Unnuc (5e Race)
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"What the world took to be a primitive, barely civilised people have, to our amazement, turned out to be some of the quickest and most talented students any master could hope for. I have no doubt they will be masters themselves erelong."
Abbot Lin, of the Order of the Open Eye
"Oh, can you patch a net with your feet while throttling a pirate with one hand? No? Thought not. Then the old girl can stay as long as she wants."
Marcus Tenvic, Bosun of the Green Lion
Closely resembling the great apes of other lands, if they stood fully upright Unnuc are around the same height as a man, but Unnuc naturally hunch forwards so they can travel on both their feet and hands. They tend to be paunchy and their legs are very short compared to a human's, which might lend them a comical appearance if the observer were to overlook their arms. Even when stood full upright their arms would reach past their knees and each ends in a hand that, alone, can circle a mans throat and grip hard enough to crush a metal tankard. Their feet, though shorter and not as strong, are just as dexterous as their hands, allowing them to grip branches, tie knots and even write with their feet as easily as with their hands.
Unnuc's skin is invariably a dull brown and feels like old leather. They are is covered, besides the face, chest, hands and feet, with colourful fur 4 or 5 inches long. The hue varies from dirty yellow, through burning oranges and reds to rich, dark browns. This is the result of minor genetic variation, just like human's hair colours. Both males and females may cultivate beard like fur on their faces.
Between their small dark eyes they have a short, flat nose with wide, slanted nostrils. Their upper and lower jaw protrude away from their face to contain their broad yellow teeth and they have wide, expressive mouths. They have a large gular fold, or throat sack which gives their voice a deep bassy quality and allows them to project their voice at great volume. To many new acquaintances it is difficult to determine a Unnuc's gender, males and females are not noticeably different in size or voice, and both dress in the same manner. However males are identifiable as they approach sexual maturity, around 12, by the development of exaggerated cheek flaps that vary in appearance from long jowls to impossibly shaped cheek bones.
Unnuc tend to be polite and honest and often radiate an almost deadpan calm. When presented with a new situation most Unnuc will wait and observe quietly before acting. Despite this apparent tranquillity, behind their slowly blinking eyes is a mind running at startling speed. To help offset a short lifespan they are capable of learning at an astonishing rate and are able to perform amazing feats of memory and calculation. This is not to say they are beyond rage or jollity, an angry Unnuc is a terrifying sight, and amongst friends they enjoy drink, dance, song, games and even the occasional brawl.
Their unconventional social structure leaves them predisposed to cooperation and a sense of communal or familial duty. However this social structure also leaves most Unnuc puzzled by the laws and expectations of other races. Unnuc do not traditionally own property and, besides the unwritten laws forbidding violent crimes like murder, do not see the point in many rules. They understand that following them helps them to integrate into society, but they may have to make a great effort to avoid committing crimes and faux pas inadvertently. An Unnuc might break into a palace just to get a closer look at the portraits, obliviously forget to pay the innkeeper or take coins from a temple's collection plate because they look interesting. They do this entirely without malice and often without much thought, simply because they struggle to understand why it might be wrong.
Unnuc, like half-orcs and dragonborn, are a short lived species and reach maturity at around 10. They rarely live past 65, though in rare cases some individuals have reached around 80, but unlike many other races age does not weigh heavily on them in their waning years. An Unnuc of 60 can easily be as able of body and mind as his or her great, great grandchild who, thanks to the short generation gaps, will often reach maturity before they pass away. This is part of why Unnuc are such quick and diverse pupils, a child will often have 4 generations of elders to teach and guide them.
Unnuc are almost entirely vegetarian, though they can digest meat they find it unpalatable. Their typical diet consists of fruit, roots and other vegetables as is common across the world, and in times of scarcity they can even subsist on the bark and leaves of certain plants. These they get from wild orchards and gardens that cover the Orphan Isle, most of which is eaten raw or dried. The exact make up of their diet varies according to the plants that are in season and is common for an Unnuc to consume hundreds of varieties of plants in a year. They also love the dark, solid honey which they steal from rock hives. There are only two places in which the Unnuc come close to agricultural society, firstly by harvesting the salt that forms on the leaves of mangroves leaves and secondly by brewing. They make a plethora of fermented and distilled beverages, for recreation, medicine and religious offerings. In new lands they have found new tastes, their favourites being milk, cream and cheese, pipe weed and the many sweets and alcohols of the other races. Surprisingly they do not eat nuts, grains or seeds because they believe it to be taboo.
