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In Belegarth Beastmen are a deviant race of humans who have been "blessed" by the old gods of the forest. They reject modern society and ritual and desire a return to a more primitive time when humans respected and feared the ancient gods of the wilderness. They see themselves as wandering hunters, nomads and warriors, a representation of ancient heroes in modern times. Others tend to see them as dangerous mercenaries or fearsome monsters.


A History of Tooth and Claw

In the long forgotten times when man had barely stepped from the caves and lived in the dark and perilous wilderness a different set of gods ruled. They were ancient, cruel and wise. Knowledgeable of all things that lay hidden in the dark woods and primordial wilderness that choked the lands of the distant past. In those times they taught humans how to hunt, how to fight, how to forage. They demanded harsh sacrifice and blood soaked rites, and in return they gave the pinkies of the olden days a gift:

The Totem Warriors

These were mortal born human children who had been touched by the gods of the wilderness. They were born with the traits of the great beasts that each god represented: the claws of the bear, the head of a wolf, the ears of the lynx, and many more. Some were almost fully feral, great bipedal beasts covered in hair and claw, others were more subdued, normal men and women with long, sharp teeth or reflective eyes.

In those days the Totem Warriors were called a blessing. They were the greatest fighters and leaders of the tribes, a boy born touched by the bear god could grow into a fearsome champion with thick hide and endless rage. They led their followers on many great campaigns, conquering their enemies, stealing their cattle and horses and driving the most hated to total extinction.

But this was not the way things could be forever. Slowly man settled down, he moved away from the wilds and into cities and villages. He planted fields and grew grains and with these things he worshiped new gods: friendly gods of fertility and light, sun gods and grass gods, gods of roads and gods of Order. And eventually he forgot about the old gods and their old ways. Only the most backwards folk, or some who were called witches or heathens still practiced the old rituals and even they didn't believe like they once had.

But the blood of those ancient warriors still ran in their veins, and the gods themselves were still very much alive. They sat deep in the forest, beyond the plotting points on any map, and they waited. They knew that what they represented was, in a way, undying. No matter how much humans pretended they were not animals, the old gods knew the truth.

Today the blood of the totem warriors bubbles to the surface on rare occasion in a mortal human child. In the fringes of society they are often banished or killed at birth as aberrations or mutants. In the cities some of the ones who can pass as normal do so and guard their secrets closely, others who cant often end up as side shows in circuses, social pariahs or gladiators fighting to the death in vicious pit fights where such things are allowed. Even in some places, villages still located deep in the wilds, or in the lands held by nomadic chaos worshipers, true Totem Warriors are born just as they were in the past and they are just as vicious.

Becoming a True Beastman

While all Beastmen are born a true Beastman is also made. Many would-be Beastmen live their entire lives repressing their true nature and ignoring who they are, real Beastmen consider these unfortunate souls at best subjects of scorn and pity and at worst traitors and affronts to the old gods.

To become a Beastman you must first take the steps down the Path of Awakening, to finally rise as a champion of the old ways.

The Call

All Beastmen, since they days they are young, will feel the call from the wilds. The Wyrd, the strands of fate that bind together all who are touched by the old ways remains ever tied to their spirits and while they can resist it, the pull will be there always. They are driven to wander and explore, to settle or roam deep in the wilderness. This strong wanderlust and desire for freedom and closeness to nature is the first part of The Call. The second is a message from the God for which their totemic powers descend from. Usually this will appear as a dream or a similar vision. They will learn their lineage and what animal their spirit is tied to. To become a Beastman you must heed and honor The Call.

The Wilding

Once The Call has been answered the young Beastman must go on their initiatory journey. Beastmen notoriously eschew things like formal ritual and strict titles, so it's not necessary to have your journey approved by a higher ranking Beastman. In fact, most Beastmen, regardless of rank or assumed roles would find the idea silly, becoming a Beastman is about accepting a part of yourself that has always been within you so you and you alone are in charge of your initiation into your new path. The journey is simple, a Beastman must travel to an event, sleep one night beneath the stars, and fight with as many great warriors as he can find. This process is called The Wilding and serves to tie the nascent warrior with the ancient warriors and Beastmen of the past who lived and died beneath the same stars.

The Ascendancy

Once a Beastman knows his past and has been placed on the road to his future he may Ascend to becoming a true Beastman. It is now that the Beastman builds his totem and mantle. These are often one and the same, but may also be different if he so chooses. The mantle is a special piece of garb or armor that lets all who see him know that he is a Beastman. Usually this takes the form of a literal mantle, a wrap of leather, fur and hide that symbolizes an allegiance to a more primal past. The totem on the other hand is a direct signifier of a Beastman's lineage. Often it takes the form of a belt flag or decoration featuring that animal, in more extreme cases it could even be a piece of that animal (tail, claw, etc).

Once this is done an individual is now a true Beastman, a one man reckoning upon the realms of men.


Titles, Honors and Codes

As the Beastmen come from a time before society had developed things like titles, they rarely use them. If a single Beastman leads a number of other Beastmen or followers into battle he may be known as a Chieftain, Warlord or similar title, but as with all titles in Beastman society they are claimed not bestowed. In many Beastman circles there has long be talk of a "High King" or a "Great Chieftain" who will one day rise to lead all the Beastmen against the enemies of the wilds. In reality this is highly unlikely as not only are Beastmen relatively rare in comparison to other monstrous races like Orcs and Goblins, they are also notoriously bad at organization and communication. Most Beastmen observe some form of a "code of the wild" a sort of loose set of guidelines based on the laws of old but realistically it's often just a very flexible set of proverbs that can justify just about any action.

