Black Hearts Under Black Flags
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See also: Darfellan History
“For too long we were the prey. Now we are the hunters, and no more shall we mourn.”
The darfellans were once a peaceful race of hunter-gatherers who lived among the surf and sea stacks of forbidding coastlines. Then the sahuagin discovered them, beginning a century-long struggle that almost ended in the extinction of the darfellan race. The remaining darfellans are brooding wanderers who crave the chance to exact a final measure of vengeance against the sahuagin who wiped out their kin.
A typical darfellan has a hulking, muscular build with a broad back, powerful arms, and a wide neck and head. A darfellan stands not much over 6 feet tall and weighs nearly 200 pounds.
A darfellan’s most striking feature is his or her jet-black skin, glossy and hairless, broken by varied white markings. The size, shape, and location of the white areas distinguish family groups and quickly identify an individual’s heritage to other darfellans and those who know how to read darfellan markings. Occasionally individuals are born who are entirely black or, much more rarely, wholly white. Such births are always seen as portentous, and the children are destined to hold positions of importance among the people—whether they are so inclined or not. The appearance of an entirely white darfellan is taken as a sign of great events, and the people’s history is filled with stories of the upheavals that followed such births.
Darfellan Racial Traits
Ability Score Adjustment: Your Strength score increases by 2.
Speed: 25 feet (land). 40 feet (swim). You receive advantage on Athletics checks related to swimming. You can use run and charge actions while swimming.
Hold Breath: You can hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to 8 × your Constitution score before you risk drowning.
Echolocation: You have blindsense up to 20 feet in water.
Natural Attack: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can use your natural bite attack to deal extra damage.
When you use your bite attack, the creature takes 2d6 damage. The damage increases to 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level.
After you use your bite attack, you cannot use it again until you complete a short rest or a long rest.
Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Darfellan.
As a darfellan, you’re naturally able to adventure in the water—and you’re no slouch on land, either.
Adventuring Darfellans: As a typical darfellan adven- turer, you were probably raised in a hidden community on a forbidding ocean shore somewhere, only to lose kith and kin in a savage sahuagin attack. Now you wander the coastal waters seeking vengeance for your family and to honor the memory of the fallen darfellans.
If your home community still survives, you might be its representative to the outside world, or an exile who can’t come home until a particular wrong is righted.
Darfellans hold hunters in great esteem, especially those who battle sahuagin. If you can explain your adventuring career in terms of fighting sahuagin or hunting, other darfellans will laud your career choice.
Character Names: Akilu, Ekitilooit, Fee’itii!, Keitilili, Likiki!ta, Ootiliktik, Shooki!alui, Silooti!oo, Weililkoo.
Roleplaying A Darfellan
If you ever wanted to roleplay a melancholy character with a tragic past, the darfellan is a good choice. As a survivor of sahuagin genocide, you tend to have a pragmatic or cynical worldview.
Personality: Darfellans tend to brood on the tragic history of their race, regarding it with equal parts pride and sorrow. You might be embittered by your lot in life, or you can make a point of behaving nobly no matter how dire the situation.
Roleplaying Application: You can speak of how you are the last in your line, determined to make your ancestors proud.
Behaviors: At its height, darfellan society was a complex caste-based culture, but now too few survivors remain for a caste system to work. Still, darfellans are apt to categorize people by their occupation or function; learning someone’s job is more important than learning
Roleplaying Application: You can develop job-based nicknames for the people you encounter. For example, you might say, “Healer, attend me!” rather than “Jozan, I need your help.”
Language: The Darfellan language has many compound and multisyllabic words, so it can take a long time to say something. A mix of aggressive consonants, long vowels, and clicks gives the Darfellan tongue an animated, heavily enunciated quality.
Roleplaying Application: Even if you’re a barbarian, sprinkle long words into your speaking. And because you’re a strong, lumbering creature, speak slowly and in a deep voice.
Repeated hunts from the sahuagin have reduced the darfellan population to scattered villages and isolated families on remote stretches of coastline. Once the darfellans had a rich, vibrant, clan-based culture. But now most of those clans are just names known to a few darfellan elders, and much darfellan art and history exists only in the memories of the oldest darfellan survivors.
Alignment: Darfellans can be of any alignment. Many younger darfellans have an affinity for chaotic alignments because they’ve never lived in an ordered society.
Lands: Darfellan communities once dotted the coastlines of the world. From the ice floes of the arctic to the tropical archipelagos, darfellans could be found wherever ocean and land meet. Some darfellans even lived among the land dwellers, but the urge to swim among the crashing waves drew most back to their ocean home.
Settlements: A typical darfellan settlement is hidden in cliffside sea caves, some above the tide line and some below. Nearby is a dependable food source, often a kelp forest, a river with periodic salmon runs, or a coral reef rich with marine life. While the sahuagin have stopped organized hunts of the darfellans, the darfellans are still careful to keep their lairs concealed from those who would hunt them. Darfellans wandering the seas of the world are careful to say little of their shoreline homes.
Power Groups: The darfellans are a race of refugees; no remaining power groups exist among them. Many darfellans have retreated to their sea caves, where they live hidden away from the sahuagin and other dangers. Others roam the seas in small hunting bands, looking for sahuagin to slay. Either way, the darfellans are organized like a tribe, with a single chieftain or shaman making all the important decisions.
Darfellans believe that tribal organization will continue until a darfellan known in prophecies as the Deep Dweller emerges to restore the race to vitality. His or her appearance would immediately draw the allegiance of darfellans gathering from far and near, because the remaining darfellans regard tales of the Deep Dweller with messianic fervor.
Beliefs: Darfellans tend to worship one of the gods of the sea—if they haven’t turned their backs on religion entirely. Many darfellans feel that their prayers and supplications went unanswered during the sahuagin’s genocidal attacks, so they believe that the gods themselves have spurned the darfellan race.
Relations: Tribes of darfellans like to keep themselves hidden, but sometimes a darfellan community will develop a trading or mutual defense relationship with nearby merfolk, coastal humans, or aquatic elves. But such relationships rarely blossom into outright friendship because of secrecy on the darfellans’ part; they tend to be businesslike arrangements where the two races remain at arm’s length.