Vol. 113: The Tiki
Racial Character Class
At a glance: The Tiki are a humanoid race that live almost exclusively near sources of water, usually oceans. They wear masks all their lives.
Appearance and Lifestyle: Tiki look like humans with one notable exception, they wear masks. These are not normal mundane masks. They are magical masks intrinsically linked to their culture. Tiki normally have dark smooth skin, like the people from island nations on our Earth. Despite looking like humans, they claim that they are not. In fact, many Tiki cultures have legends saying that their people created the first humans out of water, spit, and mud.
Tiki spend most of their lives nude or nearly so. This is functional as they spend most of their days in or near the water. When associating with other races though they will don swimsuits or loin cloths. They are resistant to cold and heat but will wear animal skins if the temperature drops extremely low. They are fond of bright and colorful jewelry made of beads, stones, bones, and more. It is common for them to wear multiple necklaces, bracelets, and anklets at all times, even when they sleep. When meeting new friends, a Tiki will often give a piece of jewelry they are wearing to them.
Tiki prefer to live near or even on the water. Most live by oceans but they can also live by rivers, lakes, and swamps. They LOVE to live near volcanoes, specifically active ones. Tiki can however live away from the water and many that choose a life of adventure do so. Tiki’s who choose this life though will often constantly crave water and tend to get overly excited when seeing it in public. They are prone to jumping into public fountains or ponds when they come across them. They are not a super technologically advanced race, but their friendships with the Lizard people, Merfolk, Sliders and others has allowed them to keep up in a multiverse where space travel has become essential.
They usually live in beautiful stone cities with ornate and intricate stone roads throughout. They live in these communities with the ShaSha (write up coming soon), Merfolk and Blobkin most commonly, but also at times with Lizard People and Sliders who tend to live in wet places. (They are VERY drawn to the Blobkin. They love that many of them keep no true face and find that as a common bond between them. Blobkin are often hired by Tiki to take care of their children and more) But most significantly they live in symbiosis with an elemental race known as the Menehune.
Menehune: The Menehune are a shy race of small earth elementals that live alongside the Tiki. They appear as small stone humanoid-ish creatures. They stand 3’-4’ tall and are usually just as wide. They vary greatly in appearance, but outsiders often say they look like “small stout frog men” or “Tiny men with the face of a flat faced dog.”
They are slow moving and only speak in hoarse whispers. They are usually black, dark purple or blue, or dark grey. Some have a fleck or freckling pattern that runs over their bodies, and some even look like they are made of marble or granite.
Ancient races like the Trementians and the Elves do not usually consider the Tiki to be an old race, but their inexplicable connection to these pure earth elementals hints to them being much older than expected. Some legends call the Menehune the “Children of Lava” and say they came to the Tiki’s ancestors when all things were still new, and formed a bond with them for their love of the water and their fierce protection of the environment. Regardless of how or why, wherever you see the Tiki you will see the Menehune. They are companions, treated like beloved pets, and live as elemental servants to the Tiki. They love fruit and fish which makes up the entirety of their diet. They especially love bananas and coconuts which they go crazy for even though most eat them every day. They eat them skin, shell, and all, often in one or two bites with their oversized mouths.
When a Tiki enters puberty, they will receive their first Menehune. It will happen suddenly and without warning. They will simply wake up one day to a Menehune sleeping on the floor at the foot of their bed. This day is usually celebrated by the Tiki’s entire family and then annually. Most Tiki will only ever have one Menehune companion in their lives, but exceptional Tiki may gain more over time. (An additional Menehune arrives for Tiki reaching level 10 and then again at level 20)
Menehune assist their Tiki in all manner of work. They are tireless. They clean, cook, fish, tend crops, gather fruit, and even fish. But perhaps most amazingly they build the beautiful cities the Tiki live in. A single Menehune can create a small room in a day. A home in a week or two. Many Menehune working together can erect a large multistory building in similar time. Menehune can also walk on air allowing them to build high structures with ease. (As well as obtain high hanging fruit) They also walk on water so truly little is off limits to them.
Menehune must stay close to their Tiki (within 5 miles) or they crumble to dust. But this is not alarming and in fact happens often. Menehune are TERRIBLY slow moving. So, their Tiki often greatly out pace them. But if a Menehune crumbles, they will reform from dirt, sand, soil, or even dust near the Tiki once they stop moving for any length of time. Usually if a Tiki is in anyone place for more than 10 mins their Menehune will appear at their side. This also makes Tiki extremely hard to imprison for any length of time. If the Tiki is even around dust, over time their Menehune will form and help bust them out of captivity.
Menehune are not great fighters but will defend their Tiki as much as they can if they fall under attack. Some Tiki specialize in training their Menehune to be warriors. These Tiki are their own playable class. Likewise, some teach their Menehune to cast elemental magic. Menehune can only learn water and earth elemental magic, but at high levels they can be devastating.
Menehune are immune to poison and disease. They are also especially hardy and can take huge amounts of damage. Another specialty class teaches their Menehune to be Living Shields, absorbing, even reflecting damage back at those who would attack them. If a Menehune is destroyed it will not die but instead return to the Elemental Plane of Earth and come back to the Tiki in 1d4 weeks.
Tiki Masks: The most important and recognizable part of Tiki culture involves their masks. ALL Tike wear masks at ALL TIMES! This is not just decorative but functional. The only beings who can see a Tiki without their mask are other Tiki, Menehune, and the ShaSha. If anyone else sees a Tiki without their mask the Tiki will die!
