Deep Dive - The Sahuagin

Deep Dive - The Sahuagin

Sa-hogin? Sa-whogin? Sa-hog-gin? Who knows how you’re supposed to pronounce it, all we know is that it lurks in the dark depths and wants to eat your face off. Gracing the cover of the newest adventure, The Ghosts of Saltmarsh, we are hoping this iconic “Sea Devil” enjoys a long overdue renaissance.

As we continued to research these creatures, we found an incredible amount of background, lore and stats. It is one of the most detailed creatures in OD&D and AD&D. In 2e, the Sahuagin gets its own entire book that is over 100 pages. While we will not be able to cover every aspect of the Sahuagin in this article, we hope to provide the key items that have made it such a fantastic creature.

Chris will be the first to admit that he never used the Sahuagin outside of when he ran the first two modules of the U series, The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and Danger at Dunwater. Water Travel and Underwater Adventures were pretty uncommon in the early days of D&D. It was a dungeon dive game, not a seafaring game. Countless hours were spent drawing maps, complete with traps, secret doors and monsters. It was a labor of love, but that’s what you had to do back in the early days. Modules were fun, but creating your own maps, full of surprises and wonder was, and has always been, one of the most exciting things outside the game for a DM to do. No one wanted to make a map of an ocean. An island maybe, but getting there was a whole other story. Furthermore, the descriptions of seafaring and underwater adventures in the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide was overly complicated in some places and completely vague in other areas (This was a common theme in AD&D).

So let’s jump in to the water and take a look at what makes the Sahuagin one of the most feared and evil underwater creatures in all of D&D.

OD&D - Sahuagin (Devil-Men of the Deep)

No. Appearing: 10-60
Armor Class: 4
Move: 18/30
Hit Dice: 2
% in Lair: 30%
Treasure Type: F & A (from Blackmoor supplement chart)
Damage/Attack: 2-12, or by weapon type / 1 attack per round

First introduced in the Blackmoor (1975) supplement, it’s clear from the beginning the Sahuagin are going to be a big creature in D&D. The description is easily the longest in the supplement, dwarfing the closest description by over a page. The description of them immediately cast them as completely evil creatures; clearly stating that their only friends are giant sharks and that the Sahuagin are sadistic and cannibals. If that doesn’t spell it our for you, it goes on to say that they enjoy torturing their wounded and sickly.

What’s interesting about these creatures is that we get a pretty clear-cut origin story: Gods were fighting over the material plane and they melted the ice caps and flooded the plane, just like the whole Noah story and how we are doing it again in present time. Neutral and Law gods created sea elves and mermen. Chaos gods, well, they wanted evil incarnate, hence the Sahuagin. The description even goes onto say that while comparable creatures have aspects of evil, the Sahuagin have them all. Good job chaos gods!

Blackmoor , 1975 TSR Inc.

Blackmoor, 1975 TSR Inc.

The Sahuagin in OD&D look like, well, fish monsters. Big old fish eyes, a mouth full of hundreds of razor sharp teeth and long, pointy ears. The ears may have been indication that they have some background as elves, but it could also just be coincidence. They have two arms which end in two pincer like protrusions and webbed feet which provide balance when on solid ground and assist in swimming. Finally, they have a simple scaly tail, which helps with movement and direction plus acts as a giant club.

Their ears are very sensitive as they can pick up underwater sound within a range of ten miles. Which seems like they are constantly having a headache, wouldn’t that much noise overload the Sahuagin? Maybe that’s why they are grumpy. It goes on to further clarify that: “sensitive ears that can pick up underwater noise as slight as a boat's oars cutting through the water at ranges of ten miles.” Not sure how they filter all that noise out so that they don’t go insane. Though, interestingly they point out that the ears of a Sahuagin can’t pick up on any noise of any swimming creature… so not sure what to make of that.

Moving on to their eyes, which are also extremely sensitive, they can see up to a half mile underwater. Bright light will negatively affect them, but it’s vague on how much. It’s does say that their eyes are so sensitive that it keeps them 100 feet underwater and they will only go up further up and onto land when it’s night time or stormy. No sunny days at the beach for these guys.

