Claw Hunter

by Edward A. May

      The Claw Hunters have been encountered by the Makah and Nootka peoples of this region for close to a decade now, but were completely unaware of a similar species being present in other regions of the world. What has been discovered since is that the Claw Hunters are actually an obscure ancestor to the Crab Warriors (RIFTS Source Book 4: Coalition Navy pg. 100-101). As where the Crab Warriors at least approach human intelligence the Claw Hunters are at an extremely low human intelligence level. While they are related, the Claw Hunters are somewhat different from their descendants...

Alignment: Selfish or Miscreant alignments tend to suit them best.
Attributes: IQ: Low human intelligence 1D4, ME: 2D6, MA: 1D4, PS: 2D6+24, PP: 1D6+15, PE: 3D6+10, PB: 1D6, Spd: 6D6+5.
Size: Approximately the same as Crab Warriors, but much more bulky.
Weight: 1,500 to 2,000 Lbs! (681-909kg.)
M.D.C. by Location:
    *Antennae (2) - 15+1D6 each.
    Legs (6) - 45+3D6 each.
    Large Right Pincer - 150+2D4x10.
    Small Left Pincer - 50+4D6.
    Main Body - 200+2D6x10 - plus the PE attribute. (Acquires an additional 3D6 per level of experience.)

    * Items marked with an asterisk are difficult to strike so the attacker must make a "called shot" then is a -3 to strike.

Horror Factor: 14.
P.P.E.: 1D4x10+10.
Average Level of Experience: 1D4.
R.C.C. Skills:
    *Language: Click-snap-snap-pause-grind-click-snap-snap-click: (+20%)
    Underwater Navigation (+20%)
    Land Navigation (-10%)
    Undersea Survival (+25%)
    Climb (+15%)

* A note regarding language; The Claw Hunters do NOT have the capacity for speaking a spoken language. The clicking/grinding plate Crab Warriors use to speak was still at a very primitive state at this phase of the species development, thus while the creatures can learn to understand spoken languages - they cannot speak them. Their own native "tongue" is a language of soft clicks and loud snaps of their claws accompanied by grinding sounds made deep in the "throat" of the creatures. Gestures with the small claw are also a major component of the language, but use of the right claw in spoken language is considered threatening.

Natural Abilities: Swim: 88%+2% per level of experience, poor vision - about 1/3 range of a human's vision, bio-regeneration of 1D4x10 M.D.C. every week, while an Antennae can be grown back in 3 months, claws or legs take upward and around a year.
Depth Tolerance: Maximum depth is limited to about 1 mile (1.6km.).
Sense Magnetic North: Same as a dolphin - they have an knack for sensing magnetic North, but do not appear to have any real sensory organs to do so - borders on intuition.
Chemoreceptors: The antennae are designed specifically to seek out specific scents/tastes in water giving them the capacity to track by scent/taste underwater at 70%, they also allow the Claw Hunter to detect changes in water temperature, current strength, current direction, and tide at a 98% efficiency. Unlike the Crab Warrior - they are long and protrude above the head and cannot be used as "feelers".
Breathing: This creature is semi-aquatic, it cannot survive out of water for more than 1D4+2 days at a time.
Attacks Per Melee: Two attacks per melee round, plus one at levels 4, 8, and 12.
Combat Maneuvers & Damages: Restrained claw strike does 1D4 M.D., a full strength large claw strike does 1D4x10 M.D., a full strength small claw strike does 4D6 M.D., a power full strength large claw strike does 2D6x10 M.D., and a kick/stomp with the legs inflicts 3D6 M.D. Note that the Crab Warrior's eventually developed the horns and were able to use them to good effect in contests for tribal superiority - but this evolutionary development took place after the Claw Hunters were gone.
Bonuses: +1 to initiative, +5 to strike, +2 to parry, and +2 to dodge.
Average Life Span: 35 years.
Market Value: Slavers may pay well for a living specimen to fight in gladiatorial arenas. Their inability to stay on dry land however might be a preventative factor in such a purchase, however.
Appearance: Claw hunters are much like Crab Warriors in appearance. They stand on a base of six crab like legs, with a roughly humanoid torso/shoulder area, concluded with a hunched over neck/head appendage that leads into a pair of long segmented antennae. They have two "arms" that end in claws, the right claw of the Claw Hunters being significantly larger than that of the left. Unlike the Crab Warriors though their shells are not spiny nor sharp - but is more like the smooth surface of earthly sand crabs. Their shells are also not of a sandy color and are more of a rich brown with blue mottling - likely the result of spending far more time at sea than on land.
Prey: The Claw Hunter mostly feeds upon fish, cephalopods, especially octopus, and the occasional mollusk. However if a land creature gets too close to a nesting ground - they will eat that just the same. Thus while the Crab Warriors prefer humanoid prey - the Claw Hunters will only attack and eat a surface creature if it presents itself to them.
Feeding Habits: While the species is a social one, they do not typically hunt in groups. They will typically seek out a sheltered location underwater near where their favorite fish types are known to school. Then when they come swimming by - they snap out a claw and grab them. They will feed on them raw there on the spot. IF another member of the tribe was unsuccessful at hunting they may challenge their tribe member for that meal and attain their meal in this fashion.
Social Behavior: Loosely a tribal structure or perhaps a pack mentality would be a better analogy. There is a head to the tribe/pack who has the mutual respect and/or fear of the entire tribe/pack. This is not a solid royal caste nor is it a term of service - one only holds that position so long as they are the strongest in the tribe/pack. Challenges to their dominance occur quite frequently - at least once a month. While these fights are never to the death even an leader that succeeded in besting his/her opponent may be doomed due to their slow healing factor.
Habitat: The Claw Hunters are migratory. The "tribe" frequently encountered in Wa-Daisho spends September through to early May scattered along the southern Californian coast and migrates North to Sword Blade Inlet through the month of May arriving sometime in early June. They remain there until late August before they make their return trip South. All members of this species migrate in this fashion though this is the only known group that has arrived on RIFTS Earth. Note that Crab Warriors are not well versed in their own ecological history and do not seem to recognize Claw Warriors as relatives of any form - thus one must assume that they are extinct on their home world but may remain common in other dimensions.

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