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THE KNOWN WORLDS GRIMOIRE
The Sting and the Sunby Bruce Heard
This regular feature offers answers to questions on the D&D game, its worlds and its products, occasional articles, and "first glance" reviews of D&D game products. Readers are welcome to send questions, suggestions, or criticisms on the game or on the material published here. We can't promise all letters will be answered in this column, but they all will get our attention.
This issue of the "Grimoire" deals with a new nation located on the Savage Coast. The exploration of this area goes on, thanks to the amazing library of Raman Nabonidus. From his vast collection of ancient writings, we discover revealing fragments of a struggle that took place centuries ago. Today, only a dark realm remains, sinister testimony that good does not always win over evil... at least until ancient heroes return.
Found in the navigator's journal of Don Jorge de Vilaverde:
"It took no fewer than 15,000 nuggets of depleted red ore and several years of diplomacy, but at last, here it is: a small promontory near Asur overlooking a protected cove. I named our new acquisition Porto Escorpião for the glory of Vilaverde and my father's wealth. Indeed, it is but a small trading post, but nonetheless a colony of Vilaverde. It will be weeks before my message reaches Porto Preto, and perhaps months before troops arrive. The treaty grants us full ownership for a century, but I trust a stronghold of good, solid stone and a handful of experienced crossbowmen to be a better warranty on this land. By then, no one in this savage land will dislodge us, for we are the strongest.
"I do not feel safe here, however. I ordered the crew to stay together at all times and avoid involvement with the natives. The creepy carapace of the Nimmurians and their odious stings are a constant reminder that man is not yet a master here. It is clear in their attitude that we aren't exactly welcome, but perhaps merely useful to some dark purpose of theirs. Only time will tell. Fortunately, the Nimmurians are just as greedy and desirous of the red steel blades as we are. In this, we have an advantage."
Diary of a Gargoñan spy -- Unsigned:
"Even today, I still loathe the sight of the folks of Nimmur. Half-man and half-scorpion, they instil fear and repulsion in my very soul. It's been a few years since I snuck deep into the great Ziggurat of Er. From the shadows, I spied on one of their priestesses. Her entire body was covered with gross make-up. She approached a fountain and washed the make-up off, with obvious delight. Nausea almost overcame me when I realised her body was translucent. With the brazier glowing behind her; I could see a black heart through her translucent chest, pumping some evil ichor through her veins.
"I could hear dark incantations echoing from the cavernous halls below. Soon, others joined her, coming out of a great stone gate leading underground. They all showed the same ghastly translucence. I suspected the make-up covering their bodies was in fact intended to conceal this strange feature rather than being a simple cosmetic element. I was soon to confirm my theory. I must have made some noise then, for one of the manscorpions pulled a sword and rushed in my direction. I fled and, by luck, reached a concealed door in the side of the temple. I kicked it open just before the manscorpions lunged at me. As the sun poured in, the creatures screamed in pain and retreated suddenly. A mere caress of the sun's rays had blistered and cracked their skins. I fled, never to return."
Runic ideograms engraved and illuminated by Uhdu Momba, disciple of Yav, found on a set of ivory tusks:
"Pity those who scorn the Immortals. Pity those who suffer their wrath. Today's Nimmurians are such a people. They were once known as the Sohktars. These are manscorpions who, many centuries ago, greatly angered their patron, the Great Lord Ixion. These denizens of the fiery Great Waste adored sun so much they wasted much of their time basking in it. They stole from the meek when needed, but else failed to establish any great, lasting power.
"Alas, a foe came one day. They clashed for decades, and many times did the Sohktars lose. In their distress, these brutal and ruthless creatures implored their patron for a final victory. Instead, their foes conjured a great storm that masked the sun. Horrendous numbers of disheartened Sohktars died that day. The survivors fled, rejecting the Great Ixion as their patron. Enraged at his subjects' failure and gravely insulted at their rejection, Ixion cursed them. They were never again to enjoy the warmth of the sun. Mere exposure to the sun or its reflection off the moon inflicted horrible pain and death on the Sohktars.
