Daphinae

Average Lifespan: 500 years
Average Height: 5’8” – 6’2”
Average Healthy Weight: 100 – 160 pounds
Pregnancy Duration: 6.5 months

The Daphinae are a people that have not changed much since their original creation. While other races have sought to change their culture, the Daphinae have embraced what they were born as and have only expounded on their original purpose. They live most of their lives in harmony with the world around them, and have developed some of the keenest hunting skills and weapons that Valindir has ever seen, including the invention of the bow. To outsiders, their way of living seems primal and untamed, but to those who know these resourceful, intelligent people, they understand how rich and civilized their world actually is. The Daphinae have embraced these outsiders as their own, striking up long lasting friendships and even romantic relationships with others, and invite anyone to come live among them. This has often proved to be a difficult transition, but the Daphinae are patient, using their saying “A seed does not grow into a tree quickly; it must be nurtured before it can bear the weight it was intended to hold.” Otherwise, Daphinae are free-spirited people who love to enjoy life, and especially alcohol, and have gone to great lengths to import it from all over the realm.

Physical Characteristics

Most Daphinae stand around six feet in height, but a bit shorter or taller is not considered abnormal. They tend to be a lithe race, showing their Sylvan roots, and weigh normally between one hundred and a hundred and sixty pounds. The men tend to be strung with quite a bit of muscle, while still remaining somewhat thin, as it allows them to quickly dart through the rainforests of the Hellios. The women are just as physically capable, but they tend to be a bit curvaceous, with broader hips and chests then the men traditionally have. Many speculate that this is because their bodies were built for child bearing, as their ability to conceive children is unlike anything in the rest of Valindir. If no form of contraception is used, a male and a female Daphinae will always conceive a child when they engage in intercourse.

The most striking feature about Daphinae is their eyes. While most races have a black pupil, the Daphinae’s can be as colorful as the rest of their eye. Some have multiple colors, such has a blue pupil and green iris, but others have one solid color for their pupil and iris, but it has been a fairly uncommon thing to see. Their hair is often kept long and braided out of the way, only let down for special occasions and is most often a green or brown in color. Blonde, red and black is not unusual, but every so often a silver haired Daphinae is born, showing signs of their ancient heritage, and it is a rare sight to see. Coming to slender points are their ears, but they are not long like their cousins about the world and are no taller than any Humans. Their skin holds an odder pigment to it, ranging from paler greens, to darker browns. It is said they were born this way so they could more easily blend in with their homeland, and hide from intruders or pounce upon them when they got close enough.

History

The Daphinae were born from Hienle, the God of Survival and were the second known race to grace the lands of Valindir with their presence. Originally they had been meant to dwell with the Sylvan in the lands that is now Yarola’Sia, but Yarowe threatened to wipe them out, so Hienle took his creations to their home in Hellios. There the Daphinae flourished, and lived in harmony with the world around them. Their father taught them the ways of survival, but also insisted they respect the land, and give back as much as they took from it. For the most part, the Daphinae were pleased to live on their secluded island and travel around the forests in packs.

They followed this lifestyle for nearly a thousand years, paying no heed to the changing world outside their own until Louvenia bore the Senai into existence. They were fascinated by their new aquatic neighbors, and sought magic to go and visit them in their homes beneath the waves. The two cultures intertwined, and even to this day there is an alliance between the two as the only true people of Hellios. While not directly related through the Sylvan, the Daphinae do view the Senai like their extended cousins, and from that point on the two races have enjoyed each other’s company.

When Al’Drenra broke out, it was the Daphinae that were one of the first into the fray, as Hienle had not forgotten how poorly they had been treated by Yarowe. They originally allied themselves with the Humans and marched onto the Elven lands in an attempt to destroy them. Many speculate that they might have won and killed their Elven cousins had the Senai not been endangered while they were away. While most of the Daphinae had set out to make war with Valindir, word reached them that colonies of armies had started to destroy the forests there and pollute the waters in order to resupply and build new weapons of war. The Daphinae abandoned their fight and returned home to slaughter anyone foolish enough to endanger their way of life and their underwater kin. It is said that the ground ran so red with blood that no tree will grow there, and to this day, the bridge going into Hellios leads to an open field where nothing but grass and a few flowers flourish.

