W'Kell Species in A Strange New World | World Anvil


Use the basic stats for humans. Add the following edge: attractive (minor), and add the following hindrance: thin skin (minor). This is in addition to the standard penalties associated with being an obvious DeeBee. Their human proportions do enable them to pass for human with the proper disguise or concealment.   Secret Note: There may be a secret occult society of W'Kell whom have learned how to display false colors. Such a discipline would shock all of W'Kell society were it to be made known, and so if it exists it is kept a tight secret and passed down to only a chosen few.
Known across the lands as Rainbow People, these beautiful and peaceful conformists are incapable of dissimulation as their moods and emotions are displayed for all to see in their iridescent skin. This has also given them the slang moniker "Mood People."

Basic Information


The same size, shape and physiology as Earth humans, with the exception of their hair and pigmentation. Males typically do not get as muscular as human males since their history has had little warfare. They are omnivores, and they do have hunting; so there is still some amount of sexual dimorphism in bone density and muscle mass similar to humans, just not as much. Their skin is deep matte black, reflecting little to no light at all. The hair on their heads appears to be comprised of translucent crystal scales in bright red, orange, green, or blue giving them the appearance of a black-light glow painting. Rarely will W'Kell possess more than one color in their hair.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Insects and mushrooms are a favorite food of W'Kell. Their unique chitin polymers are essential for the bright irridescence W'Kell take such pride in. Fish scales also contain the same polymers and can be dried and powdered for ingestion. This powder is tasteless, however, and is only used as a dietary beauty supplement or included in body lotions to enhance their natural iridescence.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Because W'Kell are incapable of hiding their emotions and moods, they are simultaneously very understanding and sympathetic people and at the same time completely lacking in empathy based upon body language and speaking tone. They just never needed to develop the ability to read other people or pick up on facial cues the way humans have.
This phenomenon has had an interesting effect on W'Kell entertainment, specifically storytelling. Since acting is basically an unheard of profession among the W'kell, for obvious reasons; they have instead become adept at storytelling. Epic lyrical poems are popular and successful bards who can emote the feelings of the stories with their own colors are highly sought after. More talented storytellers can so engross their audience as to cause them all to share their colors at the same time, like an orchestra conductor playing the audience. But the most talented can emote different colors among difference audience members to play them off each other, adding even more drama and comedy than the poems themselves bring with them. These skills have been so developed and passed down among the W'Kell that you would be hard-pressed to find better storytellers anywhere.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Splugorth and their nefarious allies would eagerly try to find a use for W'Kell skin, hair and eyes. The mood-sympathetic properties of these materials could be valuable in the right markets.

Facial characteristics

Dear reader, you may not be aware that on your native Earth humans are a rare exception on your planet in that the sclera of your eyes is visible, white and unpigmented. Some believe this is coincident with your evolution as a social specias as the amount and shape of visible sclera is a major indicator of mood and intent and can be used to communicate non-verbally. Unlike humans, but like other Earth-native species, the sclera of a W'Kell eye carries the same pigments as the iris, and so their entire eyes appear to be black and iridescent, all colors and yet none at the same time. The stronger their emotions, the more their eyes settle into singular colors corresponding to the emotions felt. This color shift is consistent with the color shift of the skin (see below). Thus, the function of the white sclera of human society is performed by the eye pigment of the W'kell society.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Concentrated primarily in Tolkeen and the Colorado Barony of Hope, W'Kell can also be found in small numbers across Western North America. There may be some in the Federation of Magic or off adventuring somewhere.

Civilization and Culture

Beauty Ideals

The more iridescent their skin and the brighter their hair, the more attractive they are considered. Both male and female grow their hair as long as they can. Since they generally avoid violent combat-oriented occupations, they have no historical precedent for males to wear their hair short.

Courtship Ideals

A mate who can show off the brightest colors of love, as publicly as possible, is sure to steal any heart.

Relationship Ideals

Truthfulness is highly valued. They know they are less capable of discerning lies and dissimulation and so value honesty far more than most any other race.   W'Kell do not experience any embarrassment by having their emotions exposed. Anger, shame, love and hate are all all exposed and accepted without insult or offence. While W'kell might be shamed due to failure, they are not ashamed of being ashamed, their shame is not amplified by being publicly visible as would a human's.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

W'kell read, write and speak Gackle. Those who have been in North America long enough are capable of speaking American as well. Literacy in American is on par with the native populations.

Common Etiquette Rules

Since the palm of the hand is one of the locations on their bodies exhibiting the most pronounced coloring (along with the lips, ears, neck and shoulders) it is common for W'Kell to raise their palms to each other in greeting. This is so similar to the human act of waving that the two races immediately got off to a good start at first contact.

Common Dress Code

W'Kell will usually bare their shoulders when dressed for social occasions. This exposes their brightest iridescence.   Their hair is also usually kept behind their ears for the same reason.


