Saturday, September 10, 2011

Berk Species Profile: Cuttlefolk

Image from victoriapeckham's Flickr
Visitors from the Sunken City, the Cuttlefolk are some of the quieter denizens of Berk. Good-natured and industrious, Cuttlefolk are welcome to sell the goods they salvage from their underwater home.

There is also a small but thriving population of Cuttlefolk who live in the partially submerged section of Berk to the west of Downtown. These Cuttlefolk interact daily with their "dry" neighbors to the east. Most Cuttlefolk work as craftspeople and merchants, but there are also Cuttlefolk entertainers, Librarians, explorers, and even guards.


The only part of most Cuttlefolk that people see are their faces, which look like Cuttlefish. The have complex eyes like Cuttlefish and instead of noses and mouths, they have stubby tentacles like cuttlefish. The shell of the cuttlefish forms the back of the head of Cuttlefolk. The rest of the Cuttlefolk are normally covered in a cloak. Their bodies are squat and rarely taller than five feet. Their hands, which are covered by gloves, have short, stumpy fingers that are surprisingly dexterous.

The cloaks that Cuttlefolk wear are a good way of telling where they are from. Cuttlefolk who live in the sunken parts of Berk wears cloaks of common Berk materials, including cotton, flannel, denim, and canvas. Cuttlefolk from the Sunken City have much more exotic cloaks made of an unknown material that shimmers and changes colors like a cuttlefish's body. The fabric is soft and light to the touch, but surprisingly strong. It sells for a high price, but the Cuttlefolk sell it only rarely, as it is expensive and difficult to make.

Cuttlefolk voices are soft and musical, rising and falling in tone in a soothing pattern. Russian Werewolves are especially fond of conversing with Cuttlefolk because a lot of the most lovely tones of Cuttlefolk's voices are outside the normal range of human hearing, but audible to Russian Werewolves.


Cuttlefolk are smaller than humans. Though they have heavier builds, they are not particularly strong or tough. Their keen minds are their main strength. Cuttlefolk are not fond of bragging, but they are among the most intelligent people of Berk. Their minds are highly analytic, "chambered" so that they can literally hold several thoughts at once. This allows Cuttlefolk to put a lot of thought into everything they do, as it only takes up a portion of their concentration. It also makes them terrible at small talk.

Cuttlefolk are not truly amphibious, even though they can spend time outside of water. They can naturally carry water around in a water-bladder by their gills, playing the water over their gills for half an hour at a stretch. Cuttlefolk who will be spending more time away from water wear artificial water circulation systems. These delicate silver devices extend over the Cuttlefolk's neck and gills and reach back into their cloak to the pumping mechanism and storage tank.

While visible mutations are rare among the Cuttlefolk of the Sunken City, those who live in Berk show much more frequent signs of mutation. Some speculate that the mutations are the reason the Cuttlefolk do not live with the rest of their kind in the Sunken City. If there is any stigma against mutants among the Cuttlefolk, they conceal it well, as the Cuttlefolk of the Sunken City get along fine with their Berk cousins. One mutation that is of particular interest to Librarians is the recent appearance of Cuttlefolk with rudimentary lungs. Whether this is a random fluke or the beginning of a more amphibious race of Cuttlefolk will not be clear for at least a few more generations.

Like cuttlefish, Cuttlefolk have blood that is a greenish blue.

Species Faction: Sepia Society

The Sepia Society is a group of artistic Berk Cuttlefolk who have taken their name from pigments made from cuttlefish (and Cuttlefolk) ink. Sepia Society Cuttlefolk are the only Cuttlefolk who do not wear cloaks. Instead, they dress in something akin to human fashion from a century before the First Event: males wear top hats, tail coats, waistcoats, and trousers, while ladies wear dresses and tiny hats, which they epoxy to their shells. Sepia Society members love accessorizing, and they are often seen with walking sticks, umbrellas, and complex silver monocles with many moving parts (which are favorites of both men and women).

Like other Cuttlefolk, Sepia Society members always keep their hands covered. Male members will wear riding gloves, while female members will wear either short gloves or long opera-style gloves that reach their elbows.

All members of the Sepia Society are artists of some sort, and many pursue several kinds of art. Photography and pencil sketching are among the most popular, though there are also painters (in black and white, as Cuttlefolk are colorblind), essayists, novelists and sculptors. No Cuttlefolk try any musical ventures for very long, as their lovely voices are already so musical that they have a hard time detecting when someone is singing and not just talking. Some Sepia Society members have tried their hand at poetry, though they were all terrible.

Sepia Society members make an effort to always be genteel. They speak in a lyrical version of Received Pronunciation and are fond of phrases like "I say!" and "Rather splendid!"

Cuttlefolk Adventurers

Most Cuttlefolk do not seek excitement and are content to live simple lives. Despite their advanced thought processes, or perhaps because of them, Cuttlefolk are not ambitious. They could dominate the economy of Berk if they so wished, but they choose not to.

The Cuttlefolk who become adventurers tend to be older, more mature individuals who have had most of a lifetime to amass wisdom and expertise and now wish to see more of the world. While most species believe that younger people are prone to wanderlust and a longing for adventure, among Cuttlefolk it usually takes until partway through middle age for an individual to start yearning to leave home and apply what he or she has learned.

Cuttlefolk adventurers exclusively favor Kenners, seeing solid projectile weapons as crude and inefficient. The Kenner designs that Cuttlefolk employ often have custom-made casings that resemble coral or anemones. Cuttlefolk are excellent shots thanks to their highly evolved eyes, while their quick minds allow them to calculate the best place to shoot a target in moments.

Some Cuttlefolk adventurers see all ranged weapons as too complex, and prefer melee weapons with short, strong blades, often made of ceramic. These Cuttlefolk learn to turn off their breathing machines to silence their movements just before moving in for the kill. They are almost exclusively Sunken City Cuttlefolk, and they take advantage of their color-shifting cloaks to blend into shadows and strike without warning.

If a member of the Sepia Society ever chooses to become an adventurer, he or she will always make sure to give his or her enemies fair warning and a sporting chance. The weapon of choice for such adventurers is a compact Kenner handgun, which they inevitably fire one-handed, often with the other hand tucked against the small of their back.


  1. But how do they taste?

    I would definitely play as a Cuttlefolk and I would certainly find the Dry Zone and appropriate all the tasty tea stored there.

    Edit: captcha word "subbing" seems appropriate.

  2. Tea goes great with stir-fried Cuttlefolk, or so I've heard...

  3. Is it bad I find the idea of a female cuttlefolk with a tiny hat and a bustled dress carrying a tiny Kenner kind of hot?

  4. I like big bustles and I cannot lie...