Where dwarves settled into the hard stone of the hills and mountains and built their mighty cities in those solid foundations, the bucktoothed builders took up residence lower down, in the wooded hills and along the wild rivers, adapting themselves with incredible industry to their environment, overcoming obstacles through the use of their highly skilled engineering minds. It is believed by some that the first bucktoothed builders (also called beaverfolk) are a subrace of forest-dwelling dwarves who fell under a strange curse for forsaking their traditional ways, though the truth of this is uncertain.
Bucktoothed builders are very tradition-minded thinkers, preferring tried and true methods to newfangled ideas, though they are wiling to experiment in a very controlled manner, building upon past successes to produce later and greater results. While very intelligent, this often results in a single- and close-mindedness that, while offset sufficiently by their hospitable natures to keep from irritating others, makes it hard for them to stop a task once they have started it, even if there is no further need for the work. Those who meet bucktoothed builders generally find them to be stoic, dedicated craftfolk of exceptional skill and kindly manners, so long as nobody interferes in their work.
If there is any animal that best describes the hardworking nature of the dwarves, it would be beavers, and bucktoothed builders are indeed what a cross between these two creatures would look and probably act like. Bucktoothed builders are indeed stolid creatures, standing between 4’6” and 5’2” at their tallest, with broad, powerful bodies and sleek, waterproof brown, black, red or grey fur, with a flat, leathery tail protruding from the base of their spines.
About Bucktoothed Builders:
Dwarves and bucktoothed builders naturally get along very well (as well as being able to interbreed with them), and the two races often trade agreeably whenever they meet. Elves are often annoyed at the tree cutting tendencies of the bucktooth builders, and this sometimes leads to violence in extreme cases, but as long as the beaverfolk tone down their actions somewhat, they make good allies, and the two races work together reasonably well. Gnomes (another race with which the bucktoothed builders can interbreed) enjoy bucktoothed builders because they tend to be too firm of purpose to avoid a cleverly-laid prank, but are good-natured enough to laugh with a gnome afterwards – most of the time. Wolfen and beaverfolk sometimes cross paths, but the two races do not really enjoy each others’ company, the savage, wild nature of the wolfen and the boring, homebodyish ways of the bucktoothed builders making them largely incompatible. Bucktoothed builders loathe orcs, seeing them as a scourge on society and a form of chaos incarnate, and will usually have nothing to do with this race and its hybrid offspring.
Bucktoothed builders are highly interested in order and the community, and devote great efforts to keeping these things strong. They are less concerned with rightness and more concerned with tradition, though they generally reject acts of evil as not conducive to a pleasant living environment.
A typical bucktooth has no interest in leaving home and family for the uncertain fortunes of a life of adventure. However, there are a rare few who find they do not fit in around their community, perhaps because of too much restless energy and curiosity, or because of lacking in skill as a worker. These few will, when they find that a stay in another community doesn’t straighten them out, sometimes run off to try their hand on the open road, and see if perhaps they can’t make their fortune in a different realm, since they were unable to fit into the one in which they were born.
As closely related to mouselings as they are to treefolk, groundlings are a people who take most after ground squirrels, chipmunks, and similar small, burrowing rodents. The small, shy and retiring groundlings usually to themselves, eking out their livings as best as they can, and hording the things they need for lean times. They are especially adept at going unseen, and are surprisingly fast for their size, and so it is not at all uncommon that other races who have groundlings sharing the same areas never even know that the groundlings are even there.
There are two major camps of groundlings. The first and most common are those who want to live in peace, and these tend to be shy and stealthy, preferring to avoid attention, and living their lives in a state of constant hiding and stealthy foraging. In contrast, the other camp of groundling thought uses this inherent talent for stealth and camouflage as advantages that allow them to make bold, decisive actions after they have been overlooked, and have had ample time to study their situation. All groundlings, regardless of their personal courage and/or foolishness tend to be contemplative in nature, analyzing situations as quickly and carefully as possible before acting.
standing somwhere between the size of a halfling and the size of a small human, depending on the specific breed of the groundling, this race has the physical traits expected of the animals that they most resemble in anthropomorphic form: prarie dogs, chipmunks, and ground squirrels.
