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Steel Mirror
2014-09-21, 11:55 AM
Welcome to the next in my ongoing attempts to make fun, unusual, and balanced races for 5E. These are the nereids (singular nereid), an aquatic race related to elves who rule the seas and waterways of the world from vast and ancient aquatic nations. Sky-breathers once dismissed them as savages because they couldn't see their cities or swim their busy trade currents. As surface civilizations grew in size and technology, they began to threaten the delicate balance of the seas. They took more than the ocean could replenish, and fouled the waters with their industry. The nereids finally took it upon themselves to teach surface folk some respect for the deep.

Nereids can survive out of the water, but they need lots of hydration to make it bearable, and most never bother to make the effort. Some iconoclasts become curious about the surface world, are sent as envoys from the Deep Nations, or are taken as slaves by surface dwellers and put to work. When it comes down to it, nereids are motivated by the same sorts of things that motivate anyone, but on land they will always be a little out of place, a fish out of water.

Nereids
http://www.uberinspiration.com/wp-content/uploads/uberimages/illus/1/cool-concept-art238.jpg
Artist Credit: Igor Kieryluk (http://igorkieryluk.deviantart.com/) (deviantart) enclave elite (http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=197767)
Owned by Wizards of the Coast

Nereids are a complex people made up of many races and nations. But much like you could get a bizarre view of land-bound society if the only individuals you ever saw were fisherman, landfolk only get to see a small subset of nereids- a subset made up of those warriors or free spirits who find business with the surface world, and those unlucky enough to be nabbed by surface raiders and raised in a life of slavery.

A nereid resembles a streamlined elf with webbed toes and fingers, fins that fold flat along their forearms and calves when they are out of the water, and bluish or greenish skin that is smooth and slick like a dolphinís. Their facial features are sharp, with pointed ears and large eyes adapted to see underwater. They can speak in intelligible Aquan when underwater, a language that sounds similar to whalesong sped up, but their mouths are also capable of breathing above the water and speaking in surface tongues (though few ever bother to learn any).

A Different WorldNereids live beneath the waves in a world all their own. They have their own societies, histories, and gods that hardly intersect with the world above. While humans mingle with elves and dwarves, nereids coexist with merfolk, dolphins, and undine. They fight skirmishes with sahuagin and morkoth, make treaties with mighty kraken, and drive magalodons from their fishing waters. Some estimate that undersea folk in fact outnumber the combined throngs of those who live above the waves, and with so little contact between the two worlds it is hard to prove the case one way or the other.

Nereids live in a house-based society, with each house roughly devoted to a particular job in society. Each house also has a totem animal from which the house members are said to draw inspiration and strength. Nereids choose which house to swear themselves to when they reach the age of adulthood, 100 years (to the day, though they use a lunar calendar to reckon years). Before this time they traditionally spend many years exploring a number of houses and professions, and adventurers are usually drawn from those nereids undergoing this extended young adulthood.

Unlike most sea peoples, nereids are perfectly capable of living outside of the water (though it is about as uncomfortable for them as an elf attempting to live underground). Most never bother. What is the point? They have everything they could want or need in the ocean, and the surface is the domain of barbarians.

Clashes with Land DwellersIn fact it is an unfortunate truth that the majority of encounters between nereids and surface dwellers are deadly, or at least unpleasant. In some places, especially those where land society is small and coexists with the sea rather than exploiting it, there can be peaceful relations, even trade. Legends of nereids saving fishermen lost at sea, even falling in love with them, usually come from such idyllic locales, especially the coral reef homes of the halia nereids.

But these fairytale encounters are rare and, for most sailors, you are much more likely to be drowned by a passing nereid than saved. In older times, landfolk thought of the nereids as rarities, or as savages with no more organization than a band of goblin thieves. For their part, nereids saw land people as distant irrelevances crippled by an inability to breathe proper water. But as canoes turned into triremes and fishing lines into trawler nets, the nereids and their allies were forced to respond decisively before their ocean home was despoiled. Hundreds of years of skirmishes and piracy followed.

Nereids Above the WavesSo why would a nereid leave its home? The most straightforward reason is to serve as an envoy to the surface with a particular mission, perhaps to deliver a message to a queen, or to seek justice for crimes committed by a surface-dweller. Such nereids tend to be disdainful of land dwellers. They have brittle prides and passionate tempers, but they are usually honorable. A nereid warriorís ethos leads her to disregard insults by those that she considers below her in martial prowess, while demanding violent satisfaction for disrespect shown by a near-equal. In fact, a nereid warrior choosing to ignore a provocation is a calculated insult in itself; disregarding someoneís insolence implies that they are so insignificant that they deserve no attention.

Other nereids adventure because they have been banished from their home, to look for knowledge on land that canít be found at sea, to repay a debt they owe to someone, or to simply make a living as a mercenary. Some unfortunate nereids are taken by land-dwellers during skirmishes at sea and then sold inland as slaves, where they are particularly valued as fishing slaves or to harvest aquatic resources like herbs or pearls. Escaped slaves may not know how to get home, or nereids from the ocean might be encountered as they search for a loved one who was taken inland into slavery.

Nereids have a distinctive appearance and customs that are strange to those who live on land, and in coastal regions especially there is plenty of bad feeling toward a race known for striking suddenly and enigmatically and then fading beneath the waves without a trace. Inland they actually have an easier time. Their unusual appearance may draw plenty eyes, but there are fewer who have reason to hold a grudge against nereids, or even know what they are. nereids on the surface often complain about how heavy the air makes them feel, how dry and bright the sun is, and how wind dries out their skin. They find many surface customs strange including, curiously, the concept of cooking food. Underwater there are few chances to light fires, so almost all classic nereid cuisine is done raw.

