|Common Nicknames||Cat-folk, Beast-men|
|Distinctions||Feline humanoids standing upright. An ancient race that has been around since recording of modern time|
|Maximum Age||90 years|
|Body Types||Muscular males, slender females|
|Height||Males between 5’5 and 6’8, females max at 6'2|
|Weight||Varied based on gender but never more than 300 lbs|
|Eye Colors||Yellow/Green shades|
|Hair Colors||Darker shade of their primary fur color|
|Skin Tones||N/A (Fur) limited to shades of Brown, Black and White|
Varrans, one of the oldest pre-Elven Empire races of Aloria, are a race of feline humanoids that inhabit the deserts of Ithania and surrounding lands. Varrans are known for occupying two ends of the freedom spectrum. On land, Varrans in Ithania are known to be the pinnacle of servitude and slavery to the Elves, but on the high seas, no other race equals the Varran Corsairs in personal freedom and self-determination. Fierce and communal, the Varrans have a difficult place in modern society. Their ancient history has been mostly wiped out by the Nelfin, who continue to try and diminish the Varran identity to this day. Despite the many hardships these people face as a beastly race, Varrans have been able to mostly free themselves of slavery in the wake of the collapse of the Elven Empire, venturing into their history in the hopes of rebuilding some of their racial identity that was lost centuries ago.
Varrans are a fairly homogenous race, meaning they all seem very visually similar, though there are some major physical differences in the male and female physiology, as well as in their fur patterns. Male Varrans have the body shape of a Muscular Ailor, but instead of a Human head, they have a large feline head supported by a strong neck, Additionally, their skin is covered in a dense but soft layer of fur. Their hands are larger than those of other races, and sport large retractable claws that they frequently use in combat. Male Varrans tend to have a lot of head hair and facial hair growth, which is often braided and bundled together. Female Varrans, on the other hand, are slender, lacking any muscle definition and are far more agile, as opposed to the strength based males. In fact, whereas male Varran necks and heads often appear elongated and arching over their chest, female Varran necks are thinner and more elongated, while their heads are rounder. Females do not have facial hair growth, and almost never grow hair on the top of their head. . Female eyes and ears tend to be larger than the males’, though their claws are much thinner. It is easily said that the males are built to fight with their claws, while the females are built for finesse tasks that require accuracy and dexterity. Female Varrans often have a slightly raspy yet gentle voice, while male Varrans often sound guttural and growly. What the two genders have in common are their digitigrade legs and their tail. A Varran always has a tail that can be individually controlled and is almost as long as one of their legs from the waist down. The tail is not strong enough to support their bodies, but females often use their tails when climbing obstacles for additional balance, but the males tie them around their waist to avoid it being grabbed in combat. Tails have an enormous cultural significance for Varrans, and are used to display emotion and individualism. Varran fur patterns are what set them apart from others, but there are common trend lines for patterns. Varran patterns can be categorized down three colors: the natural brown tones from the Ithanian desert, the uncommon white tones from the Elven-populated centers, and the rarer black tones from the forests of Daendroc. These three colors are absolute, but various shades of brown are possible, ranging from beige to mahogany. Aside from their primary color, Varran fur always has a secondary color that is seen in the face, the stomach, the biceps, and the palms of the hands. Fur, in general, can also have a variety of patterns ranging from stripes to spots and in some cases even rings or halos. No pattern of any Varran is alike, even within a family.
Though other races denounce them as dumb animals, Varran surprise all outside their race with their eloquence and shrewdness. Varrans are placed at a disadvantaged by the Nelfin, who wish to portray them as wild slave animals, but they have a far more sophisticated mental capacity than just for food and gold. Certainly, all Varrans have a certain amount of greed, but in essence, they are a very proud race with great poise and a certain elegance to their actions, even among the more brutish males. Varrans are contemplative, they usually do not speak out of line, but rather at the right moment, finding the words to get what they want. That being said, if what they want is being denied, they are prone to extreme passive-aggression that can devolve into physical aggression with claws if left unanswered. Despite this, Varrans are a jovial people. They have a free mindset about the world and are always curious about everything and everyone, albeit from a distance and without letting them know. Varrans like experiencing the un-experienced, and often go to great lengths to establish a name for themselves in foreign lands. It could, as such, be said that Varrans also love adoration and being worshiped by others; they are prideful beings, but rarely actually act when this pride falters, unlike what an Orc would do. A Varran is far more prone to simply wave off whatever is attempting to break their spirit with humor. Of the Varran race, curiously enough, the males cannot cast any forms of Magic or even connect to the Void or Exist, while the females can. It is not understood why this is the case, but this has greatly influenced Varran culture.
