Kushtaka

Inspired by my love, Belle.

Introduction

The Kushtaka, or Otterfolk as the natives of Haven have come to call them, are a vicious lot. Found only on Yupic Island they claim to have traveled far on the ocean's many currents before reaching the island they now call home.
Well known for their hostility and xenophobia, the Kushtaka remain secluded on their island home and are willing to fight with tooth and claw to keep it that way. An exceptionally low number of Kushtaka can be found on the mainland in an attempt to avoid the Unfallen Whales that roam the Blacksea.
Hunt. Kill. Eat. Is that all these creatures know how to do? It would explain why they are so damn good at it. I would not even be surprised if they managed to hunt one of those whales everyone is so afraid of.

Description

Nearly six feet tall on average the Kushtaka is one of the tallest of two-legged Beastfolk. Their skin is covered in thick, oily fur that helps them keep warm and dry even during long swims. This dense fur comes in colors from a light tan to the more common white or gray. The same oil that stops water from reaching their underfur and skin also gives them a distinct advantage when trying to slip away from danger.
While they come across as gangly and plodding while traveling overland, the Kushtaka are graceful and expedient swimmers. Aided by massive lungs they can easily reach great depths before they are required to return to the surface for air.

Lockjaw

The lower jaws of the Kushtaka are strong enough to bite through bone, shells, and even weaker metals. They also possess a locking mechanism that triggers when they bite hard enough that makes it nearly impossible for them to become detached from what they have bitten. They use their Lockjaw extensively in and out of combat.

Muscular Tails

Every Kushtaka has a long, muscular tail that aids them on land and in the water. Used most often as a counter-balance, they sometimes can be used to help a Kushtaka remain attached to something while floating in the water. Their tail is not prehensile so they cannot use it to carry objects.

Uncommon Knowledge

Xenophobic Hunters

My eyes watch the sea so that my family may live upon the land.
The average Kushtaka spends most of their lives either hunting prey or defending their small borders. From a young age, Kushtaka pups are trained in the ways of the spear and the siksi, both weapons that function well in or out of water. This has lead them to be generally mistrusted by the rest of Haven, and rightfully so. Kushtaka are willing to eat the meat of any creature that is not their own and go so far as to claim that it is their right as children of Kushyip to hunt all creatures, large or small.

Family before Friend

To insult my brother is to insult Kushyip. Neither are acceptable if I wish to return to the Great Sea and hunt with my ancestors.
To a Kushtaka nothing is above family, even their own survival. Believing they all originated from a single mother, Kushyip, they see all Kushtaka as a singular family. Living in large, communal homes it is not uncommon to see several generations living under the same roof.

Industrious Predators

We left one alone alongside a river while we discussed what to do with it. When we returned it was armed and ready for us. That's how I lost my leg. And my fingers. And half my ear.
Though they know nothing of alloying steel or forging weapons on an anvil, the Kushtaka are clever and industrious tinkerers able to craft complex weapons and traps out of nearly anything. Their collective pride is in their unique siksi, strange crossbow-like weapons that fire hollow bolts that travel swiftly through water.

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General Information

Lifespan
60 to 65 years with the females often living longer than their male counterparts.
Average Height
Around 6 feet on average for both genders.
Average Weight
180 to 200 pounds with the males often weighing more than their female counterparts.

Armor on Land

Due to how slow they are on land, the Kushtaka have traded extensively for metal armor of any kind to better outfit their soldiers on land. Some Kushtaka have claimed they are strong enough swimmers to wear armor even underwater, but this claim has yet to be proven.

Gameplay Mechanics

Kushtaka

Ability Scores: Str +1, Dex +2
Size: Medium
Speed: 25ft., swim 40ft.
Size. Kushtaka average around 6 feet tall. Your size is Medium.
Swim Speed. You have a swimming speed of 40 feet.
Hold Breath. You can hold your breath for 30 minutes.

Kushtaka Combat Training

You have proficiency with the siksi, a unique ranged weapon.

Lockjaw

Your muscular jaw is a natural weapon, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier. If the target is a creature and you land a successful attack, you may use a bonus action to grapple the target (DC 8 + your Strength Modifier + Proficiency). Until this grapple ends, you cannot use your Lockjaw ability.

Nimble Swimmer

A lifetime of training has made you nearly unable to be captured while swimming. While in the water you have advtantage on Dexterity saving throws and cannot be grappled.

Dense Fur

Your dense fur allows you to withstand the cold temperatures of the sea, you have resistance to cold damage.

Languages

You can speak, read, and write Common and Yulpic, the native language of the Kushtaka.

Articles under Kushtaka



Cover image: by Damion Otter

Comments

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9 Dec, 2018 14:11

I really like them! The idea with the hollow bolts was unexpected this far into the article, but very good! Explains how they are such good water hunters. Do they also wear their armor while swimming? I'd imagine it would drag them down, or does it?
One little thing: "nearly most of their lives" is a bit redundant. '^^

10 Dec, 2018 05:06

As a big fan of otters, I like this. I like this tremendously. Particularly the thought that went into the prioritzation of family and the siksi. That said I have many overlapping questions:   1) Food: Specifically, you mentioned they eat any food that is not their own. The obvious question being, are there any known incidents, myths, or particular Kushtaka who engaged in cannibalism? Are they prone to keeping other, even sentient, species around as livestock and slaves?   2) Violence: Given their aquatic and primitive nature, do they remain isolated? Do they engage in piracy, raiding, or attacking/ capturing people who venture too closely to their lands? Is slavery a part of their culture, be it regularly or when the opportunity strikes?   3) Armor: given that metal is heavy and they prize metal armor highly, do they have a specific term for migration and the moving of such a heavy sinkable material? Say via raft or iceflow or their term for it. If the Kushtaka to range away from their home for raids or the like, do they bury caches of armament at the end of 'raiding season' only to return for them at their convenience/ next season?

10 Dec, 2018 05:15

1.) As my world is currently for players, I will likely be making a few pages of lore on them private until they find out. I will add you to the "GM Knowledge" subscriber group that will let you view them once I have written them. Cannibalism is going to be massively taboo, even more so than normal. Being that they regard everyone as family, it is a pretty rare occurrence.   I think I will have them be clam farmers. Otters holding shells are so damn cute.   2.) They are isolated currently by choice and by their environment. I need to add more on it, but the quote at the top refers to these "undead whales" that hunt around their island. This makes leaving the island very risky.  

Well known for their hostility and xenophobia, the Kushtaka remain secluded on their island home and are willing to fight with tooth and claw to keep it that way.
This was also meant to imply their strong dislike in neighbors or visitors.   3.) You have given me wonderful ideas from this question! I am going to make them have "stashes", similar to other rodents like squirrels, that they hide underwater. They protect the metals from rusting by using oils and fats.   4.) (You didn't ask 4, but whatever) You have also inspired me to make them to have been raiders in their past. That is how they originally survived so far from home, by taking from others by force. Sadly, these days they can no longer risk raiding.

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