The Neath is home to myriad forms of flora and fauna. Of course, said flora is often fungal, but we take what we can get. The animals of the Neath aren't quite as starkly different from their Surface counterparts, but they're much more intelligent for one, and some can even talk. A few species even form societies of their own, which may compete with human civilization.
"You have rats: and some of the ratholes have been dynamited open, not gnawed. An infestation of L.B.s, aka rattus faber! Viciously intelligent rats who set traps for humans! No landlord or Constable will tangle with these."
Rattus faber are an unusual breed of rat: they are sentient and can make tools, even complicated weaponry like rifles and explosives, and generally operate like tiny cunning humans. (They are bipedal as well.) There is a large population of these on Pigmote Isle, though that is not their location of origin. Where exactly they came from, and how they evolved from normal rats, is unknown.
Dead rats are often tied up on strings and used as food among London's lower class; members of the Topsy King's court are particularly fond of this delicacy.
A group of exceptionally dangerous rats by the name of the Rat Brigade roam the High Wilderness in search of employment. Their members have been scattered, however, after being betrayed by one of their own.
By the way, "L.B.," their colloquial nickname, is just short for Little Bastard.
"We don't mean he brings luck to you. Things just work out for this cheery little fellow."
Weasels are more or less identical to their Surface counterparts in term of demeanor. That being said, they are renowned for their exceptional luck. But a particular tune in Mahogany Hall may cause them grievous harm... (Pop goes the... oh no.)
On occasion, Londoners pit weasels against each other in tournaments; certain weasels are even bred for this purpose.
Salt Weasels, a rarer variety, originate north of the Iron Republic, in the Pale Wastes.
"The landlord of The Blind Helmsman runs an illegal spider pit in his beer cellar. The place is packed with zailors, Clay Men, and thrill-seeking aristocrats. The room smells of mud, beer, sweat... and money."
Spiders in the Neath are often bigger and more dangerous than those on the Surface, the most notable species being the sorrow-spiders that rip people's eyes out. The owner of the Blind Helmsman over at Wolfstack Docks runs a spider-pit, where patrons can place their bets in a free-for-all on a spider of their choosing. Such tournaments are, however, technically illegal.
"Green eyes meet your gaze. It fears nothing. And why should it?"
Tigers are sapient felines from the Elder Continent. Tigers learned human languages and possess substantial power in the Neath, but even with their great intelligence, tigers are still large striped cats, and they still often act on their instincts. Even if a tiger wears a hat, glasses and has a taste for good wine, it doesn't make it less of a tiger. Tigers inhabit the Elder Continent, but most Londoners are familiar with them through the Labyrinth of Tigers. Also, they sometimes can be met in honey-dreams. But what business do they have there?
Main article: Tigers
"It has claws; it has a fierce double beak; but just now it seems disinclined to use them."
Blemmigans are sentient mushrooms with a taste for flesh; they thrive in Bugsby's Marshes and other swampy locations around the Neath.
Main article: Blemmigans
| "This secret is perhaps not as carefully guarded as it should be."
Beyond this point lie spoilers for Fallen London, Sunless Sea, or Sunless Skies. This may include midgame or Ambition-related content. Proceed with caution.
The Unterzee is practically overflowing with creatures and monsters unlike any on the surface. Many are (relatively) docile unless a zailor crosses into their territory, and many ships in the Neath are specially designed to deal with these horrors if they are encountered.
"We long hypothesised, from the still-glimmering corpse of this vast decapod, that it guised itself as a distant light, to lure its prey close. We discovered, eventually, that it simply pursues its prey across the zee with happy zeal. It evinces, also, a regrettable turn of speed."
The Neath is riddled with crustacean menaces (aside from the big one). Of note are two species of zee-crab that are driven from the south by an unknown radiation.
Auroral Megalops are a glowing breed of zee-crab that roam the Southern Archipelago of the Unterzee. Despite being the smallest and least dangerous of the zee-crabs, megalops are still ferocious enough to endanger an ill-prepared zee-captain.
Angler Crabs are a bit more common, and notable for having two glowing antennae, similar to the lure of an anglerfish. Despite this similarity, the Angler Crab does not use its luminescent appendage to lure prey patiently. Rather, it hunts its prey the same way any other zee-crab does: with swiftness and ferocity.
There are other species of zee-crab, of course. One particular individual was big enough to form a refuge...
Jillyfleurs and JillyfishEdit
"From above, the jillyfleur's cap does look a little like a woman's face. She dissolves like smeared paint."
Jillyfish are enormous jellyfish-like creatures that roam the Unterzee. The smaller Jillyfleur may juvenile Jillyfish, or another species entirely.
Both types have a woman's face on their cap, always facing upward; this face resembles Visage's giant shrine-face, the Flourishing-of-Years. Some zailors report that the face can even speak. What does that one say? "HOME?"
"Those – rifts – in the Lifeberg’s surface. Are they mouths? Lifebergs do not breathe. They kill from malice, not hunger. But they speak. Dear Christ, they speak."
Icebergs usually don't move and speak. Nor do they consume ships and kill crewmen, or carry cargo to the Avid Horizon for reasons unknown. The Lifebergs of the northern Unterzee, for some godforsaken reason, do all of that.
Within each Lifeberg is a shard of black glass reminiscent of Mt. Nomad. A Lifeberg will not die unless the black glass inside of it is destroyed or stolen. Does the predator from Void's Approach create these moving icebergs?
Blue Prophets Edit
"A mortal battle against parrots. That's the Elder continent for you."