Traditionally Unnuc of both gender wear only a sarong, brightly dyed and patterned, and the youngest infants often go naked. They will also wear the belts, packs necessary to carry tools, weapons and other belongings with them as they travel. Outside their home island they have largely conceded to adding a loose shirt or jerkin to avoid awkwardness in polite company. Even in the coldest climates they do not wear shoes or gloves, their hands and feet being as tough as old leather, but they may wear cloaks or extra furs to keep the chill winds away. Many Unnuc will weave beads into or plait the fur of their beards, head, wrists and ankles and jewellery such as wooden bangles or a coral necklace are common. Some well travelled individuals exhibit piercings and tattoos on their visible skin.
The Unnuco Language & Names
The Unnuc language, or Unnuco, is shaped by the anatomy of the Unnuc themselves. On top of wide vowels and plosive consonants it also includes tongue clicks and a growling, rolling hum produced in their gular fold, or throat sacks. Consequently it is very difficult for other species to speak Unnuco properly, but anyone who attempts to will be met with deep appreciation and patience as the Unnuc recognise the effort to be a sign of acceptance and respect. Many have described the sound of properly spoken Unnuco as akin to a gentle beat and accents of a deep drum.
The Unnuco alphabet consists of a meagre 10 characters, but they have an astounding 80 numerals. The characters are simple loops and hooks, derived from shapes made by the fingers on both hands. The numerals are somewhat reminiscent of the patterns of dots on dominoes and are derived from the Unnuc's method of counting. Like many species they began counting on their fingers, but instead of each finger they count each individual knuckle, 20 to each hand and foot bringing the total to 80. Many Unnuc are able to make vast calculations very quickly without the need of an abacus or tally marks, after all half a million to them is a simple 3 digit number.
Unnuc have only one name, given by their mother at birth. It is generally some amalgamation of the parents names, season, weather, omens and desirable virtues. This can often reach a dozen syllables and some may reach as high as 20. For example the name Dunoco'nahonono'cuha, when translated literally into common, could be read as Wise Son Born Under Harsh Winter Star To Mother Cuha.
Luckily outside of their homeland most Unnuc are happy to settle for a truncated form of their name in informal company, it makes it easier for others and saves them having to hear it butchered over and over.
Male: Dunoco (Dunoco'nahonono'cuha), Uma (Canomuna'gohucu'uma), Abuna ('umano'o'abunacoca'un)
Female: Amu (Cucouma'am'amu'om), Cahabo ('ucahabo'mabu'on), Onuba (Gumonuba'anuhoha'u)
The letters of the Unnuco alphabet are; a, b, c, d, g, h, m, n, o, u, and ' which indicates a tounge click.
The Orphan Isle
The Orphan Isle is an isolated island to the south-east of Faerûn, in the warm waters where the Eastern Ocean meets the Trackless Sea. The island is roughly 120 miles long and 45 miles wide, and is home to a little over 1 million Unnuc. It is circled by reefs which shelter it from the worst of the ocean's tides and allows the coastal waters to be relatively calm. The bones of the island are made of volcanic glass which forms towering, jagged, geometric peaks many of which are volcanoes. Unfortunately volcanic glass, or obsidian, holds almost no mineral wealth and although sharp and strong, is very hard to quarry or shape. Though there are a few hot springs dotted across the island, driven by the volcanoes below, there are no rivers and a large part of the fresh water comes from daily rainstorms.
The flora of the island is astonishing, dense jungles of giant, ancient trees crowd the slopes and shadowy mangroves make up a large fraction of the coastline. The few areas of clear ground can be found where the soil layer is to shallow to support anything larger than wild grasses and bamboo. Domestic agriculture is basically impossible, the soil is either to shallow, silty or rocky to take a plough and wherever the soil is good it is already laced with thick, ancient tree roots some of which burrow hundreds of feet down into the earth and stone. In some places the twisted roots of the many trees form a solid floor, and in its crevices smaller plants take root. In parts of the jungle where monsoons have swept away the loose earth this can create living tunnels and caves where fungi and moss flourishes in the damp dark. Thousands of species of plant occupy every niche of the ecosystem, producing everything from delicious fruit, medicinal herbs, rare spices and beautiful materials to vicious thorns, poison berries and even giant predatory, carnivorous flowers.
