Upheaval in Zhaltssom
Brief Description: Giraffe-like humanoids with legendary stubbornness
Physical Description: Peraltans stand roughly 8 to 9 feet tall at the shoulder (roughly about 11 to 12 feet in total) and tend to have surprisingly slender arms and legs for their size, compensated by a ridiculously strong skeletal structure. They also have short patchwork-colored fur on their backs (with a solid color for their undersides), elongated and strengthened necks, and the heads of giraffes (including the horn-like spots of cartilage).
Peraltans live roughly 60 years.
Preferred Habitat: Peraltans prefer dry habitats. They have been known to enter temperate regions, but most prefer warmer areas, and the size of the species necessitates that they exist in wide-open plains and grassland areas. Rain does not bother the species, but large bodies of water scare them, as the species is not good at swimming.
Culture and Society: Peraltan culture has become somewhat fractured with the encroachment of civilization. Beforehand, the peraltans were mostly grazers and strongly vegan, relying little on animals for their sustenance. Now that their lands are threatened, the peraltans have had to hunker down in their lands and discovered that they can tolerate animal and humanoid flesh as well. Animal skins and entrails tend to be used as the basis for gruesome artwork, while bones get turned into weapon parts or carvings. Ultimately, while they learned art from the races that encroach on their territory, they became more savage and brutal as a result.
Peraltan society tends to get a bit weird. The race has a disproportionately small number of females compared to males. As a result, females are prized and tend to be kept secluded from the main civilization as a whole, and only the oldest and most dominant males get access to them. The lesser males are left with each other, resulting in social behaviors that would be approached with revulsion in some civilized areas.
Another documented behavior that is less unusual is the tendency for headbutting. Skull-to-side contact tends to be the most typical, as it’s used in a ritualized form of combat that establishes dominance within a given tribe, and sometimes gets used to silence weaker members of the tribe. Skull-to-groin contact is a fair bit less common, usually used if an outsider tries to challenge the tribe to get them to leave. If a peraltan goes for skull-to-skull contact, however, they mean to kill, and they interpret such things from other races the same way.
Racial Language: The peraltans speak Lopardal and are actually pretty willing to use it openly, meaning it is one of the most documented of the ‘monstrous’ languages. The problem is that the language requires a variable voice in order to convey concepts correctly, as some statements can convey different meanings simply by volume. (In their written language, writing in all capital letters is sometimes necessary.) Lopardal also does not make a distinction between animals and civilized people natively – words have been imported into the language to tell the difference, but most peraltans won’t easily comprehend the distinction.
Known Powers: The peraltans are surprisingly stealthy for their size, and about as strong and durable as that size suggests, but otherwise they have no real special powers. Worth noting here, then, is their raw determination as a race – the peraltans are ridiculously stubborn, which is known to allow them to resist magical charms.
Relations: Some of the least civilized peoples can actually get along well with the peraltans. However, the peraltans are very sensitive to those who encroach upon their lands, and need a lot more food than those of most other races, so they often wind up in competition with the cities and villages of other races. Because the peraltans will resort to diplomatic methods first to conserve their energy, the standing order tends to be driving off the very stubborn peraltans rather than deliberately cutting back their numbers, even though the end results tend to be similar.
Really, the race’s main problem in the eyes of civilized peoples is that they’re full of themselves much more than even the elves.
Why are they not playable?: The problems other monster races have with becoming adventurers are downplayed in the case of the peraltans – there’s less of a negative reputation because some peraltans can actually try to be helpful, the race does not have the inborn violence that some others do, and peraltan behaviors are considered more weird than destructive. Really, the thing preventing them from being a playable race is their raw power and size – many dungeons do not easily fit Large characters, and a peraltan runs the risk of unbalancing the party with their physical capabilities.
What makes them hostile?: Aside from threatening their territories and food supplies, one sure way to make a peraltan hostile is a skull-to-skull headbutt. As stated previously, they interpret such an action as lethal intent.