A race of large humanoids with bovine attributes, split into four distinct variants. Many are fierce, courageous warriors and avid seafarers, adventurers, and wanderers. They live by a strict code of honor, and make stalwart allies or fearsome enemies. They have a deep, spiritual connection to the sea, and god of the ocean waters - Sago.
Average Lifespan:: 300 years
Average Height:: 7 or 8 feet.
Average Weight:: 700 pounds.
Location Found:: Primarily Millirand.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Horn Loss The loss of a single horn in battle is considered an honor; loss of both horns is bad luck and/or dishonor. Many minotaur who have lost one horn may reinforce the other in various ways to prevent its breakage, though this is less common in tragen communities. However, the breaking of both horns is also used as punishment in all of the variants, usually for the absolute worst crimes. It is, in all regards, considered a worse punishment than death by execution or the exile from their homelands.
Horns; Antlers Branching horns that resemble cervine antlers are often seen in two ways. If the base of the horn is very thick, and the tines not numerous, it is seen as a blessing of Sago; however, if the horn is thin and has long, multi-pointed tines - more like that of a whitetail buck - then it is seen as a sign of weakness. Those born with thin, antler-like horns have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously, and gain little in the way of respect or honor.
Those minotaurs with rare true antlers - having to shed them and regrow them annually - are mostly found in tragen populations, where they are seen as an omen from the gods of great misfortune. It is taken as a sign of wildness in an individual, a feral spirit, one that cannot be contained by the bonds of honor and morality. Most minotaurs with shedding antlers are exiled or executed.
Horns; Hornless Those that are born hornless are often culled at birth. It is a sign that's taken as a terrible and foreboding omen, and parents of hornless offspring tend to fear the sign more than they love their child. Any hornless minotaur that is allowed to grow up may suffer the fate of slavery, exile, or worse.
Hybrids While hybrids between the variants is entirely possible, it is greatly frowned upon. Most often, the hybrids are outcasted along with the dishonored parents - either driven out of their cities and villages, or treated as 'untouchable' and classed with the sick and poor for the rest of their lives.
Hybrids between minotaurs and other species are seen as a disgrace and are outcast immediately.
All of the minotaur variants have a singular and plural spelling. These are as follows:
Bos is singular, while bosen is plural.
Balu is singular, while balen is plural.
Thaba is singular, while thaben is plural.
Trage is singular, while tragen is plural.
Species info credited to Fyfergrund, JPG, and Blazeh/Verridith.
Appearance Minotaurs are in general muscular, bovine bipeds. Individual appearances vary widely, with minotaurs resembling any bovine from a bison to a dairy cow; yaks, oxen, longhorns, and other variations have all been spotted, depending on the region found and variant they take heritage from. Traits they all have in common are their large cloven hooves, bovine tails and heads, along with well-muscled bodies. Some may have hair or manes, though this depends on the individual and family more than anything else. Information on the variants can be found below.
Bosen: Bosen minotaur are one of the most common variants, and those who are found abroad in the Realms most often. They are very tall and are considered physically strongest, often covered in a mixture of thin fur and thick hide. They have the facial features, horns, and tails of oxen and cattle, and may come in any color under the sun, though natural colors are most common. Their eyes tend to be dark in hue. A bos minotaur often wears very little - even battle armor - and may often cover just enough to be decent, along with any sheaths and belts to hold an assortment of weapons on their person.
Balen: Similar in build to the bosen minotaurs, a balu is tall and physically robust, though not as well muscled or as hardened as their warrior cousins. Most often, they are completely covered in thin fur, and can be found in many dark colorations with dark eyes and lighter-colored horns. Their facial structure often resembles the long-eared water or cape buffalo, and they have broad muzzles with long, curving horns, strong shoulders, and broad hooves. Balen minotaurs will often be found in clothes that hold up well against water and salt, due to their long hours on the sea.
Thaben: Tallest and most massive of the variants are the adventure-prone thaben; these minotaurs are often covered in thick, sometimes unruly fur with long beards and shaggy hair. They have the facial features and tails of yaks, bison, and highland cattle, with broad shoulders - sometimes found with large humps on their backs. A thaba minotaur can be found wearing an assortment of varied clothes and armors, most often won from contests between them, found on their adventures, or created for them to help in their dungeon-delving. They are also most commonly seen with trinkets and jewelry of the minotaur races, and have a fondness for precious metals and gems.