The fauna is no less varied, alongside the Unnuc themselves there are myriad species of bird, bat, reptiles, amphibians and rodents who live amongst the island's trees, and countless fish and crustaceans inhabit the reefs and mangroves. Savage jungle cats, huge snakes and impossibly giant spiders stalk the shadowy green world, and beneath the waterline sharks and sea crocodiles silently glide in search of prey.
Social Structure & Culture
Whatever it was like in the distant past, contemporary Unnuc society has been reshaped by the geography of the Orphan Isle. The lack of natural resources that would tie a population to one location has caused the Unnuc to develop a nomadic culture, where small "tribes" wander across the islands following the various plants that are in season. What is remarkable about these tribes is the fluidity of the membership, with individuals and even small groups joining and leaving as it suits their interest. The largest permanent unit of Unnuc society is the immediate family, a couple and their children, and then only until the children grow up and part ways. This has created a culture with very little internal strife, there is no formal structure or power to be held, when an Unnuc sees no further reason to stay with a group they will find a new group to wander with. There are no permanent structures on the island, with the exception of the new human port of Buno Bay.
A Gift Economy
Unnuc society runs on what is commonly known as a gift economy. Some would liken it to bartering, but it is actually more like a great unspoken social contract that everyone looks out for each other. Unnuc give away their 'goods' without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards and with the understanding that the individual may never pay them back in any direct way. Rather it is understood that the society as a whole will repay all debts many times over across an individuals lifetime. The nature of these 'goods' can vary, from conventional material goods like food and tools to more abstract fare. Some provide tangible services like healers and midwives who keep the tribes healthy or the warriors and hunters who drive away the savage beasts and raiders that threaten the community.
If an Unnuc comes to a tribe in search of food they will be welcomed without a second thought. It is understood that he or she may be the Unnuc who feeds you or your children, tomorrow, next week or even years from now. They may have weaved the basket you carry or might one day make the spear your great great grandchild will wield. Tomorrow they may heal a sickly child who one day grows up to be the champion who defeats a deadly beast, or they may simply be a descendant of that wise old man who taught you how to steal honey from bees and told wonderful stories when you were a child. In the end all debts are payed and the tribes thrive together.
'unbuca, The Path
Once an Unnuc reaches maturity they are expected to start contributing to society, but it is up to the individual to decide how they do this. This period of an Unnuc's life is called 'unbuca, or The Path in common.
It is a like rite of passage or personal quest, where young adults search for a preferred niche for themselves in society. Some times this takes the form of a quasi-apprenticeship, where they approach an older Unnuc to learn the tricks of a hunter or herbalist, how to brew the best liquor or craft the strongest spears. Some may discover natural talents or aptitudes learned in childhood like latent arcane talent, an artists eye for making beautiful carvings or the power to bring the stories and songs, new and old, to life.
During this period of their lives many Unnuc find love, but it has also come to be the time Unnuc are most likely leave the Orphan Isle. This is not frowned upon, quite the opposite, many parents are proud to see their child travel across the wider world. If they are able, they invariably return eventually, bringing with them countless new tales, songs, lessons and artefacts to delight the home tribe and leaving behind them new bonds with the outside world.
Trade & Technology
Though their society is largely based on subsistence gathering recent years has seen rising trade between the Unnuc and the outside world. Not only is their island a safe way point for merchants, whalers and explorers but they are also a source of many rare spices, powerful herbs and exotic animal skins as well as the Unnuc's own fine papyrus, to this end humans have established the small port town of Buno Bay on the east coast of the island. The island's interior is still largely forbidden to anyone without Unnuc guides and the tribes are not above violent retribution against those who trespass against the Red Mothers. It is because of this Buno Bay is entirely made up of mud bricks and the timber of old ships, the Unnuc forbidding others from working the wood from the jungles trees.
