Locathah are amphibious fish-men, similar in appearance to Kuo Toa. Their first 5e appearance was in Ghosts of Saltmarsh, but they were introduced as a player character option in the supplemental adventure, Locathah Rising.
Locathah have been subjected to terrible mistreatment by creatures of other races, frequently including enslavement.
What We Know
There’s very little info on Locathah in published material and even less in 5e’s material. We know that Locathah are frequently enslaved by other races but very little else.
Even in 5e’s Locathah Rising supplement, there is virtually no information on Locathah society or history.
The Locathah in Locathah Rising are described as “quiet” and “resilient.” Their communities have borne the weight of immense suffering, but they have survived.
Over the course of the adventure, these characters come together to fend off a new disturbance near to their homes.
What We Can Speculate
Because official lore on Locathah is so sparse, there’s a ton of space to invent your own. We know that they’re aquatic, that they have a history of suffering and enslavement, and that they’re mostly good or neutral aligned.
A good starting point in understanding Locathah is in thinking about the shape of their communities and the niche they can fill.
D&D already has a playable race of sneering aquatic nobles and imperialists in the form of Tritons. Locathahs are also historically downtrodden, so it makes sense that their communities would be scrappier and more survival-focused.
Locathah probably have to actively defend their homes from the ocean’s various predators where those same predators know instinctively to steer clear of Triton cities.
Locathah communities cling to existence in the face of every danger the ocean has to offer.
Given their amphibious nature, many Locathah probably live in shallow waters near the shore.
The lives of ocean-dwelling Locathah are ruled by the cycle of the tides and the cycle of the seasons while many others might make their homes in larger rivers and lakes.
Locathah cultural festivals are likely to mark stormier or calmer seasons, to focus on lunar cycles that determine the tides, and to involve the whole community coming together as one.
The official artwork for Locathah depicts a Locathah petting a furry companion that appears to be a sea otter. It’s likely that Locathah keep a range of animals as pets, particularly those that live at the edges of seas and lakes.
This will likely vary depending on where they live and how much time they spend on land vs. in the water.
These pets might simply be companions, but they’re likely to also help out with tasks like hunting, gathering food, and scouting and guarding for potential threats.
Your locathah character has an assortment of inborn abilities, part and parcel of locathah nature.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2 and your Dexterity score increases by 1.
Age. Locathah mature to adulthood by the age of 10 but have been known to live up to 80 years.
Alignment. Most locathah are true neutral or have some aspect of neutrality in their alignment. They tend toward good, coming from a culture where compassion for the downtrodden is a commonality.
Natural Armor. You have tough, scaly skin. When you aren’t wearing armor, your AC is 12 + your Dexterity modifier.
You can use your natural armor to determine your AC if the armor you wear would leave you with a lower AC. A shield’s benefits apply as normal while you use your natural armor.
Observant & Athletic. You have proficiency in the Athletics and Perception skills.
Leviathan Will. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned, stunned, or put to sleep.
Limited Amphibiousness. You can breathe air and water, but you need to be submerged at least once every 4 hours to avoid suffocating.
Size. Locathah stand between 5 and 6 feet tall and average about 150 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet, and you have a swim speed of 30 feet.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Aquan and Common.
Locathah Rising, Page 24
Ability Score Increase
Locathah gain +2 strength and +1 dexterity. This combination is reasonable but not great – most martial characters benefit from focusing on either strength or dexterity rather than both.
That said, the optional Customizing Your Origin rules from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything allow you to put these bonuses in stats more appropriate to your class.
Natural armor means that if your armor would give you an AC lower than 12 plus your dexterity modifier, your AC is instead 12 plus your dexterity modifier.
This is very nice at lower levels – this gives you higher AC than the leather armor that most dexterity-focused characters start with.
Observant & Athletic
Observant & Athletic gives you proficiency in athletics and perception. These are two of the most frequently-used skills in 5e, making them particularly useful proficiencies.
Limited Amphibiousness & Swim Speed
Locathah’s Limited Amphibiousness and their swim speed are their most defining abilities and give them the ability to operate normally underwater.
Limited Amphibiousness is also the greatest downside of playing a Locathah though. If you have this ability, you cannot stray very far from water without suffocating.
This is fine in campaigns that take place largely near or in water, like the adventures in Ghosts of Saltmarsh, but it can cause major problems in other campaigns.
Overland travel may be much trickier with a Locathah in the party.
While you can include magic items in your game that nullify the negatives of Limited Amphibiousness, some players might see the ability’s downsides as fundamental to the experience of playing a Locathah, similarly to Drow Sunlight Sensitivity.
If you’re a DM, you should consider how this ability can change the shape of the campaign rather than immediately nullifying it for convenience. Be aware, though, that nullifying it for convenience is an option.
Locathah players whose characters have acquired items magical or mundane so they can move more freely inland can still roleplay preference for open waters and relief or joy at being able to return to them.
Roleplaying a Locathah
Locathah have tons of potential for great characters. Their amphibiousness gives them a strong niche in any party, and a Locathah can act as an underwater guide for their party of landlubbers.
The requirement for Locathah to return to water every four hours is also fantastic from a roleplay standpoint – regular rituals that your character must carry out always add a ton of roleplay value, and this one in particular has the potential to create moments of nail-biting tension or heroic sacrifice.
Locathah characters are particularly likely to stand up for those they see as downtrodden and particularly those who have been forced into servitude.
Where other characters might walk on by the world’s injustices, Locathah are likely to lend a compassionate hand, or sword, in service of the cause.
The lack of official lore on Locathah and their fringe position within most D&D worlds can also be a big roleplaying plus.
Depending on your DM, you may have a ton of freedom to create lore of your own and shape Locathah culture to fit the character you want to play.
Particularly in longer campaigns, having this degree of creative freedom with your character can be fantastic.
Unsurprisingly, there’s also not a ton of info on Locathah names in published material.
You may want to take inspiration from the names of D&D’s other aquatic creatures when creating Locathah names or focus on using guttural sounds evocative of the deep ocean.
Another option when naming your Locathah is to use a nickname that land-dwellers might have for you.
Other Locathah might not call you Flotsam or Plankton, but your character might respond to a whimsical nickname while on land.