Tragen: Unlike the other minotaurs, those of the tragen variant are lithe and slender in build. They have features more befitting an antelope than an oxen, with longer faces, thinner horns, and bodies fit for speed instead of strength. They wear animal pelts, bones, feathers, and strong grasses or leaves - anything befitting their more tribal way of life.
Culture Proudly independent, many minotaurs are avid seafarers, and have a deep connection to the sea; especially the balen, who rarely leave their sailing ways. They will defend their homes with stubborn tenacity, and if provoked, will just as stubbornly wage war. On the battlefield, a minotaur is a fierce foe, often wielding a weapon in each hand, or large weapons most other humanoids could not lift, together with their large horns and heavy hooves.
Minotaurs are also very loyal, and are gifted with a unique sense of honor. Many have a strict code that they follow, and even those who become raiders, pirates and bandits will hold true to this. Many refuse to hurt children, women, or the elderly, and will actively go after those who do. Those who turn away from the path of honor are rejected by their fellows, and sometimes hunted down and can either be imprisoned or slain. Cultural differences can be found by variant below.
Bosen: Bosen minotaur are a warlike and gladiatorial race; they take honor in battle, and seek to settle disputes with fights. This is the basis of their justice system, and they often hold other minotaur races to the same standard - overseen by a handful of witnesses, the involved parties may fight a trial of honor until one or the other is defeated. Using underhanded tactics, weapons, or incredibly one-sided fights is frowned upon, and a champion may be called to fight in one's place. The dishonored must accept defeat or be exiled from minotaur society at large.
Otherwise, any bos minotaur can be found to be honorable - in their own way - and a wonderful fighter on any side. They are highly protective of their homes and families, often settling on islands where they choose to fight for and protect their settlements when they have had enough of battle abroad. Either at home or amid the Realms at large, bosen are known to train until the day they die.
Balen: Called the original minotaur or the blessed of Sago, balen are those that are most at home upon the sea. They are sailors and pirates, naval soldiers and sea-merchants. While their sense of honor is no less than the bosen, they often turn to competitions or games to prove who's right than fights - as too many deaths at sea can prove fatal to a seafaring vessel, and captains are savvy enough to know such mistakes for what they are.
Most balen prefer to be buried at sea when possible, even after their sailing days are done. Older balu individuals live in coastal regions with their families and fish or craft for a living, often alongside bosen who offer them protection.
Thaben: True, large-scale communities of thaben are rare, and these are almost always located in high, snowy mountains. Most individuals leave their families, afflicted with wanderlust and strong desires to explore, at a relatively young age. The thaben are known to be the most widespread of all the minotaur variants, and can be found alone or in small groups in almost every Realm.
Thaben are much more relaxed and not as adhered to the strict codes of their brethren, often more easygoing and free with what they do and how they approach life. Thus, a thaba may be considered with some scorn by balen or bosen, even the tragen should they meet. They enjoy competitions rather than war, and often go seeking treasure after making a pact with a fellow thaba to see who can find the more valuable artifact.
Tragen: Unlike the others, tragen are fiercely independent from the rest of their race, and do not take to their fellows much at all. They live in small tribes in the plains and grasslands of the Realms, often migratory, following game. Led by a single chieftain, these tribes can range anywhere from ten to sixty individuals, and they hunt everything from the antelope they so resemble to mammoth and woolyhorn. All tribes have at least one shaman, and one master of law - together with the chieftain, this triumvirate makes sure that the beliefs and code of the tribe is upheld.
They hold honor in high regard, and it is woven into their ways as deeply as any knightly Order. To gain dishonor is to die, and this facet of their lives is ingrained into them from the time they are calves barely old enough to understand. They are ritualistic and have a high moral standard, a code of ethics, and while this differs from tribe to tribe it is never fully absent.
Abilities They possess great strength, and are in general a very hardy race, capable of reaching great speed at a sprint. Their hearing is superb, and sense of smell likewise potent. Their horns make fearsome weapons, and a charging minotaur can bowl over even creatures larger than themselves.
They have a well-developed sense of direction, and can often find their way through even the most confusing of locations or weather conditions. While many of the variants are gifted in elemental magics, water and wind are common amongst all, though generally used in different ways.
Bosen: While bosen are often very physically strong, they lack almost entirely in magic. A bos mage is very, very rare, and when they do have magic, it is almost always associated with the element of water. However, their physical strength is more than any of the other variants, renowned and feared by many.
