"Astalakian" is the closest pronunciation that humans and merfolk can approximate. They are commonly nicknamed Scuttlers.

Basic Information


Adult Astalakians are hard shelled vaguely humanoid crustaceans.   Adult Scuttlers weigh about two hundred pounds on average and stand about five and a half feet tall. Males are a bit larger than females on average. Males tend to noticeably larger claws than females on average.   Scuttlers have two sets of arms, the top two are lobster like claws and the bottom two are human like hands.

Genetics and Reproduction

Females typically lay eggs only once in her lifetime, typically laying clutches of five to seven eggs. The female molts completely during this time and would theoretically be helpless if the Scuttlers didn’t reserve their very best fortifications for young mothers, and the whole community pitches in to defend these places. The birthing time is almost never a surprise, with females knowing roughly a year in advance when her birthing time is coming. Birthing times are staggered. Even if nearby females are biological sisters, they are likely to have their birthing times years apart.   During times of great strife (when large number of Scuttlers die to war or disease), females will have two or even three clutches of eggs over their lifetimes. Even the Astakalians are not sure of how this happens, but most assume the gods of the Sea interfere on behalf of the Scuttler People. This has the unfortunate side effect of drastically lowering the females’ overall life expectancy considerably.   Assuming the Scuttlers are not undergoing a period of great strife, females typically have their birthing time around age thirty give or take a few years.

Growth Rate & Stages

Young Scuttlers go through a large number of rapid growth spurts, typically every two to three years. Scuttlers technically don’t stop growing until their late twenties but they are considered full adults at sixteen.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Amongst themselves, Scuttlers tend to heed the words of their elders in high regard though the society is meritocratic, so a talented young prodigy can wield a lot of influence. Private among other races, they are incorrigible gossips among themselves. Whatever the task is, a Scuttler community usually has an accurate idea of who the best person for the job is. A Scuttler that has a loose tile in a wall he made can expect his fellows to rib him for that flaw for years to come…in private. Among outsider Scuttlers take communal responsibility for any flaws in their work and will not single out one of their own kind.   Scuttlers will often settle disputes with crafting contests and this is something of a spectator sport. A spectator sport that most non-Scuttlers would find extremely boring. The clergy judges whose work is best. Informal challenges will invoke an informal secular crowd with secular judges. It is rare, but not unheard of to have crafting contests to the death where the loser is executed.   Scuttlers are a competitive lot, and they don’t limit every contest to crafting. They also like athletic and martial competitions but these are nearly always low stakes and informal. They are also boastful among their kind. This is sometimes referred to somewhat disparagingly as claw measuring contests.

Average Intelligence

Astalakians have intelligence comparable to humans.

Civilization and Culture

Gender Ideals

Centuries ago, Astakalians had fairly rigid gender norms for societal roles.   Males gathered food and defended their families and tribes while females were the primary crafters of tools and weapons. This division of gender roles has become muted in recent generations, especially among Scuttlers that are assimilated into the Oshamni Empire.   In the past Astakalians had a very patriarchal society but modern Scuttlers lean in a more matriarchal direction. This is driven primarily because the race's prosperity is now based based much more on building and crafting (which the Astakalians view as feminine) and much less on warfare and hunting (which the Astakalian view as masculine).

Courtship Ideals

Long ago, Scuttlers males would earn mating rights over females by fighting other males viciously. Modern Scuttlers are monogamous, but their wedding ceremonies typically include ritualized mock combat which the groom to be always wins against the other males attending the wedding.

