Scorpion man, scorpion man, doing the things a scorpion can

So I painted up these scorpion-man figures from the Age of Mythology board game (I just bought a few sprues of the pieces for a project a couple years ago) and of course they need to go into the Telengard setting.

I’m willing to overlook the fact that they are from Akkadian/Sumerian/whatever Near Eastern mythology, and assume they are in Telengard for one of the usual reasons you have monsters in D&D — magical experiment gone awry, interdimensional invasion, alien life form, etc. But I’d like to keep some of their original flavor, making them guardians of some kind, and give them powers similar to their mythological forebears.

Who knew scorpion-men wear pantaloons?

My old standby Wikipedia doesn’t have a lot of information, apart from a couple of references to their vernacular names and the fact that they also appear in Enuma Elish (I was familiar with them only from the epic of Gilgamesh and various works based on it).

In the translation of Gilgamesh I read (the Penguin Classics edition) they appear very briefly and mainly serve as harbingers of worse to come.

In Robert Silverberg’s adaptation of the Gilgamesh myth (Gilgamesh the king, a decent read and reasonable attempt to de-mythologize the story), the scorpion people appear to be suffering from leprosy and/or ectrodactyly, and posed no physcial threat.

I understand from Wikipedia that there was a D&D monster called a “Stinger” that was basically a scorpion man, but they must have been 2nd edition or later; there is nothing in my MM, MMII, or Fiend Folio on that. I remember a man-scorpion in the DragonStrike! game and the accompanying video, so maybe they made it into the Monstrous Manual. I think they could have been in the basic D&D Creature Catalog but I don’t have that. I also know they were prominent monster in RuneQuest, although I don’t have that either.

My guys have the claw hands so they can’t very well be archers like the illustration above. A poisonous sting is obvious but that doesn’t really set them apart from a million other poisonous monsters…like, for instance, giant scorpions. Also, although I think D&D scorpions are save-or-die poison, real scorpions just paralyze their prey with poison so they can eat them slowly.

Since real scorpions are fairly scared of light, we might give them light penalties and/or darkness spells. Real scorpions also do all of their digestion outside their bodies (like Brundlefly, secreting digestive juices and drinking the liquefied food). So maybe they spit acid? But the human torso would give them internal digestion, maybe. Also, fun facts: some scorpions can reproduce asexually (laying unfertilized eggs that develop anyway) and their slow metabolism lets some go up to a year between feedings before starving to death. More weird scorpion stuff here.

Wikipedia mentions that the in the myths, “their glance is death,” so adding a gaze attack would make an unexpected danger; I’m kind of thinking that they could charm, paralyze, hypnotize, or otherwise neutralize their prey with it.

Since my figures are very impressionistic, with tiny little legs, I don’t see them being very fast, although they might be good at hiding, like real scorpions.

I am also having trouble deciding if they use magic or even language. I imagine one origin for them to be something like a twisted use of the “universal combiner,” in which case they’d be pretty upset about their current form. They could have been driven mad by the whole ordeal and gibber incoherently (I thought about making them mutter continuously in low tones, or maybe a demihuman language, pleading for mercy or release even while they viciously attack. I kind of like the image of them as monsters where the human parts are actually unwilling ‘passengers’, to add a little moral gray about slaying them.)

About these ads
Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i love scorpion men. though i prefer to say Man-Scorpions since that’ s what it says in the Gilgamesh I read. Reaper has some good scorpion-man minis though they are the multipiece kind that fall apart easily.

    I remember the Stinger being in a 3.5 forgotten realms-specific monster book and also another variant on the same idea in D&D, maybe just called “scorpion men” or “scorpion centaurs.

  2. and if you don’t know the words to the song in the title, you can always hum, Baba.


    (I’ll see myself out…)

  3. Great minis! Scorpions are truly amazing creatures and will likely inherit the dying earth. Hurray! They deserve it. Unless of course we genetically combine with them as others have done on nearby planets (duly recorded by the ancients, as you note). :^|

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Teaching myself how to craft

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming

Using De Bellis Antiquitatis, with the odd diversion...

Riffing Religion

Prophets should be mocked. I'm doing my part.


An encyclopedia of the Cirsovan empire, thoughts on Gaming, Music and more.

2 Warps to Neptune

Documenting the 8-bit era and the origins of geek

Inside the Shadowbox

Rolling the dice. Writing the words. Pushing the buttons. Eating the bacon. Smiling and waving.


Miniature painting, wargaming terrain creation and more

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness


A lair for gaming, sci-fi, comics, and other geekish pursuits.


An Alternative Cultural Daybook

I bought this stuff and read it so you don't have to.

300 stories

A continuing mission to produce flash fiction stories in 300 words (or less)

Role Play Craft

Crafting ideas, options, and modules for your role playing campaign.

Taking Games Seriously

Because Fantasy without Philosophy is Garbage

The Rambling Roleplayer

I play games and sometimes I write things about them. Geek, dad, husband, gamer, and amateur carpenter, in that order.

Sheppard's Crook

The occasional blog of a closet would -be wargamer and modeller

10 Bad Habits

An idle mind is the devil's wood shed.

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time


A vast castle built by generations of mad wizards and insane geniuses.


Just another site

Bunker Club 55

Another Dump of Stuff for your RPGs, D&D, Microlite 20, OSR

Lost in Time

"What happened to Claw Carver?"


gaming, graphics, and genrefication

Stuffed Crocodile

Mazes, Martians, Mead


Role-Playing Games, Medieval History, Assorted Legends and Myths, and My Stupid Life.


Tabletop gaming, Dungeon-Mastering, pipesmoking, and single malts News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.


Tales from South Zierden Alley

Wrathofzombie's Blog

A blog of Role-playing Dorkiness!

Atroll's Entertainment

A Troll's Account of Having Fun

Three Lil Pigs Painting

talking about painting miniatures for display and heritage figures

The Mule Abides

New York's Old School Dungeoneers


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 246 other followers

%d bloggers like this: