Contributed by: Raven Blackwell. See the Conan and Cthulhu topic on the Mongoose Conan RPG messageboard for more information.
"... I saw them in a limitless stream -- flopping, hopping, croaking, bleating -- urging inhumanly through the spectral moonlight in a grotesque, malignant saraband of fantastic nightmare. And some of them had tall tiaras of that nameless whitish-gold metal... and some were strangely robed... (...) I think their predominant colour was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four. I was somehow glad that they had no more than four limbs. Their croaking, baying voices, clearly wed tar articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked." -- H. P. Lovecraft: "The Shadow over Innsmouth"
Deep Ones are an evil alien race of extraterrestrial origin. Those who claim to know their secrets and still yet live say the Deep One's legends tell of them being transported to this world eons ago by their gods and creators Dagon and Hydra. This liked occurred during the migration of the great horrors known as The Old Ones by certain sages that have peered too long into the darker mirrors of the world's soul. Legends tell of a great number of these powerful being who, long before man's ancestors walked upright, came and destroyed the current inhabitants of the world of whom only curious tales and haunted ruins remain. After destroying the planet's then current inhabitants, the Old Ones and their slaves made war on each other and ravaged the lands and sea until they fell into a great deathlike sleep prior to the any age of mankind's reckoning. They remain in this state to this day, waiting for the time when "the stars are right" and they will awaken to reclaim this world and all upon it as their own, likely heralding the end of mankind if it is still alive. Their many servants, both alien and human, still carry out their will and prepare for the day of their master's return. Their masters, though slumbering, can communicate with their servants through dreams and visions and it is believed that the Old Ones seek to subvert or destroy all potential threats to their future rule -- including the now young species of man.
Deep Ones are the undisputed masters of seas and inland waters among the elder races. They are by nature aquatic but possess lungs as well as gills and are capable of operating on land for indefinite periods, though they prefer not to, relying on human and young Hybrid slaves to do their bidding on the land. [See below for more information on Hybrids] They serve their master's cause unfailingly, seeking to corrupt or outright destroy humans whenever possible. They are not a militant race, though, and being much weaker on land than sea, they prefer subtler and surer means. Their tactics usually include approaching individuals and isolated settlements upon the coast of the sea and near large inland bodies of water. Usually remaining unseen on initial meeting the individuals in question they offer gifts of sorcererous knowledge, gold and jewels, rich harvest of fish from the sea, or the destruction of enemies. If the person or tribe accepts the gifts, the Deep Ones will slowly reveal themselves. At first the gifts will appear unseen but later the Deep Ones will allow the individuals they are "courting" [as the Deep Ones call it] to catch glimpses of them at a distance. All the while they seek to corrupt the prominent and influential members of the community. If as the people they are courting become aware of their true nature, some turn hostile or unreceptive to the Deep Ones' presence, they are usually killed mysteriously with the help of their human "friends". Then with the help of the Deep Ones' magic and enslaved monstrosities, the humans receptive to the Deep Ones' offers of power usually violently overthrow the remaining population and set themselves up as puppet lords, chiefs and priests.
Once the Deep Ones' allies have things firmly in hand, the Deep Ones start to extract the price for their "gifts". Usually this consists of humans for the tribes' sacrificial rites or for even more sinister purposes. [See Hybrids, below.] The Deep Ones take care to pick settlements that are remote and easily isolated. They fear discovery from a force large enough to be a threat and thus secrecy is paramount to their slow and subtle plans. The Black Coast and the Southern Isles are likely places dominated by the Deep Ones as the lack of a central organization makes things easier for them, though small isolated fishing villages in more civilized lands might harbor secrets that travelers best never learn. The fact that Dagon and his consort are openly worshipped among the Black Kingdoms is testimony to the Deep Ones' influence in that area at least.
The Deep Ones, however, burn to try their hand at corrupting a major port of the Hyborian Age and begin the process of conquering the lands with armies of enslaved humans. They work tirelessly to establish cults and secret organizations to undermine the nations of the world. Likely some pirate captains may be under their sway as well, for the sea magic of the Deep Ones would aid greatly in the act of piracy. Player characters may find themselves fighting against such organizations and never guessing at the true alien masters behind their opponent's plans.
