Kuo-toas are theocratic fishfolk who dwell in the deep seas and lakes of the Underdark. The clerics of Blibdoolpoolp, called whips, exercise iron control over the population. Second in status to the clerics are the monks, who are known as monitors.
Much of kuo-toan life and society focuses on religion. The church forms the center of every community, both physically and metaphysically. Each kuo-toa city is ruled by a Sunken Council - a group of nine high-level clerics who direct the citizens in their religious observances. Larger kuo-toa settlements usually have ornate churches that sponsor frequent celebrations in honor of their mad deity, whom they call the Sea Mother. A smaller enclave might have only a simple shrine and periodic visits from a low-level priest.
Kuo-toas spend much of their leisure time in the spawning pools. Young kuo-toa hatch in these sheltered pools and spend their first year of life there. Only after their amphibian qualities fully develop can they leave the pools to become full-fledged members of kuo-toan society.
Personality: Kuo-toas view everyone with suspicion; in fact, they often report real or alleged transgressions of even their own family members to the community cleric. Justice (or at least trial, sentencing, and punishment) follows swiftly.
Kuo-toas have a well-deserved reputation for dealing duplicitously with other races, though the drow are a notable exception to this rule. The typical kuo-toa has no scruples about betraying a trust if he feels that doing so is in his best interests and not apt to produce unwanted repercussions.
Physical Description: A kuo-toa sports fine scales of varying pigmentation. The color varies with his mood, ranging from dark red when he is angry to white when he is frightened. A kuo-toa's body is shaped like that of a short, pudgy human, but his slender arms and legs end in broad hands and distended feet that resemble flippers. The air around a kuo-toa carries a faint odor of rotting fish. This scent is natural but can be enhanced by piscine perfumes of kuo-toan manufacture.
Relations: The kuo-toas maintain friendly, relations with the drow. Sometime in the far past, after the conflict of Sorath-Nu-Sum, the kuo-toan clergy issued edicts naming all drow as honorary kuo-toas and welcoming them into kuo-toan settlements. The only portions of a kuo-toan settlement where drow are forbidden are the church and the spawning pools. The kuo-toas also tolerate the servants, slaves, and allies of the drow, giving them the same level of access as they do the dark elves. Exactly what prompted this expansive gesture remains a mystery, but many drow and kuo-toa communities have since established mutually beneficial trading practices, and mixed settlements are not unusual.
Kuo-toas and drow share a common hatred of the svirfneblin, and the two races frequently band together to hunt deep gnomes. Victorious raiding parties offer svirfneblin prisoners to the kuo-toan church for sacrifice.
Alignment: Upperworlders generally perceive kuo-toas as evil and loathsome, and this assessment is not an unfair representation of the Sea Mother's bloodthirsty clerics and monks. Common kuo-toas, however, generally lack the cruelty and zeal of the theocratic and noble classes. Such kuo-toas often follow neutral (and occasionally even good) philosophies, forming a nonvocal majority in most kuo-toan settlements. Because of the repressive theocracy under which they live, nonevil kuo-toas usually remain silent, lest their attitudes get them sacrificed to the Sea Mother.
Religion: Kuo-toa clergy are quick to root out and censure anyone or anything they perceive as a threat. Because of the swift and arbitrary punishments meted out by the whips, the average kuo-toa follows the rituals of Blibdoolpoolp and fulfills the expectations of the clergy, whether or not he feels especially pious.
The current edicts of the high priests state that Blibdoolpoolp demands frequent sacrifices, which must be drowned in special sacrificial pools. If the clergy feel especially benevolent, they use prisoners or slaves (often svirfneblin) to fulfill this requirement. If the clerics perceive their flock as less than fervent in devotion, however, each sacrifice includes one or more kuo-toa parishioners. Drow are never sacrificed to Blibdoolpoolp, and the servants and slaves of the drow are usually spared as well.
Language: Kuo-toas speak Kuo-Toan, Undercommon, and Aquan. Those who live in mixed communities with drow often speak Elven as well.
Names: Kuo-toan given names usually mimic rushing or dripping water in sound. Surnames are descriptive words or phrases, often religious in nature. Male: Drapood, Jopaarg, Oomkaan, Moolowik, Nilbool, Poolidib, Poolp, Prin, Pripp, Prirr, Rripp, Rropp, Urlurg, Vuoor. Female Names: Bibble, Bilpl, Bilpli, Blipool, Lill, Lilli, Phil, Pliili, Uustra. Surnames: Chosen, Devout, Goddessgifted, Goodhunter, Holy, Motherblessed, Seachild, Seakin, Undrowned.
