War of the Ages‎ > ‎Bestiary‎ > ‎

Minotaurs

Coming down from their mountain homes, every member of this race of artisans and sages approach their life's work with a single-mindedness that have garnered them the respect of dragons, dwarves and even elves. Minotaurs approach the labyrinth of life with such passion that they uncover the truth behind the mysteries of reality itself.



Physical Characteristics and Anatomy

 

Minotaurs are large bipedal creatures. They possess a massive bull head and both male and female minotaurs possess horns of varying types depending on their bloodline. They possess four-fingered hands that can become quite dexterous and manipulate fine objects. Most minotaurs that do not rely on the dexterity of their hands allow their nails to grow into thick claws to aid in battle. They are covered head-to-toe in a thick silky fur that serves to protect them from the elements and from minor attacks. A minotaur's legs end in hooves, but they are quite solidly planted on any ground. Even the scholars amongst minotaurs are heavily muscled and incredibly strong, and no minotaur shies from physical exertion.

 

Due to their mixed anatomy, minotaurs are capable of surviving on grass alone. They can digest a variety of plants, and even enjoy eating those, that humes find unpalatable. Minotaurs greatly enjoy the taste of many kinds of meats, and are quite capable of digesting such fare. Many minotaurs eat only one meal a day (not willing to dedicate the time to multiple meals), but this is on the assumption that there is meat. When subsisting on a purely vegetarian diet, minotaurs must eat constantly to maintain strength. Minotaurs do not see their resemblance to cows and bulls, and so will not object to eating beef, but few keep them or make a point to eat them.

 

Not counting a minotaur's horns (some stick out to the side, and some extend almost straight up), a minotaur stands between 7 and 9 and a half feet tall, with most falling around the 8 foot mark. Minotaurs are drastically heavier than humes, and the smallest weighs well over 400 pounds. The largest guardinals are closer to half a ton than one quarter. Minotaurs age quickly. They are considered full adults by 16 years old (or when they reach the rank of Master), and regularly stay productive until their final years of life--usually in their late sixties.

 

Behavior and Diet

 

A common Minoan motto is, "Whatever you choose to do, do well." They choose a single task or profession to perfect throughout their lives, and if something happens to prevent a minotaur from being able to accomplish aforementioned task, then most minotaurs will choose to commit suicide rather than choose a new task or live a life without one.

 

Minotaurs are natural-born skeptics, and this is further reinforced by the teachings about the Maze. Minotaurs will always examine a situation from a variety of angles before judging the validity of any perceived reality. They are quite aware that an individual one step removed from an event may have an entirely different perspective and outlook, and try to discover this.

 

Minotaurs are frequently fiercely independent, and strive to become entirely self-sufficient while working on their own form of enlightenment. They have a strong paternal instinct towards and are very protective of each other and anything they see as an extension of themselves, including family, community, minotaurs, and possessions. They do not begrudge assistance, although they will rarely ask for it, and when it is given, they accept it humbly. Typically, a minotaur will then strive even harder to reach a point where they no longer require aid.

 

Minotaurs are omnivorous, and frequently import their foods. Minoan farms that do exist are typically small, but very productive--although they frequently specialize in a single kind of food. Minoan journeyman hunters provide the most food from within a community as they hone their skills before moving on to bigger game.

 

Castes were once a part of most Minoan communities, but this is quite rare nowadays. However, many minotaurs still marry within their chosen profession and usually associate with individuals of similar prestige.

 

Minotaurs can tell a lot about each other by the particular type of horns they possess. Minotaurs in the same family will have very similar horns, with only minor variation across siblings. The pattern is typically predictable when minotaurs marry, and it is common to judge a pairing by how well their horns will mix. Discrimination based on the type of horns one possesses is common in Minoan communities. Although minotaurs will not shy from using their powerful horns in battle, the loss or damage of a horn is considered equal to the same damage to a limb in most classes. Only guardinals see damaged horns as a sign of experience.

 

Minotaurs are highly specialized, and are regularly ignorant of any subject outside of their chosen profession. Obsessive-compulsive disorders are not uncommon amongst minotaurs; neither are cases of minotaurs losing touch with reality--although this is known as "becoming lost in the Maze." A life in the pursuit of perfection causes many minotaurs to become vain and proud as they age.

 

Minoan school is designed to provide all of the education a minotaur will ever need outside of its chosen profession; including battle training that every minotaur receives. Typically, its teachers are incredibly effective, passionate individuals that have chosen teaching as their own task. Occasionally, individual masters or even sages will teach at a Minoan school for a while, especially if they are searching for new apprentices. Minotaurs enter school after their first year, and will stay until they enter into an apprenticeship between the ages of 8 and 12. By 14 years, they are expected to become journeymen in their chosen specialization, and nearly every minotaur achieves master status by 16. This is the same no matter what profession a minotaur enters into. Minotaurs then work on perfecting their craft for the next 50 years of their life until they die.

