There are many races that live below the surface of the water. Some races, such as Merman, spend most of their lives below the surface, others such as Selkies, venture onto land, but are most comfortable in the water. These races live in small communities and in great cities, close to shore and at the bottom of the ocean.
In some ways, life is not so different for these submarine races as it is for folk who live on dry land. Aquatic societies must harvest and gather food, breed and raise families to perpetuate themselves. In the cities folk gather to scheme over power, wealth and knowledge. Nations form and sometimes dissolve. Civilizations go to war with other over territory, wealth and, sometimes, nothing more than pure hatred.
But on the other hand, it simply will not do to just transplant land-based culture templates and impose them on Aquatic societies. Aquatic races are different from land-based races in terms of their physiology, which in turn affects the skills that they practice during adolescence. It affects the races with which they frequently come in contact and the neighbors with whom they must learn to get along (and therefore the languages that they know as a matter of course). And the fact that they live immersed in water affects the clothing that they wear, the gear that they carry and the weapons that they use.
PREFERRED LOCATIONS: Aquatic cultures are found in the oceans and large lakes, wherever underwater races can find enough room to spread out. Most Aquatic communities take hold on the continental shelf, relatively close to a major land mass. But some civilizations live on the seabed in the deep ocean.
DEMEANOR: Aquatic cultures mirror their land-based counterparts in some of the ways in which they view their place in the world. Some Aquatic folk are content to live small settlements, harvesting underwater plants, hunting fish and gathering shellfish to feed themselves. Others build great cities and nations and fancy themselves conquerors as mighty as any land-based realm.
Aquatic folk are, as a general rule, suspicious of all land-based creatures and races. They feel more comfortable around other water-based races, and they feel this elemental bond even with their underwater enemies. This doesn’t mean that Aquatic races never associate with or accept help from land-based beings, but it does reflect the fact that almost all Aquatic races have great difficulty functioning in land-based environments.
For most Aquatic beings-even many of those that are truly amphibious- spending too much time out of the water is unnerving, if not fatal. As sailors fear death by drowning, Aquatic folk fear death on land.
CLOTHING & DECORATION: Aquatic folk scarcely bother with clothes, as land based beings know them. Most plant fibers, as well as all wool, furs and animal hides simply degrade too easily when constantly soaked in water (especially seawater). And besides, those garments become dead weight when saturated. Many Aquatic folk don’t bother with clothes at all. When they do, they dress in simple garments woven from seaweed fibers. Sometimes they are nothing more than loincloths worn out of modesty.
The wealthier Aquatic civilizations have just as much jeweled finery as their land-based counterparts, however, and do not hesitate to wear it as a demonstration of wealth and social status.
STARTING LANGUAGES: Racial Language (S 6/ W 5) Common (S 4/W 3)
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