Nezumi, Swift and Secretive

“Hear the loud alarum bells –
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor
Now – now to sit, or never,
By the side of the pale – faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells

-Edgar Allan Poe, “The Bells”

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 Nezumi

Most people never get a good look at a nezumi, even if they live in a city swarming with them. These highly alert, deft, and cautious folk resemble humanoid mice or rats, and generally keep to the shadows and wear concealing clothing when venturing into the settlements of other folk. Their stature is shorter than elves and often just as slender, with fur usually ranging between white, gray, brown, and black. Some are born with blood red eyes, but whether this is taken as a good omen or ill depends on the teachings of their clan. Much of their society are ordinary laborers, but those who more actively interact with the outside world are commonly ninjas, shamans, or other mysterious but dangerous sorts.

Living Just Out of Sight

Nezumi prefer to live just outside of the areas frequented by other species—close enough to interact but hidden in the shadows. This might involve huge nomadic caravans that settle down near cities for just long enough to trade before slipping back into the unmapped wilderness, elevated villages high in the jungle canopy where it cannot be seen, or in one famous case, living in settlements abandoned by the human Kani clan because of a supernatural corruption that infested the area which the clan of nezumi had a mystical immunity to. In exchange for payments by the Daimyo, they would gather abandoned valuables and return them to refugees after purifying them, as well as work the fields and protect the fortress and keep it in working order until the shadowy taint could be purged from the land and the former residents could return. Another, more sinister clan of nezumi lives deep underground and occasionally burrows up into the sewers and basements of the city above to do their nefarious work.

Secretive Clans

Every nezumi clan has its secrets, which it has used to rise to prominence. Some have strange technological marvels, others know mysterious martial arts techniques or how to make pacts with a particular powerful being. Some nezumi clans are so secretive that they do not even reveal their clan’s name or membership to outsiders, while others eagerly display the things that make them unique, knowing that none outside their clan could utilize the secrets underlying their devices or spells. Every clan also has its own guiding philosophy and principles, which are trained into their youth from an early age.

Nezumi Names

Every clan’s naming traditions vary, but usually they possess a family name (which for the families leading a clan is often the same as the clan’s name) followed by a personal name chosen by their parents. Due to the large families typical among nezumi—frequently 7 to 12 children—it is not unusual for more regimented families to give names that identify the birth order of their children. Other clans, however, keep every individual’s name a strict secret between parents and child, going instead by descriptive sobriquet even among siblings.

Family Names: Fujibayashi, Fuuma, Hattori, Ishikawa, Karasawa, Kumawaka, Mochizuki, Momochi, Rokkaku, Shinomori, Tateoka, Yagyu

Feminine Personal Names: Akane, Chiyome, Hisoka, Ibuki, Jun, Kasumi, Kurenai, Mai, Natsu, Ran, Shino, Tomoko

Masculine Personal Names: Atsushi, Danzo, Genba, Hanzo, Hideki, Isamu, Jubei, Kazuki, Muneyoshi, Nagato, Sandayu, Takumi

Feminine Numeric Personal Names: Ichie (1st), Jie, (2nd), Sabue (3rd), Shie (4th), Goe (5th), Rokue (6th), Shichie (7th), Hachie (8th), Kue (9th), Jue (10th), Juichie (11th), Jujie (12th)

Masculine Numeric Personal Names: Ichiro (1st), Jiro (2nd), Saburo (3rd), Shiro (4th), Goro (5th), Rokuro (6th), Shichiro (7th), Hachiro (8th), Kuro (9th), Juro (10th), Juichiro (11th), Jujiro (12th)

Sobriquets: Fire-eyes, Shadowsinger, No-Tail, Thunder-Shriek, Adamant-Tooth, Frost-Breather, Gleaming-Knives, Far-Sailor, Crystal-Hunter, Bloodied-Fur, Topside-Runner, Speaking-Shadow