"They fled the sun-drenched surface world. Exiled in deep caverns, they wandered for centuries and grew bitter. Their flesh turned translucent from lack of light and the curse's effects. One day they found an exit, far to the west. They dwelled there for decades, hiding at the edge of darkness. For them, it was like dying of thirst before a lake of fresh but poisonous water. 0, perverse fate.
"During that time, the Sohktars lost much of their original culture. New priests rose among them. These creatures of hate honoured Atzanteotl, and their quest was to bring shame to Ixion's name. Their patron's whispers led them to Nimmur and taught them to manufacture a special make-up. With proper incantations, the make-up protected them from the lethal rays of the sun. They could return to the surface, yes, but in a very perilous way. They couldn't help but hate all surface dwellers."
Found on a scroll from Sir Archibald Foulkes, Sage of Bellayne and Scholar in Ancient History:
"There was a great civilisation here, centuries ago. Judging from runes and sculptures found on the walls of the old ruins near Ankesh, I now have good reason to believe this land was once home to a different race.
"After unearthing a vault, I couldn't fail to notice the recurring motif on the bas-reliefs, very tall humanoids with the heads of bulls and powerful wings on their backs. One scene showed a lion hunt where the felines looked small in comparison with those mysterious winged minotaurs. These must have been the true, ancient Nimmurians who once ruled these lands. They were followers of Idu, whom I later equated to a mythological figure better known as Ixion.
"Their history was difficult to piece together -- the manscorpions get suspicious of outsiders lurking anywhere near their ziggurats or ruins -- but this is what I gathered. The winged beings once ruled this land in what could be interpreted as a golden age. Alas, they were losing an ancient war against the orcs in the south. At this time, newcomers appeared and offered their assistance against the orcs. Judging from the descriptions, these could be none other than the manscorpions who rule here today. They called themselves the Sohktars, a wandering tribe of unknown origin.
"The ancient Nimmurians and the Sohktars fought side by side until the orcs had been beaten back to the southern jungles. There followed an obscure era; many runes and bas-reliefs of this period have been damaged or removed for some unknown reason. I found some clues leading me to believe Nimmurians were mysteriously disappearing, and the Sohktars had been blamed for this.
"Soon afterward, Sohktars were brutally expelled from the cities of Nimmur and a bloody war followed. Sculptures revealed that the manscorpions had armies of considerable size. Those sculptures strangely show them rising from the earth. Nimmur achieved spectacular victories, casting mysterious rays of fire, such as those at the Battle of Um-Nileser. The sculptures displayed fields of twisted, fiery husks, agonised manscorpions burning under the sun. But it was too late for Nimmur. There were too many manscorpions. One after another, the besieged towns fell. Sohktars probably massacred or enslaved those who surrendered. Perhaps the survivors fled. There is no way to tell to where, since the bas-reliefs of that period all end at this point.
"I must presume that the Sohktars usurped the land of ancient Nimmur, its history, culture, and even its language. The winged-minotaur race probably died out. Of course, I wouldn't bring any of this up with the manscorpions. Simply admitting that I can read these ancient scriptures may be reason enough for these beings to seek my death. One must beware of such a ruthless and cruel people."
Etchings on a set of lacquered hatchling tortle shells, from Count Disbaal of Enom:
"This is the most amazing discovery of magical prowess in a very long time. To think that it lay there, so close to us and for so long, is simply mind boggling. What else does Nimmur conceal?
"Herath always maintained excellent relations with our Sohktari friends. We find them suitable, almost likeable. Herath was young when the Sohktars invaded Nimmur. We offered our help in defeating the winged ones. Ancient Nimmur was a powerful, advanced culture then, a threat to young Herath. Returning the favour, Sohktars smuggled many winged ones into Herath to be studied in our laboratories. This earned us great magical knowledge. Wen ever since the Sohktars' arrival in Nimmur, the orcs have become far less active on our side of the border, too, and that can only be praised.