Blue Prophets are an unusual type of parrot native to the Crying Heights of the Elder Continent. A single Prophet is about as threatening as your average large bird, but in flocks they are merciless. Despite that, their blue feathers are valuable, especially in the Khanate.
These birds received their name from the belief that they speak the names of those about to die. It's difficult to tell whether or not this is the truth, since they mostly squawk, but seasoned zailors still try to pick out familiar names in their calls.
"A bat-swarm. Madam Doctor. But they are - I assure you - feathered. Blue feathers, Madam Doctor. Tremendous feathers. No, Madam Doctor, not proportionate, not indeed. I suspect the bats of theft. Madam Doctor, no! I have not touched a bottle since Tuesday last! No, Madam Doctor! Not the hole! Not the ho-"
Wait, that's not a Blue Prophet. That's just your average bat... except feathered with a familiar royal blue color. Milliner Bats are about as aggressive as their avian cousins. But how did a bat get feathers? An Elder Continent miracle, some form of cross-breed, or the project of mad taxidermist? No one really cares; the feathers sell well, real or glued-on.
Albino Morays Edit
"D--n me, it's an ugly thing! Even uglier dead than alive. Friendlier, though."
Albino Morays (one may infer the existence of a regular-colored Moray) are huge eels often found around the Khanate, hunting smaller zee-beasts and careless zee-captains. Their pale heads, sharp teeth, and small red eyes are typically the only parts of their bodies visible above water... and you'd be very lucky to only see these, as they often outgrow medium-size ships.
Albino Morays are deceptively fast and can charge their prey at dizzying speeds - and they're not just dangerous while alive. Their skin looks disgusting, smells awful, and is coated in poisonous, paralyzing slime that keeps them safe from predators. You know what they say: when you're zailing the zee, and an eel makes you flee... that's a moray.
"Take its teeth as trophies, and its bones for corsets. What of its moustache? So many possibilities! Cut it up for exotic antimacassars; place it over the door of your lodgings as a warning to burglars; sell it to the Young Stags club, back in London, as a mascot. For now, let it remain in the compartment devoted to Outlandish Artefacts."
Behemoustaches are huge fish with glorious moustaches. They're aggressive predators that favour warm water; their size tends to attract hunters, though their sheer fury deters wholescale industrial fishing. Behemoustache meat is tasty... and the moustache is always a nice trophy.
Their bones are used for making corsets and decorations.
"The most tormented of zee-beasts. Its murderous eyes peep from its caged flesh like convicts begging release."
Bound Sharks are sharks that have been bound since at least infancy by metal rods and cages, and infant Bound Sharks are known as Boundlings. Because of their bindings, the shark's internal organs reshape themselves entirely, not that these bindings make the sharks any less dangerous.The bindings that torment Bound Sharks are not the work of nature, nor are they the creation of any supernatural Neathy entity. No, these contraptions are man-made, and are manufactured and inserted into the sharks by the Sequencers.
"Its pulpy flesh shivers with the energies of its failing language. Already it is disintegrating into the waters."
Lorn-Flukes are one of greatest threats to zee-captains. Unlike the friendlier Flukes in London, Lorn-Flukes from the deep dark Unterzee are aggressive towards anyone who passes by. They can stretch their spikes, making them sharp enough to cut metal, and if this is not enough, they can speak the Correspondence, making even the bravest zailors shudder with terror.
Main article: Lorn-Flukes
"The knot-oracles are always hungry, but they are also delicate in their tastes. Their - meals - must be prepared assiduously."
Knot-oracles are giant frog-like creatures with eyes everywhere; these creatures reside around the prison of Wisdom in the Sea of Lilies near the Khanate. Their primary prey is humans, and knot-oracles who have eaten people are able to speak human languages. They are used to prevent the escape of prisoners in Wisdom, and sometimes as a means of execution.
Tyrant Moths Edit
"Those mosaic configurations on its wings. Do they carry meaning?"
Giant moths are nothing new for denizens of the Neath, especially those who've lived in Tomb Colonies for a while. But the Tyrant Moths found around the Ragged Crow lighthouse are a bit of an exception to that rule. They're immense, with wings the size of ships' sails, and possibly strong enough to lift a small boat. Naturally, they make for great stories. Apparently, their antennae are delicious... if one can tolerate the smell. Their wing patterns resemble maps, or perhaps something more: charming visions of faraway gardens, and the light flowing from within a mountain. But don't look too closely, or for too long. There's also a legend that Tyrant Moths' bodies are full of jewels... but how might one prove that, anyway?
Unter-Unterzee Creatures Edit
What? Did you really think diving below the Unterzee's black surface would save you from zee-life? If anything, Unter-Unterzee beasts are even more dangerous than their abovewater counterparts.
The expanse of the High Wilderness is teeming with life, most of which is either capable of flight or seeking the means to. Londoners may have their sky-locomotives... but these are still threatened by powerful sky-beasts.
"A wheel of living flame; a commandment of the Westernmost King's highest Law; an utterance of fire and glory.
Logoi (singular Logos) are Correspondence sigils that have been given life. They take on the form of flaming wheels and are used by stars to perform certain duties, such as patrolling domains in search of unwanted visitors.
Main article: Logoi
"Intelligent, locomotive-sized chiroptera, able to pry an engine apart with their claws, or pummel it with their hellish shrieks. Curators accumulate hoards, which they guard violently. Each hoard collects artefacts or creatures themed to the Curator’s particular obsession."
Main article: Curators
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