Morlocks are degenerate descendants of small, isolated human communities where inbreeding is common for prolonged periods. On Golarion, most morlocks are descended from ancient Azlanti who escaped the death of their empire by fleeing underground into the Darklands. There they slowly transformed into something less than human, but far better adapted to survival in the savage depths.
Despite their evolutionary regression, morlocks vaguely resemble the ancient humans of Azlant. They stand only a foot shorter than the average person, but due to their stooped, animal-like posture, they often appear much shorter. This is further accentuated by their habit of running on all fours. Morlock faces are very different from human faces: their eyes are huge, white and bulge from their heads, their mouths are wide and filled with flesh-tearing teeth, and their ears protrude from their skull like those of a cave bat. A morlock's body looks emaciated when compared to the average human's and their skin is the pale white of a creature that has not been exposed to the sun in millennia.
Morlocks are expert climbers, having adapted to the terrain of their subterranean home in a way few other creatures have. Due to the large numbers and cramped conditions, morlocks normally fight in incredibly close quarters with one another. They are adept at leaping from craggy perches onto their victims, and use this skill to make lightning fast attacks. However, as they have adapted to their underground environment, morlocks have traded their ability to see well in bright light for the ability to see in total darkness. While able to see well in typical underground conditions, bright light is abhorrent to morlocks, and they are unable to function properly while such radiance shines upon them.
Habitat and ecology
Morlocks dwell in every level of the Darklands from Nar-Voth to the Midnight Mountains of Orv, though they are most commonly found in the middle level of Sekamina. Morlocks, unlike other Darklands races, do not build huge cities to protect themselves. Instead they tend to lair in the less frequented and smaller, winding tunnels that make up much of the Darklands. These lairs are normally positioned within a few hours travel of the larger thoroughfares, allowing the morlocks easy access to good hunting grounds.
The ecology of the morlocks is similar to human ecology but has been debased by the millennia spent underground. Their regression was the result of several factors. First was inbreeding which was both forced by the dire situation and exacerbated by the ancient Azlanti's obsession with keeping their bloodlines pure. They also were unaware of the dangers of their new home, and consumed vast amounts of toxic and hallucinogenic mushrooms which slowly eroded their sanity. While neither the inbreeding or diet would explain the morlock's fall from grace, when combined with the radiation given off by blightburn and lazurite, these factors served to create a new race that was monstrously inhuman.
Morlocks possess a very primitive, tribal form of society, based solely upon the ability to hunt. Any morlock capable of hunting is a valued member of the pack; those morlocks who cannot are torn apart and eaten by their former tribe, if they cannot escape them. These tribes are normally led by the strongest, most violent member of the pack, often a powerful barbarian.
A rare few morlocks have a knack for engineering. Though talented at figuring out ancient machines, they do not keep written records, which means that morlock enclaves are usually defended by constructs or traps, even though no morlock knows who built them.
Many morlock cults worship a revered and feared ancestor, or the machines left behind by a previous civilisation, instead of a deity, due to their insular nature; their 'priests' usually dabble in occult instead of divine magic. Individuals who choose to follow a religion almost always serve Lamashtu, and though rare, some morlocks establish enough of a connection with the Mother of Monsters to become clerics of her foul religion. Otherwise, morlocks are highly suspicious of most magic.
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- James L. Sutter. (2012). Distant Worlds, p. 57. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-403-0
- James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 54–55. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
- James Jacobs, Colin McComb, Sean K Reynolds, Amber Scott, and Larry Wilhelm. (2011). Humans of Golarion, p. 10. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-315-6
- James Jacobs et al. (2021). Ruins of Gauntlight, p. 84. Paizo Inc.
- James Jacobs et al. (2021). Ruins of Gauntlight, p. 85. Paizo Inc.