 

Depending on the situation, a Minoan community may be ruled by a variety of different minotaurs. If there is no need for a leader, then a community will go without one, and stick to their own business. Whenever a threat or event comes, a leader is selected from amongst the minotaurs that is considered to be the best for the job. If the threat is military, then frequently the leader is chosen from the guardinals or the mazeless. If the threat comes from the Maze or is spiritual in nature, then a Mazewalker is chosen. If it is an economic event or crisis, then a craftmaster is put in charge.

 

Language and Communication

 

Minotaurs speak a dialect of tauren, as do most tauren races, and regularly learn the languages of their trading partners; most commonly, dwarves and giants. In most sizable communities, at least one minotaur has chosen language as what he or she wishes to perfect, and so there is usually a polyglot to go to if the need arises. The Minoan language is commonly referred to as "Minoan," but some scholars insist to call it, "Mino-tauren."

 

Regional variants of Minoan is generally not very extreme, and the minotaur scholars in each community frequently research ancient versions of their language, keeping Minoan one of the least changed language (although frequently added to). In any conversation between minotaurs from different regions, there is a high probability that one or both will use several words that neither has ever heard before. Most are careful to record the new words and report them back to their respective communities.

 

Minoan script is unoriginal, and is considered to be a "bastardization" of dwarven runes; however, to many unbiased scholars, the Minoan script is believed to be the superior of the two for the abstract ideas and concepts it describes. It is apparent that a minotaur (or several) specializing in language handled the translation. Whereas dwarven runes typically represent concrete objects or words of power, minotaurs have filled in the gaps (so to speak) between the runes, creating a variety of new symbols to handle their needs.

 

Habitat and Environment

 

Minotaurs usually inhabit rocky hills and mountains, and rely on trade with nearby communities to provide food. Occasionally, Minoan communities will move to more fertile lands, but these are atypical.

 

Minoan architecture is as elaborate as their other crafts, frequently displaying incredible feats of engineering and design that is mimicked only by magick in other races. Minoan communities resemble labyrinths and mazes, and without a guide, most visitors become hopelessly lost. Frequently, the portion of a Minoan community that is visible is but a portion of the true town. Minotaurs have never forgotten the lessons of their ancestors, and in most cities, its major part is hidden beneath in an underground labyrinth. Any buildings beneath the surface are not open to visitors, unless the visitor is a great friend of the community.

 

The underground labyrinth is filled with examples of the great works of minotaurs thought too precious to sell. In most towns, the very center of the labyrinth (and hardest to reach without a minotaur) is a great hall that contains the best examples of Minoan craftsmanship and art.

 

Very rarely, a faction within a Minoan community will splinter off, and venture into the wilds to form a separate town. These wandering tribes of minotaurs are not to be taken lightly.

 

Civilizations and Organizations


(Still to come.)

 Technology

 

Minoan clothing and gear is typically incredibly ornate and durable, and is fashioned by their highly specialized craftmasters. Their weapons are peerless, and when fashioned for Minoan hands, are even more destructive. Armor is less common amongst minotaurs, as even Minoan armorers usually fashion for other races. Minotaurs prefer to rely on their thick hide and muscles to protect them. Minotaurs frequently possess intricate and complex items such as clocks.


Minoan technology is incredibly complex, and is frequently the most sophisticated of a region. Minotaurs that interact with galts will sometimes learn Galtean technology in order to stay up-to-date; although some purists insist on working with lesser technology. Minoan experts are frequently called on by gnomes (although the gnomes are also frequently ignored) to critique and examine gnomish inventions. Typically, the minotaur walks away with a greater understanding of the project than the original designer, although minotaurs will regularly choose to avoid making anything gnomish because of the lack of elegance.

 

Magicks and Abilities

 

Minotaurs are able to see in the dark and never get lost, but they are not born with these abilities. They develop both over the course of the first five years of their lives within the labyrinths of their towns. This is true even of orphaned minotaurs that grow up away from their towns, and it has been hypothesized that these abilities are like baby teeth. It is a very rare minotaur that does not develop darkvision or their ability to never get lost.

 

Many craftmasters approach such skills with their chosen craft that they are able to create effects only thought possible by magick.

 

Mazewalkers utilize the true magicks of minotaurs, and the master mazewalkers are capable of even altering reality. Minoan magicks typically take the effect of powerful illusions, but mazewalkers are even able to disbelieve reality to shrug off blows and to see through and walk through walls.

 

Known and Unknown History

 

Minotaurs are one of the tauren races, i.e. their origins date back to the experiments of high elven esolons the same way humes, centaurs, harpies, and others do. Minotaurs were created to be the guards of the esolon laboratories--veritable labyrinths protecting the esolons from the outside world.

 

Minotaurs took their jobs seriously, far more seriously than the esolons expected, but they came to realize that the walls around them were their prison and not their home. They revolted, but this was at the height of esolonian power, and their revolts typically ended badly for the minotaurs involved.

 

Still, such was the determination of the minotaurs, that the last minotaur would still be fighting to break free from the labyrinth containing it as its fellows fell beside it. Broken and defeated, the surviving minotaurs fled to the depths of the labyrinths, hiding in areas none but the minotaurs could find. The minotaurs embraced their prison as a lover, and used it against their enemies. Those that worked with it became the mazeless, those that sought to control it and bend it to their will became the mazewalkers (although they were not known by such titles then).

