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Charles Sablons, the artist who drew the Tsadutan, interviews Randy, author and publisher of the World of Sulerin, about this odd race of tentacled creatures.
Charles: Does it have a human chest?
Randy: It's chest is shaped by tightly woven tentacles. It is similar in dimension to a human or dwarven chest, but made from closely tangled tentacles. It does this to itself so that it can wear armor.
Charles: Like the first Oni in Princess Monoke?
Randy: Yes, like that. Like the Oni in Monoke before all the worms fell away to reveal its true nature. Very good comparison! I didn't think of that.
Charles: The ends of tentacles are round, like the Oni, or more classical with a point?
Randy: They are classical. Pointed.
Charles: Ok, the head now. What's that really look like?
Randy: The head is a collection of thicker tentacles which meld into a single place. It has no eyes, no ears, no mouth. A rough leathery carapace covers its head where the thickest tentacles come together. It has no neck. It's "head" rests directly upon the shoulders that it forms with its tentacles. If this creature wanted to, it could entirely untangle its tentacles and it would look like a bunch of tentacles hanging down from a mass the size of a large rugby ball. But it wraps and tangles its tentacles together so that it can wear armors, wield weapons, and perform other basic skills which are necessary for ones comfort when living in a world where everyone you deal with is humanoid.
Charles: The carapace is an armor for hide is face or natural?
Randy: The carapace is a tough hide. It is natural and forms where the creatures many main tentacles come together. It covers an area slightly larger in size to a human wearing a hat, covering the top half of its head. The outside of the carapace is without tentacles.
Charles: Ok, what about the arms. There is one big tentacle cover by few little, like for a tree? Do you know the comic, Druuna? It's Italian.
Randy: No, I don't usually read comics. The "arms" are formed in the same manner as it's head. It has no elbows. Its arms are a network of tentacles which it has woven together. Like many small tentacles, the width of your fingers, wrapped around a larger main tentacle that is mostly unseen since it is nearly entirely covered with the smaller tentacles. It doesn't have "hands", per se, but rather grips objects with the tentacle ends which its arms are built from. The smallest are like finger width and the biggest like the lower half of a human forearm. Each arm probably has one or two big ones and many small ones in it. Six or seven more make up the creatures core body, so all in all there are between 10 and 12 of the largest tentacles.
Charles: Pfiouu, what's this horror ! ;) And in the proportion are its arms to the rest of the body?
Randy: Almost proportional to a human , just slightly longer at the tips. It is a horrific looking creature, no?
Charles: Yes. They have no legs? Do they float like a beholder?
Randy: No legs. It floats entirely off the ground.
Charles: But I suppose there is some tentacle in the bottom of the chest?
Randy: The remainder of its main tentacles are hidden within its chest, forming the trunk of its body. They (the main tentacles) are perhaps, at their absolute, as thick as your forearm. They taper to a point.
Charles: Another question. You wrote about muscle in the creatures description. Does that mean there is no skin?
Randy: The tentacles are almost entirely muscle. The muscle is tough on the outside, like a layer of skin, but it does not look like skin, it looks like the same muscle you might see if you were to pull back a human's skin. It is red in color.
Charles: Ok, like Freddy?
Randy: Freddy Kruger?
Randy: Heh. Sure, or like one of those anatomy models you sometimes see in a science classroom.
Charles: How do they eat?
Randy: They eat through the tips of their main tentacles. They burrow these tentacles into a dead creature and feed directly through them. At the tips of the main tentacles, there is an opening which is almost too small to see, like the mouth of a worm.
Charles: And they suck the blood inside the body.
Randy: They suck the blood from within the corpse, into their body.
Charles: If they are body guard, how they distingue the good of the bad guy? The heat is not sufficient, no?
Randy: They sense heat with the entire surface of their body. Their sense of heat is accurate enough that they can identify unique individuals. In fact, it is accurate enough that they can tell the difference between two people in the midst of a crowd of other people. This means of vision is limited though; they can only see about 30 feet in this manner. Fortunately they also have a clairvoyant sight, like a sixth sense, which lets them see further. Their long range vision, which augments their short range vision, is like the darkvision described in the 3rd Edition Player's Handbook - essentially, they see regardless of available light and they see in shades of gray. It is like a psychic power, but they cannot see through objects no more than you or I humans can see through objects. They have a must have a direct line-of-sight from their body to what they see, it's not an omniscient all-seeing eye that they can position from any perspective. They do see in all directions simultaneously though, allowing them to be aware of what's going on in any direction about them.
Charles: Then I assume they are susceptible to great heat, like a human is susceptible to an enormous noise (like a boeing aeroplane)?
Randy: A wall of fire would prevent them from being able to distinguish what is on the other side of the wall. It would not be painful, but it would limit their ability to see, for example, invisible creatures that they would normally be able to detect with their heat sight. Also, creatures which are the same temperature as their surroundings, like an air elemental, would be invisible to a Tsadutan's heat sight.
Charles: Ok. Is there a front for its head? We can distinguish the creature's front from its back?
Randy: They would appear uniform from all sides if they didn't form "arms" and a "chest" for themselves. A human would distinguish its front from its back by how it wears its armor. It would hold its weapon in a manner consistent with the direction it was traveling - thus seeming to indicate that there was a front and a back.
Charles: But the Tsadutan can perfectly use a weapon to its side in the same manner. For it there is no difference.
Randy: Correct. Tsadutan position their arms in a manner similar to humans for two reasons. First, that's how most armor is made to be worn, and second, it makes other races more comfortable in their presence.
Charles: You means they can "move" the position of their arms?
Randy: If they choose to, they could build their arms from tentacles in a different position about their torso. However, this is not how other races usually encounter them.
Charles: Then they can have more or less than two arms?
Randy: To have more than two would require practice, though a
Tsadutan could do it. They do not do this usually since they need a
certain mass of tentacles for bearing loads, and for reasons that necessitate
a larger central mass. For example, if your body weighed significantly less
and you tried to swing a sword, it would be difficult because you wouldn't
have the central mass to do it easily. A Tsadutan's left over tentacles,
which dangle from beneath its body, are each capable of picking up small
objects, if necessary. Though they don't usually carry items with their
loose tentacles because that would make their tentacle sign language (the
way they communicate with other races) difficult.
Charles: And what about communication?
Randy: Tsadutan rarely initiate communication with other races. They speak to each other with telepathy.
Charles: This telepathy can be use with other telepath?
Randy: Most Tsadutan are unable to telepathically speak to non-Tsadutan. However, some of them are born with this ability. These gifted Tsadutan become translators and spokesmen for the race when they must deal with others. When a group of Tsadutan travel to do business with another race they bring a special member of their race with them which is capable of projecting thoughts into other creatures or they hire a creature which is a telepath to act as a translator for them.
Randy: Does that give you a more complete idea of what they are like?
Charles: Yes, thank you.