"The secret began to unfold before me during a visit to the city of Er, on a trading mission to the palace of Anupalassar, King of Nimmur. Left alone one evening, I observed the sky from my window and noticed an unusual alignment of stars. Just then, I heard a low buzz in the street below. Screams of terror immediately followed, as several manscorpions crackled and literally burst into flames. Others, looking down from their windows, quickly pulled their blinds shut and barricaded themselves in their houses.
"Hours later, priests picked up the charred remains. No one at the palace acknowledged the incident. They looked embarrassed, though. It occurred to me that two strange monuments stood at the ends of the street. From my vantage point, I determined a curious pattern formed by a series of such monuments extending from the great temple throughout the city. Later in the morning, I also found more scorched traces on several other streets aligned with the monuments. There was a definite link between these.
"I would not rest until the secret was unveiled. Over years of quiet observation, Nimmur finally revealed to me the existence of perhaps the strangest magic yet on Mystara. It appears ancient Nimmur had developed a powerful device that could augment spell effects to astounding proportions. This device drew upon the power of the stars, or perhaps the reflection of distant suns.
"Judging from the position of the monuments in the city, the device functioned only during certain stellar alignments. The monuments collect the energy and focus it on the temple. There, ancient Nimmurians probably used the celestial power to some unknown effect.
"It seems our manscorpion friends of Er only acquired partial knowledge of the monuments' use, and their lack of experience with astronomy makes the passage of the stars' energy through the city rather unpredictable. By itself, the energy should be no more harmful than moonlight, but for some unknown reason, it burns Sohktars caught in its rays, popping them like insects on embers. Perhaps this is some sort of curse the ancient Nimmurians left behind to torment the Sohktars.
"I travelled to the other cities of Nimmur. All of them featured the same devices, but the monuments showed damage and recent restoration, possibly by the manscorpions. The work didn't seem quite right, however, and I suspect the only functioning device remains the one in Er.
"The truth came forth some years later, when clay tablets from ancient Nimmur found their way to my tower. The winged ones didn't all die under Sohktari stings. The people in each of the besieged cities managed to escape death in great numbers using the magic of their temples, in most cases mere moments before the final assault of the Sohktars. Only priests remained behind, to strip temples and monuments of their runes. The priests knew they would be stranded and doomed. They were resigned to die in their temples. All except for one city, Er.
"Treachery prevented the priests from destroying the Ziggurat of Er. Perhaps the Sohktars arrived too quickly. They did not realise what they had captured. Only centuries later did they discover the source of the lethal rays. This explains why the Sohktars chose Er as their new capital, and why they so quickly adopted the name, culture, and architecture of Nimmur. They even took the language of Nimmur as their own. Again and again, they tried to recreate ancient Nimmur's greatness and pierce its mysteries. I have no doubt that the manscorpions used this device at least once, against a great orcish invasion several years ago.
"I now understand why the manscorpions guard their temples and monuments so jealously. This is one secret that must not fall into the hands of outsiders. Fortunately, Herath stands as the ally of Nimmur. Perhaps Herath, too, some day, will acquire the secret of the stars."
Kingdom of Nimmur --
Capital: Er (Pop: 19,700 manscorpions and outsiders); Army: 6 pincers;
Ruler: Anupalassar II "the Firebranded," oldest son of Dargon I. Royal lands include the area around Er and the "Southern Shield." The family domain is Asur. Patron: Menlil.
Present-day Nimmurians are manscorpions who usurped the land from its previous occupants, a race of winged minotaurs. The current Nimmurians are vicious, even worse than the Herathians. At least the latter have a clinical, scientific interest in magic. Herathian pragmatism is their governing factor. In contrast, the manscorpions of Nimmur are ruthless, conniving creatures filled with hatred. Pity and remorse are unknown to them. They crave the sun, but at the same time fear it.
