The Faon Viandi are a unique race, one that is obviously artificial in nature. From the neck down a Faon Viandi is basically human, with skin tones ranging towards pale rather than dark and build tends to be lean and angular. Very few are muscular or overweight. The head resembles the head of a common deer, with large eyes on the sides of the skull, mobile ears, and a developed sinus cavity. Faon Viandi have superior sense of smell and greater than human hearing.
Demeanor and Potential
The Faon Viandi favor the temperament of deer, with a very strong flight motivation when threatened. If overly stimulate, or threatened by too many things at one time, or facing something absolutely unknown, they are known to go into Tharn, a sort of paralysis from fear. Leadership is very rare among the race, and as a whole they gravitate to strong leaders and have no problems following any strong human leader. They have an instinctual fear of goblins, orcs, and dwarves, but no specific aversion to elves.
The race as a whole has not been in existence for a long time, so their culture is a haphazard amalgamation, involving a large amount of borrowing, and some adaptation. Their language is based off of a variant of the common tongue about 200 years old, but they do not retain the ability to read or write, nor are they very adept at making tools other than the rudimentary wooden tools and implements of primitive farming. As such, they do not pose a significant threat to even low level characters.
The Family Unit
Family units develop around a physically strong male Faon Viandi, basically a buck complete with antlers. This male will have 1D6 females that are his breeding group, and this group will generally have 1D10 immature members. On a side note, the majority of Faon Viandi are female, roughly 70% born are females. These family units tend to be semi-nomadic across a given range, and know the other family units that border their territory. There is some exchange of females among the males, but it is rather uncommon. Like most animals, once the juveniles come of age, they are pushed from the family group to either join another allied group, or to fend for themselves.
Racial Abilities and NPC Potential
As mentioned before the Faon Viandi have greater than human senses of smell and hearing. With their eyes situated on the sides of their head, they are much harder to flank, but their vision is based more on movement than on long distance sight or attention to detail. Despite their lean build, they are quite strong, and have excellent endurance and are superb runners.
The Faon Viandi are very limited in terms of what sort of character professions they can follow. The race as a whole has yet to unlock the secrets of magic, and incidents of natural or innate magical ability is mostly non-existent. They have also not yet gained access to divine magics, as they have only the trappings of religion, and have yet to gain the favor of any sort of God or spirit. Those few that are exceptional and enter the realms of NPCs tend to favor rogues and rangers, with very very few taking on the role of bards as lorekeepers and storytellers.
The Faon Viandi were created by a cabal of Sorcerers who were interested in possessing a servitor race that was docile and fast breeding. After exploring various branches of magic, they settled on Pnathic artifice, and by several years of exploratory spell work created the first of the Faon Viandi. The race bred quickly as they hoped, and lacked aggressive instincts, they were followers down to their blood and bones.
It was not long before the magi started to abuse their servants. This is not simple insults, or even physical discipline, the magi were haughty and cruel, they who gave their servants life. It soon became the vogue thing for each magus to cull from his servants the most physically attractive Faon Viandi as his Mistress. This random cross-species breeding created weak hybrids, as the children born were still Faon, but lacked some of the servility of their kin. While these hybrids were coming of age, the magi started the second and greater of the two atrocities.
As man eats the flesh of the deer, so the magi turned to eating the flesh of the Faon Viandi. Servants who fell out of favor, or displeased their masters would be drug kicking and screaming to the kitchens of the chantry where they were gutted and clean, sometimes while still alive and begging for first mercy and then death.
There are few heroes among the Faon Viandi, but they are all remembered even after two centuries. They know the tale in their hearts. There was Echirhon, a tireless leader among them and a male of no small stature. Echirhon took up the sword and raised it against the magi, and as he died the others were free to run. There was Hayerech, a canny scout and spy, and as they fled from the mages it was he who lead the females and children to safety and beyond the tower. There was Zoetold, and Nyeess, and Kolevano, all elders who survived after the fleeing who were wise and strong. It was Zoetold of the Bent Antler who remembered the ways of scratching the earth and shaking of seeds. It was Nyeess who remembered the grinding of herbs and the brewing of medicines and teas. And it was Kolevano who remembered the way of courage, and of leadership for he was the son of Echirhon.
Eventually the Pnathic sorcerers were unveiled for the monsters they had become and humans came to their tower with siege engines and many warriors and righteous magi. The tower was cast down, and a few escaped, but most were captured and tried and punished for their wicked deeds. The Faon Viandi fled to the last, leaving hardly a trace behind, save for the strange skeletons and joints of meat that the liberators found as they broke open the larders and pantries.
Strange Goings on in the Wood - A family unit of Faon Viandi have migrated into the local forest and are foraging there for the winter. The locals have seen a few glimpses of the animal-headed beings and are somewhat afraid of them. Ranger and druid type PCs are requested to identify the new residents and assess their danger, and eliminate them if need be.
A New Flesh - A new magus has rounded up several Faon Viandi and has them as cattle and slaves. A remnant from the old tower, he has human servants whom he allows to brutalize the captured Faon Viandi while they are prepared to be slaughtered and eaten. The old mage (insert suitable necromancer evil old master) still has a taste for the cooked flesh of the Faon Viandi even if he has lost his appetite for the fresher meat.
The New Druid - A swath of forest is claimed by a deer-headed man with antlers and a longbow. Some think he is the incarnation of a forest god, others a demon of the woods, he does come naked and casts hungry looks at the womenfolk, he does. Coming from the lineage of Echirhon and Kolevano, this druid is a strong leader and has a large harem of females and many young that he protects. He will instantly dislike and distrust any magic users.