Selkies

Appearance and Behaviour: The Selkies of Rebma are close to their counterparts in folklore; they are an aquatic race of shapeshifters, who can transform themselves between human and seal forms. They are known for taking lovers and even spouses from surface dwellers, with a greater frequency than the noble Rebmans. While the Rebmans take surface spouses to keep their bloodlines diverse, the Selkies seem to do it for any number of reasons, some of them understandable, some not. There is a scholarly opinion floating about that all modern examples of the Selkie are actually Humans or Rebmans presenting the legacy in their mixed bloodline. Selkie blood can lurk in a genepool without physical manifestation, skipping one or more generations, before suddenly popping up in the next.

Selkies are mischievous in nature, fond of play in either form, and appear to be friendly and accepting of all sentient races above and below the waves. Whether any given Selkie is truly as trusting and good-natured as she or he seems, with those big shiny innocent eyes and that charming puppy smile, is up to the individual. The default would be a flippant, facetious, or deceptive inward nature. They are restless and not given to settling down in one place, or mating for life. They even prefer frequent (or constant) snacking to sit-down meals. The Throne makes use of these slippery qualities by employing Selkies as border explorers and spies, where their vagabond nature and curiosity is a help rather than a hindrance.

Habitat: The Selkies appear to claim no region as their own; they can be found throughout the realm. If they have specific bloodlines or a hierarchy of leadership, they apparently feel no need to advertise the specifics. Essentially, they like to mingle. They're minglers.

Statistics: Despite their high visibility within all walks of Rebman life, theirs is a relatively small fraction of the population, recorded at approximately 15,000 before the Cataclysm, now perhaps around 12,000. This number, of course, only accounts for those who have at one point been witnessed slipping into seal-form.

Other Abilities: Aside from the seal-shifting ability, Selkies have the potential to shift between the male and female version of their two forms by temporarily shedding their pelt. This variety of 'selfs' tends to present a difficulty for the individual to develop a strong sense of identity. With their innate wanderlust they can develop the ability to sense when they cross even invisible boundaries in any context. By communing with the Sea, one can get a sense of what changes lie ahead, calm or turbulence. Selkies are great vertical swimmers, attaining deep dives of ~6500ft. This makes them useful for scouting and fast strikes on fixed targets. Their swiftness is on par with the Tritons, and while Dolphins are quicker, Selkies have the endurance to sustain their top speed for five times as long.

Combat: In seal-form, the Selkie does not have many options other than biting, but while in human-form, they can be as capable as any for hand-to-hand combat or weaponed.

Selkie Characters will need to keep a few things in mind:

  • Shapeshifting gifts are limited to two forms; there is no free-form shapeshifting, nor is there any sort of in-between hybrid form. The character in seal-form will always be the same type of seal with the same markings. Wounds, illness, and other physical conditions are also transferable, however one form may be better able to cope than the other. Mysteriously, the clothing and other accessories one was holding or wearing will disappear between seal-form shifts, and return upon reverting to human-form.
  • Magic use while in seal-form can be limited by type. One can still make contact and travel through a trump. Mirror communication might be possible, but transit is an extremely rare prospect. Magic tattoos become obscured in seal-form and cannot be activated. Spell-casting involving elaborate gestures or properly enunciated words will require additional training, represented by gifts from the ANI tree, namely Mastery of Form (ANI-MF) and Human Tongues (ANI-HT).
  • Selkies in seal-form have all the outward characteristics of the animal, including vocals limited to goofy bark-talk. They are not true seals, however, and are not genetically compatible. While a Selkie may act aggrieved at the sight of a genuine sealskin blanket or food product, any suggestion that these were taken from dear ol' Grampa is very likely a deception. As land-dwellers tend to be confused by the distinction, it can be an effective sort of manipulation.

Suggested Concepts:

  • Sea Ranger
  • Court Jester
  • Manipulative Seducer
  • Long-distance Messenger
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