Nimmurians cover their bodies with thick make-up to protect themselves from the lethal effect of the sun, the result of an old Immortal's curse. The make-up ranges from brown for the lower castes, to red for warriors, and gold with embellishments for the nobility. Clerics usually cover their entire bodies with silver runes over black make-up, without which they couldn't cast spells under the sun. When outside, all manscorpions wear masks featuring monstrous grimaces. The masks provide a visor and dark lenses to protect the manscorpions' fragile eyes.
Sunlight is excruciating to the manscorpions of Nimmur. Normal clothing is insufficient to stop the curse's effects. Only protective make-up or armour can shield them from the deadly rays and the pain. Direct sunlight blinds these manscorpions (as per the light spell) unless they wear dark lenses to protect their eyes. Artificial light doesn't affect them.
If ever caught in direct sunlight without make-up (less than 50% of the body covered), they suffer 3d6+2 points of damage per round until pulled underground or total make-up is completed. Their Dexterity and Morale also drops to 3, they automatically lose initiative each round, and they move at half speed (rounded down). After one continuous turn of exposure, they burst into flames and die (with no saving throw). If a manscorpion with partial make-up (50% to 99% of the body covered) is caught in direct sunlight, treat it as if caught in reflected sunlight instead (see below).
Any open wound (not covered by protective make-up) exposed to direct sunlight causes the manscorpion's ichor to boil and hiss in the wound, causing incredible pain (double damage from the attack).
When caught in reflected sunlight (moonlight, starlight, or sunlight reflected from a mirror, etc.) without make-up, Nimmurians suffer only 1d6 points of damage (or an extra 1d4 points of damage for an exposed wound); their Dexterity and Morale both drop to half (rounded down). If caught in reflected light with partial make-up, they suffer 1d4-1 points of damage per round, with no other effect on Morale of Dexterity.
The arrival of traders from Vilaverde sent a message to the manscorpions' leaders that it was better to tolerate visitors on the surface, and even trade with them, than to fight them forever. Vilaverdans and most eastern traders were more advanced than the Nimmurians. The outsiders' red-steel blades proved quite a deterrent. The manscorpions want the secret of that new metal.
Up to two-thirds of Nimmur's foreign trade is overland, to and from western Herath. Several tribes of jungle orcs secretly take bribes from unscrupulous Vilaverdan traders to raid caravan trails linking Herath to Nimmur.
Almost a quarter of Nimmur's foreign business passes through Porto Escorpião, the Vilaverdan colonial enclave and best port facility in the country. Vilaverde arranged for rival traders to be virtually locked out of Nimmur by slapping a 33% tax on anything shipped by non-Vilaverdans through Porto Escorpião. What little remains of maritime trade involves scores of private traders between Bellayne and Slagovich, through the shallower ports along the coast of Nimmur. This far from the Known World, Ierendian and Minrothad ships are rarities. The Nimmurians have no ships of their own.
The manscorpions export spices, some food (figs, dates, nuts), salt, sheep, wool, carpets, tapestries, expensive resins, rare woods, fine oils, perfume, and dyes. They import foodstuffs (beef, rice, grain), wines, obsidian, silk, leather, iron, foreign armour (upper body only), and weapons.
Today, foreigners may come and go in Nimmur, though the vicinity of the ziggurats and palaces remain strictly off-limits to outsiders, under penalty of death. Visitors are otherwise generally safe elsewhere, if they don't travel alone. Behind these appearances of neutrality, the Nimmurians conceal their curse and their burgeoning knowledge of the star device in Er, as well as a vast underground kingdom beneath Nimmur.
Ever since the manscorpions assumed the ancient Nimmurian cultural identity, they dropped their old tribal structure, and put in place a new dynasty of kings. Today, King Anupalassar II rules over smaller manscorpion provinces owing fealty to the throne of Nimmur. Provincial governors have the hereditary title of prince. The present king earned his nickname, "the Firebranded," on a journey to Herath. During an ambush, an ogre ripped open the king's great helm with a battle axe, wounding him and scarring his face from the sun's rays.