The civilization that may have existed before the Nelfin exterminated it has all but been lost to modern Varrans. Excavations in Ithania and further research into Elven scrolls reveal scraps of Varran history scattered around, yet Elves continue to try and destroy the Varran heritage to this day, mostly to hide a dark secret about their past conflicts. Once, before the full hegemony of the Elven Empire in Daendroc, it bordered a great and powerful Varran Empire in the north. Relations between the people were always terrible; frequent border skirmishes occurred until a full-blown war erupted over ideological differences. The Elves pursued magic, while the Varrans pursued technology. Some excavations in Varran archeological sites implied they were far more advanced than even the Dwarves or Qadir when the Elves went to war with them. Some go so far to say that they possessed projectile weapons that were used in great volleys, and electric-powered copper machinery that could fell vast forests with ease.
The Elves won after a decade-long war, and proceeded to wipe out Varran civilization altogether. Their people were completely enslaved, and all historical records of this Varran Empire that dared to endanger Nelfin hegemony were destroyed. Varran technology and machinery was lost to time; technological advances that the world may never see again were permanently lost. This material loss was nothing compared to the loss of culture. The Elves sought to completely eradicate Varran culture to break their spirit, as this otherwise free-thinking people would not submit to slavery. The ancient Nelfin mostly succeeded, but a faint memory of their old lives remained protected by the shifting sands of the Ithanian deserts, covering up lost Varran relics to be found in later eras. Ancient Elven records state that the Varrans “Made offense to Estel with their ways, offending the very nature of things.” The exact meaning of this has never been fully understood, though it is thought this refers to whatever technology the ancient Varrans may have possessed.
Over the next couple of centuries, Varrans are referred to as targets for hunting sports, slavery and entertainment. Nelfin frequently forced Varrans to fight to the death in cages, dance for expositions, or become the victim of some decadent exhibitionism. Of all the races who were enslaved by the Elves, it is certain that the Varrans suffered the worst of the Elven excesses. It is assumed that during the height of the Elven Empire, there were no free Varrans in the wilderness.
Varrans started breaking free from Elven control in large numbers when the Cataclysm erupted. Due to the sudden and abrupt end of all magical power, the Varrans were able to overpower their masters, who had lost their means to control and oppress the Varrans. Many more Varrans died during the period which is referred to as Ssfremma, which means the Great Freedom, a time of mass armed insurrection against Elven overlords. This period marks the end of Varran slavery as nearly all Varran populations rose up in intervals, settling south of present-day Daenshore.
Eventually, many Varrans founded the Dahrs of Ssil, Osso, and Nakhroohr, cities inhabited by nearly only Varrans built around the crumbling ruins of an old Elven citadels. The cities nominally exist within the Regalian territory, but actively retain some form of autonomous rule, even while the Varrans have been included into the Crown Alliance, due to the Empire’s respect for local customs. Most Varrans in modern times have resorted to piracy and waylaying in Daendroc, which adds to their reputation of being underhanded thieves among particularly Elves, yet their Corsair fleets are legendary among many other races. Many Varrans still fiercely hate Elves, and frequent attacks take place in Elven Kingdoms by Varran brigands. Recently the racial identity of the Varrans has gone through a renaissance as discoveries were made in the deserts of Ithania. Long lost sandstone temples filled with strange urns with copper wires inside, and large networks of copper rods spanning several buildings scattered with strange mechanic objects. The Varrans are slowly reconnecting with their lost cultural traditions and customs, regaining a racial identity that was lost at the hands of the Elves centuries ago, a crime which they believe even descendants of the Elves should suffer for to this day.
Varran Society is deceptively rigidly structured. One would think that the freedom loving feline race would avoid any autocratic structure, but in contrast, their Dahrs, large cities ruled by a single autocrat, are controlled by a network of Corsair Warlords and Priestess Dahrins. It is important also to recognize a sizeable population of Varrans elsewhere enslaved by Elves, however, even though most of the Varrans broke free from slavery, many Elven Kingdoms continue to attempt to re-subjugate Varrans into their fold. Varran society is as such split between what they refer to as the Free Branch and the Domestic Branch. The Dahrs mostly dominate the Free Branch. Slaves and indentured servants usually dominate the Domestic Branch.