Preferring to go unseen, grondlings are usually overlooked by other races. They do make alliances with gnomes and treefolk (the latter of whom they look on with some jealousy), and occasionally halflings and elves, but make it a point not to advertise their presence whenever possible.
Most groundlings prefer to focus upon the matters of quiet survival, prolonging their existence by going unnoticed, though a rare few can be persuaded to set out into the world, in the hopes of finding something better than mere survival. There is also a strong subculture among groundlings that encourages a more proactive stance towards the outside world, taking charge of situations rather than just letting life happen to them. These groundlings feel that they have had enough of running and hiding, and they can be incredibly skilled and brave adventurers.
The small and weak lapids would be easy to dismiss as being of no consequence, and indeed this is what happens all-too-often. But the rabbitfolk are not the sort who should be underestimated, for though they are small of size and light of frame, they are also capable of dangerous tactics, using their incredible, magically-powered speed to gain an edge either in strategic mobility or in retreat, and can be incredibly brave (or incredibly foolhardy) when the occasion requires. They are a tribal folk, living in warrens they burrow beneath hills and in mounds they build, in a manner similar to that of gnomes and some fey, banding together for the safety that comes in numbers, often staying at the level of a simple hunter-gatherer society, though a few groups are incredibly organized and even expansive on a small scale. One aspect of their race that is of incredible importance is their tendency for telling stories. All lapids grow up hearing and spinning tales of their own, and the best storyteller in a lapid tribe is revered with almost religious awe.
Lapids give good credence to the term ‘dumb bunny,’ for they tend to be simple of thought and uncomplicated in their desires. They also tend to be communally-oriented, the importance of the group as a whole outweighing the importance of individuals. Individual achievement is encouraged, though, for it can improve the lot of the community. Most lapids will back down from direct confrontations, though there are a few who are incredibly hot-tempered, and often spoil for fights and confrontations. Despite their tendencies, lapids are an attractive and personable people, their focus on the needs of others and their incredible skill in telling entertaining or educational stories making them easy to like.
Lapid are usually small in size, ranging from as small as 4' to as tall as 5', with a slight build to their bodies ensuring that they lack much muscle mass or significant bulk on their lean runner's frames. A rare few have a heftier build, like that of a hare, and can be human-sized as well as much hardier. They have long, very sensitive ears, a tail like an upturned leaf or a ball of fluffy white cotton, and large, bright eyes that are usually brown, red, violet or blue, though a rare few (called the Blessed) have startlingly brilliant green eyes, thought to be the result of a dalliance with a deity somewhere in the lapid’s parentage. Their fur colorations tend to be similar to those of nonhumanoid rabbits, with variations ranging from albino white to melanism black, though a glossy brown with white underbelly is most common.
Lapids are very friendly with halflings, loving the many tales told by this traveling race, and not minding much when a few objects turn up missing afterwards. And if they like halflings, lapids are absolutely enthralled by gnomes and their illusory powers, and by elves and their wondrous culture. They are similarly interested and even fascinated by foxkin, but they also have a degree of residual instinctive fear towards the fox spirits. Wolfen and orcs are absolutely terrifying to lapids, who see these races as personifications of the unbridled ferocity of the wild world around them, and even the bravest among the lapids will do all that can be done to avoid these races if at all possible. Lapids are great friends with actaeons, and the two races often work together as allies.
Lapids tend to live simple subsistence lives for the most part, and focus on what will keep them alive first and foremost. They are inspired to greatness by storytelling, however, and this can spur them on to great acts of good, since they prefer heroes winning in their tales, rather than villains. In their stories and in their daily lives they do not see any less greatness in a trickster hero than a mighty warrior of valor, as long as they accomplish the task to which they set themselves.
Young lapids often find that they feel stifled with the common, boring life in the warren, and so it is not at all uncommon for them to roam for a time. Since lapids like being with friends, joining parties is the most natural thing in the world for a lapid.