While the Sahuagin primarily attacks with weapons, when disarmed they get a total of 6 different attacks to choose from. Their claws act like pincers, and they each do 2-12 points of damage. Their feet can grab a creature and then act as claws which can also do to 2-12 points of damage each while the creature is grappled. The teeth are razor sharp and can be used to grab on or render flesh can also do 2-12 points of damage. Finally the Sahuagin can attack with its tail. Just to mix it up, the tail acts like “a pile driver-like punch similar to that wielded by a giant (club damage times two)”. This attack also does 2-12, just so we don’t get confused. Though, according to the chart, they only get 1 attack per round… so really this is all just for flavor.

The Sahuagin don’t use their “natural attacks” often, as they are usually armed with a poison tipped trident and a barbed net. The Trident has a deadly poison on it, although the description does not describe what kind of poison or what type of damage it does. The net will trap the character and the barbs will also do damage, how much we are once again left to wonder… but my money is on 2-12. Being the intelligent creatures that they are, they will attempt to trap the character in their net, and then attack with the trident from a safe distance Once the character is bloodied, the Sahuagin’s only friends, those pesky and angry sharks, will go into a blood frenzy and attack. If you find yourself in this situation, its probably about now you should draw up a new character.

The sahuagin travel in large groups, and have communities of thousands of sahuagin where they will bring back their still-live prey. This is so they can feed on them later, torture them or hunt them down at a more convenient time. They place their captives in cells that are specially equipped for air breathing creatures. Enjoy the air while you can, because you are most likely going to be used as entertainment in short order. Characters may have to fight Sahuagin warriors, sharks, or be pitted against one another; all in the hopes of providing a great spectacle for the captors. The twisted bastards have also been know to let their prisoners “escape”, only to be hunted down and killed in a very painful way for sport. Hopefully you have something to get you out of there fast, because you’re most likely 500-1000 feet underwater and sharks have been known to swim fast.

Finally, our last tidbit is that there is one king that rules over all the Sahuagin, and he has nine princes to help him rule as he sees fit. Anyone can challenge the king for the right to become king, but the king is usually extremely strong and mutated, all Sahuagin have a 1% chance of being born with four arms, so you better be sure that you know what you are doing. The strongest usually win, but it needs to be in conjunction with being smart and cunning. Oh and if you lose they kill you, probably torturing you to death before they do.

1e - Sahuagin (Sea Devils)

Frequency: Uncommon
No. Appearing: 20-80
Armor Class: 5
Move: 12"/24”
Hit Dice: 2+2
% in Lair: 25%
Treasure Type: Individuals N; I, F, Q(X IO), X, Y in lair
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage/Attack: By weapon type
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: High
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Size: M
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

U2 - Danger at Dunwater , 1982 TSR Inc.

U2 - Danger at Dunwater, 1982 TSR Inc.

With over a page dedicated to it abilities, lore and how they operate, it was clear to me that this creature was one that the creators intended to be used often and in multiple ways. The problem with this was that the game was still mainly a dungeon dive game, and not many people thought about sea travel and fighting monsters such as the Sahuagin, Kraken, or Ixitxachitl (not making that up). Outside of the U series of Modules, AD&D had little to no usage of the Sahuagin, but the Sahuagin does premiere in the first Monster Manual (1977) so that’s a plus!

Known also as the devil men of the deep or seadevils in 1e, these creatures live deep in the ocean, but only in the warm depths of the water in the tropics. Fresh water and light are despised by the Sahuagin, with bright light being harmful them. Their hatred for the surface dwellers cannot be understated, and they venture onshore at night in raiding parties to plunder and destroy humanoid villages that are by the shoreline. Sahuagin have the ability to breathe air for up to 4 hours while on the surface, making their raids on land quick, cruel and efficient.

During these raids, as well as when fighting under the water, the Sahuagin have a variety of weapons at their disposal. Most Sahuagin carry a trident, a net (for underwater only) and dagger, while some have a spear and a select few carry crossbows. If they are stripped of their weapons, the Sahuagin are still a creature to be feared. Not only does their scaly bodies provide them with a natural AC of 5, but they can attack with the claws on their hands (1-2 damage), taloned legs (1-4 damage), and teeth (1-4 damage). When unarmed, they can attack between 3-5 times per round (depending on leg placement). This gives an unarmed Sahuagin the potential to do 16 points of damage! Weirdly, if they have a weapon they only make one attack with the damage of the weapon (typically 1d6). There is no mention of being able to combine melee weapon and unarmed attacks, which is a shame as being able to bite and dagger would be pretty fearsome.

