Races of Altellus: Nymphidae for D&D 5e

Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus by John William Waterhouse

"Looking at one will cause permanent blindness unless the onlookers save versus magic. If the nymp is nude or disrobes, an onlooker will die unless a saving throw versus magic is successful." – Gary Gygax, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual

Beautiful, graceful, variable… Descended from spirits of sea and sky, stone and tree, nymphidae embody a host of contradictions.

Animism Ascendant
Though sages and scholars often use the term “nymph” to describe a specific form of pond- and spring-guarding fey largely renowned for blinding adventurers with the unutterable perfection of their naked bodies, “nymph” is more accurately used to describe a host of related nature spirits. Dryads and hamadryads are nymphs just as much as the more familiar watery nudists – as are the asteriae of the stars, the nephele of the clouds, the oreads of the mountains, auloniades of the valleys, anthousai of the woods, nereids of the seas, and cocytiae of the underworld. Over the centuries, the insatiable curiosity of adventurers has driven them to explore the secret havens of even the most rare and inaccessible nymphs, resulting in a variegated breed of demihumans barely united by a common ancestry. 

Similar in some ways to both elves and genasi, nymphidae differ from the former in being more closely connected to other races (particularly those that account for their mortal ancestry) and differ from the latter in being more specifically attuned to a particular natural aspect rather than a broad element. Like their distant cousins the satyridae, nymphidae may be descended from practically any humanoid stock, but the nymph traits show strongest; a goliath-born nymphid may display some of that race’s stature and sturdiness and a Halfling-descended nymphid may be powerfully short, but they will always be remarkable primarily for their shared beauty rather than their dissimilar traits. As with satyridae, while nymphs are uniformly female (at least on most worlds), nymphidae may be of any sex.

Long-Lived and Languorous 
Nymphs live for as long as the natural feature they inhabit or protect lasts; given that some nymphs embody stars and mountains, this makes them effectively immortal. Their descendants live far shorter lives, but still rival dwarves and elves.

To cope with the boredom of an eternity watching grass grow or rocks erode, most true nymphs spend the majority of their hours in a barely-sentient torpor, awakening to full consciousness only when summoned by others or when their sanctuary is threatened. Centuries might pass while a nymph sits unfeeling, unseeing beneath a waterfall. Nymphidae inherit some measure of this languor, entering a state similar to the elvish trance while they rest – but remaining just barely cognizant of their surroundings the entire time. It is very hard to take a nymphid by surprise, even when they appear to sleep.

Infinite Variety 
As noted, nymphs embody a host of different natural features, and their descendants reflect that diversity. Nymphidae have many subraces, outnumbering even the elves and genasi. Divorced of their ancestors’ bonds to a specific spring or tree or what have you, most nymphidae are happier to plunge into mortal society, taking on the cultural mores of the people that surround them.
Protector of the Forest by Sakimichan
Nymphid Names 
Second-, third-, and later generation nymphidae usually take their names from the humanoid society to which they belong. First-generation nymphidae are most often named by their mothers, based on the traditions of the fey.

Female Names: Aba, Aora, Brettia, Chania, Clonia, Cnossia, Danais, Dercetis, Echemia, Eunoe, Hegetoria, Hyllis, Mendeis, Menodice, Mideia, Nacole, Nomia, Ophelia, Paphia, Pareia, Rhene, Sabrina, Semestra, Syllis. 

Male Names: Achilles, Alcmaeon, Ascalphus, Aspledon, Channing, Chrysippus, Cinyras, Ergiscus, Eunostus, Hylas, Inopos, Lapithaon, Ochimus, Oileus, Phoroneus, Sicinus, Sithon, Xenodamus, Zeuxippus

Nymphid Traits
Nymphidae share certain traits as a result of their fey descent and connection to the natural world.
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 2.
Age. Nymphidae attain maturity in their early 20s and live for six centuries or more.
Alignment. The reserve needed to watch over their natural feature carries over from nymph mother to nymphid child; most nymphidae are neutral to some degree, not committing fully to law or chaos.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 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.
Size. Nymphidae range from under 5 to over 6 feet tall (depending on their forefather’s race) and have beautiful facial features. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Fey Ancestry. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill.
Languor. You never fully sleep, instead resting in a semiconscious state. While you must enter your languorous torpor for a full 8 hours a day, you have advantage on any Wisdom (Perception) checks against being surprised while in this state.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Sylvan and the language of your father (or the culture that raised you).
Subrace. True nymphs are bound to natural features as divergent as mountains and trees, stars nd the sea. The offspring of nymphs fall naturally into one of several subraces based on their nymph ancestor's sacred focus: celestial nymphidae, land nymphidae, plant nymphidae, sky nymphidae, underworld nymphidae, and water nymphidae. Choose one of these subraces. In some worlds, these subraces are divided still further (such as the divide between sea and spring water nymphidae in Altellus), so if you wish, you can choose a narrower subrace.