Culture and Religion

Today, the Daphinae still practice much of what they have since their birth, but a few changes have been made. When their uncanny ability to breed was discovered after the Elements return, the Daphinae realized that in order to maintain a balance with the land, they could not allow themselves to overpopulate. It was then decided that the females and males would live their lives separately on different sides of the islands. The women colonized what is now known as Fwi, and the men created Puan. It has been the way they have lived for thousands of years, and continues to this day, with husbands and wives only seeing each other a few times a year on holidays and celebrations when the two cities come together.

Because of this intense separation, many Daphinae take on a confidant of their same gender that will act as their lover while their spouse is away. The Daphinae are an intensely passionate people in all aspects of their lives, and overpopulation continued to be an issue even after the separation of the cities. It was then that people were encouraged to bond with their closest friend, and share all aspects of their lives with them, not just ones of a sexual nature. Often times these confidants live with one another in the same house, as most houses in Hellios have several bedrooms to accommodate large families, especially in Fwi. It is not considered cheating to have a confidant, merely a necessity to function properly and survive.

In recent times, many have taken to marrying outside of their race, but only specific other races are considered acceptable. Any race related by the Sylvan are considered close enough to be suitable partners (Elves, Mithyrn, Sidhe, Danava and Senai). Because no children can be conceived from a union like this, the couple is permitted to live in the city that is tailored to the Daphinae partner’s gender. They are openly accepted into the community, and often adopt children whose parents have passed away, or were unable to care for them, most often choosing a child of the Daphinae’s parents same gender so that the child can remain with them throughout their life.

Many mistakenly believe that children are immediately separated from their mothers at birth if they are male, but this in untrue. When a woman becomes pregnant with child, the father is permitted to live in a small community on the forest floor beneath the city. The husband generally is in charge of obtaining any food, clothing or other necessity his mate may need while she carries their baby. When the child is born, the entire community joins in celebration and the name of the newborn is hung over the door of the parent’s home. The man is allowed to stay only one week after the birth, as the woman will become fertile again within nine days of birth. From then on, the father only sees the child during celebrations where the two communities come together, or when the couple plans a trip to an outlying settlement at the border on Hellios. The child is primarily raised in Fwi until the age of puberty, when then the child will move to the city of his or her gender and live with that parent. While to outsiders it seems cruel to separate families, the Daphinae are a communal people and everyone helps in the raising of a child. Any Daphinae will attest that their childhood was rich and happy, and that they love their parents and community dearly.

The Daphinae are also a deeply religious people, dedicating their lives to the Elements who they believe saved not only them, but the other races they might have surely destroyed had they not been stopped. They see them as the balance to the realm, and serve them wholeheartedly, turning their back on their original creators. To be a part of the Path of the Gods or even the Path of the Enlightened in their culture is seen as heresy, and is punishable by death, but normally the guilty are just exiled from Hellios. Most cannot understand why they are so opposed to the gods, as they had one of the closest relationships documented with their creator Hienle. When asked about this, the leader of the Fwi city simply replied “Hienle did not love us like a parent should. A parent seeks to protect their young and keep them from harm, not use them in petty squabbles. That is not love, but selfishness, and there is no room for that in our lands.”

Geography

The Daphinae live on Hellios, their native homeland for thousands of years, and have developed a unique way of living. Their capitals, Puan and Fwi (referred to as Puan’Fwi when speaking of the whole country) are built from living trees. The rainforests they live in are dense with massive, ancient trees that were crafted by Aurix at the birth of the world. Through the use of specialized magic, the Daphinae have coaxed the branches to grow in a way that forms walkways and buildings from living plants. Anything that is built from dead wood is always taken from a tree that has naturally fallen, and they use every piece of the wood they can for construction. Many have remarked how high the Daphinae are in the canopy, and wonder how they never seem to fall out of their homes and to the lush ground far below their civilization.

