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Minotaur

"I tell you now Hue-mun, any Meen-o-tar is a better fight than your kind! Even a calf with soft horns will beat you! My first kill was a Fire Tie-tan in a tribe that attack my village when I was barely off my mother's teat!" A heavy muscled arm covered in short red-brown hair slammed the table. "Ah, was a great fight! The sprits sang in my heart. This was my destiny! My people tell stories about the young one who beat the Tie-tan."
The human drinking companion shook his head of blue-black hair. Hook nosed, high cheekbone features and a light brown tan skin. "Loho, your people tell stories about you passing out drunk in the barn."
"After drinking a dozen others under the table!" bellowed the Minotaur.
"I was there. There were three of us."

Basic Information

Anatomy

Bipedal with cloven hooves, a tail with short hair in the proximal section with long hair on the last 1/3 (though frequently trimmed) and side growing arc shaped horns. Below and ahead of the horns are wide ears. The eyes are partially side set and give a wide field of view and binocular overlap. The face is long with strong jaws and wide between the horns. They look like humanoid bovine with hands. The teeth are omnivorous with sharp shearing premolars. The nails are thick and black but may be painted. They have long hair on the back of the head and partially down the thick, short neck. Highland, or Mountain breeds have this hair over the top and hanging over the eyes. The Plains breed lack it completely. They have 4 pectoral nipples and females can develop significant mammaries.

Biological Traits

Most common breeds are Plains and Highland. The Plains breed has no head hair. The Highland type has hair that covers the head and hangs down to the level of the eyes and goes down the neck.

Growth Rate & Stages

Calves are single to twins, rarely triples or quadruplets. Triplets and quads have a higher death rate with only a few surviving. For the first few years calves have only cartillage horn nubs. Both males and females have horns. These mineralize by 4-5 years and start forming full horns. Minotaurs reach sexual maturity by age 12-14 but will require upto 20 years for full physical maturity. Gestation is 290-310 days. Calves will start eating solids or ground foods by 6 months and are typically weaned by 1 year, but longer can occur.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Minotaurs are omnivores.  Meat is a status diet.  Minotaurs also practice extensive use of female lactation products - milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, cream and custards.  They do not practice animal agriculture aside from fowl.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Minotaurs are typically tribal and traditional. The family is extended with several generations together, typically under leadership of the family member with the greatest Glory and renown. The Tribe is led by family of highest renown and Glory. Females are typically restrained by gestation and calf nursing, but may have wet nurses of low status individuals or younger mothers. Lactation is extended with nursing calves for upto 3-4 years or self milking. Either sex may be active at any level in the society, but females tend to generally be lower Glory than males. Same sex couples or attractions are accepted. Intersex individuals are rare, as are trans/gender crossed. Status is only dependent on Glory.
Minotaur are seasonally nomadic. They will shelter in and improve caves or sod and timber homes that they return to year after year. They will also use wood reinforced round tent dwellings (Yurt).  They will pull wagons or carts with tools and supplies, or carry everything in backpacks.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Minotaur females produce and may trade milk products with Centaurs or other species.  "Milk maid" is a respected, but low status position.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Hearing is slightly better than human. Vision is worse, being a bit near sighted.  Minotaur typically have augmented "spirit sight" as an aspect of their Twilight path.  Sense of smell is slightly better than humans.

Civilization and Culture

Beauty Ideals

Minotaur hold physical strength and agility as attractive. Greater Glory and the associated personal powers and overall renown also make for attraction.  Minotaur will paint hooves and nails or decorate horns. Horn carving is practiced and is a beauty adornment when done well.  Braids in hair or other decorations, earirngs, bangles and other jewelry add to both appearance and display.
Display is also important to Minotaur beauty.  Heavy drinking skills, raucoous and bawdy singing and dancing, telling stories (preferably about your own or allies achievements and adventures), generosity in deed and gifts.  It is important that the individual makes a statement with their presence and achievements be publicized in stories and songs, even if embarrassing. Reputation as a lover, a fighter, a cunning opponent and worthy rival or ally is important.

Gender Ideals

Both genders have warrior image ideals.  Skill in arms, strength, bravery and nobility in spirit being held in high esteam.  Females also have an image as the mother and provider. Of course Minotaur also respect those who can invoke the spirits of crafting or even totems of made things which requires much effort and personalization to cause them to awaken. A great warrior who can't feed themselves or make or maintain equipment or shelter is not much of a hero.
Female adornment relates to the role they wish to promote: warrior, mother, lover.  Arms and armor, painting to show up a scar for a wound related to a grand tale. Jewelry that shines and shows value. Fruits and flowers to show provider. Or jewelry that represents foods, flowers, fruits and bees or honey comb. Bustier harnesses to display and show off breasts and outfits that show off hip and chest or colorful clothes which may also suggest skill in harvest, spinning and weaving.. 
The male standards show muscle and strength.  Wealth and prosperity with gold and silver bracers, rings and ear rings. Horn carvings, and scars. Bold clothes colors or cuts which leave little to imagination.  He may select to show provider aspects with spun and woven cloth of his making as a cape or blanket or sometimes a skirt. Jewelry and ornament would be representing fruits  and flowers.

