I’ve already mentioned the skree in my compendium, but now I feel it is time to go more in-depth. This time I’ll be talking about the aptly named scuttler.
So what better way to begin than with the reason for their name? Imagine a steady tik-tak like fingernails drumming over a desk. That’s the only warning they’re likely to give you. And by then… it’s already too late.
For you’ll soon come to realize that the sound is that of stone protesting as swords walk upon it. And so, you meet the scuttler.
The foot soldier in the skree army. Scuttlers make up the bulk of their forces, and each is a horrifying monster to behold, but you’ll never find one alone. They are just one soldier of many…
Scuttlers have six legs, each razor sharp like the finest blades and as hard as steel. When you see it, it towers above you and stares at you with soulless eyes that glisten in the magical lights of the dwarven cities.
It need not slow down as it races forward as its legs are a weapon to be feared and it will shred and decimate everything it walks over.
But, its legs aren’t its only weapons. It has a pair of scythe-like arms. Not unlike those of a praying mantis… only much larger and far deadlier.
And all of these bladed limbs are coated in a deadly venom, so even if it doesn’t outright kill you… an agonizing death will soon follow.
Even its much smaller (by comparison) mandibles aren’t just for show. It is known to devour its enemies in the midst of battle, often tearing off their heads helmet and all and eating them the way you or I might enjoy the soft crunch of a biscuit.
Its limbs are all as hard as steel, and even its much softer mid-section is tougher than leather. They are beasts designed only to kill, and there are no reports of them ever showing mercy.
Perhaps as some small consolation, they don’t seem to be terribly intelligent. But, I’m not sure that’s a good thing. A more intelligent creature might have some sense of self-preservation.
Scuttlers do not.
Many a grand tale has been spun of soldiers who throw themselves at an enemies battlements. That take heavy losses and do not relent. That possess such single-minded purpose they overwhelm anything in their path.
And, I can’t really think of a better way to describe the attitude of a scuttler.
Just as they feel no mercy, so too do they not seem to feel fear.
They willingly charge into certain death and overwhelm the stoutest fortifications with sheer numbers. They do not rout and flee. They will charge headfirst into pike formations without a second thought.
They do not falter. They do not mourn for the deaths of their own. They simply storm forward no matter the odds.
An enemy of such utter devotion to the cause of killing you is hard to beat. Even when they aren’t many times larger than any man and deadly in the extreme.
This very mindless ferocity leads some to believe that scuttlers and really the skree in general don’t use military strategy at all. That they are incapable of retreating, regrouping, and attacking in conditions favorable to them or of setting traps and such.
This line of thinking, while understandable, is an inexcusable mistake.
Do not forget what I have said thus far in the compendium. Scuttlers are but one type of skree. They are foot soldiers.
They follow orders.
Yes… now you see.
I can’t be sure, but I believe that the matrons create the strategy and give the orders, and the scuttlers obey. They obey like no human soldier ever could.
Would you run into spikes of rock like massive spears just so others could use your corpse to walk on and over to get to the enemy?
I certainly wouldn’t.
But, scuttlers will and do.
I used to believe that dwarves were just greedy, abrasive, prejudiced people. But, after visiting one of their cities and seeing the skree with my own eyes… I don’t think I can truly blame them.
Wouldn’t you have anger in your heart if you were left to fight these creatures for generations? Bleeding and dying to keep other races safe and yet when you ask for their aid they are reluctant to give it…
So, now you have some inkling of what a scuttler is.
Perhaps the next time you see a dwarf, you’ll understand why he or she thinks you’re too soft.
- Nicholas Wolfram, Professor of Monsterology at Lestria University