Large, foxlike creatures that come in three distinct varieties, often covered in sharp spikes located at strategic points across their bodies. They are impervious to magic, and are known to be an intelligent rival of dragonkind. Most live solitary lives in remote places, and foster a deep hatred for the creatures they were forged to kill - however others have put aside their pasts, and have come to accept their place in the new reality in which they find themselves.
Average Lifespan:: 200-300 years
Average Height:: 5-14 feet, 5-15 feet in length
Average Weight:: differs by variant
Location Found:: Primarily Felnova, but otherwise abroad.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Ages Though most rathar sport short lifespans not much more than two hundred, upwards of three hundred should they go dormant, ancient rathar are a particularly unique case. All pre-cataclysm ancient rathar are well over six thousand years old, their lives 'paused' by the effects the cataclysm had on their dormancy. All pre-cataclysm ancient rathar also lived in the continent of Alubria when they were forced into dormant slumber.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, modern rathar have all been born within the last fifty years.
Ancient Genes Sometimes, ancient genes - producing a pup that has the traits of the ancient variant - may be born to remnant or modern parents, though the chance is increased slightly when two ancients interbreed. However, this is recessive to an extreme - it's thought that only one in several hundred pups may display ancient traits in the modern age.
Breeding There exist three different variants of rathar; ancient, remnant, and modern. While remnant rathar breed true, rendering remnant offspring, ancient rathar can no longer beget their own kind after they've woken from the Alubrian dormancy.
Instead, ancient rathar pups are now known as 'modern' rathar, and are very different from their parents in a number of ways. This is believed to be a result of magical weakening and other effects from the Alubrian cataclysm, though the exact reason why they are so radically different remains a mystery.
The only exception to this rule is the recessive ancient gene, described above.
Dormancy Rathar are able to go 'dormant', hibernating for up to a third of their lifetime and delaying death. They are vulnerable to outside influences, but will go into a state of half-life slumber that prolongs death for up to fifty years. This dormancy does not affect a rathar physically - they do not lose weight or atrophy, though they do continue to very slowly grow - but it does affect them magically. Those that go into natural dormancy will lose some of their magical immunity, and be less able to absorb the energies directed at them through spells or elements as those who have not gone dormant may.
The only exception to this rule was those rathar driven into dormancy by the Alubrian cataclysm; the intense magical powers unleashed killed many, and altered the very systems that govern the species as a whole. Unable to absorb such potent magical energy, these rathar were overcome and driven into a deep dormancy that would last thousands of years. When they awoke at last, their bodies had continued to grow very slowly - reaching sizes that were immense even by the standards of their race - and they walked into a world unlike anything they remembered.
The dormancy caused by the Alubrian cataclysm was a unique event, and rathar are incapable of going into a dormant state for so long on their own.
Magic-Immune Pelts The fur of a rathar is imbued with magical deadening properties thought to exist in the hair fibers themselves. Therefore, rathar are often hunted for their pelts to use in spell-resistant clothing, weapon sheaths, jewelry and an assortment of other items. Some rathar may trade fur cuttings for other things, as these can be used for similar properties.
Their spikes have minimal magic resistance but nothing close to their pelts; thus, rathar who may otherwise appear unscarred may bear the signs of damage on their spikes and horns.
Terminology Much like true foxes, rathar may be referred to by specific vulpine gender terms. Males and those identifying as male may be referred to as tods or reynards (dog is not used, and is seen as a derogatory term by rathar). Females and those identifying as female may be called vixens. Rathar young are called kits, though 'pup' is an acceptable, though less-used, term.
Diet This is what this species, and any variants, may eat at any given time.
medium to large, often sapient prey; otherwise moose, elk, cows, and other big ungulates.
large prey; anything from ungulates (such as moose or elk), to large predators (such as bears or big cats).
large ungulates, such as moose, elk, and cow, and larger types of veryl deer.
dragons of every type; some gryphons, and other large sapient prey. other animals that they can hunt and kill with relative ease.
medium to large sapient prey, often weak or sick. includes but is not limited to humanoids, sapient ungulates, and lesser predators.
medium ungulates and predators; red meat primarily, but some white meats.
small non-sapient prey; carrion.
small non-sapient prey; rodents and insects; nuts, fruits, and berries.
sapient prey; carrion.
Rathar are distinct in their diets across all three variants, their evolutionary paths forming branches in their feeding habits. While all are omnivores and can realistically eat almost anything, they lean towards carnivorous tendencies to support their large size and energy needs. Ancient rathar are almost entirely obligate carnivores who have no qualms in hunting they prey they were designed to fight and kill: dragons and other large sapient creatures. Remnant rathar choose smaller, less dangerous prey overall, often avoiding sapient races unless they have few other choices. Modern rathar try to avoid sapients completely, only resorting to such as a last resort.
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Species info credited to Verridith and Darkeh.
Appearance The rathar species are akin to immense foxes with altered proportions, bony spikes, and features split between three different variants: ancient, remnant, and modern. They display sexual dimorphism in both size and coloration, as well as common spike placement. Most rathar - depending on type and sex - range anywhere from five to fifteen feet at the shoulder. All variants have large ears and bushy, plume-like tails with slender legs, paws, and muzzles.
