View Full Version : Big fish, little fish? Fishman! [Player/Non-Player Race]

Tiki Snakes
2007-07-10, 03:39 PM
So, I'm new to DnD, mostly, and even newer to DMing. However, I lack the benefit of actually having access to any other DnD players. I do, however, have a history of essentially, almost, kind of homebrewing stuff.

So, fresh from the briney depths, meet my first fully fabricated homebrew Race, in theory for a setting I'm working on, possibly.

They're *mostly* serious, but a little silly. As they should be, no?


They are not well known by surface dwellers, but amongst those who have encountered them, such as sea-faring people and certain coastal communities, they are known for being notoriously inquisitive. They are possesed of an agile strength and a calm, amiable confidence in all that they do. They are known to leap from the waters, cling onto the side of a ship with their strong hands and large feet, leaning over the railings to chat with the startled sailors onboard. Though famously amiable, amongst aquatic peoples they have a fearsome military reputation.

They are willfull, and fickle, and have a very martial society. It is quite common for them to have had training with one or more weapons from a very early age. A good many even train in swordsmanship and the use of axes and other bladed weapons, despite these being generally much less usefull in their deep water battles than piercing and stabbing weapons. They rarely go to war with surface nations, but they defend their territory beneath the seas with vigor, and they generally look favourably on groups of individuals who decide to set out to harrass their more militarily minded neighbors, such as the xenaphobic triton, and the sahuaghin.

They are obsessively inquisitive individuals, and though it's very rare to meet one, they are enthusiastic explorers and adventurers. They are physical people, strong and sure. Their outlook on life is usually very pragmatic, they love riddles and solving problems or puzzles. They love to argue, but they're generally slow to anger. They have a facination for life, it's trials and tribulations. They can be excitable at times, and some develop shamelessly silly streaks. They put very little value in matirial posessions, and generally consider themselves to "own" very little. What they do "own", they are rabidly posessive of. Often they will have a favoured weapon, lavished with care and attention, and will almost always prefer to have it enchanted, or reforged, to simply buying a new one. It's a very rare individual who does not carry a masterwork weapon for this reason, as they thoroughly expect it to last them indefinately.

They rarely wear clothes at all, in their native habitat. What they do wear is likely entirely for fashion. Favouring skin-tight, flexible matirials or animal-skins that hug the body and keep them airodynamic. When travelling on-land, they are likely to make some cursory nods to the local populaces sensibilities, but only very cursory ones as they generally just fail to understand the fuss. They are uniquely confident and at home in their own skin, as it were, and aproach matters of sensuality with their trademark facination and a non-plussed, open and honest gusto. They are notoriously open minded, and those individuals who travel abroad are quite likely to seek "new experiences" wherever possible, be they culinary, exploratory, or sexual.

Physical Description;
They are a tall peoples, routinely standing 7 foot tall or greater. 8 foot individuals are not common, but are far from unheard of, and they have many legends about warriors who grew to stand at over 9 foot, though these tales are generally agreed to likely be exaggerations. As children, they stand no taller than human children of equal years, the extra heigh usually comes as they simply continue growing for longer.

Most of the particularly tall individuals experienced a secondary growth-spurt in their mid-twenties. They have different proportions to human's, longer in the limbs. With their tendancy to greater heights, this means that their torso is generally of comparable size to shorter humans, with the height coming mainly from their legs. They tend not to be bulky, generally being lithe, if gangly looking to other races. Their musculature is dense however, and they are suprisingly strong. Their grip is famously impressive.

Their skin is thick, rubbery and very faintly scaled, somewhere between water-dwelling mamal, amphibian, and fish. Their flesh is taut, and firm, and their skin is usually of a light green, or blue, with some darker patterning.
Their eyes are large, and round when compared to human eyes. Both males and females grow full heads of hair, unlike some of their fishier neighbors, though this is usually tinted a similar colour to their skin, often in light tones of green, and blue.

Gloomkin are sexually diamorphic to a high degree. Though both men and women can grow to similar heights, the men are usually slightly bulkier(though less than is usual for example, when comparing human men and women), and their coloration and skin-patterns vary noticeably. They posess a great many "Decorative" growths that vary between male and females. Females lack the facial growths that characterise men. These "Wiggly Bits" seem to have no biological function, aparently being merely a decorative feature. they usually lengthen throughout the male's life, and can be quite long and tentacle-like by the time the male reaches old age. They usually form along the jaw-line, but rarely more than four of five. Both male and females have similar, spined ears, but the female's spines are longer, making their ears pointier. Males tent to grow several fleshy growths, similar to those that line their chin and jaw, on the outside edge of their fore-arms, and along their calfs, as well as in some cases along the shoulder blades or down the spine, but these are usually much smaller and thinner than the primary growths of the chin, and usually stay relatively short and light.

