World: Black Wastes
Diet: Carciniforms, minerals
Lifespan: 150 years
Habitat: Areas with ready access to mineral deposits, largely near cliff faces
Activity Cycle: Diurnal
Most commonly seen along the salt-encrusted cliffs that were once the Black Waste’s shores, cliffhelm are one of the few remnants of the former dominant species of the world. As their world became overwhelmed by black magic, Many of them removed their brains from their bodies and sealed them in mechanical bodies, resistant to the flesh-destroying power of black magic. Others turned to a magical solution, permanently layering their bodies in stone.
Unfortunately, over time, this magic as well has turned on them. The stone that started only as a replacement for their exoskeletons slowly spread inwards, taking over most of their body. Their organs shriveled, including their brains, and they became dependent on new food sources to replenish their organic parts and stony exteriors alike. Reduced to an animalistic intellect, the cliffhelm are now mighty predators of carcinoforms.
Carcinoforms, with their endlessly regenerating bodies, are some of the most successful living beings to invade the Wastes. Cliffhelms use their shovel-shaped arms to scrape less mobile creatures off of the cliff walls, mash them into mush, and swallow them through the hole in their underside that serves as an all-purpose orifice. The endlessly multiplying cells are repurposed for the cliffhelm’s organs, keeping them alive. To keep up their stony exteriors, they use those same shovel arms to rake minerals from cliff faces or mine veins.
They are generally not considered particularly dangerous animals, lacking a territorial instinct and generally very uncurious about the operations of people around them. Their only known conflicts with sapient life have come from cases of them infesting mines and becoming aggressive when rocks they want are removed and their aggression towards sentient carcinoforms, which they will hunt just as readily as their nearly mindless cousins.
Cliffhelms spend most of their time asleep, burying much of their body so that only a small portion of their body remains visible. They can spend months motionless, only emerging to feed or reproduce at great intervals. Some communities with a local cliffhelm make a game of locating it and leaving graffiti on it while it sleeps, with many cliffhelm bearing dozens of markings across their bodies.