The Unnuc, despite being intellectual equals of the other civilised races, have a technological base of a stone age society largely due to the total lack of mineral wealth on the island. Baskets, matting and rope made from woven grasses, animal hides and vegetable fibre cloth for clothes and bags, weapons and tools of wood, stone and bone. Unnuc warriors and hunters wield a variety of weapons including spears, javelins, axes, nets, bolas, knives and short bows. But the signature weapon of the Unnuc, which has turned back even the most dangerous raiders and pirates from their shores, is the war club. These aren't the simple wooden cudgels of other races, each war club is an exquisite weapon that any warrior would envy. Because of the Unnuc's rules about their islands sacred trees each club is a different shape and size, but typically around 4 to 6 feet long and thick as a mars arm. Each club is beautifully carved to resemble uncoiling ferns, jumping fish, twisting serpents and other aspect of the natural world and are studded with spikes that blend seamlessly into the design. These spikes are variously made of volcanic glass, the teeth of sharks and jungle cats, razor shells and even the large, iron hard thorns of some jungle plants. Though they might not pierce the thick metal plates and mail of other races this hardly matters as the Unnuc can swing them hard enough to shatter bones with every blow.
The Council of Many Voices
The Council of Many Voices is the closest thing the Unnuc have to a centralised government, and it is only called in the direst of circumstances or a great social turning point. In the past they have been called in times of famine, drought and plague, great raider incursions and several times to decide how to approach the outside world. The most recent councils were called to discuss the proposed human settlement of Buno Bay, which was cautiously accepted, and the concept of money.
Money was a difficult concept for the Unnuc to accept and the Orphan Isle still function on a gift economy. If it weren't for the inventive thinking of the ancient elder Bunaba'amungo'o its likely the Unnuc would still be confined to the fringes of civilisation. He suggested that coins are symbols of debt from gifts long ago, which can be passed from person to person as a request for favour in the immediate future. This has largely worked, though many Unnuc still struggle with more abstract theories such as saving money, wages and contracts.
The council is open to all and meets at the peak of mount Gunoro'um. The council is decided by majority agreement after a period of deliberation, which can last hours or, as in the case of money and Buno Bay, many days or weeks. Obviously not every Unnuc attends, tribes tend to send a small group of representatives so a council is typically made up of around 1000 to 5000 individuals. Anyone may speak at the council but special consideration is given to many groups such as the oldest Unnuc, warriors and hunters, young parents, storytellers, healers and young adults on the 'unbuca. Even other races may attend and speak at the council, as Captain Osrick Valen did at the founding of Buno Bay.
The oldest female attending chairs the council, she has the responsibility of deciding the order in which people speak. The only real cases of consolidated political power amongst the Unnuc are during periods of protracted war with raiders or slavers, when the most skilled and cunning warrior is picked as a sort of general to coordinate their military efforts.
History of the Unnuc
The history of the Unnuc, for reason that will become clear here, has largely been lost. Sages have found the faintest shadows of their past in fragments of ancient Elven and Dwarven texts from age known as The First Flowering. But these are but footnotes and oblique references none of which they can be certain of, some may even refer to another race entirely who have long be forgotten by history. What is known of Unnuc history has largely been gleaned from cross examining their own myths and legends with the broader documented history of the world.
The Forgotten Times
In the dawn of time when gods shaped the world The Grey Father created the Unnuc as his children, and made them swift and strong, he gave them rich lands in what would become the Eastern Ocean. Early life was as it was everywhere, primitive and often brutally short, but like the Elves, Dwarves and many other races the Unnuc gradually flourished into civilisation. Maybe it was a glorious age of great cities and enlightenment, or maybe it was a tangled mess of petty kingdoms and war. It matters little for no mortal remembers and the land and its secrets have long since disappeared from this realm. It will forever be eclipsed by the tragedy of the Time of Grief.
The Time of Grief
No one knows where The Grey Father came from, but the stories say that he was old and waning when the new gods of the Elves and Dwarves were in their infancy. He was a fair god and the Unnuc worshipped him and him alone, even as his strength dwindled against the shinning beacons of the young, potent gods of other races. But when The First Sundering came, tearing apart the land, bringing with it fearsome monsters and dark powers The Grey Father did not have the strength to shield his children. The Grey Father and the Unnuc cried out to the gods of the other races, but to them their voices but the calls of strange beasts and their strange god far across the sea, and their pleas went unanswered. And so the rich lands The Grey Father had made were scoured by terrible daemons and magical storms, stars fell like rain and the sea and sky became one and swallowed the land, never again to appear in this world.
And The Grey Father wept. He wept a single tear of fire for his children that he was to weak to save.