All of these growths are generally un-sensative, aparently lacking in nerve endings when compared to normal body parts and growths, and it is not un-common for them to become severed in fighting. Females either lack comparative growths, or more commonly have some spined growths, possibly resembling vestigal fins. The most common arrangements are fin-like spine-clusters along the edge of the fore-arm and calf, though they have been known to develop at elbows, on shoulders or often down the length of the spine, instead. Unlike the fleshy growths of the males, these spiny growths tend to grow back when damaged. Further, the females are capable of contracting them, pulling them flat along the body, and the spines themselves are relatively flexible, not being "true bones" as such.

Both sexes posses hands with particularly long, strong fingers when compared wo humans and elves, usually between twice as long, or merely half-again, and thickly webbed. Feet are similarly extended, and more capable of grasping than human feet, though not to the degree primates. All digits end in small claws, little use in combat but strong none-the-less. This allows them to grasp rocky surfaces very well.

They generally live a little longer than the average human. Barring injury, or disease, an average individual can expect to live to 100, and exceptional individuals have been known to top 150.

Generally, and somewhat ironically, they seem to get on much better with the surface world than their immediate neighbors. Their inquisitive nature and open demeanor leaves them less inclined to make enamies easily, and their socially adventurous streak has seen them pursuing very 'interesting' freindships and sexual partners. That said, they seem to get along best with elves and humans, followed by halflings and gnomes, both of which they find facinating and downright hilarious. They have little time for the political intruiges and more serious ideological conflicts that seem to plague the surface world, remaining neutral deliberately, if they even notice such events.
As a nation and a race, they have very little dealings with the surface-world, however. those few who do go out to explore, or seeking adventure in the surface world have spent some time with the more skittish human-subrace, the sea-kin. Of all the under-sea sentient races, they get on best with sea-kin and merfolk, and are notorious for indulging in amiable "free-love" with the sensual, frivolous merfolk.

As a society, they tend towards chaotic neutral, their prime deity is chaotic neutral. Many individuals and groups lean more towards neutral and chaotic good, and some few have aproached something resembling true neutral. There have been individuals who have qualified as chaotic evil and neutral evil in the past, but these are usualy solitary troublemakers, and are either slain or cast out of society. They are never of lawfull alignment, really. Their culture values individual freedom too greatly, and they are individually just too disposed towards a kind of amiable, anarchic state.


Their main territories lie in the temperate waters north of the Rastrakutra nation, though there are smaller settlements further west, out in the colder, deeper oceans. They usually live in either coral encrusted-constructions on the sea-floor, or in elaborate cave-buildings carved into the rocks of the sea-floor or underwater cliffs and mountains. They are quite comfortable in crushingly deep waters, having evolved decent low-light vision and an electromagnetic awareness of their surroundings that needs no light at all. However, they have claimed several otherwise "uninhabited" islands for their own, even building structures on the land, though for the most part these are not residences. They routinely share the waters immediately surrounding these islands with the merfolk, who enjoy basking on the rocks, and playing in the warm, placid lagoons. They seem most at home, however, in deep dark water, which is perhaps where their name derives.


Gloomkin worship an obscure Deity surnonimous with the sea itself. Simply reffered to as the Green Lady or Her of the Depths. Often they simply reffer to their Goddes as 'Her'. They routinely make pilgrimages to the deeper, darker parts of the oceans to 'commune' with Her. The Green Lady, who is in their society viewed as inseperable with the Ocean itself, is viewed as alternately nurturing and destructive, whimsical in her tendancy to obscure and reveal. They see themselves as her children, and pattern their society about the Green Lady's tenets of faith, such as the strength of the individual and the essential mutability of life.

One cannot force order on the Sea, and so the cheif way of showing that you follow the Green Lady truly, is to Live according to your own rules only, and follow the commands of others only so far as you agree with their intent.

Clerics of the Green Lady are reffered to as Chosen of Her Depths, or simply Greenies (depending on how seriously they are being taken at any point by their fellows).

Language; Aquan, Common, as well as 'Gloomkin', their own language. Their native language is a deep, rumbling thing that comes from deep within the chest. It is simple, but expressive, and due to the depth and strength of the sounds involved, travels much further in water than other languages and ways of speaking. To properly speak Gloomkin, however, requires some unique quirk of anatomy that other races, as a rule, lack.