The only underwater friends that the Sahuagin have are sharks, which hasn’t changed from when they were first introduced. The sharks will follow simple one or two word commands, and I’m willing to bet that the command word is usually “kill”. Other than sharks, everyone else that lives in the ocean pretty much loathes the Sahuagin. The Monster Manual goes out of it ways to state the even the evil ixitxachitl, think manta rays that are clerics, hate the Sahuagin. When one of the evilest creatures of the sea hates you, you know you’re a bad, bad man… fish thing.

Social structure is important and extremely organized as they are lawful evil, much like the devils they worship. They have a king who rules over the entire race with 9 princes, much like the devils, who control fiefdoms. The king’s location is shrouded in mystery, as he is rumored to live in a massive underwater city built in a deep canyon. Don’t try to find it, as their are supposedly over 5000 of them there, and that doesn’t even include the King’s nobles, guards, queens and of course, concubines.

The Monster Manual states that each prince rules small group of Sahuagin, but I think small is a relative term. It says that each lair contains 1 baron, 9 guards, 30-120 females, up to 40 hatchlings, and up to 80 eggs. It goes on to say a band of Sahuagin will contain one chieftain and 1 lieutenant for every 10 members of the group. The number of appearing are stated that 2-80 Sahuagin can be found together at one time. So this means: one band of Sahuagin could contain 80 members, the party would then be looking at 80 “fighters” (2+2 HD), 8 lieutenants (3+3 HD), and 1 chieftain (4+4 HD). Let’s hope you swim really fast, cause no one wants to mess with that.

In 1e, the history of the Sahuagin is shrouded in mystery. One theory of their origins is that they were created by evil gods. A particularly evil nation of humans was spared by lawful evil gods, and from the deluge that came upon the material plane a long long time ago; then the lawful neutral gods created the sea elves and the mermen as a balance to the Sahuagin. The tritons, one of the many mortal enemies of the Sahuagin, believe that they are distantly related to sea elves, and were created by the drow.

U3 - The Final Enemy,  1983 TSR Inc.

U3 - The Final Enemy, 1983 TSR Inc.

And finally, we get to where the Sahuagin truly became popular: the U Series. This series of adventures were released by the UK branch of TSR (sort of, not going into it) and showcases the Sahuagin quite heavily in the first three adventures: U1, U2 & U3. These adventures are one of the more iconic modules for D&D and are responsible for raising the popularity of the seadevils.

2e - Sahuagin

Climate/Terrain: Temperate/Salt Water
Frequency: Uncommon
Organization:
Triba
Activity Cycle: Night
Diet: Carnivore
Treasure: N (I, O, P, Q (x10), X, Y
Intelligence: High (13-14)
Alignment: Lawful Evil
No. Appearing: 20-80
Armor Class: 5
Movement: 12, Swimming 24
Hit Dice:
2+2
THAC0:
19
No. of Attacks:
1 (or see description)
Damage/Attack: 1-2/1-2/1-4/1-4/1-4 or weapon type
Special Attacks: See Description
Special Defenses: See Description
Magic Resistance: Nil
Size: M (6’), some L (9’)
Morale:
Steady
XP Value: 175 /Lieutenant: 270/ Chieftain: 420/Priestess: 650/Baron: 975/Prince: 2,000

Monstrous Manual , 1993 TSR Inc.

Monstrous Manual, 1993 TSR Inc.

Where to start. It originally looked like there we some tweaks here and there and the rest of the Sahuagin stayed the same from 1e, but for one small book… The Sea Devils (1997) a monstrous arcana book over 100 pages long on just the Sahuagin. I mean seriously, that’s a ton of information and there is no way we can get into everything unless you want the article to be 100 pages long and put you to sleep. We are going to consolidate a lot of that information, but if you really want to learn about the Sahuagin in that much detail, it can be found here on DMs Guild.

With a book that long, there are a ton of things to go over… but most of it deals with more exact details about the history of Sahuagin in 1e. Instead, let’s look at a few new things for our evil fish folk.

Origins
While the story of the Sahuagin being created by gods during a great flood still exists in 2e, it is only mentioned as a myth on their creation, and not even the mostly likely one to have occurred. We also get the first mention of the Great Shark god Sekolah; it’s made clear though that no one actually knows the true origins of the Sahuagin, but that Sekolah played a part in spreading them through our the worlds in the Material Plane.

The Sea Devils , 1997 TSR Inc.

The Sea Devils, 1997 TSR Inc.

