No one remembers when the Vedalken first appeared. According to the legends, the Vedalken were once creatures from within the dreams and oaths of the Horned King that were brought forth to aid with the Glass Expanse in the far north. Another popular legend says they were created from ancient secrets by the Silver King. Others say that the Vedalken were brought here from a world of endless seas and islands and found solace in the oceans of Liafa. While their origins are as fog as a morning’s sail, what’s clear is the Vedalken thrived in the presence of the Sorrow Trees. Vedalken have a history contributing to alchemical and arcane inventions, particularly within the realms of Moonworking.
Children of the Unknown
Historians can’t agree on when the vedalken first appeared on Liafa. There are records seeming to indicate they appeared at the same time as eladrin. Different records regard them as strange and new people, emerging centuries later. The matter is further complicated by the fact here is very little written distant history of the vedalken as a people. This is peculiar given that vedalken have an impressive history of written records. Vedalken are noted scribes, researchers, inventors, and arcanists. The fact that no records remain that give definite insight into their history is a glaring hole many acknowledge, yet none can seem to fill.
Vedalken stand between six and seven feet tall, and are slightly broader than eladrin or humans of similar height. Vedalken weigh around 250 pounds, on average. Vedalken tend towards very simple names, Leppo, Nadina, Martin, Hovvak, and Juno are all examples of common vedalken names. Family names are quite common, with the oldest children of the oldest children often bearing the names of the grandparents.
Some vedalken believe these records were taken by either the Horned King or the Silver King – either as payment or punishment – and that once the price has been paid, they may yet be returned. Those who are more devout suggest the Cobalt Queen holds the secrets closely, as a gift, rather than a punishment, or that the Pale Moon is protecting them, given the gods’ tie to the waters. There have been several vedalken who have sought these answers, with a large enclave of vedalken once existing in Shatterstone, leading to their integration and success working for the Archmage.
Many vedalken embrace this lack of history, claiming it makes the future all the more meaningful – giving the gift of history to those who come later. This way of thinking is easily embraced when the vedalken tradition of the Sojourn is considered.
When a vedalken is a young adult, they experience an irresistible calling to swim to the depths of the sea and commune with it. The vedalken feels compelled to do this alone, knowing that only in isolation will the sea speak to them. Those who answer this call and undergo this commune emerged changed, bearing either the gift of secrets or the gift of the depths. There is no stigma around when a vedalken receives this call, and it is typically viewed as a rite of passage, and receives support from the local communities.
The Sojourn is not without risks, even with the aquatic prowess they possess. The vedalken may feel called to a part of the sea with which they are unfamiliar. There may be a storm or it could be the dead of winter. The waters may be infested with sharks, stinging jellyfish, or poisonous plankton. The vedalken must overcome these tasks to venture into the depths. The tasks may have assistance, which has resulted in a thriving, if boutique, industry around the safe Sojourners for young vedalkens. The very wealthy, particularly within the Holy Queen’s Empire, partake of such services for their children.
The moment of commune is different for every vedalken, as well. Once they reach the place to which they are called, the vedalken experiences a moment of commune with the depths. Those few who have happened across a vedalken alone in the depths say not a moment after seeing the vedalken, they awakened as if from sleep and politely asked the person to leave. No vedalken recalls having experienced this. What they do recall is a different experience from any other vedalken. The stories range from conversations with an inky void to traveling to an elaborate island to having the water take an elemental shape and speak to them. However, no vedalken recalls what exactly they said or was said to them during this experience.
After completing the Sojourn, the vedalken emerges from the experience changed, knowing they received a gift meant for them.
Seekers of the Sunken City
Long ago, there was a great tidal wave that broke over the city of Snowheim. While the moonworkers of the city had protected the city against this eventuality, the Admirals of Snowheim sent forth the Captains to seek the source of the wave. There, in the frigid, perilous sea of the Glass Expanse, they saw a city they had never seen before sinking beneath the waves. This city, they claimed, looked as if it was carved from shining black pearls, almost glowing with a dark luster. The explorers found the city deserted, though filled with the treasures and possessions of those who once occupied it. The city sank beneath the waves slowly, descending deeper and deeper, attracting strange, powerful creatures from the Mists and beyond. Some of these creatures, according to the accounts of the captains that remain, occupied the city in full, seemingly unbothered by the fact it was sinking to the bottom of the sea.
The Admiral waged an assault on these intruders, seeking to leverage the alchemists and moonworkers of Snowheim to make the city habitable while a solution was found to raise the city to the surface – or at least provide a magical pathway to it. However, it is unknown whether or not this was ever achieved. Accounts of what happened after the Admiral declared an occupation of the Sunken City no longer exists. Vedalken who were alive during the events recall that it happened, but not the outcome. No one can remember if anyone died, went missing, was injured, or indeed even participated in this event. Most vedalken scholars attribute this to some precipitating event linked to the Censure, but even that is only educated speculation.
As such, many vedalken seek to rediscover the Sunken City and understand what happened. The Sunken City has entered a place of myth and lore in Snowheim and the surrounding areas, but most other regions don’t lend much credence to the story – believing it to be a morality tale more than anything else.
Liafan Vedalken Traits
Your liafan vedalken character has the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase
Your Intelligence score increases by 2
Vedalken are no longer or shorter lived than any other people of Liafa, coming of age in their teens or early twenties, and living roughly a century or so.
Liafan vedalken are given to the same impulses, challenges, and ways of thought and behavior inherent in all mortal creatures. Liafan vedalken are no more orderly, chaotic, goodly, evil, or self-centered than anyone else. In other words, all alignments are represented by all the people of Liafa.