The Gloomkin have a very relaxed attitude to naming. They frequently steal names from other cultures, and Orc, Dwarf, Human and Elven names are all as common amongst the Gloomkin as names of Merfolk or similar origin. They also quite often construct new, unique names simply from pleasing sounds or taken from 'unusual' and 'exotic' items of the surface-world that they may have discovered upon their travels.

Those few who are, or eventually become Literate, never seem to really settle on any one spelling of their name, usually. A Gloomkin named after a type of Wolf, for example, could regularly spell her name all of the following; Timburwoolf, Tymbahwuuluf, Teempurvulth or even Tindirhwuulv, and claim them all to be, infact, the correct spelling of her name.

They are an innately adventurous people, and it is indeed rare for one NOT to feel the urge to wander away from home and see what they can see, at least once in their life. They usually stay close to the coast, when their travels take them to the surface-world. If they Travel further inland, they will usually follow the course of a river, rather than striking straight in. They will sometimes venture away from rivers and the sea, but natural caution tends to temper their adventurousness when it comes to extended periods away from large bodies of water.

Racial Traits!

Str +2
Dex +2
Int -2

Naturally strong and fast, they are a physical race by nature. However, they are not predisposed towards learning, and are rarely even remotely 'bookish'.

Amphibious - Can breath in water and air, quite comfortably.
Base land speed - 30ft
Base water-speed - 30ft

Low light vision (30 ft), Their eyesite is excellent in low light conditions, effectively being able to see up to 30 feet or so in low light conditions. However;-

Specialised Optics; They are essentially short sighted. They suffer penalties to spot and search, at a distance of more than 30 feet. AND
Penalties to fight on ranged weapons -2 for at 30 feet, -1 for every ten feet beyond that.

Weapon farmiliarity (Tridents and nets are treated as martial, rather then exotic weapons),

Water Dependancy, They must immerse themselves in water once a week. If not, then every day thereafter, they must make a constitution check(dc10 + 1 extra per day) or take 1 constitution damage. Once they then do immerse in water, they regain 1d4 constitution for every hour spent.

Illiterate - Gloomkin completely lack a written tradition, and all start as illiterate. They may, however, spend 2 skill points and gain literacy in all languages they can speak, barring Gloomkin itself, which lacks any written counterpart. Gaining class levels of any kind does not automatically grant them literacy.
They may not take levels as a wizard, but may take sorcerer.

Bonus-feat - Electromagnetic awareness (As Blind-fight.)
They all receive a bonus feat at lvl1, "Electromagnetic Awareness". This operates exactly the same as blind fight, as they are able to vaguely sense their immediate surroundings electromagnetically

They can always take 10 on a swim-check to avoid a hazard, etc etc, and can use the run action while swimming as long as they do so in a straight line.

Obviously, thoughts and feedback would be great. :)

Tiki Snakes
2007-07-12, 03:48 PM
Bump. Also, thoughts on whether a Level Adjustment would be needed, or just possibly advisable would be appreciated.

I'm quite unsure of the merits of adding an LA most of the time, (outside of the cases of playing, for example, Monsters with class levels). Especially in relation to the idea that strength is somehow more important.

2007-07-22, 03:26 PM
More than likely these guys need an LA.

Tiki Snakes
2007-07-22, 03:33 PM
More than likely these guys need an LA.

If strictly compared to other races, quite probably, though my own guess would be no more than +1. As far as my own (eventual) campaign is concerned, I'm quite likely to ignore it.

Assuming I did, what would be the actual possible consequences?

2007-07-22, 03:40 PM
Well, the actual consequences of ignoring LA depend on the choices other Players make, the method of Attribute determination and the level at which you start the game. In the long term, ignoring LA will probably have minimal effect. In the short term you will have a Player Character who is slightly more powerful than his companions, assuming that all else remains equal.

2007-07-22, 03:53 PM
I think these guys are overpowered for +0 LA, but underpowered for +1 LA. You might want to consider how important certain abilities are to them. Consider if they actually need the racial +2 to strength and dex, or if it's just that a typical member of that race would put high rolls in both of those stats, and get rid of one of them if it's at all possible. If you keep +2 str and get rid of dex, you might want to think about giving them -2 wis and getting rid of specialised optics, leaving it as flavour for roleplay purposes only. The usefulness of waterbreathing and blindfight depend entirely on the campaign: how often are these abilities going to be used in what you're running?