Lapid Subrace: Jackalopes and Al-Miraj
Aside from their superficial appearance, which resembles lapids with a set of antlers on their heads (the jackalopes) or a single spiral horn like that of a unicorn (the al-miraj), along with often odd colorations or fur and eyes, these two subraces of the lapids have a very different sort of personality. Where lapids tend to be fairly uncomplicated and straightforward in their thinking, these subraces are closely tied to the fey (which also allows them to interbreed with elves and gnomes), and are full of wild adventure and mischief. To the lapid, al-miraj and jackalopes are cultural heroes, known for outsmarting all enemies. While these subraces have normal statistics for lapids (either large or small rodents, depending on size), they are able to take beastfolk feats that grant them horns, and have an automatic Friendly reaction from most lapid groups and good- or neutral-aligned fey. Additionally, jackalopes and al-miraj can use a Bluff check (resisted as normal by Sense Motive) to mimic the voices of others, as an extraordinary ability (the "Mimicry" ability), in exchange for a feat.
Where ratlings can be ruthless in their quest for survival, mouselings are a sharp contrast. While the two races come from the same source - as much natives to Therafim as creations of the humans - where the ratlings are larger, more aggressive, and more antisocial, the mouselings are smaller, retiring and agreeable. Mouselings are hard and earnest workers, and are known for thrifty living and practical common sense, and they have found it easy to integrate into mainstream society as craftfolk, bookkeepers, librarians and simple farmers.
Mouselings are bright and curious, loving to explore and see how things work, but at the same time their curiosity is tempered by a shy politeness that often keeps them from prying into other people’s things (at least when those people are looking), and their inherent intelligence is made socially acceptable by the unassuming nature expected of the race. The ultimate goal of most mouselings is to find a niche in society (called their ‘mouse hole’), and then to stick with it for as long as possible, liking stability and comfort whenever it can be gotten. Bravery is synonymous with foolishness, as far as the average mouseling is concerned, and so most of them do everything in their power to keep from attracting attention or trouble.
The typical mouseling is a well-groomed humanoid rodent, between two-and-a-half to four feet tall, with a distinct pointed muzzle, a long, naked pink tail, large and sensitive ears, wide, dark eyes, and a fur pattern and color as one would expect from a humanoid mouse.
Since most mouselings live among other races, usually humans, they do their very best to fit in, make friends where they can, and in general not draw attention to themselves, and for the most part they are successful. They feel continually uneasy around feline-based beastfolk, and other beastfolk descended from predatory species to a slightly lesser degree, which they intellectually know is a leftover from their rodent heritage, but emotionally cannot seem to completely shake.
To mouselings, the rule of law is how weak little creatures like them can be given equal footing with powerful, frightening creatures like catfolk and wolfen, and they cherish the safety that orderly societies bring.
Before a mouseling has found their niche in life, or when a previously stable niche has vanished with changing circumstances, mouselings will often find themselves displaced in the world. The more daring among the race occasionally seek out companions who seem likely to advance in the world, and are willing to take the risks involved with the life of an adventurer.
For as long as there have been inquisitive minds, there have been subjects to test the results of experiments. And some of the most commonly used test subjects are mice and rats. When magic is thrown into the mix, almost anything can happen. In the case of the ratlings and mouselings, what happened was their creation. Many mouselings and ratlings were native children of Therafim, thanks to the creative forces of Matra. However, when the humans came to Therafim, they brought with them their created servitor races, which included these rodentlike races, though they were little more than intelligent animals rather than thinking people at the time. Eventually, the ratlings and mouselings achieved true sentience thanks to the powerful creative energies of Therafim, and joined with the native ratling and mouseling populations of Therafim, either breaking free from or being freed by their former human masters when it was realized how intelligent they really were.
Ratlings are antisocial by nature, being far too concerned with bare survival to be concerned with anything else. When forced into social situations, many ratlings show themselves to be awkward and even quite shallow, never having developed much depth beyond what they do for a living. They are very professional, though, and seldom let emotion get in the way of what needs to be done, though they can also be rather ruthless at times, and even quite savage when under duress.
The ratfolk look just like their names suggest - humanoid rats, with long naked tails, muzzles, large ears, and somewhat-pronounced incisors, just like their nonhumanoid kin. They are covered in fur of traditional rat colorations, ranging from white all the way to black, and most of the shades and different fur patterns in between.