The Time of Fire
And the tear saw the world and their children's fate and was filled with rage. It refused to accept the world that had forgotten them and as it touched the ocean a mountainous island of black glass, The Orphan Isle, burst from the waves. Spewing fire and smoke the tear reached out across the churning ocean and snatched the broken Unnuc from the jaws of destruction. From the Unnuc gratitude The Red Mother was born.
But barren rock and flame could not sustain her children and so from the cracks where lava flowed from her shell sprouted miraculous trees. The tongues of flame that played across the earth turned to blades of grass and out of the swirling smoke came beasts and plants stolen from other lands to share the island with the Unnuc.
The Time of Isolation
Then Red Mother turned her back on the world. She wrought great storms, laced with smoke and flames, hiding the island from the world, which all but forgot the Unnuc had ever existed. As the Age of Man came and went the goddess island changed. Once sheer slopes of volcanic glass gave way to a tide of green, trees climbed to impossible heights powered by the heat and magic that radiated up through the bed rock.
As generations past the memory turned became legend and a new Unnuc society was forged. The island, though beautiful and abundant with life, was created in a storm of defiance and rage is not the safe paradise it may seem from a distance. Dangerous beast stalk the slopes and swim the waters and amongst the miraculous and benign flora that shrouds the land some is devilish an deadly. And though she loves and nurtures her children, The Red Mother has a body of fire locked in stone and has only a fraction of the power of the other gods of this plane. But still the Unnuc honoured her, making themselves strong and united and The Red Mother smiled upon them for many centuries.
The Time of Return
During the period between the Time of Troubles and The Second Sundering, the raging storms that hid the Orphan Isle gradually calmed. Even the Unnuc themselves aren't sure whether this was due to The Red Mother being weakened by the magical instability of this period or whether her temper has finally started to cool and she is ready forgive the wider world for its apathy. Either way the ships of traders, explorers, pirates and slavers soon discovered these long lost islands. Thanks to the exotic goods of the jungle and the Unnuc's new born thirst to see the wider world, small numbers of Unnuc have started to trickle into ports from Luskan to Calimport and beyond.
Spirits & Gods
New comers to the Orphan Isle may be mistaken into thinking the Unnuc have no religion. In a way they are right, there are no temples, priests or any of the other trappings of organised religion. But the Unnuc are a deeply spiritual people with many rituals and observances, it is just that they are almost indistinguishable from the day to day activities of their lives. After all why would you need to build temples and ring gongs when all that separates you from your goddess is a few hundred feet of rock. The Unnuc live on island literally made of their goddess.
The Sacred Wood
The most apparent of the Unnuc's tenets is the sanctity of certain plants. According to their creation myths the plants of the island were created from the body of The Red Mother so many of their most obvious religious practices emphasise the Unnuc's respect for these aspects of her. No living wood is cut on the island, and every dead branch an Unnuc finds is treated with the care of a reliquary. Even after being collected they are not cut, instead each piece of wood is destined to become whatever it already resembles. The straighter lengths will likely be used for the shafts of weapons, curved pieces may become a bow or handles of tools and a large lump of wood might become the body of a drum or a great bowl used for brewing. Every item is carefully carved, removing only the tiniest of quantities of material, to create intricate designs inspired by nature. The works of Unnuc master carvers can stand tall amongst the works of Elven and Dwarven smiths.
Other plant matter, fruit, leaves, bark, stalks and such, are more temporary gifts from The Red Mother. They are respected, but not to the same level as the wood. These items can be picked or harvested, even by races other than the Unnuc. A good rule of thumb is that if it will wither or die without being picked or cut, then it is a gift The Red Mother wants to be used when it is needed. Seeds, including nuts and grains are never eaten, Unnuc fastidiously remove them from anything they consume, to plant them later. Young plants, ones which have not reached their seeding age, are left alone except in the direst of needs.
There is no express rule against fire on the island, after all their goddess has a body of flame, but the Unnuc have no need to make fires themselves and so the question its use has only become a problem since the Time of Return. The wood of other lands is obviously not part of The Red Mother and so not inherently sacred, and Unnuc are largely prepared to accept the tools, buildings and other items made of these are at least appreciated if not respected by their owners, however many Unnuc are appalled by the way other races burn wood. Again they will admit it is not sacred wood, but the culture shock at this waste of wood is one of the biggest hurdles a travelling Unnuc must face.
