Centaurs & The Great Plain
To the south of the World Spine mountains which divide the continent of Alanthor lies the Great Plain.† For almost a thousand miles, from the mountains to the sea, there is only grass and scrub; no trees grow on the Great Plain and only shallow inclining hills disturb the broad flatness.† The few rivers that go this way from the World Spine are wide, warm and slow moving, home to only a few varieties of small unappetising fish.† One month of the year it rains both day and night causing flooding, while for the rest of the year it does not rain at all and one year in every ten there is no rainy season resulting in a long and protracted drought.† It is this seemingly inhospitable plain that the centaurs of Saas call home.
Centaurs are a wild and hardy people, standing about seven feet tall, their torsos are strong, muscular and although human in appearance their skin is like horsehide, covered in a fine hair.† The lower parts of a centaur are identical to those of a large pony with shortish stout legs and ample hind quarters.† Despite being rather heavily set, centaurs are actually very fast, able to move comfortably at twice the speed of a man.† The facial features of centaurs are flat, with large noses and eyes spread far apart while their hair grows from the top of their head all the way down their back; yet another reminder of their equine ancestry.
Centaurs are generally nomadic, their economy is based on breeding and training horses for export and herding buffalo for food.† The only city, if you can call it a city, on the entire Great Plain is Herdsmeet.† Herdsmeet has no walls and few buildings, since the plain has no trees and no quarrying efforts have returned any useful quantities of stone.† Indeed the Great Plain is mineral poor and while small quantities of gold and opals have been found in its shallow rivers there are neither iron nor bronze seems in the ground.† All forged items the centaurs possess come through trade with the dwarves, who constructed all of the buildings in Herdsmeet, including the very grand dwarven embassy.† The dwarves themselves do not ride horses, but do in turn trade them with all the human realms and even the elves Ė more than 4 in 5 of all horses sold in any horse market in the world will come from the Great Plain and many large contracts, such as supplying the army of Alanthor and the Riders of Denn (a mercenary company from the human principality of Dundersdenn) have been held by the dwarves and centaur alliance for several hundred years.† It is not just economic ties which bind the dwarves and the centaurs.† The centaur race does not have its own language, as most other races do; they speak dwarf and have inherited many dwarven customs and their system of law, whose family focus adapted easily to the centaur concept of herds.
Also unlike virtually any other race, centaurs are born adventurers.† Every centaur has a character class, being either a fighter: one of the many warriors charged with defending the herds, a ranger: being an actual herder, or a druid: one of the very few centaurs who deal with administrative and legal duties or who advise the leaders of the larger herds.† At any given time 5% of the centaur race will be engaged on some adventure far from the Great Plain, traditionally they travel in a party of fellow centaurs and occasionally a dwarf, but nowadays they are more frequently found mixing with humans who can travel faster than the dwarves.
Centaur names are very complicated in their construction, a trait they doubtless inherited from the dwarves.† Centaur names are made up according to an ancient formula from the names of their parents and grandparents.† It should be noted that these are proper centaur names, but as adventurers almost every centaur has an improper name which they use for their swash and buckling.† Adventuring names are formal, despite how other races might perceive them, while proper centaur names are quite intimate.† It is a sign of great friendship for centaurs to use each othersí proper names and for non-centaurs to be allowed to do so is a mark of great honour which is afforded to very few.
Centaur Proper Names Chart
First Male Name = Fatherís First Name, Motherís First Name
First Female Name = Motherís First Name, Fatherís First Name
Second Male Name = Motherís Second Name, Fatherís First Name
Second Female Name = Fatherís Second Name, Motherís First Name
Third Male Name = Fatherís First Name, Motherís Second Name
Third Female Name = Motherís First Name, Fatherís Second Name
Fourth Male Name = Fatherís Full Name
Fourth Female Name = Motherís Full Name
Fifth Male Name = Motherís Fatherís First Name, Fatherís Second Name
Fifth Female Name = Fatherís Motherís First Name, Motherís Second Name
Sixth Male Name = Fatherís Fatherís First Name, Motherís Motherís First Name
Sixth Female Name = Motherís Motherís First Name, Fatherís Fatherís First Name
A female centaur will be considered fertile if she produces 4 foals in a lifetime. 5 is a remarkable accomplishment, while 6 foals is so rare that the last time it happened was about 250 years ago. It is possible for there to be duplicate names in a herd because of this system, but it is accepted and since Centaur names are unisex it doesnít really matter.† The male head of a centaur herd has mating rights with all the females in that herd, while if the herd leader is female, she may select the male who mates with the female centaurs.† Cross-species breeding between centaurs and another race is impossible.
Centaurs live longer than most humans, but nowhere near as long as dwarves.† Their useful life as herders comes to an end at about the age of 80, and they die soon after that.† Of course the druids, who are not concerned with the activities of herding, can live to be as old as twice that age.
Centaurs are grazers who supplement their low protein diet with buffalo meet, which they can eat raw by virtue of their extra molars and pre-molars which break down even the toughest of food before swallowing.† Centaurs are a subsistence people who seldom achieve what other races would consider wealth, but those that do must keep that wealth mobile and preferably wearable.† As a result, on the Great Plain coins are worth 10% less than their normal value, while jewellery is worth 10% more, small art items are worth 50% less and bulky items are near worthless, selling for only 10% of their true value.† Centaurs do not own land since the idea that something so large as land can belong to anyone is foreign to them.† They long ago sold all the Great Plain to the dwarves in exchange for a bounty of jewellery Ė a deal which the dwarves came to rue when discovering the sparsity of minerals and its unsuitability for cultivation.
Creating A Centaur
All characters on Saas have their abilities determined by a points system rather than dice rolling.† Centaurs have remarkable strength and their rough lives demand that their racial minimums be high.† As a result they have 84 points to spend, but their final scores must be within these limits, and the normal racial modifiers do not apply to this system.† Centaurs may only be fighters, rangers or druids.
Attribute: Min / Max
STR: 8 / 19
DEX: 8 / 18
CON: 8 / 18
WIS: 3 / 18
INT: 3 / 16
CHA: 3 / 17
Centaurs have the following special abilities.
Equine: Centaurs have a normal movement of 24í, double that of a normal human.† However they only move at one-sixth normal speed (4í) over rocky or mountainous terrain, they find steps difficult to climb unless they are very broad and ladders are impassable for centaurs.† Centaurs are large creatures and all the relevant rules apply.
Nomadic: Centaurs may only own what they can carry and are very unlikely to build a stronghold.† Centaurs will attract human or dwarf followers if they build a stronghold, and will attract centaur followers if they do not.† At name level the non-landed centaur becomes a herd master whose followers, who will already possess a herd of horses or buffalo, will seek him out so that he can mate with their centaur stock and improve their herd.
Bonus Skills: Adventuring centaurs have always had some kind of professional training before they embarked on their adventures.† To represent this, fighters have the bonus proficiencies of animal handling & endurance; rangers have animal handling & animal training (horses); and druids have animal handling & reading/writing (dwarf).† All centaurs speak dwarf and somewhat accented and clumsy common.† All these skills are free.
Non-Vital Race: Centaurs were created after the Fall by one of the mortal gods, as such they lack the vital divine spark and as a result both rangers and druids always require a holy item to cast their spells.† This holy item is not consumed by casting and takes the place of all material components worth less than 100gp.