Intelligent Species
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November 26, 2007, 2:18 am

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Humanoids: Pelamids


Perhaps one of the oldest of the humanoid races, the Pelamids are a sort of missing link between terrestrial humans and aquatic merfolk.

A typical Pelamid is a close match to the local average human, being pale among pale folk and dark among dark. They do tend to be a bit shorter and stockier in build, with what some would consider to be overly large hands and feet. Pelamid feet demonstrate considerable webbing, and the toes are quite long. Close examination reveals a nictating membrane that protects the eye underwater, closable nostrils, small ears, a gill slits below the jaw line.

The pelamid physiology presents two major weaknesses for the race in general, dehydration and aerosol vulnerability. Their open gills, which allow them to breath underwater, are their main mode of oxygenation. If the gills dry out, the Pelamid essentially suffocates. This translates to Pelamids either remaining immersed in water most of the time, or comsuming large amounts of liquid to keep the feathery gills moist enough to transfer oxygen into their blood. The other weakness is that the gills have no sort of nasal buffer to prevent airborn contaminants from entering the bloodstream. Airborn poisons, and cloud based poison spells, and the like affect the Pelamids with twice the effect that most humans would suffer.

Neither Land, Nor Sea
The Pelamids are possibly one of the oldest of the humanoid sub-races, and exist as a sort of missing link between humans and true merfolk. As such, they have suffered from persecution from both sides, as humans consider the pelamids freaks, and merfolk think of them as little more than unwelcome intruders and pretenders. As such, they have never created a culture of their own, and instead exist as social parasites. They have borrowed their language and use a modified version of the local mythology and history.

Most Pelamids form small enclaves in human communities, living in flooded or highly flood prone areas since they have no aversion to water. These ares tend to be slums and shanty towns, hosts to large numbers of criminals and given a blind eye by the powers that be. Growing up in such a locale, many pelamids enter into criminal occupations as often as being fishermen or trappers. This preference for thievery does little to improve the general opinion of the pelamids.

There have been many New Takes done on the various fantasy races, but one remains untouched, the humans. Of course this is for a reason, as we are humanity, and there are very few games that do not have humans, or a race are default humans. The default human race can be picked out by being the dominant race usually in terms of numbers and adaptability. The Humanoids freetext has been used to gather together the variations of what humans could be in a fantasy setting.

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Comments ( 8 )
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November 26, 2007, 2:18
Updated: Another Humanoid released. While I am not really pleased with how this one has progressed I dont feel like working on it any more, a sort of writers block if you will. I am VERY open to suggestions as to what I can do to finish or improve this stub turned sub.
November 26, 2007, 16:00
This is a hard one. I'll try to think of something to extend them with.

Now, 'Humanoids' is not exactly a lucky term - you could describe 90% of the races written up here as humanoid (beings whose body structure resembles that of a human), all the way through dwarwes and elves to the real exotics. As it requires an explanation, I would suggest to create a Codex (could be even a 'New Take on Humans').

The Augrune were distinctly human, and were easy to insert into other settings. With the Pelamids I am doubtful on both accounts - they have a radically different environment to live in, with a serious limitation for gameplay; they also require a certain venue to be open in a setting (not to speak of another race that needs to be present for them to work). In short, I would think twice before inserting them anywhere.

Still, the low, persecuted status is touching, and the physiology very logical (how do they react to airborn diseases?). But it really needs something more...
November 26, 2007, 16:11
Sounds like this race would be well suited to areas where the tides are very significant - areas too unstable for single-media adapted races to comfortably dwell. These areas would be where you would find pure groups with a real culture. Their way of dual-mode breathing would also be very useful where alge blooms remove oxygen periodically from the water - lethal to mermen, but tolerable to the Pelamids who would have an advantage.

The race could easily be used by the Mermen against the land-dwellers or vice versa, so they could be useful mercenaries, perhaps even used by both sides and occasionally having to fight their own people on behest of the air or water breathers. Perhaps they could grow in importance and strength and move to overthrow one or both of their oppressors.
November 27, 2007, 3:30
You and Manfred make some very good points, the first being that the Pelamids are not quite as easily usable as the other Humanoid introduced thus far, the Augrune. I very much doubt that the Pelamids would ever be able to break out from where they are since they are slower and less agile in the water than true merfolk, and their moisture requirements make them inferior on land as compared to regular humans.

As for the Humanoid freetext, that is completely changeable. I am not really happy with it but havent thought of anything better. Each of the races I am working on are superficially human looking, and not just the correct number of limbs and such, but they can all pass for homo sapien under casual inspection. During the daytime an Augrune is almost indistinguishable from a human, and unless they start fanning their webbed feet or flaring their gills, a Pelamid is just a sweaty human.
November 27, 2007, 7:47
val made a few solid suggestions about environments they can actually dominate, so it is not all hopeless. :)

And now I finally see the original intention behind them - to make (sub)races that can pass for humans! You should really make a Codex, and write your requirements down - and let others try the same.
Voted Cheka Man
November 26, 2007, 22:26
Only voted
July 23, 2011, 15:49

While not physically capable of being mercenaries, there might be a place for the pelamids as ambassadors. If they could overcome the established prejudices, they seem to be a natural go-between for land folk and under-sea folk.  Also, it seems like they could make a living as sailors, perhaps wrapping water soaked scarves around their necks while working on deck, with periodic breaks to re-wet the scarves.

If the pelamids moved to an area where there was either humans but no merfolk, or merfolk but no humans, they could make themselves useful by retreiving items and materials from the opposite terrain for use in the community (for example, they could collect shelfish, pearls, or seaweed for a human settlement, or jewels and precious metals for a merfolk community).

So, while I don't think they would make good player-characters (unless the campaign takes place primarily at sea), they have potential as NPCs and plot devices.

Voted Murometz
February 16, 2012, 22:54

I kinda like them


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