Nereid NamesNereid names can only properly be pronounced by someone who is fluent in Aquan and, ideally, underwater. On land they may use versions of their names mauled and flattened to fit an airbreatherís tongue, or they may adapt new ones altogether. Traditionally Nereid names form a short poem or evocative phrase, a custom observed faithfully by halia and stygian nereids but falling slowly out of favor among the cosmopolitan pelagians.
Male Names: Drake, Typhon
Female Names:
Clan Names: Aaruobua (hammerhead shark), Bogborru (island turtle), Mimu (seahorse), Obrollidli (orca), Ugurruba (octopus), Zyllyxtyx (gulper eel)

Nereid Traits
Nereids living on the surface are the most adventurous and daring of their kind. Separated from their society and immersed in a land where many are hostile to their kind, they either have to be friendly and disarming enough to make friends wherever they go, or be badass enough that nobody can afford to give them trouble.

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age. Nereids are theorized to be distant relations to elves, and they have the long lifespans to back it up. Nereids reach adult size within about 20 years of being born, but are only acknowledged as adults once they reach 100 years of age and choose a clan and an adult name. They can live to about 700 years of age.
Alignment. Nereids in their homewaters tend toward complacency and orthodoxy, and are often lawful. Travelling nereids on the surface are more likely to be risk-takers and outcasts of some stripe, and so tend towards chaotic alignments. Morality-wise they are as diverse as humanity, and there are very good, very evil, and neutral members of the race to be found.
Size. Nereids are slightly taller than humans, but tend to be thinner and weigh less than a human of the same height. An exception is the pelagians, who are built more solidly even than the average human, and stygians, who range in height from 4 and a half to 6 feet tall. All nereids are medium sized.
Speed. Nereids walk awkwardly, but swim with graceful ease. Your walking speed is 25 feet, but you have a swim speed of 40 feet.
Languages. Most nereids donít bother to learn any surface languages, but travellers are an exception. Nereids speak, read, and write Aquan and one other language of their choice.
Aquatic. Nereids are at home in the water, though they can survive outside it. You can breathe underwater. While not immersed, you must drink about 4 times as much per day as a human or become dehydrated, suffering disadvantage to dexterity checks (including initiative rolls).
Slippery Customer. Nereids have especially smooth and slick skin, the better to escape the ocean's many predators. You have advantage on saves made to avoid being grappled or restrained, and advantage on checks made to escape being held, shackled, or otherwise physically bound.
Subrace. Nereids are divided into many subraces based on what aquatic region each people has colonized. Halia nereids live nomadically in the coastal shallows where the sea gives way to land, pelagians live in the open ocean in grand cities, and stygians lurk in the deepest parts of the deep ocean.
Halia Nereidshttp://fc02.deviantart.net/fs49/i/2009/231/7/0/Merfolk_Looter_by_Concept_Art_House.jpg
Artist Credit: Austin Hsu - Merfolk Looter (http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=merfolk+looter)
Owned by Wizards of the Coast

The halia nereids call the coral reefs and kelp forests of shallow seas their homes. They are primarily nomadic, though they may build semipermanent villages out of coral where they can gather on days of special significance, and to trade with their more organized deep water brethren.

Halia nereids are the most likely to have peaceful dealings with surface folk. They are known for their exquisite coral crafts, for tending vast herds of seals and manatees, and for their knowledge of medicinal and magical applications of exotic reef organisms. They are fun-loving, mischievous, and curious, but when provoked can be ferocious. They gravitate towards being rogues, bards, and other classes for whom mischief and exploration come easily.

Halia nereids are cheerfully colored, with aqua to light purple skin and paler colors running down their front. Their fins are tipped in little bony points, which produce a small amount of poison that the nereids use for self defense.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Ocean Forager. When making a Survival check to find food in an aquatic environment such as the sea, a river, or a swamp, you may add twice your proficiency bonus instead of any proficiency bonus that would normally apply.
Poisonous Spines. Halia secrete small amounts of poison from their fin spines. As a bonus action, you may transfer this poison to a weapon that you are wielding by setting aside a single one of your hit dice (it is now considered used, and unavailable for any other purpose). The next time you damage an enemy with that weapon, roll the expended hit dice and deal the result to the target as poison damage in addition to your normal hit. A weapon can only be imbued with a single use of the Poisonous Spines ability at a time, and the poison becomes inert if not used within 1 hour.
If an enemy strikes you with a melee natural weapon, you may use your reaction to make an unarmed melee attack roll against it (using your normal proficiency and ability modifier for such an attack). On a hit, you expend and roll 1 hit die as poison damage instead of the normal damage for your unarmed attack.
When you reach level 6 you may expend an additional hit die when using Poisonous Spines (max 2), and you may expend another upon reaching level 11 (max 3) and 17 (max 4).

Pelagianshttp://s2.postimg.org/t038njmyh/Seastalkers_by_eric_Deschampscrop600.jpg
Artist Credit: Eric Deschamps (http://ericdeschamps.deviantart.com/) - Merfolk Seastalkers (http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=189625)
Owned by Wizards of the Coast

Pelagians are by far the most numerous of the nereid races. They are the ones who have built grand underwater cities, and who live in them as scholars and warriors, commoners and priest-kings. Since their cities are built into the seabed, most pelagians spend little time near the surface, where they might see passing ships from below or meet sailors. The average pelagian has everything he needs at the bottom of the ocean, and gives as little thought to exploring the surface world as a halfling farmer thinks about visiting the Elemental Chaos.

