The lichternwaarden are a deep-sea fish race in the Vistelo system. Largely isolated in the abyss they call their home, they are nonetheless fully capable of living on the surface due to simple lungs and a coating of moisture-retaining slime. Their gaunt, blank faces, needle-like teeth, and natural bioluminescence are unsettling to other races, though its told they look different in the high pressure of their home.
Etymology and Other Names
"Lichternwaard" is a Mottaal term. Translated literally, it means "keeper of the Light", owing to the fact that when the lepidotians first encountered them, they believed their bioluminescence to be a gift of Vurlicht.
Biology and Anatomy
Lichternwaarden are an average-sized race, though they are overall rather gaunt and spindly, with large heads and big blank eyes. Their jaws are filled with long, needle-like teeth, and can open extremely wide to take in large prey. Their arms are modified fins, with thick webbing between the fingers running up to the elbow. Their bodies tend to be dark blues or purples, and are slightly translucent. On a lure on their forehead and running down the sides of their bodies are patches of bioluminescence, which can be turned on and off at will.
Sociology and Culture
Not much is known to outsiders about lichternwaard culture, as most live their lives secluded in their abyssal homeland of Guljapori, where few outsiders can reach. What is known is that they live ascetic lives, and place little value in material wealth. Excess of anything is frowned upon; even collecting as a hobby can be seen by a lichternwaard as a sign of unhealthy attachment to the material, and may result in concerned friends pulling you aside. Overall, the culture of Guljapori places an emphasis on taking only what you need, and nothing more.
This is not to say that the lichternwaarden are a people without joy; they take joy in the impermanent, telling stories and playing music that only exists so long as it is being created. Impermanent arts, such as sand sculpture and shadow theatre, are also treasured. Conversely, however, to attempt to capture the impermanent is seen as disrespectful. To write down a story one has been told, to record a play being performed, to take a picture of a sand sculpture, is attempting to cling to that which should be left to disappear. They see no point in clinging to the past; why focus on the stories you once heard when there are new stories to be told?
A lichternwaard's face is gaunt and unreadable, causing many races to be unable to ascertain their emotions. Instead, one must look to their lights; an upset or hurt lichternwaard will glow more faintly, whereas a furious one may begin to pulse their lights rapidly. A happy lichternwaard will shine quite brightly, blindingly even.
All lichternwaarden are Medium, incurring no benefits or penalties thereof. A lichternwaard character may take +2 Dex -2 Str or +2 Int -2 Cha.
- Bioluminescence: Every lichternwaard emits a natural glow equivalent to a torch. This can be turned on and off as a free action.
- Unreadable Face: Lichternwaarden gain a +2 to bluff.
- Aquatic: Lichternwaarden have +2 Swim and do not need to roll to stay underwater without suffocating. They can also take 10 on Swim checks even when threatened or distracted.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Intelligence or Constitution score increases by 1 (your choice.)
Size. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Bioluminescence. You have a lure on your head that emits a pale yellow light as if it was imbued with the light cantrip. This light can be turned on or off as a bonus action.
Aquatic. You can breathe air and water. Your base swimming speed is 20 feet.