Those who visit a dathmorri town or city generally find it a startling and memorable experience. The dathmors are an offshoot of humanity who differ physically in few, if any, ways, but whose way of life is wildly unfamiliar. They live their day to day lives naked but covered in tattoos, and have little concept of privacy–engaging publicly in all manner of activities most folk prefer to do alone, particularly intense flirting, grooming, casual heavy petting and kissing (which they commonly refer to as “shifting”), masturbation, and even sex. To outsiders it seems they have no shame, and to the dathmor, these outsiders seem either ludicrously suspicious or disfunctionally shy. The original dathmorri tribes were pale of skin with thick, curly dark hair that they traditionally wear braided. However, all skin colors as well as hair colors and textures are found among them, thanks to their non-monogamous culture as well as the occasional outsider who adopts their way of life.
Dathmors customarily go about their daily life nude or virtually so, displaying colorful, elaborate, and spiritually important tattoos that each individual in their society begins receiving in late childhood and which continue to be expanded from time to time throughout their lives. They will wear loose cloaks in inclement weather, belts and straps to hold tools or other objects, sandals, shoes, or boots for terrain that would be painful to walk upon barefoot, and whatever garments are required by their profession, such as aprons for blacksmiths, but their swift, agile soldiers fight in the nude as a show of bravery and skill. Even when traveling abroad, a dathmor explorer generally finds clothing and armor to be more cumbersome than useful after a lifetime of going without.
Even more startling to outsiders than the ubiquitous nudity is the apparent lack of any division between public and private activity. Couples will have sex freely in the marketplace even while carrying on a conversation with friends or haggling on prices. “Shifting” is a casual form of groping, heavy petting and manual stimulation of another, sometimes accompanied by kissing, but is viewed as something akin to a massage and is not limited solely to individuals sexually interested in one another, although it is also often used as a type of foreplay. Discussion of what would commonly be considered “private subjects” has no taboo. While marriage is common, it is usually a fairly open relationship and it is not unusual to hear a husband and wife bragging to each other in a tavern of their recent individual “conquests” and the fetishes engaged in during them, in order to arouse each other. Even necessary bodily functions, while strictly limited to proper facilities for sanitation reasons if individuals are in a settlement, are performed in communal latrines that are open to the air to disperse smells and avoid interrupting important conversations.
The Strangeness of Outsiders
Just as foreigners in dathmorri lands find their customs bizarre and discomforting, the dathmors likewise find foreign insistence on hiding themselves and their activities to be unsettling. To dathmorri sensibilities, the only reasons why sex would be actively hidden is if it one partner or the other is ashamed to be engaging in it, or if the act in question is somehow illicit in some way, which would be quite a feat given their open embrace of fetishes, group sex, casual hook-ups, and experimentation. Strict monogamy is viewed as a paranoid and domineering custom, and celibacy is seen as an extreme form of self-destructive ascetism, akin to how most cultures view severe self-flagellation. They have no word for virgin, instead translating the word as “traumatic shyness” and a subject of gentle pity. Foreign insistence on wearing clothing is likewise viewed as an expression of either very low self-esteem, or malign intent to hide.
Beyond all the culture shock, the two most commonly commented-upon traits of dathmorri society are the incredible quality of the steel their smiths produce by complex and mystical techniques, and their peculiar, but exceptionally skilled architecture. Dathmorri homes are most commonly built high up around the trunks of tall trees, or spires of rock or canyon walls in less forested environments, with rope bridges and catwalks connecting them. If natural structures for building their elevated structures upon are not available, they will construct these homes perched above their other buildings. In old growth redwood forests, they will even sometimes build entire multi-level cities hundreds of feet above the ground. Their tattoo artists are likewise exceptional, but it is a practice with complex spiritual elements and is effectively a religious order rather than a profession.
