Darkling (5e Race)

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Welcome to our little guild. I am the leader here. Sorry about the dark. Try not to bang your head on the ceiling there, it dips a little. And please don't light that match. I'm afraid my complexion can't take it."
- Brandubh Dubh Catha, to a party of adventurers

Physical Description[edit]

Darklings are a race of Fey that differ significantly depending on if they have undergone a ritual to become an "elder".

A Darkling's body, due to their curse, absorbs and contains all light that touches their skin, slowly aging the Darkling the longer they are exposed. While this does not cause the darkling physical pain, it does take a physical toll on their body, and continuous exposure to light could strain a Darkling's body to the brink of death. Only by allowing the body time to process the light in a dark environment, does the Darkling recover, similar to a human allowing themselves time to digest a meal. At the time of a Darkling's death the light stored in their bodies are released, violently, in a blast of white light. There are cautionary tales in Darkling societies where a single death, caused a chain reaction throughout a Darkling settlement, leaving only ash and empty houses left.

"Normal" Darklings are squat, ugly humanoids, with light grey skin, pearly glazed eyes, and sickly white hair. However, respected members of Darkling society undergo a ritual that restores the beauty of their race by siphoning the light in their bodies into glowing tattoos. In their Elder form, Darklings are medium-sized fair humanoids that resemble well-built elves, though their grey complexion remains.


Long ago, a Seelie fey whose name is lost to time betrayed the Summer Queen, leading to his entire house being cursed by her. These descendants are known as Darklings ("dubh sith" in Sylvan). The curse causes darklings' skin to absorb light and cause a rapid form of aging that can easily kill a darkling who does not cover their entire body or spend their lives in the dark.


Darklings live in close-knit tribes dwelling in caves or under cities of other races, due to their curse. They are known to enjoy art and music, perhaps as a vague recollection of their ancestors' home with the Summer Queen, even risking their vulnerability to light in order to light a candle for a quick glimpse at a priceless work of art, or a glimmering sunset. Mostly, however, this longing for art represents itself in music, and Darkling bards are held in high esteem in their tribes for the beautiful but melancholic melodies they play. Respected members Darkling tribes undergo a ritual to become more resistant to light, transforming from small fey into elf-like humanoids.

Darkling Names[edit]

Darklings have a given name, but if they become an elder, their name is extended into a longer form to match their new status in Darkling society. All Darklings use the family name "Dubh Catha" in memory of their first kin that fell from grace.

Male Names: Bran, Cor, Dòm, Fal, Fin

Female Names: Eimir, Mor, Gran, Cea, Bree

Elder Male Names: Brandubh, Coireall, Dòmhnallan, Failbhe, Fionghan

Elder Female Names: Eamhhair, Mòrag, Gràinne, Ceanag, Brianag

Darkling Racial Traits[edit]

Seelie fey whose curse causes them to rapidly age in sunlight, but make great assassins.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Age. Darklings who never feel sunlight on their skin can live nearly one thousand years, but most darklings don't live past two hundred.
Alignment. Most darklings are chaotic neutral, with a fair few becoming evil.
Size. Darklings are usually small and runtish, but elders are the same size as elves. Your race is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Superior Darkvision.. 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 can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Blindsight. You have blindsight in a 30 foot radius.
Sunlight Hypersensitivity. You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight. In addition for every hour you are in bright light you gain a level of exhaustion. You can remove this only through staying in a lightless environment for every hour you were exposed to bright light or through magic.
Death Flash. Upon death, your accumulated light explodes in a 10-foot radius of radiant light that deals 2d6 radiant damage. The damage increases to 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level. Your body and possessions, other than metal or magic objects, burn to ash.
Fey Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
Elder Ritual. At 5th level you can partake in a ritual over the course of a long rest to change yourself into a Darkling Elder. Your size is now Medium and you can cast the darkness spell once with this trait, requiring no material components, and you regain the ability to cast it this way when you finish a long rest. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell.
Languages. You speak, read and write Common, Elvish and Sylvan.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

4′ 8″ ++2d10 35/110lb lb. × (x1b/(2d4)lb.) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

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