Odhan

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Though evolutionarily native to Estvoled's southern poles, the odhans are sometimes said to be social natives wherever they go, embracing other cultures while still retaining the most important parts of their original heritages, which are legacies told through songs passed down generations. Odhans stand heads above most other races, but their grand speakers do not demand attention just from their size; they use their bodies like a stage, drawing attention to them and every word they have to say.

Etymology and Other Names

Odhan, as a term, is thought to simply come from an older phrase meaning great people. Though on a surface level this could be taken to refer to their size, it may also refer to old traditions of the odhans living in Beinji only permitting their highest ranked members of society to interact with society. In effect, only their great people would be seen by the outside world, and they would come to represent the race as a whole.

Estvoldian languages typically use the word odhan in some way, or have a word clearly related to it, such as Yaux's odau. Kuda, another language mostly spoken by the odhans, uses the word oo-reong; though it shares the same prefix meaning grand or great, the latter part of the word actually comes from a root word meaning compromise, perhaps referring either to the odhans' historical presence in diplomatic matters or how they would naturally have to compromise living among races so different from them.

Biology

Odhans are covered in shaggy, typically dark fur that can often make their already impressive sizes seem all the larger, especially with the long manes that are especially bushy on the tops of their heads. As they have a naturally quadrupedal stance, they stand out as the only four-legged race native to Estvoled, and they tower over most other races even beyond their home planet with their enormously long necks. An odhan's neck will usually be slightly longer than their legs; their neck's length is further made all the more impressive by how flexible it is, with the vertebrae allowing the odhan to even completely turn their head around. Odhan tails are similarly flexible and long, though like the rest of the odhan's body, it is deceptively wide on account of a typical odhan's long fur. Much of an odhan's size comes from their height as opposed to pure bulk; compared to the similarly-tall doerons, odhans are much more lithe and have lower weights on average.

An odhan's chest "dips" downwards relative to the rest of their torso, which tapers towards their long tails. This can give the impression that their back legs are much longer than their front legs, as the connecting torso is more narrow around their hindquarters. Though there is a height difference between an odhan's two pairs of legs, the difference is only slight and mostly gives the odhan the appearance of leaning forwards slightly, particularly with the bony outgrowths on their shoulders. These outgrowths aren't particularly long, and most odhan only have them at the front rather than a second pair above their hind legs; theories tend to postulate that the odhan race countless years ago may have had another pair of limbs, such as wings, before they eventually dwindled away to their current state. An odhan's legs end in five-fingered paws that are equipped with long claws that assist the odhan in keeping their footing on even slippery surfaces. When an odhan's hold is uncertain, they naturally flex their toes and dig their claws into the ground; because their feet are so wide relative to the rest of the leg, odhans are often able to traverse even thin ice without much problem.

The face of an odhan is usually round with a somewhat short muzzle that ends with long nostril slits on the front; though they have teeth, they are not especially large and are blunted towards the back of the jaw, with the front teeth being narrow and sometimes even difficult to see unless the odhan's lips are pulled back. Odhans also have small, rounded ears that flare slightly when they catch an unusual sound. They have especially dense neuron clusters in their brains dedicated solely to processing sound; although odhans cannot hear quite as wide of a range of frequencies as some other races, they are adept at processing the sounds they hear and have a greater ability in focusing on even one sound amid a cluster of others.

Sociology

Odhans are largely preservationists when it comes to lineage and familial history, but they tend to care less for who they are related to specifically and more focus on what their ancestors did. Specific names and identities may even be omitted entirely in lineages, with generations being identified instead by certain events in that timeframe and what a member of that generation did to earn their later accolades and future legacy. Traditionally, odhans will have a specific song that is unique to their family, with only the most noteworthy of them having the privilege of adding to that song to commemorate what they did or otherwise be a part of the enduring legacy of the family song. Though these songs will be passed down orally through generations, with odhan children's earliest memories typically being their family song being sung to them as a lullaby, family songs are also preserved in other ways as well to prevent the song from ever being lost; written copies, digital copies, and recordings of live performances of the song are par the course for any family that cares to preserve their unique song. Especially affluential odhans may even hire the most prestigious of performers to play their family song to be archived for future generations.

Because of the cultural importance of the family song, odhans do not typically view children as having multiple family histories. Instead, odhans are seen as belonging to one family or another; it is especially common for odhans to only agree to have children on the contingency that the child will be of "their" family to ensure their legacy is preserved. They might agree to a set number of children so that both families will have a future generation, but it is also common for odhans to simply defer the child's "belonging" to whichever family is socially higher. When a child's familial inheritance is decided, the child is raised by the "inheriting" parent with some support from that parent's relatives; the "other" family is generally assumed to have no role in raising the child, though they might be present in other ways. Because the parent is expected to bond with the child and spend much of their time with them until the child is grown, odhans typically have small families, with larger families generally being seen as a sign of lower class or negligent parenting at worst.

Odhans have complicated social hierarchies as determined by their family song. Similar-sounding songs denote families that are connected somehow, sometimes with a biological relationship of some kind linking them. Most usually, this takes the form of a lower-class individual being the biological parent of a higher-class child that inherited the socially higher family's song. Although they are still not seen as properly family in this case, they are seen as having some shared history. Their family songs may share motifs, diverging at critical points, with families that assist the highest family sometimes being granted higher social status and more elements of the higher family song; in rare cases, they may eventually inherit the full song after generations of achievement and be considered part of the higher family proper. These hierarchies do not generally extend to other families whose songs are completely different; an odhan who is considered socially highest due to their song usually cannot expect to have much influence over a family completely outside their song's domain. In these cases, odhans are usually measured according to their achievements and skills as opposed to which family they are part of, giving rise to the Donn idiom of dajia daijin dajiu daijian-- "Family is family by song; no one else sings along."

Racial Traits (D&D 3.5e/Pathfinder)

Overview

Odhans are a Large quadrupedal race, inheriting the typical benefits and penalties of this size category and subtyping. Odhan society is oriented around self-expression, especially through music or oratory performances, but its schooling tends to focus less on concrete ideas and analysis and more on creative output; other odhans rely more on their race's natural size advantage and physical strength, and such odhans often find that their large sizes can hinder them in hiding or squeezing into narrow places built for smaller races.

Jabber (Ex)

Flavor

Mechanics

At will, an odhan can Jabber with another creature that can understand them (as part of a language-dependent, mind-affecting ability), that does not feel threatened, and is not currently in combat. Jabber may last a number of minutes equal to the odhan's character level (minimum one minute). At the start of each Jabber minute, the odhan may choose to improve the creature's attitude by one step, or ask the creature a yes or no question that they must answer to the best of their ability, which is opposed by a Sense Motive check if the question is something the creature would normally not answer based on their attitude towards the odhan.

If the answer would put the creature in danger, or if the odhan has already asked that question, the creature receives a +4 insight bonus to this check. The DC of this check is 10+the odhan's character level, and others who can hear and understand the odhan can make this Sense Motive check as well. Changes to the creature's attitude end after the creature succeeds on a Sense Motive check or 1d4+1 hours after Jabber ends, whichever comes first.

Center Stage (Natural Ability)

Flavor

Mechanics

Odhans have a +2 racial bonus to a Perform skill of their choosing and a +2 racial bonus to Linguistics.

Adept Senses (Natural Ability)

Flavor

Mechanics

Odhans have a +2 racial bonus to Perception.