Strictly speaking, dathmors generally only have one name, but in a community of any meaningful size, most individuals will also have an ad hoc title settled upon by the community when a particular individual of that name needs to be specified. These titles are usually based on personality, family, occupation, appearance (including that of their unique tattoos), or individual achievements. (For example: Bryn the Bear Fighter, Little Flannan, Old Idris the Alchemist, Aeron the Eagle-Backed, Tadgh Thick-Shaft, Rhiannon Fire Hair, Finlay Man Rider, Gormlath the Cynic, Loud Tavish, or Tierney the Smith’s Daughter). Titles may change as deemed necessary, and the only strict rule is that they be accurate.
Feminine Names: Anwen, Blejan, Blodwed, Bronwen, Ceridwen, Gormlath, Lusech, Mabyn, Morwenna, Nolwenn, Olwen, Rhiannon, Steren, Tegwen
Masculine Names: Alan, Bradan, Corentin, Drust, Elouan, Finnlay, Gwenael, Hefin, Idris, Mochan, Piran, Suvney, Tavish, Winoc
Androgynous Names: Aeron, Bryn, Caron, Eirian, Feidelmid, Flannan, Keelan, Leamnact, Morcant, Paderau, Rouan, Slaine, Tierney, Yanick
Your dathmorri character has a number of traits as a product of their peculiar society and mystic customs.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2. One other ability score of your choice increases by 1.
Age. Dathmor age at the same rate as other humans.
Alignment. Many assume that dathmor are unconcerned with law and order, but this is largely a misconception caused by dramatic differences in cultural practices. Dathmor have no particular predilection towards any specific alignment.
Size. Dathmor have standard human ranges of height and weight. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet, and you have a climbing speed of 30 feet.
Anathema of Prudery. The Armor Class of armor you wear is reduced by 1. However, when you wear no armor and your clothing leaves you effectively nude, your Armor Class equals your choice of either 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Strength modifier, or 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Charisma modifier. If you have proficiency with shields, you can use a shield and still gain this benefit.
Auspicious Tattoos. Choose one skill or tool proficiency granted by your background. You add double your proficiency bonus to Ability Checks (including Passive Ability Checks) using the chosen proficiency instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
Secrets of Steel. You learn the Blade Ward, Sword Burst, and True Strike cantrips. You can use any object made predominantly out of steel as a spellcasting focus for casting these spells. Dexterity is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Elvish, and Dathmorri. Dathmorri is a lilting language with wide vowels, and is written using the Primordial script.
Variant Rules: Half-Dathmors
In regions where elves and dathmor live in close proximity, half-elves of dathmor stock are more common than typical half-elves. If your GM allows it, a half-elf character may replace their Skill Versatility trait with either Secrets of Steel or Auspicious Tattoos, and may also choose to gain the Anathema of Prudery trait.
Many dathmor are renowned for bravery in battle, leading roaring charges without even leather to protect them, and could easily find a place of prestige within an orcish tribe. If your GM allows it, your half-orc character may replace their Relentless Endurance trait with either Secrets of Steel or Auspicious Tattoos, and may also choose to gain the Anathema of Prudery trait.
While it is rare, elemental beings like genies are just as capable of having offspring with dathmors as with other folk. If your GM allows it, your genasi character may replace their racial spellcasting with either Secrets of Steel or Auspicious Tattoos, and may also choose to gain the Anathema of Prudery trait.
Dathmors with fiendish blood are most often the product of a dathmor and a tiefling, but other origins may sometimes occur.
If your GM allows it, your tiefling character may replace their Hellish Resistance trait with the Auspicious Tattoos trait. You may also replace your racial spellcasting with the Secrets of Steel trait. Furthermore you may choose to gain the Anathema of Prudery trait.
Celestial blood is rarer yet among dathmors, but may be the child of an aasimar or other celestial being.
If your GM allows it, your aasimar character may replace their Celestial Resistance trait with the Auspicious Tattoos trait. You may also replace both your Healing Hands trait and your Light Bearer trait with the Secrets of Steel trait. Furthermore you may choose to gain the Anathema of Prudery trait.