Pelagians often have a deep sense of honor and duty, though plenty of rogues and scoundrels ignore the old ways. Upright and martially inclined pelagians tend to be paladins and fighters, though they have a strong tradition of warlocks who serve the Deep Gods as well.

Pelagians are tall, statuesque, and tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves, with little desire or ability to mask their emotions. Their skin is usually blue to green, with reds, yellows, purples, and more decorating their fins and ventral stripes.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Heirs to Empire. Pelagians have carved enduring nations from an ocean swimming with hostile sea monsters and powerful rivals. Some of this is thanks to the force of their arms, some is due to the sheer power of their personalities. When you roll a Charisma check, you treat any result on the die from 1-5 as though you had rolled a 6.
Supremacy. Pelagians are natural commanders and organizers. When an ally other than yourself within 20 feet hits an enemy with an attack that deals damage, you may spend a reaction to allow him to reroll the damage. If he chooses to do so, he must take the new result, even if it is lower than the original.

Stygianshttp://s29.postimg.org/i9suc3a5z/bioluminescence_by_satiiiva_d5ehxlvcrop600.jpg
Artist Credit: satiiva (http://satiiiva.deviantart.com/)(deviantart) - image (http://satiiiva.deviantart.com/art/bioluminescence-326682211)

Stygians hail from the deepest parts of the ocean, the frigid trenches where no sunlight ever reaches and monsters have grown huge and bizarre even by the standards of the generally terrifying oceans. As a result, stygians are reserved and subtle, preferring to stand back and watch rather than take rash action. When they must act, they prefer sudden attacks and overwhelming surprise.

Stygians are the rarest of the subraces of nereids, and almost unknown on the surface. Their mysterious nature and striking appearance fuels their reputation for powerful sorcery and mastery of arts unknown to the rest of the world. Stygian sorcerers and warlocks are feared and revered throughout the oceans, but just as legendary are their avenging assassins and bards who sing lonely, beautiful songs in the swallowing deeps.

They have blue skin so dark that they are almost black, with grey on their chests and stomach. Stygiansí bodies are decorated with luminescent spots that run under their eyes, down the sides of their necks and backs, and to the ends of their limbs. They also have luminescent tips on the end of their hair, which can make for a particularly entrancing display in the lightless depths they call home.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity and Charisma scores increase by 1. This is in addition to the normal Ability Score Increase for nereids, meaning that the total increase is +2 Charisma and +1 Dexterity.
Bioluminescent Magic. At first level you can recreate the effects of the Light cantrip, targeting only yourself, as your luminescent spots glow in otherworldly blue radiance. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the Enthrall spell once per day, replacing the audible effects with visual patterns on your skin and hair. When you reach 5th level, you can also cast Blur once per day. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
Darkvision. Accustomed to life in the inkiest of dark depths, you have superior vision in dark conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You canít discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Naiadshttp://s11.postimg.org/nij4s3537/shallow_water_by_kamanwilliam_d5s3b6ccrop600.jpg
Artist Credit: kamanwilliam (http://kamanwilliam.deviantart.com/)- shallow water (http://kamanwilliam.deviantart.com/art/Shallow-water-349514580)

Naiads are a freshwater subrace of the nereid species, but geography and culture has separated the two for so long that they barely consider themselves related. Naiads look more human than their ocean-dwelling brethren, and spend more time with land dwellers, sometimes even living freely among them.

In times past or in certain regions there has been tension, leading to battles between naiads and landfolk and giving rise to legends of beautiful water creatures tricking men and women into drowning. Yet while nereids can stay in their deep ocean homes and remain untroubled by surface folk, that is less of an option for a people populating comparatively shallow rivers and lakes. Naiads today trade with land society, travel on land to conduct business or to see the world, even join terrestrial kingdoms and make alliances. In some of the busiest cities in the world you can see naiad wasabi radish farmers rubbing shoulders with dwarven caravanners, gnome chroniclers, and centaur mercenaries.

Naiads have human skin colors, often tinged with blues and greens. They have fins like any nereid, though outside of the water they fold down and so could be obscured by clothing, or missed by someone giving only a cursory examination.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2 and your Charisma scores increases by 1. This is in addition to the normal Ability Score Increase for nereids, so the total increase is +2 Intelligence and +2 Charisma.
Enticing Melody. Naiads are famed for their beautiful voices, which in more savage times were used to lead credulous land-dwellers to a watery death. You are proficient with the Perform skill and with the instrument Voice (Singing).
Effortless Appeal. The minnow relies on its speed for defense, the turtle on its shell, the squid on its ink. Naiads rely on their cunning and on their natural ability to charm and misdirect people who might otherwise do them harm. You may add half your proficiency bonus to any Charisma check you make that does not already include your proficiency bonus.

As always, I appreciate any and all observations, questions, suggestions, and nitpicks!

QED - Iltazyara
2014-09-21, 01:53 PM
From the abilities point of view I can't help but feel that the core of the race is a bit empty, with only the aquatic ability feeling like the only shared one. Rather than subraces, they seem like wholly separated ones with no shared features beyond living underwater.

