Knumari, Masters of Water and Clay

“Thus sang the Potter at his task
Beneath the blossoming hawthorn-tree,
While o’er his features, like a mask,
The quilted sunshine and leaf-shade
Moved, as the boughs above him swayed,
And clothed him, till he seemed to be
A figure woven in tapestry,
So sumptuously was he arrayed
In that magnificent attire
Of sable tissue flaked with fire.
Like a magician he appeared,
A conjurer without book or beard;
And while he plied his magic art–
For it was magical to me–
I stood in silence and apart,
And wondered more and more to see
That shapeless, lifeless mass of clay
Rise up to meet the master’s hand,
And now contract and now expand,
And even his slightest touch obey”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Keramos

Playtest Version

This material is still in the process of being playtested. It is fully usable as written, but may be refined or changed in later versions. As always, this content should only be used with GM permission.

The Knumari

The knumari resemble humanoid sheep. They have short, lightweight wool in colors ranging from off-white to tan to black, but they often pigment patterns in their wool using orange or brown or gray ground clay or black with silt or charcoal. Regardless of sex, they all have large, distinctive curling horns that form various unique shapes. Knumari settle almost exclusively on the shores of rivers and their cultural practices revolve around these waters and their seasonal cycles. Occasionally explorers and adventurers will venture far from their rivers but even for trade they utilize these waterways for transport rather than using land caravans.

River of Life

The patron deity of the knumari rules the cycles of flooding that brings fertile soil downriver every spring, which allows river valleys to be verdant homes for cities even in desert regions. Many knumari are essentially nomads, living on flotillas of barges that they move up and down their river as needed, but others found cities surrounded by expansive irrigation systems for agriculture. Most knumari learn to swim before they can walk. Even within cities, their temples are usually either built up out of the river or on barges tethered extensively to the dockside.

Dedicants of the Divine Potter

Knumari legend says their god, titled The Lord of Innundations, also invented pottery and, in fact, formed the knumari from the holy clay, silt, and water of the River of Life in his divine realm. Their clerics teach that he crafted them so perfectly that they immediately became flesh and blood creatures as soon as he finished sculpting the final details. Knumari retain a small spark of this ability, and with the right preparations can craft tiny almost-living constructs from clay. Knumari magic users generally show a talent for the elements of water and earth, and their cities often have golems and other constructs supplementing the city guard’s forces.

Knumari Names

A knumari’s full name typically takes the form of [personal name], [son/daughter/child] of [father’s name], whose mother is [mother’s name], but in cases of an unknown or particularly disfavored parent or grandparent, the other parent is used. In other cases an occupational or other sort of byname might be adopted instead of using lineage.

Example Masculine Names: Akalamdug, Artakhshathra, Darayavahush, Djedknumiufankh, Ekur, Kambujiya, Mesanepada, Nakht, Narseh, Pasherknum, Sama’at, Shulgi, Tamasp, Udjaif, Ur-Nammu
Example Feminine Names: Ameretat, Aristomake, Berekhet, Elissa, Daniat, Enanatuma, Haurvatat, Iset, Ninbanda, Peset, Roshanak, Shub-ad, Sophonisba, Tachenef, Tayarew
Example Unisex Names: Heriu, Ibi, Joba, Kebra, Khurshid, Nemester, Neskhnum, Nether, Sechautawetey, Sedjemniykhnum, Zula

Knumari Traits

Your knumari character has a number of traits they share with all other knumari.
    Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2 and your Intelligence score increases by 1.
    Age. Knumari reach adulthood at age 20 and usually live to about 250 years.
    Alignment. Most knumari prefer a civilized, orderly existence centered around thriving abundance for those participating in it and so tend towards lawful and good alignments.
    Size. Knumari are slightly shorter than humans on average, but usually weigh about the same due to a stockier frame. Your size is Medium.
    Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
    Clay and Silt. You can spend 1 hour with a set of Potter’s Tools and 10 gp worth of materials to sculpt an animated construct from clay. The clay servant is a Tiny object with 1 hp and AC 5. Its animating force fades after 24 hours unless you spend 1 hour repairing it, or if you use an action to dismantle it. In either case you can reclaim the materials used to create it. You may have up to three clay servants at a time. When you craft a clay servant, you can choose one of the following options:
Entertainer. This clay servant is sculpted to resemble an animal, monster, or person, and capers, dances, or moves in an entertaining manner. If placed on the ground it moves 5 feet in a random direction on each of your turns and makes noises appropriate to its form.
Musician. This clay servant is shaped like a seated figure playing an instrument and, when instructed, it will play a single song at moderate volume until the song ends or you instruct it to stop.
Firebreather. This clay servant is shaped like either a performer or beast. When you use your action to activate it, it breathes a small flame that can be used to light a candle, torch, or campfire.
Boat. This clay servant takes the shape of a water vehicle and, when placed in water, will either travel 5 feet in a straight line or 5 feet in a random direction on your turn (chosen when you construct the servant). It is buoyant enough to hold two other clay servants or up to 5 pounds of tiny objects.
    Fish and Lily. Whenever you make an Intelligence (Nature) check related to rivers, as well as freshwater creatures and plants, you are considered proficient in the Nature skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
    Horn and Hoof. You are proficient with your horns, which are a melee weapon that deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage. When you use the Attack action during your turn to make a melee attack, you can attempt a shove using your horns as a bonus action.
    River and Shore. You know the shape water and mold earth cantrips. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
    Wheel and Oar. You gain proficiency with Potter’s Tools and Water Vehicles.
    Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Old Common. Old Common is an ancient language from which the Common language evolved long ago. Among the Knumari, it is used mostly for ritual and academic purposes, but it is also often found in very old ruins and texts.

Random Height and Weight

Base Height Base Weight Height Modifier Weight Modifier
4’6″ 110 lbs +2d10 x(2d4)

New Feat

Marine Assaulter

You are highly skilled in ship to ship and ship to shore combat, as well as the occasional dockside bar’s chandelier. You gain the following benefits:

  • When making skill checks to secure a grappling hook or move via ropes or chains (whether by climbing, balancing, or swimming), you have advantage on the check.
  • Once each turn when you enter water at least 5 feet deep, you may immediately move an additional distance in the water that does not count towards your normal movement. This additional distance may be up to your Strength score in feet (rounded down to the next multiple of 5 feet, minimum 5 feet).
  • You do not have disadvantage when making attacks underwater.

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System Reference Document 5.1 Copyright 2016, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Chris Perkins, Rodney Thompson, Peter Lee, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Bruce R. Cordell, Chris Sims, and Steve Townshend, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Knumari, Masters of Water and Clay Copyright 2019, Malachite Idol; Author Patrick Johnson.