Celestial Nymphidae
Celestial nymphidae include the descendants of such nymph sisterhoods as the Hesperides, Hyades, and Pleiades. How, precisely, the heroes of old ascended to the stars to make love to their shepherdesses is an exercise for the imagination of sages; nonetheless, these nymphidae carry in their veins the light of the heavens.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Astrobius. You can breathe air and phlogiston.
Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write Celestial.
Made of Starlight. You can innately cast the light cantrip. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it.

Land Nymphidae
Land nymphidae include the descendants of such nymph sisterhoods as the Auloniades of the valleys, Leimakides of the pastures, and Oreads of the mountains. Their connection with the earth is strong, but results in them being less in touch with their non-nymph side.
Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write the Terran dialect of Primordial.
One with Stone. You can innately cast the stone shape spell once and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for it.

Plant Nymphidae
Plant nymphidae include the descendants of such nymph sisterhoods as the Anthousai of the flowers, Dryads, and Hamadryads. Some of the most common nymphidae, plant nymphidae integrate better with mortal cultures than their cousins.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write one extra language of your choice from the following list: Common, Elvish, Gnomish, Halfling.
Green Thumb. You can innately cast the druidcraft cantrip. When you reach 3rd level, you can cast the speak with plants spell once and regain the ability to do so after a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells. 

Sky Nymphidae 
Sky nymphidae include the descendants of such nymph sisterhoods as the Aurae of the breezes and Nephele of the clouds. They are often the result of liaisons with mountain-dwelling peoples.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write the Auran dialect of Primordial.
Wind Summoner. You can innately cast the gust of wind spell once, using Charisma as your spellcasting ability. You regain the ability to cast the spell after a short or long rest.

Underworld Nymphidae
Underworld nymphidae include the descendants of such nymph sisterhoods as Cocytiae of underground rivers and the Lampades who light the way in the underworld; while those two sororities seem to bear more resemblance to water and celestial nymphs than each other, they are united by the darkness in which they dwell. While the underworld in some crystal spheres may be a physical system of caverns and may be a metaphysical realm in others, the darkness unites them all.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write one of the following languages: Abyssal, Deep Speech, the duergar dialect of Dwarvish, the drow dialect of Elvish, the svirfneblin dialect of Gnomish, the black hobbit dialect of Halfling, Goblin, Infernal, Orc, Primordial, or Undercommon.
Superior Darkvision. You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it was bright light, and in darkness as if it was dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Water Nymphidae
Water nymphidae include the descendants of such geographically diverse nymph sisterhoods as the Crinaeae of fountains, Limnades of lakes, Oceanids of the oceans, and Potameides of the rivers. They are the second-most common subrace of nymphidae, falling only behind the plant nymphidae.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Speed. You have a swimming speed of 30 feet.
Amphibious. You can breathe air and water.
Extra Language. You can speak, read, and write the Aquan dialect of Primordial.

Nymph in Lab Coat with Glasses by Clay Mann

Nymphidae in Altellus
Nymphidae in Altellus hold the same cultural position elves do in many other worlds: exceptionally long-lived inheritors and guardians of ancient knowledge. However, since nymphidae (like satyridae and the other part-humans of Erigone) are the descendants of the human cultures that bred themselves out of existence, the ancient knowledge they guard is that of the Arkadian city-states and the Tiberian Republic. In defending this, the nymphidae of Altellus have made themselves the ruling elite of Erigone.

Greater honor is bestowed on those houses that claim descent from a nymph who was once the lover of a god or attended a god's retinue. This is as much a practical matter as a religious one; such nymphs had greater opportunity during the slow dying of humanity to gather worldly power. While some such nymphid households attempted to seize royal titles during this time, those dictatorships were crushed and the survivors abided by their proscribed roles in the various Senates. Those houses honored before others claim at worst titles such as "First Among Equals."


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