Nimmur is an ally of Herath, although the Nimmurian clergy believes manscorpions will rule the entire peninsula some day. On the other hand, Herath hopes to steal the secret of the Nimmurian star device. Right now, the Nimmurians still have a problem with decidedly unyielding orcs in the south. These orcs are savage creatures that have adapted to the thick jungle of the Orc's Head Peninsula. Nimmur also faces a dilemma with the encroachment of foreign settlers, especially lately the affluent Herathians moving into the city of Er. It is becoming difficult for the clergy to keep unwanted visitors out of the ziggurat quarters of their cities. The manscorpions ignore the northern coastal lands because of mosquito and killer-fly infestations that have decimated settlers and sheep flocks there in the past.
Nimmur maintains permanent, professional troops trained and paid according to precepts handed down by ancient Nimmurian generals (inspired by the real world's Assyria). Although nobles comprise most of the upper ranks in the army, effective authority is based on actual military rank, not social status.
Towns of a thousand people or more are walled. Most structures are made of dried mud bricks. Each town pays for its own army. The troops are disciplined and organized. Troops of the same types all wear the same armour and tunics within their respective armies. Conical helms with bronze masks are predominant. Manscorpion armour costs three times that of its human counterpart because of its complexity (larger abdomen and eight leg pieces, tail and sting remaining unarmoured). Nimmurians do not use mercenaries.
For 100 troops, 20 ride mule-driven war-chariots (two mules, a driver, and a warrior per chariot; short bow, spear, and scale mail). 20 more use longbows, short swords, and scale mail; 20 are heavy infantry with lamellar (banded) armour and Nimmurian poleaxes; and 40 are light infantry with leather armour, large shields, spears, and short swords. The war-chariots of Er are scythe-wheeled and larger than those of other cities. 20 are long-bowmen with short swords and scale mail. Another 20 are heavy infantry with lamellar (banded) armour and Nimmurian poleaxes. The final 40 are light infantry with leather armour, large shields, spears, and short swords.
Armies break down into battle pincers of 100 troops, in turn splitting into tactical stings of 20 troops. Officers, petty nobles with simple warrior rank, and priests usually ride the smaller war-chariots.
Dominions of Nimmur
Asur -- Capital's population: 15,100; Army: 4 pincers; Ruler: King Dargon I "The Defender." Dargon was the previous king of Nimmur. His army slaughtered a great orcish war-horde of over 15,000 at the battle of Anusardapal, named after a hero who died there. Now a tired old warrior, he abdicated in favour of his son but retained the honorific title of king. Asur is the dynastic domain. Dargon now oversees spying activities on the Vilaverdans, hoping to capture their fortified port.
Ankesh -- Capital's population: 2,500; Army: 2 pincers; Ruler: Prince Sheneser II "Iron Sting." Ankesh regularly sees raids from Jibarú phanatons. Hills and heavy forest present a difficult environment for Nimmurian troops, especially their war-chariots. Phanatons are thought to be no more than primitive forest barbarians that present little danger to Nimmur.
Ekiddu -- Capital's population: 3,100; Army: 2 pincers; Ruler: Princess Ishmamna I "Black Heart." Ekiddu is trying to become a trading town. Unfortunately, its port is shallow and presents no contest to the Vilaverdan colonial enclave just to the south. The capital of Ekiddu is the town where most foreigners can be found.
Shubat-Nammu -- Capital's population: 1,250; Army: 1 pincer; Ruler: Prince Namrud XII "Seven Legs." Dubbed the armpit of Nimmur, this impoverished state is all but lost in the forest. Many of the manscorpions from this state join the armies of other dominions or become bandits.
Suneveh (Northern Shield) -- Capital's population: 18,200; Army: 5 pincers; Ruler: Prince Enshurnasirpal III "The Impaler." The ruler of Suneveh has recently acquired medicine that should negate the effects of killer flies on the Wind Flats. Soon, settlers will be sent to support a major northern territorial expansion north of Nimmur.
Sur -- Capital's population: 3,900; Army: 4 pincers; Ruler: Prince Nergil VII "Cotton Head." All the caravans between Herath and Nimmur stop in the capital of Sur, a rich trading town. The treasures of Sur make a tempting target for the orcs of the Dark Jungle.
