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Human Variant – Kanamit (for Pathfinder and D&D5)

5 November, 2014

To serveThe tall Kanamit are hairless and have a dusky lavender-grey skin, their heads have an enlarged  skull and their eyes are dark.  Once, they were servants and agents of the god of libraries and  knowledge but they survived the death of their divine patron.  Their numbers are not large, less than twenty thousand, but they are noticeable wherever they travel due to their towering height and distinctive appearance.

They primarily live on an isolated island dominated by the monastery-city of Kanam, the land is fertile and intensively farmed.  Great trees serve as hatcheries for silkworms that provide cloth for the Kanamit and their bark is turned into paper for the scribes of Kanam.  They export finished cloth, paper and books, primarily hand copied from the Great Library of Kanam.

The monastery-city of Kanam is overseen by the Sage, one of the Dragon Empress’ direct representatives, or, more usually, by a Governor appointed by the Sage.  The Kanamit organize themselves into guilds, including one of farmers, whose grand council in turn works with their dragon ruler.

Kanamit are found usually visiting the cities of the Sea of Stars selling silk and books, seeking rare working to add to their libraries and organizing the importation of food.  For with great size and great intellect, comes a great need for food.  An average Kanamit eats as much as three normal humans.

The Kanamit value the acquisition of knowledge above money, ever seeking to expand their library and their personal knowledge.

Kanamit Standard Traits (Pathfinder)

  • Ability Score  Traits: Kanamit characters gain a +2 racial bonus to Constitution and Intelligence but a -2 to their Dexterity, they are hardy and deep thinkers but their size makes them unwieldy.
  • Size: Kanamit are Medium creatures (only barely) and thus receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Base Speed: Humans have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Languages: Kanamit begin play speaking the Imperial Tongue. Kanamit with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic).

Feat and Skill Traits

  • Large Appetite: A Kanamit must eat as much as three normal people to keep sufficiently fed.
  • Scribe: All Kanamit are intensely trained to read and write, gaining Craft (scribe) as a class skill and a +2 racial bonus on such checks.
  • Strong Mind: Kanamit gain a +2 racial bonus on all Knowledge skills and a +1 racial bonus to Will saves against all mind-affecting abilities (raised to +2 against Confusion and Fear).
  • Wide Back: Kanamit are treated as have a Strength four point higher for determining their ability to carry and move items, their Strength is considered to be two higher when calculating their Combat Maneuver Bonus and Defense.

Offense Trait

  • Larger than Most: When using a non-light weapon sized for a Kanamit, their Strength is considered to be two points higher for the calculation of damage.

Kanamit Traits (D&D5)

  • Ability Score Increase.  Your Intelligence increases by 2 and Constitution by 1.
  • Scribe.  You start with proficiency with scribes tools.
  • Strong Mind.  You gain advantage on all Knowledge skills you have proficiency in and to resist Fear and Confusion.
  • Wide Back.  Your Strength is treated as being four points higher for calculating your ability to lift and carry.

Secrets of the Kanamit

  • They can interbreed with humans, as they are an offshoot of them, but it is rare for them to do so.  Children of such unions are usually more human than Kanamit.
  • The Kanamit practice ritual cannibalism of their dead (except for the brain which is cremated).  They know this disturbs outsiders, so they do not speak of it.
  • A hidden cult within the Kanamit still reveres their original creator and seek to resurrect them, building secret magics into the Great Library and hunting down ancient books of magic and divine rituals.

Notes: Photo from and physical description inspired by the Kanamit from the Twilight Zone story “To Serve Man.”  I had not realized that the Kanamit was played by the late, great Richard Kiel on one of his earliest roles.

These humans have been floating around in the back of crowd scenes since the earliest games set in the Sea of Stars but I had never gotten around to writing them up until now as a contribution to this month’s RPG Blog Carnival – Races.

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6 comments

  1. Interesting race and a nice visual inspiration, too.


    • I figured that you would appreciate them, Trey.


  2. Interesting choice of name, what with the ritual cannibalism. Kanamit sounds like the phrase for ‘So delicious!’ in Bisaya. 😀 Nice concept!


    • What an unlikely coincidence! Hope that you found them interesting.


  3. Very cool!



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