The average Liafan Vedalken stands between six and seven feet tall, usually weighing around 250 pounds. Liafan Vedalken tend to have broad frames, taking up slightly more space than other non-Vedalken of similar height. Your size is medium.
Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
You gain proficiency in your choice of alchemist’s supplies, cartographer’s tools, cook’s utensils, herbalism kit, moonworker’s instruments, or navigator’s tools.
You also gain proficiency in your choice of arcana, history, medicine, religion, or survival.
Whenever you take the Help action to assist someone making an ability check using your selected tool or skill, the creature being helped may roll a 1d4 and add the result to their check.
Your eyes are accustomed to the dark depths of the Glass Expanse. While submerged in water or are on a craft fully on a body of water with tides, you can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Liafan vedalken have learned to quickly process and eschew certain states they deem to be harmful, provided they experience it first.
Whenever you fail a saving throw against the charmed, frightened, or poisoned conditions, if the effect allows a second saving throw, you may make these saving throws at the start of your turn and with advantage.
Child of the Sea
As an action, you focus on the call of the sea that resides within you. For an hour, you can breathe underwater and gain a swimming speed equal to your walking speed.
Once you have used this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
You can speak, read, and write Common and Sylvan.
Gift of Secrets Vedalken
Some vedalken discover a gift of secrets, whispered to them during their sojourn. This grants them knowledge and powers that they would not otherwise know. The vedalken are not agreed on where these secrets come from, but most agree they are most useful in their pursuits. Receiving the gift of secrets changes the vedalken. Phosphorescent silver symbols and lines appear on these vedalken when under moonlight, and even glow indoors during the times when the moon is full. These vedalken also tend towards brighter, more vibrant hues of physical features.
Gift of Secrets Vedalken Traits
Ability Score Increase
Your Charisma score increases by 1.
While submerged in water or on a body of water, you can use a bonus action to cast light on yourself, causing your symbols and lines to shed this light. Your choice of Intelligence or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell. Friendly creatures in this light have advantage on Constitution saving throws.
As an action, you may cause this light to leave you, and use it to cast faerie fire. Your choice of Intelligence or Charisma is your spellcasting ability for this spell. When you do this, the light spell and its benefits immediately ends.
Once you have used this trait, you may not do so again until you finish a long rest.
Secrets of the Seas
You gain proficiency in your choice of Deception or Sleight of Hand, and in your choice of Poisoner’s Kit and Thieves’ Tools.
As a bonus action, you can recall a secret of the seas, whispered to you during your sojourn. When you do, roll a 1d6 twice, repeating until you have two results from the table below. Choose between the two results.
- You or an ally you can see within 30 feet gain temporary hit points equal to your proficiency bonus
- You or an ally you can see within 30 feet increase your base walking speed by 10 until the start of your next turn
- You or an ally you can see within 30 feet have advantage on saving throws until the start of your next turn
- You or an ally you can see within 30 feet have advantage on attack rolls until the start of your next turn
- You or an ally you can see within 30 feet have advantage on ability checks until the start of your next turn
- You or an ally you can see within 30 feet gain resistance against all damage until the start of your next turn
Once you have recalled a secret of the seas, you cannot do so again until you finish a long rest.
You are more resilient against the weather of the north than most others. You have resistance against cold damage.
Gift of the Depths Vedalken
Some vedalken discover a gift of the depths, whispered to them during their sojourn. This grants them knowledge and powers of the Greater Deep, a place far beneath the waves and beyond the light of the sun. It is not expressly clear whether the Greater Deep is a real place, whether it refers to the seas or the Void, or indeed what lurks within its depths. However, none who receive this gift can deny the power it grants them. Receiving the gift of the depths changes the vedalken. During the new moon, or when enclosed in darkness, phosphorescent blue symbols and lines appear on their skin. Their skin grows much darker or much paler, they appear slightly more stretched, and their features are sharper, and more provide more stark contrasts than their kin.
Gift of the Depths Vedalken Traits
Ability Score Increase
Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
While submerged in water or on a body of water, you can use a bonus action to cast dancing lights, appearing as a glowing humanoid shape that resembles your own and extinguishing any light you shed from your lines and symbols for the duration. Additionally, you do not require components to cast dancing lights.
While maintaining concentration on the dancing lights cantrip from this trait, you have advantage deception, performance, and stealth ability checks, and you and creatures of your choice within 10 feet of you or your dancing lights creation have advantage on Dexterity saving throws.
Once you have used this trait, you may not do so again until you finish a long rest.
Secrets of the Deep
You gain proficiency in your choice of Performance or Stealth, and in your choice of any artisan tool or musical instrument.
As an action, you call forth a ghostly pillar from the Sunken City. This pillar appears in an unoccupied space within 30 feet of you that you can see.This pillar stands five feet tall, and is covered in strange, unfamiliar writing to any who look upon it – including those versed in all tongues. The pillar takes up no space, has no physical form, and cannot be harmed in any way.
At the start of your turn, make Constitution saving throws as if you were maintaining your Concentration. The DC equal 10, and increases by 5 every additional round. If you fail this saving throw, the pillar remains until the start of your next turn.
When you summon this pillar, you can choose the form it takes.
Pillar of the Abyss. Allies within 10 feet of this pillar deal an additional 1d6 bludgeoning damage with a successful attack, and have resistance to cold damage.
Pillar of the Void. Allies within 10 feet of this pillar deal an additional 1d6 psychic damage with a successful attack, and have resistance to psychic damage.
When you have used this trait, you may not do so again until you finish a long rest.
The extreme pressure of the oceanic depths, or perhaps the crushing void, does not seem to bother you in the slightest. You have resistance to bludgeoning damage and can withstand pressure underwater of any depth.
“Lake bled – island & castle” by Dries De Smet (BE) is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0