Deep Ones dwell within what they describe as "coldly beautiful" cities cut into the living coral on the ocean floor, though what a Deep One considers beautiful would likely be terrifying to any human who somehow managed to see it. Deep Ones also set up colonies along the ocean nearer to shore to help monitor the actions of their agents or to keep watch over the slumbering forms of ancient horrors.
Common Deep OneAquatic Medium Alien Humanoid
Hit Dice: 2d10+2 [14 hp]
Move: 25 ft., Swim 30 ft.
DV: Dodge 11; Parry 13
DR: 2 [scales]
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+3
Attack: Claw +3 melee [1d6+2] or Hunting Spear [1d8+2; x2 critical; 3 AP]
Full Attack: Two Claws and bite +3/+2 melee [1d6+2 and 1d6] or Hunting Spear and bite +3/+2 melee [1d8+2; x2 critical; 3 AP and 1d6]
Special Attack: Choke, Improved Grab, Terror
Special Qualities: Amphibious, Aquatic Mastery, Scent
Saves: Fort +2; Ref +0; Will +5 (includes No Honour Feat )
Abilities: Str 14; Dex 10; Con 15; Int 8; Wis 9; Cha 6
Skills: Craft (goldsmith, jeweler, metalwork, or stone) +4; Hide +4; Knowledge (sea) +6; Listen +2; Move Silently +2; Survival +2; Swim +8
Feats: Jaded; Multiattack; No Honour
Organization: Hunting Party [5-20]; Colony [100-1000+] or City [50,000+]
Corruption: At least 2
Advancement: As Commoner
Equipment: Usually only a hunting spear.
Common Deep Ones make up the vast majority of the Deep One race. Enslaved by the priest and warrior caste of that vile race, they toil endlessly for their masters; hunting and gathering food from the bounty of the ocean, building and maintaining the great underwater cities of their people and building the strange gold and silver jewelry worn by their superiors. Common Deep Ones are almost never seen above the waves unless needed by their masters for tasks where mass numbers could be useful, such as searching for a human among a town dominated by the Deep Ones.
Deep Ones resemble a cross between a frog, fish and a shellless turtle and are repulsive to the human eye. They possess webbed hands and feet and their limbs though well suited to moving underwater are ungainly on land. Their kind disdains the use of clothing, reveling in the effect their alien appearance has on humankind.
Common Deep Ones are cruelly treated by their masters and return this cruelty in turn to any human who falls into their clutches. Because of the usefulness of humans to their masters, Common Deep Ones will likely try to capture potentially useful specimens alive if possible, especially female humans.
Deep Ones have their own language consisting of croaking and grunting that can carry well over air or water, but those assigned to colonies near the shore usually learn the tongue of the humans dominated by the Deep Ones.
Combat: Deep Ones have the following special attacks and qualities.
Deep One WarriorMedium Aquatic Alien Humanoid Level 2 Barbarian
Hit Dice: 4d10+8 [32 hp]
Initiative: +3 [+3 Reflex]
Move: 20 ft; Swim 30
DV: Dodge 13; Parry 15
DR: 8 [scales. amphibious breastplate and great helm]
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+5
Attack: Trident +6 melee (1) [2d8+4; x3 critical; 7 AP] or Claw +5 melee [1d6+3]
Full Attack: Trident and Bite +6/+4 melee [2d8+4; x3 critical; 7 AP] and 1d6] or two claws and bite +5/+4 melee [1d6+3 (x2) and 1d6]
Special Attacks: Choke; Improved Grab; Terror
Special Qualities: Amphibious; Aquatic Mastery; Bite Sword; Fearless; Scent; Versatility
Saves: Fort +5; Ref +4; Will +5 (2)
Abilities: Str 17; Dex 13; Con 15; Int 8; Wis 8; Cha 6
Skills: Knowledge (religion) +2; Knowledge (sea) +8; Intimidate +6; Listen +6 (3); Spot +6 (3); Survival +6; Swim +10 (3)
Feats: Fighting Madness; Jaded; Multiattack; No Honour;; Weapon Focus (trident); Track
Climate/Terrain: Aquatic; Coastal
Organization: Pair , Personal Guard [4-12]; War party [10-200+]; Army [1000+]
Advancement: Usually as Barbarian
Corruption: At least 4
(1) Includes Weapon Focus Feat
(2) Includes No Honour Feat
(3) Includes Armor Check Penalty
Equipment: Amphibious breastplate and great helm [DR 6; Armor Check penalty -4; no additional penalty to Swim checks; -2 penalty to Listen and Spot checks; only usable by a Deep One]; Trident [Exotic Two Handed Weapon; 2d8 base damage; x3 critical; 4 AP; may be used underwater without penalty]; alien jewelry and ornaments of unearthly design.
