Friday, April 8, 2016

Building the Bestiary #2: Underwater Races

In the first installment of "Building the Bestiary," I covered the most common humanoid races. This time, I'll tackle several underwater races. Over the past several years. I've run three campaigns set in Green Ronin's Freeport: The City of Adventure, so I've needed a large number of aquatic creatures during that time.

Undines or aquatic elves
Aquatic Elves are the most human-looking of the various undersea races. They tend to have bluish skin and blue or green hair. Blue-skinned minifigures are rare, and include Aayla Secura and Cad Bane (Star Wars), male and female genies (Minifigures Series 6 and 12), and Nova (Guardians of the Galaxy). Blue and green hair are even harder to find, being pretty much limited to the short-lived Exo-Force theme and some of the new LEGO Elves minidolls. If you lack such unusual parts, build them as any other elf (see "Building the Bestiary" #1), but choose clothing and weapons appropriate to the water.

Most Undines (Pathfinder) and Water Genasi (D&D) largely resemble aquatic elves, so can be built in the same way.

Merfolk
Mermaids first appeared in the classic Pirates theme, but have also appeared in Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Disney Princesses, the Minifigures theme, and one fairy tale-themed minifigure collection. Mermen can be built using the same fish-tails, preferably with a muscular bare chest (as with the Ocean King). If you lack the fish-tail, you can build one out of bricks; the photo here shows two possibilities, but an even simpler tail can be built with a 2x3 brick with a smaller brick or two for the fin. (Remember that merfolk are Medium creatures, so you'll need to make them fit them within a 1" square, or 3x3 studs.)

For a Cecaelia (Pathfinder Bestiary 3 or True20 Freeport: The Lost Island), replace the fish tail with the tentacled bottom piece from a Squid Warrior (Atlantis) or Alien Commander (Alien Conquest). (The Disney Minifigures series, due out in May, will include Ursula, who will make an excellent cecaelia.) Or, if you don't mind the body being grossly oversized for a Medium figure, attach a minfigure torso to the studs on the top of an octopus's head.

Sahuagin and four-armed mutant
The Swamp Creature (Monster Fighters) makes an ideal Sahaugin, with the Barracuda, Manta, and Shark Warriors (Atlantis) coming a close second. For more recent (and thus easier to acquire) minfigures, try the Shark Suit Guy (Minifigures Series 15), various Serpentine (Ninjago), or Greedo or other Rhodians (Star Wars). To make a four-armed mutant sahuagin, you'll either need an older minifigure torso that lacks the "X"-like structure in the center, or one of the special torso-extending pieces that adds a second set of arms (like Ninjago's Lord Garmadon or Nadakhan). For the former, a breastplate or other accessory is useful for covering the upper torso's printing, as in the photo. (Side note: This same method can be used to build other many-armed creatures, such as girallons or mariliths.)

Other fish-like races, such as Locathah and Kuo-Toa, can also be built in the same way as sahuagin. Gungans and the Alien Conquest aliens also make good locathah or kuo-toa.

Sea hag and merrow
For a Merrow or Scrag, simply put a fishy head onto a giant's body, such as the Alien Conquest head on the Harry Potter troll shown here. (I'll be devoting a future "Building the Bestiary" column to giants.)

For a Sea Hag or Greenhag, use a witch (preferably a green-skinned one), or the head and torso of a Medusa (Minifigures Series 10). In my Freeport game, I built a sea hag using the Alien Avenger's head (Minifigures Series 9) and a robed statue torso (see photo).

That covers the major underwater humanoid races. Future columns will cover other types of aquatic creatures.

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