Sisters of the Swan for D&D 5E

12 October, 2020

The Abbey on the Lake of White Lilies was famous for the honor and learning of its sisters and the beautiful swans that populated the lake. They were not warriors but healers, scholars and gardeners. When the Dragons launched their attack on the gods, all the sisters could do was pray.

Fly with meWhen the Empress visited the Abbey after the sundering, a fragment of a heaven had lodged in the lake and the lilies had changed to gold and the sisters and the swans had been melted together. The transformation was rough for some, wings for arms or exceeding long necks, others had been killed outright, their new bodies unsuitable for the world. The Empress used her magic to heal and reform them, making the form of woman and swan, separate but joined allowing them to switch between the two.

The Abbey on the Lake of Gold Lilies remains under Imperial jurisdiction and remains a center of learning. It exports fine lace, goose down and illuminated manuscripts.

Physical Description: The Sisters of the Swan are willowy and graceful with long necks and usually pale skin, pale hair is common as well but their eyes are dark. Every generation there has been a black or gold Sister hatched but they have been occurring more frequently. Their faces tend to be narrow with large eyes. They have long delicate fingers and long toes on their feet, with webbing between their toes.

Very rarely a Sister is born with feathers rather than hair, goose feet or other more visible reminders of the bond their share with the swan.

Relations: The Sisters of the Swan have no serious enemies, they keep to themselves and rely on their isolated location and the watchful eye of the Empress to keep them safe. They manage a small amount of trade but not so much that they are much noticed.

Their numbers are retained by magically induced pregnancies, the rare lover and the even rarer marriage to a man. Perhaps a third of the Sisters lay eggs containing their children.

Alignment and Religion: The Sisters of the Swan are very dutiful, working hard to support the Abbey. The goddess the abbey was originally built to honor has been long since forgotten and the Sisters follow the Way and offer good wishes, but not prayers, to the Empress. Occasionally their devotion to the Empress approaches worship, but it rarely crosses that line.

Lands of the Sisters of the Swan: The Sisters of the Swan are at home in the land surrounding the Lake of Gold Lilies rarely venturing beyond those confines except in times of great need.

Adventurers: The Sisters usually keep to themselves but occasionally one of the Sisters will feel and overwhelming need to travel and explore the world before returning to settle down in the Abbey.

Names: The Sisters are fond of virtue names such as Charity, Honor or Loyalty.

Your Sister of the Swan character has certain traits deriving from your ancestry.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 1, and your Charisma score increases by 2.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You cannot discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Age. The Sisters age as human though with a longer lifespan often living more than a century.

Alignment. The Sisters are communally organized and oriented, happy to work together for the good of all. The community seeks to allow each sister to find the task there are suited and that fulfils them.

Size. The Sisters are human shaped and sized, though tending toward a slender and tall build. Your size is Medium.

Languages. Sisters of the Swan speak the Imperial Tongue and their own Language derived from the language spoken in the Nunnery before the Sundering and now known simply as Swanspeech.

Animal Ancestry. Due to their unusual heritage, all Sisters of the Swan are affected by spells that target animals. However, they do receive advantage when resisting such spells.

Perfect Grace. The Sisters are graceful in all things, gaining advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) rolls, and Charisma (Perform) checks that are related to dance.

Swan Form. A Sister of the Swan may change to and from the form of a swan a number of times a day equal to half their level (minimum one) plus their Charisma modifier (if positive). Up to a light load (for their humanoid form) transforms with the Sisters of the Swan, any additional weight falling to the ground where they transformed. While transformed they are small sized, move 5/fly 30 (average), your AC equals 11 + your Dexterity modifier, beak 1d6 piercing, +2 Dex, and cannot speak or cast spells that require verbal component.

Notes: Part of my continuing project to bring all of the Beastkine into D&D5E rules. You can find the Pathfinder version here.

Image Aphrodite on a swan by the Pistoxenos Painter, from the British Museum, photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen, found on Wikimedia Commons and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.


  1. I like it. Very nice adaptation of the Swan Maiden myths.

    • Thank you. Playable shapechangers are always tricky but I am happy with how these worked out.

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