Other than that, I feel compelled to complain about the name; Naiads were (pretty much exclusively) fresh water nymphs, of streams and pools, springs and the like. I will admit though, the name Oceanids seems a little cliche, even if it is more appropriate.
If you want a Greek themed name for these, Ephydriades or Hydriades would be better as a general name, with Naiad for a possible river/lake subrace that I don't currently see. Haliae is one name of a nymph who, in the stories was associated with the sea and seashores as well, which might be a better name than 'Shoalrange Naiads' if you're looking for one.

I do think there's a place for a fourth subrace in rivers and lakes, if you can conceptualise for them, possibly taking inspiration from the MTG Merrow from the Lorwyn Set and their work on the rivers.

Steel Mirror
2014-09-21, 05:16 PM
From the abilities point of view I can't help but feel that the core of the race is a bit empty, with only the aquatic ability feeling like the only shared one. Rather than subraces, they seem like wholly separated ones with no shared features beyond living underwater.I have been concerned about this, and perhaps I'll strip an ability from the subraces to put another shared racial feature to unify them all, as you say. I had hoped that their cosmetic and fluff similarities, combined with the fact that they all share something of a niche concept that sets them apart from other races, would be enough to unify them, but I might not have made it work.


Other than that, I feel compelled to complain about the name; Naiads were (pretty much exclusively) fresh water nymphs, of streams and pools, springs and the like. I will admit though, the name Oceanids seems a little cliche, even if it is more appropriate.

If you want a Greek themed name for these, Ephydriades or Hydriades would be better as a general name, with Naiad for a possible river/lake subrace that I don't currently see. Haliae is one name of a nymph who, in the stories was associated with the sea and seashores as well, which might be a better name than 'Shoalrange Naiads' if you're looking for one.I pretty much agree with you; the naiad name is a bit far from their mythological roots. I was thinking that a few factors made it acceptable for me. First, D&D has a long history of appropriating mythological elements, mashing them up, and giving birth to something new and only tangentially related to the namesake. Second, the other options you mention for the race as a whole (and indeed any other options I could think of) are either too arcane to be very evocative, and other things I considered already claimed by something else in the D&Dverse, like merfolk or sea elves (sea elves is boring anyway).

With that said, I really do like the Haliae name, though, and not just for the shoalrange subrace (which I agree is pretty bleh, but I couldn't think up anything better :smallredface:). I'm actually going to change the name of the whole race, thank you much for the suggestion!

That does mean the shoalrange haliades need a better name still, but hooray for progress!


I do think there's a place for a fourth subrace in rivers and lakes, if you can conceptualise for them, possibly taking inspiration from the MTG Merrow from the Lorwyn Set and their work on the rivers.I have certainly been planning on doing this! If you have any ideas for them in terms of racial traits and so on, please chip in! :smallbiggrin: Your ideas have already been quite helpful.

Grey Watcher
2014-09-21, 05:51 PM
The shoalrange's slippery skin feature could honestly work for all of them, since, even when they go on land, they consume so much water, I imagine their skin is slick to the touch.

Steel Mirror
2014-09-21, 06:30 PM
The shoalrange's slippery skin feature could honestly work for all of them, since, even when they go on land, they consume so much water, I imagine their skin is slick to the touch.Yeah, that seems to be the best way to go. Hopefully it's also broadly useful; casters benefit because they really don't want to be locked down in combat, rogues and the like always enjoy an advantage when escaping bonds and such, and fighting types spend the most time in melee and thus are the most likely to benefit from it, overall. Thanks for the feedback, I'll make the change. I'm thinking of dropping cold resistance from the the stygians, so as to keep the subraces balanced, and I'm still working on the pelagians but this should hopefully tie all the subraces together with mechanics as well as thematics.

Grey Watcher
2014-09-21, 11:05 PM
Maybe something social or skill related for the Plegi-, er Plege-... Middle-Depth Haliaens, since they're the most high culture, trading with neighbors, building big cities and complex societies and stuff.

Steel Mirror
2014-09-22, 10:04 AM
I like that idea, Grey Watcher, and I will definitely be using it. Hopefully I get something up for the Pelagians (name, if anyone is interested, coming from a marine biology term (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelagic_zone)).

I'm having buyers remorse on changing the name from naiads to Haliae, actually. Does anyone else have a preference? For all that the name 'naiad' was mythologically a bit inaccurate, it just seemed to roll of the tongue and sit in the memory better than Haliae. Plus if I changed it back, I would have a good name for the shoalrange subrace, as QED originally suggested.

QED - Iltazyara
2014-09-22, 10:36 AM
Nereid would be better than back to Naiad, as that was the Mediterranean subbranch of Oceanids, so that is phonetically similar to naiad and leaves that open for its more appropriate usage; the river/lake variant (basically freshwater, so yeah.)

And for said variant... Well, if we look at Lorwyn there's some ideas for helping with travel underwater or through it; maybe some way to help someone breath underwater? The whole 'transferring air through a kiss' is cliche, but plausible as a mechanic. Albeit a minor one.

Otherwise, they'd have a lot more interaction with land races; and may fall into the mythological perception of naiads, while being a different style of them. Persuasion, or some benefit towards charming, might be appropriate, and is quite a common mermaid/merfolk trope.

Steel Mirror
2014-09-22, 10:57 AM
Nereid would be better than back to Naiad, as that was the Mediterranean subbranch of Oceanids, so that is phonetically similar to naiad and leaves that open for its more appropriate usage; the river/lake variant (basically freshwater, so yeah.)QED, you are a naming master. I bow to your naming wisdom. Nereid is perfect, and it frees up Haliae and Naiad for subraces, which is even MORE perfect. Is there no way on this forum to give a cookie? I really should be giving you a cookie.