The wood of the island is another matter however, it can not be bought or sold and the deliberate burning or cutting of wood is an terrible crime and offenders will be harshly punished. It is for this reason the wood used in building the settlement of Buno Bay came entirely from the timbre of old ships and what could be shipped to the island, and why oil and coal are the primary fuels used for lamps and stoves.
Unnuc do not keep everything they make to themselves though, and visitors to the island who show they respect the wood are welcome to use the tools the Unnuc make and trusted guests and friends may even be allowed to carve the wood and keep items for a time. The Green Lion, the legendary ship of Captain Osrick Valen who helped defeat terrible group of raiders and later opened relations with the Unnuc by founding Buno Bay, even has a figurehead carved entirely of the island's sacred wood in recognition of his friendship with the Unnuc.
When an Unnuc dies they are buried in the jungle, something that with the island's ground conditions typically results in a mound rather than a hole, with a seed of a great tree in their hands. As it grows this tree serves as a sort of living tombstone where the deceased's friends and family leave offerings of honey, alcohol, intricately carved wood and beautiful seashells. These trees aren't the sacred sight one expect however, and Unnuc young and old can be seen playing and working in the branches, they believe the wood and fruit of the tree has taken on the qualities of the deceased. For example the tree of a great warrior will have fruit that grants courage and wood that will make fine clubs or spears, whilst the tree of a loving parent will stand like a fortress against monsoons and will call lost children to the safety of their branches. It is for these qualities the Unnuc leave the offerings in thanks and there may not be a single tree on the island that isn't linked to some departed soul.
The Red Mother
The Red Mother means everything to the Unnuc, there is no need to worry when you can lay your hand to the ground and feel the rumbling breaths of your goddess. This might be considered lucky, because beyond this The Red Mother has very little power. When she was born as the tear of The Grey Father she crackled with infinite power, but by saving the dying Unnuc race she locked herself inside the material world in a body of flame, caught in stone prisons. Some theologians of other races speculate that might that she may have spent most of her power, that she might be dormant or even sickening the same way The Grey Father did. It certainly seems true that she is unable to perform or bestow divine magic much beyond her shores.
Whatever the case the Unnuc revere and adore her. They make small offerings, alcohol poured into a volcano mouth, beautiful charms hung from branches or fine tools and weapons buried in the earth, and try to honour her sacrifice through their songs, stories and carvings and, of course, the reverence of her sacred trees.
The Red Mother shouldn't be used as a Cleric's deity, she has almost no power to bestow divine magic. For clarity an lore purposes her alignment is Chaotic Neutral and her domains are Light and Nature. Her holy symbol is a black seed sprouting a single leaf of flame.
The Grey Father
The Unnuc do not actively worship The Grey Father, he has been gone for millennia, but they do revere and honour him like the greatest of their ancestors. Offerings left at the tree graves of long forgotten Unnuc are said to be for The Grey Father in thanks for his part in the creation of the world. Theologians have searched tirelessly to discover his origin, especially to uncover why he was sickening even when the world was only moments old. Some believe he was one of the Old Ones or some other extra planer being, or he was a sort of dying phoenix, that he discarded his old form to be reborn as The Red Mother. A more worrying theory, whispered of far from Unnuc ears, is that The Red Mother was not a creation or continuation of The Grey Father but the cause or symptom of his sickness, a deific wound or parasite made manifest.
Unnuc are staunchly monotheistic, they know the other gods exist but their culture is based in the defiance of The Red Mother and the apathy of the other gods. These apathetic gods have been forgotten in the millennia since the birth of The Red Mother, and the Unnuc hold no spite for any of the current gods of Faerûn, though they do harbour healthy level of suspicion. The Unnuc will stand by their goddess as she stood by them and any attempts to sway them are met with resentment, argument and eventually violence.
The ape men of the Orphan Isle, eager to explore the world they have been isolated from for so long.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Strength score increases by 1.
Age. Unnuc reach adulthood at the age of 10 and rarely live beyond 65.
Alignment. Most Unnuc fall somewhere between chaotic good and true neutral. They are seldom evil, but also lack the understanding and temperament to be lawful.