Southern Shield -- Army: 5 pincers; Administrator: Lord Ishme-Hursag. This dominion belongs to the throne of Nimmur. The administrator's responsibility is to patrol the caravan trail and keep it free of marauding orcs -- a tough duty. No sane warrior wants to be transferred to this military outpost.
Low-Realm of Apsur -- Total population: 80,000 manscorpions, no outsiders; Army: 12 pincers; Ruler: Queen Tigurta I "The Taciturn." This is the underground kingdom of the old Sohktars. Its caves spread as far as the centre of the Forbidden Highlands, with tunnels and cracks connecting to the ziggurats of Er, Asur, and Suneveh, and a few other secret spots in the Forbidden Highlands. Although a subject kingdom of Nimmur, Apsur is at risk of breaking away. The queen is a High Priestess of Nin-Hurabi (see "The manscorpion pantheon" below) who resents the authority of the surface king.
The manscorpion pantheon
The early Sohktari clergy removed all references to ancient Nimmurian patrons, save perhaps in some forgotten ruins outside the cities. They replaced them with an adaptation of their own pantheon. It should be noted here that Sohktars easily penetrated ancient Nimmurian society because the "scorpion-man" figure existed in ancient Nimmurian mythology.
The beliefs of today's manscorpions of Nimmur reflect the duality of their life: the dark underworld from which they come, and the world above that they crave but which kills. Death under the sun represents a mystical cycle that started wit the break from Idu-Ixion and a return through his flames.
Beyond those listed below, many minor Immortals have places in the Nimmurian pantheon, representing various aspects of Nimmurian life. According to ancient beliefs, they are all thought to travel on magical cloud chariots.
The spell effects noted below for Nimmurian clerics are special powers, not actual spells (see Wrath of the Immortals, book 1, pages 17 and 29).
Menlil (Atzanteotl) is the Immortal who whispered to chosen Sohktars during their aimless journey through the caves of Mystara. He promised them Gilmun, a land of sun and light where they could dwell. Through his dreams, he taught his followers how to make the protective make-up. Menlil is now the patron of Gilmun, the "land-above." Also called "The Guide," he stands as the patron of war and revenge, and the chief figure of today's Nimmurian pantheon.
Manscorpion clerics of Menlil can cast a cause light wounds spell three times per day.
Nin-Hurabi (Nyx) is the patron of Apsur, the dark underworld beneath Gilmun. She represents earth, fertility, birth, the safety of the caverns, and ultimately, darkness. Nin-Hurabi bears no ill will toward the manscorpions. She only seeks to protect them and believes they should remain in the caves of Mystara. Nin-Hurabi opposes Idu, who is the embodiment of light. She despises the way he dismissed and cursed the early Sohktars. She also frowns on the way Menlil cheated the manscorpions with his shabby make-up trick, and how he manipulated them into taking over ancient Nimmur.
Manscorpion clerics of Nin-Hurabi can cast a darkness spell three times per day.
Idu was the name ancient Nimmurians gave Ixion, their chief Immortal, who represented the sun. For the manscorpions of today's Nimmur, Idu has become the prince of perversity, an "evil" figure that no one should honour. His perversity lies in the fact that all manscorpions seek Idu's mighty fire and his light, the attainment of which brings only destruction. Idu is the Immortal who betrayed and abandoned the Sohktars, but also he whom the manscorpions hoped they could honour again. Dying by his flame is both a horrible fate and a highly spiritual act, for it represents the end of the manscorpion's quest and a return to Idu's mythical realm.
Manscorpions honouring Idu are considered evil heretics by the established clergy. A secret few exist who suspect Menlil influenced their Sohktari ancestors into mistrusting Idu. They also resent Menlil's misleading promise of sun and light.
Manscorpion clerics of Idu can cast a druidic Produce Fire spell twice per day. They also receive a +1 to their rolls when trying to Turn Undead.