Other stories include those that speak of the Sahuagin being, once again, descendants of human or elves, but not through the demented will of the evil gods, but through time and evolution. It’s interesting, and also very weird, that the book makes specific reference to the Sahuagin’s larynx being similar to that of humans and elves. Apparently that is unique to the Sahuagin since no other fish or marine species have one. The Sahuagin’s air bladder resembles the lungs of the elves, even though the Sahuagin cannot breathe air. It’s important to note that these similarities are to elves and not sea elves. As the sea elves came about fairly quickly as a race; the Sahuagin and Sea Elves physiology are quite different.

Of course, Elves don’t like this one bit and reject the notion that such vile creatures could have been somehow related to them, even noting that the drow are less evil than the Sahuagin. The famous elf, Tiguran Maremrynd, strongly argues that because the sea devils only take pleasure in slaughter, that resembles the dwarven race and not elves… Which goes to show you how much elves hate dwarves we guess. Unfortunately there is nothing to support this fact and it seems ill suited to think that the sea devils are distant underwater relatives of dwarves.

Magic
Most Sahuagin hate and fear magic so much so that they will kill anything, except one of their priestesses, that displays magical abilities. This means that the moment a wizard casts a spell, they target that wizard above even the most fearsome of warriors. This hatred of magic stems from a superstition, though many surface dwellers wrongly think its cause they don’t understand magic.

The Sahuagin regard environmental catastrophes such as volcanic eruptions and sea quakes-as supernatural events whose origins lie in the primordial depths. The sea devils know magic is a manifestation of supernatural power, and as such they automatically treat it and anyone who can wield it with suspicion.

The Sahuagin know that those who possess magic can have unpredictable power and are quick to murder them before that power could be turned on to them. Furthermore, they only view creatures with magical abilities not given to them by Sekolah with suspicion… and thus anyone that isn’t a Sahuagin as suspicious and creatures that should be murdered immediately. Though, if they happen to get your +1 dagger… well, magical items in their hand isn’t a bad thing cause it’s theirs.

Technology
Finally, and most surprisingly, the Sahuagin have the knowledge of metal smithing. The Sahuagin possess all the knowledge and skills to work metal. Sahuagin build their forges in air filled spaces inside royal cities as only the king is allowed to have a forge. He uses it for mostly private work since many of weapons made of metal have been refurbished by the sea devils after slaughtering their foes. Most Sahuagin blacksmiths are Malenti, since they have greater tolerance for the open air. Malenti are therefore some of the most valuable subjects to the king. The rest of the population doubly despises them for genetic mutations and being those who work in the heat, smoke, and flame of the forge.

Monstrous Manual,  1993 TSR Inc.

Monstrous Manual, 1993 TSR Inc.

A quick note on the Malenti - they are Sahuagin that look exactly like seas elves while retaining some of the abilities of the Sahuagin. They are usually fed to the sharks upon their birth, but if a number of them are born in the same year, one will be allowed to live so they can work in the forge, or to serve as a spy for the sea devils, as they can easily live in the sea elves communities without detection.

3e/3.5e - Sahuagin

Size/Type: Medium Monstrous Humanoid (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 2d8+2 (11hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), swim 60 ft.
Armor Class: 16 (+1 Dex, +5 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+4
Attack: Talon +4 melee (1d4+2) or trident +4 melee (1d8+3) or heavy crossbow +3 ranged (1d10/19-20)
Full Attack: Trident +4 melee (1d8+3) and bite +2 melee (1d4+1); or 2 talons +4 melee (1d4+2) and bite +2 melee (1d4+1); or heavy crossbow +3 ranged (1d10/12-20)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Blood Frenzy, rake 1d4+1
Special Qualities: Blindsense 30ft, Darkvision 60 ft., fresh water sensitivity, light blindness, speak with sharks, water dependent
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +4
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 9
Skills: Animal Handle +4, Hide +6, Listen +6, profession (hunter) +1, Ride +3, Spot +6, Survival +1 (all underwater)
Feats: Great Fortitude, Multiattack
Environment: Warm aquatic
Organization: Solitary, pair, team (5-8), Patrol (11-20 plus 1 3rd level lieutenant and 1-2 sharks), band (20-80 plus 100% noncombatants plus 1 3rd level lieutenant and 1 4th level chieftain our 20 adults plus 1-2 sharks), or trident (70-160 plus 100% noncombatants plus 1 3rd level lieutenant per 20 adults, 1 4th level chieftain per 40 adults, 9 4th level guards, 1-4 underpriestesses of 3rd-6th level, 1 7th level priestess, and 1 baron of 6th -8th level plus 5-8 sharks
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually lawful evil
Advancement: 3-5 HD (Medium), 6-10 HD (Large), or by character class
Level Adjustment: +2 (+3 if four armed)

The 3.5e Sahuagin resembles the previous versions in most ways. There is no 100+ page book to read, so the summary is pretty straightforward and pulls from the previous editions. There are a couple of minor changes however, and that’s what we can look at.

