A Deeper Dive with Undersea Characters

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

We're on the cusp of releasing Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Sea, and I wanted to provide a glimpse beneath the surface at its contents. I think this product's existence isn't a huge surprise: a player focus on underwater adventuring naturally follows the recent Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Aquatic Adventures and the upcoming Ruins of Azlant adventure path (Pathfinder Adventure Path #125: Tower of the Drowned Dead takes place entirely underwater, with an exception I hope people find as awesome as it is unexpected). I also think this product's structure isn't a huge surprise: as with other Player Companion volumes such as Blood of the Beast and Blood of Shadows, you'll see PC races highlighted and expanded. What will surprise most people is how awesome and useful Blood of the Sea really is.

First, the book was penned by Amber Scott, a long-time contributor for Paizo who devotes as much attention to flavor as rules. Amber's text was a delight to develop. She took a close look at several aquatic races and added innumerable roleplaying touches; for example, the notoriously lawful tritons are often asked to serve as mediators by other aquatic races, many aquatic elves are incorrigible treasure-seekers, and quite a few locathahs like potatoes. She also provided cool race-specific mechanical options for each, including archetypes, feats, and gear. For example, merfolk are deeply connected to musical expression and therefore have new bardic masterpieces and the song-bound oracle curse.

In addition, Blood of the Sea provides racial trait lists for races that didn't have them—such as locathahs, sahuagin, tritons, and more. These traits span a wide range to suit many campaign types: locathahs and tritons have the same power level as existing PC races (10 RP and 11 RP, respectively), while other races are slightly more powerful but fit perfectly into an underwater campaign. Like an octopus-person? Yes!

Look at this stuff—isn't it neat?
Illustration by Kent Hamilton

Cecaelia Racial Traits (23 RP)

As cecaelias are unusual and powerful monstrous creatures, you should play one only with your GM's permission. Cecaelias normally have racial Hit Dice, skills, and other abilities. PC cecaelias, however, calculate these benefits based solely on their class. Note that these abilities are only an approximation of the cecaelia monster from Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 3 and may not match exactly. PC cecaelias have the following racial traits.

+2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, –2 Intelligence: Cecaelias are nimble and have a canny insight, but they tend to be flighty.

Monstrous Humanoid: Cecaelias are monstrous humanoids with the aquatic subtype.

Medium: Cecaelias are Medium creatures, and they have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Darkvision: Cecaelias have darkvision with a range of 60 feet.

Tentacle Sense (1 RP): While swimming and not grappled or grappling, a cecaelia can spread her tentacles wide to form a sensory net around herself as a swift action. This grants blindsight to a range of 10 feet and lasts as long as the cecaelia concentrates or until the cecaelia attacks with a tentacle or moves.

Natural Armor: Cecaelias have a +2 natural armor bonus.

Normal Speed: Cecaelias have no trouble moving about on land using their tentacles and have a base speed of 30 feet.

Swim Speed: Cecaelias have a swim speed of 40 feet.

Jet (1 RP): Cecaelias can swim 200 feet backward as a full-round action. A cecaelia must move in a straight line when jetting and does not provoke attacks of opportunity when she uses jet.

Tentacle Attacks (3 RP): Cecaelias have two tentacle attacks that deal 1d4 points of damage. These attacks are primary natural attacks and have a reach of 10 feet. This extended reach only applies to the cecaelia's tentacle attacks and not to any other attacks she makes.

Amphibious: Cecaelias are amphibious and can breathe both air and water.

Ink Cloud (3 RP): Once per hour as a standard action, a cecaelia can emit a 10-foot-radius sphere of ink while underwater. This ink cloud provides total concealment and persists for 1 minute.

Stable Tentacles (4 RP): Cecaelias cannot be tripped.

Languages: Cecaelias begin play speaking Aquan and Common. Cecaelias with a high Intelligence score can choose from the following: Aklo, Celestial, Draconic, Elven, Giant, Gnome, and Halfling.

Blood of the Sea isn't just about aquatic races; it's also extremely useful for land-bound races venturing beneath the waves. You'll find several archetypes, magic items, and spells useful for undersea exploration, such as the tempest tamer archetype (a druid that transforms into air or water elementals rather than animals or plants) and the suspend drowning spell. A useful magic item for PCs with little critters is the familiar bubble. Useful how? Take a look!

Did someone say there were sahuagin PCs down here?
Illustration by Alyssa Davis

Familiar Bubble Price 2,500 GP

Slot none; CL 3rd; Weight 1 lb.
Aura faint conjuration

A familiar bubble looks like nothing more than a pair of reinforced leather straps designed to fit over the shoulders—until it is worn. Once the straps are donned, a bubble of force forms on the wearer's back, large enough to hold a Tiny or smaller creature and 1 pound of items (usually food for the creature). The bubble is transparent and continuously generates fresh, breathable air within. While the bubble keeps air in and water out, it is permeable to other objects. Spells and weapons can target the creature in the familiar bubble normally.

As a standard action, the familiar bubble's user can designate a specific creature within 30 feet that can pass freely in and out of the bubble. All other living creatures find the bubble impenetrable. This selection remains until the wearer chooses a different creature or removes the familiar bubble (which causes the bubble to disappear). Normally, the user selects a creature in order to get it into the bubble and then selects himself so he can retrieve the creature, if needed.

Construction Requirements Cost 1,250 gp

Craft Wondrous Item, air bubbleUC

Blood of the Sea also discusses the roleplaying elements that can confront landwalker PCs, such as why aquatic disguises can be difficult to pull off and why Common is hard to speak underwater. It also discusses the most useful and relevant magic items and spells that already exist. I'll conclude with a personal story: in an adventure path I'm playing, our group needed to embark on a lengthy underwater excursion. While the other players scoured the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment to see how best to pull it off, I just consulted page 29 of Blood of the Sea and noted that cloaks of the manta ray were probably our cheapest effective option, and that we should carry back-up potions of water breathing as well. Useful advice! The journey went well, although my hobgoblin druid was slain by our party's oread monk who had been dominated by—whoops, spoilers. But any way you look at it, Blood of the Sea brings new depths to underwater adventuring!

Ron Lundeen
Contributing Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Alyssa Davis Kent Hamilton Pathfinder Player Companion

4 people marked this as a favorite.

These cecaelias look awesome. :) I hope Mikaze gets to see/play them.

Edit: I also hope that more products will break out the racial traits of the more powerful races like this.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Your AP adventure, Ron, sounds pretty much exactly like how my group handled the exact same situation - but we remembered the communal protection from evil too...


Very nice. I'm looking forward to picking this up.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:
Your AP adventure, Ron, sounds pretty much exactly like how my group handled the exact same situation - but we remembered the communal protection from evil too...

...which made for a rather anticlimactic fight against the [REDACTED], but hey, the PCs ended up buying victory, so whatev. You get to feel vindicated by superior planning.


Locathahs and Cecalelia? Sign me up.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I have always loved underwater adventures. I can't wait to get this.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I would love to see whole hardcover book of monsters as 0HD races.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The cecaelia art is very nice; will have to check out the other goodies, too!


I saw that obligatory Little Mermaid reference.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Little Mermaid reference?


Dragon78 wrote:
Little Mermaid reference?

The text beneath the illustration.


Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wouldn't you think I'm the girl
The girl who has everything?


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Didn't even notice the text beneath the illustration, nice:)

Liberty's Edge

Wow! How did I miss this?

This book looks pretty great - definitely going to be picking it up!

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