At the very top of the Varran political structure are the Priestess Dahrins, female religious figures of the Faith of Baskarr. They can be likened to royalty in Regalia, as the position is effectively hereditary. A Priestess Dahrin is always succeeded by one of her daughters, though the exact succession line isn’t always clear since a Priestess Dahrin can appoint any of her daughters. In theory, Priestess Dahrins are celibate, which would make reproduction difficult for them. The Varrans have solved this problem with a more modern addition, the Corsair Warlords. Corsair Warlords are the only (male) Varrans permitted to copulate with the Priestess Dahrins for the sake of ensuring a stable lineage, when the Priestess feels the need to produce new offspring. These Corsair Warlords and Priestess Dahrins never permanently engage in a relation, and one Priestess Dahrin usually calls upon numerous Corsair Warlords to provide for reproduction. Corsair Warlords are often the largest and most influential Varrans who on the merit of their strength and ferocity alone can control a larger fleet of Corsair vessels that engage in piracy all along the Daendshore coast. Their size and strength often also makes them excellent partners for the Priestess Dahrins who prefer to give birth to strong healthy offspring. Corsair Warlords act both as the secondary authority figure, but also as law enforcement since they aren’t only above the law, they are the law. In many ways, the Corsair Fleet leadership is very reminiscent of Orc culture in that a strong Varran will out-compete an older Varran for control of the fleet and title of Corsair Warlord. Often old Warlords are outcompeted by their sons, more often than not the male Varrans sired by the Priestess Dahrins even. As such, there is very limited upwards mobility for average Varrans, but there are numerous positions within the Corsair Fleet that other Varrans usually aspire to attain. Corsair Warlords however also are responsible for the care of the people within the Dahrs. They capture gold and shipments of resources from merchant's vessels out at sea and then contribute this wealth to the Dahrs. As such, they could be considered the benevolent protectors of their city states, and are equally worshiped by the people for their strong, caring role within Varran society. Often, to a Corsair Warlord, respect and reverence are payment enough for their services, but many Corsair Warlords also gather huge fortunes in gold for the sake of just owning a lot.
Varran culture is rich internally, meaning not many cultural traditions or practice show on the surface of simple daily practices. Varran culture specifically manifests itself in how they interact with others and more personal behaviors. The biggest aspect of Varran culture is their tail, both an extension of their body but also a way to express their feelings through body language that other races often cannot fully understand. A Varran will, for example, show strong affection for someone by caressing them with their tail in an embrace, but also frequently use their tail to indicate particular desires on the bodies of their partners. A Varran will also react violently to unwanted touching of their tail. This protectionist behavior of their tails often causes issues as Regalian children think they can just get away with pulling a Varran's tail. To remove a Varran's tail is often something that breaks their pride. It was a practice that was often engaged in by the Elves during the Elven Empire and saw frequent use in Regalia also with Varran convicted of criminal offenses.
Varran clothing is often very simple. Beyond a simple chest cloth worn by women and leather straps worn by men to attach objects to, Varran never wear any clothing on their upper body. Male and female Varran, however, all wear a so-called Satoor, a dress-like clothing piece often in earthen or burgundy color tones with a variety of intricate patterns. These Satoors are often specially tailored to allow a tail to protrude from the back, and also have individual cuts on the front and sides to allow a free range of motion for Varran in combat. The Satoor is, in fact, a crucial piece for many cultural traditions of the Varran. One important cultural expression is the Satoor-Bis Kahnar Hakkar, a wild dance performed by male Varran to court female Varran. The dance itself is carried out with leaps involving fierce snarling expressions, grunting, chest beating and wild waving of claws. The primary purpose of the dance is to impress a potential partner with a Varran's strength, though female Varran also perform it to intimidate enemies before battle.
Varran diet consists entirely of raw meat, with very little, if any, vegetation consumed.. Varran cuisine is as such often described as terribly boring, they simply have no patience for cooking and would prefer to eat quickly. Their art is often described as equally dull, but there is some hidden traditional value in so-called Orthanssas or scratch art. Scratch art is performed on soft tin plates which Varrans claw symmetrical patterns in with their claws, often shaped like fire symbols or waving tails. These plates, when fully finished, often produce peculiar fragmentation of reflected light, causing the wave patterns to appear to come alive in dim lit campfire light.
