Image © Kenzer and Co., by Brian and Brendon Fraim
[If the sea is full of the equivalents of land creatures, as believed by so many early modern peoples, why not have land equivalents of sea creatures?]
This rugose creature looks something like a dolphin with a ridged armored shell on its upper surface.
Gorphins, called “land porpoises” by some, are burrowing dolphin-like creatures that swim through earth as if it were water. Rather than fins, a gorphin has four short, clawed legs. The claws are broad and spade-like, being much better suited to digging than to combat. A gorphin’s teeth are more varied than those of true whales due to its omnivorous diet—it has peg like incisors for grabbing moles, birds and other small ground animals, but has crushing molars to handle roots and tubers as well.
Gorphins are of human-like intelligence, and recognize other intelligent races as either potential allies or threats. Miners and those who lay deep foundations are frequently viewed with distrust, and may be harassed by gorphins seeking to maintain their territory. Simple farmers are usually able to interact peacefully, and if communication is established, they can form mutualistic relationships. The gorphins can patrol for and consume burrowing pests, and the farmers pay for them with a portion of their crops. As gorphins can swim through solid rock, they sometimes find precious stones and ores, which they bestow on particularly favored bipeds.
are highly social creatures and are most commonly found in sizable pods. Baby
gorphins take five years to reach maturity and are doted upon by all members of
the pod for that time. Female children tend to remain in their mother’s pod and
males tend to disperse to find a new pod, but these are not hard and fast