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The Lynels

on Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:42 pm
Description:

Lynels are an intelligent race with characteristics similar to those of lions, apes, horses and goats.  This combination of traits makes them the subject of some debate; while the resemblance to the aforementioned creatures leads some to believe that they are a chimera, a result of magical tampering with life, others note that, while the various traits are similar to other creatures, none are a perfect match, thereby suggesting that they arose naturally.  

The lynel body consists of two distinct parts: A somewhat humanoid torso section, normally held upright when standing, and an equine-like horizontal lower body.  Their head is distinctly feline in shape, featuring a pair of sharp, downward tusks as well as a pair of large, curved horns which vary in specific shape.  The upper torso supports a pair of muscular arms, somewhat akin to that of a gorilla.  Each hand has four fingers and an opposable thumb, all tipped with short claws.  While they are typically more comfortable standing with the forward torso held upright they are generally flexible enough to lean forward and use their arms as an additional pair of legs.  The lower section is more akin to that of a horse, having four legs ended in large hooves.  

Most lynels measure about five feet to the top of their lower backs and over nine feet in overall height, giving them a very imposing silhouette.  Lynels growing upwards of twelve feet tall are rare but not unheard of, having a corresponding increase in strength as well.

Most of a lynel's body is covered by a layer of fur.  Males typically have a thick mane around their neck and shoulders.  Females typically either have a much smaller mane or none at all.  During the winter, or when spending significant time in cold regions, lynel fur will grow into a thick coat.  When the temperature goes back up this coat is typically lost, leaving behind a much shorter, thinner layer of fur.  Common colors include black, brown and white.  Blue, red, yellow and orange are rare but not unheard of.  Some lynels are covered in tiger- or zeebra-like stripes.

Lynels tend to have some difficulty speaking the languages of other races.  Among their own people they tend to communicate through gestures, body languages and occasional roars, thus making many of them unaccustomed to speaking.  This has contributed to the common misconception that lynels are simple beasts, not intelligent people.  However their difficulty with speech appears to be less about a lack of the physical capability and more due to their upbringing.

Distribution:

While lynels are able to adapt to a wide range of environments they typically prefer temperate or colder environments.  While a few lynels have been known to adapt to tropical or desert environments this comes at a significant cost to endurance; their sheer bulk and thick fur coats are far better suited to retaining body heat rather than rejecting it.

Lynels typically live in small packs.  Despite their intelligence they are often driven by aggressive, territorial instincts, making it difficult to live in towns or cities.  Furthermore they are further shunned by larger society, thus adding to the divisions between themselves and other races.  There are exceptions, however.  A small number have taken up residence in some of the more accepting nations, such as Drakenlloch; some are able to suppress their instincts and live among larger communities peacefully while others live in relative isolation, choosing small villages or remote houses to live in rather than the cities.  Others find nomadic lifestyle appealing, such as the Sealgair tribes.  

On the other hand some nations refuse to acknowledge their intelligence, often kidnapping or breeding them for use as soldiers or beasts of burden.  When it works they can be effective laborers or terrifying combatants; when it doesn't work they are invariably terrifying to their captors.
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