Red Steel (Mystara)



Climate/Terrain:Tropical or subtropical water
Activity Cycle:Any
Intelligence:Low to Very (5-12)
Treasure:K (F)
Alignment:Neutral (Good)
No. Appearing:1d4+2 or 1d6+14
Armor Class:6 (10)
Movement:3, Sw 18
Hit Dice:3
No. of Attacks:1
Damage/Attack:1d8 (weapon)
Special Attacks:See below
Special Defenses:Nil
Magic Resistance:Nil
Size:L (9-11’ long)
Morale:Steady (11-12)
XP Value:175

The omm-was, or “water-people” as they are sometimes called, are large, intelligent relatives of the manatee. These air-breathing, marine mammals are found in tropical or subtropical waters and can move freely from fresh water to saltwater.

Omm-was bear a strong resemblance to their manatee cousins and are only remotely humanoid. An omm-wa has a gray or black corpulent body, which tapers into a horizontally flattened tail. Its flipperlike forelimbs are set close to the head, with small, webbed hands. An omm-wa does not have external hind limbs. Its disproportionally tiny head has a straight snout and a cleft upper lip with bristly hairs. An omm-wa uses its large, muscular lips for tearing off water plants, and the molars and hard pads at the front of its jaws grind the food. Male also have two small, tusklike incisors. Adult omm-was are 9 to 11 feet long and weigh up to 1,300 pounds.

Omm-wa vision is adapted for life underwater. They have large eyes, and can see more than 300 feet in clear water. In the air, they can see about as well as most humans, but their eyes are very sensitive to light. They are shallow-water creatures, rarely diving deeper than 100 feet. Omm-was may leave the water for no more than thirty minutes at a time.

Combat: Omm-was have spell-casting shamans (maximum of 8th level) that gain experience points and levels as priests. About one in five omm-was males can gain levels as a fighter. Omm-wa favor the use of nets in the water, along with spears and tridents for defense. Some omm-was have underwater crossbows, obtained through trade with the Herathians.

For every 30 omm-was, there will be a fighter of 3rd to 5th level. For every 60 omm-was, there will be a warleader who is effectively a fighter of 5th to 8th level. For every family group, there will be a female shaman of 1st to 3rd level. For every 100 omm-was, there will be a wise woman (priest) of 4th to 6th level.

Habitat/Society: Omm-was have a strictly matriarchal society. All authority is held by women. The most senior, grizzled, battle-scarred male warleader will unhesitatingly obey the commands of the most junior omm-wa woman (omm-wa females reach maturity at age 12). The mother is head of the family, and lineage is traced from her. Females inherit rank from their mothers.

Omm-was have two major personality types, divided by gender. Females belong to the mother-nurturer type. Most females revere the Immortal Terra, whom they call “Mother Ocean”. Omm-wa females worship her as the creator and protector of new life. Omm-wa females see it as their duty to nurture and administer omm-wa society.

Omm-wa males are of the warrior-protector mentality and are somewhat fatalistic. Male ranks are open to challenge and change frequently. Omm-wa males tend to die young, since they serve to protect society. They revere the Immortal Thor (known as Dugong to the omm-was), the patron of bravery and war craft. Males rarely have kits (5% chance), but if they do, they are most likely to be Defenders. An omm-wa male will gladly sacrifice himself to protect a female or young omm-wa. Female omm-was are well aware of this tendency, regarding it as evidence of male idiocy. They feel that if the males were not held in check by the females, they would probably kill themselves off in short order.

Omm-was are great aquaculturalists, tending sprawling underwater farms where they grow a great variety of water plants. Omm-was do most of their feeding at night, eating directly in the fields. Most of the plants that the omm-was feed on contain silica, which quickly wears their teeth down. To compensate, omm-wa molars move toward the front of the jaw at a steady rate. The front teeth fall out when completely worn, quickly replaced by new teeth at the back of the jaw. This process has a key effect on omm-wa philosophy. To the omm-wa, the individual has little long-term relevance to the society, although all omm-was must make a contribution while they are able. Like a tooth, the individual will eventually be replaced by another who is equally capable. Individual omm-was do the best they can for the herd, secure in the knowledge that if they fall, others will come forward to take their places. Omm-wa do not wear clothing, but they are tool-users, often wearing a belt or pouch for carrying items.

The treasure of the water-people is usually in the form of shells, pearls, coral, and other bounty of the sea. They also have some gold and silver, obtained through trade with the shazaks and Herathians. Omm-was harvest the mineral-rich nodules found in patches on the ocean floor near their homes. These potato-sized nodules are rich in metals, including iron, manganese, small amounts of cinnabryl, and trace amounts of other metals. The omm-was take only what they need from the nodule beds, which replenish themselves naturally.

Rumors claim that the omm-was have a way to forge metal, using a combination of Legacies, shaman spells, and the metal-rich nodules.

Omm-was have a rich and possibly unique “writing” system. For long-term writing, an omm-wa arranges piles of pebbles of varying color and size on the ocean floor. Each individual pebble and its arrangement has a meaning, but this is only the first level of interpretation. With the right training, a viewer looking at an omm-wa book sees a three-dimensional image that contains even more information, usually in the form of a picture.

The omm-was also have a “quick” method of writing, involving knotted strings and colored beads (made from carved bits of shell, pearls, coral, metal, and stone). Each omm-wa lair has a reserve of these “writing materials”, which make up most of their treasure. An omm-wa warrior wearing a necklace of beads is carrying a message or making a statement. Outsiders often mistake these necklaces for jewelry, but though they are often quite pretty, this is not the primary purpose. For jokes, omm-was have been known to trade necklaces to land-dweller that have derogatory messages about the wearer.

Omm-wa are pretty crafty, and they do not like being dependent upon the Herathians for most of their trade. They would be very open to securing another source of manufactured items.

Ecology: Omm-was are at home in salt or fresh water. An individual omm-wa usually stays within a small area, near the family aquafarm, where it graze on water plants. They live in small family groups with three to six members, although they are sometimes found in herds of 15 to 20. Twin births are very rare for omm-was. When they do occur, one twin is always female, and the other is always male. The female twin will become an omm-wa shaman (8th level maximum), and the male becomes her protector and a great omm-wa fighter (10th level maximum).

Gurrash of the Bayou sometimes hunt omm-was as a supply of hides, meat, and blubber oil. The omm-was are stronger swimmers than the gurrash, so they generally escape. Omm-was have hated the gurrash ever since they took over the bayous. Omm-wa occasionally help out travelers lost in the bayous or those about to fall to the gurrash.

Omm-wa males rarely die of old age due to their violent lifestyles. An omm-wa female often lives to the age of 40 or 50 and has four to six children during its lifetime.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

◆ 1383 ◆