Sharkfolk (5e Race)

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Sharkfolk[edit]

Physical Description[edit]

Sharkfolk can be massive. They average between 5 and 8 feet tall (1.5 to 2.4 meters), making them even taller than dragonborn and half-orcs.

Sharkfolk eyes are often a bright blue or green and sometime glow a little.

Sharkfolk skin is often shades gray, brown, or black and is extremely tough. One of the most distinctive features of the sharkfolk is the two-tone skin with usually white tones on the front of the torso, half of the face, and bottom half of the tail with the darker colors on the back, upper half of the face, and top half of the face. Sharkfolk have non-prehensile muscular tails that grow to three or four feet in length, and these were used for balance and swimming. They also have sharp teeth and a dorsal fin on their back.

Personality[edit]

Sharkfolk most notable characteristic is their competitiveness. They keep track of their accomplishments and see everything as a challenge. Those not familiar with sharkfolk psychology will often get annoyed when sharkfolk constantly remind them how many times a certain thing has happened, thinking them arrogant or self-centered. This is not the case however. To Sharkfolk, score-keeping is a natural and integral part of life, not meant to belittle or demean anyone.But a sharkfolk most fierce competitor is themselves. Beating their own records is the most satisfying victory for a sharkfolk. They are also competitive with their companions and other sharkfolk, but are never arrogant or cocky.Sharkfolk have little time for cheaters, gloaters, and sore losers. Sharkfolk never hold grudges if they lost a fair fight, and will often repeat the sharkfolk maxim that "Today's rival is tomorrow's teammate."

Their constant comparison to their past accomplishments can be hard on sharkfolk that failed to meet goals or measure up to achievements of the past. Sharkfolk will often feel dissatisfied with anything that doesn't surpass a victory from their past. This unfortunate element of sharkfolk psychology leads many older sharkfolk to be very unhappy with themselves when they can no longer perform as well as they could in their youth.

It is rare for sharkfolk adventurers to retire or live to an old age, as they often die trying to surpass their previous achievements. Permanently injured or aging sharkfolk often seek death in battle rather than succumb to an existence where they could not excel.

Trust and honor are the key aspects of most sharkfolk. This tradition of honor and trust means that sharkfolk tended to be good overall. This combined with their competitive nature often leads sharkfolk to valorous heroics. Sharkfolk are also notably daring and fearless. Feats of physical strength and agility, like Aquathlon (underwater wrestling or Underwater rugby, holds no fear for sharkfolk. Sharkfolk are naturally curious beings and love to explore.

Complacency is a trait that sharkfolk loath and as a result they never take anything for granted. Even sharkfolk with magical advantages will continue to train their physical prowess in case they ever lose their power.

The Sharkfolk mindset might seem unnecessarily cruel at times, but it helps them survive in a hostile environment. The seas they inhabit are filled with a staggering variety of threats. Sharkfolk focus on survival above all, with little sentiment. Sharkfolk assess everyone and everything in terms of utility. Art and beauty have little meaning for them. A sharp sword serves a useful and good purpose, while a dull sword is a dead weight without a whetstone. Sharkfolk see little need to plan more than a season or so into the future. This approach allows them to maintain their current level of influence in the world, but it limits their growth. Sharkfolk have no interest in developing writing, making long-term plans, or cultivating other methods to progress beyond their simple existence as hunters and gatherers.

At their core, sharkfolk view other humanoids with an indifference verging on pity. Born into the world lacking thick skin and sharp teeth, it's a wonder they have managed to survive for so long. The typical humanoid would barely make it through a day in the seas.

Still, if other creatures prove useful to sharkfolk, those creatures can trigger a protective response made all the stronger by their apparent weakness. The sharkfolk assess such beings as hatchlings, young ones incapable of protecting themselves but who might prove useful in the future if they receive care.

Society[edit]

Sharkfolk society is based on family and clan – and although females can and do wield power they are patriarchal. Chieftains rule, but in a benign and loose fashion rather than with an iron fist. Families or individuals may own their dwelling but most other property is held in common. Such communal ownership means theft is almost unknown.

The majority of sharkfolk live in the Sea of Fallen Stars, and the Great Sea. However smaller communities can be found along the western coast.

Sharkfolk live in small tribes that numbered between forty and sixty Sharkfolk. This was usually made up of three to five extended families. Most Sharkfolk live in the same tribe their entire life. On rare occasions, a tribe that got too large would split into smaller tribes or smaller tribes would merge together.

Sharkfolk tribes had a number of key roles that were filled by the most capable members. Summaries of these roles are included below:

Chieftain: The primary authority figure in a tribe. The chieftain is responsible for choosing when the tribe should move on to new lands. The chieftain also chooses who filled some of the other key roles in the tribe.

Captain: Two captains are assigned to each of the important jobs each morning. These jobs include hunting, gathering, cooking, and scouting. The captains then build their own teams and set out to achieve their task. Two captains are assigned to each task to encourage healthy rivalry.

Seawatcher: Often the most experienced druid or shaman of the tribe. Seawatchers make sure that resources are not over harvested and game animals aren't needlessly slaughtered. Seawatchers are often exempt from the teams that the captains assemble each morning. Seawatchers also oversee festivals, rituals, and celebrations.

Dawncaller: Responsible for guarding the camp overnight and alerting the tribe if there is trouble. At dawn, they sing or bellow tales of sharkfolk bravery or heroics to wake everyone up. Dawncallers are assigned daily and given less work throughout the day so they could rest and be alert at night.

Adjudicator: Adjudicators settle disputes. Unless urgent, an adjudicator will hear disputes after the evening meal. Tough decisions are often settled with a contest of the adjudicator's devising. If a sharkfolk appeals against an adjudicator's decision, the chieftain has to settle the dispute, but will also have to dismiss the adjudicator from their position. Adjudicators also act as referees for sports.