Varran family traditions, despite the very wild and open society, often tend to be very strict and loyal. Varran parents frequently reproduce, averagely having up to twelve younglings, and stay faithful to one another for life. Younglings are raised by public Baskarr servants, lesser priestesses who take more social roles in society, providing to spiritual needs and also teaching younglings the essential tenets of their religion. Male Varran are very quickly introduced to the Corsair Fleets to work as deckhands or as warriors, while females are often delegated to ensuring the proper functioning of the household, but also caretaking in cattle herding or foraging and hunting. As such, it could be said that Varran society is very similar to traditional hunting and gathering societies, but also maintains a very active separation of gender roles. It cannot be said that Varran males or females are superior over the other, it's simply the case that they have different roles in society that they excel at, and decisions within the household are usually shared equally between parents. The actual path towards union between Varran is always very loose, however, and parents have little to no impact on the choice. Most Varran choose a partner before becoming fifteen years old, as Varran tend to mature mentally by the age of ten and physically by the age of fifteen.
The faith of Baskarr, a relatively modern religion, was created after numerous archeological expeditions in Ithania yielded some evidence of a pre-slavery religion based on the Night Goddess Baskarr. Worship of the Goddess Baskarr largely involves bringing valuable offerings and praying in the direction of a large cat-like statue made of sandstone. The statue is often painted entirely night-blue, bar for the white eyes. The Varrans who worship Baskarr believe she will one day chase the sun out of the sky, bringing eternal night, a time where the Varrans will come forth from their misery and bring about a Varran Empire to undo the wrongs done to them so long ago. Baskarr is seen as a benevolent and charitable goddess, bestowing gifts and blessings. The Varrans do not curse her when misfortunes befall them; they merely note that bad things happen in the absence of good things due to the lack of offerings. There appears to be some form of link between Baskarr and the worship of ancient Varrans, as the statue bears striking resemblances to several ruin statues and wall paintings in the Ithanian deserts. That being said, they may as well simply be effigies of rulers during ancient times, which the Varrans have misinterpreted because they don’t understand the context.
Economy and Technology
Varran Economy exists only in the purest and simplest form of bartering and self-sufficiency. Varrans take care of themselves by foraging or hunting what they can, and otherwise, pirate what they cannot. Trade between groups of Varrans barely ever takes place as self-sustenance is important for Varrans, but they are often also granted essentials by the Corsair Warlords. What limited trade does happen, is servitude in return for gold, often Regals, which are then smelted into jewelry. Servitude itself can either function as hired servants, but more often than not will Varrans function as bodyguards or soldiers to wealthy Regalians. The wealth of a Varran is not measured by the coin or food they have, it is measured by the amount of jewelry they have to themselves, and how much people respect them for it. Varran technology is otherwise just a copycat of Elven technology. Varrans use Elven ships, Elven swords, and Qadir daggers. Their houses are built in Human styles, and whatever technology they use around their homes are usually old remnants of Elven Empire days, like fountains having been converted into drinking wells. That being said, old techniques are slowly coming back to the Varrans in recent years.
Combat and Warfare
Varrans have not formally participated in any large scale warfare at any point in the past millennia, but many guerrilla or bandit raids happen, alongside the frequent piracy. Varrans prefer to use their raw strength and agility, coupled with their sharp claws over any weapon. They also have a preference for naval melee combat, as Varrans are uniquely physically equipped to make use of the limited maneuvering space in the fighting. Whenever they do handle a weapon, it is usually a sword, and hardly ever an axe or a bow, as these weapons are not seen as elegant or efficient extensions of the body in combat. Varrans often prefer light armor, or none at all, just because it allows faster movement. In general, Varrans rely on their speed to avoid being hit and to gain the upper hand. Varrans almost exclusively strike in ambush settings, or at least when the opponent does not expect it. They are masters at picking where and when to strike and avoid being caught out.
- The fiercest Varran Pirate ever to have existed was Nakul “The Clawed Demon” Kahn from Ssil. Rumored to be able to slash through a brick wall with just his claws, Kahn sailed between Daendroc and Kelmoria for fifteen years, plundering Dwarven ships filled with riches from the mines and terrorizing Elven cities along the coastline, before suddenly disappearing from the world view.
- A Varran Dahr can often have as many as twenty Corsair Warlords, though more often than not is this number kept low at ten to avoid competition.
- A lot of information in Ailor and Elven libraries is often intentionally tampered with by Elves. Even in modern days, many Elves have been arrested for tampering with historical records to make Varrans appear more stupid or less desirable within the Regalian Empire, to their political ends.