Sunday, April 8, 2018

Centaur

Existing in small numbers throughout the old world, these beasts arose from mysterious origins in the wooded steppes of central Asia, perhaps 5,000 years ago. Legend has it that they are the children of the demi-god Ixion, a son of Ares, who mated with horses in eastern Greece, but there are similar tales told in India, suggesting that the centaurs migrated outward into both India and the Mediterranean basin, about 2,000 years ago.

Today they are found in sylvan woodlands, where they keep to themselves. They are reclusive in nature and dwell in a pastoral manner, without constructing dwellings or gathering in large numbers. They are not territorial, moving from place to place, and are friendly to strangers. They are excellent crafters and are known for making most everything they use from raw materials, most of which can be found in their habitat (with the exception of mined products). They are known to venture forth to small villages in order to trade tanned leather goods, weapons or medicines they have made in exchange for metals, gemstones and especially for distilled beverages (see intoxication, below). They do not wear clothing but enjoy jewelry.

Advantages

Centaurs are formidable fighters, being possessed of a high average of ability stats and skilled in the use of bows, swords, quarterstaffs, clubs and slings. In melee, they fight with front hooves and with weapon, attacking three times per round, wisely focusing their attacks on what they consider the most dangerous opponents. They rarely remain in a direct hand-to-hand confrontation for more than a round or two, as their speed will enable them to bound away while under cover from their own archers. Whenever fighting an enemy, at least half their number will fire missiles to hold off an enemy, seeking most of all to target spellcasters who begin weaving spells.

Centaurs are naturally +2 to hit with bows and +1 to hit with clubs, which will cause 2-8 damage on a hit. One of their number will typically carry a magic +1 or +2 sword, which the centaurs make themselves and guard jealously, making all effort not to allow it to fall into another's possession. They will carry shields that is hung on a belt around their horse-body when not used, as will be the case with centaurs acting as archers. Centaurs have a natural 5 armor class. With shield, this is 4. Centaurs are not known to employ any other armor.

Many will have a high strength or additional hit points from constitution, while a strong dexterity will improve many an armor class. Among centaurs, 1 in 6 will have training as a level class ranger; 1 in 13 will have training as a druid. The centaur herd generator can be found below.

Leadership

Very rarely, centaur herds will be found without any leveled individuals. These herds will tend to be more passive and willing to move on if asked; they will be more willing to trade and, if asked by a druid, 1-2 may be willing to take part in adventuring with the party.

Rangers

Class rangers will have responsibility for the herd. Low levels are called "leaders" and will usually direct a part of the troop that enters melee or directs archers during combat. They will only be 1st or 2nd level. Above them will be higher level "stallions," who are most likely the strongest of the centaurs, from 3rd to 5th level. Not every herd will have a stallion. Very rare among centaurs are "herdleaders," who are rangers of 6th to 9th level. Centaurs are limited to 12th level as rangers, but those that have reached levels above 9th will typically act alone, sometimes as teachers or as respected advisers.

Druids

Low level centaur druids often act as "wardens," moving along outside the main herd and ensuring the welfare of the surrounding lands, seeing that it remains healthy and provides good food. Wardens are usually 1st to 2nd level and choose spells that are positive and non-aggressive in nature. Higher level druids are called "foresters." These will take more aggressive spells as they reach levels of 3rd to 6th, and will vigilantly seek out anyone they view as harming a forest. Foresters are most likely to encourage a centaur herd to move on, though they will let a stallion or a leader to direct the journey to a new pasture.

Intoxication

Centaurs are dangerous when they drink fermented beverages, with a reputation for becoming wild and warlike, even prone to rape and pillage. Villagers hesitate to trade with them for these reasons, but often the quality of goods that centaurs can offer makes an agreement tempting. It is always best to provide the drink in a manner that it will be found far from the village where the trade was made; though often another village bears the brunt of the agreement. Centaurs are not prone to kill, but they do damage property and greatly humiliate the populace when intoxicated.

To determine the make-up of a centaur herd, see the Centaur Herd Generator.

See Bestiary

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