|Common Nicknames||Tundra Deer|
|Habitat||Northern regions on various continents|
The Reindeer is considered by many to be one of the few constants of the north. There might be thaws that melt huge pockets of snow, rockslides that remake the landscape, and even conflict between the regional Races and Cultures which reshape the borders of territory, but the Reindeer will forever remain. Sturdy cervids built for the cold terrain and having survived for millennia since the time of the Allorn Empire, the Reindeer has became an enduring symbol for the north they occupy, especially among the Velheim Ailor who rely on them for survival.
The Reindeer has been a feature of the northern areas of the world going back millenia. The animal was first encountered by the Drovv up in their isolated corner of Aloria, but the Altalar soon also discovered the animal. Roaming through open plains, taigas, and forests, the animal was hunted and captured by Altalar as an example of exotic northern creatures, and also because of their perceived physical beauty and poise when compared with other species. From there on though, the vast herds of Reindeer were largely left alone, and they migrated across the landmasses they inhabited for centuries. In the Regalian Archipelago, the first external contact with them beyond petty northern-based tribes and clans now likely long lost to time was from the Regalian Kingdom. Some of their vessels, in exploring the Archipelago around 400 years before the Cataclysm, encountered the animal when they sailed in northern waters. But the most significant people to interact with the Reindeer were the Velheim. As they emerged in the northern reaches of Aloria, the Reindeer evolved into a symbol of the hunt, of nobility and bravery, and of perseverance for these people. This proved especially true after the wave of magical cold washed over much of The North Belt, icing Jorrhildr and rendering many other regions similarly difficult to habitate. Still, this animal survived in many regions, and today, it remains one of the most populous animals in all the northern continents. The Velheim of many areas have come to rely on the animal for its meat, bones, and pelt, the last of these in particular as it is a commonly traded product to regions which lack Reindeer populations. Because of this widespread and high population, which has remained high even in the wake of the Bone Horror Crisis, the Reindeer is likely to remain in Aloria like it has for millennia.
Reindeer range in size, with a height of five and a half to six feet, a length of five and three-quarters feet to six and a half feet, with a weight of anywhere from 200 to 500 pounds. This weight varies considerably based on region, diet, and time of year. The Reindeer has a square snout on a long muzzled-face with a large mouth that ends in a large, dark colored nose. Two large eyes, usually brown but sometimes green and grey, rest back on the head while above them rest the animal’s prominent dark colored antlers. These antlers vary in shape, but are most often a wide V and possess a sturdy thickness to them. The head is rounded off with a pair of dark ears, ones which are also touched by white or beige on their tips. The animal’s neck then connects its head to the body, which is a muscled form built for running in an instant. Their bodies are supported on four narrow legs that end in hooves adapted for the cold terrains they most often navigate. The body then ends in a short tail which is a few inches long and colored dark, but tinged with white at the edges. Their bodies are also covered in a layer of fur. Most fur colorations tend to be a rich brown or tan color, with their undersides being white or beige. In the summer and spring, when their coats are shed, this fur tends to get fairly pale, which can lead to some near-all-white members of the herd.
Reindeer have a heavy and easy to assess dichotomy between the two genders. Males are usually larger (both in size and weight), have antlers, and often possess a large white “scruff” of hair along the underside of their neck. Females, on the other hand, are often smaller with less weigh, less height, and lack antlers and the scruff of male Reindeer.
Life Span and Development
The Reindeer is capable of giving birth to up to two calves, who rely on their mothers for survival during their early weeks of life. After two months, calves are capable of eating vegetation thanks to their teeth coming in, but still rely on their mothers for the next ten months as their bodies slowly mature; after this time, they do not need to rely on their mother. They mature quickly, female Reindeer being considered mature by the age of 16 months while males take 18 to 20. At that time, they join the wider herd and leave their parent’s side. They are capable of seeking mates, though most males do not mate for a few years due to the hierarchy of order within the herds that favors the older, larger bull Reindeer. Their lifespan is relatively short, only being able to live six to ten years.
Reindeer are herd animals, and find strength as a collective as a result. They are so used to being close to their own kind that lone ones are practically unheard of, and as a result are quite friendly and caring for one another. This same caring is seen by the mother to her offspring, though Reindeer fathers are absent due to their social structure. Still, Reindeer can be competitive, especially during the mating season when males lock horns and fight for the right to mate with females. Such contests are often won by the older males who have larger bodies and greater experience. Reindeer are not experienced when it comes to the sentient Races, fleeing when encountering many, though only the Northern and Midlands Url stand a chance at getting close enough thanks to their physical appearance and scent. Additionally, most sentient Races they encounter are hunting them regardless, and flight over fight is hardwired into their being. Still, when they have to fight, they are powerful combatants. Their antlers are sturdy, as are their hooved feet, and more than one Northern Wolf has been sent limping away after a crack kick in the side.
Territory and Groupings
Reindeer live in taigas, tundras, and in some cases the woodlands of The North Belt, but also in the Lordship of Drixagh found in the north of the Regalian Archipelago. The huge herds they live in during the summer split up in the winter and feed in these winter grounds for the entire season. When that ends, they then regroup and return to the major herd, staying in their summer grounds during the mating season. Each herd is identified by where its summer grounds are, and each number anywhere from 1000 to 2500.
- Some of the most notable Reindeer herds in Aloria are the “Vampiric” Herd (based around the Rauður Coast in Jorrhildr), the Gammelskog Herd (based around the Gammelskog, one of the largest forests in Cain) and the Bone Herd (based near the Czari Bone Shores of Drixagh in the Regalian Archipelago).
- Reindeer sometimes get infected with “Red Nose Disease”, a fungal infection from their rooting in the snow in and among the lichen which they often eat. The disease is harmless, though it significantly reddens their noses while also causing the animal to excessively sneeze.