Lets talk about the role of minotaur & centaur races in eberron

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tetrasodium
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Lets talk about the role of minotaur & centaur races in eberron

Post by tetrasodium » Tue May 15, 2018 11:07 am

So this month's unearthed arcana & we have had a few other versions of minotaur UA's in the past. This one does away with a silly ribbon ability to retrace a path taken previously (good riddance!). Given that, it seems pretty reasonable that we will see minotaur as a playable race at some point. The MM entry describes ties to Baphomet, who id an archdevil (ie similar to asmodeous), so that raises the concern that wotc might repeat the sins of 4e & copy/paste an unneeded boatload of lore from some other setting to justify minotaur as a playable race in eberron like they did with tieflings. Lets talk about Minotaur & centaur in the world of eberron.
the mm entry
MINOTAUR
A minotaur's roar is a savage battle cry that most civilized creatures fear. Born into the mortal realm by demonic rites, minotaurs are savage conquerors and carnivores that live for the hunt. Their brown or black fur is stained with the blood of fallen foes, and they carry the stench of death.
The Beast Within. Most minotaurs are solitary carnivores that roam labyrinthine dungeons, twisting caves, primeval woods, and the maze-like streets and passages of desolate ruins. A minotaur can visualize every route it might take to close the distance to its prey. The scent of blood, the tearing of flesh, and the cracking of bones spur a minotaur's lust for carnage, overwhelming all thought and reason. In a blood rage, a minotaur charges anything it sees, butting and goring like a battering ram, then chopping the fallen in twain.

Apart from ambushing creatures that wander into its labyrinth, a minotaur cares little for strategy or tactics. Minotaurs seldom organize, they don't respect authority or hierarchy, and they are notoriously difficult to enslave, let alone control.

Cults of the Horned King. Minotaurs are the dark descendants of humanoids transformed by the rituals of cults that reject the oppression of authority by returning to nature. Inductees often mistake these cults for druidic circles or totemic religions whose ceremonies involve entering a labyrinth while wearing a ceremonial animal mask.

Within these bounded environments, cultists hunt, kill, and eat wild beasts, indulging their basest primal urges. In the end, however, sacrificial animals are exchanged for humanoid sacrifice- sometimes an inductee that tried to escape the cult after learning its secrets. These labyrinths become blood-soaked halls of slaughter, echoing to the cultists' savagery.

Unknown to all but their highest-ranking leaders, these mystery cults are creations of the demon lord Baphomet, the Horned King, whose layer of the Abyss is a gigantic labyrinth. Some of his followers are fervent supplicants that plead for strength and power. Others come to the cult seeking a life free from authority's chains- and are liberated of their humanity instead as Baphomet transforms them into the minotaurs that echo his own savage form.

Although they begin as creations of the Horned King, minotaurs can breed true with one another, giving rise to an independent race of Baphomet's savage children in the world.
That might work great in a setting like greyhawk, forgotten realms, or whatever; but monsters are "people" in eberron so the whole thing just comes off being both silly & ill fitting. Baphomet has too much ill fitting lore of his own that fits with the setting norms of settings like FR to make him a demon overlord without making him something else & all but name & since monsters are "people" in eberron, it's not even required.



Droaam in eberron has at least one minotaur warlord (Rhesh Turakbar) loyal to The DoSK. Given what little we know about Turakbars fist, either he's a pretty crazy cult of the dragon below demon worshiper or enjoys the protection of tall tales helping to protect his keep. Xor'chylic (mindflayer mayor/warlord of greywall) is said to have minotaur guards along with the znir pact gnolls he keeps in greywall to keep the peace. I'd not be surprised if The DoSK also had them alongside the war trolls & skullcrusher ogres they pulled out of nobodyknowswhere. House Tharashk mercenaries would almost certainly spread any number of minotaurs across the eastern lands & leave them wealthy but unemployed at the sudden treaty of thronehold once their contracts were up. I'd not bat an eye or consider it a worthwhile use of time to check if they were/were not reported present in the demon wastes either. Eberron does not have minotaurs with a large noteworthy presence true, but nearly every region (including droaam) has some percentage of "other" in the racial breakdown of that region. There are a so many places they can simply live completely uninteresting lives of no particular note that they don't even need an excuse to exist so much as some examples of them as normal functioning citizens with the normal reproductive capabilities foumd in most humanoids. For purists, none of it conflicts with "some scholars say the race has its roots in the age of dragons & may be the result of demonic influences" or similar.

Some simple examples of minotaur simply living around khorvaire
  • Antonia: a simple House Tharashk mercenary who found herself with tens/hundreds in gold & the realization that starting a farm in Breland(or any other region) was a great way to settle down & start a family once her contract was over. Plus there is that cute little human who seems to have taken a shine on her after she saved his parents & siblings from a force of flesh hungry Karrnathi undead that one battle.
  • Brutus: Fifth generation citizen of what used to be Aundair. Maybe he's a bandit preying on those traveling in the eldeen reaches, maybe he turned to arms & joined up with the wardens to keep his homeland & extended family safe from bamdits.
  • Casia: She still remembers the day those Brelish dogs dropped Vadalis magebred animals with feather fall collars onto the village she was born to/settled into & takes special delightin goring brelish accented bandits in her patrols. With her magewright & former dark lantern partner's simple illusion spell she even looks like a farmer's ox pulling his cart of crop to market on those patrols.
  • Drusa: She's been living alongside elves & valenar was still part of cyre, but her skill in battle & lack of any notable roots of her owneventually left her deciding to prove that she was a descendant of an elf known for deeds during the flight of her ancestors from slavery under the giants of Xen'driik. Woe to those who make light of her expression of faith or mock her proud ancestral lineage, such levity has been fatal on more than one occasion.
  • Egnatius: Her older brother fell in with a bad crowd growing up & is now believed to range with ghaashkala in the mountains not far off, but responsibilities, family, & a good job found her in a more comfortable life as a guard for the local house Kundarak enclave at Korunda Gate. She loves both her dwarf & minotaur children & has high hopes that some of them might inherit their great grandfather's dragonmark or something new entirely.
  • Faustus: Faustus made a bargain & led some treasure hunters back tp his home town in cyre after escaping the day of mourning. They got what they were hunting for & the mists left them separated, he makes a good life for himself looting the bones of his old stomping grounds & selling the treasure back in regions unaffected. Each trip he tells himself that he has enough with House Kundarak to buy a nice place in Sharn & retire, but those who know him best say that he craves the adrenaline too much to ever retire.
  • so on & so forth