While rathar may have any eye color, pelt colors vary immensely from individual to individual. However, males generally are brighter in hue than females, and have more exotic markings. Female pelt colors are generally subdued, and they have fewer markings overall. Males also have larger spikes than females, and females have few to no spikes down their backs, elbows, and hocks. Pups have soft spikes that harden as they age, and are born very pale in coloration - this darkens over time until they eventually reach their adult hues.
All three variants have the capability to develop pale or white-based winter coats when they live in colder regions. They will visibly shed into shorter, more colorful coats in the spring and summer months, where fall will thicken their fur considerably and they will gain dull, pale, or white colors during the late fall and all through the winter.
Ancient: Largest of the rathar, ancient rathar dwarf the other two variants in size; males top out at seventeen feet at the shoulder, while females often reach twelve to fifteen. They are more muscular in build with longer fur, and also sport long saber-like fangs; most resemble giant red or gray foxes in overall anatomy, albeit with longer and thicker fur. All ancient rathar have large, prominent spikes that protrude very visibly from their fur, formed of bone and cartilage. These spikes cannot be raised or lowered as remnant and modern rathar may.
Furthermore, an ancient rathar's spikes may differ from others in that they may be more jagged, twisted, or gnarled than the other two variants; some may have spikes that have grown around each other, and must be cut for movement's sake. Rarely, these become so cumbersome that the rathar may be unable to move or run, and may die from starvation due to incapacitation.
Ancient rathar are the most apt to decorate their spikes, due to them being so visible, with carvings and jewelry.
Remnant: Smaller than ancient rathar and larger than the modern variant, remnant rathar range from seven to ten feet at the shoulder for males and five to eight feet for females. They are less muscular, and often resemble a wide range of fox breeds in build ranging from red foxes to bat-eared and swift foxes. Their ears are noted to be slightly bigger than ancient rathar, though they cannot reach fennec proportions.
Unlike ancient rathar, remnant individuals have much smaller spikes that are not nearly as prominent or noticeable, often hidden under the fur when at rest; they do not have saber fangs, and their spikes are often very smooth. These spikes and horns can be raised and lowered at will, used both in threat displays and as offensive/defensive tools. Male remnant rathar have long spikes down their necks and backs, visible even lowered into the fur. Female remnants have no spikes on their backs, elbows, and hocks - though the spikes on their brows and the sides of their faces are often slightly larger than their male counterparts.
Modern: The smallest of the rathar breeds. Modern rathar are those born from ancient rathar (or other modern rathar of breeding age) that have been conceived after the cataclysm dormancy ended. These rathar are much smaller with shorter fur and spikes that may be almost completely hidden within the fur when lowered, only prominently visible when raised. Males top out at five to six feet at the shoulder, while females reach four to five.
Modern rathar may display builds uncommon to other rathar types more frequently, such as fennec or arctic foxes, most often resembling cape foxes in overall anatomy. If not for their unusual coloration and size, this variant of rathar might be mistaken for true foxes due to their lack of prominent spikes when hidden beneath the fur.
Culture Rathar are, as a whole, primarily solitary creatures. All three variants tend to spend the majority of their lives mostly on their own, save for when a pair comes together to mate and raise kits. These family groups stay together until the kits are old enough to hunt on their own, during which time the young generally leaves - but a mated pair may stay together lifelong, and some of their offspring may stay (especially when the parents are older, unable to hunt as well as they once did).
Though the rathar have no known language of their own - they speak Common and other races' languages they happen to learn - they are capable of communicating with one another and other vulpines in the fox's tongue. They may use this to speak over long distances, or to confuse non-vulpine races when they wish to have private discussions. However, due to this, they don't often trust fox-affinity xeriin or wildwhisperers due to the myriad vocalizations being understood.
Each variant has certain traits and viewpoints more common among themselves than species-wide. These are listed below.
Ancient: Many ancient rathar, since waking, believe that they are the strongest of their race. They are aware of their imminent mortality, but choose to ignore it - and as their numbers dwindle, their arrogance grows. It's common for an ancient rathar to be militaristic, bold, and ruthless against enemies, and most have a deep-set hatred of dragons not easily overcome. These rathar most closely resemble what Death attempted to create in the First Realm.
A group of five ancient rathar are said to live in the mountains surrounding the Fey Battleplain in Jes're'en, Millirand; they claim leadership over their race, and will seek out and punish those who bring dishonor to their kind. However, many rathar - especially remnant and modern individuals - do not see eye to eye with this group, and actively avoid getting caught by its members or spies.
Remnant: As a race, the remnant variant of rathar are tired and wary with the ways of the worlds they dwell in. Most do not hunt dragons any longer, but rather fear them - though this is learned and not instinctual. It's instilled in them from kithood that dragons are not to be trusted; that they are dangerous, and that they'll kill a rathar on sight if presented with the opportunity.
Remnant rathar are also the most solitary of all, and parents rarely stay together after producing offspring. They tend to be found in the most remote places of the Realms, and are almost never found where great gatherings or large crowds of any kind are possible.
