Oct 242012

My Favorite Monsters is a showcase of some of the beautiful artwork Turbine has provided so that we have interesting things to kill.

What are you lookin at?

I didn’t fight a lot of Sahaugin when I played table top Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve been trying to figure why; an entire race of Creatures From the Black Lagoon, they’re not scary like a vampire or iconic like a mind flayer or formidable like a beholder. They’re just there.

When I was a dungeon master I would put Sahaugin cities on my maps but the players never went there. Apparently this wasn’t just me, none of us wanted to mess with the Sahaugin.

Perhaps because Dungeons and Dragons already has a surplus of scaly reptilian humanoid types? There’s Lizardmen, there’s Yuan-ti, there’s Troglodytes, and if you played in Blackmoor there’s even Frogmen … lots of scaly humanoids. It’s hard to stand out when you’re surrounded by so many others.

And they are underwater. Underwater combat was kind of intimidating, especially in the first edition Dungeons and Dragons. It worked differently in ways that weren’t always easy to understand. It was not undecipherable, it was just easier to do other things.

First Edition version (more or less)

The First Edition Monster Manual version, liberally colorized but otherwise a faithful reproduction


I know this is going to sound silly but I think another problem is their name. It’s hard to say! Is it “Saw – HAW – gin”? “Saw – HWA- Jeen”? Something else entirely? I don’t know. As a dungeon master it was easier to just put in a different monster that could be pronounced properly.

And so I largely avoided Sahaugin as a DM and my own dungeon masters chose not to confront me with them either.

Fighting Sahaugin is not unusually challenging. They do not seem to have any particular weaknesses or strengths. If you are trying to equip the correct bane weapon, they’re Monstrous Humanoids, along with gargoyles, wildmen and medusas.

They are at their best when they come at you en masse, not unusual for a melee monster. Their casters are not particularly fearsome; they are a hard out but they’re not an impossibly difficult one, and no special tactics are required.

I tried to do a bit of scholarly research here and talk about Sahaugin in history and mythos except there doesn’t appear to be any; they seem to have been among the hundreds of monsters made up out of whole cloth specifically for D&D. Wikipedia goes so far as to name the TSR employee that invented them.

Which brings us to Sahaugin today, in DDO. Where they are beautiful!

Another creature that really comes into its own when given the 3D treatment, DDO Sahaugin come in multiple colors and look amazingly cool. Over-sized and with a bad attitude, they wave their tridents menacingly and just generally look intimidating. And they come in a variety of colors!

Sadly there apparently wasn’t enough art expense to give them a true thrusting trident and and instead they get slashing tridents. So it goes.

They make interesting fishy sound effects too.

My favorite visuals are the ones that are wearing a larger fish – I think it’s a shark? – as a helmet. Very imaginative, and it looks great!

A Pointed Conversation

Extra Protection!

I also like that they worship the Devourer. I don’t know anything about the Devourer but I know that he sounds cold and huge and very hungry which seems like exactly the sort of thing that a fish man would want to worship.

So there you have it: visually striking, aurally interesting, and they even go belly up when you kill them underwater. A perfect video game monster!

And that’s why Sahaugin have become one of my favorite monsters.

  3 Responses to “My Favorite Monsters: Sahaugin”

Comments (3)
  1. Late comment here (I was following other posts), but I can’t believe you left out the Sahuagin City in Baldur’s Gate II. The sahuagin of the Forgotten Realms are a dying race, either their gods have forsaken them or are losing power themselves. It is a fairly impressive sequence in BG2, and is much more poignant than anything in Korthos

  2. I reckon its a megalodon skull helmet “think dinosaur great white shark”. Curiously it must be petrified Cartilage as i think Megalodon,s like todays sharks didn’t really have bones. It would be cool if DDO introduced a Meaglodin riding Sahaugin calvary that did hit an run attacks while you were vulnerably swiming about underwater…talk about exposed in the field of fire!

    • No way that is a megalodon, Sahaugin are size: medium. It is probably “just” a great white. Still, megalogon or even great white calvary would dominate the seas.

      Note, one of the NPC paladins in order of the stick has a great white mount.

What do you think?

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