Thursday, April 27, 2017

Character Crunch: Vanara (Monkey-Folk)

In southern Raj-Hamut, deep in the Dandaka Forest and between the Ondon Mountains, hidden in mist and legend, is Kishkindha, the kingdom of the vanara: the "forest people". The vanara of Kishkindha resemble monkey-like humanoids. They are mostly known to be clever, curious and playful creatures that might irritate less patient creatures with their constant questioning and almost naive honesty. While vanara often admire the accomplishments of human society, they find human's comparably uptight customs and rules amusing. They prefer to play tricks upon people rather than resorting to violence to expel them from the sacred sites, such as temples and burial grounds, they often make their homes. That doesn't mean they won't defend themselves.

The vanaran patron deity Hamuman the Mighty is famous for the feat of lifting an entire mountain with one hand and leading armies of vanara to assist the 7th Avatar of Sahasranama. They are known for being impressive warriors who use their unmatched agility and bestial ferocity to overcome their foes. And their foes are, usually, evil, which vanara oppose universally. Vanaran heroes prefer martial arts whether they be masters of force like barbarians or fighters or instead prefer the subtlety of rangers or thieves or choose to find a balance with a monk.

The heroism, loyalty and bravery of vanara warriors is legendary.

Vanara are rarely found outside of Kishkindha but they are not unheard of among veteran adventurers who have ventures to the south-eastern continent of Raj-Hamut. They are usually drawn into a life adventure by curiosity and loyalty; many a human adventurer has found themselves Kishkindha on a divine quest and befriended a vanara. Perhaps the human save the vanara's life or better yet their tribe and so, out of devotion, obligation and/but mostly out of the desire to join them on their quest, they join the hero on their adventure and become adventurers in their own right.

Vanara come in two distinct varieties on a spectrum of more monkey-like to more human-like in appearance. They both often intermingle and are more alike than either are with monkeys or humans. There are mountain and valley vanara.

Preferring to live in hills and crags of the Ondon Mountains, the mountain vanara could almost pass for humans or elves at a glance.

They usually are built similarly to elves-- tall with slender builds-- with similar facial structures and even have point ears. Unlike elves, their pointed ears tend to be much more pronounced and bestial. The biggest give away to their vanaran nature are their prehensile simian tails, long fingers and toes, and pronounced canines. They often have lighter hair from blond to brown to red hair that matches the fur on their tail and some even have thick fur-like hair on their bodies as well.They have the same range of eye colors as humans that flash to red when angry or in battle.

Mountain vanara are known to be a little more reserved than their valley kin and tend to build small villages, usually around a sacred tree or spring or in or around an ancient temple, where they can live simply and carefree lives. They tend to be the most pious and most vanaran priests for both the mountain and the valley vanara. This doesn't mean they are not known for their trickery and playfulness but they do tend to be more responsible when it comes to duties.

Valley vanara are noticeably more ape-like than their mountain cousins.

Valley vanara, covered in a coat of white, grey, black, brown or orange fur, with elongated muzzles, large lip-less mouths, big, round ears and facial fur, more closely resemble the "monkey-folk" that are described in popular legends. Some have non-prehensile tails and other have either extremely short or no tails. They tend to have slightly longer limbs than their mountain cousins and their eyes are usually only black or brown in hue that also flash red when enraged.

Valley vanara are hunter-gatherers who live in small family groups usually sharing territory around a central point of interest. They have a more laissez-faire lifestyle, doing as they please, and relaxing away most of their days. Due to their more wild environment, they do have to contend with predators and evil creatures more frequently than mountain vanara. For this reason they have more of a reputation as warriors and hunters than their cousins.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity increases by 2.
Age. Vanara have lifespans equivalent to humans.
Alignment. Vanara
 Size. Vanara are similar in size and stature to humans, standing between 5 and 6 feet, with slender builds. Your size if medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Tree Climber. Because of your monkey-like hands and feet, you are almost as well acclimated to climbing as walking. You have climbing speed of 3/4 your walking speed rounded down (minimum 20 feet).
Primal Pounce: You may use Dexterity when determining your jump distance.
Extra Language. You can read, write, speak and understand common, Vanaran, and one extra language.
Subraces. There are two subraces of vanara; the mountain vanara and the valley vanara.

Mountain Vanara
Ability Increase. Your Wisdom increases by 1.
Skill Proficiency. You have proficiency in the Acrobatics skill.
Prehensile Tail: Can pick up and carry small objects but not use as weapons. Can use Sleight of Hand with tail.

Mountain Vanara
Ability Increase. Your Strength increases by 1.
Skill Proficiency. You have proficiency in the Athletics skill.
Bite. Your jaw is a strong natural weapon, which can be used to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier.

I wanna note, Vanara are found elsewhere and there is more than one "monkey king". I hope you guys enjoy my take on this classic race from hindu mythology and Oriental Adventures.

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