The aventi are a race of aquatic humanoids very closely related to humans – in fact, they were human before their transformation at the hands of Aventernus, their god, who sought to preserve his people in the face of a terrible cataclysm. They live in kingdoms ruled by paladin-kings of their god and protected by elite fighters and paladins, including the Order of the Pearl, knights clad in shimmering pearlsteel.
Citizens of an ancient empire that sank beneath the ocean, the aventi adapted to their new home and now adventure both at sea and on land. A proud people who hold personal honor in high regard, the aventi can be found anywhere from the human-settled coasts to the deepest trenches of the ocean floor.
Aventi are little different from humans in appearance. Aventi usually stand from 5 feet to a little over 6 feet in height and weigh from 125 to 250 pounds, with men noticeably taller and heavier than women. Aventi coloration tends toward very pale, almost bluish skin to a lighter tan, with blue and green eyes and hair that ranges between a light brown to a very pale blonde. The calves and forearms of aventi feature small swimming fins that fold almost flat when the aventi leaves the water.
Aventi dress is very plain and sparse - most wear just enough to maintain their modesty, and some wear less than that. They are fond of pearls and soft metals that can be worked without heat, such as gold. Aventi, like humans, reach adulthood at about age 15 and rarely live more than a century.
Long ago in the misty dawn of humankind, the mighty island nation of Aventus ruled the waves. The patron of this nation was a god of the sea, and it was only by this god’s graces that the aventi exist today, for a terrible cataclysm befell that island nation. Some say that cataclysm was the working of a goddess who was the sea god’s rival, while others claim that it was the result of the nation’s own toying with terrible magics. Regardless of the cause, Aventus was laid low by the cataclysm and the island nation sank beneath the waves. Though the sea god wasn’t able to save the island, he transformed its people into the aventi, humans capable of breathing water.
Now aventi emerge from the sea only occasionally, for they are an insular people. In many cases, those who meet aventi do not know that they are dealing with a sea-dwelling creature, for the aventi do not look drastically different from humans and can easily pass for one in most cases. Those aventi who need to venture onto the surface world simply do so, engage in whatever trading they might need, and then go their way with few being any the wiser.
Aventi are a very devout people - they literally owe their existence to their patron sea god, after all. Aventi are also a very proud people, sometimes to the extent of being considered prickly about things such as their honor. They are not quick to take insult, but they are very particular about their own honorable behavior. They expect less out of other races, though are pleasantly surprised when one of the land folk matches their standards for honor, courtesy, and duty.
Aventi culture is very tradition-bound and ordered. This sense of tradition is expressed among the aventi as the Twelve Virtues: honor, loyalty, bravery, piety, civility, strength, perseverance, dedication, humility, obligation (specifically, to the family), respect, and peacefulness. Of course, these are ideals to which individual aventi strive, but the assumption of these virtues as being the norm colors everyday aventi life.