Size. The average Unnuc are between 5 and 6 feet fully upright, but they naturally have a hunched crouching stance, meaning they generally stand around a foot shorter. They are broad and well built and usually weigh around 180lb. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Natural Selection. You have proficiency in the Athletics and Perception skills.
Tree Creeper. You climb and move through difficult terrain made up of nonmagical plants at full speed. Additionally, you may attempt to hide even when only lightly obscured by vegetation.
Many Hands Make Light Work. Your prehensile feet can be used for many of the same tasks as your hands, such as somatic spell components, Sleight of Hand checks, supporting yourself while hanging from a rope or using tools and kits. Provided your other limbs are uninjured you may keep a one-handed weapon drawn even whilst climbing. Your feet cannot be used to hold weapons or shields, or as part of any grapple checks.
Jungle Nomad. During downtime you can maintain modest living conditions for free provided there is at least 1 square mile of forest, jungle or swamp in the local area. In addition whilst travelling for an hour or more in forest, jungle or swamp, difficult terrain doesn’t slow your travel.
Fast Learners. You may reroll failed checks regarding attempts comprehend a lesson. Examples include learning a secret code, playing a strange game competently, solving riddles, tests of memory and following the instructions of a complex ritual. If you take a reroll the new result stands even if it worse than the previous one. In addition during downtime you can learn new tool or instrument proficiencies, languages, etc, in half the time.
Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Unnuco.
|4′ 10''||+2d10||140 lb.||× (2d6) lb.|
*Height = base height + height modifier
The random height values given here represent an Unnuc standing fully upright, something the seldom do. For their typical hunched stance subtract roughly a foot from the total.
This section some example of reasons why Unnuc might choose the various player character classes. These are intended as starting points to help understand the experiences and choices that have led a character to their current role.
Barbarian & Fighter - The Orphan Isle is not the quiet paradise it might appear to be, it has its own share of perils. Savage jungle cats, fierce reptiles, giant insects, monstrous plants and more recently raids by pirates and slavers mean the tribes have always had a need for strong warriors to protect their people.
Bard & Monk - Now the Unnuc have returned to the world they are itching to learn the ways of distant lands and strange people. The arts, from the martial to the musical, are all fascinating subjects, and the Unnuc are quick and eager pupils. Unnuc would not join monastic orders revere or serve a deity, but would be intrigued by those whose focus is ancient techniques, philosophy and the secrets of the universe.
Druid & Ranger - The Red Mother has no priests or agents but some Unnuc feel a natural sense duty to protect and care for their homeland. In this way an Unnuc may learn how to channel the powers of the natural world without divine intervention. Unnuc druids and rangers should naturally choose forest or swamp if presented with a choice of environment specialisations.
Rogue - Though rarely criminals, at least deliberately, a travelling Unnuc would gladly join a party of adventurers exploring ancient ruins or hostile new lands. Their natural agility and keen senses compliment the roles of more benign rogue archetypes.
Sorcerer, Warlock & Wizard - Though there were never any great acts of magic, the Orphan Isle have seen their share of mages over the generations. Now with the libraries and colleges of the world open to them the arcane arts are becoming more and more common.
Cleric & Paladin - Unnuc are almost never Clerics or Paladins, their entire cultural identity and monotheistic religion are one and the same. Any Unnuc who renounces The Red Mother wouldn't be considered an Unnuc any longer. This is not to say there may never be a Unnuc Cleric or Paladin, but any Unnuc who serves another god before The Red Mother would be considered amongst the worst traitors, criminals and pariahs of an otherwise very tolerant society. If you wanted to represent a devotee or protector of The Red Mother then Druids and Rangers are a far better examples of the Unnuc's relation to the divine world.
If you want to use an existing background then Far Traveller, Hermit and Outlander are all useful in creating a character who is unaccustomed to the wider world. But you could also choose Entertainer, Folk Hero, Guild Artisan, Sage, Soldier, Sailor or Mercenary Veteran to represent an individual who has already spent several years travelling or working outside the Orphan Isle and has acclimatised to other cultures.
Alternatively you can use the background below to give a more uniquely Unnuc background to your characters. Whatever your choice we suggest that you include some aspects of the Orphan Islander or Far Traveller background to really help you create the travelling Unnuc experience.