In combat situations, it is clarified that the Sahuagin can attack with it’s rear feet when swimming. The feet have talons on the ends of them and they may rake with them as they pass by. This attack gets a +2 attack bonus and each foot does 1d4+1. Not much in the way of damage, but for its CR, not too shabby.

Monster Manual 1 , 2003 WotC

Monster Manual 1, 2003 WotC

Can I just take a moment to complain about the art? 2e started it, and 3e carries on the tradition of making weird lizard-fish folk. I gotta say, they aren’t so terrifying as they are strangely… cute. At least the book The Sea Devils (1997) had some awesome artwork for them… cause this isn’t doing it for me.

Moving on, the Sahuagin also gain the Blood Frenzy ability. Once per day, the Sahuagin can fly into a crazed frenzy the round after he/she takes damage. It will claw and bite until either its opponent or it is dead. The Sahuagin gains +2 to both STR and CON, but takes a penalty of -2 to its AC. The Sahuagin cannot end this ability voluntarily, so it will fight to the death. The Blood Frenzy is otherwise identical to the barbarian rage ability. A raging sea devil must be a sight to see, though visibility will probably be pretty bad once the blood starts polluting the water. Also… considering it can swim faster than your character, you better be ready to fight to the death too.

Sahuagin society structure is mostly the same, but there is one line that is interesting. While in previous editions there was only one king who ruled the entire race, the description reads as follows: “Sahuagin kings rule much larger territories and dwell within cities having as many as six thousand inhabitants” it goes on to say that kingdoms typically cover an entire coastal area. This is an interesting change. It doesn’t mention anything about kingdoms warring with each other for power, so one must assume that they can work together at times of war. Along with that change, now there is no mention of the devils that they originally worshiped, now it is only Sekolah.

The 3.5 edition also moves away from the Ixitxachitl being the mortal enemy of the Sahuagin. It’s the Sea Elves they hate more than any other creature on the plane, followed closely by the Tritons. That says a lot about the depths of their hatred, considering they hate everyone except themselves and sharks. Wars with the sea elves have been going on forever, and when they are at their height, maritime trade and sea travel can be deadly for those that happen upon a battle.

Finally, 3.5e provides options to change up your Sahuagin by giving them classes. Rangers are the favored class for males; not too surprisingly, they take humanoids (elves) as their favored enemy. Females prefer clerics, and have access to the Evil, Law, Strength and War domains; and they worship the great shark god Sekolah.

4e - Sahuagin

Sahuagin Raider - Lvl 6 Soldier
Medium humanoid (aquatic) XP 250
Initiative +7 / Senses Perception +4; low-light vision
HP 70; Bloodied 35
AC 20; Fortitude 19, Reflex 16, Will 15
Speed 6, swim 6
> Trident (standard, at will) - Weapon. +11 vs. AC; 1d8+5 damage, and the target is marked until the end of the sahuagin raiders’ next turn: also see blood frenzy
> Trident (standard, at will) - Weapon. Ranged 3/6; +11 vs. AC; 1d8+5 damage. The sahuagin must retrieve its trident before it can throw it again
Opportunistic Strike: (immediate reaction, when a flanked enemy shifts; at will) - Weapon. The sahuagin raider makes a melee basic attack against the enemy.
Blood Frenzy: The sahuagin gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls and a +2 bonus to damage rolls against bloodied enemies.
Alignment Chaotic Evil / Languages Abyssal
Str 20 (+8) | Con 14 (+5) | Dex 14 (+5) | Int 10 (+3) | Wis 12 (+4) | Cha 10 (+3)

Monster Manual 1 , 2008 WotC

Monster Manual 1, 2008 WotC

Hmm… I don’t know if you caught it, but there is something really different about these guys as opposed to earlier incarnations… see it yet? If not, check out their alignment. Chaotic Evil. Now that’s an interesting change, especially as 4e talks about how they have a strict hierarchical society and how each Sahuagin knows their place. But maybe that is in reference to their Blood Frenzy ability… not too sure.

