Hurwaeti

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Hurwaeti, also known as Wiggles, are an amphibious humanoid race originating from the Spelljammer setting for Dungeons & Dragons. Looking like a bizarre mixture of grippli (or bullywug) and gnome, they are supposedly distant relatives of both the sahuagin and the lizardfolk. Hurwaeti have thick, tough scales; these are very small, hard, and shiny, so that their dark olive-green hides look smooth and glossy (many observers mistake this gloss for dampness or slime). They have long, frog-like legs, webbed fingers and toes, and gnome-like faces with large ears, pointed noses, and long, sharp chins. Adult hurwaeti have short, sparse beards and tufts of coarse hair atop their heads. Venerable adults tend to have long beards, thicker tufts of hair, and bushy eyebrows. Adults are between six and seven feet tall and weigh from 190 to 230 pounds. A hurwaet can live for 300 years.

Even more so than other scalykind races, hurwaeti are hard to sexually identify for members of other races - it's implied both sexes have beards, and the males incubate the eggs of females inside an abdominal brood pouch when they reproduce, scooping up the fertilized eggs as soon as they are laid and carrying them for 8 months until they hatch, so... yeah, they're hard to tell apart, okay? Hurwaeti favor simple clothing, usually long, brightly colored loin cloths, and belts and packs for carrying equipment. They detest the body paint favored by lizardfolk, but they like to wear lots of jewelry. Particular favorites are large earrings made from ceramics or shells, as well as arm bands and wrist and ankle bracelets. Hurwaeti speak their own archaic tongue, which features a difficult, convoluted syntax and includes hisses and clicks; most humans and demihumans find the hurwaeti tongue difficult to learn and even harder to actually speak. Lizardfolk, not surprisingly, usually can master it without much difficulty. Hurwaeti also speak the tongue of lizardfolk and whatever racial tongue is common to their tribe’s home system, be it human common or a demihuman racial tongue.

Extremely common in Wildspace, hurwaeti are commonly found both operating their own ships - typically as pirates, traders or salvagers - or acting as crewmen or mercenaries for other races. Originally, they were a great spacefaring race with colonies across many Crystal Spheres, an empire that spread art, civilization, and a philosophy rooted in altruism and discipline wherever it went. But the hurwaeti empire fell in war with some unknown foe, which winnowed out the brightest and most energetic of their kind, and the results were catastrophic for the race; the stranded colonists mostly degenerated, devolving into the primitive and barbaric substrains known as swamp wiggles and salt wiggles, whilst those hurwaeti who retained spelljamming capabilities were left an impoverished race. Spacefaring hurwaeti declined into tribal bands, concerned only with looking after their own interests; the race became itinerant nomads, seeking to fend for themselves in the hostile indifference of Wildspace. These tribes are based on clans, with the tribal leadership consisting of the senior clan head, who is usually the oldest and wealthiest hurwaeti in the tribe. All disputes within the tribe are settled by appealing to the tribal chief. When a chief dies, a new chief is chosen by election from among the clan elders. Young hurwaeti gain wealth and status by serving on their clan ships or by venturing forth independently.

The race is generally considered accommodating and non-aggressive, but it is also pretty infamous for its covetuousness and mercenary attitude - nobody gets anything from a hurwaeti for free. Given that they have no known base-planets or homeworlds left and so can only survive by trading, it kind of makes sense. Despite looking like gnomes, hurwaeti are considered skilled warriors, and particularly favored for their skill in boarding actions, where their prodigious leaping abilities are a potent asset. A one-two punch of hurwaeti and hadozee is considered one of the most deadly boarding actions you can find yourself on the wrong end of. They'll work with practically anyone... except for the neogi, beholders or illithids. They hate these races, and will do whatever it takes to oppose them; hurwaeti will always doggedly fight to the death against these foes, and weill never surrender to a ship led by them or which they believe is led by them. Some have speculated that the hurwaeti empire may have fallen because it tried to oppose all three of these aberrations at once - if that's the case, and the hurwaeti don't talk about it so speculation is all anybody has - then they did damn well to survive at all.

Whilst their scaly hides are natural armor and their powerful legs make them highly mobile, arguably the most prominent reason that other races are willing to hire hurwaeti is because they have the ability to produce clouds of vapor from their skin; these mystical fog-clouds are not only powerful weapons in combat, where they can be used for concealment and confusion, but in sufficient numbers, hurwaeti can actually replenish the oxygen cloud for a spelljammer by discharging their fog simultaneously. This means that not only are they skilled warriors, they can also extend a spelljammer's ability to operate outside of planetary space - very useful for captains who want to make voyages.

Hurwaeti who don’t own ships travel in small groups that consist of individuals of the same sex and about the same age. Such groups live, eat, and work together. If one member is mistreated or becomes dissatisfied, the whole group protests to their employer. If greatly disaffected or dissatisfied, the whole group quits the ship at the first opportunity (their personal sense of honor keeps them from inciting mutiny).

The groups usually form to earn hard cash for the tribe, though they are also on the lookout for mates. When two groups of hurwaeti of opposite sex meet, there is a 35% chance that the two groups exchange two or more individuals (their employers’ objections notwithstanding). Unless they decide to jump ship because of poor treatment, the two groups serve out the terms of their voyages, then quit the ships, ignoring offers of further employment, preferring instead to return to their tribes with their new mates. About 5% of hurwaet groups form specifically to hunt for mates. Such groups stick with their ships though thick and thin until they find mates, ignoring mistreatment, privation and hardship to the limits of their endurance. Once they meet a group of the opposite sex, however, they exchange individuals 60% of the time, and thereafter are not inclined to ignore poor conditions. There are several tales of taskmaster spelliammer captains who thought they had found the perfect crew, only to find themselves short-handed after their hurwaeti crew members had a night on the town.

