Moa Ruaki Adventurer, by Simon Giles
'E Koa! These land-folk are crazy.'
The first mate aboard Captain Ying Woo's ship Shadow Lark, Tara-Ki is a short and stocky Moa-Ruaki. At 5' 5" tall and almost as wide he appears pudgy and overweight but this belies his great strength. His skin is tawny and his hair, when he lets it down, is straight and black, and reaches to the small of his back. Normally, however, he wears it coiled on top of his head in a variety of styles held in place with wood and bone grips. He has green eyes and a snub nose, the septum pierced by a bone spike. An elaborate swirling tattoo covers the left side of his face. He commonly wears plain linen trousers in the Imperial style and goes bare on top. His concession to cold weather or formality is to put on a tough cotton vest. When aboard ship he goes barefoot but on land he wears strong rope-soled sandals to prevent himself becoming 'polluted' by the land. In a fight, he dons a leather jerkin but finds this distasteful.
Tara-Ki was once a member of the Kuado kamuda (one of the 'fleet-tribes' of the Moa-Ruaki sea nomads) but he speaks little of his past. About ten years ago he was found by the previous captain of the Shadow Lark floating alone in the middle of the sea on a piece of driftwood. The captain took Tara-Ki aboard, assuming (correctly) that a Moa-Ruaki would have valuable knowledge on board ship. Tara-Ki has served aboard the Shadow Lark ever since, staying on when Captain Ying won her.
He says little but he is not shy; rather, he prefers not to fill the air with pointless prattle. He fears nothing, as long as it is of the physical world. If spirits, outsiders or undead are involved, however, he becomes very cautious. Generally he prefers to avoid starting fights but shows no qualms once involved in one. He has a hardwood club that he likes to use but he prefers to use his bulk to knock opponents down or grapple them in a bear-hug. In defence he becomes an immovable object, in attack an unstoppable force.
Tara-Ki is knowledgable about all things nautical - ship repair, shipbuilding, weather at sea, types of aquatic plants and animals. He has a mental block, however, about anything on land. Although he could probably extrapolate from what he knows he assumes that the land is so alien that he will never comprehend it, and so doesn't try.
Unknown to all but Ying, Tara-Ki was once apprenticed to a rawuna, a Moa-Ruaki tribal shaman. This is the source of his knowledge about the flora and fauna of the sea and he also has knowledge of the spirit world but refuses to speak of, or use, that knowledge. As an apprentice, Tara-Ki was involved in a ritual to summon a wind to shift the becalmed kamuda. Unfortunately something went wrong and a terrible storm blew up instead. The fleet was smashed, scattered across the sea and Tara-Ki believes that he is the only survivor, and that he was responsible for the loss of his kamuda. This is why he fears spirits and his magical ability so much.
Tara-Ki, male human Clr1/Ftr2: CR 2; Medium Humanoid; AL N
Abilities Str 15 (+2), Dex 8 (-1), Con 14 (+2), Int 10 (+0), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 12 (+1).
Initiative -1; Speed 30 ft.
Armour Class 11 (-1 Dex, +2 leather) touch 9, flat-footed 9.
HD 1d6+2d10+6; hit points 20
BAB/Grp +2/+4; Improved Unarmed Strike
Melee Club +4 (1d6+2) or unarmed strike +4 (1d3+2)
SA Turn Undead 4/day; SQ Spontaneous cure spells.
SV Fort +7, Ref -1, Will +4
Skills: Climb +3, Craft (boatbuilding) +2, Knowledge (nature) +3, Knowledge (religion) +3, Profession (sailor) +4, Swim +5, Survival +4
Feats: Endurance, Improved Unarmed Strike, Tapu Spell (hide from undead), Tapu Spell (resistance)
Domains: Community - use calm emotions as spell-like ability 1/day. Weather - Survival is class skill.
Spells per day: 3/2+1
0th level (Save DC 11) - Create water, detect magic, purify food and drink.
1st level (Save DC 12) - Bless*, detect undead, shield of faith.
Languages: Low Imperial, Moa-Ruaki
Possessions: Hardwood club, leather jerkin, spare change
Tara-Ki was created for a play-by-e-mail game set around the voyages of the Shadow Lark, acting as the wise advisor of the group, bemused by the strange doings of the land-dwellers. He serves as an example of a moa-ruaki character and also of the uses of the Tapu Spell feat, detailed below.
Tapu Spell [General]
You possess the ability to cast a spell, even if you do not belong to spell-casting class. In order to maintain this ability you need to obey certain restrictions on your behaviour.
Benefit: You gain the ability to use one spell (from any list, but see below). The maximum spell level is half your character level, and it is cast at a caster level equal to your character level. You may activate this spell a numer of times per day equal to your Wisdom bonus, or 1/day, whichever is the greater. Activating the spell is a standard action that provokes an attack of oportunity, since it requires concentration. Each time you take this feat you must also select a taboo to obey in order to continue to use the spell. Failure to obey the taboo results in the loss of the ability to use the spell until such time as you make amends and an atonement spell is cast on you.
For 1st to 3rd level spells, a simple taboo is usually applied, for example a prohibition on eating a particular foodstuff, speaking at certain times of day or cutting hair, or a requirement ot make observances to the spirits or gods at certain times of the day.
For 4th to 6th level spells the taboos are harder to maintain, for example a prohibition on talking to any members of a certain race or culture, touching a dead body, telling a lie or using a certain material. Observances to the spirits or gods become more complex.
For 7th to 9th level spells the taboos are harder still - for example the caster may never speak (verbal spell components are usually exempt from this), may never set foot on land or may never refuse a call for aid.
The GM and players may come up with taboos between them, based on these examples.
This feat is commonly used amongst Moa-Ruaki, where the tribal rawuna gifts members of the fleet-tribe with special powers, typically protective in nature. The recipient is often tattooed or scarred, or wears some symbol of the power that they hold. Tara-Ki's facial tattoo is a symbol of his hide from undead tapu spell and his nose-bone a symbol of his resistance tapu spell. These are only representations and a targeted dispel magic aimed at them would have no effect. His associated taboos are to always apply proper funeral rights to any dead, and to never cut his hair, respectively. Other cultures may use variants on this feat.
(c) 2007 The Creative Conclave.