A Tiki receives their first mask within hours after birth. When a baby is born a Tiki Witch doctor will come and magically bind a plain looking wooden mask to the baby’s face. They will wear this mask the rest of their lives.
The mask is a living part of their body. It will grow with the child, eventually gaining patterns and distinct features. Each Tiki’s mask is unique, but families generally share similar mask features. Tiki will also paint their masks with bright colors and vivid patterns, especially for celebrations, ceremonies, and other special occasions. Some Tiki specialize in mask decoration and are called Mask Masters, and they can imbue powers to themselves and other Tiki through the application of paints to them. Mask Masters can also imbue powers and abilities to Non-Tiki by painting them with face paint and body paint.
A Tiki’s mask cannot be removed by force without supernatural strength. And doing so will violently and painfully kill the Tiki. Tiki masks grow with the Tiki. Most will be 2’ long or more by time they reach adulthood. High level Tiki may have masks 4’ long or greater. The masks appear to be made of wood and they heal rapidly when damaged.
Powers & Abilities: Tiki, like most other races, have a wide range of powers and abilities. These powers usually run in families and are passed down from parent to child. But they do all share some abilities in common.
Tiki are resistant to heat and cold. Not quite supernaturally so but far more than a typical human. They do very well with heat, even able to handle objects that would burn a normal human.
Tiki are fantastic swimmers. One would think their masks would be a huge hinderance in the water but they are Magically Hydrophobic. This allows the Tiki to move through the water at speeds 3 to 4 times greater than a normal human. They can also hold their breath for 30 mins or longer. Tiki have excellent night vision but also see exceptionally well in dark water. This helps the Tiki greatly as they can dive very deep and are unaffected by great water pressure.
Tiki take ½ damage from any nonmagical attack that comes at then straight on. This is because they train from a young age to use their masks as a shield. Tiki are +1 to dexterity and are quite nimble, able to manipulate their bodies in fantastic ways to take attacks to the face. Some Tiki specialize in this further, growing much larger masks capable of absorbing magical attacks and even providing them with protection against psionics.
Around 50% of Tiki produce a ruby red sparkling saliva and tears. These can be used as a healing balm and they stop bleeding almost on contact. Its doubly effective on animals.
Other than this Tiki specialize in several other areas. Their Witch Doctors are powerful magic user specializing in curses and rituals. They can train in the use of elemental magic and are open to any of the 4 elemental classes. They are not known to be “normal” wizards or to use psionics in any great capacity. They make excellent fighters and are especially adept at the use of spears and blowguns.
They are considered by most to be the greatest surfers in the multiverse. They have recently discovered skateboards and love them. They often refer to skateboarding as “Land Surfing.”
Lastly it should be noted that the Tiki are the only race known to have discovered their own form of Traxt Magic. They place Traxts into oversized, elaborately decorated rattles. They then use these rattles to control the ocean! This Wave Magic is quite powerful and Tiki who master it can use it to control vast volumes of water on not only the ocean but any large body of water. They have also taken to wearing Traxts in their jewelry.
History: The Tiki’s history is not well kept, at least in book form. They pass their history down through elaborate and often exceptionally large wall carvings. They also take great pride in repeating their many legends and histories to their children. The problem is the Tiki often claim their legends as fact. This isn’t done maliciously, most probably really believe their legends are true. The problem is that many of the legends they claim as fact are either simply impossible or blatantly false. All of this has added up too many Multiverse Historians becoming very frustrated when trying to find out more about this fascinating people.
The best recollections come from the ancient races like the Swaft, Elves, and Trementains, but also from the Merfolk who have lived with the Tiki since times unremembered. These races tell of a race of humanoids living near the sea who covered their faces with ash when the multiverse was still new. In those days the Merfolk say they could look at their faces without killing them but they were incredibly shy. Even today Tiki do not make eye contact when they speak to another person. They will usually look to the side or away when speaking to others. Nevertheless, the Merfolk enjoyed being around this water loving people and they worked together with them and the Blobkin on many projects.
The Merfolk were known to travel to other worlds and even other universes early in the formation of the multiverse through the use of their magical Water Portals, and the Tiki and Blobkin would often accompany them. In this way they too spread throughout the multiverse.
Here, what little history there is of the Tiki seems to evaporate. It is said the Tiki as a people “disappeared” for a short time. The Tiki legends say at that time that a “Giant Cosmic Volcano” erupted in the Elemental Plane of Earth, and that it ripped into several universes across the multiverse causing great destruction. An interesting note here is that the Sliders have a similar legend in their ancient history but as a people they consider it to be a completely fictional event. The Tiki do not.
The legends say that the Tiki worked with the beings on the Earth Plane to quell the Cosmic Volcano across the multiverse. And after doing so they began to don masks to hide what they had become from such prolonged exposure to that elemental plane. To repay the Tiki the Elemental beings their gave the Tiki the Menehune, who would be forever bound to them as companions.
The history after this tells of the Tiki coming to live on the shores of many worlds. The Elves and Trementians called them, “Masks on the water” and had peaceful contact with them on their shores.
Whatever the case the Tiki are a delightful people with a fascinating and rich culture. Keep an eye out for them next time you are near the ocean. You may catch a glimpse of them and the friendly Menehune as they dive beneath the waves.
About the Illustrations: Today we have a lady looking for adventure and a couple of sketches of a Donkey and a Naga and some Magic Apples!
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