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An ulat-kini fighter.
This article is about the alghollthu species known as "ulat-kini" in the Alghollthu language. For the location of that name, see Ulat-Kini.

Ulat-kinis, also known as skum,12 are an ancient race of green-skinned aquatic monstrous humanoids. They were created from humans to serve as a slave race by the alghollthus. Ulat-kinis are among the best-known of such servitor races, and represent the alghollthus' ideal humanoid slave: strong, amphibious, and easily controllable.3


Jirelle swings into action against trident-wielding ulat-kinis.

The race's proper name is ulat-kini, after the Alghollthu-language name of the research facility of Ulat-Kini in Sekamina where alghollthus first created them. The word skum was originally a derogatory term used by humans, but over time some ulat-kini switched to using this name as they forgot their Alghollthu name.34


As they were devising a servitor race, alghollthus recognised the usefulness of the humanoid form: humans breed quickly and leave behind various tools that can be used by other humanoid slaves. With fleshwarping, alghollthus rendered human slaves docile with alchemical reagents and their own slime, and fused them with the organs of sea monsters. After centuries of work, which saw the deaths of an untold number of human slaves, they created the ulat-kinis and quickly made them important members of the alghollthus' army.4


A typical ulat-kini stands half a foot taller than the typical human, but weighs nearly twice as much due to its increased muscle mass. Their rubbery flesh is protected by tough scales, fins, and spines, which also allow them to swim better. To allow them to live comfortably underwater, an ulat-kini's neck is laden with gills and their heads are remade to resemble those of fish. Ulat-kinis have no external genitalia.4

An ulat-kini's skin is a mix of green, yellow, and grey; the darker an ulat-kini's skin is, the closer it is to its original heritage. Each also has a pattern of spots unique to the individual ulat-kini. Ulat-kini sorcerers, courtesy of their human blood, might have unusual skin colours.4

Every ulat-kini is born imprinted with a specific mental marker which can be seen via telepathy and identifies the individual alghollthu owner of that ulat-kini's lineage.4


In water, ulat-kinis are docile filter feeders; they do not hunt and only consume meat after repelling an attack. On land, they become voracious and savage, as without plankton they are forced to hunt.4

Alghollthus gave ulat-kinis no ability to reproduce on their own so they would not breed uncontrollably. However, they retain the ability to mate with human females, and either trade fish or treasures to human communities in exchange for human mates who would bear their children, or simply just kidnap human women. The offspring of these relations might either be ulat-kinis or greasy, sallow humans that will become adult ulat-kinis when they die of old age. Alghollthus and some ulat-kinis have the ability to accelerate this process, quickly turning an apparent human into an ulat-kini. Ulat-kinis are biologically immortal; some are known to have lived since the time of the Azlanti empire, and are known as am-ulat-kini.4


Ulat-kinis face foes on Ancorato.
An ulat-kini army on the march.

Modern ulat-kinis are divided into two groups: the "masterless" and the "loyal". The masterless, who were abandoned after Earthfall, live in tribes and inhabit abandoned alghollthu strongholds or locations associated with their final orders on the surface or in Sekamina. Each tribe is led by the oldest or strongest (usually one and the same individual), but the power structure is loose. Most such tribes have lost their military discipline and regressed to savagery, and live near the water, as the majority of landlocked ulat-kini tribes have starved to death due to the lack of plankton to feed upon. Most masterless are disgusted by their former enslavement and actively reject all kinds of masters, including religion and deities, and discard the old possessions of their masters. Disputes are settled by non-lethal combat. Masterless tribes can still fall under an alghollthus's influence, but rarely remain so for long.4

Some ulat-kinis develop powerful psychic abilities when outside of alghollthu control and are known among other ulat-kinis as mindreavers.5

In the Sightless Sea in the lowest depths of Orv, loyal ulat-kinis continue to proudly serve the alghollthus and maintain their magic and civility. During the millennia following Earthfall, they were subject to further fleshwarping and divided into various castes: the giant ulat-kini hulks that serve as menial labourers; the intelligent, bioluminescent ulat-kini prodigies who attend to their masters; the small, unintelligent ulat-kini ravagers used as watchdogs; and countless others.4

Ulat-kinis view chuuls as akin to older siblings, but also fear them as predators. Chuuls do not seem to recognize a kinship, and eagerly prey on ulat-kinis.6

Some groups have developed a martial arts style known as kirtanang that makes use of their claws.5

On Golarion

Almost all ulat-kinis live in the Darklands, especially in the settlement of Cold Momugado and the temple complex of Ulat-Kini in Sekamina's Lake Nirthran.7 The only ulat-kinis known to live on or near the surface are those that inhabit the ruins of the city of Drowning Stones in the Mwangi Expanse,8 those that live near the ruined island of Nal-Kashel in Cheliax,2 and those that live on the coast of Avalon Bay in Lake Encarthan.9


Paizo published a major article about skum in Turn of the Torrent.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. The singular and plural of skum are the same.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brandon Hodge. From Shore to Sea, 3. Paizo Inc., 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 Greg A. Vaughan. “Ecology of the Alghollthu” in The Lost Outpost, 77. Paizo Inc., 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Thurston Hillman. “Ecology of the Skum” in Turn of the Torrent, 69–73. Paizo Inc., 2015
  5. 5.0 5.1 Scott D. Young & Vanessa Hoskins. “Adventure Toolbox” in Cult of the Cave Worm, 83. Paizo Inc., 2023
  6. Greg A. Vaughan. “Ecology of the Alghollthu” in The Lost Outpost, 76. Paizo Inc., 2017
  7. James Jacobs & Greg A. Vaughan. Sekamina” in Into the Darklands, 34. Paizo Inc., 2008
  8. Amber Stewart, et al. “Lost Kingdoms” in Heart of the Jungle, 52. Paizo Inc., 2010
  9. Greg A. Vaughan & Robert G. McCreary. “Wake of the Watcher” in Wake of the Watcher, 48. Paizo Inc., 2011