Regardless, the Sahuagin is introduced in the first Monster Manual (2008) and shows off four different Sahuagin to choose from. We have the Sahuagin Guard, a level 6 minion, the Sahuagin Raiders, stats above, the Sahuagin Priest, a level 8 artillery monster, and the Sahuagin Baron, a level 10 brute leader. These guys are stronger than in the past and are no joke for the party to encounter at any low or mid tier play and they are just as vile as the previous editions have made them out to be.

They still worship Sekolah and make great sacrifices to satisfy the never ending hunger of the great demonic shark. They still abhor all other creatures, except sharks, and will constantly murder and pillage for supplies instead of trading for it. Interestingly, the 4e Monster Manual does state that occasionally they will form short-term pacts with other evil creatures like vampires… so that could be pretty fun to include in your next campaign, underwater sea vampires with Sahuagin henchmen!

Beyond the basics, the Sahuagin aren’t really fleshed out for 4e and seem to be losing a lot of their popularity they had gained in previous editions.

5e - Sahuagin

Sahuagin / Medium humanoid (sahuagin), lawful evil
Armor Class 12 (Natural Armor) / Hit Points 22 (4d8 + 4) / Speed 30 ft., swim 40 ft.
STR 13 (+1) | DEX 11 (+0) | CON 12 (+1) | INT 12 (+1) | WIS 13 (+1) | CHA 9 (-1)
Skills Perception +5
Senses Darkvision 120 ft., Passive Perception 15 / Languages Sahuagin
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Blood Frenzy. The sahuagin has advantage on melee attack rolls against any creature that doesn't have all its hit points.
Limited Amphibiousness. The sahuagin can breathe air and water, but it needs to be submerged at least once every 4 hours to avoid suffocating.
Shark Telepathy. The sahuagin can magically command any shark within 120 feet of it, using a limited telepathy.
Multiattack. The sahuagin makes two melee attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws or spear.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) piercing damage.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) slashing damage.
Spear. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d6 + 1) piercing damage, or 5 (1d8 + 1) piercing damage if used with two hands to make a melee attack.

Monster Manual,  2014 WotC

Monster Manual, 2014 WotC

The Sahuagin is introduced in the Monster Manual and well… I’m not saying it’s a bad change, but they are a lot weaker now. The reason for the harsh nerf placed upon these once great and powerful Sea Devils is unexplained. The typical Sahuagin is only worth half a Challenge Rating and the other two, the Sahuagin Priest and Sahuagin Baron, are only CR 2 and CR 5 respectively. Low level players may find these guys troublesome, but there isn’t too much to fear from them unless you get attacked by 10-60 of them at one time.

One of their better abilities is they get advantage on all attack rolls against creatures who have lost even 1 hit point. That’s pretty nice and is sure to give your rogue characters something to envy. Though, speaking of envy, let’s talk about their looks… I think I preferred when they looked like strange lizard people… now it’s just… weird eel creatures.

Not much in the way of lore has changed since 3e or 4e for the Sahuagin, and they retain the nickname Sea Devils because of how evil they are with no mention of their previous worship of devils. They follow Sekolah, the shark god, with only the females being worthy enough to possess his power as clerics of his will. Going along with Sekolah, all sharks understand that Sahuagin should not be prey and refrain from attacking the them.

The Sahuagin regain the ability of birthing Malenti, Sahuagin that strangely look like aquatic elves, and they use these as their spies inside of aquatic elf cities. Malenti cause quite a bit of paranoia for the aquatic elves and if one is found in a settlement, it usually harkens that the Sahuagin will beginning an attack soon. Going a bit more into the Sahuagin, there is one passage in Volo’s Guide to Monsters (2016) that raises one more question about the Sahuagin. It can be found on page 115 when talking about the history of the Triton’s:

In time, the tritons noticed that their ancient elemental foes had grown quiet. Expeditions to the depths revealed that krakens, sahuagin, and far worse foes had fled the Plane of Water for the Material Plane.

5e throws a wrench into the origins of the Sahuagin… maybe they are actually from the plane of water! But… no mention in the Monster Manual, so we are just left to wander about that sentence.

And that’s the history of the Sahuagin! We eagerly await learning more about these creatures in WotC’s newest adventure, The Ghosts of Saltmarsh, and maybe we can learn a bit more about how these sea devils came to be!

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Rewind - Artifacts

Rewind - Artifacts