Nezumi Traits

Your nezumi character has several abilities.
    Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2 and your Charisma score increases by 1.
    Age. Nezumi mature much faster than humans, reaching maturity at age 10. Naturally, they may live to about 50 years, though some clans live particularly violent lives and few among those will reach that age, while other clans may know secret techniques to extend life and may live healthily into five centuries or more. Legend speaks even of one clan who possess rituals that cause each deceased member to be reborn as an infant to the next individual in the clan to give birth.
    Alignment. Every nezumi clan has a philosophy that guides its actions as well as those of its members. Every clan will be predisposed to a particular alignment, and those within it will usually gravitate towards that alignment. Those who differ strongly from the alignment will frequently stray from their clan and seek their fortune as an individual. Depending on the clan this may be an imposed exile or the clan may hunt the strays, seeking to guard their clan secrets.
    Size. Nezumi are typically between 4’9” to 5’6” tall, and commonly weigh between 60 and 105 pounds. Your size is Medium.
    Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
    Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet 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.
    Clan Training. Choose one from Alchemist’s Supplies, Smith’s Tools, Woodcarver’s Tools, Disguise Kit, Poisoner’s Kit, or Thieves’ Tools. You gain proficiency with the chosen tool kit.
    Impetuous. When you make an initiative roll, you add your proficiency bonus to the result. Also when you make skill checks to avoid being surprised, you have advantage on the check.
    Swift Dodge. While you are not wearing armor, are not using a shield, and are not encumbered, your Armor Class equals 10 + double your Dexterity modifier.
    Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Undercommon.

Random Height and Weight

Base Height Base Weight Height Modifier Weight Modifier
4’4″ 50 lbs +2d8 x(1d6)

New Feat

Scrap Hunter

You have learned to pick through what others leave behind and assemble what you need from the pieces into crude but effective tools. You gain the following benefits:

  • You gain proficiency with tinker’s tools
  • As part of a short or long rest you can construct one of the following items from scavenged materials: a simple weapon, a martial melee weapon that does not possess the heavy property, any artisan’s tool kit, A poisoner’s kit, a set of thieves’ tools, one set of ammunition, a backpack, a bag of ball bearings, a block and tackle, a bucket, 10 feet of chain, a crowbar, a fishing tackle, a grappling hook, a hammer, a sledge hammer, a hunting trap, a ladder, one set of manacles, a steel mirror, a miner’s pick, 5 pitons, a 10 foot pole, a 10 iron spikes, a tinderbox, or a torch. However, in order to craft any items using this ability other than tinker’s tools, you must possess a set of tinker’s tools. However, the items crafted in this manner are obviously assembled from pieces of scrap and only the most desperate individuals will willingly purchase them for any price.
    You may only craft items in this way if you are in an area that is currently or formerly settled by humanoids, or other location where humanoids have stayed (such as campsites), or if you have spent at least 30 minutes scavenging such an area since the last time you used this ability. Items crafted using this ability cannot be repaired if broken, but two such broken items can be used in place of spending 30 minutes scavenging for scrap.
  • Weapons (but not ammunition) crafted using your Scrap Hunter ability are unrefined but vicious. When making an attack using one of these weapons, the wielder may choose to roll one of the weapon’s damage dice an additional time and add it to the damage of the attack, however melee weapons used in this way also break if you hit, and ranged weapons used in this way break on a hit or a miss. Hunting traps made using your Scrap Hunter ability automatically deal an extra 1d4 damage, and break when a creature caught in them breaks free. If a weapon or trap permanently becomes a magic item, it loses this property.

Legal Appendix

This product includes Open Game Content that may only be used under and in terms of the Open Game License Version 1.0a

Product Identity in this document designated in accordance with section 1(e) of the Open Game License, version 1.0a includes but is not limited to: Any and all Malachite Idol logos and identifying marks and trade dress, including all Malachite Idol product and product line names including but not limited to Malachite Idol Presents, all Malachite Idol logos, and all artwork, logos, symbols, designs, depictions, illustrations, maps and cartography, likenesses, and poses. Designated Product Identity is not Open Game Content.

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.



