Atlanteans and Half-Atlanteans

Atlanteans are the people of the fabled lost city of Atlantis, an ancient civilization that sank beneath the Atlantic ocean. In comics and fantasy fiction, Atlanteans are almost universally water-breathers who possess ancient and powerful magic, but sometimes it’s an ancient form of technology. The specifics are flexible and the individual interpretations of the myth are many and varied.

Although individuals are as varied as any other member of a culture, Atlanteans are typically depicted as haughty and distant, thinking of themselves as superior to the “surface dwellers,” but they can just as easily be gentle and wise, looking to help humanity.

Type: Humanoid

Physical Description: Atlanteans resemble humans in most way, but their skin takes a blue and/or green tinge and they have visible gills under their chins and on their necks. They tend to have curly hair and always have epicanthic folds, although there is a great deal of ethnic variety among them and some features are more pronounced in individuals than others.

Size: Medium.

Height/Weight: Atlanteans are typically slightly taller than humans (add 4″ on average), and due to their dense physiology, are twice as heavy.

Speed: 30 (hustle), 60 (swim)

Ability Scores: Atlanteans are extremely tough and strong because they have to withstand the pressure of the ocean depths.

  • Strength +8
  • Constitution +8

Starting Occupation: Atlanteans can have basically the same range of occupations as humans, they just have the ancient-undersea-city version. Their Wealth is based on currency and objects of trade from their Atlantis, like precious stones and metals, so their Occupation’s Wealth Bonus is halved at character creation.

Telepathy: Base Power, limitation: Monoglot.

Atlanteans have no verbal language (although they do have a written one that is distantly related to Ancient Greek with a hint of Sumerian). In fact, they regard the practise of communication through vocalized noises to be very strange indeed. Most Atlanteans never train their telepathy past the equivalent of the base power, but some develop their minds enough to gain its enhancements. It’s about as common as someone working hard to develop singing skills.

Mute: Atlantean physiology is not capable of producing coherent speech. The vocal cords and diaphragm simply aren’t evolved to do it. They can make some noises when exposed to the air, glottal stops and hissing mostly, but by the time they’ve been in the air long enough to make those noises, they’re usually asphyxiating.

Aural Sensitivity: Atlantean ears have developed for the oceans, so in air environments their hearing is not just acute, but painfully sensitive. They do not receive a bonus to Listen checks. The surface world, even outside of a major city, is to them like playing static at a rock concert. Industrial ear protection (Purchase DC 4) is necessary for them to function outside of the water, and that works only because it blocks out all sound. The noise doesn’t do HPs of damage, but it is so intense that they are rendered helpless without ear protection.

Pressure Adaptation: Base Power.

Atlanteans live at the bottom of the ocean and are therefore immune not just to the crushing pressure of the depths but to decompression, “the bends,” as well.

Amphibious: Base Power

Atlanteans can draw oxygen from water. They cannot, however, breath air. They suffer all the consequences of asphyxiation when they are outside of a water environment.

Darkvision (Super Senses): Atlanteans can see to the length of their vision in total darkness. Living at the bottom of the sea means that they function in nearly total darkness most of the time, although they do have artificial light sources. Atlanteans see only in black and white, though. Colour variation is simply lost on them.

Light Sensitivity: Full, surface-world daylight is practically blinding to Atlanteans. Without custom-made eye protection (Purchase DC 5), they are effectively blind in any light brighter than a night with the moon out.

Skills: +10 Swim. Atlanteans are natural-born swimmers.

Languages: None. Not only are Atlantean vocal cords not capable of producing speech (they’re just not evolved for it), they also find human thought patterns to be so alien that they cannot communicate with them through telepathy. Atlanteans effectively have to learn human languages individually in order to learn how we arrange our thoughts.

Feats: Environmental Combat Speciality (ocean).