Relations with Other Races

The Daphinae are an open and inviting people, encouraging anyone to come live as they do as part of their society. While most are content to stay on their own lands, there have been Daphinae who go out and explore the rest of the world, bringing back unique souvenirs and trinkets from all over the realm.

Alubra – The Daphinae are quite bemused with this race, and see them as a little naive, but otherwise quite entertaining. They still cannot grasp why their people are so concerned with art, but still they admire them for their unique way of expressing themselves, and many Alubrans have come to live with the Daphinae, as they are right at home high within their tree cities.

Centaurs – Viewing them as somewhat kindred spirits, the Daphinae have a great respect for the Centaurs, even if they see them as far too rigid at times. They see what has happened in recent years in regards to their expulsion from Danzibar as pitiable, but inevitable. They see this as the Centaurs chance to prove their survival abilities to the rest of the world, and rise up from what seems like defeat.

Danava – While the Danava may be fond of their woodland neighbors, the Daphinae are not impressed with them or their culture. The Daphinae see them as murderous tricksters that only want to own land and be greedy with it. They have often stepped in to protect to their Senai allies and friends against the harsh words and violence that the Danava offer them.

Drakien – The Drakien are to be pitied for their ill-gotten, for they have done nothing wrong but try and survive. The Daphinae blame the Elves for belying the character of this noble race, and see it as primarily their fault that the Drakien are placed in such dismal circumstances. However, in recent years, the Daphinae have become more wary of them, as they have caught several Drakiens harvesting trees from their forests.

Dwarves – Amusing is mainly the word a Daphinae would use to describe a Dwarf, and mostly meant in a condescending way. While they can understand wanting to protect and preserve ones homeland, they see the Dwarves as too superstitious and stuck in their ways to ever know the real joys of life or the true meaning of survival.
 
Elves – Loathing and contempt are all the Daphinae have to offer for the Elves. They view them as vicious, violent creatures that hide behind a veil of civility and have tricked Valindir into thinking they are cultured and refined. Few Elves have ever been accepted by the Daphinae, and it has taken years to form this trust between them. Most often these are Elves that have abandoned their own people to live amongst the rest of the world.
 
Gryphon – The Daphinae despise the Gryphon for protecting their enemies the Elves, and see them as simpletons that only attempt to be cultured. They laugh when they see a Gryphon adorned in Elven attire, as they say it looks ridiculous for a slave to wear the clothes of their masters.

Humans – Seen as somewhat trustworthy, the Daphinae have a tentative friendship with the Humans. They remember that the Humans fought valiantly with them in Al’Drenra and have survived through extreme hardships, despite their clear inferior physical prowess. Still, the Humans have engaged in some underhanded deals, and the Daphinae are not blind to their dirty tactics.

Kren – While the Daphinae respect the community that the Kren share with one another, they cannot understand why they are so rigid in their laws and rules. The Daphinae understand the need for order, but they feel the Kren take it too far and rob themselves of the simple joys of life.

Kithras – The Kithras are welcome company, as they truly understand what survival is, as they live in some of the harshest climate in Valindir. The two races also share a refined taste for alcohols, and the two races often meet during celebrations, if only to sample different liquors that the other has found and brewed through the year.

Melrog – The Daphinae aren’t sure what to think of the Melrog, and are split whether they are something good or an atrocity to nature. Part of the culture sees them as an affront to nature and as an imitation of life without truly having a soul. Others see them as champions of magic and ingenuity, and have proven themselves worthy by living in harmony with nature.

Minotaur – Minotaurs are thought of quite highly by the Daphinae, as they have struck a balance with the world about them, and give back to the earth as much as they take. The two races don’t often interact, as the trees have proved treacherous for the hooves of the Minotaurs, but every so often a Daphinae will venture to the Minotaur homeland.