Beastmen tend to be more brutal and uncompromising than humans. They have little respect for laws or authority and many are pirates, raiders, vikings and highwaymen. They see the ability to seize treasure and slay their enemies as the practical application of the survival of the fittest.


Beastmen prefer the company of other races who naturally exist on the fringes of society. They have limited patience for races like Catfolk or Gnolls as they find their identity as champions of humanity at odds with other beast-like monster races identity as separate races. You are much more likely to see them in the company of Orcs, Dusk Devils or similar strange creatures.


Beastmen practice a informal shamanistic belief in the old gods of the wilds. They make offerings to gods who represent either specific animals (spirits) or aspects of the lands (tree spirits and similar deities). The deity worshiped doesn't necessarily have to correspond to the animal lineage of the Beastman. A Beastman might, for instance, make an offering to the wolf spirit after a successful hunt.

Beastmen also are often drawn to the worship of Chaos Gods, especially in lands ruled by Chaos. It is not uncommon to see a Beastman who sports talismans or icons of Chaos. As Beastmen tend to be crude, violent and sometimes quite primitive, they find the direct savagery of Chaos to be an easy ideology to take to.

Beastmen in the modern lands of Belegarth

Outside of pack animal Beastmen who often travel in small groups, Beastmen tend to be solitary individuals. They most often serve as mercenaries and criminals, wandering around selling their services in whatever land or village they wander to next. Some serve as priests and priestesses of the gods of the forests, and even fewer as entertainers or laborers. In lands ruled by Chaos they appear among society in greater numbers, usually fighting in raiding parties or joining large armies as shock troops for campaigns. The most bestial of them live in almost total seclusion, emerging from their hiding places to terrify or plunder travelers and villages.

Their appearance can vary quite a bit. Some just look like more primal humans, maybe featuring some light animal traits (short horns, small tails, long claw-like nails) while others are undeniably beast-like in appearance (an example would be a minotaur or satyr). They also often wear large amounts of war paint, in imitation of their ancestors and patterns of war paint are often tied to specific tribal or totem identity.

OOC Information and Ideas about portraying a Beastman or developing additional Lore

First off I just wanted to say that, while Beastmen may have the appearance of an "umbrella" race I explicitly did not design them with the intention of replacing or co-opting any existing half-man/half-beast style races (Gnolls, Garou, etc). The idea behind Beastment came from many different places but one of the driving factors was to make a half-beast race that were Humans with beast-like features not the other way around (which is personally how I see the more anthropomorphized Belegarth races if that makes sense). I was going more for a Lunar Exalted (from the game Exalted) and the Beastmen as they are portrayed in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game (their portrayal in the miniatures game is a little more savage and less nuanced). There's more than a little influence from the Ghouls and Mutants from Fallout as well and a bit of the Tharn from Iron Kingdoms.

Monster or Pinkie?

This leaves us with the big question: monster race or not? That's a complex issue because, well, they are more human than an Orc is and they themselves identify as human (or more technically an evolved state of humanity). I think in grand scheme of things they are more of a barbaric monster race than they are a pinkie. All except the most barbaric and savage (see: Chaos worshipers) humans would consider them even close to human. Their culture, what of it there is, is built on clinging to a long gone era that no one living even still has a passing memory of. They're like that middle aged man who still defines himself by how he played football in High School. In the past they were worshiped but now they are feared and reviled. They hate modern society, but as a race mostly full of bandits, criminals and a scant few entertainers and carnies they are dependent on modern society to survive. They survive on the very ragged edges of the world stealing and scraping by and not realizing that even though they long for the past they wouldn't know the first thing about how to survive in such a world.

If you were dividing races among ideological lines then Beastmen would no doubt fall more in line with Orcs, Goblins and other monsters not with humans, except maybe the kinds of humans that would also pal around with monsters (humans that the average pinkie would probably also consider monsters). They come from a time when the division between man, beast and "monster" was nominal at best. So the best answer to the question of monster or pinkie is probably "it's up to how you choose to portray your character". If you're a horned goatman with hairy legs covered in chaos star tattoos, you're probably a monster, if you're a guy with long teeth and claws who fights as a wandering mercenary you're an ugly pinkie. Either way the most important thing is to be chill and not step on anyone's toes, monster lore goes back decades and has been crafted and worked on by scads of cool people for years and years. If you want to make a Beastman who is a monster, then make one that is monstrous and falls into line with other monsters if that sort of distinction is ultimately important to you. If it's not then throw in with your other random races (such as ones that fall under the fey or undead categories these days) and just be what you want to be.


The obvious place to go with this is "fantasy barbarian" and also lots of historical influences as well. The Dothraki, Mongols, the native Celtic tribes of Ireland and England, even the mountain men of the 1800s and the gold rush. Furs, suede, leathers and rough cloth. Kilts, Rus pants with wraps, long heavy jackets and robes, lots of bones, etc. Obviously lots of warpaint, piercings, maybe some mohawks. To be a Beastman means being a vagabond, a wanderer, an adventurer and a nomad.

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