Shibaten, or duck-folk, are humanoids with the physical characteristics of ducks, much like tengu have the features of crows. They mostly live peaceful lives, but have fierce tempers and can be very competitive. Their tempers fade as quickly as they flare and only rarely get them into serious trouble.

Physical Description: Duck-folk are small, about 3'6, with duck-like feathered bodies, large beaked heads, over-sized eyes, and yellow or orange bird legs with finned feet. Shibaten are surprisingly strong and make excellent wrestlers and fighters despite their small size. Their compact, water-repellent body and finned feet make them excellent swimmers. Shibaten vary considerably in appearance. Plumage is normally white, but can be black, grey, speckled brown , or even bright colors like blue, green, red, orange, and purple. The head of colored drakes is sometimes of a contrasting color. Bright colored shibaten can be a motley of different colors. Plumage color is linked to personality traits. White shibaten are considered aggressive, black shibaten sly, brown and grey ones shy, and motley ones vain. Some shibaten differ from the norm, resembling fowl other than ducks. Shibaten have no visible sexual characteristics except for variances in plumage, but follow the sexual conventions of their neighbors regarding dress and manners. Shibaten of both genders leave their lower body bare to facilitate swimming.

Family: Shibaten live in small enclaves, usually close to or mixed with the dwellings of other folk. Their society is loud, intense, and seems violent to outsiders, though most of this is posturing — shibaten love to show off. Families are loose, often with temporary relationships. After a comparatively easy gestation period of about a month, hens lay clusters of eggs that need close to a year of incubation. Part of this time the adults lie on the eggs, but incubation chambers ranging from the back of a stove to elaborate alchemical contraptions are usually used. The ducklings are even more noisy than adults and considered a chore to raise; it is not unknown for egg clusters to be divided in a community or clan before they hatch. Shibaten eggs are color-coded by the gender and plumage of the duckling inside, and sometimes the drake takes responsibility for the male eggs and the hen for the female ones. Other times ducklings are raised communally or by a permanent couple, who need not be their biological parents or even shibaten. Various kind of fostering are common, and sometimes shibaten will even put their eggs in the nests of other egg-laying creatures or even monsters, considering this a feasible way to give the chick a shot at a monstrous bloodline.

Society: Shibaten tend to specialize in water-related occupations, as fisherducks, ferryducks, and laundryducks. Some create their own niches, such as seaweed farming or oyster diving. They also farm and forage in marshes and lakes and make great rice planters, forming bands of migrants to work paddies over a wide area — a very labor intensive part of rice farming where their work is much appreciated. Still others take to land-based occupations a human could do, especially in areas where land-dwellers are scarce or in cosmopolitan areas where races mingle. Some take to solo wandering and become itinerant craftsmen, mercenaries, or comedians. Yet others are unable to find contentment in any one role, and change professions regularly, trying first one thing and then another. Finally, some shibaten seek to avoid all kinds of work and schmooze off friends and neighbors and so form a class of expendable adventurers.

Relations: Shibaten are regarded as harmless troublemakers by most. While neighbors find them noisy, they are tolerated for their obvious joy-of-life, and their work in water-craft is useful. Shibaten get along decently with humans and well with grippli, kappa, tengu and half-orcs. Elves, half-elves, and halflings tend to shy away from their boisterousness, but accept them once they get to know them and realize they are not truly dangerous. Dwarfs often end up as enemies, answering to the duck-folk's aggressiveness with serious anger that won't blow over. Gnomes find duck-folk scary, and their styles of humor rarely mix, but when they do they can form amazing comedy duos, with the shibaten surprisingly often taking the straight-man role.

Alignment and Religion: Duck-folk are self-centered and boisterous and tend towards chaotic in their personal habits. But they are rarely anarchists — they like to have a stable society to fall back on. They can have any alignment, but act with a flair that makes them seem more chaotic than they are. Shibaten are drawn to boisterous, brave-faced gods much like themselves, patrons that see the value of a quick, short outburst. They rarely pay more than lip service to religion, and when they do they often misunderstand the creed and become oracles preaching a distinctly unusual or even heretical version of their patron's teachings.

Adventurers: More aggressive shibaten adventure to express their exuberance, while others are forced into a life of adventure because they ran out of welcome or have been kicked out of their homes by bigger or more organized creatures. They make surprisingly good warriors despite their small size, and many are barbarians, bloodragers, cavaliers, swashbucklers, or even paladins. A good number of them display magical powers, especially as oracles, sorcerers, or bards. Despite their size, they are too impatient and noisy to make truly good rogues, but can do well as con-men. See the section on favored class bonuses for shibaten attitudes to various classes.

Names: Shibaten tend to take on the names of the culture around them, choosing names that indicate bravery, quick thinking, loudness, or hint that they are waterfowl.

Male Names: Ahiru, Akio, Arata, Atsushi, Haruo, Hiro, Hiroki, Isamu, Katsu, Ken, Kichirou, Masa, Orochi, Ryuu, Sadao, Sho, Takayuki, Takeo, Takeshi, Tatsuya, Tsuyoshi, Yasuo.

Female Names: Ahiru, Akane, Asami, Aya, Ayano, Chiharu, Etsuko, Hitomi, Kameyo, Kasumi, Kei, Kohaku, Mari, Mayumi, Nana, Natsuko, Ren, Sango, Takara, Toshiko, Yoshie.

Standard Racial Characteristics
All shibaten share the following racial characteristics.

  • +2 Strength, +2 Charisma, -2 Wisdom: Shibaten are amazingly strong for their size, and very creative. Their energy is infectious, but they are overly focused on one thing at a time and not sensitive to their surroundings.
  • Type: Shibaten are humanoids with the tengu subtype.
  • Small: Shibaten are Small creatures and thus gain a +1 size bonus to their AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on their combat maneuver checks and to Combat Maneuver Defense, a +2 size bonus on Fly checks, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
  • Fast Speed: Shibaten have a base speed of 30 ft.
  • Paddle (Ex): Shibaten have a swim speed of 30 ft. They gain a +8 racial modifier on Swim checks and can always take 10 on Swim checks, even when in combat or under stress. A shibaten can swim on the surface without getting their gear wet and fight normally above the surface as long as they pass all Swim checks. Shibaten are not aquatic creatures, they cannot breathe water or hold their breath better than others and they suffer normal combat penalties underwater.
  • Can’t Shut Up: Despite their size, shibaten are not good at being stealthy. They tend to lose their temper at just the wrong moment, and suffer a -4 penalty on Stealth checks. This counteracts their size bonus to Stealth.
  • Natural Comedian: Shibaten have a +2 racial bonus to Perform (comedy) checks but suffer a -4 penalty on Perform (oratory, sing) checks.
  • Quackitude: Shibaten have a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks, and ignore Intimidate penalties for being smaller than those they intimidate.
  • Seed Finder: Shibaten have very good eyesight at close quarters and are able to quickly distinguish small details and color differences. They get Perception checks to spot nearby hidden things when they first come within 5 ft. of them, as if they spent a move action actively looking for such things. This includes concealed objects, traps, secret doors, and other hidden things that normally requires a move action to be spent on Perception. It does not include noticing creatures using Stealth or seeing through invisibility. This check should be made in secret by the GM.
  • Sumo Aficionado: Shibaten spend a lot of time wrestling and gain a +2 racial bonus on CMB to grapple foes and on CMD to resist grapples
  • Languages: Shibaten begin play speaking Common and Tengu. Shibaten with high intelligence scores can choose from the following: Aquan, Catfolk, Draconic, Gnoll, Grippli, Halfling, Sylvan, and Vanara.

See Also