- The Beastmen of the great Wild Plains have always been a bit of an enigma. Current elf thought holds that, over time, the primitive beings that became humans and Orks in other realms absorbed the spirits of the Wildlands creatures they hunted and shifted to become like them. Of course, the Beastmen suppose that they’ve always been there, always a part of the Wilds, and frankly their explanation has about as much evidence going for it as the elves’ does.
- Although stories of werewolves (and were-tigers and were-boars and were-just-about-anythings) have percolated throughout Middle Realm societies for centuries, the Beastmen do not, in fact, change forms at any point in their lives. Their totem spirit is absorbed through the womb; very young and unborn Beastmen resemble humans closely, although that tail marks them as something a little different. The totem spirits worshipped by a given Beastman tribe lend shape to their character, but in general their development is influenced in only two ways: strong, long-toothed warriors or lithe, powerful hunters.
- A Beastman’s totem spirit influences his or her physical form. The great tribes have formed around singular totem spirits, but it is practically expected that different tribesmen and women will have variations in countenance. These range from the subtle variations in composition common to all races to dramatic differences that leave the Beastman in question looking more like a beast than a man. One in a thousand births is not even recognizeable as a man at all; only their aura and origin differentiates them from a beast. Most, however, are an even hybrid of their totem spirit and their humanoid ancestors.
- Although Beastmen do not actually change form as werewolves or other such “shifters” might, the tribes retain enough of a personal connection to their patron spirit that they are able to temporarily draw a greater amount of the spirit’s essence into themselves, enhancing their abilities without necessarily changing their form.
- It is difficult to actually say what the average Beastman is skilled in, because with the vast panoply of different patron spirits the Beastmen may worship and the wide variety of requirements tribal life exerts upon them, there is basically no such thing as an average Beastman. However, overall, the increased awareness that Beastmen have of the spirit world and the necessary reverence of their totem spirit has equipped them with increased spirituality and sharp senses, resulting in +2 Wisdom. Hunters and swift-running warriors common to some tribes may exercise their speed and Dexterity, earning a +2 bonus, while those focused more on the strength of arm and sharpness of claw may earn a +2 Strength bonus. In the end, it is up to the individual Beastman as to how they exercise their bodies; some modern Beastmen even choose to forego their traditional tribal learning in favor of spending the time elsewhere, improving another aspect of their being. (See House Rule G for more information.)
- Beastmen straddle the line between medium and “large” much the same as Dwarves straddle the line between “small” and medium. They are on the high side of medium in terms of height, but most are “large” in terms of bulk.
Ah, so you feel the call of the wild, do you? Very well. Do keep in mind that the choice of which totem animal you resemble is all yours, young one, as well as whether that spirit suffuses you with strength or speed. If you’ve made your choice, please indicate which occupation you’ll likely belong to as an adult. If not, please return to Worlds or Sentient Beings.