Okay, I like how these are, at first glance, simply cute little mini-oxen, but then they have this whole sophisticated ecology underneath.
I immediately had the thought that maybe they are otherplanar creatures that only manifest as mini-oxen on our plane, but if we travel to their home they would be these grand majestic creatures.
What if someone caught on to their true foodsource, and sussed out the location of these magic streams, and tapped into them as a power source? Would a bobeerin make a good familiar, since magic users can possibly have some sort of ambient magic surrounding them, seeping into nearby vegetation. Would bobeerin parts make for power-boosting magic components? These are all hypothicals, of course, since no one in their right mind would ever think of using these critters in such a way.
I would imagine, if you get a herd big enough, these fellows could be quite a nuisance, always getting under foot, clogging the roadways and such.
Thanks everyone, for the comments and votes.
I didn't envision the crabs to be sentient. Their only purpose is making sure no soul that is still stained with sin proceeds onto the island. To that end, they have the ablilty to sense out impurity, but there is no way to reason with them, because they only really have the rudimentary intelligence of an arthropod. Of course, that's just my interpretation, other users may decide that they are low ranking angels, assigned to this task.
I went back and rewrote the repetitive section of the second paragraph, it should be easier reading now.
I wrote this piece in response to the codex on Hell, but I don't know how to link them. I looked at the codex submission, but I can't find a "suggest submission" button anywhere. Should I just add a comment with a linkback to here?
Wagon propulsion: wagon axels and wheels could be under an "animate object" spell, turning with of their own power, or, they could be pulled by clockwork or otherwise inorganic ponies (perhaps wooden pony amatures, carved and articulated, then animated with magic)
Canine affinity: what if their love of dogs stems from the fact that a percentage of halflings are natural animagi, that is, they can assume the shape of a dog at will
Weird, I was just reading this a day or so ago, while just browsing through things, but I forgot the name of it, and couldn't find it again (using wrong search terms, I guess), and now it's right up front as a highlight.
These creatures are definitely something I would use if I could convince my gaming group to play in a steampunk setting.
While not physically capable of being mercenaries, there might be a place for the pelamids as ambassadors. If they could overcome the established prejudices, they seem to be a natural go-between for land folk and under-sea folk. Also, it seems like they could make a living as sailors, perhaps wrapping water soaked scarves around their necks while working on deck, with periodic breaks to re-wet the scarves.
If the pelamids moved to an area where there was either humans but no merfolk, or merfolk but no humans, they could make themselves useful by retreiving items and materials from the opposite terrain for use in the community (for example, they could collect shelfish, pearls, or seaweed for a human settlement, or jewels and precious metals for a merfolk community).
So, while I don't think they would make good player-characters (unless the campaign takes place primarily at sea), they have potential as NPCs and plot devices.
I am adding this to the list of things from the Citadel that I am going to stea...er, use for my campaign.
Aside from the -jacks, I was intrigued by the idea of "magicrosis", the decay of the magic animating the construct. You give one sentence, yet I can see so much potential in it. I am pondering the application of the idea to any long-term magic effects.
What about a backlash against having too many -jacks? If, as has been submitted above, Strawjacks work the farms, and Woodjacks act as servants, and varous other -jacks to yet more work, then there would be those whose livelihoods have been displaced.
Suddenly (or gradually, either way) there is a large population in the urban centers with nothing to do and no prospects for improving their lot. They know who's really to blame, but they can't do anything about it, so they turn to easier targets, maybe demi-humans, or foreigners, or perhaps they just riot in the streets.