This is a thumbnail description of the Beastmen of the Six Lands. This overview will give a GM a general idea about the Beastmen. Best read in full context with the linked submissions.
The Beastmen are one of the Old Races, before the Humans boiled out of their Land into the others. They had their own Land, and make occasional foraging trips into The Others. However, with the coming of the Humans, the Beastmen have been pushed “into the bad places”. They now inhabit the hinterlands of every Land and live only in large numbers in The Badlands.
Beastmen are a physically powerful race. Taller than Humans by a good head (9”- 25cms), they are slightly stronger, faster, and more durable than Humans of comparable size. They are less vunerable to the elements and pain that comperable Humans. While they need to eat much much more than a similarly active Human, they can eat just about anything organic… and a few things less than organic.
All their senses besides smell are less developed than Humans, while smells is 3 to 5 times better than Humans (which still makes it less than a Dog’s).
Beastmen are as intelligent as Humans. Their mentallity and culture is based on dominance and your place in the pecking order. It is all about Power. At the lower levels (and limitedly at the higher levels), Power and Dominance is determined by raw physical prowess. In the higher levels of their society and mindset, it is determined by how much support they have from those under them.
Their society has two pillars: The Laniard and The Third Eyes
The Laniard comes from their traditional method of keeping records in knots of hide. (Loosely translated, it comes to a cord worn around the neck for carrying something, in this case their laws and culture). The Laniards determine the rules of their society; who is in charge, minimum requirements for given positions, and lastly how you can challange for that positions (and the minimum requirements to try).
One of the important set of rules that holds their society togeter is the cords of challange. This laniard codifies when a challange may be made. While there are dozens of rules, they boil down to: A challange for leadership can only be made long before or after a job/ crisis/ or conflict is performed. Everyone’s status, thus the ability to give orders, is frozen when they all join into a given event. The only exception to this is when “It all goes to the Midden”. If the event is so screwed up, you should kill the responsible leader and try to salvage the situation.
Given the constant internal struggles, Beastmen are just not as cooperative as Humans are. They are as likely to turn on each other as they are to strike a foe. (This is not to say there are not moments of Beastmen cooperation and Human trechery. Sure the Laniards are against it, but if you can get away with it…).
Note: Wealth and Power is all based upon how many people are under them. Thus slaving other peoples or other weak Beastmen is very important to them.
The Third Eyes are the Shamanistic Priests of the Beastmen. The Beastmen have a spirit oriented cult, where ones ancestors support the living, pulling them upward, just like people under them support them in society. They are recognizable by the eye painted on their forehead.
The Third Eyes teach the Laniards, speak with spirits, and barter with them for “aid” in any number of tasks. Thus every Great Beastman will have a Third Eye with him for advice AND for getting spiritual aide. The more important the Beastman, the more Eyes that will be attached to him.
The Beastmen channel the spirits of the animals to gain greater power. Need speed, bind with a Cheetah spirit. Need strength, bind with a boar spirit. This practice of taking on beast like traits is what caused ancient scholars to call the Beast Men.
Generally speaking, Beastmen live in Tribes of 20 to 70 people. Some tribal leaders are beholden to a higher Tribal Leader. In all practicality, there are about three levels of tribes supporting tribes. Only the Great One can hold together more.
The tribes are somewhat nomadic. They have their standard territories that they feel are their due. They make take resources from other tribes because they feel they are more worthy.
Their skin coloration is a greyish brown, ranging between light taupe to a greyish chocolate color. Their hair ranges from black to any shade of brown. Men and Women both have large, high foreheads with high hair lines. (Some groups brand the foreheads of their highest and lowest members.) Their hair is nearly a mane behind their head.
Those in vowed service of a Greater Beastman will often pull their hair into a tight ponytail or pigtail, showing they are dedicated to their master.
Their eyes are Goat like: Yellow, Amber, or Gold in color.
Their teeth are large for their mouth, given Human standards. They are not fanged, but are quite sharp. Despite Bardic tales to the contrary, they do not have claws on their hands and feet.
They are taller than Humans on average. Add +9”/25cms to their height. Their build is always average. Figure mass as per humans in your game. Female Height and Weight are figured as per Males.
Beastmen females appear to be slightly odd looking males. Lumpy by one description. Unless they are in cycles (once every five years), their breasts and hips are small to nonexistant. Only when they are in cycle, do they develop what Humans consider Female Traits.
The Leader for a tribe has to approve any mating. While he will take the lionshare of matings, others matings will be rewards to his supporters. Females not in cycles compete on an even playing field for power and dominence in the tribe. Most Tribal Leader and those in positions of power will be male, just because females lose power and efforts every time they cycle.
The Great One is a person whos spirit will embody the entire Beastmen race. There are some complicated signs that must be seen, then the Beastmen will follow “the one that will lead them to victory” to the death.
They are sometimes hired out as caravan guards. If well paid, they will not turn on you.