Skum are a race bred by the aboleth from human, demihuman, and other humanoid genetic stock as beasts of burden. Skum do not resemble their ancestors. They have an aboleth-like tail and four extremely strong limbs, each ending in a webbed paw which has two fingers and an opposable thumb. Each digit ends in a retractable claw. A skum's body is covered with a clear, slimy, hairless, gray-green membrane. While skum have no external ears, they are not deaf. In the water, they can hear twice as well as a human can in air. A skum's eyes are much like an aboleth's-an eerie shade of purple-red-hut are more spherical. Having been bred to function in the Underdark, skum have 60-foot infravision.
Combat: Skum are pure fighting machines and can attack three opponents at a time, though they usually choose to attack a single enemy. Skum males have an effective Strength of 18 and females have 18/50 Strength. Water is the skum's natural element, and when in water they can attack with their bite and all four limbs. On land, skums' large, buoyant bodies are clumsy, and they suffer a -2 penalty to their attack roll and can use only their arms and bite in melee. While in the presence of an aboleth, skum fight until they are victorious, slain, or ordered off by the aboleth. Skum can be trained to use weapons, but only awkwardly; skum fighting with a weapon suffer a -2 penalty to their attack rolls.
A female skum can carry as much as a heavy warhorse in water if the load is strapped to her back. Males can carry as much as a medium warhorse. On land, a skum can carry as much weight as a human with the same strength.
Habitat/Society: Skum are the end result of at least a millennium of careful breeding. They no longer resemble humanity in body or mind. The aboleth have removed what they regard as unnecessary parts-vocal cords, lungs, external ears, hair etc. The aboleth added what features they thought would be necessary for their servants, such as the tail for swimming and claws and teeth for fighting.
Most skum who still are controlled by the aboleth have low intelligence, but some have been bred to be even less intelligent. These individuals have only animal intelligence.
Skum tend to he as coldly logical as their limited intelligence allows. They have almost no emotions. They communicate with their aboleth masters and with each other through a limited form ot teleparhv (range 30 yards) that allows them to understand simple commands. Skum telepathy docs not allow communications with races other than skum or aboleth. Skum minds are very susceptible tu mentall domination. They get no saving throw vs. the aboleth's enslavement power and save vs. all other enchantment/charm spells at -4.
Ecology: Skum breathe through the skin, but their outer membranes must be moist to do so. A skum out of water can breathe normally for half an hour before drying out; afterward, the skum suffers 3d4 points of damage each turn until it dies or returns to the water.
A skum female lays one egg at a time after a gestation period of about six months. The egg must incubate on land for four to six weeks, and the female usually buries it in sand. If possible, the parents remain nearby to guard the egg. Once hatched, the baby skum is nursed like a human infant and reaches maturity in three years. Skum can live to be about 30, but most die in combat much sooner than that. Only about 25% of the eggs laid mature into adults.
Skum have no natural enemies, but most land dwellers in the Underdark despise them. A skum unlucky enough to be captured by drow or duergar is in for a long and painful death. Svirfneblin usually take pity on skum captives. Kuo-toa are not known to hate skum, but no skum servant ever has been observed in a kuo-toa city.
Skum will eat anything they can catch, and the aboleth are not above letting them scavenge.
Although the aboleth cannot transform captive humans, demihumans, or humanoids into skum, they can change them so that their offspring will be skum. This practice has set many lurid tales circulating in the Underdark.
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