Deep One Warriors are the enforcers of the Deep One race. Above the Common Deep One caste but below the Priest caste they also occupy the middle strata of Deep One society. Abusive and violent to all those under their power and fawning and obedient to the Deep One priests and the foul beings the priests themselves serve, Deep One Warriors tend to be bullies and cowards at heart. They prefer to let human slaves and the summoned and magically created monstrosities controlled by the priests to take the offensive on land, concentrating on protecting the priests from attack.
Underwater and in their native element though they regain much of their courage against those who breathe air. They prefer to use their superior mobility to perform hit and run tactics, hounding a target and keeping it from reaching air all the while enjoying the spectacle of their prey choking to death. Only Deep One Warriors and Priests are allowed to carry weapons other than spears, so out of pride they rarely use their Improved Grab or Choke ability, seeing this tactic only fit for slaves. Deep One Warriors rarely take male humans alive, but will take extra effort to capture females alive, even fighting among themselves for possession of one.
Note that due to their familiarity with supernatural creatures, Deep Ones do not gain the Crimson Mist ability of Barbarians, but instead gain the Fighting Madness Feat.
Combat: Deep One Warriors have the following special attacks and qualities.
Deep One PriestsMedium Aquatic Alien Humanoid Level 4 Scholar
Hit Dice: 2d10+2 + 4d6+4 [hp 34]
Initiative: +2 [+2 Reflex]
Move: 25 ft; Swim 30
DV: Dodge 12; Parry 13
DR: 2 [scales]
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/+6
Attack: Claw +6 melee [1d6+1]
Full Attack: Two Claws and one Bite +6/+5 melee [1d6+1(x2) and 1d6]
Special Attacks: Choke; Final Strike (1); Improved Grab; Terror
Special Qualities: Amphibious; Aquatic Mastery; Fair Is Foul; Knowledge Is Power; Scent; Scholar Background [Priest]
Saves: Fort +3; Reflex +2; Will +10 (2)
Abilities: Str 12; Dex 10; Con 13; Int 14; Wis 13; Cha 14
Skills: Bluff +9; Craft (alchemy) + 6; Craft (herbalism) +6; Diplomacy +6; Heal +8; Knowledge (arcana) +8; Knowledge (nature) +8; Knowledge (geography) +6; Knowledge (religion) +8 Knowledge (sea) +8; Perform (ritual) +4; Sense Motive +6; Survival +2; Swim +12
Feats: Jaded; Multiattack; No Honour; Noble Blood; Priest; Ritual Sacrifice; Tortured Sacrifice
Organization: Solitary, coven [4-30]; temple [50-300+]
Advancement: Usually as scholar
Corruption: At least 6
Base Power Points: 5
Magic Attack Bonus: +4 [+2 natural; +2 Cha]
Spheres of Power: Banishments and Summonings (1); Elemental and Forces (1); Life and Nature (1)
Banishments and Summonings spells: Sign of the Voor (1)
Elements and Forces spells: Sense Currents (1); Shape Currents (1)
Life and Nature spells: Summon Beast; Bounty of the Hunt (1); Animal Ally
(1) See Raven's Rules for Sorcery v 1.1 topic
(2) Includes No Honour Feat
Equipment: Jeweled gold, silver and platinum alien ornaments, headdress and girldes.
