Chris Van Deelen

Chris Van Deelen is the author of the Skirmisher Publishing LLC sourcebook Creatures of the Tropical Wastes sourcebook, co-author of its Wisdom from the Wastelands game supplement and contributor to the 'Sword of Kos: Hekaton' Anthology.

No. Enc: 1d6
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
                    Swim 180' (60')
AC: 3
HD: 10
Attacks: 2 Claws
Damage: 1d8 + 3d6 / 1d8 + 3d6
Save: L10
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: None

Gillmen are a mystery to most wasteland scholars. Despite the abundance of new life-forms created through random mutation due to the toxins and radiation that are so prevalent, as well as those created by the Ancients, these mutants defy explanation.

It is said that the species is hundreds of thousands of years old, or even older, a lost species that evolved sometime during the prehistoric age, when the dinosaurs still ruled the earth.

There are those who stick to the ancient species theory because of evidence found in the Ancient museums, of skeletal structures and fossils that have a disturbing similarity to the current members of this mutant race.

No matter who you believe, they are a fairly common creature found in the tropical wastes, usually along the ocean shores and sometimes deep in the interior, usually in large, deep bodies of water.

These creatures are fully amphibian, capable of living both on land and in the water, although they do need to return to the water on a regular basis or their skin begins to dry out and they sicken and weaken.

Physically, they are humanoid in shape, although they are covered head to toe in overlapping heavy scales that are quite resistant to puncturing attacks. These scales are a greyish green in color but coloration has been known to change from region to region.  They also have a gills located on the side of their necks and heads. Their hands have four long fingers and an opposable thumb, and end in wickedly sharp claws. The feet have claws as well, although they are mainly used for momentum under water. The fingers and toes are heavily webbed, allowing these creatures far greater speed in the water than on land.

They are vastly stronger than most other humanoids and have excellent vision and can detect even trace mounts toxins and blood in the water.

There are both male and female versions of this species, although upon first glance it is very difficult to tell the two apart without a detailed examination. Unlike most species of fish, in which the female first lays the eggs and the male then fertilizes the clutch, these creatures’ pair off for mating.

The female still lays 2-40 eggs, typically in a well hidden and warm location. Both the male and female guard the nest from all potential intruders and predators. It takes about six months for the eggs to fully mature and hatch, at which time the young mutants fight amongst themselves, either killing their clutch mates or driving them off.

In the end, only 1-4 (always the strongest) remain behind and are raised by both parents.