Friday, December 14, 2007

Godtouched Races: Centaurs

Centaurs are monstrous creatures with the body of a horse, the back of an ankylosaurus, and the upper body of an ogre sprouting from where the horse's head and neck would be. Various tribes of centaurs live in the Eastern Islands, and they do not wander very far from their homes, not being creatures built for the sea or any kind of ship work.

Seven feet tall at the forehead and with shoulders four feet broad, centaurs have a very imposing presence. They usually weigh anywhere between 1500 and 2500 pounds, depending on how well-built their muscles are. Their facial features are almost indistinguishable from an ogre's, with huge tusks, a massive nose the size of a human's fist, small beady eyes and huge locks of hair coming out from behind slightly pointed, wind-facing ears. Unlike ogres, they have many horns growing out of their forehead, and more tusk-like horns growing from behind their jaw in front of their ears.

On their backs, centaurs have huge rows of thorny, bony plates that run from the base of their neck down to the base of their horse's tail. The largest of these horns are at the base of their shoulders, which point up in various ways behind their head, almost as if their head were sprouting from some horrible creature's maw.

Their hands are large, even in comparison to their own proportions, and each fist is the size of their head. Their muscles are similarly over sized, and even the horse section of their body is rippling with muscles to the point that it may seem grotesque. Despite being forced to use over-sized weapons, Centaurs are very fierce hunters that combine the best points of calvary and foot soldiers, and are typically used as mercenaries on the islands they inhabit that also have sizable human kingdoms.

Centaurs typically live 80 years, and while it's feasible that they could live longer, their nomadic and harsh lifestyle normally kills off any elderly members of their race that can no longer keep up with the rest of the herd, which can often number in the hundreds. Their culture and way of life is very pragmatic when it comes to the facts of life and death; those who become too frail to care for themselves normally welcome being abandoned, and see accepting help as a shameful act. This fatalistic attitude has led many tribes of centaurs to extinction in fighting an overwhelming foe. It has also saved many others from extinction, driving off invaders who don't feel their own losses worth the gains of the centaurs' land.

Female centaurs are generally indistinguishable from the males due to their overabundance of muscles. They do not typically develop breasts, and instead develop teats buried in muscle and fat between their legs that their foals can easily reach and drink from. Young Centaurs are typically born 3 feet tall and can walk and run within minutes. They are usually fragile and frail, but centaur milk is extremely high in calories, and these young foals quickly bulk up and develop their muscles. By the age of 5, young centaurs look like miniature body builders, and by the age of 14 they are considered fully mature adults.

Centaurs typically wear clothing that consists of grass woven into skirts and they're fond of designs that allow trailing edges to spiral in the wind behind them as they run. They are also known to fashion armor out of bamboo that is more ceremonial than functional. Due to their nomadic nature they rarely find time to weaponsmith, and so normally fashion weapons out of wood and stone, or pay humans for metal weapons scaled to the centaurs' hands. They are particularly fond of pole axes, lances and spears that they can take full advantage of in combat with a 30 mile per hour charge. Centaurs are meat-eaters, and often hunt the larger beasts on their island, though they are careful not to over-hunt and keep watch over smaller, more vulnerable herds of prey animals.

People who live on the same island as centaurs normally are very intimidated by them, but consider them stupid savages. Centaurs may not be educated in a way that humans consider appropriate, but they do know the ways of the wild and could easily teach a human a thing or two about self-reliance and survival on one's own.

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