Modern: The newest of rathar types, modern rathar are the most social and progressive of the variants, born after the cataclysmic dormancy and unaffected by their parents' arrogance or fear. It's unknown exactly why modern rathar are so different - both physically and mentally - from the ancients that brought them into being, though it's known to have been an effect from the Alubrian cataclysm that caused their progenitors' long dormancy.
Modern rathar are the only variant to show a willingness to interact with many other species including the dragons their parents hate and fear. They're content with lesser, non-sapient prey and even regard 'lesser' species - such as humanoids - as equals. Most do not hold any animosity against the dragons, and even show some curiosity towards learning about them. This has caused many an ancient or remnant rathar to view their modern counterparts in contempt.
Abilities Rathar as a whole are an immensely durable, very physical race. They have high stamina and great speed, able to keep pace with a swiftly-flying dragon for many hours overland. Their bite is strong and their jaws have the ability to lock in place due to a secondary joint, much like a crocodile or alligator, and they can stay locked for some time.
What they are known for, however, is the unique quality of their fur to absorb and repel magic both elemental and not. When a spell strikes a rathar's coat, much of the energy from it is absorbed; the rathar is then able to use the energy to fuel itself if tired or hurt. This absorption won't erase a wound or heal any hurts, but it will numb the pain and fill the body with adrenaline. It's quite feasible for rathar to never eat, living off of the energy taken from spells meant to kill. Rathar cannot use magic on their own of any kind.
However, they are as easily susceptible to blade or poison as any other, and more physical elemental attacks will do harm despite their pelt's relative immunity. It is also possible to wear down this immunity over time, or attack where there is no fur - such as the spikes - and do harm that way.
Rathar are also susceptible to having their jaws become 'stuck' when locked, both when biting something and on their own. If they cannot get their jaws to unlock, the rathar may eventually either starve to death or die of thirst.
Each variation has different traits, and these can be found below.
Ancient: Largest and physically the strongest of the variants. They are immensely powerful, very fast, and have great endurance. However, their magical resistance is the weakest of all rathar - their coats are no longer able to protect them from stronger spells, and the large coverage of their spikes provide various openings for magical damage to occur. Elemental magic is slightly less effective, save for more physical variations such as earth and ice. They are also unable to move their spikes, and thus these remain fixed in place at all times.
Remnant: Remnant rathar are not as physically strong as the ancients, nor as physically weak as the moderns; they are distinctly middle-road in both bite force and endurance. Their pelts provide the strongest of magical protection, however - they are almost entirely immune to reiatsu-based attacks, and have a great resistance to all other forms of magic including most elements.
Modern: The weakest physically, and those with the least amount of endurance or strength. They have a magical resistance that rivals that of remnants, however - and the unique ability to not only absorb or repel most magics, but also redirect some in a direction of their choosing provided they have enough training to master the technique. These rathar are also the fastest of their race, able to outpace both remnant and ancient rathar easily.
Before there were any sort of canine, like wolves or rathar, the purpose Death sought had no proper creature. He needed a sharp-witted creature with long fangs and skill in magic; thick fur, and long legs. The dark god drew up from a well of darkness a malleable shape, twisting captured lightning into a sharp and muscular form, giving strength to bones with shards of broken ice. Long fur, to protect against both cold and attack, was woven from the shadows itself, covering the beast head to toe. A long muzzle was filled with sharp pieces of ice and shaped into fangs and teeth, and a desire for flesh was set deep within its heart.
This creature, called the eucyon, led a massive pack of its own kind for hundreds of years before disappearing from history. Though the eucyon are no more as a race, the Ancient First still slumbers somewhere in the Realms.
Strong though his creations were, Death wasn’t fully satisfied with the eucyon. Powerful though they were, he wanted something capable of challenging even the mighty dragons. To that end, he took a few dozen eucyons, and selected the strongest from among them to be remade into the new form he envisioned.
He refocused the creature’s magic, taking from it its offensive spellcasting and infusing it into the creature’s pelt, rendering it immune to spellcraft. Its pelt would absorb all magic energies, in turn feeding the creature enough that it could live off of magical energy entirely if an abundant enough source could be found. He gave the beast great speed and stamina, enough for it to keep pace with a flying dragon, for hours on end if need be, and made its body more akin to that of a fox. It was swift and agile despite its great size, which could rival that of a typical dragon. Then he coaxed short bone spikes through its hide, and hid them beneath its fur to be revealed only as needed.
He instilled within its soul an instinctive preference to feed upon dragon flesh, and set it free, releasing the first rathar into the world. As it ran, Death smirked, and made one last alteration to its appearance. In mockery of The One, the rathar took on a brilliant golden sheen, with pure white fur on its belly, its paws, around its eyes, and on the tip of its long tail. As it disappeared into the wilds, he crafted the other eucyons he’d gathered into rathars. Immune to magic as they were, they took many dragons by surprise, and slew them, before the dragon learned more effective ways to fight the beasts.
Though they are a rare sight these days, they remain as fearsome as they ever were. Their pelts were and still are highly prized for their magical properties, but actually managing to kill a rathar to take its pelt is a difficult task.
No subspecies have been discovered for this species yet!