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Monstrous Arcana: The Sea Devils (2e)
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Monstrous Arcana: The Sea Devils (2e)

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Evil denizens of the depths: the sahuagin.

The sahuagin are known by many names. Some call them the Devil Men of the Deep; to others, they are simply the Sea Devils. This deadly race of aquatic beings has remained a mystery to surfacedwellers - until now. This fully illustrated 96-page accessory details the highly organized structure of sahuagin society, offers insight into the workings of the predatory sahuagin mind, and examines the worship of Sekolah, the dark sahuagin deity. The Sea Devils also includes a full description of a typical sahuagin village easily usable in any campaign setting, new spells that are granted to sahuagin priestesses, and a color poster detailing the sahuagin in all their variety.

This book is the second in a series of accessories that focuses on some of the most popular monsters in the AD&D game. DMs and players alike should also look for Evil Tide, Night of the Shark, and Sea of Blood, a trilogy of MONSTROUS ARCANA adventures centered around sahuagin.

Product History

The Sea Devils (1997), by Skip Williams, is the core sourcebook for the second Monstrous Arcana arc. It was published in July 1997.

Origins (I): Another Arcana. In 1996, TSR debuted the Monstrous Arcana (1996-1998). It was intended as a yearly series, each annual publication consisting of a core sourcebook and three connected adventures.

The second Monstrous Arcana arc was meant to begin in January 1997 with The Sea Devils (1997), but it was delayed by six months due to TSR's bankruptcy. However, The Sea Devils was one of the first books that Wizards of the Coast published after their revival of TSR, so all four books would still appear over the course of the year, with the final adventure, "Sea of Blood" (1997), appearing in December. (Whew!)

Origins (II): A History of Sea Devils. The sahuagin were created by Steve Marsh, as part of his Elemental Plane of Water source material that ended up in Supplement II: Blackmoor (1975). Most people assume that the sea devils were influenced by H.P. Lovecraft's Deep Ones or by The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), but Marsh says the main influence was actually an episode of the Super Friends cartoon (1973-1986). The name, meanwhile, is "a Spanish name of an historian that came off the back of the Christ in the Americas pamphlet", which was used by the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

The sahuagin of course reappeared in the Monster Manual (1977). They were then a major focus in the "U" adventures (1982-1983). By the time that AD&D 2e (1989) rolled around, they were considered so central to the AD&D game that they appeared in MC1: Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989).

Expanding D&D. The Sea Devils revamped one of D&D's favorite variant rules systems by laying out new mechanics for underwater adventuring, including details for breathing, seeing, hearing, moving, and fighting. Many of these rules would reappear just two months later in a slightly different and expanded form in DMGR9: Of Ships and the Sea (1997), which was in part a companion book to this volume.

Monsters of Note. The stars of The Sea Devils are (of course) the sahuagin. There's info on their biology, ability, psychology, history, technology, and religion.

However, The Sea Devils also touches upon the anguiliians, a new eel-like monster that is cousin to the sahuagins. They'd receive more attention in the sahuagin adventure trilogy.

Future History. Skip Williams also wrote "Sneaky Devils" on the sahuagin for Dragon #239 (September 1997). The Sea Devils was then supplemented by three connected adventures: "Evil Tide" (1997), "Night of the Shark" (1997), and "Sea of Blood" (1997).

About the Creators. Williams began working as a designer at TSR in 1989. By the mid '90s, he was working on some of the company's most important products, such as Dungeon Master Option and Player's Option books for AD&D 2.5.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons — a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Product Information
Author(s)
Rule System(s)
Pages
96
Edition
1.0
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9539
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16.08 MB
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File Last Updated:
May 21, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on May 23, 2017.