And for said variant... Well, if we look at Lorwyn there's some ideas for helping with travel underwater or through it; maybe some way to help someone breath underwater? The whole 'transferring air through a kiss' is cliche, but plausible as a mechanic. Albeit a minor one.I haven't actually played MtG since Mercadian Masks, but I obviously have been using their art for this little project. I'll take a look at Lorwyn and see what there is to see!


Otherwise, they'd have a lot more interaction with land races; and may fall into the mythological perception of naiads, while being a different style of them. Persuasion, or some benefit towards charming, might be appropriate, and is quite a common mermaid/merfolk trope. They definitely will be less reclusive and enigmatic, and have more chances to interact with landfolk than their ocean brethren. The siren part of the myth is something I haven't explored yet; perhaps I'll do so with the naiad subrace (yay, it makes sense when I use it now!).

Thanks again for reading, commenting, and correcting my terrible naming. Hopefully I'll whip this race into something enjoyable soon!

Steel Mirror
2014-09-26, 12:12 AM
All right, I finally decided upon something that might work for the Pelagians. Thank you, Grey Watcher, for some inspiration, and thank you everyone who takes the time to read my creations.

Pelagians
Pelagians are by far the most numerous of the nereid races. They are the ones who have built grand underwater cities, and who live in them as scholars and warriors, commoners and priest-kings. Since their cities are built into the seabed, most pelagians spend little time near the surface, where they might see passing ships from below or meet sailors. The average pelagian has everything he needs at the bottom of the ocean, and gives as little thought to exploring the surface world as a halfling farmer thinks about visiting the Elemental Chaos.

Pelagians often have a deep sense of honor and duty, though plenty of rogues and scoundrels ignore the old ways. Upright and martially inclined pelagians tend to be paladins and fighters, though they have a strong tradition of warlocks who serve the Deep Gods as well.

Pelagians are tall, statuesque, and tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves, with little desire or ability to mask their emotions. Their skin is usually blue to green, with reds, yellows, purples, and more decorating their fins and ventral stripes.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.
Size. Pelagians are taller and a little more solid than the average elf, ranging from 5 and a half to 7 feet tall or more.
Heirs to Empire. Pelagians have carved enduring nations from an ocean swimming with hostile sea monsters and powerful rivals. Some of this is thanks to the force of their arms, some is due to the sheer power of their personalities. When you roll a Charisma check, you treat any result on the die from 1-7 as though you had rolled an 8.
Supremacy. Pelagians are natural commanders and organizers. When an ally within 20 feet hits an enemy with an attack that deals damage, you may spend a reaction to allow him to reroll the damage. If he chooses to do so, he must take the result, even if it is lower than the original.
Tell me what you think! Still on the list is to make a naiad subrace (fresh water, possibly based on drowning people and singing), and to hopefully get a little bit of playtest to see if it is all working properly.

Grey Watcher
2014-09-26, 12:34 PM
Glad to see you keeping up with this, because I really think I want to play as one of these guys sometime soon. :smallsmile:


Heirs to Empire. Pelagians have carved enduring nations from an ocean swimming with hostile sea monsters and powerful rivals. Some of this is thanks to the force of their arms, some is due to the sheer power of their personalities. When you roll a Charisma check, you treat any result on the die from 1-7 as though you had rolled an 8.

I think this might be a bit too powerful. Just off the top of my head, I can see a Pelagian Sorcerer or Warlock really making Dispel Magic and Counterspell into wrecking balls (admittedly a niche exploit, but that's just for starters). Maybe they can only do it a limited number of times per short or long rest?


Supremacy. Pelagians are natural commanders and organizers. When an ally within 20 feet hits an enemy with an attack that deals damage, you may spend a reaction to allow him to reroll the damage. If he chooses to do so, he must take the result, even if it is lower than the original.

Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it feels a little martial-specific, but then you realize that "an attack that deals damage" means you could apply this to spell damage. Can the Pelagian use this on himself?

Steel Mirror
2014-09-26, 01:39 PM
I think this might be a bit too powerful. Just off the top of my head, I can see a Pelagian Sorcerer or Warlock really making Dispel Magic and Counterspell into wrecking balls (admittedly a niche exploit, but that's just for starters). Maybe they can only do it a limited number of times per short or long rest?Good point, I hadn't thought of Dispelling applications. As a side-note, by all means, I welcome people pointing out corner cases and niche exploits! That is the downfall of many a seemingly-innocuous houserule, after all, and it is best to nip these things in the bud! :smallbiggrin:

I'll have to think about how to fix it. On the one hand, limiting the number of uses would probably reign in the abuse, but it feels like possibly a bit too much bookkeeping if we are trying to fit into 5E's streamlined aesthetic. I'll post later tonight with further thoughts.


Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it feels a little martial-specific, but then you realize that "an attack that deals damage" means you could apply this to spell damage. Can the Pelagian use this on himself?The intent was for him not to be able to use it on himself, so I will add that in. Other than that, yeah, I hope it would prove equally useful for allied martials and allied mages. It also means that the pelagians are diminished a bit when they fight alone, but rather scary when encountered in groups, which I like as a flavor thing. Always looking out for each other, and so on. Sort of matches (hopefully) with the "honor warrior guys" vibe I am trying to give them. And in a PC context, with mixed races and everything, it helps to put a spotlight on the pelagian PC as "this guy is both a good guy to have giving you advice in combat as well as someone who might slot naturally into a leadership role."

