Dohwar, penguin folk
The dohwar are short, pudgy, flightless avians bearing a passing resemblance to penguins. The dohwar has two wings that are useless for flight but have limited prehensile action, allowing it to grasp objects.
Though the dohwar speak common and their own tongue, they rely heavily on telepathic powers for communication among themselves. In fact, dohwar have pairings called "mergers", wherein two dohwar stay in mental rapport, even to the point of finishing each other's sentences. This drives other races crazy.
Society of Traders
Dohwar society is an oligarchy ruled by several trading houses and cartels. They are shameless and sly merchants, always looking for an opportunity to turn a profit. Dohwar pass on fortunes as heritage, but they do not believe, and find ludicrous, any form of castes and birthrights other people believe in. For the dohwar a succesful trader or artisan that can turn a profit can raise ranks in their society, and eventually become managers, perhaps gain a seat as a board member, or start their own cartel and become an executive president.
The dohwar society is peculiarly religious. They worship powers associated with commerce, profits and wealth. However the power's race or alignment is unimportant. Though they love money, the dohwar are especially generous with religious contributions. Seeing such tithes as "investments", with the powers in return for divine advantage in future bargaining sessions.
Dohwar eat fish, vegetables, and plankton. They are fond of strong drink, and alcohol does not intoxicate them. Sweets, on the other hand, are highly intoxicating; to a dohwar, one apple has the effect of strong beer, and a few tablespoons of honey or maple syrup get it blind drunk.
Dohwar only have given names, but they once they take on merger with a mate, they will use the name of their partner as a pairing of both names. For example a dohwar named Colder in a merger with a dohwar named Artis will introduce itself as I'm Colder from Colder & Artis. A Dohwar that has not yet formed a merger with a mate will use the name of their cartel or trading house instead.
As a Dohwar you gain the following traits
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution increases by 1, and Intelligence increases by 2.
Age. The Dohwar reach adulthood around the age of 10, and age similar to humans.
Size. 3 to 4 feet tall, weigh about 40 to 60 lbs. Your size is Small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet. You have a swim speed of 40ft.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Dohwar which is a mix of Aquan and Auran.
Hold Breath. You can hold your breath for up to 15 minutes at a time.
Cold Adaptation. You're naturally adapted to cold climates, as described in chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. You also have resistance to cold damage.
Merchant's Senses. Whenever you perform an Intelligence (History) check, or tools check to determine the origin or value of an object, you are considered proficient in the relevant check and can add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.
When you reach 3rd level you learn to cast detect magic and identify, but only as a ritual, you do need material components.
Merger Link. Over the course of a long rest you can establish a mental connection with one willing creature that has an Intelligence of 6 or higher. While forming the link the target must remain in your presence at all times. You can then communicate telepathically with your linked partner as long as you are on the same plane of existence or until either of you finish your next long rest.
Mind Reading. While interacting with a target you can see within 30 feet you can non intrusively read their desires and surface thoughts, providing you with advantage on Insight (Wisdom), Persuasion (Charisma) and Deception (Charisma) checks while performing negotiations with the target. Because you only capture their surface thoughts the target is not aware of you scanning them, however people familiar with Dohwar know they have the ability to read minds. You can maintain this ability for 1 minute or until you lose your concentration (as if you were casting a concentration spell). This trait counts as a divination effect. You can't use this again until you finish a short or long rest.
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Special Thanks to my fellow brewers of the Discord of Many Things
Art Credits: Front cover art from artist Guido Kuip