My pick for most under-utilized fantasy race is definitely satyrs. Who doesn’t love these guys? Scrappy, lusty, stubborn, and proud. In the Speaking Lands, they’re the poster children for the sylvan diaspora and a cornerstone of the setting.
These stocky, furry-legged, horned people bear nearly every skin tone on Ipieros, and most colors of fur, as well. Their eyes have barred pupils. Satyrs originally hailed from the forests of southern Loratha, but have spread far and wide from their original homeland. Proud, passionate, and stubborn, satyrs have built strong communities in many rugged landscapes and rough circumstances. Other peoples often consider satyrs volatile and unruly—essentially being too proud, too passionate, and too stubborn—a reputation with which most satyrs will concur… with a wink and a smile.
Satyrs are a lusty people, not only sexually but also in a broader sense of eagerly and passionately embracing the vagaracies of life. Other peoples say that satyrs embody the energetic spirit of “Zuktovardos!,” much to the satyrs’ etymological amusement. Regardless, satyr culture lauds ambitious individuals who seize opportunities with vigor, pursue them with verve, and either enjoy the fruits of their success or discard the failed endeavor in favor of the next gambit.
While they have a (mostly earned) reputation for licentiousness, satyrs do form strong romantic commitments—which are very rarely exclusive and never require sexual fidelity. To satyrs, sex is associated with marriage about as strongly as eating breakfast: it’s something you likely do together often, but also occasionally with others. Most of their romantic commitments last until death, but satyrs also have no compunction about ending commitments that are no longer working for all parties. Satyrs in the East typically marry, while those in the West weavebond.
It is in funereal rites where the satyrs’ history of subjgaton shows, as they celebrate a completed life much like elves: a candlelit procession from birthplace to burial site. While this mirrors elven rites in structure, satyr processions are far more lively, with the route often featuring beer gardens and orgy tents. Satyr funerals can stretch across multiple days, regardless of the distance traversed. At the end, satyrs are buried naked and without a casket, curled around sections of tree roots that will sprout new growth the next spring.
Of the many peoples dominated by the Lorathan elves, satyrs have always been the most unruly, raucous, and rebellious. More than one scholar has suggested that the lively satyr culture inspires little respect for the comparatively reserved and staid elven way of life. This opposition usually expresses itself in frustrated disdain in both directions, but has risen to armed conflict more than once. Satyr rebellions litter the timeline of Loratha, and many of the leaders of the Bucoli Uprisingwere satyrs, as well.
The elves have historically punished rebellion with exile, which is why satyrs have become the poster children of the sylvan diaspora. Today the vast majority of Ipieros’ satyrs live in Wildermarch and Outland. What few satyr communities remain in Loratha are both intentionally quiet and rigorously policed; most elves consider any group of satyrs a rebellion just waiting to happen.
Outside of Loratha, satyrs have risen to—or taken—many positions of power. Satyr nomad bands roam the Norsteppes and Outland, and in the desert, some of these bands settled and founded cities. In Wildermarch, satyr refugees spent centuries fighting for trollish kings, but satyr crowns in the region now outnumber the trolls’. Satyr warlords rule up and down the Wastecoast, sparring with Ruhradim communities—refugees from a different genocide altogether.
Satyr rulers often and very publicly dedicate themselves to ruling their people without becoming tyrants like the elves their ancestors fought. Whether that dedication is more than mere words depends entirely on the individual ruler.
This was a really fun entry to write, because they’ve got a colorful history and a really strong personality to fit into the rest of the setting. Satyrs are almost all kind of a lot and know it: they think it’s kind of funny that other peoples get frustrated at what satyrs think of as just living.
Like certain people I know. Or who are in my family. Or who entirely compose my family. Anyway…
Next week we’ve got four tantalizing options for you to pick from. Which entry would you like to check out next?