Hurwaeti who own their own ships use series helms for motive power. Hurwaeti build the same sorts of ships as lizard men do, when they build them at all. Most hurwaet ships are purchased or salvaged, and most are decrepit-looking craft sporting many alterations and repairs. However, hurwaeti are skilled spacers and their ships’ actual condition reflects this.

Although some (5%) hurwaet ship owners are pirates, these usually are restricted to neogi, illithid, and eye tyrant space. Hurwaet pirate ships operating in such space always have six series helms. Most hurwaet ships patrol wildspace looking for wrecks to salvage. They are particularly fond of haunting asteroid fields infested with murderoids. The hurwaeti gingerly pluck wreckage off the monsters’ surfaces, often by trailing lines just long enough for the crew to leap to safety should a hungry mouth suddenly appear. Most hurweat ships operating in dangerous space do not hesitate to offer assistance to any other non-hostile ships for a price. A few hurwaet tribes operate ships that pick up varied cargoes of any commodity that can be sold at a profit. Some of these cargos are converted to finished goods right aboard the ships, the most common of these being textiles, paints, dyes, and jewelry.

Most hurwaet ships carry the standard crew for the ship type, 1d6 heavily armed hurwaet warriors (plate mail, two-handed swords, and long bows), and one or two lizard man, human, or demihuman spellcasters, (clerics or mages of 2nd to 5th level) for defense.

Hurwaeti prefer to eat fresh or preserved seafood, but they are omnivores, capable of eating anything humans can, plus a few things humans would find unwholesome.

Swamp Wiggles[edit]

These degenerate hurwaeti live a barbaric existence as tribal hunters or occasionally brigands. In combat, they use large wooden or hide shields and large clubs. They also can deliver vicious kicks with their long legs. Swamp wiggles are dexterous enough to make such combination attacks without penalty. While underwater, where their clubs are useless, swamp wiggles attack with two kicks. Swamp wiggles also employ simple missile weapons, such as slings, javelins, and darts (1/3 chance for each).

Swamp wiggle communities usually do produce a few artifacts. such as jewelry, pottery, nets, and baskets. If approached from a position of strength, they can be persuaded to trade these items, along with natural products, such as game and fish, for tools, glass beads, and other manufactured goods.

Swamp wiggles are excellent swimmers and have no difficulty squirming through mud, weeds, quicksand, and other watery hazards. This ability tends to makte swamp wiggle ambushes very deadly to creatures accustomed to dry land.

Swamp wiggels reproduce the same way hurwaeti do. About 2% of all young swamp wiggles are born as larger, more aggressive salt wiggles. These evil, voracious offspring usually devour their siblings and often kill the incubating male. Once they emerge from the male’s body, they scurry away to a solitary life.

Salt Wiggles[edit]

This largest and most degenerate of the hurwaeti subraces has many traits in common with the sahuagin: aggressiveness, greed, and evil cunning being chief among these.

A salt wiggle is a huge creature with a toothy, gaping maw and powerful limbs. They often are mistaken for scrags, and they are every bit as formidable, though they do not regenerate. Salt wiggles employ no weapons, attacking with their teeth and claws. If both claws hit an opponent, a salt wiggle automatically rends for an additional 1d4+4 points of damage.

Salt wiggles live a primitive, savage existence. They produce no goods of their own, preferring combat to trading; they do, however, enter into alliances with sahuagin, ixitxachitl, krakens, and other evil sea creatures for pay or shared profit. They tend to keep their bargains, but they are opportunistic and ally themselves with the local faction that seems most powerful. Salt wiggles also have been known to ally themselves with pirates or coastal humans.

Salt wiggles do not incubate their eggs inside their bodies; instead they hide them in weedy shallows where the sun can warm them. Salt wiggle tribes do not abandon their eggs, however, and assign one or more tribe members (not necessarily the parents) to guard them until they hatch. Once the young emerge, the guards act as nannies and teachers to the youngsters. Salt wiggles born to swamp wiggles are immediately outcast, if not killed outright. If these creatures cannot get to salt water before reaching adulthood, they haunt rivers or lakes where there is a steady supply of victims. Many make their homes under lonely bridges, where they extort tribute from passersby. Such creatures are often known locally as bridge trolls.

PC Stats[edit]

Debuting in the Complete Spacefarer's Handbook, a hurwaeti PC has the following traits:

Ability Score Minimum/Maximum: Strength 8/18, Dexterity 3/18, Constitution 3/17, Intelligence 3/18, Wisdom 8/18, Charisma /
Ability Score Adjustments: +1 Wisdom, -1 Constitution
Racial Class & Level Limits: Fighter 12, Thief 14
Cannot Multiclass
Racial Thieving Skill Adjustments: +5% Open Locks, +5% Find/Remove Traps, +5% Move Silently, -5% Hide in Shadows, -10% Climb Walls, +5% Read Languages
Can leap 8 feet straight up and 20 feet horizontally.
Natural Armor Class 5; -1 AC from shields, use the lower AC value when a hurwaeti wears armor, armor must be custom made at a cost of +50%
Can produce a Fog Cloud (Fog Bank only) 1/day; this fills a rectangular area 60ft on a side and 20ft high, and is biological in nature, so it cannot be affected by Dispel Magic or similar spells, although it can still be broken up by wind spells.
The hurwaeti fog cloud can refresh 10 tons worth of vessel atmosphere; if sufficient hurwaeti release their fog clouds simultaneously, they can either improve the vessel's atmosphere by one step (if they equal half of the vessel's tonnage), or completely refresh it (if they equal or exceed the vessel's tonnage).
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