Balen: Robust physically, though not as strong as the bosen, balen minotaurs are possessed of great speed and - often - weather-related magics such as wind, water, and lightning. They are very hardy and seem to have an uncanny ability to predict the weather relatively accurately, able to tell when a storm will come even if the skies are completely clear.
Thaben: Not as strong or fast as the bosen or balen, thaben minotaurs can defend against a great many physical hits, taking the brunt of an attack fully where others would fall. They are also possessed of acuity in survival, able to live through the harshest conditions and find sustenance and protection where other minotaurs would die.
Tragen: Fastest of the minotaur variants, and the most magically gifted. Many tragen minotaur also have the Sight, and all are possessed of at least one elemental magic if not more. To have no magic, or very weak magic, is to be thought of as cursed by the gods and spirits themselves.
Long, long ago, when Millirand was still young, Sago was swimming through a storm-tossed sea, reveling in the ocean’s power, when he spotted a ship crewed by humans, battered and listing. However, it was stubbornly clinging to life just as its human crew doggedly fought against the raging storm and furiously churning seas.
He watched them struggle, certain they must soon be overcome if they didn’t call upon him, or upon Scylla, to save them from the storm. Although he admired their courage and fortitude, he made no move to help them, wondering which deity they would call upon, or if they would stubbornly refuse to call upon any for help.
Time and again the seas threatened to capsize their ship, and time and again they managed to keep it upright, despite being constantly being battered by fierce winds and rains, and powerful waves that surged over the sides of the ship’s deck. Still they refused to call upon divine intervention, much to the god's surprise.
It wasn’t until a particularly large wave, stirred into an unrivalled fury, bore down upon them, that they called for divine assistance. It was Sago they called upon, and Sago who answered their plea. He shed his dolphin Aspect, and appeared to them in his full glory, rising between their ship and the wave, wings spreading as it crashed against his back and broke. The seas stilled, and within the shelter of Sago’s wings, the winds faltered.
You are as stubborn as the bulls that live upon the islands you call home, and as brave, even to the point of recklessness. Now, I will bless you with their strength and endurance, and my eternal favor, for as long as you hold true to me. The captain of the ship was first to be blessed, growing in stature as his body took on a bovine shape, and powerful muscles rippled beneath his thickened hide.
The first minotaur snorted through wide nostrils as the rest of his crew underwent a similar transformation. At the same time, their families, waiting anxiously for the return of their loved ones, underwent the same, comforted by Sago’s words that reached them across the seas. As Sago sank below the waves, the storm resumed its attack, but, with their newfound strength and resilience, the minotaurs merely laughed at the storm, and set their ship on a course for their home.
In the years that followed, led by the first minotaur, they quickly gained dominance over the seas, braving even the fiercest waters, trusting in both their blessing from Sago, and powerful bodies. Their earlier stubborn resolve was, if anything, only strengthened by their new nature.
This species did not have an Ancient First.
Classification: quadruped, celestially-bound bovines. Location: abroad.
Taurine are quadrupedal bovines of highly varied types with sizeable horns adorning their heads, always arcing upwards towards the sky. Between these two horns levitates a glowing orb held in place by the taurine's reiatsu; they are filled with energy and are the heart of a taurine's power. These orbs contain their soul, binding their life force to the orb's safety - therefore, while these orbs provide great power, they are also the taurine's greatest weakness. If this orb is ever stolen - a difficult task, as many go to great lengths to weave barriers around their orb - then they will gradually lose their sapience, until what is left is an average cow or bull.
Taurine are exceptionally wise, seen as great candidates for advisory positions. Many maintain an appearance of sagacity and tranquility. In addition, they are seen as great omens, bringing good fortune, although they are rarely seen among other races. They also possess powers that are often linked to the movement of celestial bodies - certain positions of the moons and suns grant them additional powers and abilities - or, conversely, weaken them; however, these abilities differ from individual to individual.
The males are referred to as 'sunbulls' and the females are referred to as 'mooncows'. The females tend to have smaller horns, although there are a multitude of exceptions to this rule, while males generally sport large, arcing horns. In addition, sunbulls are more likely to be protectors and guardians, with a tendency to be highly territorial about certain spaces. Mooncows are somewhat more peaceful, and often roam the land as wise pacifists, storytellers, and Seers.
While they mostly prefer warmer climes, there are shaggier variants that prefer more temperate and cooler climates, and may be as varied as any traditional bovine species.