In almost all situations where they might have needed help, the ratlings have been on their own, and they know better than to expect assistance from other races who have not seen what they have seen or know what they know. Humans and ratlings have an ongoing love-hate relationship, where the ratlings make able workers, and often prevent worse evils from moving into the sewer systems beneath major human cities, but at the same time they tend to become some of the lower dregs in human society, living in the most unpleasant locations in these same cities. They work well with dwarves when the two races meet, both races quickly developing a business understanding and having a similar dislike for what they consider needless chatter. Most other races find the ratlings disconcerting and even a bit frightening, especially with their tendency to live in regions with very bad reputations, and so by and large they do not have a good reputation either. Mouselings understand the ratlings, but are frightened by the grim determination and savage ways of their cousins, and so while they might help the ratlings when asked, they try to keep their distance. Felines and wolfen both dislike the ratlings as a matter of principle, disdaining the penchant that ratlings have for lurking in sewers and underground and spending far too much time poking around places known for housing forbidden magic, but these races have worked together in the past against dark forces, usually uncovered by the ratlings, and so the three races, while nowhere near friends, are not usually enemies.
The life of a ratling is an adventure in itself, most doing their best to stay on the edge of bare survival, watching and waiting and ever standing ready for opportunities that might come. To take that life a step further is an easy step for most ratlings, and so it is not at all uncommon to find ratlings adventuring as the mood takes them. Most are rogues, and many have some wizardly training as well, or follow the paths of the gods that they feel can serve them best in their efforts against the evil magic that they know they will encounter.
There are many places of power in the world. These are places where the boundaries between worlds grow thin, and power sometimes flows freely. Most of these places are sacred, and a great many occur in the wide, flat, hot plains, where heat lightning plays across the land, and any trees or rocks of significant size are special places full of supernatural portent. Roos hold that they were made by the gods for the sole purpose of defending these special, sacred places, raised from the simple kangaroos and wallabies that roam the same places where they are called a protectors, and serve this ancestral duty with their whole souls, traveling in semi-nomadic tribes in a constant patrol around the sacred place entrusted to them by their ancestors and the gods, subsisting off the land, and continually honing their skills in battle, ever ready for any foe that might try and take possession of the sacred lands that they guard.
Note: Roos are not rodents, though their statistics are the same as those of rodent beastfolk (either small or large, depending on the size of the roo). Thus, while they have the same statistics, they cannot interbreed with rodent beastfolk.
Roos are honorable almost to a fault. They serve a higher cause than mere mortal survival, and they know it, and carry themselves accordingly, with unflinching vigilance and determined tenacity. However, because of the sheer stressful nature of their gods-given task, when roos relax, they really know how to party, and can be very fun-loving and boisterous when they let their serious demeanors drop for a while. However, these are fairly rare times, and much of the time a roo is thoughtful and mildly contemplative, though also pleasantly friendly and even a little jovial at times, with the calm, quiet confidence that comes from knowing one’s place in the world, and holding to it with steadfastness.
With long, pointed ears, sleek tan, reddish, or grey fur, incredibly powerful legs, and a thick, muscular tail, roos look like humanoid kangaroos and wallabies, ranging in height from just under four feet, to six-and-a-half feet tall, with sleek, powerful bodies designed for hopping about with incredible speed and distance.
Despite the seriousness of their racial tasks, roos are a surprisingly friendly people to visitors, so long as those visitors behave and do not attempt to approach the guarded sacred sites without a very good reason. However, there are many races who simply will not leave well enough alone. Gnolls are notorious for attempting to contact the demonic forces that they worship, and the sites guarded by roos are often perfect conduits for the hideous rites of the hyenafolk to summon evil beings from beyond. Hobgoblins seek the lands of roos for the sake of conquest, often not understanding the importance behind the territory they wish to rule, and orcs simply cannot leave well enough alone in their savage raids. Besides these foes, all manner of evil cultists and dark spellcasters constantly try to drive off or slay the roos and take the sacred places for their own foul purposes. For a roo, unless one is an enemy, which is decided through one’s actions, one is considered a friend. And considering the number of enemies that want the lands of the roos, they need as many friends as they can get.
Each tribe of roos claims a single notable feature of the dry, windswept grassy plains in which they live as their place of guardianship. These are usually rock formations and quiet groves. All of these places have something supernatural about them, either as a spot sacred to a god, a hidden opening to another realm, or a place especially important to druids and the fey. Whatever the reason for its importance, the roos keep up a steady migratory patrol around this place of power, never straying more than a few miles, and even then always keeping within sight of the place. While generally friendly to other races, and unconcerned about allowing travel through their lands, roos get more aggressive and uneasy the closer a visitor to their lands gets to the sacred place at its heart, and unless that visitor has good reason to be there, then the roos will use whatever force is necessary to keep intruders away, preferring nonlethal force first, but resorting to killing when there is no other choice.
