Selkies for RMX/RMC/RM2

Copyright Brent Knorr © 2008

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"Selkies are a gentle folk who appear to be Grey Seals but have the ability to take human form by casting off their seal skins."


This article is an adaption of two earlier Guild Companion articles in which I described Selkies in the RMSS/RMFRP system (July 2003 issue) and in the HARP system (March 2005/June 2006 issues and Guild Adventurer Issue 2). This article provides the statistics for playing Selkies in Rolemaster Express (RMX), Rolemaster Classic (RMC) and Rolemaster Second Edition (RM2). The Natural Abilities are adapted from existing publications, page number references are given for the original abilities. Note, I have not included the drawbacks that normally go along with the Chrismatic and Increased Lung Capacity abilities when they are taken as Background Options as most Natural Abilities don't include drawbacks, but a Game Master may decide to include those drawbacks to offset the rather large number of Natural Abilities that Selkies receive.

Natural Abilities:

Charismatic: (RMC Character Law -- pg 64) -- Selkies posses a pair of enticing, sparkling eyes that provide them with a charismatic air. Add +15 bonus for all actions involving leadership or influence: e.g., public speaking, seduction, Charm spells, Hold spells, etc.

Increased Lung Capacity (RMC Character Law -- pg 64) Selkies tremendous lung capacity enables them to hold their breath for up to 5 minutes without damaging themselves, 10 minutes in seal form.

Resistant to Cold Water: (EA5 -- pg 11) Selkies are immune to the effects of hypothermia that can be caused by cold water, and they treat water whose temperature is below 0 degrees as if it were 60 degrees warmer than it actually is. Water whose temperature is between 0 and 70 degrees is treated as if it were 70 degrees. Exhaustion points for cold are expended at their normal rate.

Shapechanger - Selkies appear to be Gray Seals in most respects, but have the ability to cast off their seal skins and assume human form. Selkies require the seal skin to return to their seal shape, and if this is stolen or lost they become trapped in human form.

Selkies are a gentle folk who appear to be Grey Seals but have the ability to take human form by casting off their seal skins. They are also known as Silkies, Selchies, or Roanes.

Selkies prefer cold open waters for feeding, generally traveling alone or in small groups when looking for food. Their diet consists of fish, squid, octopus, and small crustaceans. They occasionally eat seabirds as well. In human form, they will eat most things that humans eat, but retain their preference for seafood and meat.

Selkies will often gather in larger groups on isolated shores to dance in the moonlight, or on sunny days may be found basking in the sun on outlying rocks, either in seal form or often in human form. If disturbed while in human form, they will quickly grab their seal skins and rush back to the safety of the sea.

Young Selkies, especially the males, often develop wanderlust, travelling great distances, exploring both the waters and nearby lands along the shores. During this time of wandering, male Selkies are very amorous and often make expeditions ashore to court human women, particularly those unsatisfied with their current relationships. Selkie males will seldom stay with these women, preferring to return to the sea and their travels fairly quickly.

It is said that should a women wish to have an encounter with a Selkie, she should make her way to a suitable rock along the shore, then at high tide, shed seven tears into the sea. A young Selkie male will come ashore shortly, removing his seal skin and approach the woman as a handsome young man.

Usually after three to five years of wandering, Selkies will settle down, often, but not always, returning to the waters were they were born.

Selkie women do not normally seek human lovers, but occasionally a human male will obtain the seal skin of a careless Selkie. The beautiful maiden is then trapped in human form and is forced to marry her captor and bear him children. Often the Selkie or her children will eventually find the hidden seal skin and she will return to the sea.

While Selkies may have an adventurous youth, they normally eventually settle down into a monogamous relationship with another Selkie. Young are usually conceived in a four to six week period in the spring when Selkies gather in larger groups ranging from a dozen to close to two hundred on isolated beaches and shores on clear spring nights, courting each other and celebrating reunions with friends. This leads up to the Midsummer's Eve festival when many marriages are formalized and many pups are conceived. Gestation lasts from ten months to a year, with most pups being born in early spring. Females usually give birth to a single pup at a time, but occasionally give birth to twins.

The offspring of Selkie and human unions are normal humans, but often have webbed hands and feet.

In seal form, Selkies resemble Grey Seals. The males are much larger than the females, often weighing up to three times as much.

In seal form, males range from 375 pounds up to 880 pounds. Females range from 220 pounds up to 572 pounds.

Selkies in human form will weigh roughly half of what they weigh in seal form. They usually appear slim and graceful when in human form, although older males will start to appear bulkier with thicker necks and shoulders and larger rounded noses. Selkies that spend a considerable amount of time in human form tend to stay near the lighter end of the scale; the Selkies that spend most of their time in seal form are the ones that reach the larger sizes.

In seal form, males can grow close to ten feet long although slightly over eight feet long is more typical. Females can reach a length of seven feet. Selkies in human form will be slightly more than three quarters as tall as they are long in seal form, averaging 6'0" for males and 5'4" for females.

In seal form, selkies vary in appearance from being whitish with black markings to being almost black with white specks and blotches. Generally the males are darker in color than the females. Actual coloration varies considerably; all shades of gray, brown, black and silver may be found.

Pups are born white with a yellowish tint. The eyes are usually large and dark in color and are the one feature that changes very little between seal form and human form.

In human form, young Selkies usually have very white unblemished skin, as they get older the skin color darkens, again, the females are generally lighter and the males darker. The skin usually remains unblemished although there may be some light freckling that is reminiscent of the speckles and blotches on the seal skin. Hair is usually dark in color.

In human form, selkies will adopt the clothing and styles of the population they are mingling with, although they tend to avoid wearing fur or skins, preferring to wear cloth garments.

In seal form Selkies do not wear clothing and seldom wear any sort of decoration. On rare occasions they will wear a favorite necklace.

Selkies have an average lifespan of 80 years although a few exceptional individuals have lived as long as 100 years.

Selkie Spell Users tend to be Mentalists as these spells can still be cast while in Seal form without penalties.

Game Masters with access to Rolemaster Companion IV may wish to allow Selkies access to the Houri Base lists Influences (pg 60) and Alluring Ways (pg 61). Alternately, Game Masters with access to the RMSS or RMFRP Mentalism Companion may wish to allow Selkies to take the Mentalism Training Package Spell List, "Houri's Beguilement" (page 151) as a Base Spell List.

Racial Stats
Stat Bonus Modifications Selkies
ST 0
QU +5
PR +10
IN 0
EM +5
CO +10
AG +5
SD −10
ME 0
RE 0
RR Modifications
Essence 0
Channeling 0
Mentalism 0
Poison 0
Disease 0
Soul Departure * 12
Stat Deterioration * 0
Recovery Multiplier 1x
# Starting Languages 3
Dice Type * D8
Base Hit Points ** 24
Hits per Rank of Body Dev ** 5
Max # Hits 120
* = RMX only
** = RMC only