The Rift that first brought the W'Kell to Earth remained open for over a month. At the time, the home technology of the W'Kell was on par with Earth's 19th Century. Several adventurous expeditions came through willingly. As is usually the case, their appearance was met with a cadre of curious shifters who attempted to learn the dimensional coordinates of the W'kell homeworld.   Since then, several intentional rifts have been attempted from Earth to their W'kell homeworld in which more W'kell came across to Earth or returned to their own planet. Subsequent immigrants to Earth consisted of the most hardy and adventurous souls, if not the most desperate.   The first visitors to Earth were quite accepting and open to establishing friendly relations. It is just in their nature to do so. However, their encounters with human supremacists from the Coalition States and 1st Apocalyptic Cavalry ended poorly; and their complete gullibility to deception, grift and betrayal left them even more desperate. The survivors ran to Tolkeen for shelter. Subsequent immigrants settled in the Colorado Barony of Hope.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

W'Kell find the varied hues of human skin to be exotic and appealing; showing special interest in sunburns, freckles and vitiligo. They also find the mystery of human emotions to be frustrating and difficult. W'kell's inability to dissimulate makes them famously insensitive, causing offense and insult regularly, without any ill intent, but sometimes with a certain amount of guilty pleasure (as shown by their emergent coloration of self-satisfaction).
The image above is a sample of some of the moods of the W'Kell.
Scientific Name
Prismapsyche Sapiens
Conservation Status
There are only a few thousand on Rifts Earth, concentrated in two primary communities, the largest in Tolkeen has over a thousand and there are over a thousand in the Colorado Barony of Hope, most in the city of Hope itself.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Matte black skin, with a fascinating rainbow iridescence that will change its colors based upon the person's mood and emotions. The stronger the emotion, the more intense the color of their iridescence. While all their skin displays this characteristic, it is most prominent on their lips, ears, neck, shoulders, the palms of their hands and along their spine.

W'kell hair is not hair as humans know it. It is more characteristic of scalelike crystals than filaments. It is singularly brilliant red, orange, green or blue and stays that way despite any moods or emotions felt. Rarely a yellow haired W'Kell will be encountered, and W'Kell will almost never have more than one color in their hair.  W'Kell eyelashes share the same color as the hair on their head. Their hair is so brilliant that, next to their black skin, gives the impression of gow-in-the-dark flourescence under UV lighting. It does not glow in the dark, though.   There are some theories that hair color is an indicator of a W'Kell's predisposition to certain moods, but it has not been shown if the expectation to see the correlation leads to it or if there is an actual correlation.  It is much like how Earth redheads are known for their short tempers, whether there is any evidence of greater predisposition or not.   W'Kell body hair consists of miniscule hairlets covering the epidermis and these are what cause the iridescence so unique to the species. These hairs are most dense on the shoulders, neck and ears, even exibiting some fern-like branching when viewed through a microscope, causing those areas to exhibit the brightest iridescence. Interestingly, the palms of the hands are actually coated in fine scales, causing them to also exhibit a strong iridescence. These scales also provide a bit of protection similar to the calluses typically seen on humanoids, but without the work needed to create them.   W'Kell anthropologists claim that the W'Kell species evolved from a scaled progenitor that in turn shared an evolutionary branch with feathered species, since there are reptiles and birds on their homeword that exhibit iridescent scales and feathers, respectively. Although some of these animals are able to change their iridescence when angered or as a mating display, none but the W'Kell themselves have such a wide range of colors tied so closely to their emotional state. W'kell anthropologists believe it is this breadth of expression that spurred their progenitors' social evolution and ultimately to intelligence and sapience. Why W'Kell hair does not change color seems to be their biggest mystery. The current theory of their hair color is that they were once separated into geographically disparate tribes, and this was either a means of identifying friend from foe or was due to environmental factors. This is not too dissimilar to how humans claim some of their own physical differences, such as skin, hair, and eye pigmentation, came from geographically disparate evolutions.
Moods of the W'Kell Rainbow People:
Mood Color
Distracted, normal, unemotional
Desire, Love, passion
Peaceful, content, safely secure
Happy, jovial, amused
Stern, serious, bordering on worried
Afraid, stressed, panicked
Anger, Hatred, Violent
The iridescence of their skin is capable of showing multiple shades and hues of the above moods. For example, if a W'Kell likes someone, but worried that their feelings are not returned, they may exhibit both a violet and an orange sheen. Likewise, a group of friends hanging around the fire on the holidays, laughing at tales of their past exploits may exhibit both a blue and green sheen.
Furthermore, the strength of the emotion determines the vibrancy of the color in both brightness and coverage. Also note that the moods encompass the entire range of hues, not just the discreet colors shown here. So as a W'Kell goes from serious to worried to afraid, for example, the hue of their sheen makes a gradual transition from yellow to orange.


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Jul 16, 2020 01:38 by Amy Winters-Voss

What a delightful species! This will bring great dynamics to games!

Author of the Liminal Chronicles urban fantasy series | Author Website