Nökken (5e Race)

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This content deviates from 5th Edition standards. Its use could dramatically alter campaigns, take extreme care. DesignDisclaimer.png
Caution - Here there be monsters!
This content intends to provide a different experience, or goes beyond the scope of the anticipated subjects and situations, than the 5th Edition rules were intended to handle. Some portions of the content below may not be what you expect from traditional game content. When implementing this content, DMs and Players should read over all the information carefully, and consider the following specific notes of interest:
* Warning! A player of this race does not choose a background. Because of how a nökken is created, this player's background is a collection of the knowledge of multiple people.
* Warning! A player of this race may change their form as an action.
* When creating a nökken, work with your DM and flesh out those who were killed in your creation. The history of these characters make up your background.


Nökken(nuke-en, or nook-en) are creatures of Norse myth and legend which could change shape to fool people, often luring unsuspecting humans to their deaths. As a 5e race, they retain their chaotic nature and shapeshifting abilities but are not inherently evil.


The twelve arche magi each looked up from their work in turn, glancing slowly to each other member of the order. They had studied and prepared for twenty years, and now they were ready to create a spell that would grant each of them immortality. They gathered at the top of the tower, each making the final arrangements to be sure nothing would go wrong. Each tried not to rush, nervous and excited, but it only took one mistake to destroy them. A forgotten word, a mispronounced syllable, and they would be doomed.

And doomed they were.

Amid the wreckage of the great tower stood a wizard in a black robe. Upon inspection, he wore nothing, but his very essence coalesced into those who had been damned. His cloak, hair, eyes, even his staff were all a part of him; one dark shadow laced with red lighting as if a storm brewed within him. He knew much of what they had learned, and still, he couldn't understand why they wanted to extend their lives. He would live for millennia before moving on, perhaps forever in this world. He thought of their failure and smiled, changing his shape as he became the goblin that had killed one of them while they stood around the circle.

His staff became the torch that Grexx had burned the book with, it's dancing flame giving no light beyond the faded crimson storm within him. His teeth were sharp, but black, without the golden gleam they had when biting the old man's neck. He knew his skin could make the shape of clothes, but he would have to get something real to wear if he wished to blend in at all. He dropped the torch and it faded into mist, rejoining his essence. The torch would do nothing, and he may have need of his hands.

He thought of the spells he knew and prepared carefully. He knew what the humans in town would think of a shapeless creature made from darkness and memories.

Grexx. It was as good a name as any, and the little wretch had given its own life to let him live. The least he could do was to let the goblin's name live on forever. Grexx smiled and walked quickly toward the town; he would want to be indoors before the sun came up, if his memories of daylight were correct.

- Ithil-Naur, Scrolls of the Watcher

Physical Description[edit]

Nökken are shapeless beings of darkness, a shadow with mass. Those with magical ability often look like a storm is raging underneath the surface. They are "born" from the void, normally when a spell or ritual goes terribly wrong and kills the practitioners. They come into existence with part of the collective knowledge of those that were consumed in their creation, and normally take a shape similar to one or more of their creators.

Knowing the identity of each person killed in your creation will provide a more complete backstory/identity and should be discussed at length with your DM.


Often known as void elementals, nökken are feared by those who don't understand them, hated by those who fear those unlike themselves, or even worshipped by primitives that know no better. Few places have any known history about nökken as they are created rarely, and in ages past, killed on sight as often as not.


Nökken are created rather by accident most of the time, and as such, they are solitary creatures. Without a society of their own, nökken must learn to live closely with other races. Evil nökken often prefer to stand out from a crowd, while good nökken usually prefer to blend in.

Nökken Names[edit]

Nökken normally take on the name of one of their creators, or perhaps a mixture of their names.

Nökken Traits[edit]

Shape shifters made of shadow and born from death.
Ability Score Increase. One ability score of your choice increases by 2, and another of your choice increases by 1.
Age. Usually reaching what would be considered "adulthood" within minutes of creation, nökken live indefinitely if not slain, and they don't seem to age.
Alignment. Normally chaotic, though good and evil are found among them.
Size. Nökken vary widely in height, build, and even creature type. Your size is either Small, Medium or Large.
Speed. You have the movement speed of your true form, however, it is increased by 5.
Shadowsight. As a living shadow accustomed to a life of darkness, you can see normally (full color) in dim and dark conditions. You can see in bright light within 60 feet of you. You can't discern color in bright light, only shades of gray.
Incorporeal. As a bonus action, you become incorporeal until the end of your turn, at which point you become solid again. While incorporeal, you may move through solid objects as though they are difficult terrain and attacks against you have disadvantage. Your worn, carried, or held items do not pass through solid objects. If you end your turn in a solid object, you are expelled into the nearest open space near the object and take force damage equal to the distance traveled (in feet). If you end your turn in another creature, you take 6d6 force damage and are expelled into an open space near the creature while the creature takes half as much damage. You may not use this ability again until you have completed a short or long rest.
Photosensitive. Direct light is often unnerving, at best. You are vulnerable to radiant damage. You must spend at least 4 hours inactive in dim or darker lighting in order to gain the benefits of a long rest.
Assimilate. You retain some of the knowledge that your creators possessed. Choose a total of 8 items which you know or are proficient with from languages, tools, and skills. You may choose no more than four from any one category, but you must pick at least one of each. This trait replaces your background.
Shapeshift. As an action, you can transform your appearance or revert to your true form. If attempting to imitate an existing creature, you may only duplicate the appearance of a creature that was killed in your creation, or that you know well, such as one of your traveling companions or a shopkeeper you visit often. You revert to your true form if you die.

You decide what you look like, including your height, weight, facial features, the sound of your voice, hair length, sex, and any other distinguishing characteristics. You may form clothes or even weapons, but they give no defensive bonuses and such a weapon counts as an unarmed attack. Your equipment and ability scores do not change with you. Changing shape does not give pigment to your skin, eyes, hair, etc; you are still a creature of shadow. You do not gain any racial traits or abilities of your form (such as Darkvision or the Dragonborn's breath weapon), only cosmetic changes. When you complete a long rest, your current form becomes your true form. If you die, you revert to your true form.
Living Essence. You draw your energy from the void. You do not need (and cannot be forced) to eat, drink, breathe or sleep, although you still gain levels of exhaustion at a normal rate if not rested.
Languages. See Assimilate.

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