Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sar-Aigu?


In the 3.5e “Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor” book Sar-Aigu is the name of the creatures said to have created the deepest levels (19,20) of Blackmoor dungeon.  We are also told that Sar-Aigu is just an alternate name for Sahaugin.  No reason whatever is given why this creature, and no others should have an alternate species name in Blackmoor.  Nevertheless, in the encounter key for a ghost Sar-aigu, it is described as a standard Sahaugin and even named as such.  So I never thought much about it, but recently I read some of the background flavor text and began to wonder.

Sahaugin themselves are an interesting critter.  Although they first show up in TSR’s Supplement II Blackmoor, by Dave Arneson, there is no doubt that that creature was created and named by Steve Marsh, along with most of the other undersea baddies found in that work.  The thing is, the Sahaugin entry is considerably longer than any other of Steve Marsh’s creatures (compare to sea elves or Ixitxachiltl, for example) and contains a few “Arnesonian” like references to “double value” and “triple value”etc.  I’ve often wondered if the Sahaugin entry contains some info from some other creature submitted by Arneson, a lizard man or “black lagoon” type creature, which perhaps editor Tim Kask merged into the Sahaugin entry.  I don’t know and nobody seems to remember at this point, but the possibility remains intriguing.    

And that takes us back to the DoCB flavor text.  Here are some fact comparisons

Sahaugin
Sar-Aigu (DoCBm)

Can not survive in air, at all in Supplement II, or for only 4 hours in Monster Manual, or for only 1 Hour per 2 con points in d20.

Sar-Aigu utilize a poultice for breathing in an air atmosphere (the birght sea).  They build above ground settlements.
Live in warm waters (MM, d20)
Live in the cold north
Can not live long in fresh water, becoming fatigued and dying in a matter of hours. (MM, d20)  They can not breathe in fresh water (Supp II)
Are perfectly at home in the great dismal swamp where they are said to have had their first egg spawning pond.
Only travel on land at night. (MM)
Live on land 24 hrs a day.
?
Cold blooded
Live in hierarchical feudal bands.
Live in family units


Dungeons of Caslte Blackmoor clearly cast the Sar-Aigu as Sahaugin, yet in detail they seem interestingly different.  Are these details enough to call the Sar-Aigu as a different creature?  I think yes, as at least a sub species if not an altogether new monster.

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