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

New Species: Nezumi

    Common Personality Traits: Secretive, alert, unhesitating, adaptable
    Common Physical Traits: Slight, agile, dark or bland clothing, soft steps
    Type: Medium biped folk with a Reach of 1. Your maximum wounds equal your Constitution score.

  • Attributes: +2 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom
  • Base Speed: 30 ft.
  • Darkvision I: You ignore the effects of dim and faint light.
  • Dogged Avoidance: You gain a +2 dodge bonus to defense. If you are out of action dice this bonus increases to +4.
  • Battle Ready: You gain a +1 bonus to Initiative checks and once per session you may avoid becoming flat-footed at the beginning of combat.
  • Origin Skill: Choose 1 additional Origin skill.

Legal Appendix

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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.



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