The World Born Dead
Borderlands of the Sahuagin: Sore Winners
The first thing to understand about the Sahuagin is that they have already won. Completely. The surface of the world is about ¾ ocean and they own almost all of it. From the standpoint of the Sahuagin, the only places on the planet that have non-Sahuagin races in them are the stale crusts that they already had the presence of mind to cut off their sandwich. All of the non-Sahuagin races are all ghettoized. Even the other aquatic races have been marginalized to the point where they only get the brackish water (Locathah), the rocky shallows (merfolk), the underground darks (Kuo-Toans), or the muddy salt marshes (Lizardfolk). The real real estate – the ocean and coastline – are pretty much the private playground of the Sahuagin.
Individually, Sahuagin will kick your ass, and collectively they will kick the ass of any nation you happen to support. The combined populations of all other sapient races on any planet are less than the population of Sahuagin on that planet. The Sahuagin are also much smarter and better organized than you are so their cities are actually more productive than yours per person in addition to the fact that they have more cities than all the other races and their cities are more populous.
The Sahuagin mutate constantly, but are not inclined to Chaos. They just all have different appearances and capabilities. But every one of them is gifted with super intelligence and thick natural armor. The Sahuagin deep seers are some of the most gifted wizards on the planet and honestly have nothing better to do than just scry on crap and tell the armies where there’s some cool stuff to go loot. From time to timr the Sahuagin will come onto land to beat the living crap out of people and take control of important or valuable items. Then they take the spoils of war and drag it back under water, laughing the whole time.
Against this backdrop of crushing inferiority, how do the other races maintain? Most of them are fighting for stakes so small that they haven’t even noticed that the vast majority of the planet is owned and operated by brutally efficient fish men. But one race that certainly has noticed the power discrepancy is the race of elves most likely to be forgotten: the Sea Elves. They actually live in many of the same areas and have a war going with them.
Life is hard for a Sea Elf, because every one of them is born into a post-apocalyptic world where mutants run amok and hunt them for sport. But it’s actually even worse than that because in addition to simply being physically and intellectually inferior to the Sahuagin like everyone else is – they are actually stupid and useless even contrasted with the surface races. An average Sea Elf is as much the intellectual inferior to a Sahuagin as a Griffin is to a normal human. The Sahuagin consider the Sea Elves to be little more than animals, and they aren’t wrong.
The Sea Elves keep surviving at all because they see farther than Sahuagin in low-light conditions (and are thus often able to swim away from potential encounters with Sahuagin during the morning and twilight hours that Sea Elves leave their hidden nests), and also because every so often a Sahuagin gets born who looks exactly like a Sea Elf. These Sahuagin mutants, called Malenti, are a little bit worse than a normal Sahuagin in that they lack the rending claws. But they’re still stronger and smarter than any Sea Elf that ever swam the 7 seas. So when these Malenti realize that they get a crap deal from Sahuagin society, they often as not run off to join the Sea Elves, where they almost immediately rise to positions of leadership. They also gain crap loads of experience very quickly because the odds are so stacked against them. In short, the reason that the Sea Elves still exist is that they actually are a splinter faction of Sahuagin that uses real sea elves as beasts of burden instead of simply hunting them like the more normal Sahuagin groups do.
And yet, despite the fact that the Sahuagin have won at everything, they still continue to fight the other races and take their children and stuff. Partly this is to feed the insatiable demands of their Baatezu masters, and partly this is because on some deep level the Sahuagin are convinced that it actually couldn’t possibly be that easy. In addition to looking for bling and candy to take from the weaker races, the Deep Seers are also combing the world for the one thing that the Great Mothers are pretty sure exists somewhere: the hidden army that the other races are putting together to take the world back from the clutches of the Sahugin Empire. As far as anyone knows, it doesn’t exist, but for some reason the Great Mothers keep insisting that the searching continue. Maybe they know something we don’t?