Scorpion Man
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Basic Information

The Scorpion Men - originally known as aqrabuamelu or girtablilu - were creatures of ancient Mesopotamian myth, appearing in the Babylonian creation narrative, the epic of their culture hero Gilgamesh and other sources. They were apparently created by the titan Tiamat to wage war on the Babylonian gods as part of their version of the titanomachy, but by the time of Gilgamesh at least two of them were to be found guarding the gates of dawn for the sun-god Shamash. Shades, perhaps, of the cyclopes of Greek mythology, who were also of a titanic origin, but ended up working for the Gods in later myths.

Physically, they seem to be described as a sort of centaur-like hybrid of human and scorpion with a human torso bolted to the front of a scorpion's body. Whether they had chelae as well as arms is also unclear. Some art has them looking more like a turkey with a man's head. A lot of the Composite/Chimera-style Monsters of Mesopotamian Mythology had feathered wings and a human head on some other animals body. So it's understandable that some depictions of Scorpion-Men would be a human head and bird's wings on a giant scorpion body. (Though this does make them a bit more like a manticore as well.)


2. RPG: GURPS Horror: The Madness Dossier by Kenneth Hite - In this GURPS Horror supplement they've got avian as well as scorpion components, and they serve as the foot-soldiers for the reality-warping villains of the setting.

Game and Story Use

  • Does not, apparently, do everything that a scorpion can.
  • Has appeared as a relatively mundane monster in several fRPGs - one appearance as an omnipotent plot device1 being the closest anyone seems to have come to their original quasi-divine conception.
  • The change of sides is interesting - did all scorpion men defect to the divine party or do some of them still bear allegiance to primal chaos? How could you tell?
  • Chances are good that your players don't know a lot about these guys. Deep familiarity with Mesopotamian mythology isn't super common, and even wikipedia has next to nothing on them. That means if you're adding these to your campaign, you get to / need to make several decisions.
    • Are they humanoid or centaur-like?
    • Do they have arms, pincers, wings, or some combination?
      • Does it have 5 limbs (counting 2 legs, 2 arms, and a tail)? 7? 9? 11?
    • How potent is their venom?
    • Are they "normal" monster level, or very powerful semi-divine beings?
    • Do they work for the Titans, the Gods, or does that depend on the individual scorpion man?
      • They could be in a similar position to the cyclopes and hecatoncheires, transferring their allegiance from titans to gods over the course of the mythic era, possibly with a few hold outs imprisoned in the Underworld or hiding out in the wastes of creation.
    • Are there scorpion women? Do they look much the same, or is there bizarre sexual dimorphism in effect? (The official answer to the first question would be "yes", as in the Epic of Gilgamesh there's a bit where a Scorpion Man asks his wife if she knows who Gilgamesh is.)
  • If you've just got one Scorpion Man in your campaign, and you haven't yet decided what sort of personality or characterization to give them, you might consider making them a Scorpio (sun sign). :)
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