Advice Needed - Deep One Hybrids

For my Barbarian Conqueror King setting I’d like to have characters (NPCs and PCs) to have Deep One blood, AKA the Insmouth Look. This is particularly common among the dispossessed nobility of Harat. The trouble I am having is balancing this, preferably as a Proficiency, but, if deemed to powerful for one, as a Racial Template.

The basic features I want are:

  1. This changes by age. Youth show no features of their Sea Blood; Adults are somewhat deformed (-1 to Reaction) but have a bonus to swim (may hold their breath longer and swim faster); Middle Aged are deformed (-2 to Reaction) and may hold their breath and swim as Lizardmen.
  2. At old age (age 56 for Human-Deep One hybrids), they transform into fully-fledged Deep Ones, and become Chaotic NPCs. This fits the fluff, but I’m not sure most players will want a character who on his or her 56th birthday “die” and become evil NPCs.

This should NOT be curable by any spell, even Wish!

What do you think?

Hey Golan,

I love the deep ones. Just sayin. Kuo-toa are some of my favorite monsters in Ad&d as well. Don’t know why but they’re a favorite.

I love the idea of it but at the moment I think the negatives outweigh the positives. You have a reaction modifier that worsens and a permanent, unalterable ‘remove from play’ button. Even if a player never gets there, having that looming over their character can be a big dissuading factor.

While the benefits might be worthwhile in a water-centric campaign, for the most part they are fringe benefits, particularly if you’re the only swimmer/water breather in the party.

To compensate, I might take a page from the Zaharans and give them a bonus to reactions when encountering Chaotic creatures. Their corruption would be obvious to such beings, particularly water-dwelling chaotic creatures. On friendly terms with an Aboleth? Awesome. Or maybe give them a bonus to hit humanoids using a trident and net, like the kinslaying proficiency.

A really cool idea!

Hmmm… Would that work as a proficiency, or as a racial template?

Also, I might consider allowing a “proper” deep one to be played even after the age of 56, similar to how you can play Chaotic undead.

How about “Into the sea” as a proficiency similar to after the flesh? They can opt at any time to embrace their nature for a big power boost under water, but a big penalty above water. If you think about out, you could balance it with a custom “dark soul” which requires them to save under some circumstances (when drowning, or when interacting with deep ones or something) or swap a proficiency/class power for part of that power boost (swimming custom power and a level of inhumanity, maybe)

I’m actually thinking about making this a race-class, similar to the Zaharan Ruinguard but separate from it (I also have Ruinguards - called Sakkaran Ruinguards - in my campaign). The character will still be playable as a “full” deep one, similar to an undead, and will get a Reaction and Morale bonus from chaotic creatures and characters, especially Deep Ones.

The partial transformation will come at early adulthood (i.e. before play), and the full transformation whenever the players wills it, ala undead. This grants the character immortality and a perfect amphibious nature (breathing underwater as well as on land and a fast Swim speed).

Unlike Sakkarans, they won’t be arcane spellcasters, but Divine ones - being imbued with the power of Dagon. Maybe with a delayed onset.