Gwartheg, Horn and Hoof
“Oh beautiful stonecutter whose eyes are used to shed his many lovers’ blood!
They do twice as much damage to hearts than his sledgehammer does to stones!”
“Oh beautiful stonecutter whose eyes are used to shed his many lovers’ blood!
They do twice as much damage to hearts than his sledgehammer does to stones!”
This material is still in the process of being playtested. It is fully usable as written, but may be refined or changed in later versions. As always, this content should only be used with GM permission.
Gwartheg—occasionally known as kine-kin by other folk—resemble humanoid cattle. Some are occasionally mistaken for minotaurs, but they are a completely separate species and have a predominantly agrarian society. Further confusing travelers unfamiliar with them, only half of the gwartheg are easily mistaken for other bull-like humanoids, with the other half sometimes being mistaken for yet another species of more human-sized cow people. To these baffled outsiders, there appears to be a joint society between male and female minotaurs as well as male and female cow folk. But in fact, the whole community are all gwartheg.
Male and female gwartheg differ only in small ways, and most of the traits other folk are accustomed to seeing correspond to men and women are actually entirely independent of reproductive sex among the gwartheg. Rather, there are two general physical types among gwartheg, the large, powerful taru (Plural: tiru–sometimes translated as “bulls” in Common) and the more human-sized feuch (Plural: fuchod—sometimes translated as “cows”). Intersex (between male and female) gwartheg are quite common compared to other folk, representing about one in ten individuals. When a taru and a feuch have children, the offspring are 50% tiru and 50% fuchod, but if two tiru have children together, 75% are fuchod, and if two fuchod have children together, 75% of the offspring are tiru.
Tiru are large, muscular, and lean, towering over all but the tallest humans. They have medium to large horns and massive hooves and sizeable…endowments. Fuchod, on the other hand are the height of an average human and tend to be quite curvaceous. Even if muscular, a feuch rarely has visible muscle tone, and if they have horns, they are small. Nearly all fuchod, regardless of reproductive sex, have at least modest breasts.
Among gwartheg, gender categories are—while social categories as with other folk—based upon taru or feuch rather than male or female. Sexual orientations generally treat male and female taru the same, and likewise male and female feuch (e.g. a taru attracted to other tiru is considered gay, and a feuch attracted only to tiru is straight). Gwartheg who are gay, straight, or bisexual in this sense are all roughly equally common. Attraction towards male (or female) gwartheg in particular is uncommon but not unheard of, and is usually treated more akin to a preference for a particular hair color.
Taru and feuch culture also differ, but not as a matter of social expectations or imposed roles. The two groups have different styles of fashion (not just different garments but independent fashion trends and movements), dialects of their language (although both are intelligible to any speaker), different artistic movements and traditions, different calligraphy techniques (despite using the same script), different traditional rituals during certain holidays, and even some distinct holidays not practiced by the other. Transgender gwartheg of all types are completely accepted in both subcultures and because of all the behavioral markers, there is rarely any difficulty for an individual to indicate their gender, regardless of physique.
Since gender among gwartheg is based much so more on physique and presentation than on reproductive roles, and those factors differ far more among gwartheg than among other species (at least within a particular settlement and culture), they tend to have difficulty telling apart men and women of those other species. Especially confusing to gwartheg customs were when they encountered folk who did not fit the general paradigms of either taru or feuch body shapes. Rather than try to universalize their experiences, however, they solved this difficulty within their culture by developing new gender categories and conjugations within their language for folk who do not fit the big-and-burly or smaller-and-soft categories.
Personal names among the gwartheg are usually chosen by the parents for their children, and most names are typically associated with either taru or feuch, but this is not strict or universally consistent with any name.
While gwartheg children share the family name of their parents, the name is not inherited. Rather, whenever a family group is formed, a family name is chosen by the founding individuals and unless it is changed later, any new members of the family group takes the same family name when either born into the family or join it. Multi-generational family groups may carry on using the same name for centuries, and offshoot families frequently choose names related to families they came from.