And thank you, for coming back to read and comment again!

ocel
2014-09-28, 12:26 AM
I've got a few questions to ask you about this race, Steel Mirror: First, shouldn't the average nereid know how to speak, read, and write common too? It seems to be the only language that every race is fluent in. I would imagine it having many applications for trade and such. Second, why are Halias, Pelagians, and Stygians measurements different? And for that matter, why isn't this information in the fluff spoiler/folder or Nereids Traits'? Third, why is its charisma +1 instead of +2? Lastly, do you plan to add more features to this race in the future?

Steel Mirror
2014-09-28, 01:21 AM
First thing first, I've been giving the Heir to Empire ability a lot of thought, in regard to how it interacts with Dispel Magic and Counterspell. My best fix thus far is pretty simple: decrease the 'floor' that it puts on d20 charisma rolls from 8 to 6. So it now reads:

Heirs to Empire. Pelagians have carved enduring nations from an ocean swimming with hostile sea monsters and powerful rivals. Some of this is thanks to the force of their arms, some is due to the sheer power of their personalities. When you roll a Charisma check, you treat any result on the die from 1-5 as though you had rolled a 6.

This means that the minimum that a sorcerer or warlock would roll for Counterspell when he gets it at level 3 would be 11 (6+3[Cha mod]+2[prof bonus]), which means there is no benefit since he already counters level 1 and 2 spells automatically, and Heirs to Empire doesn't actually improve his odds for anything higher than that. When he gets Dispel Magic at level 5, his minimum roll is now likely 13 (6+4[Cha mod]+3[prof bonus]), which again is no benefit. As he levels up and increases in ability, he gets the equivalent of a free boost in the power of his Dispel Magic and Counterspell slots, culminating at high levels when the minimum roll is 17 (6+5[Cha mod]+6[prof bonus]), meaning that he can automatically dispel level 7 spells with level 2 and 3 slots, respectively...but by then, even a normal sorcerer or warlock would be all but assured at succeeding at those same checks, so I don't think it is as powerful as it seems at first.

TL;DR - Tell me what you think about making Heirs to Empire. work for 1-5=6 instead of 1-7=8.
I've got a few questions to ask you about this race, Steel MirrorExcellent! :smallbiggrin:

First, shouldn't the average nereid know how to speak, read, and write common too? It seems to be the only language that every race is fluent in. I would imagine it having many applications for trade and such.The concept with the nereids is that they pretty much live in their own underwater world, where Aquan is what they use as Common, and their civilizations are just as extensive and varied belw the waves as ours are up here. Why don't they speak common? They would ask why surface folk don't speak Aquan. After all, speaking Aquan would be as useful for a human or dwarf as Common would be for a denizen of one of the ocean cities.

Basically, they live in a whole different world, and most of them never interact with surface folk, so don't see the point of learning surface languages. The "any one extra language" thing does allow PCs to begin with the ability to speak Common, of course.

Second, why are Halias, Pelagians, and Stygians measurements different? And for that matter, why isn't this information in the fluff spoiler/folder or Nereids Traits'?I wanted to differentiate them a bit from each other by making their actual statures be different, but I can probably get rid of that if is just distracting. It seemed cute at the time, but now I am ambivalent.


Third, why is its charisma +1 instead of +2?The base races in the PHB have a single +2, with an additional +1 for subraces. With the nereids, I wanted to offer a more diverse group of subraces by having the base race give +1, and the subraces give an additional +2. The end bonus is the same, but the distribution is different.


Lastly, do you plan to add more features to this race in the future?I wasn't planning on adding any more abilities to the base race, or to any of the existing subraces, but I am still planning to do a freshwater subspecies called naiads. I think that nereids are playable as-is without the need for any more racial traits. Do you think otherwise?

Hopefully that answered your questions, and hopefully toning down the Pelagian ability allays Grey Watcher's well-founded concerns. Do the subraces look balanced against each other? Does anyone stand out as head and fins above the others, or do any of the racial abilities seem too powerful or poorly conceived?

Steel Mirror
2014-09-28, 04:16 PM
I've finally added the fourth subrace, the naiad! Naiads are a freshwater cousin of the far more numerous and organized nereids. They rely on their charms and their enchanting voices to fool anyone who means them harm, but on the whole these days they have come to coexist with humans and other top-dwellers living in their areas.

Naiadshttp://s11.postimg.org/nij4s3537/shallow_water_by_kamanwilliam_d5s3b6ccrop600.jpg
Artist Credit: kamanwilliam (http://kamanwilliam.deviantart.com/)- shallow water (http://kamanwilliam.deviantart.com/art/Shallow-water-349514580)

Naiads are a freshwater subrace of the nereid species, but geography and culture has separated the two for so long that they barely consider themselves related. Naiads look more human than their ocean-dwelling brethren, and spend more time with land dwellers, sometimes even living freely among them.

In times past or in certain regions there has been tension, leading to battles between naiads and landfolk and giving rise to legends of beautiful water creatures tricking men and women into drowning. Yet while nereids can stay in their deep ocean homes and remain untroubled by surface folk, that is less of an option for a people populating comparatively shallow rivers and lakes. Naiads today trade with land society, travel on land to conduct business or to see the world, even join terrestrial kingdoms and make alliances. In some of the busiest cities in the world you can see naiad wasabi radish farmers rubbing shoulders with dwarven caravanners, gnome chroniclers, and centaur mercenaries.

