Sepialiph Lineage

“Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

-William Shakespeare, The Tempest

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.


For reasons that many would prefer not to understand, beings—both humanoid and non—that seek to magically modify ordinary folk to give them expanded capabilities often pursue methods and approaches that grant the subjects not just additional limbs, but long, muscular, flexible tentacles. Sepialiph is a broad term for a whole category of altered creatures that share an eerily similar set of physical traits due to hybridization or transformation, regardless of the particular process by which they were created. Some speculate that this is simply because cephalopods have dramatically different (and therefore complimentary) abilities, but others insist there is some force beyond mortal comprehension guiding the minds of those who dabble in these bizarre pursuits.

Strange in Mind and Body

Whether the creation of a sepialiph is achieved by magically hybridizing cephalopod and humanoid, by some extradimensional distortion, or as the result of an experiment by or using aberrations, sephialiphs tend to have a somewhat alien personality in some way and are typically unusually curious and drawn to investigate things that are new to them. In addition to their writhing tentacles, they are able to breathe in water and have an instinctive ability to communicate with one another non-verbally by patterns of changing colors.

Sepialiph Origins

Sepialiphs are created in many different ways, from deliberate magic to mutations caused by strange creatures to spontaneous planar phenomena. The Sepialiph Origins table offers suggestions for how you obtained this lineage.

Sepialiph Origins

d6 Origin
1 A strange and ancient undersea creature that you made a pact with transformed you into a form more readily able to assist it and its cause.
2 The parasitic offspring of a squid-faced creature from some far-off realm was unable to fully take hold as it incubated within you, and instead merged with you, transforming you in an unplanned way without seizing control of your body.
3 A guild of transmutation specialists with a utopian ideology seeks to create the perfect life form and in the process, many of its members are voluntarily merged with various creatures. You are the result of one such program.
4 When you returned to examine the estate of a deceased relative in a seaside fishing town, you discovered the locals have for generations been having offspring with bizarre creatures from the sea. The children look mostly normal, but upon reaching a certain age, some start to change, gaining weird physical traits like those of their seagoing parent. A few years later you noticed your eyes turning yellow, and the transformation has progressed ever since.
5 You were born to a strange warlock under the influence of a mysterious star that wanders the skies rather than following any known pattern of movement.
6 Your first memory is of stumbling out of a broken canister connected to a bizarre device in a long-abandoned underground ruin filled with symbols no one you have yet spoken to recognizes.



A lineage takes the place of a character’s species, often as the result of some form of transformation. A character may begin play with a lineage from character creation or circumstances might result in substituting a lineage for your species during the course of play. During character creation (or later in a manner you work out with your GM) you can choose a lineage, replacing the traits of your species with the traits of the lineage as described.

Sepialiph Traits

You have the following traits.
    Ability Score Increase. Increase one of your ability scores by 2 and another by 1, or alternately increase three different ability scores by 1 each. This replaces any Ability Score Increase you previously had, if you are replacing your race with a lineage.
    Creature Type. You are a Humanoid.
    Size. You are Small or Medium, chosen when you gain this lineage.
    Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
    Ancestral Legacy. If you replace a race with this lineage, you may retain any skill proficiencies, and climbing, flying, or swimming speed you gained from it. Otherwise you gain two skill proficiencies of your choice.
    Adaptive Coloration. You can alter your coloration dramatically in a manner reminiscent of a cuttlefish, and you have extremely fine control over these changes. When you are wearing light or no armor, visual perception checks made to detect you have disadvantage.
    Amphibious. You can breath in air or water.
    Grasping Tentacles. You have a number of long, flexible tentacles. Regardless of how many you have, your tentacles collectively count as two free hands for the purposes of grappling, climbing, holding (but not wielding) objects, and manipulating objects in ways that do not require fine control (such as shutting doors or pulling levers). Your tentacles have a reach of 10 feet, and you can use them to make melee weapon attacks. When used to make attacks, they are considered to have the light and finesse qualities, and may be treated as a monk weapon. On a hit, your grasping tentacles deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage. You are always considered proficient with your tentacles.
    Additionally, when you hit a creature with an attack using one of your grasping tentacles, you can use a bonus action to attempt to grapple the creature. Furthermore, if you successfully grapple a creature with your grasping tentacles, you may pull them 5 feet towards you if they are not already within 5 feet of you.
    Languages. If you replace a race with this lineage, you keep any languages you had, plus Sepial. Otherwise your character can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice and can also “speak” and understand Sepial. Sepial is a language “spoken” using rapid strobes and ripples of various colors or shades across the skin. Sepial is silent, and a creature must be able to see rather than hear you to understand it. It can only be “spoken” by shapeshifters, creatures who can alter their coloration, or with the assistance of prestidigitation or other similar magic. Sepial has no written form, but a repeating magical pattern can be used to communicate a simple message.

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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.

Sepialiph Lineage Copyright 2021, Malachite Idol; Author Patrick Johnson.