Endless Blue – Week 16 – Kouton   6 comments

Biology

Kouton – Explorers of Ancient Seas and Forgotten Secrets

Far beyond the borders of the Periphery, the Kouton are off… searching.  Delving into the unknown, exploring waters deemed unsafe or inhospitable by the other races, they have broadened their perspective of Elqua far beyond that of the Known World cluster.  What was found out there, among the silent silt and the foreign coral, is something no Kouton seems willing to share.

Personality: Secretive by nature, Kouton are not a suspicious race.  Their lack of open dialog is due to their own belief that knowledge is power, that to understand something is to have dominion over it, and to share dominion is to lessen one’s self.  A Kouton would never volunteer information about himself; instead he would answer minimally any question posed to him.
Physical Description: Kouton have bulging eyes with nictating membranes that move independently of each other (and constantly at that, making it difficult for a Kouton to meet anyone’s gaze).  Their pug faces are flat, perched over a sagging neck enshrouding a mouth full of needle-like teeth beneath, leading to a reedy body with a paunch belly.  Their hands and fins are only partially webbed, to about the first knuckle of their elongated, triple-jointed digits.
Relations: Koutons find relations with other races poor, as their general tendency to hoard information makes them seem untrustworthy and selfish in the eyes of others.
Alignment: The diabolic Kouton are a neutral evil race.  They do not subscribe to the lofty notions of generosity or mercy, believing firmly that everyone gets what is coming to them.
Homeseas: The Bay of Kouton lies northward and to the west of the vast Cetacean Oceans.  They have used this fact to prevent direct dealings with most of the other pisceans, and instead have run raids around the edged of Orcan waters.
Religion: The Kouton are firmly entrenched in Pantheon worship, with special reverence given to the Source as the birth-mother of the gods.
Language: Koutonese is a strange, gurgling language punctuated with wet, bubbling noises from their loose lips.  It is the antithesis of cetacean whalesong, crude and cacophonous, like the gurgling of a clogged pipe.  Its written style is pictographic, with a large lexicon of symbols to draw from.  More complex ideas are expressed through the combination of characters around each other in the ordinal directions.
Names: Kouton use the sinospheric method of nomenclature, placing the surname first.  It is this name that non-familiar people are expected to call a Kouton.  This arrangement, though generally helpful in communicating with other races that tend to utilized first names more, is merely coincidental.
Surnames: Araki, Kimura, Inoue, Maeda
Male Names: Kisho, Natsu, Tsuke, Zakuro
Female Names: Firisu, Imari, Lumoi, Uriko
Adventurers: As adventurers, Kouton are typified as not able to operate fairly with other members of a party.  While they do not actively work against the group, they do withhold everything short of the most pertinent information when pooling forces.

Racial Traits
Ability Adjustments: None
Automatic Class Skills: Bluff, Gather Information, Sense Motive
Skill Bonuses: Kouton enjoy a +2 racial bonus on all Search, Spot, and Listen checks.
Bonus Hit Dice: None
Natural Armor: None
Natural Weapons: The bite of a Kouton causes 1d4 points of piercing damage from all the tiny sliver-sized incisors lining its gums.
Movement: Medium creature (1 cube tall), base speed 30 cubes.
Senses: Low Light Vision, Darkvision, Ultravision
Buoyancy: Shoals (adjustable)
Light Blindness (Ex): The highly sensitive eyes of a Kouton are aptly designed for life in darker waters.  Abrupt exposure to light such as the daylight spell inflicts a -1 circumstance penalty on all attack and damage rolls, saves, and checks for one round per level of the light producing spell.
Slippery (Ex): Constanly excreting from the skin of all Koutons is an oily film of sweat that makes grappling or ensaring them difficult.  Webs and netting, be they magic or mundane, do not affect Kouton, as they simply wriggle free.
Sticky (Ex): The oily sweat of a Kouton can be collected and mixed with other alchemical components to produce a sticky adhesive.  The Kouton use this mixture for masonry and other construction.  It can be added to a shield as an non-magical property at the time of item creation that will hold fast any weapon that makes an unsuccessful melee attack against the Kouton.  The attacker must make a successful Reflex check at DC 14 or have its unguis stick to the shield and yanked from his grasp.  Attackers using natural weapons are considered grappled if they fail this save. A Kouton can only produce enough oily sweat to maintain this ability on a single shield, and prevents them from using their Slippery ability for a day (when the character must choose to reapply the concoction).
Favored Class: Rogue is the favored class of the Kouton, especially when focused towards exploration and information gathering.
Social Flaw: Self Serving
Base Height: Male: 4′ 6” (+ 2d6 in.).
Female: 4′ 6″ (+ 2d6 in).
Base Weight: Male: 115 lbs. (+ height mod. x 2d4 lbs.)
Female 130 lbs. (+ height mod. x 2d6 lbs.)
Automatic Languages: Koutonese
Bonus Languages: Elquan, Locanthic, Sahaguin
Level Adjustment: None

Kouton have a marginal chameleonic ability to their skin.  While no where near the sophistication of the Ceph’s camouflage, a Kouton’s pigmentation reacts to the creature’s mood, flushing the skin with color dependent on emotional state.  Kouton need to make a Bluff check at DC 15 to stifle this reflex, and a second check at the same DC to produce a false flush.

While the other races were content with clustering around the Crèche of Civilization, the Kouton embraced exploration outside of the Known World.  Their  practice of exploration has given the race a reputation of harboring illicitly-gained secrets, and their cartography is beyond reproach in its accuracy and range.

There still exists a lot of poor regard toward the Kouton since the Kraken Occupation.  It is generally understood the frog-like pisceans colluded with occupiers, minimizing the devastation to their own race.  Whether this ill will was fairly earned has never been resolved conclusively, and understandably the Kouton themselves do no wish to dwell on it.

“Seeing forward, seeing back
Knowing secrets others lack
Telling no one, sharing none
Keep their mouth shut, every one.”

A childhood nursery rhyme

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