Saturday, 27 August 2011

Freshwater Octopuses of the Lapis River Valley

The Lapis River is a cold, glacial river network flowing down from the Mountains of the Moon all the way south to the God River in Lamarakh. It is fast running, totally pure, and often frozen in its upstream during winter. So it is a surprising place to find freshwater octopuses, but actually they flourish there, feeding off the many oysters, crayfish and water snails in its depths.

There are hundreds of species, of many colours. Some are edible, some are poisonous. Some have unusual, colour changing abilities. Some are social, others are solitary. The only thing they have in common is that they are all small - no bigger than a man's hand. In an encounter with freshwater octopuses, the DM should randomly generate their species using the following tables:

Table 1: Appearance

Roll a d10 to determine main colour, then a d6 to determine pattern, and then roll another d10 to determine secondary colour (roll again if the result is the same as the main colour).


1 - Blue
2 - Green
3 - Red
4 - Yellow
5 - Purple
6 - Black
7 - Brown
8 - Grey
9 - Orange
10 - White


1 - Striped
2 - Solid
3 - Solid
4 - Solid
5 - Spotted
6 - Leopard-spotted

Table 2: Sociability

Roll a d6 to determine how social the species is, then roll again to determine the number encountered.

1 - Solitary or Pair (d2)
2 - Solitary or Pair (d2)
3 - Family (d4)
4 - Family (d4)
5 - Social (1d10)
6 - Flocking (3d6)

Table 3: Abilities

Roll 1d30 to determine abilities.

1-2 - Chameleon camouflage. Can change the colour of the skin to match surroundings. Opponents always surprised, -4 to hit.
3-4 - Minor toxin. On a successful hit, opponent must Save v. Poison or suffer weakness for d3 days (-2 to all rolls).
5-6 - Moderate toxin. On a successful hit, opponent must Save v. Poison or suffer weakness for d3 days (-2 to all rolls); a successful save reduces this to d3 hours.
7 - Major toxin. On a successful hit, opponent must Save v. Poison or be paralysed for d3 days.
8 - Deadly toxin. On a successful hit, opponent must Save v. Poison or die within d6 turns (can be magically healed during that time). A successful save results in weakness as per result 2.
9-10 - Feeds on magic. A successful hit on a magic-user causes him/her to forget a random spell.
11-12 - Psionic. Can perform a mind-blast which always hits for d6 damage; a Save v. Death defeats it.
13-16 - Electrical. Can electrify the water surrounding it like an electric eel. Anything within two yards takes d6 damage and must Save v. Death or be paralysed for d6 turns; other octopuses are immune.
17-20 - Ink. Can squirt ink 3 times per day. Acts like a Darkness, 15' Radius spell in the river.
21 - Friendly. Unaggressive and benign.
22 - Poisonous if eaten. Same effect as per result 8.
23-25 - Emits stench. This acts as a stinking cloud spell, to which other octopuses are immune.
26-28 - Emits alarm hormones which travel downstream and will be detected within 1 hour by 1) more octopuses of a random species; 2) giant crayfish; 3) river troll; 4) nereid; 5) freshwater sea hag; 6) merrow.
29 - Spits acid at land targets for d6 damage.
30 - Can phase as a phase spider.


Frequency: Rare
AC: 5
Hit Dice: 1/2*
Move: 150' (50') Sw
Attacks : 1 bite
Damage: 1d4
No. App: See above
Save As: F1
Morale: 6
Treasure: M (scattered around territory)
Intelligence: 2
XP: 6


  1. Since I have had to have more email exchanges about this than anyone ever should, I am pre-emptively reminding future commenters that "octopuses" is an acceptable plural of "octopus" and, in fact, is in many ways more correct than "octopi".

  2. The really pretentious among us use "octopodes", apparently.

  3. Great name for a cephalopodocratic archipelago.

  4. My next band is going to be called Cephalopodocratic Archipelago.

  5. I think itwas one of the guys in Boston that said "The nice thing about naming your band after a place is you can always get a gig there."

  6. I'm going to call my next band "RomeHawaiiBaliTokyo" instead then.

  7. After careful consideration, I've decided "Dallas Cowboys' Cheerleaders' Dressing Room" is a terrible name for a band.

  8. I wonder if "Jessica Alba's Pussy" is already taken...

  9. I'll do some field research and get back to you.

  10. This is really cool. It reminds of the squid from Jeff VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen.