Girtablilu

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Pathfinder's take on the Girtablilu from their bestiaries in all of her monstergirl goodness.

Girtablilu, also known as Scorpion Men, are scorpion-human hybrid monsters in the myths of ancient Babylon and other Akkadi-language cultures. Whilst the mythical monster is obscure, and its name practically unpronounceable, it has sparked a basic idea that continues to pop up here and there throughout fantasy realms.

The typical presentation of a Girtablilu - or at least one of its spiritual heirs - is a centaur or driderlike creature, with a humanoid's upper body emerging from where the head should be on a giant scorpion. These creatures are usually high-level monsters, since they combine the ability to wield weapons with powerful pincers and a wicked venomous sting from their lashing tail.

D&D[edit]

There have been numerous different forms of Scorpion Man throughout the editions of Dungeons & Dragons; several outright called "Scorpion Men", and the Scorrow of Eberron, who are that setting's unique take on drider and season the girtablilu by mixing it with the drow.

The oldest scorpion men in D&D are the scorpion men of Nimmuria, in the Mystara setting. These grotesque albino monsters conquered the land of Nimmuria by betraying its original occupants, the Enduks after they were welcomed into the region and then usurping the trappings of Enduk society for themselves. For this, they were cursed with albinism/translucent flesh, forcing them to hide in the Underdark. For more details, see the Manscorpion page.

The other scorpion-man race of D&D is the Tlincalli of the Forgotten Realms. These scorpion-men lack the normal pincers of their kind; instead, their hands crudely resemble pincers, having only two fingers and a thumb. They are believed to be the descendants of an ancient civilization of humans who fell into evil behavior and were ultimately cursed for their malice; they now inhabit inverted cities built into the Underdark below desert regions, where they enslave surfacers - mostly humans and dwarves - to handle manual labor and finer detailing that their stiff and inflexible digits hamper.

A 3.5 "Scorpionfolk" race can be found in the pages of the Monster Manual 2. Here, they are described as a desert-dwelling people who have been marginalized by other races, with an appearance not too dissimilar to PF's Girtablilu; a human upper torso replacing the head of a giant scorpion, with both human arms and the pincer-bearing arms of a giant scorpion coming from roughly where their hips would be if they were bipeds. They are described as typically Evil, mostly because of their willingness to raid other races for vital supplies. Their most unique trait is the presence of some spell-like abilities; Major Image 1/day and Mirror Image 2/day, giving them a weird knack for the illusionist role. They are, theoretically, playable races, but this just amounts to a side-bar noting that their Favored Class is Ranger and they have a Level Adjustment of +16. For some reason they, unlike the rest of MM2, were released under the OGL.

Finally, there are the Scorrow of Eberron; arrogant and haughty predatory drow-scorpion hybrids who believe themselves to be blessed by the drow god Vulkoor, and a counterpoint to the Driders of more traditional settings.

Pathfinder[edit]

The girtablilu finally had their name used when Pathfinder created its own race of scorpion-people. Unlike the one-dimensional monsters of D&D, PF's girtablilu are a neutral force; monstrous humanoids whose culture revolves around honoring the memories of lost deities and ancient faiths, which they perform by devotedly guarding ancient ruins in deserts, badlands and other hostile regions where they can survive. Intensely religious, they are natural theocrats, with their leaders invariably being oracles, shamans or clerics. Their driving belief is that their protection maintains ancient wardings and barriers against malevolent forces from other realms, and they are loathe to allow others to violate their sacred trust. Still, they much prefer to scare off trespassers than kill them, and can be reasoned with - unless they think you're a tomb robber, in which case you'll be shown no mercy.

Pathfinder's girtablilu immediately caught /tg/'s attention because, no matter how skubby the system is, their iconic girtablilu was a near-naked, voluptuous, dark-skinned scorpion-woman. Even if the Inner Sea Monster Codex did squander that a little by only using portraits of male girtablilu.

Monstergirls[edit]

Though less common than their spider-girl counterparts, scorpion-girls have been around a long time, and girtablilu is as good a name for them as any. Much like a spider-girl, a scorpion-girl's portrayal varies widely, from a fierce and aggressive predator to a shy, meek girl who just wants to be loved to somebody who acts tough, but melts into a romantic sweetheart when alone with her special someone. They tend to be very good mothers, given the real-world scorpion's maternal behavior, and some even extrapolate from this to argue they make good maids.

In terms of biology, the Girtablilu is a can of worms almost as bad as centaurs for one reason: a scorpion's pincers are a modification of its "Pedipalp" and are thusly part of its head. Basically every girtablilu you see takes the centaur approach to anatomy, and thusly builds the human torso off where the scorpion's head would be, while keeping the claws because, why else make a scorpion person? But this means that, taking the biology literally, there are two sets of heads and jaws, one human and one at the point where scorpion and human meet. We will leave to your imagination why a scorpion jaw at the level of the human torso hips would be a bad idea for a monster girl.

In the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, the girtablilu is a branch of the Arachne family who resembles a dusky-skinned woman emerging from the foreparts of a giant scorpion. Their pincers are very small, because this species of mamono relies heavily on its aphrodisiac and euphoric venom; sadistic in nature, they ambush men who catch their eye, stinging them repeatedly to physically force them into a state in which they can mate with them, Cosby-style.

Gallery[edit]