Children of the forest, dwellers of the burrows, therigens are descendants of fey animals—sapient beasts of the Otherworld that came to live in the mortal world for so long they grew mortal themselves. Each therigen resembles an animal—the most common themes are badgers, beavers, black bears, bobcats, foxes, hares, hawks, hedgehogs, lizards, moles, newts, otters, owls, polecats, raccoons, toads, tortoises, vipers, wild pigs, weasels, and wolves. Other forms are possible but less common. Despite their physical differences all therigens are single species breeding true, with their animal theme being a reflection of their individual spirit and personality and not genetics. Therigens have no problems, nor taboos involving coupling of therigens of different themes and it bears only marginal influence over the theme of their progeny—it would be very rare for two therigens whose themes belong to the same class (two mammalian-themed therigens for example) to have child of different class (avian, amphibian, or reptilian), but couple of therigens of different classes could have progeny of any class. Even twin siblings can have different animal theme, corresponding to their individual personalities. Interestingly, therigens can breed with gnomes, with the rare progeny being particularly brightly colored therigen.
While therigens are fully sentient beings, they have a strong affinity for their primal, animalistic side, with limited patience for abstract and over-complex ideas. Their memories and analytical abilities tend to be slightly worse than of typical humanoids but they excel at sheer stubbornness and intuition.
Therigens grow fruits and vegetables in gardens and orchards near their dwellings, but avoid grains and other large scale farming. They often keep small animals and bees, supplementing their diet by gathering wild plants, hunting, and fishing. Consuming flesh of a dead sapient being is not only accepted but also viewed as sign of respect toward the deceased, turning funerals into happy feasts. Some of the darker therigens rituals involve sacrifice of a volunteer, or a randomly drawn member of the community, often involving public feasting on the sacrifice.
Physical Description: Therigens look like anthropomorphic animals, usually around five to five and a half feet tall. All posses fully functional hands. Their coloration matches natural coloration of animal they resemble but as they age and grow in individual power the tone and intensity may slowly shift beyond the normal ranges of their animal theme. Interestingly, while animal theme varies greatly between parents and their children, the coloration is more often consistent between close kin.
Society: Therigens live in small communities of few dozen individuals. They tend to form nuclear families that live in burrows, hollowed tress, shallow caves, and simple huts spread across certain area, instead of forming densely populated settlements. Therigens traditionally call their dwellings and their close surroundings "manors" with therigen or therigens family inhabiting particular manor having the right of first harvest of resources within the nearby area. The community composed of multiple manors is usually called a court and follows one of the three Laws: Green Law, Blue Law, or Red Law, sets of customs that are enforced by therigen rituals.
The Green Law favors coexistence. Therigens living according to it cooperate at maintaining ecological balance of their region, perform joint rites intended to bring abundance of nature's bounty on the area and help defend each other against monsters and intruders.
The Blue Law is the law of non-interference and chosen by therigens wishing to live apart and undisturbed. There is little cooperation, except for the threats to the whole region. The therigens are expected to respect each other and their regions, with a limited right of passage. Blue Law rituals focus on empowering privacy.
The Red Law is brutal and unforgiving. It gives therigens absolute dominion over their manors, including power over life and death of their children and their guests.
Both Green and Blue Law consider murdering another therigen of the court a grave crime. The Red Law on the other hand, only considers killing a therigen in his own manor a crime. Intruders and uninvited guests can be killed and eaten with impunity. Feasting on own children or an invited guest is considered a very bad form but is not forbidden. Blue Law also does not punish eating own children.
Therigens usually mate for life. Domination of one partner over the other is quite common and widely accepted but is based on individual personalities, not genders.
Relations: Therigens feel a degree of kinship with other benign animalistic races: catfolk, grippli, kitsune, ratfolk, tengu, and vanara, often calling them "cousins" or "distant siblings". They are quite warm toward gnomes, another Otherworldly immigrants. They prefer to keep their distance from other humanoids, especially those less attuned to nature like humans and dwarves.
Alignment And Religion: With their affinity to nature and spirits, therigens typically gravitate toward some degree of neutrality. Green Law courts tend to have more good aligned denizens, while Red Law courts are often populated by evil ones. Therigens usually worship spirits and deities of nature, both benevolent and cruel, and they keep lords and ladies of the fair folk in great reverence.
Adventurers: Therigens usually become adventurers because of curiosity or to search for a new place to live. Many begin their careers by dealing with the problems of their manor and court, and then move to bigger adventures. They often become druids, rangers, and shamans, followed by a number of ferocious and bestial therigens barbarians. Arcane casters, clerics, monks, and paladins are exceptionally rare vocations for therigens.
Names: Therigen names vary but they tend to either reflect sounds issues by their animal theme or sounds associated with their animal theme. They do not use family names, instead using toponymic by-names, derived from their birth court, or their manor.
Sample Names: Hark Of The Fangdale, Twirlit Songmanor, Graur Boneglade.
Therigen Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Wisdom, -2 Intelligence. Therigens are full of vitality and in tune with their animalistic side, but they have hard time dealing with abstract concepts.
Fey: Therigens are fey.
Medium Size: Therigens are Medium creatures.
Normal Speed: Therigens have land speed of 30 feet.
Low-light Vision: Therigens see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
Animalistic Spirit: Therigens can be affected by harmless effects that target animals and can select Aspect of The Beast feat without meeting its prerequisites.
Bite: Therigens have a bite natural attack, dealing 1d4 points of damage.
Native Land: Each therigen selects one terrain type from among forest, mountains, plains, swamp, and underground gaining +2 racial bonus to Survival and Stealth checks within such environment.
Wild Blessing: Each therigen has one of the following abilities: climb 20 feet, darkvision 60 ft, +1 natural armor, +10 feet land speed, swim 30 feet. The ability should fit the therigen's animal theme.
Languages: Common and Sylvan. Therigens with high Intelligence can choose from the following: Aquan, Elven, Giant, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, and Terran.
Therigens Racial Feats
Therigens can select following feats enhancing their racial abilities.
Favored Class Options
Barbarian: Add +1 to the barbarian's total numbers of rage rounds per day.
Druid: Add +1/3 to the druid's natural armor bonus while using wild shape.
Hunter: Add +1/2 to the total number of minutes the animal focus can be used per day.
Metamorph: Add +1/4 to the metamorph's evolution pool.
Ranger: Add +1/4 to saving throws while in native land.
Shaman: The shaman gains 1/6 of a shaman hex.
Slayer: Add +1/4 to attack and damage rolls while in native land.
Witch: Add +1/4 to caster level checks and concentration checks within the native land.