The Sea Kin are a race of human offshoots who inhabit the oceans of the various worlds of Dungeons & Dragons. They bear a great deal of similarity to the myths of the selkie, and may be an adaptation of a Dragonlance race called the Children of the Sea. Both races are part of the generic "humans with a touch of magic and adapted to life in the sea", similar to tritons, aventi, gillfolk, and so forth.
Sea kin are believed to be a result of either interbreeding between coastal humans and seal-like fey, or the result of magical hybridization of humans with seals. Whilst they can pass for humans at a casual glance, a closer look reveals their differences; skin that constantly exudes a protective layer of water & cold-proofing oil (giving them a shiny, slippery texture), elongated hands and feet, tough webbing between their digits, pitch black eyes with a transparent secondary eyelid, pit black or metallic hair, and mouths full of small, needle-sharp fangs which can open much wider than a human's.
Obviously, sea kin live near the sea, building partially submerged buildings amongst the shoals and coral reefs adjacent to the shore - rumors speak of open sea colonies as well - or amongst the rocky crags and cliffs of coastal mountains. Like most such creatures, sea kin have a deep spiritual affection for their home, and strive to live in harmony with the sea - they take pollution very seriously. For this reason, they are most likely to worship deities of nature and the ocean, such as Obad-Hai, Eadro, and Deep Sashelas.
The mentality of the sea kin is one of contrasts. Whilst relatively shy, they are also intensely curious; as such, whilst new people and experiences intrigue them, sea kin tend to be quiet by nature, observing things from afar before coming in closer. They live fairly simple lives, but happy ones, and are typically a positive and up-beat race. They have little interest in material wealth, since they tend to make their living from the sea, but love to collect beauty - both natural and artificial.
Sea kin get along with most other aquatic races; those closest alliances are with the aquatic elves, merfolk and locathah, and they have been known to live together with those same races. They distrust tritons - but then, those guys look down on all other races anyway - and absolutely hate sahuagin... which, again, should be no fucking surprise. Their attitudes towards humans are varied; most like humans, but human nature means humans are as likely to pick fights with the sea kin as they are to live in peace with them.
Sea kin have a particular affinity for pinnipeds - seals, sea lions, walruses, and so forth - and they welcome these creatures into their home in the way that humans would dogs. Consequently, they tend to take a very dim view of people who kill these animals, and let's face it, you can't really blame them; how would you feel if somebody broke into your backyard and tried to make a fancy lady's hat out of your beloved pet dog?
Sea kin have strict guidelines about how names are granted to newborns. A male child must take the name of his great-great-grandfather, while a female must follow the same tradition on the maternal side. New names are imports, added when sea folk encounter an individual who greatly impresses them and who has aided the sea kin in some grand fashion. For this reason, linguists note more than a few elf and halfling names among sea kin communities. Orc, dwarf, and gnome names are almost entirely absent, indicating that either sea kin hold these beings in poor regard or they simply haven’t had enough contact with those races to warrant the inclusion of names from their languages.
Sea kin generally prefer to stick close to the safety of their coral homes, occasionally trading with nearby land-dwelling people. That said, sea kin also have a strong sense of curiosity, and some individuals become adventurers out of sheer inquisitiveness. Other sea kin turn to adventuring after a particularly violent encounter with a dangerous race, becoming obsessed with hunting down those enemies.
Because of their understanding of the natural ebb and flow of the sea and the seasons, sea kin are drawn to the path of the druid, and many display an affinity for nature magic, particularly that associated with water, wind, and sea. Sea kin warriors are tough, persistent fighters who have few qualms about tackling their enemies head on.
Sea Kin PC Stats
- Humanoid (human): Sea kin are humanoid creatures with the human subtype.
- Medium: As Medium creatures, sea kin have no bonuses or penalties due to size.
- Sea kin base land speed is 30 feet. Their base swim speed is 30 feet.
- Low-Light Vision: Sea kin can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
- 4 extra skill points at 1st level and 1 extra skill point at each additional level: Sea kin (like their human ancestors) are versatile and capable. (The 4 skill points at 1st level are added on as a bonus, not multiplied in.)
- +2 racial bonus on Escape Artist checks: Sea kin naturally secrete a slippery oil to facilitate swimming. This secretion also makes it easy for them to slip out of restraints.
- Hold Breath (Ex): A sea kin can hold his breath for a number of rounds equal to 8 × his Constitution score before he risks drowning.
- Weapon Familiarity: Sea kin treat tridents and nets as simple weapons.
- Water Dependency: A sea kin must immerse his entire body in water at least once a week or suffer ill effects. After a week has passed, a sea kin must make a Constitution check every day thereafter (DC 10 + 1 per additional day) or take 1 point of Constitution damage. Once a sea kin immerses his body in water, he immediately regains 1d4 points of Constitution per hour that he remains in water.
- Automatic Language: Common. Bonus Languages: Aquan, Elven, and Sahuagin.
- Favored Class: Druid. A multiclass sea kin’s druid class does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing.