Naiads have human skin colors, often tinged with blues and greens. They have fins like any nereid, though outside of the water they fold down and so could be obscured by clothing, or missed by someone giving only a cursory examination.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2 and your Charisma scores increases by 1. This is in addition to the normal Ability Score Increase for nereids, so the total increase is +2 Intelligence and +2 Charisma.
Enticing Melody. Naiads are famed for their beautiful voices, which in more savage times were used to lead credulous land-dwellers to a watery death. You are proficient with the Perform skill and with the instrument Voice (Singing).
Effortless Appeal. The minnow relies on its speed for defense, the turtle on its shell, the squid on its ink. Naiads rely on their cunning and on their natural ability to charm and misdirect people who might otherwise do them harm. You may add half your proficiency bonus to any Charisma check you make that does not already include your proficiency bonus.
I also followed ocel's advice and moved all the info about subraces' sizes into the main entry for naiads, to ease clutter and make things more readable. What do you think about the new subrace, or anything about the nereids so far?

Grey Watcher
2014-09-30, 10:15 AM
First thing first, I've been giving the Heir to Empire ability a lot of thought, in regard to how it interacts with Dispel Magic and Counterspell. My best fix thus far is pretty simple: decrease the 'floor' that it puts on d20 charisma rolls from 8 to 6. So it now reads:

Heirs to Empire. Pelagians have carved enduring nations from an ocean swimming with hostile sea monsters and powerful rivals. Some of this is thanks to the force of their arms, some is due to the sheer power of their personalities. When you roll a Charisma check, you treat any result on the die from 1-5 as though you had rolled a 6.

This means that the minimum that a sorcerer or warlock would roll for Counterspell when he gets it at level 3 would be 11 (6+3[Cha mod]+2[prof bonus]), which means there is no benefit since he already counters level 1 and 2 spells automatically, and Heirs to Empire doesn't actually improve his odds for anything higher than that. When he gets Dispel Magic at level 5, his minimum roll is now likely 13 (6+4[Cha mod]+3[prof bonus]), which again is no benefit. As he levels up and increases in ability, he gets the equivalent of a free boost in the power of his Dispel Magic and Counterspell slots, culminating at high levels when the minimum roll is 17 (6+5[Cha mod]+6[prof bonus]), meaning that he can automatically dispel level 7 spells with level 2 and 3 slots, respectively...but by then, even a normal sorcerer or warlock would be all but assured at succeeding at those same checks, so I don't think it is as powerful as it seems at first.

OK, minor nitpick, but Dispel Magic and Counterspell don't natively include your proficiency bonus. One of the Abjuerer's special perks is specifically being able to do so.

Also I've been thinking about it some more and I think another part of my concern is that the whole "you can't roll less than a certain threshold" is fairly hard to get for most builds. Either it's a spell, so it's only a limited time or it's something you have to invest in pretty heavily in (like a class Archetype or a feat). Getting it passively from your race starting at level 1 feels like a bit much.

Also, it prevents critical misses, which is a very big boost to casters trying to make attack rolls with spells. EDIT: Actually, I'm a little unclear on the 5e language. Does "ability check" include attack rolls using that ability or not? EDIT 2: OK, Ability Checks, Saving Throws, and Attack Rolls are each their own distinct thing.

I dunno. I don't think any amount of numerical tweaking is going to make me feel better about it. :smallfrown:


Naiads

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2 and your Charisma scores increases by 1. This is in addition to the normal Ability Score Increase for nereids, so the total increase is +2 Intelligence and +2 Charisma.
Enticing Melody. Naiads are famed for their beautiful voices, which in more savage times were used to lead credulous land-dwellers to a watery death. You are proficient with the Perform skill and with the instrument Voice (Singing).
Effortless Appeal. The minnow relies on its speed for defense, the turtle on its shell, the squid on its ink. Naiads rely on their cunning and on their natural ability to charm and misdirect people who might otherwise do them harm. You may add half your proficiency bonus to any Charisma check you make that does not already include your proficiency bonus.
I also followed ocel's advice and moved all the info about subraces' sizes into the main entry for naiads, to ease clutter and make things more readable. What do you think about the new subrace, or anything about the nereids so far?

This seems pretty solid. The free Performance proficiency is nice and flavorful, and dovetails nicely with the Bard class, since it means you don't have to spend one of your three class skill proficiencies on Performance. And the half-proficiency to non-proficient Charisma checks works well, because, even if you are proficient in, say Persuasion and Deception, it will come in handy when trying to Intimidate or perform some spell-related Charisma check. (Or vice-versa, for that matter.)

Steel Mirror
2014-09-30, 12:40 PM
Also I've been thinking about it some more and I think another part of my concern is that the whole "you can't roll less than a certain threshold" is fairly hard to get for most builds. Either it's a spell, so it's only a limited time or it's something you have to invest in pretty heavily in (like a class Archetype or a feat). Getting it passively from your race starting at level 1 feels like a bit much.

<snip>

I dunno. I don't think any amount of numerical tweaking is going to make me feel better about it. :smallfrown:Heh, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but if I don't listen to the people who are good enough to comment on my huge walls of text, then why put them up in the first place? :smallsmile:

How is this for a new fix for the ability:

Heirs to Empire. Pelagians have carved enduring nations from an ocean swimming with hostile sea monsters and powerful rivals. Some of this is thanks to the force of their arms, some is due to the sheer power of their personalities. Before rolling any Charisma check, you may choose to have advantage on that roll. Once you use this ability, you may not use it again until you take a short rest.

