Sunday, July 21, 2019

Namazu

A heretical depiction of the God of Law separates the Noppinese Imperial Family from the teeming hordes of Namazu

"In High Shang we exchanged much of the beautiful paper money of Cathay for passage to the island nation of Noppin. [Molo digresses here, yet again, to describe the currency of Cathay. This description is the third such in the text and is once again completely contradictory to his earlier digressions. I have omitted it because scholars interested in such things are unlikely to look to a translated text.] Noppin is said to have been originally inhabited by a race of Froglings [sic] that were displaced by the arrival of humans. Despite the protestations of the locals, it is clear that the Noppinese inherited a great deal from these Froglings. Their style and manner of dress, when different from the Cathayans, is identical to that of these creatures, which the locals call Namzu [sic]. Indeed, even their High Pontiff is an exceptionally large member of this race. [Some scholars have translated the title as Emperor, but Molo clearly uses the same form he gives to Pontiff Molestius II, his contemporary] 

"The religion overseen by the High Pontiff of Noppin is also clearly influenced by whatever paganry the Namzu engaged in before their coming, as it is unlike that of Cathay or the Land of a Thousand Idols. Lawful monks from Cathay have brought their heretical from of the Law to Noppin and now the High Pontiff is head of a kind of hybrid Church. Due to the influence of the Law and perhaps in imitation of the First Emperor, the people of Noppin emphatically insist that their large namzu pontiff is a human, noting his 'mustache' instead of his whiskers, and his 'lovely' 'hydrated' skin instead of his oily hide

"The smaller Namzu are relegated to the fringes of Noppin, living in the cold north or in the forests of Kokushi. It was in the Suicide Forest of Kokushi that our expedition had a most strange encounter with them. A frogling merchant we had picked up in the Land of a Thousand Idols stated many times that he was very confused at our attempts to communicate with his Noppinese cousins.  He claimed they were merely catfish dressed up by the locals as a prank. When we were able to speak to them in a crude form of Cathayan dialect, the frogling still insisted that they were mute animals. The namzu, too, said that we must have dressed up the frogling as a joke and talked it to walk upright. They said that the frogling could not speak and only croaked.

"Locals accused the Namzu of a great many ills. They claimed they were mischievous, prone to larceny, and even known to cuckold fishermen.  This first accusation may explain our encounter, but we saw no evidence of the other two and the idea of a woman giving herself to such a creature beggars belief." - Excerpt from The Travels of Parco Molo, 5th Edition, Evan Van Elkins trans. and ed.

A Namazu in traditional dress.

Namazu are small, catfish who walk and talk in the manner of men and are native to the islands of Noppin. While superficially similar to Froglings, and in many ways occupying the same social niche, the two races do not recognize the each other's person-hood.

Namazu are said to be quite stealthy.

Ability Score Increase: Your Dexterity increases by 2 and your Charisma increases by 1.

Age: Namazu reach adulthood around age 20 but can live to be several centuries old.

Alignment: In the five-fold system of the World of Nightwick, Namazu are usually Neutral and are never Lawful or Chaotic. In the nine-fold system of other worlds they tend towards Chaotic and Good alignments.

Size: Namazu are usually no taller than 3 feet. Your size is small.

Speed: Your speed is 25ft for both walking and swimming.

Amphibious: You breathe both air and water.

Sensitive Whiskers: Namazu can feel the vibrations of the air and earth with their whiskers. You gain advantage on Dexterity Saves made to avoid pit traps, sudden collapses, unseen precipices, or any other effect that would cause the ground to suddenly not be beneath your feet.

Resilient: Namazu's bodies are compact and strangely pliant. You never take bludgeoning, thunder, or force damage on a successful saving throw even if the effect would normally deal half damage.

Small and Barely Noticed: Namazu are used to avoiding the Big People. You are not blocked by any creature that is a size or more larger than yourself, and you may always hide if only other large creatures are looking for you - even if you are not initially obscured.

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