The World Of Khoras - Fauna and Flora - Fauna - Subterranean

Shaker

Other Names Rumbler, Trembler
Climate/Terrain Deep subterranean caves
Frequency Rare
Organization Solitary
Activity Cycle

Any

Diet Omnivore

Physical Description

One of the terrors of the deep underworld is a beast which the dwarves have named the Shaker. This vaguely reptilian beast appears as a very large and bloated snake with vestigial arms and legs. The body is armored with rough scales which are usually a dull greenish grey. A long, serpentine neck supports the beast’s head which is covered in a heavily armored smooth, glossy carapace. The head has no visible organs whatsoever except for a fang filled maw. From its shiny, armored head to the tip of its tail, the beast measures over 12 meters long (40 feet) and weighs in at over one ton. This creature slithers like a snake and its scales, dragging across rock, often create a raspy sound as the beast moves. The animal’s vestigial arms and legs grab at the ground and help pull the creature along, although this is little more than a throwback to the days when this animal needed such limbs.

Combat

A shaker has no sense of sight, sound, smell or taste. It has only two senses. The first is tactile and the animal can sense pressure and touch just as any animal does.

The shaker’s primary sense is its uncanny ability to detect motion. Inside the head, protected beneath the heavy armor carapace, is a specialized organ which is able to detect any motion nearby. This organ resides in the forward section of the brain case and is three times the size of the brain (the dwarves have managed to kill a few shakers and study their anatomy).

This motion sensing organ is extremely sensitive and has a range of about 100 yards. This organ can also detect the smallest vibrations in solid rock. Distant singing, laughing and digging (typical dwarf sounds) would not be heard by a shaker in the traditional sense, but the beast might pick up on the subtle vibrations in the rock. While a shaker cannot hear conversation, it will easily home in on the movement of lips and tongue, the expansion and contraction of lungs, even the beating of a heart at close range (especially if the heart is pounding out of fear or exhaustion).

Obviously, invisibility is useless against this animal as is darkness, bright lights or any other form of visual phenomena. Sonic attacks and certain types of stun attacks (those that use sound waves, noise or vibration) will not effect a shaker, though the shaker might be able to detect such phenomena and home in on them. The best way to hide from a shaker is to stand absolutely still – don’t talk, don’t even breathe and do your best to calm the beating of your heart. Only through hard experience have the races of the underworld learned to deal with this creature.

The beast gets its name from a peculiar habit. Once every few minutes the beast will cease motion and then vibrate its entire body. When the beast is "shaking", it is sending out vibrations into the stone which reflect back. The motion sensing organ is able to detect vibrations in solid objects and detect walls, floors, doors, etc. In this way, the beast can study the caverns around it and instinctually create a three dimensional map in its head. Usually, the beast will "shake" once every few minutes when it travels through caverns.

Shaking also allows the beast to find water and certain types of food because of the way they reflect vibrations (water vibrates different than stone, plant life tends to muffle vibrations).

Habitat

Shakers are normally only found very deep in the ground (Zone 3). However, shakers will often move up into zone 2 or 1 to hunt dwarves, skrell, dythillin, sarthak and other creatures. Shakers generally do not come to the surface. Most surface dwelling races have never even heard of this creature. Despite its bulk and puny limbs, the animal slithers with great speed and agility. It is able to navigate the twists and turns of the cavernous underworld with ease and is able to squeeze its body through surprisingly tight crevasses and openings.

Ecology

Shakers are omnivore and will eat just about anything they find. They regularly feed on lichens, mosses and other plant life. Shakers also hunt any animals that they encounter in the deep darkness. Shakers are not intelligent creatures. They have no language and no society. They are solitary creatures and no group (not even a mated pair) have ever been encountered.

Notes

The shaker brain and motion sensing organ are saturated with a pale purple fluid. This cranial fluid is a valuable alchemical ingredient which is a critical component in several powerful potions.

This website was last updated November 26, 2017 . Copyright 1990-2017 David M. Roomes.

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