|Common Nicknames||Charmers, Hexfish,|
|Habitat||Swamps of New Ceardia and Essalonia, coastline of Farah’deen|
Cunning and deceitful, the Kelp of Aloria were only recently discovered in the colonial lands of New Ceardia. Prone to taking on magical guises, they are notorious for luring their victims to secluded places and killing them. They predominantly dwell in underwater caves, away from the outside world. Kelp are rare and fascinating, but a person should treat these creatures with the utmost care when in contact with them.
Rumored to exist in New Ceardia, it wasn’t until 250 AC when the Kelp were confirmed as living creatures. Scouting parties consisting of men from newly formed colonies and towns followed the rivers inland to explore the wilderness. After several groups of men had gone missing, search parties was organized. One of these groups managed to track a particular exploration team that had gone missing near a lake, where a small river emptied out into it. To their horror, they found a small enclave of the creatures, devouring the rotting and water-drenched drowned party the men had been sent to find. Suddenly aware of their attention, the scaly creatures unnaturally faded into the image of peaceful naked women. The ploy was wasted on the search party as they attacked, managing to kill one of the Kelps. In their confusion, the others fled, despite outnumbering the search party. Once they had fled, the search party remained behind to investigate the deceased creature before taking its body back with them to their basecamp.
After this event, the Kelp became synonymous for danger. As such, some states have specifically targeted enclaves of the species to remove the danger they pose to the populace. On the other hand, some states have chosen to ignore the Kelp and warn travellers of possibly infested lakes, streams or coastlines. Hunters now have become aware of the Kelp’s magical nature, alerting them to both the danger alongside the high profit of successfully hunting and killing one.
Kelps are generally smaller than the average Ailor, ranging in heights of 5 feet to 5’6 and weighing in at around 110 to 130 lbs. Their bodies are often covered in sea weeds and aquatic plants which they use to tactfully obscure their hideous bodies and faces. Their eyes have black sclera with often yellow or bright blue irises. Small dents exist in their heads where ears should be and their mouthes are filled with sharpened teeth that often stick out of their lipless mouths. Their bodies are frail and often warped in spots, with spotty fins dotting their bodies and barely visible gills in their necks. They have webbed armpits as well as thin, webbed, claw hands. Their bodies appear to be in a humanoid feminine shape with a scaled tail that meets in muted flukes at the tip. Barely any of this is seen however, due to the plantlife veiling over their bodies.
The most notable trait of the Kelp is the special part of its brain found at the front of the skull, otherwise known as the “Magic Cell”. The “Magic Cell” is believed to be the cause of their natural magical ability. It is exceptionally rare to find intact and is said to be incredibly useful in alchemy, though only affluent scholars and Nobility could even hope to afford it, due to the few intact Magic Cells that exist in Aloria. Another notable feature of the Kelp are its scales, as items adorned with these scales tend to act as efficient amplifiers of Mind Magic. However, the elusiveness of the creatures makes the extraction of scales fairly difficult. One Kelp scale alone can sell for upwards of thousands of Regals, mainly due to the monopoly Songaskian Merchants are trying to claim over the rare enhancers. Another fact to note is that their bodies go through extreme deterioration upon death. Extraction of the valued parts of their bodies is hard unless the proper preservation or harvesting equipment has been brought with the hunter.
Scholars suspect that the Kelp are somehow related to the Maiar, yet how they came to be so far away from their traditional homeland of Hadar is a mystery. It is believed they lived for a number of years in New Ceardia and Essalonia, before some made their way to Farah’deen. In terms of diversity, the Kelp all look generally the same in their natural form, with their scales ranging from mud browns to dark greys. There is also no exterior distinction between female or male as all appear to be humanoid females in their natural form. However, analysis of corpses collected in recent years shows that males do indeed exist but simply appear effeminate.
Life Span and Development
The Kelp is a strange creature as its breeding habits have yet to be observed, but it seems likely that the Kelp lays a kind of egg in small batches of 3 to 4, hidden amongst leafy foliage and the murky waters that surround their homes. Those in Farah’deen tend to lay eggs deep in their sea cave homes. Over several months, the eggs develop at a steady pace, despite only one or two surviving the hatching. Following this, they immediately begin to learn from their parents. They are taught a racial skill quite similar to Mind magic sometimes mere days after they are born, and it has been observed that their individual traits are very uniform in appearance. They mature rapidly, reaching their full diminutive size after about four years after hatching and can live for around 40 years. They are only fertile once in their life and after that, they exist only to care for the young and to teach them how to survive.
The Kelp lack sophisticated mental faculties due to the existence of the unique “Magic Cell” in their heads. This has given less room for their brains to develop as normal Maiar might, and so they cannot perform complex thoughts. If the person disturbing them is a sentient race, they will hex themselves to appear as beautiful females of that race and try to fool the hostile by imitating common. Beyond this and hunting for fish by hiding motionless for hours in underwater flora, they show no other signs of intellect.
Territory and Grouping
The Kelp principally live in New Ceardia and Essalonia. More recently they have being sighted near Farah’deen’s north-west shores as well as Faradh’s western coast - though it is assumed that the Songaskian people had foreknowledge of the Kelp’s existence, due to predating scaled trinkets documented in the tombs and graves of prominent Mind Mages They often live in small groups of 8-12 in shallow bodies of water and swamps, in their original territory of New Ceardia. In Farah’deen and Faradh, they can be found in grottos and underwater caves that dot the coastline. These groupings are tightly knit, with two couples and their children making up the unit. The rare times two groups interact, they act cautiously at first yet soon this fades away to general friendliness. There is noted tension in some units when mating season begins, but based on observations made by scholars and hunters, this fades rather quickly.
- Kelps are able to speak convincingly in common when disguised by their magic. However, what Kelps that have been caught undisguised only communicated in an incomprehensible, guttural fashion.
- Unionists often use Kelps as an example to demonstrate magic’s dangers.
- There was an incident at the beginning of 302 AC when a woman was out collecting shells with her ten year old daughter. The two of them came upon a gorgeous woman soaking in the waves, and while the child became enamored and sought to talk to the Kelp, the mother criticized the woman for her nudity. Both were brutally murdered by the Kelp before it slipped into the water and escaped nearby fishermen.