 

Armed with their new magicks and knowledge of their terrain, the minotaurs successfully threw off the yoke of esolonian slavery and formed communities wherever they found themselves in. Their cities became labyrinths as well, and minotaurs became fully adept at using the terrain and their surroundings against their enemies.

 

The minotaurs became powerful allies to the tauren races that were not content with being free, but desired to free all those like them and overthrow the ancient Alyres.

 

After the Seal of the Archmagi, many of the mazewalkers became locked in SubRealms, their abilities and very existence was too grounded in magick to continue to exist on IIo. The concept of the Maze had always been a popular belief amongst the mazewalkers, but was regulated to no more than a teaching method. After the Seal, the mazewalkers in SubRealms found themselves as the majority group and their teaching method became state religion.

 

Like other tauren races, many minotaurs were able to exist on IIo after the loss of magick, but over time their towns splintered and individual minotaurs were left to seek out private labyrinths which they jealously guarded. Soon the magickless minotaurs became extinct, remaining only as myths and legends.

 

After the Sundering of the Seal, and the Unification of IIo and the SubRealms, all classes of minotaurs returned to IIo, and they flourished in the new lands, becoming the civilization known today. Throughout the history of the SubRealms, there were many conflicts between the ruling mazewalkers and the less magickally adept; since the return to IIo, most communities have forsaken any castes that once existed. Instead, Minoan communities are places where each individual strives to perfect themselves, and in so doing, improve their city and entire race.

 

Beliefs, Legends, and Religion

 

Minotaurs are taught from birth that the physical world is a maze meant to deceive and mislead you into taking the wrong turn and coming to a dead end. Only by looking beyond reality can one perceive the true Maze of life; through which one can reach true enlightenment.

 

Each minotaur must find their own path through the Maze, and they do this in a variety of ways. The craftmasters dedicate their entire existence to a single trade (and commonly a single thing within that trade), becoming sages and experts at whatever they do. Their journey through the Maze is one of perfection. Minoan guardinals are selfless minotaurs that have chosen to protect and save their kin instead of advancing through the Maze, but their selflessness is another form off advancement. Rarest are the mazewalkers, minotaurs that gaze upon the Maze itself in order to plumb its depths like no one else can. Master mazewalkers learn how to alter reality to fit their beliefs. Atheistic minotaurs generally become one of the mazeless.

 

Alliances, Vendettas, and Trading

 

Minotaurs will make war against communities that encroach or threaten their own, and minotaurs have a rather broad definition of what it means to encroach their home (minotaurs have large personal space bubbles). Minotaurs deal most often with their trading partners: dwarves and giants.

 

It is a rare dwarf that will recognize Minoan equipment as superior to dwarven, but dwarves nevertheless have access to many more races than most Minoan communities. As a consequence, dwarves have learned to practice a form of denial when Minoan goods sell for more than dwarven ones. Dwarves generally trade raw materials (such as ore) to minotaurs. Those professions least practiced by dwarves (tailoring for instance) are the most sought after, and no matter how well Minoan axes and armor sell, it is a rare dwarf that will vendor them. This is one of the reasons why so many Minoan master smiths are found outside of their homelands. Relations between dwarves and minotaurs are generally tense, but there is always tension between them because of the superiority of Minoan goods. For their part, minotaurs are sensitive to the egos of dwarves and make sure to avoid comparing dwarven manufacturing with their own.

 

Giants prize Minoan equipment above all other types, and their similar sizes allow Minoan goods to be plentiful in any giant community, even when they were meant for somewhat smaller hands. Giants are another provider of raw materials, and usually specialize in cruder substances (but at far greater quantities) than dwarves. Giants have a tendency to marginalize any species smaller than them, but when entering into trade with minotaurs, they are much more likely to guard their tongues. Few giants can match Minoan warriors in ferocity, and the smaller minotaurs are nearly evenly matched in strength against most giants.

 

To other races, minotaurs are generally indifferent to as a whole. They will respond to violence by using their arms against their enemies, and they will respond to peace by selling and sharing their goods to their friends. Mazewalkers are generally more aloof than other classes, and minotaurs that walk in the Maze have been known to cause offense frequently and unknowingly.

 

When encountered, minotaurs are frequently patronizing of laorcs. Although minotaurs are not included in the totemic pantheon of laorcs, laorcs are frequently awed by the massive bull-headed creatures, and consider them blessed. A minotaur craftmaster is usually willing to take on talented apprentices of other races, and many Minoan journeymen will seek out sages and great masters of their craft amongst other races.

 

Subraces/Relatives

 

Subrace: Mazetouched Minotaurs

 

Class Tendencies and Racial Specific Classes

 

Craftmasters (racial)

Guardinal (racial)

Mazeless (racial)

Mazetouched (racial)

 

Notable Creatures

 

Balolsur, a Mazetouched Minotaur