The ligvoels are known for their substantially sized families that hold a myriad of traditions unique to themselves; no two ligvoel families, even those who are neighbors, will have exactly identical legacies and traditions. Their enormous families are sometimes thought to be a product of their constant warring with the darkrunners for dominion of Kyrol, a homeland they both lay claim to. After all, a family's traditions will continue unimpeded if there will always be enough of the new generation to survive even the most ruthless of bloodshed.
Etymology and Other Names
The name ligvoel comes from Rolt, a language thought to have originated within the ligvoel race themselves. Ligvoel means light-footed, perhaps equal parts due to the race's natural affinity for jumping and deftness of step as well as their traditions of unarmed combat lending themselves to fancy footwork.
Some linguists believe that the name ligvoel was originally a title that had to be earned, not merely a name for the whole race. Under this theory, the term eventually came to be associated with ligvoels as a whole as their society grew increasingly globalized and the once-prestigious title came to be owned by more and more people.
Ligvoels have large, powerful legs that allow them to easily leap long distances. A ligvoel's natural gait involves hopping, though they may walk more like other bipedal races in enclosed or crowded areas. It is difficult for them to independently move their legs without specifically training for it; consequently, many ligvoels have a distinctive "limping" gait where they lead with one leg and simply have the other one naturally follow. Their tails drag along the ground and assist them in balancing, especially when hopping or even just when standing still.
A ligvoel's tail being raised in the air is often a deliberate action and generally signals that the ligvoel is about to move. The long, narrow feet of a ligvoel also facilitate hopping, as their wide toes not only assist in traction, but also in absorbing the shock of impact from very large jumps. Their middle toe is especially long and could be the evolutionary result of two toes eventually becoming fused together, benefiting movement. All toes are clawed, making the kick of a ligvoel especially dangerous. Although ligvoels have naturally slim frames, they develop muscle easily in their torso and legs, which is readily visible on account of their normally thin fur.
The face of a ligvoel is long and may be regarded as naturally dour-looking, as their cheeks tend to sag and pull their lips down slightly when they have neutral expressions. They have ears roughly as long as their muzzles in most cases. While ligvoels have thin fur all over their bodies for the most part, the insides of their ears and the very tops of their heads may be more thickly-furred. They tend to have grey or ruddy red fur, with a rare few having some black markings around their ears or faces.
Ligvoels define themselves by their family -- not only by who they are related to, but by the traditions passed down from generation to generation. These traditions vary immensely by the family's social status, faith, and geographical origin; regardless of where a tradition came from, they are considered of utmost importance and define a family as much as the people that comprise the family. New traditions are celebrated, especially those that commemorate a recently-deceased individual. Ligvoels are often meticulous caretakers of altars or other places of significance where the dead are remembered, and they regularly hold festivities or other celebrations nearby such locations to include deceased family members in traditions new and old.
Physical strength was once considered a central element in ligvoel culture; it has fallen by the wayside with the rise of technology and magic and influence from other cultures, but some families that originate from traditions of honing physical strength still retain the old "privileges" of the powerful, now simply regarded as mere family traditions. Historically, the most powerful of individuals in a given community took multiple spouses and would have as many children as possible, both biological and adopted. The strongest of the children would be hand-picked for training to eventually inherit all that belonged to the family, but only if they could prove themselves strongest not only against those outside the family, but within it as well. Although communities will not immediately defer to the most physically powerful person as they used to, ligvoels from such lineages will commonly still have the largest families and expect the children to establish a hierarchy among themselves for inheritance and right to lead the family.
The most prominent family to still retain the tradition of "might makes right" is the Zaltorst family, perhaps better known as the ligvoels' royalty within Kyrol. Though it is traditional that whoever defeats the current monarch in hand-to-hand combat may crown themselves as the next Zaltorst and inherit the kingdom, such challenges have become rarer in a day of easy access to magic and technology; many would-be contenders inherently disqualify themselves through reliance on anything but their own pure might. On more local government levels, unpopular politicians or leaders may find themselves challenged to a variety of contests or competitions, not necessarily physical ones, to prove their right to govern.
Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)
Ligvoels are a Medium race and have no penalties or bonuses associated with their size. Ligvoel characters may choose either +2 Strength and -2 Intelligence or +2 Dexterity and -2 Constitution to be applied to their starting statistics. Ligvoels prioritize physical prowess above all else, though this can result in them shirking academic learning and traditional means of casting spells, or it can even lead to them pushing their body past its normal limits.
Air Jaunt (Ex)
The name ligvoel, meaning light-footed, is thought to originate from the remarkable, almost magical manner in which ligvoels can avoid even the most treacherous of terrain; they may walk through it unimpeded as if strolling through a common field of grass, and some ligvoels are even capable of distributing their weight in their feet just enough that they can run across the surfaces of small rivers.
Once per encounter as a move action, a ligvoel gain the benefits of Air Jaunt for 1d4+1 rounds. While Air Jaunt is active, the ligvoel does not trigger effects based on weight, ignores difficult terrain, and cannot be tripped. At character level 5th, Air Jaunt allows the ligvoel to walk on water as if it were normal terrain and grants them a racial bonus speed of 10ft while active.
- Keywords: Active, move action, encounter, extraordinary ability
Storied Lineage (Natural Ability)
Though ligvoels place little cultural emphasis on traditional schooling, ligvoel children are expected to know their family lineages and histories. A family without traditions is no family at all, and older generations will impart stories of old onto their children to ensure that these enduring traditions survive for years to come.
Ligvoels have a +2 racial bonus to Knowledge (History).
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability
Agile Jumper (Natural Ability)
The distinctive powerful legs of a ligvoel are unmatched for their ability to propel the ligvoel across far distances. They are capable of leaping great distances with little effort; even the youngest of ligvoels can sometimes jump farther than the best athletes of other races.
Ligvoels have a +2 racial bonus to Acrobatics.
- Keywords: Passive, natural ability