From the perspective of the outside world the Unnuc of the Orphan Isle are a sheltered and naive race. They revere nature, family and community like many primitive tribes and lack any recognisable social structure. But they are also intelligent, audacious and more than capable of aping the behaviour and cultures of other races, even if they don't quite master the intricacies. Some find this charming, like a child playing at their parents craft, whilst others find it distinctly rude.
Despite their odd behaviour they are startlingly adaptable. Their short lifespan mean they are rarely waste time and their whole cultural identity is based on hopping from group to group to find a new role or niche. Given a few days in any new town they will likely have found a steady job, a place to call home and a tavern's worth of new acquaintances from every walk of life.
Both their traits and flaws are closely linked to inevitable culture shock travelling Unnuc suffer. They have been isolated for so long that Faerûn has become like an alien realm or other plane to them and what they find there can delight or anger them equally. Their bond and ideal reflect their connection to the Orphan Isle and the Unnuc, why they want to explore the wider world, how they want that world to see them and how they continue to strengthen their people.
Requirements: Unnuc (Race)
Skill Proficiencies: Nature, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: Any one gaming set or musical instrument of your choice
Languages: Any one of your choice
Equipment: A colourful sarong from your home land and and borrowed leather jerkin (common clothes), a carved bone knife (dagger), any one gaming set or musical instrument you are proficient with, a string of rough coral beads and a belt pouch containing 5 gp
Background Feature: Come and Go
Unnuc live their entire lives in a state of constant social and geographical fluidity and have developed a beguiling aura of confidence that often coaxes others into letting their guard down. Unnuc often find themselves able to wander into a sketchy tavern or through place gates without raising suspicion and the seem to be able to start a conversation with even the most disdainful wizard or belligerent thug. In the same way nobles, folk heroes and other famous individuals can find social expediency in the waves created by their personality and position, an Orphan Islander can often achieve similar results by an almost total lack of influence.
|1||Since birth I have slept under the stars and I would prefer to rest somewhere I can see the sky.|
|2||If I'm left alone I get a powerful urge to take items apart to see how they were made.|
|3||I take the sayings, proverbs and phrases of other races far too literally.|
|4||Clothing, jewellery, hairstyles and such mean nothing to me. I would struggle to point out a noble or officer from a group.|
|5||I treat furniture and architecture just like the branches of a forest. I will dangle from a beam just as readily as sit on a stool.|
|6||I put a lot of trust in my nose. Eyes and ears can be deceived but I know the scent of trickery.|
|7||I am making a collection of the unusual seeds, leaves and flowers I find on my travels.|
|8||I don't really understand the difference between inside and outside. Why shouldn't we bring the horses into the tavern?|
|1||Sympathetic. No one should be alone or forgotten. Everyone I meet can be sure of company and charity. (Good)|
|2||Considerate. I am an ambassador for my people. I must do my best to be polite and patient. (Lawful)|
|3||Detached. There are many things to learn in these new lands. Some will be gentle, some will be harsh, but they are all lessons. (Neutral)|
|4||Intrepid. Every moment is filled with novelty and adventure and I revel in it. (Chaotic)|
|5||Spiteful. The world forgot us once. I will see to it that they do not again. (Evil)|
|6||Steadfast. Whatever may happen I will show the world that the Unnuc are strong. (Any)|
|1||One day I will return to my home, with as many tales and treasures as I can.|
|2||Though the Red Mothers are far away their flames burn deep inside me giving me the strength to go on.|
|3||Everything I have is a gift from my people. Though I share knowledge freely I am loathe to part with any of my belongings.|
|4||I have few friends in this new world, but everyone I make will be treasured like family.|
|5||I have wandered all my life, cherished friends and family may come and go, but there will always be the path ahead of me.|
|6||The Unnuc have been alone for too long. Though I love my homeland, I hope to make new homes for my people in the wider world.|
|1||I am anxious to blend in and will follow the crowd, even if it means going against my own interests.|
|2||I am dazzled by novelty and will try anything once, even if I know it may be hard to resist a second try.|
|3||Patience may be a virtue to other races, but Unnuc lives are short so I will press on despite the most prudent advice.|
|4||I respect my elders, which is practically everyone. I assume, often wrongly, that great age comes with greater wisdom.|
|5||Respect can not be bought with coins or titles and I will bow to no one who can't prove they have earned it.|
|6||The Grey Father died because the other gods ignored him. Let us see how they like it.|
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