Level Adjustment: +4

CP Cost: 40CP

 

Half-Atlanteans

Occasionally, humans and Atlanteans have children who have some but not all of their ocean-dwelling parent’s physical characteristics. Some Half-Atlanteans are the product of a chance meeting between an Atlantean and a human, but there are also occasionally very small communities of them, usually living on coastal villages that happen to be along the travelling routes that exist, secretly, between Atlantis and the surface world.

Type: Humanoid.

Physical Description: Half-Atlanteans have some of their Atlantean parents’ colouring, which results in blue or greenish highlights in parts of the body that have little pigment (around the eyes and ears, on the palms, and of course the lips and tongue). This effect is more pronounced among light-skinned Half-Atlanteans than those with dark skin. Those of Central African descent, for example, will have some blue/green tinges but will be otherwise hard to distinguish from Humans, but those of Scandinavian descent will have pronounced blue/green patches because their skin is just that much lighter to begin with and, thus, it lets the Atlantean colouring show through.

Size: Medium.

Height and Weight: Half-Atlanteans are about the same height as humans but tend to be quite broad and muscled, so they’re heavier: on average, about 1.5 times a human.

Speed: 30 (hustle) 30 (swim)

Ability Scores: Half-Atlanteans have some of their Atlantean parent’s strength and robustness but they very rarely live deep underwater full-time, so they’re not forced to develop that strength.

  • Strength +4
  • Constitution +4

Starting Occupation: In theory, Half-Atlanteans have the full optional range of occupations, but they tend to live on the fringes of society because neither humans nor Atlanteans are very comfortable around them, so they also tend to take occupations that reflect that. They are rarely, for example, Celebrities or Entrepreneurs.

Telepathy: Base Power, limitation: Empathy.

If they are part of a Half-Atlantean community, they have a tendency to speak in less nuanced language because they are accustomed to feeling each other’s emotions while talking.

Speech: Half-Atlanteans are capable of speech, but only in relatively quiet, breathy voices. They cannot sing loudly or make vocal noises that are any louder than regular conversation. Their vocal cords are just not as developed as a human’s.

Aural Sensitivity: Half-Atlanteans receive Observe +2 on  (aural) checks because they’ve developed the ability to actually use sound as a sense, as opposed to their Atlantean parents, but they also take a -4 against all forms of sonic attack that target hearing. They are more easily deafened, for example, or distracted by noise in general.

Although not as sensitive as their Atlantean parents, Half-Atlanteans still find loud sounds very bothersome. They can function in the noise of the surface world, but they crave quiet as much as possible. Living in an urban centre would be extremely difficult for them, but if they take time every day to be in a totally quiet environment and wear commercially-available earplugs most of the time, they can manage.

Pressure Adaptation: Base Power

Half-Atlanteans can survive living at practically the bottom of the sea, but they find it about as physically unpleasant as living in a noisy, surface-world environment, so they rarely live down there full-time.

Amphibious (Aquatic): Base Power

Half-Atlanteans can draw oxygen directly from the water. They have their Atlantean parent’s gills, but they are less pronounced and could be covered by up a scarf or high collar.

Low-Light Vision (Super Senses): Enhancement.

Half-Atlanteans can see twice as far as humans in low-light conditions and can distinguish colour, though at a more muted intensity than a human can. They do not see subtle colour variation and blue/green colour blindness affects only about 50% of all Half-Atlanteans.

Visual Sensitivity: Like their aural sensitivity, Half-Atlanteans are not as bad off as their Atlantean parents. If they wear commercially-available sunglasses in the daytime, they can function without much trouble. At night, they can go without them.

Skills: Swim +5. Half-Atlanteans are not as good at swimming as their Atlantean parents, but they still have a real knack for it.

Languages: Half-Atlanteans have an intuitive sense of Atlantean thought patterns, and therefore can have complex, meaningful communication via telepathy with their undersea parents even though they have only an empathetic sense with humans. However, Atlanteans usually find Half-Atlantean thought communication to be clunky and simplistic. Their thoughts have a strong human “accent.”

Feats: Environmental Combat Speciality (ocean).

Level Adjustment: +3

CP Cost: 30CP

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