Otyughs of Baron's Point (AWE - tee - ugg)

The city of Baron's Point in the kingdom of Felisea is a bustling metropolis, and like all cities of any size in any world, it has an important problem that must be dealt with: waste removal. Without a way to collect and remove waste efficiently, especially biological waste, any city would quickly become a stinking, festering, disease-breeding place that nobody would wish to live in.

With a little bit of engineering, though, and the assistance of one of Cartyrion's creatures, Baron's Point has addressed the problem. The engineering involved carving an elaborate sewer system beneath the city. The creature involved is the Otyugh.
50+ years
Average Height
6 to 7ft (185 to 215cm)
Average Length
Core: 4 to 6ft (125 - 185cm) diameter
Tentacles: up to 10ft (3m) reach

The Sewers of Baron's Point

The bedrock beneath the streets of the city are laced with sewer channels. Just as streets in a town or village may be built to converge at a central town square, so to the sewer channels below Baron's Point were designed to converge upon common collection points. Water flows downgrade toward these points, carrying with it the refuse and folkwaste deposited from the world above.

Unlike the green parkland of a village square, though, the collection points of the sewer system are large, deep pits. And it is in those pits that the Baron's Point Otyughs can be found. Each pit contains several creatures that consume every organic thing the waters carry to them. the floors of the pits are soft, muddy miasmas made up of the few things the otyughs consider undigestable, and mats of slimes and algae that feed off whatever nutrients remain suspended in the waters that carry the otyugh's "feast".

Introduction of Otyughs

The first otyughs of Baron's Point were hatched from eggs procured by adventurers a few hundred years ago; they were allegedly taken from the Coldmarsh region on the other side of the world and brought by ship to Baron's Point. After the initial two were placed into each newly dug pit, nature was allowed to take its own course and the otyughs reproduced more of their kind. Since their reproductive cycle appears to be tightly tied to available food supply, their numbers naturally stabilize to match the quantity of sewage that makes its way into a given pit.

Otyugh Characteristics

Physical Description

The Otyugh is a hexapodal creature, with three legs and three tentacular arms all attached to a single body core. Three equally spaced legs form a tripod to support the large body core, from whiich also sprout the three long, flexible arm-tentacles. Each tentacle arm is joined to the body directly above one of the legs.

The creature has no distinct head - its large, tooth-filled mouth is situated in the body core between two of the three legs. The location of the mouth is used to designate the "front" of the creature.

The two of the long tentacles on either side of the mouth end in broad, flat pads that are covered with rows of sharp, serrated ridges. These are used to grasp and shred food, the creature's long, pointed tongue is then used to pick shreds off the pads. Anything large and not already shredded can be pulleld close enough so the many long, sharp teeth can instead tear off chunks to be swallowed whole. The gathering arms are capable of reaching up to ten feet (three meters) away from the creature's mouth. If the "potential food" in question is a living creature and is fighting back, the serrated ridges on these arm pads are capable of inflicting significant slashing damage, and smaller creatures may be stunned by blows from the arms as well.

The third tentacle - the one that is attached directly opposite the creature's mouth - also ends in a broad, flat pad. Instead of serrated ridges, though, this one contains the sensory organs of the otyugh. Many eyes are the most obvious feature; these cover both sides of the pad. Olfactory and auditory sensors are also found along the edges of this pad. The creature uses this arm to constantly survey its surroundings; the otyugh essentially has 360 degree range of vision, and can see even in total darkness. The olfactory and auditory senses are not quite as keen, but can be used to roughly locate prey.

Intelligence and Capabilities

Otyughs have long been assumed to have little more than basic animal intelligence, but recent reports from the sewer tenders of Baron's Point are causing researchers to take another look at this. According to reports, the otyughs can communicate with each other, can act with purpose and forethought, and can even utilize tools. Several years ago, a steel pickaxe was apparently discarded into the sewers and made its way to one of the otyugh pits. Recently, it was discovered that the creatures apparently found this implement and actually used it to chisel away a tunnel that ultimately connected with anothe rnearby otyugh pit. Most recent reports say that they are continuing to tunnel, attempting to connect to other pits as well.

Communication and Language

The creatures have long been known to be capable of generating low-pitched sounds similar to moans and grunts, but little thought was given to these as being true communication. In light of recent changes in attitude toward intelligence, though, researchers are looking at this more carefully as well, and now believe the otyughs can communicate with one another using a simple language. It has also been reported that some otyughs can sufficiently mimic the sounds made by the Folk during speech to be able to mimic many Commonspeech words and phrases. Study is ongoing to determine whether this is simple mimicry or a legitimate attempt to communicate with us.

Societal Considerations

There is a growing sentiment among scholars that the otyugh is far more intelligent and social than was commonly believed. As offensive as the conditions in the Baron's Point sewers are, the otyugh pits have provided an unsurpassed laboratory for studying the creatures at length, and in relative safety as long as one stays out of the pits themselves. In light of these changing beliefs, the question has also started to arise as to whether the use of otyughs in the sewers is a form of enslavement. Debates have been held on the subject, but no conclusions have yet been drawn. It has been suggested that further attempts to establish dialogue with the creatures would be helpful. More progressive-thinking scholars believe the creatures should be given an obvious option to leave the pits if they wish to do so - but the logistics of a colony of non-discerning omnivores in and around the city have thus far prevented this thought from advancing very far.


Banner Image by RayMark from Pixabay

Page background cathedral Image by 5163451 on Pixabay
Page background manor house image by Josef Pichler on Pixabay
Page background hut image by PamelaAndrey15 on Pixabay
Page background forest image by Waldkunst on Pixabay
Character portraits by RPGDinosaurBob on Hero Forge®


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