Nocturne (5e Race)
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No, no, I am but shadow of myself: You are deceived, my substance is not here. —Nocturne bard trying to convince a guard he didn't see him
Nocturnes look as most humanoids would, though what sets them apart is their darker, almost drow like skin tones, a lack of pupils and the way their skin reacts to shadow. When in shadow, a nocturnes already dark skin darkens or brightens to match the darkness that covers them. Nocturne skin tones range from a dusky purple or white to a muddy grey or black. Similarly, their hair and eye colors range from black to a dusty grey or murky white, however, their eyes give off a peculiar luminous glow when in areas of dim light. Though these are the most notable features of nocturnes, other less notable features may include slender builds, long fingers and, in purebred nocturnes, a lack of facial and body hair.
When creatures not native to the Shadowfell give birth within its gloomy domain, there is a chance that their souls are marked with the essence of Shadowfell otherwise known as, shadowstuff. While not initially showing it, as they grow they take on the characteristics of the creatures native to the plane. Elves born here become new shadar-kai, while other humanoids become nocturnes. Such features include an overall darker complexion, enhanced vision in dim and dark places, and a largely nocturnal lifestyle. These traits make them adapt to the perpetual darkness of the Shadowfell and natural hunters of the night, taking down prey with swift and efficient movements as they move through the shadow like they were one. While it is thought the first nocturnes were born this way, few are born like so in modern times with the arrival of the Raven Queen making travel to the Shadowfell an even more foreboding venture. They instead are created normally through procreation as they've spread through the Shadowfell, they have a mutual relationship with the cursed shadar-kai and often learn Elvish to better communicate with their elvish brethren.
Within the Shadowfell, nocturnes are always awake and do not sleep or experience any fatigue while they remain there. However, when outside of the Shadowfell, nocturne experience fatigue as normal and must deal with the brightness of the outside world. Nocture that leave the Shadowfell find they despise the sun and may even come to loathe those that can walk freely within the light. Most nocturne will sleep through most the day or stay as far from the light as they can manage, only really becoming active from about 5 pm until 5 am depending on the season. Nocturnes, while they don't necessarily prefer the colder climates, gravitate to parts of the world where the days are brief, and the nights are drawn out. A traveling group of nocturn may move with the shifting of the season up and down a large geographical area in a largely migratory fashion. While the themes of light and dark are prominent within the nocturnian culture, so is the theme of stimulus or more, a lack of stimulus. A nocturne is said to able to stare for days without moving at even the most apparently mundane scene. This is due to nocturnes coming from a world that is stagnant and unchanging, devoid of color to the point where nocturnes themselves have become colorblind. Often a shout cannot be heard from over a few feet in the Shadowfell so nocturnes are not usually individuals of many words and when they do speak it is soft, quiet, and too the point. Nocturnes that have never been to the Material Plane are often plagued by headaches, lethargy, and sickness, describing their minds being overloaded by the comparatively fast paced, action packed lifestyle of the Material Plane.
Optional Rule: Blessing of the Shadowfell
Nocturnes commonly have very short names rarely longer than 4 letters, consisting of simple and soft-spoken pronunciations. Sometimes their names are in part based on shadar-kai(Elvish) names due to their interaction and proximity but are far shorter keeping to the typical nocturnian scheme.
Male: Ara, Aust, Bak, Dway, Gal, Jesh, Kav, Lu, Mor, Ne, Nox, Qill, Rean, See, Val
Female: Adri, Alth, Bir, Cra, Dol, Ean, Gwen, Keir, Lail, Lia, Loon, Mel, Sha, Sila, Nyx, Xana
Humanoids of the Shadowfell, infused with shadowstuff.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and your Charisma score increases by 1.
Age. Nocturnes age slowly compared to other humanoids, reflecting the static nature of the Shadowfell and reach physical maturity at 25. Generally living to about 200 years old before perishing as quietly as they came.
Alignment. Nocturnes are normally neutral in alignment, tending towards lawfulness or chaos due to personal circumstances rather than nature.
Size. Ranging from 5 to 6 feet tall, nocturnes are rarely are ever greater than 6 foot or less than 5. Ordinarily slim in build and nimble in their movements, they weigh less then they seem. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Shadowfell Darkvision. You can't discern color, only shades of gray, and are effectively colorblind. However, you can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light.
Shadow Movement. When you move through an area of darkness, you can move an additional foot for every foot of darkness you travel through, to a maximum additional distance traveled equal to half your movement speed. When you move this way, to any creature that sees you, you appear as a formless mass that moves through the shadow.
Sunlight Sensitivity. Being so accustomed and attuned to the darkness of the Shadowfell has its drawbacks. 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.
Skin of Shadow. For many, stealth is a skill, learned, practiced and then mastered. For a nocturne, whose skin clouds and blends with whatever darkness is available, it is a natural ability. You are proficient in the Stealth skill.
Shadowfell Metabolism. You, like the Shadowfell are slow to change with your long drawn out metabolism. You can go without food and drink for twice as long as a normal Medium-sized creature and when affected by a potion or poison, the effects take twice as long to leave your system, doubling the duration.
Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Elvish. You can also communicate and understand Noct. Noct can be compared to Thieves Cant, a nonverbal, simple method of communication involving body language and gestures. Most nocturnes and occasionally shadar-kai learn this language in response to how their home plane suppresses sound. Nocturnes speak in soft whispers, that are quick and to the point. To others, it may come off as haughty, rude or simply weird to be so verbally direct while speaking so softly but over long periods of time a nocturne adjusts to the less potentially offensive language of the creatures they interact with the most.
Random Height and Weight
|4′ 11″||+1d12||100 lb.||× (1d4) lb.|
*Height = base height + height modifier
- Dungeon Masters Guide p.51
- Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes p.59
- Xanathar's Guide to Everything p.55
- Dungeon Masters Guide p.52