These families are not strictly limited to spouses, parents, siblings, and so on. Any group expecting to live together long term, even as friends, are considered to be a family. Individuals living alone will usually either keep their previous family name with “ap” at the beginning, meaning “of,” or they will create their new family name alone and either others will take it upon joining the family or they will collectively choose a new one.
Example Taru Names: Afon, Bryn, Cledwyn, Dyllanu, Elisedd, Haf, Gwillym, Ithel, Llywellyn, Mabyn, Nerys, Owain, Rhys, Trahaearn, Yale
Example Feuch Names: Aeron, Bethan, Carys, Delyth, Enfys, Gwen, Heilyn, Llinos, Madoc, Owena, Rosyn, Teulip, Vaughn, Wyn
Example Family Names: ap Idris, ap Owain, Bradan, Cynwric, Hir, Hruderch, Iarnucon, Lloyd, Meurich, Prydudd, Rhydderc, Saer, Trefmawr
Your gwartheg character has several beneficial traits.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution and Wisdom scores each increase by 1.
Age. Gwartheg age faster than humans, reaching adulthood at about age 14, and living to about 75 years old.
Alignment. Gwartheg have no particular tendency toward any particular alignment.
Size. Fuchod are about the same height as a human, but they typically weigh between 175 and 230 pounds. Tiru are roughly a foot taller and usually weigh between 250 and 300 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Big Appetite. You require twice as much food as a normal Medium-sized creature.
Tools of the Trade. You gain proficiency with your choice of herbalism kit, one type of artisan’s tools or one type of gaming set.
Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by an additional 1 every time you gain a level.
Language. You can speak, read, and write Common, Gwartheg, and one other language of your choice. Gwartheg is a rolling, vowel-heavy language written using Elvish script that superficially resembles Sylvan. It has a number of dialectal differences when spoken or written by a taru or feuch. Most notably is the intermediate level of formality, in which a taru will use formal grammar but a feuch would use informal. There is also an intimate level of formality, marked by informal speech with excessive use of politeness markers on otherwise vulgar vocabulary. These lewd and lascivious statements are considered completely socially acceptable in public within the contexts of flirting or established sexual partners, but the same statements in ordinary informal speech would be considered obscene in public.
Subrace. Tiru and fuchod differ both physically and culturally. Choose one of these subraces.
Male and female fuchod alike are shorter than the tiru, and even if muscular, they are chubbier and do not have the same visible muscle tone as a taru. Fuchod are naturally gregarious but also somewhat nervous, and they are typically raised to seek the benefits of their disposition rather than to try to fight against it.
Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
Persuasive. You gain proficiency in the Persuasion skill.
Flinch. You reflexively hesitate or recoil from danger, but are left nervous and distracted afterwards. When you make a saving throw, you can roll a d6 and add the number rolled to the result. You can roll the die before or after making the saving throw. Once you use this ability, you cannot use it again until you spend an action reassuring yourself, and until you do so, you cannot maintain concentration on spells.
Inspire Protective Instincts. When you become frightened, are targeted by a Charisma (Intimidation) ability check, are hit with an attack, or use your Flinch ability, you can use your reaction to grant temporary hit points to an ally who can see or hear you. The number of temporary hit points gained is equal to 4 + your proficiency modifier. Once you use this ability, you cannot use it again until you finish a long rest.
Tiru, whether male or female, are tall and naturally powerfully muscled, and even the sedentary among them have some degree of obvious muscle tone. They are generally more aggressive than fuchod, both by natural disposition and by cultural influences.
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength Score increases by 1.
Charger. After using a dash action on your turn and having moved at least 15 feet, you can use your bonus action to make a melee weapon attack.
Powerhouse. You count as one size category larger for determining your carrying capacity as well as the weight that you can push, drag, or lift.
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System Reference Document 5.1 Copyright 2016, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Chris Perkins, Rodney Thompson, Peter Lee, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Bruce R. Cordell, Chris Sims, and Steve Townshend, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
Gwartheg, Horn and Hoof Copyright 2021, Malachite Idol; Author Patrick Johnson.
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