Relationship Ideals

Astakalians are very family oriented. The mother and father are the primary caregivers of children and their primary peers are their brothers and sisters, but Scuttlers can expect to grow up with a lot of attention from many aunts and uncles. Families operate much like family businesses and that business usually involves building something. As soon as a child is large enough to lift a pile of clay, their practical education begins. Parents are discouraged from playing favorites with their young, but aunts and uncles can and do pick favorites. If the aunt or uncle has a specialized skill, this often is the basis for one-on-one apprenticeships later.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Astakalians have their own language that outsiders have a hard time physically pronouncing. Most Scuttlers learn Sea Common.   Astakalians were arguably the first Scaraquan race to widely adopt writing, and they remain the most literate undersea race today. The written script for Sea Common is based on the Scuttler Alphabet.   If a substance has the right acoustics, Scuttlers can communicate over long distances by rhythmic tapping out letters of their script similar to modern Morse code that a small number of other Scaraquans have adapted for their own use.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Scuttlers view Hallisan and Phidas as the creators of their race, and most Scuttlers worship these two deities primarily. They will pay cursory worship to the other deities. If an Astalakian is profusely worshiping a deity who isn’t Hallisan or Phidas, he or she is probably putting on a show for an outside observer. Scuttlers tend to be private bunch and commonly view their relationship with the gods as a private thing.   Astalakians very rarely “hear the call” to take up the faith late in life. On their third birthday, young Scuttlers are ritually blessed by a priest or priestess, or time permitting the child is blessed by a succession of priests and priestesses. The Scuttler clergy will examine astrological charts, talk to the family about the child’s budding personality, look at the child’s shell for unusual patterns and do a whole bunch of esoteric stuff. They will then declare what line of work the child should pursue. Usually, parents take this as a suggestion not a command but if the Scuttler clergy say the child is destine to be a priest or priestess, the parents nearly always consent to give their children up to be raised by the clergy.   Scuttlers clergy are equally common among males and females. About two thirds of the Scuttler priests serve Phidas or Hallisan. The other third is split roughly evenly between Korus, Greymoria, and Mera. It is extremely rare for a Scuttler to become a priest to Maylar, Nami, or Zarthus. Politically Astalakian clergy are Astalakian first and worshipers of their deity second. Most Scuttler priests get along better among Scuttler priests dedicated to other deities than they get along with non-Scuttler priests dedicated to their same deity.   Scuttler’s value hard work and are usually perfectionists by nature. Scuttler’s are private around non-Scuttler (the Shell-less ones). They can get boisterous and competitive among each other, but they will nearly always present a unified front against outsiders.

Common Taboos

Astakalians value their privacy and maintaining face in front of other races.   If you want to praise an Astakalian, praise his or her work. If you want to insult an Astakalian, insult his or her work.   In private, a Scuttler will rarely hesitate to harshly criticize the flaws and mistakes of another Scuttler or his or her work, but it is considered bad form for an Astakalian to do anything to reflect poorly another Astakalian in front of outsiders.   This practice carries over to Scuttler family dynamics. Scuttlers may chew out their family members in private, but families will usually only say positive things about their family members around other Scuttler clans.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

The history of the Astakalian People includes an embarrassingly high number of disastrous wartime defeats. This has taught Scuttlers humility. Scuttlers typically parley their building skills to other Scaraquans in exchange for a place in the societies of others. They will nod politely while Karakhai monologue about how they are the strongest race in the Sea and they will nod politely while Merfolk talk about how no other people are as rich and cultured as they. Scuttlers react so little to slurs against their race that few among “the Shell-less” even bother insulting Scuttlers anymore. Most Astakalians are okay being called “Scuttlers” after all.   A Astakalian's true pride is in his or her work. If you want to get on a Scuttler’s good side, praise their work, not them. If you want to insult them, insult their work.   Scuttlers usually create communities within communities creating private Scuttler enclaves within societies run by other races. If another Scaraquan claims rulership over the Scuttlers it’s wise to not rub their face in it. Wise princes know they will get better work form the Scuttlers if the Scuttlers are given the autonomy and privacy they desire.
75 years
Average Height
Adults average around five feet five inches with males an inch or two taller than females on average.
Average Weight
Adult males average 220 pounds, adult females average 200 pounds
Geographic Distribution
Related Materials

Cover image: Symbol of the Nine by Pendrake


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