What do you all think, did I miss anything major or overlook some other good ways of localizing Minotaur as a playable race in eberron?

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Beoric
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Re: Lets talk about the role of minotaur & centaur races in eberron

Post by Beoric » Wed May 16, 2018 3:02 am

I found some bits and pieces here and there.

You can find minotaurs anywhere Tharashk goes: Keith's "Blood and Dragonshards" articles mentions they can be found at Tharashk sites in Q'barra, and Dragonmarked tells us they are hired out as Tharashk mercenaries or laborers. There is a reference in the 4e Eberron Campaign Guide to minotaurs being hired as bodyguards for Sivis Wordsmiths.

They can also be found anywhere Daask operates: see Keith's "Daask" article.

From the "Droaam" entry in the Players Guide to Eberron:
Fiercer and more bestial than ogres, minotaurs do not live in organized communities in any large numbers. Most minotaurs in Droaam reside in isolated wilderness areas, but individuals are frequently seen in the Great Crag and Graywall, delighting the crowds as pit fighters. Minotaurs traveling beyond Droaam have a harder time fitting in than ogres, but are not usually attacked on sight.
I note in Graywall they live in the Bloodstone and Karda districts and are employed as overseers for work camps, wrestle in the Challenge Rings, serve in the Flayer Guard, work at the Tooth and Steel forge, and run the Labyrinth tavern: see "Backdrop: Graywall". From that same article:
The minotaurs of the north are united in worship of the Horned Prince, but each clan has their own representation of this demon overlord and believes all others to be flawed.
The PGE also says that "A handful of minotaur warlords have erected maze-cities and forged tiny kingdoms [in Xen'drik] over the centuries." (p. 77). This is repeated in the 4e Eberron Campaign Guide.

Kolos of the Ivory Horn is a former slave and gladiator in Stormreach. He is a complex character with too long a writeup to quote here, but to sum up, he runs his own gladiator stable, but uses no slaves, and gives everyone in his stable a piece of the business. He also opposes slavery in the other stables (with some suggestion that he might be an anti-slavery activist in general), and champions the rights of the monstrous races. And he won a seat on the Blood Council which more or less run the arena, and appears to be somewhat of a political player. (City of Stormreach)

tetrasodium
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Re: Lets talk about the role of minotaur & centaur races in eberron

Post by tetrasodium » Wed May 16, 2018 6:03 am

Beoric wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 3:02 am
I found some bits and pieces here and there.

You can find minotaurs anywhere Tharashk goes: Keith's "Blood and Dragonshards" articles mentions they can be found at Tharashk sites in Q'barra, and Dragonmarked tells us they are hired out as Tharashk mercenaries or laborers. There is a reference in the 4e Eberron Campaign Guide to minotaurs being hired as bodyguards for Sivis Wordsmiths.

They can also be found anywhere Daask operates: see Keith's "Daask" article.

From the "Droaam" entry in the Players Guide to Eberron:
Fiercer and more bestial than ogres, minotaurs do not live in organized communities in any large numbers. Most minotaurs in Droaam reside in isolated wilderness areas, but individuals are frequently seen in the Great Crag and Graywall, delighting the crowds as pit fighters. Minotaurs traveling beyond Droaam have a harder time fitting in than ogres, but are not usually attacked on sight.
I note in Graywall they live in the Bloodstone and Karda districts and are employed as overseers for work camps, wrestle in the Challenge Rings, serve in the Flayer Guard, work at the Tooth and Steel forge, and run the Labyrinth tavern: see "Backdrop: Graywall". From that same article:
The minotaurs of the north are united in worship of the Horned Prince, but each clan has their own representation of this demon overlord and believes all others to be flawed.
The PGE also says that "A handful of minotaur warlords have erected maze-cities and forged tiny kingdoms [in Xen'drik] over the centuries." (p. 77). This is repeated in the 4e Eberron Campaign Guide.

Kolos of the Ivory Horn is a former slave and gladiator in Stormreach. He is a complex character with too long a writeup to quote here, but to sum up, he runs his own gladiator stable, but uses no slaves, and gives everyone in his stable a piece of the business. He also opposes slavery in the other stables (with some suggestion that he might be an anti-slavery activist in general), and champions the rights of the monstrous races. And he won a seat on the Blood Council which more or less run the arena, and appears to be somewhat of a political player. (City of Stormreach)
It saounds like the general trend is that the closer to current day/998yk, the less & less like the MM entry they grow unless they are basically cult of the dragon below types. Thanks for mentioning Daask, that was a really neat group that I'd somehow forgotten about entirely.

Something I came upon today was this where Crawford starts talking about how the removed labyrinthine recall was removed because the minotaur described in the mm do not really exist as described in every setting (around the 30-55ish min mark). I'm pretty active at blasting WotC folks for not taking that sort of thing into consideration, so it's a great thing to see them starting to say things like that; so I give him a lot of credit for calling it as a point of importance behind ditching that particular ribbon ability.

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