Empire Renewed, A Dragon Ascendant, Substance and Shadow
Most at home in or on the water, the Svalt ply the open ocean and rivers, and hunt the boggy marshlands, most only walking the land to trade with “mudfeet”. Beneath the waves of the Great Reach, beyond the knowledge and grasp of the Imperial Seat, they construct their own vast cities.
Svalt are a hand or so shorter on average than the other elvish races, but somewhat gangling of build: their torsos and arms have a slightly larger proportion than other elvish races, an adaptation to their aquatic life.
The Svalt have varying shades of blue and green tinged “skin” – a very smooth scaly hide akin to that of sharks. It is not uncommon for families to have similar stripes of color in their skin, often consistent with their hair color. Their hair, however, isn’t really hair at all, more akin to ultra-fine quills, and almost always brilliantly colored; some Svalt have thicker, more spine-like hair, though this quill type is invariably very short in length.
The facial features of the Svalt are, at first glance, alien relative to the other elves. Svalt ears are very small, rarely more than a little cartilage around the aural canal. Their eyes have nictitating membrane and slightly oblong pupils. Their noses are almost non-existent, largely adapted away, with nostrils that can sealed shut against water. Their hairline is about typical in the front (though they invariably have widows’ peaks), but instead coming down along the sides, it continues at the same level around their skulls. Finally, the Svalt have relatively large jaws and powerful supporting musculature. However, despite all these differences, they retain the characteristic elven elegances: well defined cheeks, graceful, emotive facial lines, and sweeping, almond-shaped eyes.
They have webbing between the first joints of their hands, as well as their elongated toes.
They also have a very distinctive series of orifices along their trachea, which serve as inlets to gills, and are sealed shut when out of the water.
Finally, Svalt bones are not the true bones of land animals, but instead the stiff cartilage like shark “bones”.
Svalt elves fall into a few rough social groups:
- Those born and raised in the cities beneath the Great Reach (such as Farchamciester, Undrumshire, or Newcoral). These cities are home to genteel Svalt that enjoying academic pursuits and high culture as much as any Valari, but these cities have their share of the rougher social classes as well. Adventurers hailing from these undersea halls might be a part of that gentry, seeking to trade the Shell Game for something a little more visceral, or perhaps youngest heirs unlikely to advance in their house. Or they might be criminals, who survived their exile to the Abyssal Trench and escaped to different shores.
- Sailors on the Great Reach, gathered into communal fleets of assorted vessels. These are a hard sort of folk, working constantly against the whim of the sea’s surface and ships in various states of repair.
- Those of lake and swamp communities. These communities are typically fisherfolk and traders, though some farm waterflora or hunt dangerous aquatic game. These townships generally have simple
The Svalt are most in their element when water is about, but the adventurous sort have often strayed far from their homes in the sea or rivers. These types will often crave aquatic sensations so much so that they will act strangely when presented the opportunity to be in the water, for example sleeping in a pond while their companions camp at its edge.
Position within the Empire
The Svalt make a small part of the total elvish population, perhaps 10%, and act as traders and transporters along the coast and various rivers, as well as journeying across the sea to trade with the lands beyond. Svalt also harvest the fish and fruits of the sea.
Nominally, they also make up most of the Empire’s Naval power, though the humans and orcs do not field navies, so this position is largely irrelevant.
The Svalt have secretly created a whole society living primarily beneath the waves of the Great Reach, outside control of the Imperial Seat, making their actual population much larger than their apparent population. Here they store their abundant wealth, and self-govern independently. Yet, strange happenings plague what was once an undersea paradise: trade runs find entire cities simple gone, as if devoured by the deeps.
Similarly, hidden within the Soudern bogs and marshes, tight knit groups of Svalt live almost completely independent of the rest of Fyn’faliir. They alone know the Black Bog and its denizens well enough to survive, but insidious threats mount within this heart of rot.
The sea-going and riverine populations, while not as different as the Svalt are from other elves, certainly have their nuances leading to varying degrees of tension. The oceanic sort, aside from the small fraction sailing cargo, typically live completely beneath the sea, while those that run the river trades often spend less time swimming than walking. Those from the depths are possessed of a civilized serenity, while their less saline kin are typical crude and confrontational.
Most Svalt belong to two organizations, a Guild, which is devoted to their trade with members spread across the land, and a more local tribe-like group called, depending on the location, a Ship or a Wharf. The major guilds include Navigators, Helms Mates, Windwatchers, Fishers, Shipwrights, and Riggers.
+2 Intellect, +2 Dexterity
Size: M, Speed: 6, Swim 6, Vision: Norm and Low-light
+2 Intimidate, +2 Streetwise, +2 Acrobatics
Piscine: Svalt move and breath underwater unimpeded. At level 11, increase swim speed to 7; at level 21, increase swim speed to 8.
Handy: gain proficiency in daggers and short swords, and receive a proficiency bonus of +2 for small improvised weapons (e.g., a broken bottle, a meat hook). At level 11, gain the feat Weapon Focus for Light Blades and for small improvised weapons.
Saw-tooth Grin: Svalt have the following power:
At-Will – Martial, Rattling
Requirement: the Svalt is not using the clamping effect of this power.
Target: a creature grabbed by the character
Attack: Dexterity vs Reflex or Strength vs AC
Hit: 1d6 + Strength modifier
Effect: On a successful bite, the Svalt may choose to clamp down on the target. Clamping down imposes a -(max(1,1+Strength Modifier)) to attempts to break the grab, and inflicts 1d3 + Strength modifier damage on the start of the target’s turn. Clamping down may be maintained as a minor action. Anything that breaks the grab also breaks the clamping down effect.
Increase damage to 2d6 + Strength modifier at 21st level for bite, 2d3 + Strength at 21st level for clamp down.
Poison Tongue: Svalt with a Constitution score greater than 10 can produce a poisonous bile which can be applied to weapons (as a minor action), delivered via Sawtooth Grin (free with the attack or clamping effect) or other natural bite attacks that the Svalt can use (e.g., some Druid beast form powers); each use as such consumes 1 charge, and the Svalt has charges per day equal to its Constitution score. This poison adds 1+Consitution modifier poison damage; on a weapon, the effect is consumed on the first successful strike with the weapon or after 10 rounds.