Manscorpions as NPCs
Manscorpions, especially the Nimmurian sort, should remain NPCs under the DM's control. Here are the details of that NPC class, as it could be used in a campaign. Considering the number of hit dice of a normal manscorpion, it is easier to assume there are lesser manscorpions of 1-7 HD and greater manscorpions of 8 HD and up (spell-casting clerics).
Using the standard fighter experience table, apply a 30% penalty to all earned experience for a standard manscorpion; the penalty should be only 20% for Nimmurian manscorpions because of Idu's curse. All manscorpions start with 1 HD, equal to a 1st-level human fighter; but manscorpion warriors have none of the human fighter's special abilities of Fighter Combat Options. Manscorpions always make their saving throw as fighters.
Even when manscorpions reach 8 HD and become clerics, they continue to gain 1d8 hit points per hit die. They also retain all fighter weapon skills previously acquired (edged and piercing weapons are permitted).
A saving throw negates a lesser manscorpion's poison. If the save fails, the poison causes illness (Movement, Dexterity, and Strength are halved, rounded down; initiative -3). The effects of the poison begin 1d4 rounds after the sting, and last 4d6 hours. The sting itself inflicts 1d4 points of damage.
The poison of a greater manscorpion is deadly. Its sting inflicts 1d10 points of damage, and the victim is paralysed for 1d8-1 rounds. A failed saving throw vs. poison means instant death. If the DM allows a player to run this type of monster as a PC, the poison should be of the paralysing type only (with a saving throw vs. paralysis) for the sake of fairness to other players and game balance.
Manscorpions cannot rise beyond 13th level. If the DM allows unlimited levels, manscorpions should use 1d6 for determining hit points, from 8th level up. This should be decided before bringing such a character into play. Constitution bonuses are added when the NPC is created and every time it gains a new level, up to 9th level. Racial ability modifiers are given here:
Miscellaneous: A manscorpion can hold its breath as long as a normal human, but cannot swim at all. Water dissolves Nimmurian make-up in 1d4 rounds. Manscorpions of Nimmur have infravision and a natural armour class of 7. Addition of body armour of AC 7 or worse only improves the manscorpion's natural armour class by one point. For body armour of AC 6 or better, use the rating of the armour worn, plus an class-class bonus of one point. Shield and Dexterity modifiers to armour class work normally. Assume the normal monster's AC 1, as described in the Rules Cyclopaedia, comes from armour and high Dexterity. The huge pole arm listed in the monster description exists in Nimmur, but it is so heavy that a manscorpion warrior with basic mastery can effectively swing it only once every other round. Such a weapon costs 10 gp and has an encumbrance of 200 (see Weapon Mastery chart).
Note: Don't forget to apply the Hit Roll bonuses from the table on page 76 of the Rules Cyclopaedia. Special deflection is explained on page 80 of the same book. The Nimmurian poleaxe can be neither used with a shield nor thrown. Non-manscorpions have 1 -5 attack penalty when using this weapon because of its size and the way it is balanced. Manscorpion masters and grand masters of the Nimmurian poleaxe are a myth. No manscorpion is skilful enough with the poleaxe to reach those levels.
Manscorpion Poleaxe: Weapon Mastery Chart
Mastery Damage Defence Special (P=H) Basic 3d6 -- Attacks every other rnd Skilled 3d6+3 H: +1AC/1 Attacks every round Expert 3d6+6 H: +2AC/1 Deflect(1) Master P=3d6+10
H: +2AC/2 Deflect(1) Grand Master P=3d6+16
H: +3AC/2 Deflect(2)
[P=H] Primary target is a foe attacking with either hand-held or hand-thrown weapons
P: Primary target
S: Secondary target (monsters attacking with natural weapons)
H:AC/#: AC bonus and number of times per round this AC bonus can be used against attacks from primary targets
Abilities STR INT WIS DEX CON CHA Race Max. 18 17 17 18 18 18* Manscorpion +1 -1 -1 -- +1 --
* Charisma applies only between manscorpions; penalise Charisma -2 when dealing with humanoids, -5 when dealing with demihumans or humans.