Courtship Ideals

Minotaurs hold courtship as a great opportunity for public display.  Songs extolling a desired one's virtues. Sometimes countered with mocking comedic put downs for refused advances. Gifts and tokens of affection and recognition like a garland, a cloth, or jewelry. There is romantic display and respect displays.  The difference  may be difficult for nonMinotaurs, given that a warrior might hold both respect and romantic love for a leader or a village beauty or even profound respect for skilled crafters.

Relationship Ideals

Family lineage holds import, on both maternal and paternal sides. The import is in association somewhat less than blood. A female announces father of calves and there may be a fight or bidding war between a current partner and a birth father over taking the calf into their lineage.  Calves are of both family lines, though traditionally males follow the paternal (or adopted) while females follow the maternal.  Sometimes one line is taken over the other by calves on adulthood. This might be because of shames taken by one parent or the other, or sometimes grandparents.  The formality of marriage is non existent and seen of no import - it doesn't change who your family is by birth or association.  Likewise mutual respect and observation is important between couples. Some Minotaurs select to live in poly-partnership relations long or short term.  As with all Minotaur cultural practices public display of respect and affection is important - living as a statement.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Minotaur speak the Centaur Taurien language at core. They may learn others or take up common, local or trade languages where living with other species.

Common Dress Code

Minotaur typically dress in leather, woven fabrics in bold primary colors, or armors. They do not wear footwear except in deep snow or hot sand, both of which do well with improved traction and dispersed surface ( snow or sand shoes). The natural fur is short and provides limited insulation in cold.  Modesty is foreign to Minotaur sensibility- if you have something to flaunt, do so.  This is quite outrageous to humans of the Imperial lands.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

Whi-vol: (Twilight path: Wyld - The Wheel): The Natural world of senses, & pleasures. Order and stability. The major customs relate to the path of Glory.
It is a cause of shame to be caught publicly in lies, in idleness, to lose in combat (but worse to avoid combat), to refuse to offer or to betray hospitality or betray or harm guests under hospitality, sneaky or shadowy behaviors and trying to hide things (like a secret romance, or covering up bad behavior- though there is glory in trying to stop someone from acting shamefully), Disrespecting tokens of recognition from romantic interests or higher ranked persons, to speak ill of family, tribe or superiors - (except with them), or to harm or kill those unable to defend themselves. (Likewise speaking ill of those not present to defend themselves). Failing to defend the weak, a shrine, or one's own status.

Glory is gained in duels, combat against many or larger/ stronger opponents, displays of generosity and of bravery, gifts and honors given to higher ranked, loud public bragging, public declaration of romance, giving tokens of recognition, supporting the glory of another, enforcing hospitality or preventing someone from doing something that would cause shame, representing family, tribe or village symbolically or officially, gaining justice for clan, family, tribe or others, gaining immortality in songs and stories for exploits or completed quests, dedication of shrines to spirits (Elementals, combat spirits, weapons, places) or destroying enemy shrines and carrying out successful wild exploits, the wilder the better. The Minotaur lives large and projects as large an image as they can.

As a Minotaur gains Ranks of Glory, they gain abilities related to spirit invocation and voluntary acting as vehicles for the associated or invoked spirits. Sometimes this goes wrong and a Bane or Manitou spirit of malice and evil is invoked.

Common Taboos

Each individual is subject to a specific Vice weakness that should be resisted.
• Greed: Avarice and acquisitiveness in extreme and without concern for consequences. More is better, all is best. This Vice drives acquiring things by theft, trickery, bribe, murder, betrayal. Scavenging and hoarding - wealth, knowledge, art, Magic, something rare, a place or a dream. Having is all important. tightwad and never let it go, suspect others out to steal or undercut, cheap .
    • Gluttony: Over consumption - of goods, of sensation, of food, of drugs. Indulgence without restraint, relent or foresight. Consumption without end. Collector of all, or only the very best - the finest products and only the best. The conissour of sensation and experience.
    • Lust: The unrestrained desire, craving and seeking after surface and the moment’s pleasures soon past and missed without appreciation. Snide comments, pandering and lasciviousness. Rude comments and innuendo. Frequently sexual lechery, wanton and wanted, but also acquired things, positions or status as goals to achieve but not of value in themselves - things and actions are tick marks to be pursued, taken and pursued anew.
    • Envy: Resentment over something they desire that another has - status, beauty, wealth, friends. The possessor should lose it and the envious gain it. You are owed respect, owed people doing things for you, owed favors. Spiteful behavior
    • Pride: excessive self worth, achievements, status and importance. Unwarranted effusive praise for deeds, accomplishments or qualities. Self righteous, holier than thou, busy body. Vain, bragging, gloryhound and distinguished by a calling card or mark they must know it was YOU.
    • Sloth: Sadness, despair and depression. It is better to never try. The easiest path, simple and least demanding. Ignoring right wrong or best in favor of only self interest.
    • Wrath: Hate and rage. They are out to thwart you, undercut you, and if thing go wrong it is their fault. They are enemies. Impatience with having to deal with lessers and idiotics. Need to punish the impure or those who are not in agreement with you.

