Zevraurs

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LoZompatore
Hill Giant
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Zevraurs

Post by LoZompatore » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:11 am

The description of a variant centaur-like race living in the tropical savannah of the southern continents. Further details, comments and feedback are welcome ;)

New race: The Zevraur

A zevraur is basically a centaur with zebra-like stripes all along its body, both in the horse and in the human part. An erect, mohawk-like mane runs from the top of the human head to the end of the human part of the back.

Lifestyle:

Zevraurs are an omnivore, intelligent species acclimatized to arid, shrub-like lands. They are accomplished hunter-gatherers with a very adaptable diet who vary from large and small mammals to fruits and vegetables and may include even leaves and the bark of trees, if needed.
They are fast runners, and their loud yells can be heard miles away and are generally used to rally or warn other members of their race. Their striped-colored skin enables Zevraurs (especially the younger ones) to hide with good chance of success in tall grasses.
In battle, Zevraurs are renowned as skilled archers and good spearmen, a few of them even allow to be mounted by other lightweight humanoids for additional fire support, but they are easily frightened and strongly dislike close quarter combat. Their low morale prevents them to lead offensive actions for a prolonged amount of time, although zevraurs are generally thought to be good defenders.

Fire Zevraurs: a few individual particularly gifted in magic may learn to ignite at will their own mane and tail with a fiery magical flame. While this feature makes them easily recognizable in battle it does offer some kind of magical shielding from attacks. It also causes fire damage to anybody attacking with melee weapons. Such a magical flame usually do not last more than an hour, requiring the rest of the day to recover the magical power lost during the burst.

Society:

The Zevraurs built a widespread nomadic society in the grasslands, savannahs and hills around the northern desert of Barabara (Thalassa's Africa-like subcontinent in the southern hemisphere).

They usually live in tents and carry most of their need in haversacks on their back. Craftsmen, merchants and large families often pull their own carts where they store what they cannot carry. Agriculture is practiced, but zevraurs would gladly leave it to foreigners so to be free to roam the countryside: zevraurs like to be involved in farming activities only during the plowing and harvest seasons, when they are of greatest help.

Stocky, permanent buildings of wood and stone are built here and there only when extremely necessary: large temples, government seats, military garrisons, mills, large workshops and storage yards. Zevraurs "cities" and "towns" are usually nothing more than a large wall (enough for zevraurs to walk upon) surrounding such public interest buildings: very few permanent houses (mostly of foreigners) are actually found inside these settlements.
Zevraurs built an extensive "road network" connecting their settlements across the plains; such paths are actually dirty roads with a somewhat lesser amount of stones and weeds with respect to the surrounding countryside. Such roads are actually a compromise solution between the need to pull carts across the plains and to feel comfortable when riding on a road (zevraurs strongly despise horseshoes, by the way).

Origin:

It is believed that the Zevraurs reached Thalassa some 20'000 years ago. There are no written chronicles about their accomplishments before their first meetings with the expanding Birhamian empire from the south east, so the exact date of their arrival on Thalassa is unknown. Most oddly, no planar gate brought any other group of zevraurs to Thalassa up to now.

Their most ancient legends speak about the wreck of a huge extraplanar ship made of stone that crashed on the southern continent. The ship was manned by the “Slavers of Tarmitaa”, a race of planar-traveling stone giant who raided zevraurs' home world and captured some thousands of people belonging to three different breeds of their species. The giants were in the process of selling them to a being called “the Astral Despot of Lanakk” when their ship was captured into a sudden planar rift and crashed on Thalassa.

Among the survivors the zevraurs outnumbered their former slavers, who salvaged what they could from the wreckage and fled away. The zevraurs found themselves isolated in the cold sub polar wastes of the southern hemisphere, where hostile and savage neanderthal tribes hunted them as game. The three groups (the “common” quaelia, the “noble” or “imperial” equevy and the “mountain” equeera) gathered and started a difficult migration toward the warmer, northern lands, until they found a suitable environment in the now-called Plains of Zevran.

Associated races:

Mountain Zevraurs: A fourth group of zevraurs, the “high-mountain” breed of the equennae, actually did not follow their kin in their migration toward the warmer lands. Instead, they settled in a mountain range not very far from the wreckage. The equennae are mostly scorned and frowned upon in the legends of the other zevraurs' races as a few tales also hint about some kind of collaboration between the equennae and the slavers of Tarmitaa in the days following the disaster. Any contact between the equeannae and the other zevraurs was lost millennia ago, and now this race is lost in legend and myth, to the point of being believed extinct or purely fictional. Even the Birhamians were never able to find any conclusive proof of the existence of the equennae in the sub polar mountains of the southern continent, although they actually found a strange stone giant settlement called New Tarmitaa.

The hippotiger: The hippotiger is a strange mix between a zebra and a tiger: it is a tiger-like creature with zebra stripes and long legs, neck and tail. The hippotiger has an animal intelligence, it’s a vicious predator from zevraurs’ home world that often hunts and predate on the zevraurs and other large game for food.
Some wild hippotigers were encaged in the stone ship of the Tarmitaa for the Lanakk Astral Despot's zoo, and they escaped shortly after the crash. They followed the zevraurs' migration (feeding on a few beleaguered zevraurs for nourishment) and settled in the Plains of Zevran, where they thrived on local game and on occasional zevraurs. Hippotigers' number is kept relatively small by periodical hunting campaigns promoted by zevraurs’ authorities, but their eradication is far from being complete.

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