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Lupins are semi-nomadic wolf-headed humanoids that live in the forests of Jechran. Rarely seen in southern Avlis, these creatures are often mistaken for werewolves. This misunderstanding is quite ironic, considering the racial hatred lupins have for werewolves. The origins of lupins are unclear. Some say they were magically cursed by a powerful spellcaster to be half-man, half-wolf. Others say they are the descendants of true lycanthropes that can no longer change form.
Lupins are rather intense creatures, patient and implacable in reaching their goals. When meeting others for the first time, lupins are often quiet and reserved. When they feel comfortable and relaxed, lupins are very wild and free - fond of strong drink and well-seasoned meat.
Lupins have heads that resemble wolves or dogs and are covered from head to toe in fur. They generally stand from about 5 feet to a little over 6 feet tall and weigh between 125 and 250 pounds. Male lupins are generally taller and broader than females. Below the knee, lupin legs are bent backwards like a wolf's and end in paws with black claws. Lupins fur colors can range bright red and russet brown to a light amber, and from deep black to pure white, though most are shades of brown or grey. They have furred hands with an opposable thumb. The fingers and thumb all sport short black claws.
Lupins generally live as long as humans, and are considered adults after taking a right of passage into adulthood at the age of 15.
Lupins generally get along with others well. Since they rarely have contact with other races, Lupins do not have many preconceived notions about creatures of other races. The exception to this is creatures that change shape. Lupins are distrustful of shapechangers, and hate werewolves with an inhuman passion. Lupins are generally more immediately respectful of those who appear to be warriors.
Lupins are generally lawful, and they tend towards good. After passing their right of passage, lupins have chaotic tendencies that sometimes take them away from their pack to explore the world.
Being semi-nomadic, Lupins generally stake out a forest or the area of a larger forest as their home. This area is generally hundreds of acres in size, and the pack will roam these lands at will throughout the year.
Origins and Anscestry
It is rumored that lupins are the result of magical experiments by a long-dead wizard. This wizard had a passionate hatred for a pack of werewolf wizards that had invaded his forest home. The wizard, ever a fan of irony, created half-wolf, half-man humanoids and called them lupins. They were wolf men, capable of tracking and destroying the spellcasting werewolves. He made the lupins resistant to the werewolves' magic and then equipped them with weapons magically enchanted to fight werecreatures and drain mages of their power.
It is said that the night he set his creations loose, the wizard was the victim of the irony he so loved. As his creatures went out into the forest to find their prey, the werewolves snuck into the wizard's tower and attack him in a great mage duel. Though warned by the sounds of the battle, the lupins were too late to save their master. After slaying the spellcasting cabal of lycanthropes, the surviving lupins vowed to go throughout the world hunting werewolves wherever they were found.
Other stories tell of a group of werewolves who were living peacefully in the forest with human neighbors. Over time the two groups intermarried and had children. The resulting unions produced humanoid creatures with wolf-like appearances, but without the ability to change their forms. When many of these crossbreed children had matured to adulthood, the village of humans and werewolves was attacked by an evil wizard.
This wizard was aided by evil werewolves who were jealous of the peaceful existence the people had found and sought to destroy their home. Though many townspeople were slain, the wizard and his cohorts found the crossbreed offspring of the town more than they could handle. Some natural ability of the children made even the wizard’s most powerful spells roll right off them like waves hitting a beach. The crossbreed offspring slew the mage easily and then dispatched his werewolf minions. The town lay in ruins. The survivors swore that they would never let another town be destroyed by evil werewolves. The crossbreeds called themselves lupins, and to this day hunt the evil lycanthropes wherever they find them.
Since that day, lupin tribes have kept a strong oral tradition, passing down stories of victories against werewolves. Ancestry is tracked by the number of werewolves each family has killed. Lupins that get no kills gradually fade from the oral history of the tribe. The most venerated ancestor of a tribe is always the lupin that has the most werewolf kills. The living lupins constantly try to surpass the dead by hunting more werewolves than their predecessors.
Religion and Rituals
Lupins make sacrifices to Dru'El at the Summer Solstice for prosperity in the coming year, and offer up prayers to Pelar for good hunting. But for the most part Lupins are not very religious, placing more importance on family than the worship of gods. Many tribes even worship great ancestors, feeling that they can call on them in times of great need.
At the age of 15, lupins take the right of passage. The young male or female lupin ventures out alone and hunts a dangerous creature. Many lupins simply go out and find a wolf or other natural predator to kill and return quickly with trophy in hand. Others may take months or even years to find the perfect prey. Of course returning with the head of a werewolf can accrue more honor than even the horn of a great dragon.
Lupins do not have their own language and so speak Common or Elven. Lupins consider being compared to animals of any kind to be highly insulting. Insinuating werewolf ancestry is deadly insult, as is using the term "bitch" to refer to a female lupin.
Lupin names are usually short and sharp. Common male names are: Gar, Burk, Dor, Tahg, Morhk, Narg and Farn. Common female names are: Suk, Lun, Fare, Hin, Pep and Kest. Pack names are taken from the natural world of the forest, but never related to animals. Common clan names are: Swiftriver, Mossytree, Brightstar, Coldwind, Ragingfire and SilveryMoon. Some lupins upon entering the wider world beyond their pack may take on new, more common names. Very few lupins will ever change their clan name.
Lupin adventurers may be young on their right of passage, or young adults who have just completed their right of passage and are ready to see the wider world. They may be grizzled patriarchs who have left their pack on their final hunt, or a disgruntled adult who has decided to try it in the world outside the forest. They may be ostracized from the pack because they prefer solitude to the family atmosphere of a pack, or the sole survivor of some tragedy that wiped out their family.
Note: As of this writing these are NPC only races and will not be a playable custom race, though they are a shifter form option for Avlis.