The deep sea dwellers called tiaquin can be found all throughout the waters of Ealdremen's different planets, where most of them live in isolation and mostly form distant partnerships of convenience with local businesses or individuals. Although the tiaquin have long been associated with the Veriol Alliance, historically, it is less out of an ideological belief and is more representative of their attitudes towards others. For the most part, tiaquin wish to be left to their own devices and live exactly how they want, and only when that way of life is threatened will most tiaquin take action.
Etymology and Other Names
Tiaquin has clear etymological roots in an old Rodaul word for hunter, tiaqus. This generic word possibly implies a euphemistic ancient fear for the tiaquin people, whose solitary lifestyles and seemingly unpredictable appearances in civilization could have led to superstitions and intimidation.
Estvoldian archaeologists argue that it is unlikely the tiaquin named themselves due to their general withdrawal from civilization; as such, their racial name would have been agreed upon by the rare few who saw them and those who heard about them secondhand. This follows with other Esvoldian languages having entirely dissimilar names for the tiaquin, such as Kuda's rehn-eo or Rolt's uchaait.
Tiaquin have smooth, stocky features, with their most angular body traits mostly being in their dorsal fins on the backs of their heads. Even these large fins normally curve back and are not completely angular. A tiaquin's dorsal fin allows for adept maneuverability in the water, especially keeping them stable even in rough currents, though some tiaquin may deliberately allow their fins to breach the water while swimming nearby others to non-verbally alert them to the tiaquin's presence. Other tiaquin may elect to leap from the water in a distinctive "skipping" motion, likened unto a rock skipping along the water's surface, in which case their long, split tails trail behind them. When in the water, tiaquin rely on their tails to make sharp turns as much as they rely on their webbed hands and feet to propel themselves forward.
A tiaquin's skin is smooth to the touch, bearing little to no bumps or any rough texture all across their body. Their skin is normally wet from natural secretions to keep their porous bodies hydrated, a process that intensifies when the air is especially dry. Tiaquin are consequently uncommon on land in regions of Ealdremen that are not humid, preferring instead to stay submerged as much as they can manage. Though tiaquin do have gills, they mostly breathe through their skin when submerged; tiaquin lungs are connected to their gills as well as their mouths, and the gills noticeably open and close when the tiaquin breathes or speaks much as their tongues move to manipulate the sounds. Because of this, a tiaquin on land can actually breathe in and speak at the same time.
As a water-dwelling race, tiaquin typically have light undersides, allowing them some degree of camouflage from prey or enemies that might look upwards, where the ocean's light only comes from the sun. This countershading typically begins on the tips of their tapered noses and goes all the way to the ends of their tails. Tiaquin that have a small set of fins on the sides of their heads typically also show countershading, where the bottoms of the fins are light and the tops are dark. Tiaquin bodies are usually grey, blue, or something in between, though some tiaquin whose generational ancestors lived closer to the shores may be black or brown, a likely adaptation for living among craggy reefs and submerged rocky outcroppings.
Communication is a distant prospect for most tiaquin; their societies tend to be a loose congregation of homes within a set mile radius where the individuals know of one another's existence. Boundary lines for societies are sometimes regarded simply where this distant recognition ends and the tiaquin are truly strangers to each other. They tend to not interact face-to-face, preferring other forms of communication, ranging from simply leaving behind impersonal signs or warnings to others in the area about impending danger to curt, long-distance communication like digital messages. It is usually rare for these isolated tiaquin to talk more than they have to, and they value their independence above all else. A tiaquin that must rely on others, by tiaquin beliefs, should be either injured beyond self-help or especially young. It is common for tiaquin children to live near the shores of civilization comprised of other races, where they can slowly wean themselves off of this dependence.
However, not every tiaquin becomes independent by tiaquin standards, and they instead choose to live most of their lives on land among others. A tiaquin's reasons for this shift in lifestyle can vary, but the most common idea among sea-dwelling tiaquin is that these "sea-forsaken" tiaquin were too social for their own good and became dependent on other people. In this dependency, they abandon what is natural and become subjected to others' rules and opinions. That said, the general attitude of most tiaquin is to not impose their own ways of life on other people, and though they regard the sea-forsaken tiaquin as somehow strange and will typically be scornful of any they might encounter, they do not go out of their way to try to "return" them, viewing it as their right to live however they wish. Sea-forsaken tiaquin may feel isolated from their own kind and try to adapt the mannerisms of the races they live among; some may even internalize the belief that they are somehow unusual and, if they have children, try to raise the child the "proper" tiaquin way rather than deliberately raising a sea-forsaken child.
Because injuries or other disasters can eventually threaten independence, tiaquin have a reputation for trying to solve problems as quickly as possible with no lingering contact afterwards. They demand instant solutions to long-term problems, where they may draw on a veritable treasure trove of valuables harvested over the years to hire a top-of-the-line specialist to fix whatever problem they are facing. Because tiaquin value their own ability to solve problems, they may often have an eclectic working knowledge of a variety of subjects and likely know exactly what they need done even if they cannot do it themselves. They save and hoard anything that might be useful later, from objects and money to knowledge and facts; their typically isolated and often humble lifestyles only allow them to stockpile all the more for the potential disasters that they are always prepared for.
Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
The powerful jaws of the tiaquin give them a Bite attack, dealing 1d6 damage under the normal rules for natural attacks.
Tiaquin are naturally gifted with a Blood Sense, allowing them to add their character level to Survival or Perception checks made to locate a creature that is bleeding or otherwise bloodily injured. In addition, once per day, the tiaquin can choose, as an immediate action after taking damage, to fly into a frenzy, giving them +2 Strength and +2 Constitution but -2 AC for 1d4+1 rounds.
As they are Aquatic, tiaquin have +2 Swim and can breathe underwater without the assistance of magic or other items; under normal circumstances, they do not have to make any checks to remain underwater to avoid suffocation. In addition, they gain a swim speed equal to their base land speed and can take 10 on Swim checks even while distracted or threatened.
From their Self-Sufficiency, tiaquin have +2 Survival and +2 to a Craft skill of their choosing.