The World of Ebb
Riverfolk don't like to interact with outsiders, and even if they allow it, their language is quite difficult to understand. They have fused Common and Halfling into a pidgin that they use to ostracize outsiders.
Riverfolk are as tall as normal Halflings (around 3') and weigh a bit more (between 35 and 40 lbs). They are of similar strength as the rest of their Small brethren, but lack the added Con of the Gnomes or the added Dex of the leprechauns, goblins and halflings. In fact, they almost appear clumsy while walking around. It isn't until they are witnessed gliding through the water that it makes sense; their lack of speed and grace on land is the trade off for their agility in the water. Riverfolk are not fish; they do not breathe underwater with gills, but instead as an otter or a beaver. They can hold their breath for long periods of time, but must eventually come up for air. They breathe normally on land. Their hands and feet have partial webbing (1 knuckle further than on other people's hands), and they have considerably less hair than halflings on their heads, bodies, and especially their feet. Their clothing is minimal, usually a loincloth made of animal skin or woven plants. On their backs they frequently have torpedo-shaped baskets that close at the top. Riverfolk are mildly allergic to cotton and hemp, which is another reason for their lack of 'civilized' clothing.
Riverfolk avoid combat when possible. They tend to escape to their lodges in the rivers when danger presents itself. When escape is not an option, Riverfolk will use their tridents as spears, or attempt to grapple the attacker. Their favorite pastime is wrestling, and it can be an asset when attacked. If Riverfolk can grapple an attacker in the water, they can be quite deadly due to their ability to hold their breath for long periods of time underwater. They have no knowledge of military tactics or teamwork in combat; luckily, they seldom need it.
There is really no precedent for riverfolk in an adventuring role. They don't have most of the bonuses that normal Halflings enjoy, nor the magic of the Gnomes and Leprechauns. In a water-based adventure, however, Riverfolk rangers could be quite effective.
While halflings are generally friendly people, Riverfolk tend to be very standoffish and, at times, downright rude. They don't trust the 'dirties' (their term for land-walkers) and there is not much intelligent aquatic life in their lands. Unlike the aquatic Elves, they have not traveled far from their original territory, and many people outside of the two glens don't even know they exist. Riverfolk really have few favored races, and almost as few hated races (Goblinoids being the one exception).
Riverfolk are self-serving, but rarely actually Evil. They tend along the line from CN to LN.
Riverfolk tend to be Rangers, although plenty are Commoners. They occasionally have a Druid who serves as the religious authority for the Two Glens.
The Two Glens is home to most of the world's riverfolk. This small area in the NE of Manland is where two valleys run almost parallel until eventually converging. Both valleys boast rivers, which is the source of lodging, food, and life in general for the Riverfolk. They fish, collect edible water-plants, and live in structures similar to beaver dens. There is no trade, no industry, and very little formal leadership. Due to their small area, and the lack of new bloodlines, they have become somewhat inbred.
Riverfolk are not particularly religious, and those who are tend to worship deities of Nature; especially the god of water.
Common and Halfling are the 2 languages normally encountered around Riverfolk, but they have developed them into a pidgin. This makes them difficult to understand in either Common or Halfling. About half are illiterate. Due to their physical isolation and social intolerance, it is quite rare to actually meet an aquatic halfling that knows a different language. They consider it almost exotic to be able to speak Common and Halfling distinctly.
Family names are usually based off of various animals or plants native to their surroundings, and individual names are often Common or Halfling in origin. Examples include Alexander Mallard and Schiele Blackcurrant.
It is unknown if any Riverperson has ever left to go adventuring. If so, then it is not spoken of. The only acknowledged time that Riverfolk have left the Two Glens was a few centuries ago when soldiers of the Dark Lord swept in and captured about a dozen adults. Nothing more was ever heard, and life has gone on.
- −2 Strength: Riverfolk are physically weaker than humans.
- Humanoid (Halfling) (Aquatic): Riverfolk have common ancestry with the halflings, but have developed into marine mammals. Most of the Halfling traits are not applicable to Riverfolk. Their aquatic heritage gives them a +8 on swim checks (with the ability to take 10 if they wish) and the ability to use the run action when swimming in a straight line. They do not breathe underwater.
- Small: Riverfolk gain Size bonuses/penalties as follows: +1 AC, +1 attack, +4 Hide, and -4 grapple. They also use smaller weapons.
- Riverfolk base land speed is 20 feet: Riverfolk base swim speed is 20 feet.
- Hold Breath: Riverfolk can hold their breath for a number of rounds equal to four times their Con score before they risk drowning (compared to 2 times for most creatures).
- Underwater vision: Riverfolk can see twice as far as a Human underwater.
- Racial Skill Bonuses: Riverfolk receive +8 to Swim checks. They receive +2 to Move Silently and Survival checks. They take a -2 penalty to Diplomacy checks.
- Racial Feats: Endurance (enhancing their ability to remain underwater), Improved Grapple (negating the Size penalty), Self-Sufficient.
- Racial Proficiencies: All Riverfolk are proficient with the trident. They are not proficient with any armor except due to their Class.
- Automatic Languages: Common/Halfling pidgin (illiteracy is standard). Bonus Languages: Any non-secret, including proper Common and proper Halfling.
- Favored Class: Ranger.
- Level Adjustment: 0