Centaurs, half horse half man, are the eleventh entry in the humanoids as monsters series. This series is dedicated mostly to playable races thus far and how their societies tend to behave when encountered as NPCs. Centaurs are a chaotic race in general, but are quite often very religious. Their motivations will most often be dictated either by survival or the tenets of their deity. They will disregard all laws and other edicts in the pursuit of either.
Centaurs, being half-horse, prefer to live in terrain that is suitable for riding, like plains and prairies, but because they worship primarily nature deities, they are known to wander into terrain less suited to them at their command. Centaurs are nomads, usually, and do not build homes. Instead they wander, hunting and driving flocks and herds for food. Their travelling tribes will often migrate beyond their regions of comfort following game or a god.
Centaur children are raised by the tribe and grow up wild and tenacious like their elders. Their lives are fairly short and the bulk of the population is young and strong. Centaurs old enough to be losing their vitality have trouble keeping up with the hunt. They will often retire to a centaur resting area, or ride off to die alone. Centaurs rarely have graveyards.
A centaur’s horse body allows him to use the mount carrying capacity rules for load handling. Their human upper bodies are also strong and lean (+1 Strength and +1 Constitution). They are short spoken and have little control over their emotions (-2 Charisma) they will often come off as sullen and unstable. They have a racial speed of 36 akin to that of a swift horse. Being natively mounted, they get de facto riding abilities including Riding, Rear, and Firm Seat. They can learn at will other mounted abilities like Charge and Attack on the Run. They cannot learn abilities that defy their anatomy, like Fast Mount/Dismount, Kick, and Rush. Their ability to grapple is up for debate.
Centaurs are fairly ambitious and often become classed, but mostly at low levels. As they travel, they will take up roles in the tribe they are suited to, with the less combative herding animals and children and the warriors hunting and guarding the way.
Druid-With their nature gods, centaurs often develop an affinity for nature and choose the druid path. Their healers may be pre-druid herbalists and form the base of a druidic community within the tribe with the more powerful druids sometimes leading the whole tribe.
Fighter-Mounted combat techniques and archery are common among centaurs. Their wide grazing and hunting grounds often interfere in the holdings of other nations and they are required to defend themselves after lawless behavior or when a nation feels threatened. Their warriors are also often called upon to defend the tribe from less organized threats.
Priest-Centaur tribes with an especially vested interest in their deity will often have a spiritual leader at the head of the tribe. In large and powerful tribes, this leader will be a priest and have a strong connection with the deity. Centaur resting areas for the elderly will sometimes have wizened priests in their midst.
Ranger-The strongest centaurs in the tribe will often become scouts and war leaders. Whether they advance from Druids, Fighters, or Hunters, Centaur rangers are quite effective. With their speed complimented by archery and tracking, they are the best hunters and fiercest warriors.
Centaurs can often coexist with other societies, but their movements may cause conflict with farmers and ranchers who compete for their grazing lands. Their societies are tenuous and lone centaurs are common. These centaurs will be misfits in any society they join and share the skills of a tribal centaur.
Centaurs are incredibly fast. They can be great scouts and mounted combatants. Would you play one as an archer? How about as a lancer? How would you interact with a centaur tribe that claimed religious rite to the local king’s hunting grounds? Let us know in the comments below!