Children of the Sea
The Children of the Sea are a mystical breed of amphibious human-kin with innate magical abilities related to the sea. They first appeared in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, making their debut in the Dragonlance splatbook "Taladas: The Minotaurs" - this information would be reprinted in the 4th Monstrous Compendium Annual.
AD&D presents... well, very little information on the Children. They are described as a race of aquatic fey or half-fey who can be distinguished from humanity by a single fey trait, such as green eyes and/or hair, or webbed fingers and toes. They normally pursue solitary lives under the water, but they are magically unable to reproduce with each other; as such, they come to the surface to breed with humans, with male Children abandoning their lovers to rear the resultant progeny and female Children leaving their newborns with human adoptive parents. These children slowly gain access to their magical abilities as they age; at the age of 5, they gain the ability to predict weather in the area around them, up to 48 hours into the future and with 90% accuracy. At age 7, they can summon any fish within a 60 yard radius to come to them once per day. At age 9, they gain the power to raise or lower water as the 4th-level priest spell, which they can use as if they were 7th level. At age 15, they gain the ability to breathe underwater. A Child of the Sea uses these innate abilities almost unconsciously, and will use them to aid his adoptive family unless he has not been treated well. Ultimately, when the Child reaches maturity, they will slip away into the sea and never return again... unless their adoptive family were stupid enough to abuse them. Abused Children of the Sea have a 5% chance of transforming into an Accantus, which has been twisted by bitterness and rage into a much more dangerous creature (Chaotic Neutral to the Child's True Neutral), with the ability to assume a form of living water and summon Water Weirds (or Small Water Elementals, in 3e). Accanta tend to murder their parents, and afterwards become erratic dangers to humanoids.
The Children of the Sea would return to Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition in the Revised Bestiary of Krynn. Here, their details would remain basically the same, but with some expanded lore. This version of the lore made it clear that the Children are most likely a uniquely Krynnish strain of half-fey, descended from aquatic fey such as sirines and merfolk - most Children are born to human parents, but they have also been born to elf parents (usually, but not always, an Aquatic Elf of the Dimernesti]]) and even kender! It also states that, on rare occasions, some Children of the Sea do return at least partially to a life on land after reaching maturity.
Child of the Sea & Accantus Templates
“Child of the sea” is an inherited template that can be added to any non-aquatic humanoid creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A child of the sea uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
- Size and Type: The creature’s type changes to fey (aquatic). Do not recalculate the creature’s Hit Dice, base attack bonus, or saves. Size is unchanged.
- Speed: The child of the sea gains a swim speed equal to its land speed +10.
- Armor Class: As base creature.
- Special Qualities: A child of the sea retains all the special qualities of the base creature and gains the following special qualities:
- —Amphibious (Ex) A child of the sea can breathe both
air and water.
- —Low-Light Vision (Ex) A child of the sea can see four times as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight and similar conditions of shadowy illumination.
- —Spell-Like Abilities: 3/day—calm animals (aquatic creatures only), summon nature’s ally I (aquatic creatures only); 1/day—control water, summon nature’s ally II (aquatic creatures only). Caster level is equal to character level.
- Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Con +2, Cha –2.
Skills: A child of the sea gains skill points as a fey and has skill points equal to (6 + Int modifier) x (HD +3). Do not include Hit Dice from class levels in this calculation— the child of the sea gains fey skill points only for its racial Hit Dice and gains the normal amount of skill points for its class levels. Treat skills from the base creature’s list as class skills and other skills as cross-class.
- A child of the sea has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. It can always take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.
- A child of the sea has a +10 racial bonus on Survival checks when trying to predict the weather.
Environment: Change to aquatic. Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +1. Alignment: As base creature. Level Adjustment: Same as base creature +2.
“Accantus” is an inherited template that may only be used upon humanoids with the child of the sea template (herafter known as the “base creature”) of non-good alignments. Apply the child of the sea template first, then modify based on these traits:
- Special Attacks: An accantus retains all the special attacks of the base creature and gains the following special attack.
- —Summon Elemental (Sp) Once per day, an accantus can summon a Small water elemental for a number of rounds equal to its character level. The elemental will obey the accantus’ commands for the duration, including fighting for it.
- Special Qualities: An accantus has all the special qualities of a child of the sea, in addition to the following:
- —Liquid Form (Su) Once an hour, as a full round action, an accantus can transform itself into a creature composed entirely of water. The accantus can only maintain this form for as many rounds as its Constitution score before it becomes fatigued and must revert to its natural state. This fatigue lasts for an hour, after which point it can transform itself again. In this form, it gains the following:
- —Damage reduction 5/slashing.
- —A slam attack that does 1d8 points of damage plus Strength bonus x 1.5.
- —Ability to douse any open non-magical flame of Large size or smaller it touches, and dispel any magical fire it touches as dispel magic (caster level equals the accantus’ HD).
- —+10 racial bonus to Escape Artist checks.
- —Resistance to acid 10 and fire 10.
- —Vulnerability to cold and electricity.
- —Immune to critical hits, sneak attacks, paralysis and polymorph spells and spell-like abilities.
- Challenge Rating: As child of the sea +1.
- Level Adjustment: As child of the sea +1.