given the big news.  Speaking of which, my Blogger readers don’t know yet, so: Hey guys, check out the big news!

Yet again it’s Monday.  Yet again I’m posting last week’s radio show absurdly late.  But at least it’s posted—the previous show didn’t even get posted at all—and this time, Hanson and Third Eye Blind are involved.  For reasons.  You’ve got from now till midnight (Monday, 04/24/17, U.S. Eastern) to grab it, so stream/download it now.  (Also, no show this Tuesday because I’m probably filming on Wednesday and have an early call time.  See you next week, hopefully.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm a mix of the GM that likes reading classic mythology, but I toss it all out the moment I see a ridiculous looking monster that can make everything go to Hell in a handbasket. The Lusca, cause of that, makes me cackle like a madman.