Roos are generally concerned with living and watching over the lands that they wander, making their living in simple ways, and ensuring that no harm befalls their sacred trusts. However, individual roos occasionally go on what they call a ‘walkabout,’ where the roo will wander off for a time to get a fresh perspective away from the other roos of the tribe, as well as to simply get away for a while, to escape the daily grind and experience something new. A walkabout can last for months or even years, and the disappearance is not considered terribly disturbing, nor is it considered very odd when the roo returns at the end, as life takes up where it left off as best as everyone in the tribe can manage, not speaking or asking about the walkabout except as the roo who came back feels the need to share. It is during walkabouts that roos are likely to join an adventuring party, becoming one with another group apart from their own so as to increase their understanding and escape for a while even as they put their skills to good use.
Treefolk do not take up much space. They live in the trees above the forest floor, forming elaborate arboreal villages when they have time to make them without being disturbed, and so do not generally need to disturb the lives of those living below. It is not at all uncommon for gnomes, lapids, and similar races to make homes in and around the bases of large trees, and for the treefolk to make their homes in the upper reaches, neither race troubling the other. In fact, lapids and treefolk often share the same territory in just this manner, both races finding the relationship mutually beneficial.
To use an obvious stereotype, treefolk are a very nutty race. They tend to be scatterbrained, and prone to being rather silly, chattering almost constantly, with much wasted motion in their hyperactive bursts of activity. However, they are also quite adept at survival, despite their occasional lapses in concentration, and can be incredibly serious when the occasion requires. The hyperactive, fun-loving, and slightly whimsical and scatterbrained treefolk tend to be Chaotic Good in outlook. They are fiercely loyal to their friends, and detest oppression and tyranny with a vengeance.
The squirrelkin look very much like their namesakes – humanoid squirrels, of roughly human size, ranging between just under five feet to just under six feet, with furry bodies, large, dark eyes, and big, bushy tails that are excellent at providing stability of balance for the sure-footed treefolk. It should be noted that there are many subspecies of treefolk that look more like lemurs, ringtails, and opossums, though there are no statistical changes in their abilities. These non-rodent treefolk can interbreed with the squirrel-like members of their race, but no other rodentlike race.
Foremost among the friends of the treefolk are the lapids, for the two groups seem to understand each other best of all. The mouselings and ratlings are next after this, and working arrangements are often reached with these races. Because the treefolk do not tend to overpopulate their lands, and are staunch supporters of freedom and defenders of the woods, elves and treefollk get along very well indeed, though elves tend to humor the hyperactive treefolk more often than not. Groundling rodents often look at treefolk with envy, but are still on good relations with them. Dwarves are generally irritated by the nutty squirrelkin, but put up with them as they might unruly children, and halflings and gnomes find them to be inherently entertaining, and enjoy their company whenever they want a bit of interest in their lives.
The squirrelkin take readily to lives of adventure in their younger years, as it seems to suit them well, and they delight in the thrill that it can bring. Most treefolk have done a little bit of questing, and this is generally the main reason why their numbers stay reasonably constant, with no dangers of overpopulation: adventuring is a dangerous occupation. Those who survive their first few adventures usually quit while they are ahead and settle down into quiet lives in their forests, storing up food for lean times and protecting their woods against dangerous intruders.
Treefolk Subrace: Gliderfolk
Gliderfolk are versions of the squirrelkin that are related to flying squirrels, sugar gliders, and similar creatures. They are nearly identical to their near cousins, and can interbreed with them without difficulty (the offspring take on the characteristics of the mother), except for one important detail: gliderfolk have a set of flaps extending from beneath their arms and connecting to their ankles. This voluminous flap allows gliders to achieve limited gliding ability, as their name suggests, but it also hinders them somewhat in normal movement, so that they are not capable of some of the incredible acrobatic leaps of normal treefolk.
Unique Racial Option: Limited Flight
Instead of taking a standard feat, a gliderfolk can instead take the Limited Flight character option, just like a birdfolk. If this option is not taken at first level, then it can never be taken later, and the character remains permanently flightless, barring magical intervention.