Rip horn satyr
Rip horn satyrs are the most intelligent of all satyr breeds. They live in secluded areas of the wild mountains and deep forests, congregating in small herds. They are particularly likely to be seen in the Wyrmwall Mountains, the Nyschatha Mountains, and the Silvertip Peaks. Relatively few herds of rip horns roam the wilds compared to the other breeds of satyr the druids of the Circle Orboros maintain.
All satyrs are large bipedal humanoid creatures with cloven hooves and goat-like heads. A rip horn’s primary weapon for both attack and defence is its namesake: a massive rack of horns. Each horn is ringed with sharp, serrated ridges that grow longer as the satyr ages.
In ancient days satyrs were far more numerous, but they were hunted almost to extinction in the centuries after the fall of the Molgur. Most civilised peoples viewed them as evil beasts whose mere appearance was a dire omen. They were strongly connected with the Devourer Wurm, and a variety of false legends arose to incite fear and hatred of them. The blackclads of the Circle Orboros sheltered and protected these creatures, seeing their value as guardians and warbeasts.
Rip horn satyrs are more intelligent than other satyr breeds by a noticeable margin. This cunning helps them secure a niche for themselves despite sharing some of the same habitat as others of their kind. Rip horn satyrs are known to build simple tools from rocks and keep food stores in crudely constructed shelters, both of which are uncommon in other breeds.
Rip horn herds are particularly organised among satyrs. Each has an individual task within the herd. One satyr, most often the strongest male, will climb higher among the boulders and crags to stand lookout for predators and will warn the herd with an ululating bleat if danger approaches. The rest of the herd forage for food, namely rough bushes and other plants. Those well suited to the task engage in limited hunting to supplement their diet.
Most rip horns are aggressive, temperamental and vicious by nature, and they become even more hostile if they are encountered near their shelters. Against creatures perceived as a threat, rip horns continue attacking even a fallen opponent, even using rocks or other objects as weapons. If it has no weapon and cannot headbutt the opponent, a rip horn will not hesitate to pick it up and throw it into a rock wall or off a cliff. Even those taught restraint by the blackclads sometimes refuse to relent when commanded.
During their mating season, which occurs in autumn, these creatures are also aggressive toward their own kind. Male rip horns vying to breed with the smaller females engage in extended dominance displays in which they spend hours squaring off, each standing motionless until one twitches, rousing the other to strike - the victor wins the right to breed. The hierarchy common in most breeds of satyrs is more pronounced among rip horn herds. Weaker males are more likely to be driven out to abandon the herd, either to live alone or to find another herd willing to accept them.
As with other satyrs, a herd looks to its elders to provide it with stability and leadership. These aged satyrs no longer mate, but contribute in other ways to the survival of their herds. While still beasts, these elders come closest to showing true intelligence of all satyrs. They sometimes lead the herd in simple rites of worship not unlike those of the Dhunian faith.
Rip horns are notoriously belligerent and are among the most difficult satyrs to train or tame. A rip horn’s ingrained sense of herd order prevents it from cooperating with outsiders, whom the rip horns view as trying to assert their dominance. Blackclads who deal with the breed often come under attack if a rip horn sees them as lacking sufficient authority.
The druids consider rip horns highly intelligent by the standards of the species, so it was only natural they take a deep interest in the herds. The Circle has sought to foster bloodlines and character traits among the various satyr species that would better serve their needs. Rip horns selected to accompany druids in war receive simple bladed gauntlets and are taught to use them in lieu of the brute force preferred by their wild kin. Even with their natural disposition to learning, the stubborn and belligerent satyrs do not always take well to training. The druids are careful not to breed out those traits altogether, however, as they value beasts that are not only cunning but also capable of being stirred to violence for their cause.