The slolis are a species of small shelled humanoids, resembling crabs. Like several shelled animals, such as snails and tortoises, they are very slow, relying instead on their hard shell. They are still sapient, though less intelligent and much slower in thought

This may be an issue for them; while natural armour can defend against attacks from wild beasts, it is much less effective in warfare. Hence, it seems the slolis would be wholly defenceless against any other nation that attacks them

This is not what I'd want for my world. So, is there any way to put the slolis on equal footing with other humanoids?

The other humanoids can be assumed to be identical to true humans. The slolis' advantages should be solely biological, and preserve the slolis' slowness. There is no magic in this world, and technology is at most at roughly medieval European levels

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ how are small shelled crab like beings humanoid? $\endgroup$
    – ths
    Feb 4, 2022 at 0:16
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    $\begingroup$ @ths Zoidberg.. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Feb 4, 2022 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ Could you re-phrase the Question? Natural armour defending against attacks from wild beasts but being less effective in warfare; the slolis being wholly defenceless against other nations; reaching equal footing with other humanoids read like attempts to compare details not given. Are the other humanoids identical to true humans, or what? What else can you say about the slolis? $\endgroup$ Feb 8, 2022 at 17:28

4 Answers 4


They are not in the same niche as humans

Intelligence may allow humans to expand our niches beyond our biology, but that does not make us automatically able to outcompete every other species in every other ecosystem (at least not with medieval tech). Slolis are small and amphibious meaning that thier natural territories may not be very good places for humans to want to live. Being crab like, they may thrive in swamps and wetlands whereas flat dry land good for building human homes and planting human crops and raising human livestock is very limited.

Instead of wheat, they farm algae. Instead of cattle, they raise fish. Instead of clearing terrain to build thier homes, they build it directly into the landscape. Slolis territory is pretty valueless to medieval humans and vise versa; so, territorial disputes would be very rare... and even if a dispute does happen, the humans would be at a huge disadvantage trying to fight in a swamp.

They could not march an army into Slolis territory because there is nowhere for them to walk. They can not bring big warships because of all the vegetation that grows in thier path. At most they could come in with canoes, but they would then be at a huge disadvantage. Slolis armies could move under the water singling out individual canoes at a time swarming the occupants like a school of amphibious, intelligent, axe wielding piranha. On top of that, wetlands are well known for breeding mankind's greatest natural enemy: mosquitoes. In the medieval period, armies were lost more or less as often to sickness as to actual combat. If you try going on campaign in a swamp, you face threats like malaria, yellow fever, and west nile which would likely kill your army before the Slolis do, but with thier armored exoskeletons, Slolis don't need to fear mosquitoes at all.

village built into a the trees of a swamp


They will struggle to compete against Humans, and I imagine that their inferior mental capacity more than anything else will hinder them from integrating with the civilizations of Humans and other Human-likes. However, they still have an array of things working in their favor. It seems they still have the capacity to understand and develop language and cooperate with other members of their species towards a shared goal. Civilization works against our natural inhibitions and weaknesses. It is engineered around what we can do, and works to achieve what we cannot on our own. When a civilization fears attack, it builds walls. When it suffers with disease, it creates medicines.

Though it will take them longer, they are bound to be part of some kind of civilization of their own in the early ages, as they are at least some degree of intelligent by human standard, and by the Medieval-equivalent era of surrounding civilizations, I wouldn't say it's impossible that their civilization still holds out at least some vestige of their homeland. Their general lower intelligence and slower thinking means that their lands are almost assuredly going to be seen as a backwater by their more advanced neighbors, and this could help them in not being seen as worthy of conquest. Their strange appearances should also help keep them out of the drama resulting of medieval intermarriage; you'll be hard-pressed to find evena modern human who's attracted to the mental image of a primitive human with a giant bony shell.

Generally, though, I imagine that the story of the Slolis will be rather tragic, unfortunately. In humans, the condition Bradyphrenia, the most common condition relating to slow cognition, also affects motor control, slows reflexes, severely impaired memories, further working against their success as a civilization. Much like Kobolds of generic fantasy, I believe that their simple societies will quickly be overshadowed by the powerful and eternally-advancing dominion of mankind. I see the Slolis being the easiest targets for discrimination and slavery, and since they can understand language and develop civilization, I see them as even more likely to be forced into lives of servitude. But, as the addage goes, one day the meek shall inherit the earth. Even if it takes them a while to figure it out.

To summarize; I'm not quite confident enough to definitively say whether or not the Slolis can compete with other humanoid civilizations without examining their exact situation in-depth, and over an extended period of their history, but I do not see them ever becoming a force to be reckoned with, and I do not see their independence as a people extending past the Medieval era. I cannot imagine them as a warlike people, and I imagine it will, more than anything else, just be a matter of time until they are conquered by an external (and, they can only hope, kind) power.

I hope I've answered your question! Good luck


They could be good at workers (more strength, more toughness, more persistence. If a thinking task as less of a time limit (architecture rather than bluffing in a conversation) they might do better.

There's a race in mass effects there cautious and slow and they have guys trying to think of problems before they come up.

They could be patient.

They could be good at taking a sniper approach through archery.

Fortification could also help if there is one nation they could know they're at a disadvantage and work tirelessly to fill the gap if their individuals then they only need to do a few things will to pull there weight someone else could do the quick work or the thinking.



The defensive potential of the shell

There's only medieval technology. These shells are strong. A human sized creature with a shell will be slow, but it will be very heavy and strong. It also has a real armor, suppose it can retract its head and limbs into the protective shell. Slolis will be difficult to kill. Your humans have medieval weapons, an axe or hammer cannot crack a Sloli shell, a crossbow arrow cannot penetrate it.

Shy swamp inhabitants won't be bothered

Slolis are peaceful tribes: they have their stories and primitive religion, but the other humans don't know all that. They are regarded as animals. Sloli settle near ditches, in swamp environments. They stay put in their territory and don't pose a threat. They don't understand other humans and humans are not able to learn the Sloli language. They don't even know if Slolis have a language.

Other humans have developed to medieval level, the Sloli thrive as (late?) stone age level hunter-gatherers in their domain. Because of their limited intelligence, Sloli stay behind in development. The species (or race) won't die out, because they found a niche. Slolis are shy. When humans enter their realm, the Slolis observe the humans, but not attack or confront them in any way. The humans will find poisonous snakes and crocodiles, before they see any Slolis.

Trouble in paradise: misuse of the shells, but it won't kill all Slolis

Sloli shell material is very strong and can be hollowed out, to craft shields. Before medieval times, other humans used to steal the shells by robbing Sloli graves. The Slolis bury their death on land, in forest ground. After a few years, when nature has done its work, the Sloli shell will be the only remaining part, and ready for use.

Some human settlements on the coast have started to develop ships, and trade. The Sloli's shell becomes a valuable asset, because it can protect against some of the new firearms (rifles) invented. At this point, humans will attempt to colonize the Slolis and breed them for their shells. Eventually, the arms technology level will surpass the point shields are useful. Sloli in captivity will loose their purpose for the colonists and die, or escape and return to the swamp.


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