Xalayiby T.A. Saunders ©2013 v1.0
Average Height: Around 6 feet and 2 inches tall for males and 5 feet and 6 inches for females.
Average Weight: 180 pounds for males and 110 pounds for females.
Features: Skin tone and hair ranges from sea blue, to pale green, to lavender and everything in between. Eyes can be any color. Albinos of this race exist.
Languages Spoken: Common, Xalayi, Asyndi.
Racial Age Limit: Roughly 800 to 850 years.
Racial Nicknames: Mermen/Mermaids, Fish, Scavengers, Collectors
Appearance : The Xalayi (pronounced zall-lay) are a very svelte people with thin bones and extremely light frames. This both makes them quite graceful and able to swim quickly through the water. Their skin tone and hair color ranges from light blues, to pale green and lavender and all colors with eyes ranging all colors of the visible spectrum. Their skeletal structure makes both male and female Xalayi slight in frame and though heavier set Xalayi exist, they never reach a point of total obesity. This frangibility is deceptive however as the honeycombed structure within their thin bones makes them exceptionally strong.
Kin to the Deep: Xalayi are equally comfortable breathing air and water, the latter of course being their primary environment. They are capable of infinite time underwater and can swim down to ocean floors exceeding pressure that would be painful to all other mortal races. This ability to resist deep sea pressure gives Xalayi a natural 65% immunity to stunning/dazing effects. This also allows Xalayi scouts to track underwater without penalty and grants them a measure of Dark-sight for 120 feet. (65% immunity to stun/daze, underwater tracking as a ranger, Dark-sight.)
Swiftness of the Currents: Xalayi swim at a rate 150% faster than other races. While the ability to swim fast doesn't grant them any statistical advantage, it does come in rather handy when having to swim great distances. To accomplish this, they must shift their lower extremities into a fish-like tail however, giving them the classic ‘merfolk look' of legends. This half-shift does not come at a cost and the Xalayi can opt to simply swim normally with humanoid feet.
Aquatic Shape-Shift: All Xalayi can shape-shift into a medium-sized aquatic creature, such as a shark or a dolphin three times per day for three hours. They can attack in this form, though the statistics will depend on GM discretion. (Shape-shift 3 times per day for 3 hours).
Gift of the Waves: When water elemental magic, Xalayi have a natural +25% spell hit due to their natural affinity for the element. (+25% spell hit for water element magic).
Warrior of the Depths: When using a spear, trident, harpoon or a harpoon gun, Xalayi gain a +15% to melee/range hit for those weapons. (+15% melee/range hit for spears/harpoons/harpoon guns and tridents).
Return to the Waves: While Xalayi are comfortable above water, it is not their natural environment. Every three days they are required to have at least three hours exposure to salt water or six hours exposure to fresh water to maintain their skin's pliability. Not doing so will result in a rather uncomfortable scaling of the skin that will incur an armor penalty of +25% until they do so. It should also be noted that taking burning damage is exceedingly bad for Xalayi, as it can hasten this effect considerably if on fire for more than one round. (+25% penalty to armor if not exposed to water, 2 rounds or more of burning damage will also incur this penalty).
Warrior (Berserker, Scythe-Witch), Mage (Fire Elementalist), Knight (Samurai)
Up until the Second Shar`Vaire Civil War of 1343 AC, the Xalayi people had been all but forgotten save by tales of seafarers who continued to swear to their existence. They would tell tales of the merfolk scavenging derelict craft and killing any wounded survivors they found. The Xalayi never engaged with other mortal races otherwise, content to remain below in the waves, not bothered and forgotten. However, with the coming and passing of the Shar`Vaire's second civil war, the sea became rife with wrecks both on the sea and falling from the sky, endangering their only true home, the ruins of the sunken city, Jas`Rasa. This surprised many land-dwellers, who would have at least expected the Xalayi to rebuild the Age of Twilight-era city. But as it happens they seemed to be pleased with it as it was, merely clearing out the dead, gathering what lore and trinkets were valuable to them and simply making their homes and lives around the ruins.
In reaching out to the other nations of Imarel, the Xalyaians have formal diplomatic ties with Farwind, Windsong, Irys and Vyss but no others. Especially valuable was the alliance with the Kingdom of Vyss, as it allowed many Xalayi the chance to travel to Ishaela through the Forgotten Portal. During the time of war, many Xalayi families relocated there and have formed colonies under the waves of its great sea. It is expected in a decade or so, a few Xalayi cities will begin to take form. While not great builders, they are quite effective as a people to find means to adapt to the environment, rather than making the environment adapt to them. This fits in with their scavenging philosophy, as they prefer to take what has been given rather than take what has not.
The Xalayi are ruled by a council of five elders that maintain their positions for life. There is one elder of war and four scholarly elders. It is the job of the fifth, military elder to break any indecision in policy with the other four scholarly elders. In times of defensive the military elder can also temporarily take control of the council to organize the men and women who can fight to defend their homes. Normally a peaceful people, save for their killing of severely wounded found amongst wrecks, the Xalayi have no standing army nor do they believe they require one. Despite having diplomatic ties now as a race, the Xalayi will not join any armed conflict as a nation, save to send medical supplies and healers if needed. Individual Xalayi however have, in recent years have chosen to join the heroes (and villains) of other mortal races.
Xalayi have polygamous families where the head of household is expected to have two mates. However the head of household could be a male or a female and the two mates can be either gender as well. Offspring born of these three parent families are all considered siblings, despite having potentially a different father or mother and all the children are cared for as a single family. Once of age (usually sixteen years of age), children must undergo the Onan, a rite of passage to prove to the elders that they are adults and have the right to marry and make children of their own. The Onan is often conducted with groups of children and often sends them out on a quest of some kind, set by the elders. Those who fail to complete this quest can try again the following year, though failing twice is considered more than a little embarrassing for both the Xalayi in question and their family. Once passed, the newly minted adult Xalayi is expected to leave their family ‘school' and begin scraping together their own dwelling and begin a school of their own.
The primary diet of Xalayi consists of the various sorts of seaweed, algae and other plant life found on the seafloor. Being primarily gatherers and scavengers, they usually don't eat fish or anything with meat, unless confronted with dire circumstances. When gathering food, they also take the time to gather whatever treasures or scrap have fallen from the world above to add to their homes or personal effects, as well as any discarded shells or crustacean carapaces they can find. Xalayi that have taken up adventuring on the surface have generally maintained their herbivore habits, though there are always exceptions to this rule.
Nobody is really sure where the Xalayi came from as a people, though the standing theory is amongst non-Xalayi scholars is that they are the descendants of the surviving High Asyndi that survived the destruction of the City of Jas`Rasa during the War of Twilight. These High Asyndi, for whatever reason are thought to have chosen to remain below the waves, rather than fight any longer, demoralized by such wholesale destruction. They used their great power over magic and altered their forms so they might survive infinitely under the sea. This would explain their propensity to simply scavenge and take things that fall from the world above rather than build anything, as to keep their presence low key. Xalayi themselves find this notion silly and simply believe they have always been and are the children of the Water Elemental Prince, Shuun.