Sea Devils, Scourge Beneath the Waves

“On the contrary, his view is entirely that of Themistocles: for he holds that the master of the sea must inevitably be master of the empire.”
-Cicero, Letters to Atticus

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 Sea Devils

Known on the surface world as sea devils, these shark-like humanoids make up the ruling class of the vast undersea Karcharos Empire. Despite their reputation for mercilessness, they are more than willing to engage in largely peaceful relations with surface dwellers as well as undersea neighbors, with a few exceptions. They have been enemies of the sea elves since time immemorial, and have also had a long running series of wars with folk such as the tritons and naluali’i. In the latter case they nearly wiped out the naluali’i civilization, conquering its island cities, destroying all navigation charts noting their location, and leaving them empty save for small scout contingents.

In the Name of Empire

With the exception of its half dozen or so consistently hated foes, the Karcharos Empire might treat other folk—either beneath the waves or on the shores—as anything from trading partners, to foes, to well-supported client states, to slave populations, depending entirely on what suits the Empire most at the time. The laws of the Empire are often oppressive, even to its citizens, but are deeply concerned with order and stability and so are extremely unforgiving of capricious or wasteful rulership. They are stable and profitable trading partners so long as the Empire feels that trade is more beneficial than subjugation, and are a dangerously efficient foe when that conclusion is reassessed.

The Divine Hunt

Religion in the Karcharos Empire varies by province and client state, worshiping some or all of a broad pantheon depending on local custom, but there are a few universal commonalities. One deity whose worship is mandated across the empire is known by many local names but is generally referred to as The Great Hunter, an immense divine shark. Also mandated by imperial law is the worship of the Imperatorum Regum, the title of the supreme leader of the Karcharos Empire, as a living demigod. This worship is only mandated towards the current holder of the office, however, and many who died in foolish military campaigns were posthumously stripped of their divine status by high priests at the order of their successor. Furthermore, not mandated by law but nevertheless worshiped by sea devil populations across the empire (and by many of their client state populations as well) are ancestral household tutelary spirits of those warriors and hunters who earned honor in their lifetimes.

Sea Devil Names

Each sea devil has three or more names: a personal name, the name of their greater clan, a family name, and sometimes one or more honor names. Honor names are usually for a battle, military campaign the individual was victorious in, or a great opponent or monster they defeated.

Example Masculine Names: Actaeus, Argyron, Atabyrius, Chalcon, Chryson, Damnameneus, Damonax, Euxantius, Lyktos, Megalesius, Mylas, Nicon, Ormenos, Simon, Skelmis

Example Feminine Names: Amphitrite, Astakide, Ceto, Crataeis, Dexithea, Halia, Kalypso, Makelo, Pallas, Scylla, Tethys, Thalassa, Thetis, Thousa

Example Clan Names: Agios, Antiphatos, Cecropios, Gygios, Hieros, Lacedaemonios, Nabios, Ogygios, Pyrros, Sthenelos, Tholos, Thraxos

Example Family Names: Aragmos, Bebilosios, Cheimarródios, Doxomanis, Embakchevos, Fagésoros, Goís, Kavadis, Lexithiros, Myelopoiós, Sakespalos, Volaios

Example Honor Names: Eskivelos, Deltesoros, Hydros, Ixatharnos, Kevoros, Mangaios, Nukuhivos, Vitilevos, Sonsorolos

Sea Devil Traits

Your sea devil character has several natural abilities.
    Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution and Wisdom scores each increase by 1.
    Age. Sea devils reach adulthood at age 20 and can live up to 120 years.
    Alignment. The sea devils maintain a huge, regimented empire below the waves. By and large they are orderly and hierarchical, and favor law. They are often as merciless and aggressive as the sea they dwell beneath, and have a strong tendency toward evil. Those who chafe at this status quo often strike out on their own among other folk.
    Size. The Sea Devils are quite a bit larger than a human, averaging about 6’6” tall and over 200 pounds. Your size is Medium.
    Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet. You also have a swimming speed of 40 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.
    Amphibious. You can breathe both water and air.
    Bite and Claws. Your bite and your claws are natural weapons which you can use to make unarmed strikes. With a hit, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier.
    Shark-bond. You are able to communicate telepathically to sharks within 120 feet of you. They understand your meaning as if they shared a language with you.
    Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Aquan.
    Subrace. Sea devils have a surprising range of physical variation which occurs seemingly at random among their populations, three of which are listed below. Choose one of the following subraces.


When most sailors think of sea devils, they think of these, with a conventional humanoid body form and features resembling the sharks they raise as beasts of war. They are a majority of the sea devil population, making up about eight individuals in ten.
    Beast Tamer. You gain proficiency with the Handle Animal skill.
    Blood Scent. When you make a Wisdom (Survival) check to track a creature that has less than its maximum hit points, you have advantage on the check.
    Sea Devil Weapons Training. You have proficiency with spears, tridents, nets, and light crossbows.


The most common variation on the sea devils’ form are individuals born with four arms. These frequently seek glory in combat professions where the ability to wield more pieces of equipment is particularly beneficial.
    Four-Armed. You have four arms, and can take the Use an Object action as a bonus action during your turn. Your arms do not grant you additional attacks, but can wield weapons held in them normally (including for the purposes of two-weapon fighting).


Another physical variation among the sea devils that is particularly known to outsiders familiar with their species are those who, for some reason lost to the ages even among sea devil records, are born very closely resembling the sea elves they fight against so bitterly. Instead of being seen as an ill omen, these individuals are pampered and treated with great honors by the Karcharos Empire…and trained from childhood to become spies and infiltrators on behalf of the regime that treated them so well.
    Sea Elf Infiltrator. Whenever you make an ability check to disguise yourself as being a sea elf, you are considered proficient with Disguise Kits and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus. Also, you do not need to actually use a disguise kit to make these checks and face no penalty for making it without one. Furthermore, even when you are not actively making checks to do so, creatures must succeed against your passive Charisma (Disguise Kit) score (10 + double your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) to see through your natural disguise.
    Languages. You can also speak, read, and write Elven.

Random Height and Weight

Subrace Base Height Base Weight Height Modifier Weight Modifier
Patricius 5’3″ 175 lbs +2d8 x(1d6)
Magnus 5’3″ 175 lbs +2d8 x(2d6)
Pellax 4’6″ 90 lbs +2d8 x(1d4)

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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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.

Sea Devils, Scourge Beneath the Waves Copyright 2019, Malachite Idol; Author Patrick Johnson.