Selkies are fey shapeshifters who move back and forth between humanoid and seal form. Like many fey, they are capricious, selfish, secretive, and emotional, thinking first of their own delight, and keeping an air of mystery about them. They have been known to stay in humanoid form for years at a time, even marrying and raising a family, only to suddenly leave again, for the sea.
In seal form, selkies are not quite entirely seal-like. They have actual legs, rather than the flippers that most seals have, and instead of flippers, they have webbed, humanoid hands.
When they transform into a humanoid, they "shed" their seal skin, revealing their alternate form underneath. In this form, they strongly resemble humans. The only clue to their ancestry is their eyes -- in humanoid or seal form, their eyes remain the same color of striking green or pale blue.
Selkies in humanoid form use tools suited for human use, wearing clothing and armor and behave like any normal human. In seal form, they may attack with a bite, but much prefer to flee, using their speed and aquatic agility to their utmost.
Many selkies learn some of the abilities of a character class, most frequently druid, ranger, or rogue, using these skills in either form equally as well.
Selkies, as fey, have a mental outlook that frequently seems selfish and callous to most mortals, living for the emotional moment, and rarely being able to dedicate to one thing for long periods of time. They are known to fall in love easily and quickly, and even to be loyal for many years, but they will abandon their families sooner or later, and, if kept against their will, can turn dangerously violent.
Selkie leaders are usually druids, masters of healing and weather magic, which they employ to aid their tribes, and to aid those rare "outworlders" that fall into their domain.
Enemies and Allies
Selkies will socialize and cavort with normal seals regularly. Selkies in humanoid form are often playing at a long bluff, pretending to be human, living as a human, and befriending others in the seaside communities they frequent, but to call these creatures "allies" is something of a stretch: the selkie may rely on them for help and companionship, but they are rarely aware of the creature's true nature.
Rarely, a selkie community stranded on the mortal world will become normalized, adopting human form to deal with the humans, and adopting seal form to live their lives in the sea, with the human communities fully aware of what they are, without deception. They may do this as a form of protection: without interaction with human fur trappers and the like, many selkies may loose their lives.
Selkies and seawolves have a well-known animosity, as they often inhabit each others' terrain, and seawolves can give selkies a bad name, or take advantage of the seklies' good name.