Monstrous Fish

(Tom Clare)


Deep lakes and the endless fathoms of the great ocean occasionally bring forth enormous fish, capable of swallowing a man whole. Such monsters are best avoided; those people that do encounter one are likely to either be in a boat or swimming, both situations where the creature has the advantage.

If in a boat, the fish will come up directly under the vessel, attempting to overturn it and spill its passengers into the water. Once it detects struggling prey in the water it will surface briefly to swallow a victim then dive back into the depths.

Upsetting

Unless someone is very lucky and notices the fish’s shadow under the water, the creature’s first attempt to upset a vessel will catch all by surprise. The pilot must roll equal to or under his reflexes on 2d20, subtracting five if he is a professional pilot. He may also subtract two points to the roll if the boat is a large one; he must add two if it is a small two-man craft.

Subsequent boat handling rolls against the monster are made on 2d10; the people in the boat are aware of their danger now, and will be on the look out. Unfortunately such monsters tend to be horribly patient, trying to upturn a vessel again and again for hours, briefly leaving off only to lull its prey into relaxing.

Swallowing

Once a character is in the water the beast will try and swallow them. The victim must roll equal to or under his reflexes on 1d20 to avoid this attack. If the swimmer fails, and the fish succeeds, the character has been swallowed whole. The beast will then dive. The fish can attempt to swallow somebody only once every three rounds; during the other two rounds the beast is swinging around for another pass.

Only if a character continually succeeds in avoiding the fish’s maw will it try and bite them instead. This is a normal combat roll, though with the -6 swimming penalty for the character.

In the Belly of the Fish

A man is not automatically dispatched by being swallowed by a great fish. Firstly, he must cope with the burning acids of the monster’s stomach. He takes 1d6 points of damage each round. Armour will initially help in reducing this, but it, too, will be affected by the acid, losing one point of protection each round.

The character will have 2d6 rounds of breathable air, swallowed with them. After this they can last for as many rounds as their strength.

It is hard to see how such an unfortunate could escape such a grim fate; but several saints are supposed to have undergone this very ordeal and survived. And perhaps the character’s friends have managed to spear the beast with a harpoon and line, and are even now fighting to bring the creature back to the surface...

Average Statistics

ATTACK 18 Bite (1d20,8)
DEFENCE 1 Armour Factor: 1
MAGICAL ATTACK N/A
MAGICAL DEFENCE 1 Movement: swimming 20m (50)m
EVASION 1
Health Points: 1d10+20 Rank Equivalent: 8th

Treasure

1d6: 1-4 = none; 5 = good; 6 = bountiful.
In many 'enormous fish' stories those swallowed by the beast come across considerable treasure within its belly. Of course much of such a cache will be worthless: iron rusted into fragment, silver tarnished beyond value, cloth and ivory eaten away by the creature's stomach acids. But gold and any magical items (excluding scrolls) will be untouched. Getting their hands on the bulk of the hoard may call for some ingenuity on the part of the PCs; perhaps a small fishing expedition!

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