Note: The following entry refers to Raven's Rules for Sorcery v 1.1. People using the core rules of Conan feel free to substitute appropiate spells. Note the Sea Witchery school in Pirate Isles is very appropiate for them.
The Priest caste of the Deep Ones are the absolute rulers of the Deep One society. They themselves exist in a strict caste system, with their gods Dagon and Hydra as absolute ruler and creator, their god's servitor spirits and spawn as divine emissaries who speak only to the high priest their creator's wishes and layers of priestly follower beneath him. As such, assassination, intrigue and outright magical conflict can occur between rivals seeking promotion.
Deep One Priests lead all onshore incursions, being the mouthpiece for their attempts to seduce humanity into their cold blooded hands of their kind or leading war parties to wipe the blight of humanity from the shores of sea. They are obeyed without question by both Deep One and human slaves as to disobey is to be chosen as a sacrifice to foul rituals to appease the hunger of the Dark God and Goddess of the sea.
Deep One Priests prefer to slowly convert individual humans of a community, choosing to approach those among positions of power with promises or wealth and greater power. If this fails, the priest kills the leader in secret before he or she can warn anyone and then begins the process again with a more promising specimen. Priests commonly use strong arm tactics to get their way- blackmail; abduction and murder or loved ones even magical Cursing the desired convert all are common forms of persuasion when 'softer' approaches have failed.
In violent conflict, the Priest usually controls summoned or crafted creatures who spearhead the attack, with Deep One Warriors, Hybrids, Commoners and human slaves moving in to mop up what resistance remains and secure as many slaves and breeding stock as possible. Raids on coastal villages and ships are always of the 'burnt earth' variety though when it is believed that the secret of the Deep One's existence from the mass of humanity may be at risk.
The above statistics reflect a newly initiated Deep One Priest, yet to go far among the dark paths of their foul makers. At higher levels, they begin to learn to summon dark avatars of their gods, control the very nature of their own native element and summon the denizens of the deeps to do their bidding. They also explore the Blight and Curses and Death and Destruction Spheres later in their career though they usually only concentrate on the martial applications of the later Sphere as the other applications of the Sphere's Power tend to be limited underwater.
At the highest level of scholar, Deep One Priests commonly take the Craft Aberration and Craft New Life to create monstrosities with techniques captured from the elder races destroyed by their foul masters. These creatures are created with an eye to helping bolster their ability to wage war upon the land, but the risk of losing control of these being can make them a double-edged sword at times.
Combat: Deep One Priests have the following special attacks and qualities.
Deep One Hybrids
A Deep One's appearance is odious to human eyes. Clad in thick leather hide and slime cover scales, their bulbous unblinking eyes fasten and fishlike beak are not so hideous for the differences they have to mankind, but the similarity. This however is easily explained as the bloodline of mankind and Deep Ones have been joined many times. For some unknown reason among the foul desires of Deep Ones is one to mate with human women and produce hybrid offspring. There is no affection with this act -- human females are seen as little more than breeding stock and treated only gently to assure that she carries the child to term. The human women are usually bred until too exhausted to bear additional children and then ritually sacrificed -- sometimes by their own Hybrid children.
Hybrids are born completely human in appearance. In fact, if born in areas free of Deep One influence, the hybrid may believe itself completely human and may be horrified when his or her true nature reveals itself. Most hybrids though are raised by the Deep One Priest caste and given humans slaves to care for its needs.
Because of their human appearance, hybrids are capable of infiltrating human society virtually undetected -- at least at younger ages [see below]. As time passes the human population of a Deep One dominated community will slowly be replaced by hybrids who continue human practices only to fool nearby communities. Promising Hybrids, especially those with sorcerous talent, are often used as agents in human communities, creating cults dedicated to worshipping the Deep Ones as sea gods and working to destroy human society from within. A sign that a hybrid may be at work in a community is the elimination of the human sorcerers within it -- Hybrids fear magical detection and will often remove those capable of doing so.
