Upheaval in Zhaltssom
Brief Description: Shark people that seek to dominate the ocean
Physical Description: The bodies and heads of selachim resemble various species of shark. Where the pectoral fins would be on a normal shark, the selachim have arms that are oddly flattened like fins, yet quite strong. Where the pelvic fins would be, the selachim instead have similarly-flattened legs that end in thickly-webbed, four-toed feet.
Five species of selachim have been observed: workers (which resemble hammerhead sharks), soldiers (tiger sharks), echoers (sandbar sharks), drones (sleeper sharks), and rulers (great white sharks).
The selachim species vary in lifespan, but most live up to 80 years.
Preferred Habitat: The selachim are only capable of living underwater. They have been known to approach the surface in recent years to conduct raids, but breathing outside of the water is impossible for them without the assistance of magic. Unfortunately for surface-dwellers, the selachim can actually hold their breath for 15 minutes or so unlike real sharks, which gives them a lot of raiding potential.
Culture and Society: The five species of selachim are less distinct tribes and more certain inescapable castes within a society. Selachim act mostly as a hive mind, with castes filling a certain role – workers build the cities, soldiers guard the hive, echoers maintain order and act as scouts, drones conduct research and watch over prisoners, and the rulers direct the hive as a whole. The worker and soldier castes are nearly mindless and lack free will as other races understand it, while rulers do have free will but find that directing the hive takes too much out of them to use it. As a result, the echoers and drones are the ones that surface-dwellers will encounter the most, both having free will and the energy and purpose to use it.
The race as a whole has this pervasive belief that they should be the only ones exploiting the bounties of the sea. As such, they tend to make examples of those who try to fish anywhere near their territories, or of other races that live near those areas.
Racial Language: The selachim racial language is Squaliform. The language relies on sounds that are almost impossible for most races to hear, and it can only properly be spoken underwater (or perhaps with a mouth full of liquid). As a result, other races really can’t expect to learn the language. Only the ruler caste is even capable of learning other languages, and they tend to only use them to taunt and sentence prisoners.
Known Powers: Along with blood-scent, electric detection, and other similar powers that sharks have, the selachim are very magically-capable, having three castes/breeds fully capable of it. (Only workers and soldiers can’t use magic.)
Relations: The equui hate all selachim with equal passion, as the selachim were responsible for driving them from their deepsea homes. Any race that settles near the coast will learn to despise selachim as well, as they tend to attack fishing vessels with a passion. The drone caste is especially hated, as their carcasses tend to be downright toxic and preparing them for food requires a ridiculous fermenting and curing process that generally only the humans will be crazy enough to perform.
Why are they not playable?: Even without the hive mind mentality of the race disqualifying the selachim as a whole, the race can’t live outside of the water, which severely limits their adventuring options.
What makes them hostile?: Echoers tend to be really timid around non-selachim and spooking them in any way can get the whole hive called down upon you. Drones are a little calmer, but always apt to taking prisoners to entertain the ruling caste. If you see any of the other castes, chances are you’re going to be torn to shreds in very short order.