The Volarthi Peoples
Volarthi are a race of peoples whose ranks are filled with anthropomorphic animals from a diverse range of sub-species, each generally holding the same approach and understanding of society. Members of their race are humanoid with standard legs, covered in a wide array of pelts and often possessing claws on their humanoid fingers and animal-like foot paws. Their head and faces are often a blend of human and animal features, each taking a different animal as influence.
The Volarthi are generally a nomadic people with a lifestyle influenced by a mixture of Native American tribal practices, ritual and tendencies; moving from camp to camp or cave to cave and only ever building earthen, canvas or hide buildings. They are very adaptable to changes in their environment due to possessing a pelt of natural fur which, in most cases, can thin or thicken as required to match their new surroundings or a different season in the same.
Feeling he had failed his charge and betrayed The Creator, a First One named Kish kneeled by a stream in meditative prayer. It is said that, as his tears fell into the water and were swept downstream, those animals who drank of them became aware, grew and covered themselves; now aware of their own self. And there in a fertile valley amongst the trees and quiet meditative streams, a fledgling race of man-like animals awakened. Kish taught them the way of the hunt and equipped them with means to survive, but also taught of The Creator and His ways. They became his ward, but to him also perhaps a chance at redemption.
All Volarthi are capable of speaking common trade languages, though some may speak them better than others. In addition to common, the Volarthi have a communal language all their own: Volarthi Vol. As a note: while the Volarthi peoples are generally able to reproduce many forms of speech, more difficult to pronounce languages (Storyteller discretion applies) may cause them to err.
Life and Longevity
All of the subspecies of the Volarthi brethren align with human male and female physiology, and both sexes will often take-on gender-typical roles within their society. Sexual dimorphism within the Volarthi is also typical of humanoid species with the male often possessing a larger body mass than the female.
Volarthi reproduce in much the same way humans do and gestation varies slightly between the sub-races and from female to female, but many come to term between eight and nine months and deliver one to two offspring per term. Mating with other races is not common and is often looked down upon. There have been no records of such a relationship lasting or producing viable offspring.
Volarthi do not often live long lives. They are often mistaken for being werewolves or lycanthropes and find themselves saddled with the stigma of a monster rather than your average passer-by. The average Volarthi life-span is presently forty years, though elders have been known to live as long as humans if the conditions are right. Volarthi age very similarly to humans: with decreases in muscle mass and reflex and whitening of fur, particularly around the muzzle, as time goes on.
Religion and Philosophy
The Volarthi peoples are generally monotheistic, worshipping The Creator. While it is uncommon for the Volarthi to build houses of worship, they take great joy to plan festivals of thanksgiving and praise throughout the year. Many of these take place in their communities around a large bonfire in the center of the village. It is uncommon for the Volarthi to share their customs with those outside of the community, however those who worship The Creator or see him as they do, are often welcome to join in their festivities.
Regional groups of Volarthi typically elect a leader from among them who then acts as their elder (often) until his or her death. If the group is large enough, this elder may choose to form a council from the various clans who comprise the group.
Perceptions and Integration
Many have come to understand that the Volarthi peoples are neither inherently violent nor savage, however approach them much the same they would an animal they do not know; unsure whether or not it will bite. As with all things of variety, some find more acceptance than others; many find only tolerance and some find fear, resentment and ultimately persecution.
The Volarthi peoples were created unified under one banner comprised of a variety of diverse clans of anthropomorphic animal people who walk upright on two legs just as a human does. With this diversity also come strengths and weaknesses which all clans tend to acknowledge makes them each uniquely specialized to certain tasks.
Base 8, Vigor +2, Darkvision
The oldest of the Volarthi clans, the Cans are a sub-species known for their wolf-like characteristics, taking on the appearance of an anthropomorphic canine. They are often viewed as the ‘elder brother’ of the peoples and commonly take-up the role of warrior, protector and provider among their kin.
Base 8, Agility +2, +1 Perception, Bonus Skill Points: 1
The Cer (Sair) are the second oldest of the Volarthi clans, this subspecies of anthropomorphic deer are often viewed amongst their brethren as sagely and wise. Particularly long-lived they are most often historians and healers, though some have been known to take up the mantle of the hunter or guardian as well. Like their animal cousins, males will develop antlers over time and must find ways of keeping them from growing too large while females will typically go without antlers.
Base 8, Agility +2, Strength -2, Darkvision, Bonus Skill Points: 2
The third clan of the peoples and the most agile of the Volarthi, the Fel (fell) take after both the form of a man and that of a tiger or other great cat. Often agile and silver-tongued swordsmen, it is not uncommon to see bards and duelists within their ranks.
Base 8, Movement 40, Intelligence +2, Virtue +2
The fourth clan of the Volarthi peoples, the Lago (lah-go) shares the image of both a man and hare. These often lithe long-eared anthropomorphic individuals make for excitable cohorts, speedy messengers and empathetic caretakers. It is not uncommon to see fluff-tailed clerics put themselves in harm’s way to save the life of another.
Base 8, Agility +2, Strength -2, Darkvision, +2 Stealth
The fifth clan of the Volarthi peoples and often the smallest of the brethren, the Ro (row) have earned themselves a somewhat seedier reputation over time. Much like Halflings to Humans, their size difference puts them at a distinct advantage when, in shadow, a quick hand or subtle edge is required.
It is not uncommon to see traits in common with the larger family of rodentia, including the muroidea, mustalidae, octodontidae or sciuridae families, representing a large range of diversity among the clan.
Base 8, Strength +4, Agility -2, +2 Combat Defense
The sixth clan of the Volarthi peoples and the largest, but also the slowest and the rarest, these behemoths are strong and capable whether it is with a battle-axe, a broadsword or the trunk of a tree. Often revered and respected by the other Volarthi, the Ursa (Err-sa) often find themselves elevated to positions of power within a tribe; slow to both anger and to judge, they are not known for making rash decisions.
Base 8, Int +2, Virtue -2, Darkvision, +1 Obfuscation, +1 Intuition
The seventh clan of the Volarthi peoples and often viewed as the most quick-witted of their brethren, the Vul (vall) were made in the image of both man and fox, and commonly share the insatiable curiosity of both. This predisposition leads many down paths others would not take nor recommend, which often has the unfortunate side effect of denying the curious fox their chance at furthering their population.
Base 8, Vigor +2, +1 Climbing, +1 Intimidation
The Bo (Bow) are the youngest and eighth clan of the Volarthi peoples, this subspecies of anthropomorphic goat and goat-like people are often viewed amongst their brethren as brave but also capricious; they often have little problem with heights or fighting a foe they believe may be stronger, just don’t get on their bad side. Often long-lived, Bo make good storytellers and gatherers though many shy away from becoming historians because they find themselves unable to remain objective. Like their animal cousins, most males will develop horns over time while females will typically go without.
Horn shape and coloration is widely varied among the clan and it is not taboo to find females with horns, though they are often smaller in protrusion than the male variety when found. Males may develop horns later in life or not-at-all in some cases, though these are rare and often looked on with mixed emotions; some shame while others may view the difference as an omen.