The Beasts of Terratus are a race of partially-humanoid creatures whose history is as disputed among humans as it is between the various Beasts’ tribes. A race of hulking, hairy monsters who value predatory strength and skill above all else, these territorial hunters once ranged the whole of Terratus, but due to Kyros’ encroaching conquest, now thrive primarily in the Tiers. Humans often worry Beasts have a larger agenda—but their goals are as fragmented as their tribes. Survive. Thrive. Kill all humans. Become the dominant species. Who knows what they’re really after?
Though the truth of their legends cannot be confirmed, by and large the Beasts believe that rather than evolving from smaller, four-legged carnivores, they are a more developed version of the human race, shaped over thousands of years by the magic of the land, sea, and sky in order to become tougher, fiercer, and more deadly—in order to be better predators than their hairless, blunt-clawed ancestors. Their presence in the known world predates the emergence of humans and according to some, even the creation of the Oldwalls and Spires of Terratus.
Regardless of the truth of who’s evolved from whom, there’s certainly little dispute regarding these creatures’ ties to the land, as seen by the varied adaptations distinctive to each tribe. Dark and sleek as a starless night, the Shadowhunters were clever, agile predators who killed from the shadows, whereas the Stonestalkers tend to larger builds and can be as dull-witted as boulders. The Mantaborn of Stalwart’s coast are a semi-aquatic tribe, rarely if ever seen outside their nests. One common feature of Beasts is that they are mystically attuned to the magic permeating the world of Terratus, to the point where they are capable of instinctively perceiving and feeling the magical fields surrounding Spires and Oldwalls, hinting at a deeper connection between them.
Their relations with humans vary, as do the names their hairless "housemates" use. Beastmen' is the Tiers term for them. In other lands they're called all manner of things: Wanderers, Howlers, and Cavekin are just the tip of the iceberg. They don't seem to have a name for themselves, not beyond their tribes. Interestingly, the Overlord doesn't even mandate a legal term for them and their status under the Overlord's law leaves some room for interpretation. Enough room that it doesn't seem to be an oversight.
Beasts do not think the same as humans do. As wild yet sapient creatures, their experience of the world is extremely visceral and sensory-related. They consider themselves apex predators and take great pride and exhilaration in their ability to stalk and kill creatures of all types, humans sometimes included. However, they form strong emotional ties with their own kith, and will often express a range of complex, intense feelings within their speech, from thrill to fury to easy-going contentment.
The Beasts have a complex social structure and rich traditions once examined more closely. The most important of these are rites (roughly equivalent to human rituals and legal procedures), which are used to harvest azurelith (called Elder Teeth), celebrate the coming of age, honor hunting, and so on and so forth. Most tribes develop their own individual rites, with the most well known being those of the Stonestalker Tribe.
The tribes themselves are typically led by the strongest female called the Prima, her rank won through bloodshed and dominance and just as often lost the same way, and organized into distinct packs led by Alphas. While Beast tribes are often matriarchal due to the fact that females are typically larger and more aggressive than the males of their race, it’s not completely unheard of for a male to lead a smaller hunting pack within the larger tribe. In general, there are several roles in the tribe:
- Prima: The leader of a Beast tribe. A supremacy almost always held by a female, this rank is won and defended through vicious bloodshed and fights for dominance rather than birthright. Many Alphas may exist within a single tribe, but only one can rise above the others as Prima.
- Alpha: Head of a hunting pack within the tribe.
- Bolverk: The ranking second-in-command of a Beast pack. A position often held by the most savage of Beastwomen, the Bolverk's primary responsibility is to enforce order and obedience within the tribe and carry out the Prima's commands. In the smaller structure of a pack, the Bolverk performs these same duties in loyalty to the Alpha.
- Caitiff: An outcast.
Few Beastmen have accepted fealty to Kyros - it would seem the notion of bowing to a person you have not seen in the flesh is insanity. This inability to bow to the Overlord will no doubt doom the species, for Kyros does not suffer such token insults.
List of tribes
- Stonestalkers (Stone Sea)
- Shadowhunters (one survivor)
- Katvanas (migrated to the North)
- Westreavers (migrated to the North)
- Old Talons (Frozen Cloud)