The 3.X Aquatic Database


Staff member
There have been a lot of good posts & threads dealing with aquatic adventuring, but they are often spaced out over many months and several forums, so they may be hard to find.

So, for the benefit of all the Steve Zissou wannabes...lets all post links to nifty threads & posts dealing with the deep blue:

Ready for a little detour into Cryptozoology?

Jaws I can handle. I'm not really afraid of sharks. Barracudas, moray eels, even jellyfish and such horrid oddities as sea snakes, mantis shrimp, sea nettles and portuguese man of war I can live with, but when I saw this
Animal Oddities - ABC News ] it was too much for me to handle. What the heck is this thing? Is this for real? Where do these horrific creatures live?

It's a four foot long worm that was 'found' eating the fish in a public aquarium, has jaws that can break coral and can permanently "numb" humans with it's stingers.

So I got really curious about this thing, it immediately reminded me of some old medieval tales of Wyrms from various Sagas and chronicles, like the Sockburn Wyrm or one of those other strange beasties, but more on that in a minute.

The first thing I ran across when searching for more information on these polycheates worms were some really evocative cryptozoological articles.

Our friend "Barry" from the aquarium could have some bigger cousins out there, namely the "Con Rit" aka Giant Sea Centipede, at least one Crypto writer posits it is related to this critter, which according to this article gets about 10' in some known variants

What Is The "Great Sea Centipede"?

Some other crypto articles

Null Hypothesis | Top Ten Animal Mysteries: The Giant Sea Centipede

Con Rit – The Great Sea Centipede

At the very least, this could make for a cool monster, paralysis stingers, very strong, up to 150' long? Whats not to like?

Here is a video of a much smaller and slimmer example of this species, maybe 3', noodling around in somebodies fish tank

YouTube - Sea Bristleworm dragon worm

But gamers and fans of DnD might be particularly interested in some other much older stories. There are many interesting old Medieval stories of "wyrms" in Europe which made it into the public records, including this story I remembered of a "wyrm" which was found as a small animal, thrown in a well, where it proceeded to grow to monstrous size and eventually became a public nuisance.

Lambton Worm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The description of the “beast” reminds me a lot of our friend Barry

Probably a very tenuous link, but interesting for gamers nonetheless, maybe fodder for some game ideas? It's got my creative juices flowing like Barry's mouth while he's sizing up a yellow tang :)

Next post: more cool Wyrm legends including the historical origins of Lewis Carols Jaberwock and the Vorpal blade which slew it snicker snack…


As Aeolius knows well, there have been a quite a few threads about aquatic menaces, many drawn from real life. Here are some of them, for those who weren't involved with them at the time:

And a little post from a thread about "creepy" critters:
3) Anything that eats its live prey whole...sloooooowly...creeps people out. Most people would think constrictor snake first, but they don't do the live part. Cone Snails, OTOH, use a harpoon-like radula to inject a nonlethal paralytic poison into small fish (and other prey) and eat them whole. I used a Giant sized one of these in a campaign once...the hate of the thing was almost visceral.

Elsewhere, I had even posted about an aquatic Monk variant that, like nudibranchs, had the class ability to consume anemones and incorporate the nematocysts into their bodies...
Which reminds me of these recent stories about critters that have nematocysts...
Killer jellyfish population explosion warning - Telegraph
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One of the creepier 'Nessie' theories is that worms native to the lake gather together in great clumps to mate, and end up flopping onto shore and writhing around in a nasty mass.

Such a 'wormswarm,' composed of (hopefully smaller versions of!) the critter in the top post would be appropriately nightmare-inducing...

The 'permanant numbness' venom could be simulated by having the venom do Dex damage, but on a bad save, maxed out damage roll or whatever, 1 point of the Dex is drain, instead of damage.


Staff member
It seems I haven't actually posted my notes for nematocyst monks here at all, but these Sea Elves I tweaked use most of what I was thinking about.

<edit>In addition, I've jazzed up other creatures as well:

Thalassans (Sea Fey) As written, Aquatic Elves are kind of boring. Lifting a page from the Thorn Fey above, give them some twists that set them apart from other aquatic races.

Make them have a dietary preference for cnidarians- Coral, Sea Anemones, and Jellyfish- and cephalopods - squids, octopi, cuttlefish and nautilioids. Like Nudibranchs, they are capable of taking the nematocysts (stinging cells) of the cnidarians they eat and storing them in their own epidermis. Thus, when they make unarmed strikes or natural attacks, they may simultaneously release neurotoxins into their targets, possibly resulting in intense debilitating pain, paralysis or even death.

Much like their absorption of nematocysts, they also absorb the chromatophores of their cephalopod prey. This means they can be brightly- even psychedelically- colored or invisibly camoflaged. Their control is such that they even have a visual language "spoken" by using chromatophores to flash color in patterns.


Staff member
Another RW site to look at would be here:

River Monsters : Jeremy Wade, Killer Fish : Animal Planet

The show, River Monsters, is absolutely riveting.

I mean, everybody knows about sharks, piranhas, gators and crocs, but who (besides fish geeks like me) knew about the unfairly maligned Alligator Gar (7-14'), the 8'+ Goonch catfish of India, the 10'+ Wels catfish of Europe, and the Amazon's other killers, like the arapaima and a host of dangerous catfish?

FWIW, Amazon Catfish include 3 that rival the Wels in size, the Candiru subspecies- one that occasionally swims up urethras, another that eats critters from the inside out- nearly as quickly and cleanly as piranhas.


Staff member
Aeolius- I liked that thread about Underwater Ambience.

I have to agree with Lycanthromancer about using Tangerine Dream as background music. The first to spring to mind, of course, would be Underwater Sunlight.

[ame=] Underwater Sunlight: Tangerine Dream: Music[/ame]

In addition, you might try the soundtrack to Cirque du Soleil's underwater show, O.

[ame=] O: Elise Guay, Rhéal Jutras, Julie McInnes, Benoit Jutras, François Jutras, Roxane Potvin, Vovo, Stéphane Gariépy, Toumany Kouyaté: Music[/ame]


Staff member
While we're at it, lets list some of the movies/books etc. that have significant value for designing (or yoinking!) aquatic adventures for D&D:

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

The Poseidon Adventure

Cabin By the Lake


Mysterious Island

Beneath Still Waters

Hard Rain

Deep Rising

The Abyss

The Deep


Deepstar 6


Lake Placid

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When it comes to music, I am fond of Diane Arkenstone's Aquaria:

As for movies, I like this one:
[ame=""]War-Gods of the Deep[/ame]

As for literature, I find inspiration in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Poe's poem "The City in the Sea" (from which War-Gods of the Deep was inspired). For a bit of non-fiction, I turn to [ame=""]OCEAN[/ame]

Another source of inspiration can be found in documentaries. Discovery's Blue Planet series comes to mind.
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