The following text is the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and is Copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc (“Wizards”). All Rights Reserved. 1. Definitions: (a)”Contributors” means the copyright and/or trademark owners who have contributed Open Game Content; (b)”Derivative Material” means copyrighted material including derivative works and translations (including into other computer languages), potation, modification, correction, addition, extension, upgrade, improvement, compilation, abridgment or other form in which an existing work may be recast, transformed or adapted; (c) “Distribute” means to reproduce, license, rent, lease, sell, broadcast, publicly display, transmit or otherwise distribute; (d)”Open Game Content” means the game mechanic and includes the methods, procedures, processes and routines to the extent such content does not embody the Product Identity and is an enhancement over the prior art and any additional content clearly identified as Open Game Content by the Contributor, and means any work covered by this License, including translations and derivative works under copyright law, but specifically excludes Product Identity. (e) “Product Identity” means product and product line names, logos and identifying marks including trade dress; artifacts; creatures characters; stories, storylines, plots, thematic elements, dialogue, incidents, language, artwork, symbols, designs, depictions, likenesses, formats, poses, concepts, themes and graphic, photographic and other visual or audio representations; names and descriptions of characters, spells, enchantments, personalities, teams, personas, likenesses and special abilities; places, locations, environments, creatures, equipment, magical or supernatural abilities or effects, logos, symbols, or graphic designs; and any other trademark or registered trademark clearly identified as Product identity by the owner of the Product Identity, and which specifically excludes the Open Game Content; (f) “Trademark” means the logos, names, mark, sign, motto, designs that are used by a Contributor to identify itself or its products or the associated products contributed to the Open Game License by the Contributor (g) “Use”, “Used” or “Using” means to use, Distribute, copy, edit, format, modify, translate and otherwise create Derivative Material of Open Game Content. (h) “You” or “Your” means the licensee in terms of this agreement.

2. The License: This License applies to any Open Game Content that contains a notice indicating that the Open Game Content may only be Used under and in terms of this License. You must affix such a notice to any Open Game Content that you Use. No terms may be added to or subtracted from this License except as described by the License itself. No other terms or conditions may be applied to any Open Game Content distributed using this License.

3.Offer and Acceptance: By Using the Open Game Content You indicate Your acceptance of the terms of this License.

4. Grant and Consideration: In consideration for agreeing to use this License, the Contributors grant You a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive license with the exact terms of this License to Use, the Open Game Content.

5.Representation of Authority to Contribute: If You are contributing original material as Open Game Content, You represent that Your Contributions are Your original creation and/or You have sufficient rights to grant the rights conveyed by this License.

6.Notice of License Copyright: You must update the COPYRIGHT NOTICE portion of this License to include the exact text of the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any Open Game Content You are copying, modifying or distributing, and You must add the title, the copyright date, and the copyright holder’s name to the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any original Open Game Content you Distribute.

7. Use of Product Identity: You agree not to Use any Product Identity, including as an indication as to compatibility, except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of each element of that Product Identity. You agree not to indicate compatibility or co-adaptability with any Trademark or Registered Trademark in conjunction with a work containing Open Game Content except as expressly licensed in another, independent Agreement with the owner of such Trademark or Registered Trademark. The use of any Product Identity in Open Game Content does not constitute a challenge to the ownership of that Product Identity. The owner of any Product Identity used in Open Game Content shall retain all rights, title and interest in and to that Product Identity.

8. Identification: If you distribute Open Game Content You must clearly indicate which portions of the work that you are distributing are Open Game Content.

9. Updating the License: Wizards or its designated Agents may publish updated versions of this License. You may use any authorized version of this License to copy, modify and distribute any Open Game Content originally distributed under any version of this License.

10. Copy of this License: You MUST include a copy of this License with every copy of the Open Game Content You Distribute.

11. Use of Contributor Credits: You may not market or advertise the Open Game Content using the name of any Contributor unless You have written permission from the Contributor to do so.

12. Inability to Comply: If it is impossible for You to comply with any of the terms of this License with respect to some or all of the Open Game Content due to statute, judicial order, or governmental regulation then You may not Use any Open Game Material so affected.

13. Termination: This License will terminate automatically if You fail to comply with all terms herein and fail to cure such breach within 30 days of becoming aware of the breach. All sublicenses shall survive the termination of this License.

14. Reformation: If any provision of this License is held to be unenforceable, such provision shall be reformed only to the extent necessary to make it enforceable.

15. COPYRIGHT NOTICE Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, LLC.

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.

Nezumi, Swift and Secretive Copyright 2019, Malachite Idol; Author Patrick Johnson.