Mithyrn – Viewed as cousins to the Daphinae, the Mithyrn have been a race of interest since their discovery. The Daphinae see them as a little paranoid, and have made it a point to try and expose their brethren to the world around them. They have accomplished this by sending diplomats to Talei, as well as inviting any Mithyrn to come visit them in Puan’Fwi.

Orcs – Celebrated as a kindred spirit against the Elves, the Daphinae hold great respect for a race that has flourished despite great adversity. They view that as somewhat untamed however, and hope that as their culture continues to grow they will develop a better respect for nature. In more recent times, the Daphinae have soured their opinions of the Orcs, because they have continued to strip the land of its resources without giving back.

Sidhe – Any Sidhe is always welcomed among the Daphinae and they are seen as close brethren and kin. They are one of the only races that the Daphinae share a deep, close bond with, and the two often visit one another, as their homelands are both nestled deep within lush forests. Several Daphinae have moved to Aeponae and a few Sidhe live among the Daphinae in Puan and Fwi. The two have started teaching the other their particular styles of magic, and the two have learned a better understanding of how to use their own spells, as well as the new ones.

Senai – Senai and Daphinae are as close as family, and the two share Hellios together in perfect harmony. They often share celebrations and holidays, with the Daphinae visiting them beneath the waters in their home, and the Senai travelling to shore to share in joy and unity with their kin. The two cultures have been intertwined, and while separate, they often complement each other, and the races have never had any reason to fight or even argue.

Talmori – Holding a respect for their peaceful union with the world around them, the Daphinae are openly friendly with what they see as a wonderful culture and race. They often visit the Talmori in the Hashena Forest and have helped them in the use of their magic to make the trees bend to form canopies that are safe from the rain.

Language

The Daphinae still speak primarily Sylva among one another, but do speak common to outsiders that don’t speak it, as carrying on a conversation another cannot take part in is considered rude and disrespectful. Otherwise, they haven’t been too concerned with learning other languages, save for any diplomat or ambassador who is required to speak all the current languages of the realm.

Names

The Daphinae pride themselves in the names that they bestow upon their children and generally morph the sounds and names of nature as inspiration for their names. They also often mix in prominent leaders and heroes of Daphinae lore to their children’s name, as it is said to pass on some of their greatness to the next generation.

Male Names: Jagunan, Tigreff, Delituen

Female Names: Florandira, Paratin, Nectricese

Player Difficultly Level

Moderate – Daphinae can be slightly complicated to play, primarily because of their breeding and marriage arrangements. Otherwise, they are communal people that live in harmony with nature and respect not only the world around them, but others as well. The most difficult part of playing a Daphinae is they are not fond of large, busting cities made of stone, as it seems cold and sterile to them.

Notes on Role Playing this Race

A common misconception about the Daphinae is they are all vegans and vegetarians and would never harm a fly, let alone hunt an animal. Daphinae love meat of all kinds, and enjoy a good hunt as much as anyone. They just understand the natural cycle of things and don’t hunt pregnant animals and allow them adequate time to breed and repopulate themselves. They have never allowed a species to disappear from their lands, and if any gets dangerously low in numbers, the Daphinae refrain from hunting it (save from protecting their homes) until its numbers are healthy again.

The Daphinae are not “hippies” nor are they feral animals. They have struck a balance with nature and live in harmony with the world around them because if they didn’t, the fear the land would become barren and would not be able to support them anymore. It is also the reason they don’t allow their numbers to become over populated and they separated the genders from one another.

While all Daphinae do have increased sex drives, it is by no means uncontrollable. In fact, to be unable to control ones sexual desires could get someone kicked out of Hellios, and rape is considered one of the highest crimes in their culture. Another common mistake is that a confidant is similar to polygamy. While a confidant is a dear friend and they share a deep bond, it is not considered a romantic relationship, but one of mutual need. A confidant is only a close friend, and probably the second deepest bond a person will have, next to their spouse/family.

Posted July 5, 2011 by Evoru

%d bloggers like this: