Steven Nation Army
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Mongoose Publishing released The Slayer's Guide to Scorpionfolk in 2004. It is unusual for a part of The Slayer's Guides series to not include the name of the author on the cover, but for some reason Robert Neil Smith doesn't make the cover.
Like nearly all the Slayer's Guides, this one is a 32 page volume with a color cover and black and white illustrations throughout. The book is staple bound by the heavy-stock of the cover and the good quality paper have left mine in great shape.
The content of the book is similar to that of most of the guides. It includes sections on physiology, habitat, society, war, roleplaying, scenario hooks, a sample settlement, and a list of some pre-made ScorpionFolk for use in your game.
The physiology section is longer than in many of the guides, primarily because the ScorpionFolk are considerably different than most other creatures. They are not, as some would suggest, just like centaurs only with scorpion bodies instead of horse ones. The author suggests they are much more insect then human-insect. Their torsos look human but are covered with find scales just as the rest of their body is. Even their heads are armored.
The presence of this exoskeleton means that scorpionfolk have to molt occasionally in order to keep growing. They reach their full size in about ten years after which moulting is less common. Females are typically slightly larger than males.
The scorpionfolk believe they are descended from an older race which had mastered magic. They fought a great battle with another civilization and won, but their lands were ruined forever. The scorpion god, whom they worshipped, answered their prayers to make their land hospitable again by remaking them in his image so that they could live without changing the land.
Scorpionfolk speak their own language which contains a number of non-verbal cues including leg rubs, posture and stance. It is difficult for outsiders to learn or speak it. Most scorpionfolk live in the deep desert and have little contact with other races except when they are raiding caravans. They do enjoy possessions and their tents are often filled with the spoils of their previous raids.
The author suggests that some unscrupulous traders may have dealings with the scorpionfolk since the folk have no manufacturing of any kind but often seem to have steel weapons and other tools. Anything they trade would likely have been stolen from another caravan as they do not have resources to spare. Some caravans pay them to be left alone.
As young, the scorpionfolk are given a name based on which molt they have completed. All children who have not yet molted have the same name and so it goes with each of the first five moltings. After that they may get their own names based on profession or calling. It is still confusing to outsiders because the name includes a number of non-verbal cues that explain which warrior is being addressed.
The sample scenarios and the guide to a settlement are good additions and well thought out as are the sample scorpionfolk.
There isn't a whole lot of information on scorpionfolk or their society out there, so this supplement is a welcome addition to the game. The scorpionfolk themselves are very tough and the book has good advice on how to keep them that way as well as explanations of much of their behavior.
If you run a desert game, this is an excellent buy; if you don't there are suggestions for scorpionfolk in other environments. Either way, it's a good book on an otherwise underdeveloped creature.