Adventurers: Kuo-toan society provides ample reasons for any nonconformist kuo-toa to adopt the adventuring life and travel far away from the areas controlled by the Sea Mother's clergy. Unfortunately, kuo-toas typically face prejudice from every other race except drow. As a result, they often join mixed-race adventuring groups, hoping that the diversity will encourage acceptance. Adventuring kuo-toas often make pilgrimages back home on an annual basis to partake of the spawning pools.
Regions: Kuo-toas live in the upper and middle Underdark. Virtually all of them choose the kuo-toa region, though the few kuo-toas who venture to the surface are free to choose the regions in which they dwell.
Kuo-Toas Racial Traits
- +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, +4 Wisdom, -2 Charisma. Kuo-toas are strong, hardy, and wise, but they have a sinister reputation.
- Medium size. Kuo-toas have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- A Kuo-toa's base land speed is 20 feet. A kuo-toa also has a swim speed of 50 feet.
- Lightning Bolt (Su): Two or more kuo-toa clerics (whips) operating together can generate a stroke of lightning every 1d4 rounds. The whips must join hands to launch the bolt but need only remain within 30 feet of one another while it builds. The resulting lightning bolt deals 1d6 points of damage per whip, but a successful Reflex save halves this amount (DC 11 + highest Wisdom modifier among the participating whips + number of whips).
- Adhesive (Ex): A kuo-toa uses his own body oil and other materials to give his shield a finish almost like flypaper, capable of holding fast any creatures or items that touch it. Any creature that makes an unsuccessful melee attack against a kuo-toa must succeed on a Reflex save (DC 11 + kuo-toa's Con modifier), or the weapon sticks to the shield and is yanked out of its wielder's grip. A creature using a natural weapon is automatically grappled if it gets stuck. A kuo-tua requires one hour and special materials costing 20 gp to coat a shield with adhesive, but the secretion remains sticky for up to three days, or until it actually catches something or someone, whichever comes first. Successfully trapping a creature or item uses up the adhesive, so the shield can trap no further creatures or items until its coating is replenished. Pulling a stuck weapon or limb from a shield requires a DC 20 Strength check.
- Electricity Resistance 10 (Ex): Kuo-toas are naturally resistant to electricity.
- Immunities (Ex): A kuo-toa is immune to poison and paralysis.
- Keen Sight (Ex): A kuo-toa has excellent vision, thanks to his two independently focusing eyes. His eyesight is so keen that he can spot a moving object or creature even if it is invisible or ethereal. Only by remaining perfectly still can such objects or creatures avoid a kuo-toa's notice.
- Slippery (Ex): A kuo-toa secretes an oily film that makes him difficult to grapple or snare. Webs (magic or otherwise) don't affect kuo-toas, and they usually can wriggle free from most other forms of confinement.
- Light Blindness (Ex): Abrupt exposure to bright light (such as sunlight or a daylight spell) blinds a kuo-toa for 1 round. In addition, he takes a -1 circumstance penalty on all attack rolls, saves, and checks while operating in bright light.
- Amphibious (Ex): Kuo-toas can breathe both air and water without difficulty and are capable of surviving indefinitely in either environment.
- Natural Armor Bonus (Ex): A kuo-toa has a +6 natural armor bonus to Armor Class because of his scaly skin.
- Racial Bonuses: A kuo-toa has a +8 racial bonus on Escape Artist checks and a +4 racial bonus on Search and Spot checks.
- Weapon Familiarity: A kuo-toa may treat pincer staffs as martial weapons rather than exotic weapons.
- Racial Hit Dice: A kuo-toa character begins with two levels of monstrous humanoid, which provide 2d8 Hit Dice, a base attack bonus of +2, and base saving throw bonuses of Fort +0, Ref +3, and Will +3.
- Racial Skills: A kuo-toa's monstrous humanoid levels give him skill points equal to 5 x (2 + Int modifier). His class skills are Craft (any), Escape Artist, Knowledge (any), Listen, Move Silently, Search, and Spot.
- Racial Feats: A kuo-toa's monstrous humanoid levels give him one feat.
- Automatic Languages: Kuo-Toan, Undercommon, and Aquan. Bonus Languages: Common, Dwarven, Elven, and Serusan (or by character region).
- Favored Class: Rogue.
- Level Adjustment: +3. See Powerful Races