History

Minotaur oral history says that they joined the world of forms from beyond and tied themselves to the world for the duration.  They aspire to the Twilight Path of Glory, which is a path of stability and the Wheel of the Wyld natural world.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Minotaurs and Centaurs share an interconnected history. They share the Paths and Houses and concepts of Honor and Glory, and the dark aspected Kwee|| path - though Centaurs tend to follow Honor while the Minotaurs follow Glory.  The ancient wild tribes fought and formed alliances and have grown together in the thousands of years battling Ghenid, Bahku , demons , Yokai, Titans and the other monsters and barbarians of the east.  Minotaur are more suspicious of humans and fae.
Society is organized by Rheeu. (ʁiˈʊ) - Paths which sets Dharma and purpose. This structure is shared with the Centaurs. The Personal Goals are set in the Houses that feature a Virtue focus and Pillars of focus, while individuals suffer temptations and weakness in their Vice ( or Weakness Virtue of Kwee* Path) or Virtue failures.
Minotaur culture is Whi-vol, Glory path oriented

Rheeu

(Paths) Wyrd - Change and progress, Wyld- Nature and worldliness (stability) Wyrm: Chaos, Disorder. The Rheeu can be changed but requires revocation and denial of prior work, locking it away unless the new path is revoked in favor of the old one.

  Jhioop:( Day Path: Wyrd - The ascendant) Change and progress. The day path seeks to refine the Po instinctual /animal souls into the Higher soul - to repress the instinctual and body demands. Austerity, minimalism and stoicism are the main practices. Live for higher ideas and values. They seek to observe and savor the moment, while Whi-vol, Twilight path, celebrates and revels. They respect rank, achievement and seniority. Jihoop magic consists of Node stones which are focuses of stored/ displaced mental and physical qualities and traits which can be called back from the Node. Very high rank masters may make a Node available to another or use someone else's Node.

  Whi-vol: (Twilight path: Wyld - The Wheel): The Natural world of senses, & pleasures. Order and stability. This path seeks to link and merge the higher soul into Po soul. Glory and excitement / fun rule their concerns. Live for the day and experience. While the Jhioop sips, the Whi-vol gulps and indulges. Whi-vol magic is in the unity of spirits and the practitioner invokes possession by spirits in dance trace, running, drink & drugs, orgy, song and music to perform magics. Leaders are respected for being bigger than life, bold and loud.

  Kwee|| :( Kwee- side mouth click so it sound kind of like "Quick") (Night Path: Wyrm - Breakers) - Instability, Chaos and destruction. Give themselves over to the power of hates and evil spirits - banes and manitou. The Kwee|| user seeks revenge, destruction of enemies or rivals, or a fast path of power and dominance. Use acquires progressively more Corruption - The manitou and banes require acts of evil, and it frequently advances faster than the user expects and they become consumed and lost to it.

Houses


House is the primary focus of the individual's drives. There are two Positive and one Negative pillar ( the Kwee|| path).   Sun: House of Duty. (Valor) Warriors. Doers - actions before words: defeat a challenge or overcome a difficult obstacle.
• Challenge, Competition, labor, production, tenacity, Courage. Righteous • Pillar of Honor and Duty: The challenge of overcoming challenges or tasks Courage • Pillar of Arms: Martial skill in combat to defeat enemies or obstacles • Pillar of Death and wrath, creating obstacles. Destruction and waste. Cause fear in the weak.
Test: If failing an objective, courage, flee a fight. If failed = Anger: must hunt and destroy an enemy. Reckless: immediately charges into combat without fear or restraint at next opportunity.