Tent-mother: The only gender-specific role in the tribe because one of her jobs is to be a wet-nurse. Chosen by the chieftain each morning, the tent-mother is responsible for care and teaching of the tribe's infants and toddlers, as their parents are often busy with other responsibilities. It is also tent-mothers who decide when young sharkfolk are old enough to start contributing to the tribe (usually around the age of 10).

Lamentor: Responsible for determining when a member of the tribe is too old or weak to serve as a productive member of the tribe. Good lamenters will then approach the individual to explain their decision and consult the chieftain. Once it had been decided, the lamentor prepares a long chant to commemorate the sharkfolk before the tribe exiles the old or weak individual from the tribe.

Tribe chieftains only maintain power as long as they can prove they are suitable for that role. As a result, leadership constantly changes. New leaders are chosen by contests. Any sharkfolk can challenge the chieftain in an attempt to replace them. If this happens, the chieftain and the challenger compete in three tasks. The challenger has to win all three to become the new chieftain. The old chieftain will then leave the tribe permanently. Due to the fact that few sharkfolk live to old age, sharkfolk tribes rely on innate wisdom in their leaders rather than wisdom gained from years of experience.

The competitive nature of sharkfolk means that the attitude and achievements of one will quickly inspire the whole tribe. Individuals within tribes will constantly be trying to outdo each other's good deeds. This means that nearby settlements often stereotype sharkfolk as a heroic and good people.

Homelands[edit]

Sharkfolk tribes are not large or permanent as the rough seas don't allow for such settlements. Temporary villages will be set up then disassembled and relocated every month or so. Many of the sharkfolk homelands are Sea of the Fallen Stars and The Great Sea.

Sharkfolk are not afraid to mix with other cultures or travel. By the late 15th century DR, small numbers of sharkfolk sellswords can be found as far away as the Sword Coast.

Law and Justice[edit]

Although sharkfolk have no written laws or codes, there are a number of unspoken rules that are commonly followed by most sharkfolk tribes, discouraging theft and cheating. The greatest rule is obedience to the chieftain and captains.

Because they are nomadic tribes who shared belongings or traded goods rather than use gold, conventional punishments like imprisonment or fining are not possible. Instead, tribes often employed the following punishments:

Beating: Sharkfolk caught stealing, cheating, or disobeying the chieftain are beaten. Pain is considered a healthy motivator in sharkfolk society.

Shunning: Shunning involved the tribe acting like the criminal doesn't exist. They are not picked for teams or sports and are not provided with food and shelter. A lesser form of shunning for minor crimes, saw the offending sharkfolk simply treated poorly and as a second-class member of the tribe. The duration of the shunning is never spoken outright, but rather is communicated and decided via body language. Many sharkfolk claim to "just know" how long a shunning should last.

Exile: The worst punishment a sharkfolk could receive is exile. Before being exiled the chieftain assigns a new honorific middle name to the sharkfolk. Exile is also the fate of the old, weak, or badly injured who can't contribute to the tribe. It should be noted that these individuals receive a lament to commemorate their lives before their exile. Criminals receive no such treatment.

Sharkfolk who brake the shunning risk being shunned themselves. This is a serious transgression, as it threatened sharkfolk society itself.

It is common for a sharkfolk who knows they have failed their tribe to leave the tribe of their own accord, rather than force the tribe into the awkward position of exiling them. Some stubborn sharkfolk however have to be forced into exile.

Culture[edit]

The cultures and traditions of sharkfolk tribes varied from tribe to tribe and region to region but a number of traits are common across several tribes.

Sharkfolk have little empathy or pity for adults who can't take care of themselves but they treat and take care of the injured and sick. Permanently injured sharkfolk are still expected to contribute in every way that they can.

Arts and crafting in sharkfolk culture are limited by the resources they have to hand in the oceans. As a result, sharkfolk are skilled in crafts like tanning, stitching, creating simple pottery, bone-carving.Sharkfolk art is rare but expressive. Art is one of the few things that sharkfolk understand to be non-competitive; they fully appreciated that art can't have a winner. Sharkfolk believed that art should be used to show people something they couldn't see in the real world. Sharkfolk decorate their caves, weapons, and clothes with abstract designs (often jagged, parallel lines and symbols that had astronomical significance).

Sharkfolk Traits[edit]

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2 and your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Age. Sharkfolk mature at the same rate humans do but reach adulthood around the age of 14. They live much longer than humans, however, often exceeding 180 years
Alignment. Chaotic Neutral
Size. Medium
Speed. 30 feet, 30 feet swim
Natural Armor. You have thick leathery skin. When you aren't wearing armor, your AC is 13 + your Dexterity modifier. You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield's benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.
Bite Attack. Your toothy maw is a natural weapon, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.
Amphibious. You can breathe air and water.
Tidehunter. You may add your proficiency bonus to any Wisdom (Survival) check related to surviving or tracking in the water. This effect stacks with proficiency. You gain advantage on any Wisdom (Survival) check used to track targets in the water if the target is at less than full health.
Hunter of the Depths. Adapted to even the most extreme ocean depths, you have resistance to cold damage, and you ignore any of the drawbacks caused by a deep, underwater environment Hunter's Lore: You gain proficiency with two of the following skills of your choice: Animal Handling, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival.
Hungry Jaws. In battle, you can throw yourself into a vicious feeding frenzy. As a bonus action, you can make a special attack with your bite. If the attack hits, it deals its normal damage, and you gain temporary hit points (minimum of 1) equal to your Constitution modifier, and you can't use this trait again until you finish a short or long rest.
Darkvision. Attuned to life at the very bottom of the ocean, you have superior vision in dark or dim 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 can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Languages. Common and Aquan

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