|Official Name||Ridgeback Boar|
|Common Nicknames||Brown Boar|
|Habitat||Forests in the Regalian Archipelago|
The Ridgeback Boar is a complex creature, existing as a form of wildlife across the entire stretch of the Regalian Archipelago since before the Cataclysm. As a result of this event and the rise of the Regalian Empire, the animal receded into the many thick forests of the island group. They are most noted for their prominent mohawk of hair, running from their head down their back which gives them their name. Some even feel the Ridgeback Boar is the creature that inspired the fashion of shaving the sides of one's head topped by an uncut mohawk. Many simply know the animal as a proud creature of the hunt and a challenge to any competent huntsman looking for a good story to tell.
The Ridgeback Boar has lived in the Regalian Archipelago for at least 400 years and has a rich history growing alongside the Ailor found there. The swine was first a common threat to the Ailor who were rarely able to take down the creature. The Boar became a symbol of the hunt in many cultures and to the many early petty kings or lords, a symbol of power if one was able to bring it down. This perception continued until the Regalian Empire rose from the ashes of the Regalian Kingdom. Seeing the Ridgeback Boar as a threat to the citizenry, actions taken by the rulers in Anglia and Dorinn all but wiped out the populations found there, the animals that were not killed moved to safer locations. At the same time, other Ailor kingdoms and states rose across the Archipelago. Due to the symbolic power in taking one of these creatures down, which was now tied to the Old Gods religion, many of these states began to hunt the animal into extinction.
The action that saved the Boars was the spread of Unionism, which removed the ideas of power from the Union of Earth or Air that the animal possessed. The nobles of these kingdoms stopped hunting the Boar, but the damage had already been done. In Rivellia, Loiree, Vixhall, Vultaro, and Montania, the animal vanished from the forests. In all other regions, the Boars went deep into the old forests of the Archipelago where they have remained ever since. Today, due to the amount of time that has passed, the animal is slowly being seen at the edges of forests once more. The beast mainly thrives in the Forriesta Natal and the Inner Calemberg Wald, but all old forests in the Archipelago possess at least one population of the animal. At the same times, particularly in Girobalda, the forests are slowly peeling back due to Regalian logging and only time will tell if humankind and the Ridgeback Boar will come into as aggressive contact as they once did.
The Ridgeback Boar stands at the height of two and a half to three feet with a length of five feet. Their weights range but males keep to the heavier spectrum of 270 to 300 lbs while females vary between 220 and 270 lbs. Their heads possess a prominent muzzle with a large snuffling nose with a broad mouth beneath it. On males, a set of tusks between four to six inches curve upward from this mouth and frame the rest of their face, but females lack these features. The remainder of said face has a pair of eyes of either brown or gray with two long pointed ears sticking up from the top of their heads. The rest of the Boar is heavy set and is supported by four small hooves legs. Their body is then covered in a layer of hair of varying shades of brown while their most prominent feature, the mohawk, is most often a lighter shade of brown than that of the body. This ridge of hair continues all the way down to from the head to the tail on a male Ridgeback, but the ones females have are smaller and stop at least one foot from the back of the animal.
There is great diversity in population of the Ridgeback Boar due to the dichotomy between their two genders. Males have a longer mohawk of hair, a larger build, and tusks while females lack tusks, are smaller and their mohawk ends approximately a foot from their tail. The shades of brown between Ridgeback Boars are great in range, including beaver, burnt umber, chestnut, and kobicha. Lighter shades are only present in babies or in the animal’s mohawk of hair. The species also has a small inclination toward females, making them the more populous.
Life Span and Development
Ridgeback Boars are born in litters of four to eight piglets and appear quite different than adults. They are small and possess pale and dark brown stripes along their side as well as no ridge of hair on their backs. Piglets spend a year with their mothers, first feeding on her milk but as their teeth come in, they move on to their omnivorous diet. After this year has passed, males are free to drift away and enter the all-male herds as opposed to staying in the herds of all females and piglets they are born into. By the end of two years, these adolescents have mentally matured and over their lifetime, continue to physically mature. That is also the time that they must leave the all-female groups known as sounders for the all-male groups known as masses.
During their third year, young males are often subservient and treated as lessers by the older and more mature Boars. Meanwhile in sounders, females follow the most aged among them around through the forest. During the mating season, younger male boars can rarely mate as they are bullied away from the sows by the older male Boars. The mating season also produces the most deaths in the Ridgeback Boar population, who suffer from weakening injuries due to male-on-male combat. Once this combat is done, however, male Ridgeback Boars mate with anywhere between five to ten sows. This cycle continues until the age of ten when males and females grow infertile and are unable to give birth. They can live up to fifteen years total, but many rarely make it past four or five.
The Ridgeback Boar has a complex mental state which varies between the two genders. Males are known for their aggressive tendencies, bullying each other in competition for mates and for the best feeding grounds. They are also very uncaring about their young, as they mate with more than one sow. Females meanwhile, are quite docile among themselves and very caring to their piglets. Females only compete when they have piglets, and it’s often just light shoving and pushing with their bodies. What both genders share, however, is their protective instinct. When attacked, males and females respond the same way, with aggression. They charge at their opponent, squealing loudly and often try to bite or headbutt the enemy. Males try to gore the enemy with their tusks, to drive them up into an open part of the body or to just annoy their attacker. While most fights are one on one, groups of males and groups of females have been known to attack larger predators. This can sometimes lead to inexperienced hunters evoking the fury of an entire herd. Males and females also share the same pastime of wallowing in mud, the reason for which is still unknown to Alorian scholars.
Territory and Groupings
Ridgeback Boars live in deep growth forests across the Regalian Archipelago in groups of females and piglets called sounders and groups of males called masses. These groups keep apart at all times of the year except during the mating season. These groups both roam somewhat randomly through the forest, migrating to constantly have a fresh supply of mud to wallow in and food to eat.
- Ridgeback Boar imagery is now only common in Rikeland and Drixagh where the swine is seen as either a symbol of the Union of Earth or the Union of Air. They most often appear in tapestries, weaponry, and armor with boar-head helms popular among the people of these regions.
- Ridgeback Boars are felt by many to be the originators of the idea of shaving the sides of one’s head to form a mohawk or at least a distinctly longer top of hair. As the practice originated among early Velheim peoples, some wonder if they were the ones to transplant the Ridgeback Boar to the Archipelago, but such mysteries are lost to time.
- Ridgeback Boars are often compared to their much worse tempered cousins, the Bathogg. Despite both being pigs, breeding between the two species has never been successful beyond one generation of infertile offspring.