  Moons: House of Passion: Artists, Makers. (baccinalians) - instictive (feeling). Win massively, act on impulse or feeling. Passions and feelings define the self
• Art , Making and Music (love, Compassion) - (Jealousy, bitterness). • Pillar of Compassion, fellowship, sharing, charitability. Equity. Helping poor, suffering, sick. • Pillar of Creation: generosity, making, revel and inspire • Pillar of Cruelty and selfishness, insensitivity, meaness
Test: to ignore pleas for mercy or help, the sick, innocent, oppressed. Failure = Martyr: will throw self into taking blows, helping victims in most direct way without violence. Sacrifice wealth or goods. Tears: loss of action for a turn, able only to flee. Rage: immediately attacks causes of suffering

Stars. House of Understanding. (teachers, healers, sages) - Seekers of the truth of all things, (Knowing, Understanding). Find secrets, plan work. There is a name or identity that is the truth to and with all things. Reveal or discover a truth or lie/ deception
• Thought and Study (Reason, Temperance)- (Disorder, chaos isolation) patience, tact • Pillar of Mastery: Must find out about a thing. collect library • Pillar of Service - understanding others as ourselves: Empathy, forgiveness, Kindness • Pillar of Secrets: Greed and control - destroyer of secrets
Test: To act rashly, engage in heavy drink, lie, to hoard without a plan or end. Thwarted by indulgence of others. Failure = Ascetic cast or give away all possessions and retreat to solitude and meditation in a temple or isolated location for days or weeks. Puritan: attack the vanities or indulgences and excess of others. Overindulgence binge - will beg, borrow or steal to make way to a place for sex, gluttony, drink or drugs for 1d12 hrs.

  Eclipse: House of Commitment - Judges, Merchants - rightness, things that are built and made matter. They are proved right. Right a wrong. Mediate. (Certainty). Dealers.
• Justice, trade ( Conviction) - (manipulation, deciet, theft): Loyalty, Honesty, respect, Prudence • Pillar of Justice: law, rightful authority, Integrity, • Pillar of Judgement: Fairness and honor are most important • Pillar of Deceit - manipulation, Sophistry
Test: Abandon companions, Give up under hardship, in face of torture or adversity. Backed to the wall. Commit Atrocity or cause wrongs. Failure = Cruelty: wound, kill, or beat to force loyalty and obedience. Contempt: treats others as inferior / flawed and will browbeat or attempt to show the “right path’ by any means necessary.

  Void: House of Purity - connections, patterns and conspiracy: Clear undiluted. Pure perfect motives. Excellence.
• Humility, Gratitude. (Pride, Hubris) Purity. reliability • Pillar of Loyalty, Devotion • Pillar of Sincerity, Oathkeeping • Pillar of Unclean: Disease, madness
Test: Oath breaking, Causing collateral damage, Failure of trust or loyalty. Failure= Fault Finding: belittle others with mockery. Meekness: Dithers and indecisive following direction from others. Shame: shy and over aware of dress , rudeness, nakedness or inuendo or suggestion/ suggestiveness.
Lifespan
100-150 years
Average Height
1.7 to 2 meters +/-

Minotaur Spirit Magic

As a minotaur gains greater Glory they seek to awaken their Po and other spirits with a goal of unifying in a greater perfection. The fist stages are awakening fuller exchange between the Ba and Po spirits - allowing the Minotaur to see as the Po spirit does. They then awaken it to alert them or to act as another set of eyes, to improve body function and grant faster healing, resistance to disease or toxins or augmented abilities like strength or aim or going without breathing longer than 5 minutes. The highest ranked may even regrow limbs, eyes or regenerate from severest injury as they augment the Po's normal powers over the body ( Females may also reject begetting calves, or cause the body to eject the male's seed).
 
They may call elemental, weapon, emotion or other spirits to invoke their powers and influences to help the Minotaur or to give the spirits a host to manifest more advanced powers. The higher ranked will frequently have medicine bags and talens which hold spirits or pleasing offerings to spirits that help with travel, navigation, repairs and maintenance of possessions or may outright grant magical effects to help aim, hit and damage opponents or produce effects like flame, cold, wind or water.

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Cover image: https://azgaar.github.io/Fantasy-Map-Generator/ by mutterwolf

Comments

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13 Dec, 2020 10:13

This is so detailed! I love the sheer amount of thought you have put into their culture and what this represent to them. Very impressive.

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
13 Dec, 2020 10:22

Thanks. I'm trying to make the culture interesting and relevant to players (if I ever DM again) . It is also a few years of stewing behind the scenes. This is why I am putting the races and cultures up.

13 Dec, 2020 19:35

There's so much detail here - I love it. I particularly like the sections on gender and beauty ideals. There was a lot of fun stuff to picture there. The fact that it can be a job of a female minotaur to make milk and turn it into a bunch of products is a fascinating detail - sounds so weird to a human mind, but it completely makes sense in their culture. I love the description of the different paths too. :D

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!