The Nakani

January 16th, 2014

Joshua Zaback

Exotic Encounters Archive

          Today on Exotic Encounters, I’m going to treat you to a Northwest pastime that few people get to experience: the hunt for Big Foot. Yes, that’s right, this week’s Exotic Encounters will focus on the best-known monster from our region, the mighty and elusive bigfoot. Of course, who would want to just catch a bigfoot, when you could be a bigfoot; am I right? Of course I am! As a result, for the first time this year, Exotic Encounters will present to you a brand-new player race: the nakani.




                A nakani is a massive, ape-like humanoid of wild appearance and primitive culture. An elusive people, few civilized humanoids ever knowingly encounter a nakani, as most use their unusual powers to avoid contact with others. While most nakani live in small nomadic clans far away from civilization, a few are exiled from their clans for violent behavior. More often than not, the nakani encountered by other races are these outcasts, and this leaves most races with a slightly skewed view of these elusive creatures. Outcast nakani tend to be aggressively territorial predators, and often react violently to outsiders within their territory. Because of this, nakani have an undeserved reputation for being brutish killers.


                Physical Description: Nakani are tall and well-muscled humanoids covered in shaggy brown or black fur. Most stand between six-and-a-half to seven feet tall and weigh between 200 and 400 pounds, with most of their weight being devoted to lean muscles. Female nakani tend to be slightly smaller than their male counterparts, and their canine teeth are not as well developed. While their bodies are humanoid in appearance, with clearly defined and dexterous fingers and humanlike feet, nakani faces more closely resemble those of gorillas than humans. Under their fur, nakani typically have skin ranging between light brown to near black, and most have large dark eyes with a hauntingly deep quality. Nakani walk with a slouching lope which moves their massive bodies at surprising speed. Most nakani have deep voices and tend to growl a lot.


                Society: Nakani spurn civilization, staying far afield of the cities and empires of other races. Nakani are also strongly resistant to the idea of civilization even among their own kind. Instead, most nakani live in small isolated clans governed by a single leader, usually the largest, but sometimes the smartest, member of the clan. Each clan has its own laws, customs, and religion, which can vary wildly from clan to clan, though clans in the same region tend to have at least similar views. Clans are small and consist of only a few family groups united under a single, well-respected leader. These family groups consist of a mated pair and their children. Most often these familial groups integrate with each other almost exclusively until the clan grows too large to be personally managed by the clan leader. In these situations, two or more families leave the clan to found their own clan, often traveling great distances to do so. Even among clan groups, nakani tend to be isolationist creatures that take wide personal ranges and have less contact with other members of their clans than members of other races in similar societies.


                Relations: Nakani are xenophobic isolationists who quite literally go far out of their way to avoid contact with other civilized peoples. Nakani typically avoid contact with all other races, but they seem to be especially wary of humans, and go to somewhat greater lengths to avoid them than they do to avoid other races. Of the civilized peoples, only elves (particularly wood elves living in the wild reaches) have managed any form of peaceful contact with the nakani clans, though these meetings tend to be limited to peace treaties defining the borders of each party’s land and the penalties for trespassing. While nakani prefer to hide from and avoid those races that are generally considered civilized, they instead react very violently to savage races—orcs, goblins, trolls and similar creatures. Such creatures are viewed as too dangerous to the environment and to the nakani, and so nakani clans often wage guerilla wars against these creatures when they encounter them within their territory. Due to the incredible elusiveness of the nakani, even their enemies are often left wondering who they’re fighting.

                Individual nakani sometimes befriend other champions of the wilderness who show their respect, particularly hermits and shamans. This is the exception rather than the rule, however.


                Alignment and Religion: Most nakani are of neutral alignment, concerning themselves primarily with survival and being left alone. The alignments of individual nakani vary somewhat and the attitudes of clan leaders can greatly influence the alignment of those under their leadership. Outcast nakani tend to be chaotic in alignment, and most of these are chaotic neutral, driven by fierce territorial natures and a lack of leadership. A few are chaotic evil, either being wicked from the beginning or being driven to a hateful, and often vengeful, savagery.

                While the exact religious practices of the nakani people tend to differ from clan to clan, the nakani do share worship of a small pantheon of deities of their own heritage. The chief nakani deity is Sequilis, the river father, who was said to have given birth to the gods and to the nakani people in the ages before humans walked the earth. Other common religious practices include the worship of animal spirits or ancestors.


                Adventurers: Adventuring is far from a common profession for a nakani, with most using their extreme strength and natural talents to preserve their seclusion and look to their own affairs. A few nakani become warriors to defend their clan or battle threats to the wilderness. While these warriors rarely join bands of non-nakani adventurers, they often travel great distances and battle fearsome foes. A few nakani outcasts give up on moody wanderings to heed the adventurers’ call. Casting aside all traditions, these powerful guardians of nature take up arms and wander the world. Nakani adventurers are most often rangers or barbarians. Nakani with a magical inclination typically become druids and derive their power from nature. Nakani bards, rogues, and sorcerers are exceedingly rare, as their bodies and minds are ill-suited to these particular classes.


                Male Names: Akan, I’kao, Kano, Kanak, Makan, Mikao, Mokak, Nakao, Okano, O’kai.

                Female Names: Alino, Ailo, Imali, Lima, Loonai, Maolan, Mila, Naoli, Naolan, Nilao.


Standard Racial Traits

  • Ability Score Racial Traits: Nakani are immensely strong, but have awkward bodies and unpleasant dispositions. They gain +4 Strength, -2 Dexterity, and -2 Charisma.
  • Type: Nakani are humanoids with the nakani subtype
  • Size: Nakani are Medium creatures and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Base Speed: Nakani have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Languages: Nakani begin play speaking Common and Nakani. Nakani with a high Intelligence score can choose from the following: Aklo, Draconic, Giant, Gnoll, Goblin, Orc, and Sylvan. See the Linguistics skill for more information about these languages.


Feat and Skill Racial Traits

  • Elusive: Nakani are masters of hiding in the wilderness and receive a +8 racial bonus on all Stealth checks made in forests and mountains. Additionally, all nakani treat Stealth as a class skill.


Magical Racial Traits

  • Wild Illusion (Sp): Nakani possess a potent natural magic which they can use to disguise themselves to avoid notice. This allows them to cloak themselves in an illusion which causes them to appear as any animal of Medium size. This ability functions like the spell veil, except that it only affects the nakani and only allows him to replicate the shape of an animal. The caster level for this ability is equal to the nakani’s Hit Dice, and the saving throw DC to disbelieve the illusion is Wisdom-based. A nakani may use this ability once per day at 1st level, and an additional time per day at 5th level and every four levels thereafter.