Beastfolk, Danali (3.5e Race)
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A shy and retiring folk by nature, though not timid when called to stand up for their defense, the Danali are dwellers in the plains, veldts, and thickly-forested lands of the world, while a few even go so far as to dwell in the less-inhabited mountain peaks. Close relatives of the ibixians (the Goatfolk in Monster Manual III), but vastly less savage and brutish, the Danali generally seek to live in peace, not troubling other races more than is absolutely necessary. Most live in quiet gatherer societies, as they are an herbivorous race, living off the lush vegetation of the lands they prefer to inhabit, and not disturbing the natural world more than necessary. Because they are far from the civilized lands, however, they are almost constantly in the midst of dangerous territory, and so they grow up living with the reality of sudden death, and their society has developed to adapt to these constant dangers. They were almost wiped out on more than a few occasions, but thanks to the intervention of other races they were able to recover and have begun to thrive in their quiet lands.
To outsiders, the Danali seem at the same time both serene and flighty. They are a watchful, careful species, ever alert for danger, and suspicious of (though not hostile towards) new people and events. Flight is more common for them than fighting, though they see nothing wrong with the clever use of strategic withdrawals to allow attacks from ambushes, using their natural speed to its best advantage. They show their emotions without restraint, feeling that it is best to get such things out in the open quickly so that they do not endanger the rest of the tribe at inopportune moments. At the same time, they live with a knowledge that they are in harmony with the natural world, and most do not agonize over their personal lives. Of far greater importance is survival, and the Danali, for all their flightiness and tendency for strong emotions, are a very practical people.
The Danali are a slender folk, with all the stunning wild grace of the cervids (deer and antelope) that they most resemble, and which they can be said to call their ancient ancestors, before their rise to full sentience and bipedal stance. Fleet of foot and most charming in manner, the Danali prefer to keep to themselves, lacking the muscle mass to compete with the more dangerous races such as wolfen and orcs in direct confrontation. They are one of the most varied of species, taking on characteristics of the cervines to be found in their homelands, in the form of hoofed feet and an ungulate's gait, fur, muzzles and large ears, and with horns on top of their heads, though the females of some varieties lack these horns. Their eyes are various shades of brown, hazel or black, though an exceedingly rare few might have green eyes. Their general appearance varies greatly, ranging from antelope-like forms in warm climates, to whitetail and mule deer appearances in temperate climes, to wapiti, elk and reindeer in the coldest of climes, though they are all the same species. Because of this great variation, the Danali can vary between 3' all the way up to just under 8' tall, with the larger sizes being most common in the coldest regions, and smaller breeds living in warmer ones, the very smallest living in the mountain areas of those warm lands. Regardless of their height, however, Danali tend to be very slender and graceful, ranging between 90 lbs. in the warmer climes to around 180 lbs. at their largest and heftiest.
Danali seem to live in a world filled with enemies, for their preference for fleeing as they fight seems only to encourage the mighty races to try and pillage them. Orcs and wolfen are some of the worst races that are known for troubling the Danali, and the Danali come as close to true hate as they ever do when considering these savage folk. They are wary of catfolk, who have also been known to take advantage of them on some occasions, though with nowhere near the frequency of orcs and wolfen. Elves are the natural allies of Danali, liking their gentle ways and unfettered emotions, and on some occasions it was the actions of the elves that saved this race from the brink of extinction, allowing them to begin to prosper. Dwarves view Danali as more unreliable and flighty than elves, but they also recognize that the deerfolk have no malice, and so they will not allow those small communities of Danali living in the mountains to be molested overmuch by the giants and other species that make those realms their homes, which has earned them the friendship of the Danali, something which the dwarves regard dubiously, but also with grudging acceptance of allies where they can get them. Some human peoples viewed the Danali as a resource to be exploited, and contributed to their dangers, while other humans aided the Danali, and so the deerfolk generally take this race on a case-by-case basis.
Preferring to leave the outside world to its own affairs and to mind their own, the Danali still are willing to help others whenever the occasion permits and they are not being directly endangered. They do not often have much beyond basic subsistence, but what they do have, they are willing to share. For this reason, most Danali are Neutral Good in alignment.
The lands in which the Danali live are those that would be called wilderness by others. Desolate mountains, wide, sprawling veldts, and lush, verdant forests are the places that they call home. Unlike the elves, who meld with nature as they live in one place, the Danali bend with nature, living nomadic lives that vary with each season as they travel where there is food and they will not leave an impact upon the world around them.
Most Danali worship Ehlonna, doing their best to live in harmony with nature. They worship deities of protection and healing and nature, preferring ones with more gentle natures, finding harsher deities too frightening for their tastes.
The Danali speak Common and Ibixian, the language of the Goatfolk. As bonus languages, they can select Avian, Dwarven, Elven, Feline, Giant, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc and Wolfen.
Danali are not given names at birth, since there is little assurance of survival for that long, instead getting them after they have entered adolescence. These names are usually descriptors of their physical or personality traits, such as Fleet, Whitefoot, Startail, Sunsmile, or Stormhorn. Surnames come from great acts of an individual that sometimes carry on to that individual’s children, such as Racer, Archer, or River-Runner.
Danali often feel the need to repay the many debts of their race’s survival back to those who have helped them in the past, either to the still-living or to their descendants, the children of those who were helped going out into the world to help the children of those who helped them. Their passion for life and living can make them welcome additions to almost any group to boost morale, and their native agility and fleetness of foot can give them great maneuverability on any field of battle.
- +2 Dexterity, -2 Strength
- Monstrous Humanoid
- Danali base land speed is 40 feet
- Variable Size: Can take the Dwarfism or Gigantism Feats at 1st level without restriction.
- Light Build: Danali cannot wear heavy armor
- Natural Weapons: Horns (1d6 piercing damage), x2 damage if used in a charge
- Automatic Languages: Common, Ibixian. Bonus Languages: Avian, Dwarven, Elven, Feline, Giant, Gnoll, Gnome, Goblin, Orc, Wolfen.
- Favored Class: Ranger or Scout.
- Level Adjustment: 0
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