As time passes though, their alien nature begins to become dominant. At some point they begin to transform slowly into a Deep One themselves as their fould blood devours their seeming of humanity. When the process starts to become hard to disguise, hybrids begin to shun normal human community and prepare for their coming life in the waves. They retreat to Deep One dominated communities and begin to join in Deep One life, capable of limited immersion in the sea at first, then beginning to prefer the sea's embrace more and more until at last their transformation is complete and they go to join their kin in their great cities beneath the waves.
Why Deep Ones produce Hybrids and how they are able to breed with an alien species is open for speculation. Hybrids make excellent spies and bolster the Deep One population, but their general contempt for humanity makes it odd that they would choose to join with them. Some note that Deep Ones Hybrids often have sorcererous talent so the Deep Ones may be trying to produce more Priests than they breed naturally. A few however have a more horrible theory. The varied appearance of Deep Ones and their ability to "displace" a native population suggest to them perhaps Deep Ones are not a natural species. Perhaps their makers plan is to move from planet to planet absorbing native populations into their servant's ranks and sweeping the planet clean of all other life may be part of some long term foul cosmic plan of the Old Ones themselves. Perhaps the cold intellect of the eldest Deep Ones is a mind that has slowly seen the population of worlds die.
Deep One Hybrid Template
Creature Size and Type: Change Type to Alien Hybrid
Hit Dice: Unchanged
Speed: Hybrids have a Swim speed of 20 in addition to the base creature's natural movement rates
DV, DR, Attack, Damage, Special Attacks: Unchanged
Special Qualities: Deep One Hybrids gain the following special qualities:
Amphibious Nature: Hybrids automatically gain the Sea's Breath Feat. When they gain two Corruption from the Transform ability [see below] they gain the ability to breath water for short [1+ Con bonus hours, minimum 1] periods of time. After gaining four Corruption points, the Hybrid gains gills and can remain underwater indefinitely, their Swim Speed increases to thirty and their land Move is reduced by five and grow scales giving them a natural DR of 1. After six points gained by Transform, they gain the natural weapons of a Deep One, their DR becomes 2, they gain the Choke and Improved Grab Special Attacks, the Amphibious, Aquatic Mastery and Terror Special Qualities and their Template becomes fully Alien- they are effectively a Deep One.
The Call: Hybrids who are unaware of their own nature will eventually be called to a Deep One dominated area. Starting at age 15, each year the character must make a Will save equal to his or her current age. If they fail, they will be drawn to the direction of the nearest Deep One community slowly but surely by both wanderlust and strange dreams. Once there, if recognized as a Hybrid, the Hybrid will welcomed into the community. If not, the dominated community may believe that they are a human interloper and act accordingly.
Transform: Each year beginning at the age of 25, a hybrid must make a Corruption save. This represents the slow transformation of a character into a Deep One- Corruption gained in any other way doesn't count toward changes referred to in Amphibious Nature above. Each point gained in this manner reduces the Hybrid's Charisma by 1 as the physical changes start to become apparent. After gaining the first two points gained in this the Hybrid's true nature way may be Disguised [DC = 15 +2 x Corruption points gained by Transform] but the third point makes it difficult to pass without magical means as they gain a certain unclean "look". At the fourth point, the emergence of gills on the Hybrid's neck makes detection almost certain in human communities. Hybrids at this stage usually retire from public view and begin to associate with their Deep One kin.
Abilities: Save for the Cha loss by Transform, the base creature's abilities are unchanged
Skills: Deep One Hybrids gain a +4 circumstance bonus to Swim checks and may Take 10 with a Swim check even if distracted or endangered This bonus increase to +6 after the Hybrid gains to two points of Corruption from the Transform Special Ability and to +8 when the Hybrid gains four points in this manner.
Feats: As noted above, Deep One Hybrids gain the Sea's Breath Feat
Code of Honour: Hybrids may only have a Code of Honour if they remain unaware of their inhuman nature. Once they receive the first Corruption point from the Transform special ability though, the Hybrids loses the ability to possess a Code of Honour.
Corruption: A Deep One Hybrid has a -2 penalty to Corruption saves, including one brought about by the Transform special quality.
Favoured Class: Change to Scholar