The Nackle is a familiar coastal sight, especially around docks. The small clusters of white shell-like creatures dot any hard surface that appears near the tide line, to the detriment of whatever they cling to. Nackles or "BarNackles" (from the gnomish "Baverik Nackthle Vernwirkung", "Shelled Sea Mushroom" in the Tharian, literally "Oceanic Shelled Mushroom"), is also called the "Hullwrecker" due to its penchant for attaching to the hull of ships too long at port.
Nackles are small, off-white creatures, contained within an armoured shell
similar to that of a spiddleshell. The creature is in two parts. The shell, and
the soft fleshy interior, consisting of a mouth and its minuscule internal
organs. The shell is made up of several tiny "armoured plates" that grow up and
around the fleshy interior. As a Nackle grows older, it adds extra layers to
these plates increasing its size and weight. The nackle possesses a series of
small, feathery feeding appendages. It uses these to grasp food and bring it to
Some Nackles, such as those that grow in the Silvermarshes, actually have stalks which anchor them to their rock. Unlike the more common 'sea' Nackles these BarNackles tend to prefer rivers, and seem to require a current in order to survive.The Silvermarsh Nackles tend to grow on logs, if the log is removed from the current of the river, it can no longer feed. These specimens lack the feeding appendages of their more common cousins, consisting mostly of a mouth and short "neck".
The armoured shell of Nackles makes them almost impossible for animals to get
at. The Sarvonian gull is one of the few
creatures that can eat the small creatures owing to its long, hooked beak. Small
fish have also been known to nibble on Nackles, as has the butterfly ray of the
Nackles are also notorious for being near immovable once they’ve taken root. The armour plates can be opened and closed to protect the Nackle, as well as becoming watertight, and allowing the creature, which needs water to survive, to stay alive when the tide goes out.
Territory. Where there is water, there are Nackles. They are exclusively salt water creatures, with the exception of a particular breed which lives in the Silvermarshes.
Nackles will cling to any hard exposed surface, usually above the low tide. Rocks, dock piles, entrenched driftwood and ships are all fair game for these parasites. They can cause considerable damage in large enough groups and are known for being extremely prolific.
Nackles can become incredibly dense, but will not grow on top of each other until the creature below dies. As Nackles die off, new nackles will actually sprout on top of their shells, creating towers of nackles built on top of their dead fellows.
Habitat/Behaviour. Nackles do very little; because they are rooted to one place, they are rather uninteresting to watch. When threatened by something, a Nackle can close a part of it’s shell on itself in order to make eating it more difficult. Nackles open at the high tide, searching for food with their tendrils, when the water begins to recede they can sense this by some unknown mechanism, and will close their shells.
Diet. Nackles are much like gulls; they are the filters of the aquatic world. Any free-floating material is liable to be consumed by Nackles, including bits of carrion and garbage. Anything that can be found that is smaller than it will be caught by the creature's tiny appendages and eaten by its minuscule mouth.
Mating. Nackles reproduce much like mushrooms, sprouting seemingly at random along the tideline. It is believed that, much like mushrooms, they sprout from minute spores that float through the water. Most colonies of Nackles will only sprout in salt water, those removed from salt water and placed in a pool of freshwater will die.
Usages. Certain species of Nackles are edible, in a pinch, and are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. In particular the Blackshell Nackle of the Silvermarshes is a unique foodstuff when cooked properly. The mullogs of the Silvermarshes will seed the water with captured insects to coax the shells open and then kill them with small pointed fishbones and scrape out the meat.
Crushed Nackle shell can be used in place of lime to fertilize soil, having a similar property to chalk or limestone, as observed by gnomish alchemists.
An uncommon use of Nackles is keelhauling. A form of punishment in the Erpheronian navy, a sailor is tied up, thrown into the water ahead of a ship, and dragged against the keel of the ship by means of a rope looped under the ship. Nackles and other growths at the bottom of the ship lead to severe cuts and scrapes if the sailor is pulled quickly, and if pulled slowly, the sailor is likely to drown.
Researchers. Friddriv Alav, noted researcher of mollusks, wrote of the Nackle in his "Philosophie of the Mollusk Race" noting "while seemingly a plant or aquatic fungus, the Nackle is actually a very stationary example of a mollusk, similar to the gnacker in some ways, content to sit and feed for many years until a rockface may be covered with an abundance of Nackles."