Naluali’i, A Hopeful Tide

“And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward; from a boy
I wanton’d with thy breakers.
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.”

-Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto IV

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 Naluali’i

With wide toothy mouths, rubbery black-and-white mottled skin, and strong pack social bonds, it is easy to see why naluali’i are frequently associated with killer whales. While they cannot spend the same amount of time beneath the waves as actual killer whales, they are exceptional sailors and most of their population live on large clusters of ships and boats that travel between trading ports and various islands where some of their number grow supplies that are hard to obtain at sea. Those that live on land rarely travel far from the sea, as nearly all of them seek to work together towards the shared goal of their folk.

A Fallen Kingdom Rising Again

The culture of the naluali’i was radically shaped by a catastrophic event only a few hundred years ago. The many island city-states of the Superlative Naluali’i Empire had been inhabited for millennia and each city had been worked into a wondrous piece of art stretching up to a mile past the shoreline under the waves. Roughly ten generations ago, each of these cities were completely overrun in turn by the Sea Devils—amphibious shark-like creatures with an undersea empire—who had escalated ancient skirmishes and grudges into an all-out war until their enemies had been scattered like sea foam. Ever since their diaspora, descendants of the survivors have sought to rebuild and regain power and wealth enough to someday retake their lost heritage.

A Lost Culture Reborn

After the Sea Devils drove the naluali’i from their homes, they also sought out and destroyed all maps and killed any navigators they found who knew the locations of these distant islands. They did not damage the cities, leaving them instead as empty tombs to commemorate their victory, before turning their attention to other ancient foes. The naluali’i spent a few generations as bleak refugees, mourning the loss of each of their cities’ unique historical records, art, music, and other huge holes rent from their culture. Even their original language remains only in fragments that cannot be used on its own and currently exists only as isolated words in creoles and pidgins. However, in time, they banded together as they encountered other survivors of the war and pieced together every tale, song, and tradition that remained into something new and hopeful. Every piece of naluali’i art or writing uncovered is pored over by their scholars to reintroduce to their people, and every navigation chart and rumor about the location of their lost homes are documented and checked against others.

Naluali’i Names

The naming conventions of each naluali’i island city state were as distinct as other elements of their individual cultures, but with so much lost, the remaining traditions have become a quilt combining what cherished pieces are left. Likewise each island had its own traditions regarding gender, but since their diaspora, a new cultural form has arisen among the whole, which has some ties to what came before but is ultimately a new expression of unified naluali’i culture. This development takes the form of a new gender category called “kaikeiki” or “sea child” and is believed by many of their holy folk to be a manifestation of their species newfound unity and the key to returning to glory as a people. Traditions surrounding kaikeiki have only really begun to be established in the past century, but in that time many names have become associated with kaikeki either due to mythological or historical figures who defied gender roles or because of individual kaikeki becoming famous enough in their communities to inspire new generations to be named after them.
Also notable, the name Keone—meaning “Homeland” in the fragmented naluali’i tongue—had never traditionally been a name among the naluali’i, but since their diaspora it has become the single most common name among their entire population, used regardless of gender.

Example Feminine Names: Anyika, Āwhina, Haunani, Hōkūlani, Iolana, Keone, Lani, Litia, Marama, Ndomba, Papatuanuku, Roimata, Vaimiti, Waimarie, Yolly

Example Kaikeiki Names: Akecheta, Cairbe, Greeba, Irie, Kaimana, Kau’i, Keone, Lehua, Makana, Nālani, Pita, Shanty, Stoill, U’ilani

Example Masculine Names: Agwé, Canowicakte, Enapay, Fogal, Hotah, Ikaika, Kapena, Keone, Liag, Mviluki, Nīkau, Ranginui, Sebe, Tangaroa, Yo

Naluali’i Traits

Your naluali’i character has several natural abilities and skills taught to every naluali’i child from infancy.
    Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2 and your Charisma score increases by 1.
    Age. Naluali’i mature and age slightly faster than humans, reaching adulthood at 14 and living to about 60 years.
    Alignment. Every alignment is found amongst the naluali’i, but virtually all form their particular morals or ethics around what they see as the good of at least their own band, and usually the whole naluali’i people.
    Size. Naluali’i are slightly shorter than humans on average but are much stockier and heavier. Your size is Medium.
    Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet. You also have a swimming speed of 40 feet.
    Bite. Your bite is a natural weapon which you can use to make unarmed strikes. With a hit, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier.
    Echolocation. When you are underwater, you gain blindsight to a distance of 30 feet. Your blindsight cannot pass out of the water, but does pass through solid objects under the surface.
    Hold Breath. You can hold your breath for 15 minutes.
    Sailor. You gain proficiency with Navigator’s Tools and Water Vehicles.
    Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Aquan. Naluali’i Creole is an incomplete language using words from Common to fill in the gaps. Most naluali’i study it when and if they have the time, but it is not taught in childhood and is largely the realm of scholars and historians until a fully usable form of Naluali’i language can be assembled. Characters proficient in Common can learn Naluali’i Creole in half the usual time, and if at some point a complete form of Naluali’i language can be revived, characters proficient in Naluali’i Creole can learn Naluali’i in half the time.

Random Height and Weight

Base Height Base Weight Height Modifier Weight Modifier
4’7″ 120 lbs +2d10 x(2d6)

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.

Legal Appendix

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All material in this document following the Playtest Version sidebar and prior to the Legal Appendix that is not otherwise designated as Product Identity is Open Game Content.



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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.

Naluali’i, A Hopeful Tide Copyright 2019, Malachite Idol; Author Patrick Johnson.