The Woodwose – A Legendary Race For Castles & Crusades.
Woodwose (Hairy Wild Man)
Savage, hirsute people who dwell on the fringes of civilization
Lurking at the edge of the settled realm of farms and towns is the wild frontier. In the deep forests where civilized men fear to go, are people who look just like ordinary men and women in form, but whose bodies are completely covered in shaggy hair. These people are the friends of the wild beasts, and though savage and rude, are not necessarily evil. Such folk are known as Woodwoses, or Hairy Wild Men.
Although most Woodwoses are the offspring of other Wild Men and Wild Women, some are actually the feral children of civilized people, lost or abandoned by their parents and raised by beasts (or Woodwoses). Under the influence of the Wild Spirit, they have become savage, growing a coat of hair like that of any animal. There are many legends of such people, known by such titles as Wolf Girl or Bear Man. Sometimes, they return to civilized life, marrying and raising normal human families. Other times, they remain wild and free, although they may occasionally help deserving (but ordinary) humans lost in the Wilderness.
There is also a third type of Woodwose. These Woodwoses were once grown men and women, but under the influence of a curse or some kind of madness took to the wilderness and were transformed. The magical power of the Wild Spirit has erased their memories, but rather than become filthy Scavengers they have embraced the pure spirit of Nature and become Woodwoses.
A Woodwose looks exactly like a strong and hardy human, but their entire body is covered with long hair like that of a shaggy dog. The hair is sometimes absent from the face, however, especially among females. If the hair is ever shaved (or otherwise lost), a Woodwose can pass as a normal human.
Woodwoses are essentially humans adapted for life in the Wilderness. They eat, drink, sleep, and perform all other bodily functions like a human. They are not used to cooked food, however, and unless they become “Civilized” (see below) they will eat everything raw. The child of a Woodwose and human is an ordinary human. Daring and experimental Elves will sometimes take a Woodwose as a lover, and any such children produced are normal Half Elves.
Psychology & Behavior:
The Woodwose is a child of the Wilderness. The love to run free through the forest, racing beasts, bounding over brooks and boulders, and inhaling the scent of the pines and wild blooms. They have difficulty understanding the wants and desires of civilized people, especially the desire for money and worldly power.
Woodwoses have a particularly hard time with the concept of personal property. A Woodwose will generally feel free to take whatever resources they want from any place that they want. They do this without malice, and cannot understand the idea that someone can own land that they are not actually living on, or items they are not actually carrying.
Woodwoses do not like to wear clothing, and never will when in their beloved Wilderness. Those who must enter Civilization, or associate with ordinary Humans, will learn to don appropriate clothing or armor. They never come to actually enjoy the custom, however, and will look for excuses to free themselves of such coverings.
Woodwoses know they are kin to Humans, and are attracted to them as potential mates. Ordinary people are usually unnerved by a Woodwose’s attention, although certain rare individuals are fascinated with the idea of taking one as a husband or wife. A Woodwose who actually finds a willing mate among Civilized folk will find that they are transformed by the act, and will lose their Wild nature.
Woodwoses are almost never of Lawful Alignment. They are generally true Neutral, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, or Chaotic Neutral. Truly Evil Woodwoses are actually rare, but loom large in stories meant to frighten children away from the forest.
Woodwoses are by definition outsiders to society. Nonetheless, they often find themselves interacting with ordinary humans. Sometimes, civilized people will capture a Woodwose and display them as part of a menagerie or traveling freak show. Other times, Woodwoses may be enslaved for labor, a practice that seldom ends well for the foolish people who attempt it. On occasion, however, a Woodwose may befriend one or more ordinary humans and learn the speech of civilized people. Such Woodwoses, although they always yearn for the embrace of the Wild, may distinguish themselves as heroes.
Relations With Other Races:
Woodwoses have an uneasy and conflicted relationship with ordinary humans. On the one hand, Woodwoses instinctively recognize their kinship with civilized people, but on the other they posses an equally instinctual fear of the strictures of human society. Woodwoses tend to get along well with Elves, particularly Wood Elves. Dwarves, on the other hand, generally regard Woodwoses as nothing more than beasts. Gnomes are usually willing to leave Woodwoses alone to be themselves. Halfings fear Woodwoses but do not hate them, and can usually overcome their initial mistrust in time. Of all races, Half-Orcs will most closely identify with Woodwoses, usually treating them as kin (for better and worse).
Natural Protection: Due to their thick hair, a Woodwose’s natural Armor Class is 11, rather than 10. In the winter, their natural coat allows the Woodwose to do without special clothing to protect them from the cold. In the summer, a Woodwoses coat is lighter and softer, so they do not suffer from overheating.
Twilight Vision: A Woodwose can see perfectly well in conditions of low light (such as candlelight, torchlight, or moonlight) to a distance of one mile.
At Home In The Wild: Woodwoses are at home in the wild parts of the world. When in wilderness that resembles their home area, they can always gather enough food to eat and find sufficient water. Wild animals are not frightened by Woodwoses, unlike ordinary humans. The CK should assume that any ordinary, non-magical animal that encounters a Woodwose is positively inclined towards him. Such animals will not normally attack the Woodwose unless he initiates combat.
Animal Friendship: A Woodwose can use Animal Friendship to gain companions and protectors. This ability functions just like the Druid spell of the same name. The Woodwose can never have more than double his own Level in total hit dice of Animal Friends.
Bewildered By Technology: Woodwoses are confused by mechanical items such as crossbows and clockworks. They can never employ such items.
Penniless: A Woodwose starts the game with just 10 gp worth of natural materials he or she has gathered in the wilderness. They may even have a dagger or other item lost by Civilized folk, but the total value of such items will never exceed 10 gp.
Domestication: If a Woodwose ever marries or mates consensually with a normal human, the Woodwose will become “Civilized”. A Civilized Woodwose loses all special Abilities, Weaknesses, and Ability Adjustments, becoming in all ways a normal Human. Their animal friends will desert them, they will lose the ability to see in the twilight, and they will come to understand and employ the trappings of civilized life. They become weaker and less resilient, but also smarter and more personable. Just like a normal Human, the Woodwose will gain a third Primary Ability. Eventually, Civilized Woodwoses may lose the hair that covers their bodies, and their pasts in the wilderness will seem to them like hazy dreams.
Preferred Classes: Barbarian, Druid, Ranger. Woodwoses cannot become Bards, Wizards, Illusionists, Paladins or Knights, unless they become “Civilized”. As innocent children of Nature, they never sink to becoming Scavengers.
Barbarian Abilities Adjustment: +1 On Primal Force
Druid Abilities Adjustment: +2 on Nature Lore
Ranger Abilities Adjustment:+1 on Conceal, +1 on Move Silently
Attribute Adjustment: +2 Str, +2 Con, -2 Int, -2 Chr
Movement: 40 feet
Starting Languages: Woodwose, which sounds like nothing more than howls, grunts and barks to human ears.
Filed under: Castles & Crusades, Folklore, OGL, Races | 1 Comment
Tags: Ancient Folklore, Castles & Crusades, Medieval Folklore, OGL, PC Races, Wild Man, Woodwose