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 races—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

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.

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

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