Thursday, 6 September 2012

Minotaurs & Marauders

Nope, it's not yet another OSR game that plays on alliteration but rather an idea that I have been playing with over the past week or so, brought to the fore front by this post by the Trollgod himself, Ken St Andre over at Trollhalla.

The subject of which is minotaurs.

Whilst minotaurs are pretty much the reserve of the monster manual in most systems, playing Tunnels and Trolls (or Monsters! Monsters!) gives you the opportunity to bring one to the table as a player character.

In my experience, this can be a lot of fun.

What I have been procrastinating over of late though is the lifestyle of the minotaur. What makes them tick and, what causes them to seek adventure?

After much thought I have decided that the minotaurs in my world are representative of the dark age vikings of our world. It just tallies so well. Both are type cast as mighty warriors with short tempers and a warriors pride, with the seemingly inverse hedonistic nature that causes them to revel in mead, feast and the spoils of war.

So the motivation for adventure may be a their natural wanderlust, a desire to have their name sung in epic song by their kinsmen, the pursuit of wine and women or, simply the need to fulfill their urge for glorious battle.

I also see minotaurs that choose to live in clans (or as Ken puts it more accurately, "herds") as being dominated by one individual in particular. An alpha if you will but, I must concede that this may very well not be an alpha male as there is nothing to suggest that the minotaur females could not be every part the equal of the males. In many respects this would cast them as Valkyries rather than simple cattle, which I feel ties in nicely with the Nordic motif.

All the members of one of these such herds will most likely carry a common name as well as their given name that marks them as a member of that herd, which will often be derived from that of the alpha (or one of the alphas forefathers should they wish). This name will also be expected to be carried by any outsider that joins the clan as a sign of respect for the herd.

My final thought on minotaurs is that they have an attitude towards title and treasure unlike many of the other major kindreds in Trollworld, in that it belongs to whoever can defend it.

So if any minotaur believes that they are better suited to the role of alpha they may openly challenge the head of the herd to trial by combat. Such battles rarely involve weapons and are almost certainly never fought to the death. They are more akin to wrestling matches, that are resolved only by one party yielding to the other, with the winner taking title and the loser often slinking off with their honor wounded to seek redemption in combat elsewhere (which often means raiding a settlement and returning to the clan with the spoils as proof of their actions).

This attitude can also make for some interesting encounters when a minotaur enters general society.

For example, can you imagine a delver running into one of these guys in the alehouse laden with treasure and telling tales of his most recent exploits. This would almost certainly be seen as a challenge to any minotaur within earshot, where upon it would calmly walk over and DEMAND that the delver give him his haul.

This could end in a suddenly very poor delver, minotaur wrestling or, if the delver is silly enough to draw a weapon, probable death!

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