This seems pretty solid.Thanks! I was trying to pull back on the racial traits, both because the naiads are like the mountain dwarves, with 2 +2's, and because in general I was starting to feel like I was locked in an escalating arms race with myself, trying to make each list of racial traits I brew up more exciting and unique. A common destiny for homebrewed content, but something that you guys are helping me tone down.

Thanks for reading!

Arkhios
2017-01-06, 04:18 PM
Pelagian Nereids seem to be missing part of their alignment fluff.

Edit: derp.

Steel Mirror
2017-01-06, 11:23 PM
Thanks for catching that, it must have been sitting there for ages, incomplete! I added in a blurb to complete that bit, and I'll be taking the opportunity to go over the whole thing again with fresh eyes to see how it seems now that I've been away from it for a while.

Ninja_Prawn
2017-01-09, 03:27 AM
Hey, Steel Mirror. Just noticed this one (a bit late I know) and thought I'd check it out, seeing as I brewed my own version of classical water nymphs as part of my fey project.

It all looks very nice (and I totally agree with not giving them Common by default), though I wonder if the naiad is a little bit underpowered if you play as a bard - the enticing melody and effortless appeal are either redundant or superfluous for that class - when really, you should be steering naiads towards the bard class.

Steel Mirror
2017-01-09, 12:39 PM
Hey, Steel Mirror. Just noticed this one (a bit late I know) and thought I'd check it out, seeing as I brewed my own version of classical water nymphs as part of my fey project.

It all looks very nice (and I totally agree with not giving them Common by default), though I wonder if the naiad is a little bit underpowered if you play as a bard - the enticing melody and effortless appeal are either redundant or superfluous for that class - when really, you should be steering naiads towards the bard class.
Thanks! I really like fey stuff in D&D, and was even mulling the possibility of trying to make some smaller than small races, so I checked out your fey creatures pdf. You weren't kidding about making a whole package of races and other material! There's tons of good stuff there, I'm going to look through it more extensively because it looks great, and what I have seen I really like.

But sorry, back to the naiad bards. For Enticing Melody, at least, I think it's still useful for them. They get free proficiency in a skill, which happens to be a skill a lot of bards end up choosing anyway, which lets them use their class-granted proficiencies for something else entirely. It might not be the most exciting racial trait, but I don't think it's entirely redundant or superfluous.

On the other hand Effortless Appeal pretty much is useless for them, and that's a problem. Good point. I like the concept of the trait, but the anti-synergy for bards is unfortunate, so it would be nice to come up with a way to even things out.

Although...now that I'm reading the precise wording of each of them:

Effortless Appeal. The minnow relies on its speed for defense, the turtle on its shell, the squid on its ink. Naiads rely on their cunning and on their natural ability to charm and misdirect people who might otherwise do them harm. You may add half your proficiency bonus to any Charisma check you make that does not already include your proficiency bonus.

Jack of All Trades
You add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check you make that doesn't already include your proficiency bonus.

I wonder if, by the strict reading of those two abilities, they actually stack? If so, you actually do get benefit out of Effortless Appeal, and in fact you get the same bonus on Charisma skills that you aren't proficient with that someone does who is proficient (except at levels where your proficiency bonus is odd, in which case you get -1). That would be a whole new unusual situation because it would lead to Naiad bards who never bother taking any social skills, but in some ways that's kind of appropriate. Where other people train or study to be diplomats, confidence men, or performers, naiads go on pure instinct and make it look easy.

What do you think about that interpretation?

Ninja_Prawn
2017-01-10, 04:26 AM
I wonder if, by the strict reading of those two abilities, they actually stack? If so, you actually do get benefit out of Effortless Appeal, and in fact you get the same bonus on Charisma skills that you aren't proficient with that someone does who is proficient (except at levels where your proficiency bonus is odd, in which case you get -1). That would be a whole new unusual situation because it would lead to Naiad bards who never bother taking any social skills, but in some ways that's kind of appropriate. Where other people train or study to be diplomats, confidence men, or performers, naiads go on pure instinct and make it look easy.

What do you think about that interpretation?

I did wonder about that. I agree that on a strict reading, they should stack, but I had assumed that your intent was that they wouldn't stack and based my appraisal on that. It would be nice, thematically, to be great at all Cha skills without investing proficiency, but as a player, it would annoy me that I'd have to 'waste' a proficiency if I wanted to get expertise in any of them, and that it'd be next to impossible to play a naiad that isnt' charismatic. And your prof bonus is odd for like 40% of the time.

I don't know. It doesn't rub me right. I'd at least put an explicit note for how the feature behaves "if you have the Jack of All Trades feature from your class or another source..."

Steel Mirror
2017-01-10, 01:43 PM
I don't know. It doesn't rub me right. I'd at least put an explicit note for how the feature behaves "if you have the Jack of All Trades feature from your class or another source..."
Yeah you're right. It doesn't feel right, so I should come up with some alternative way to accomplish a similar thing.

I'll give it some thought. Nothing jumps out at me immediately, but hopefully time will help. Thanks!

Arkhios
2017-01-11, 11:35 AM
Am I reading this right: Nereids don't speak Common by default?

Steel Mirror
2017-01-11, 11:57 AM
Am I reading this right: Nereids don't speak Common by default?
That's correct, though you may of course choose to speak Common as your "one extra language".