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Knollstomp (played by Heimdall)

The Veldt is a laid-back centaur herd RP. This first post will have some basic info and a list of members.

Basically, this RP will center around a nomadic group of centaurs called the Marshtread Herd. Each player has a centaur character that has some position in the herd, and are free to make decisions about the RP based on that position. For example, if your character is a scout or hunter, you may decide to spice things up by having your character barge into the camp saying that the wargs are on the hunt, or something.

The Veldt is a vast plain that is home to many other centaur herds. Though largely flat, there are foothills and mountains to the north, the sea to the southwest, patches of deciduous forest (particularly in the east), and spots of rivers and marshlands interspersed. There are waist-height golden grasses as far as the eyes can see, and stunted prairie-trees and plenty of rocky outcroppings. Native fauna include antelope, wildebeest, the occasional mammoth herd, many species of bird, rodent, and lizard, and the deadly and vicious warg packs or lone smilodon.

The centaur herds are "tribal" in flavor. They share a spoken language but have no written one, and old stories are passed down orally. Technology is limited to stone-age (and limited bronze-age) levels. (There is some definite wiggle room here, but metal is going to be uncommon, basically!) Magic is unknown to most centaurs, though some are born with an innate ability to communicate with the spirits of the earth and sky. The herd is led by a chieftan or chieftainess (the herds aren't particularly matriarchal or patriarchal) who passes leadership to one of their choosing when they retire (usually a gifted child or other family member).

The herd will settle in one area anywhere from a week to several months before packing up and moving to a new location. Since they have no agriculture, they must keep moving to find sources of food. Centaurs are omnivorous, though they regard the hunt as something special and sacred due to their similarities with their prey. They gather large numbers of nuts, seeds, roots, berries, and edible greenery, which they ration carefully and store in woven baskets. A camp consists of firepits (which are built on location, of course), hide tents that are taller than they are wide, and all the tools required of the herd such as weapons, baskets, water, and raw materials like furs and bones.

The main duties of daily life are divided into several roles: chieftains, shamans, storytellers, warriors, hunters, and gatherers.
Chieftains are the overall leaders. They are usually both powerful and wise. They make the decisions pertaining to relocating, choosing hunting areas, allowing which couples may reproduce, and what duties fall on each individual. They are expected to lead the warriors, should the need arise.
Shamans act as advisors and the herd's connection to the spirit world. The bulk of the herd may ask the shaman's assistance for medical emergencies or reading fortunes, while the chieftain will ask for their advice with more important matters. For example, the chieftain may wish to relocate the herd to the east, so he will consult the shaman, asking if there are any grave dangers that way.
Storykeepers occupy a strange position in the herd. They are picked from centaurs with an affinity for song and with good memory so that they can learn the stories of old--which are all based in history. In this way, the centaurs have a living memory of their ancestors. Their everyday duties may vary, however. They may entertain the herd with delightful tales, but they will often assume the duties of a hunter or gatherer to work for their keep. Another important duty of the storykeeper is to create songs about important current events, such that their progeny will have another tale of centaurs past.
Warriors are few in number, for their primary task is to protect the herd. These centaurs are usually large and no infirm or weak one is admitted into their midst. They have the best pick of the weapons and armor. In times of peace, they will often act as hunters.
Hunters are key to the survival of the herd. Some of them are very fleet and agile, while others are powerful and capable of great ambushes--together they work to bring meat back to the herd. They mainly hunt using nets, bolas, and spears.
Gatherers are responsible for gathering the vegetation that the centaurs eat. While most young or elderly centaurs will act as gatherers, there are always a handful of specialized gatherers. These centaurs know well what is good to eat and where it grows.
There are many other possible positions too, though. Some centaurs may be tasked with the duties of a scout, craftsman, or apothecary, should their skills warrant this.

Physically, the centaurs are similar to what you might expect--a horse's body with a humanoid torso where the neck should be. The centaur's face is slightly more equine in structure, with horizontal pupils, a broad nose, and ungulate ears (where a human's ears would be). Their fingers have hard caps on the tips like rudimentary hooves, and their elbows sometimes have tufts of hair that match their mane color. Their mane is similar to human hair, but some sprouts on the back of the neck, and it has the texture of an equine mane. Their mane and tail can be any equine or human hair color, their horse pelt can be any equine coat color, and their skin can be any human skin color. Their eyes tend toward green and brown, but it is possible to have blue, grey, white, or even purple eyes. Veldt centaurs tend to have a two-word name composition, usually two nouns, a verb and a noun, or an adjective then a noun. Examples: Thunderbluff, Wiseboulder, Canyoncrag, Meadowleap, etc.

If you're interested in making a centaur just note me with the position you want them to be in the herd and a link to their profile. On their profile include basics like hair, fur, skin, and eye colors, build, and maybe some basic personality traits and belongings. (If you want to just note me that information before making a page for your centaur, that's fine too!)

If I get a few people I'll make a group page for this RP instead, but for now, I'll keep it out here in the open!

Marshtread Herd Members:
Chieftan: Knollstomp
Shamans: Bramblemane
Storykeepers: Blackthorn
Warriors: Grizzlehide
Hunters: Doak, Nightwind
Gatherers: Stargrass
Other:

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Knollstomp (played by Heimdall) Topic Starter

The late afternoon sun makes Knollstomp squint hard as he gazes out onto the horizon from his rocky perch. Although it is warm and pleasant on his back, his brow is furrowed into a look of heavy concentration. How long had it been since they had glimpsed even a blasted jackrabbit? Every day the hunters brought no good news--the prey-herds are nowhere to be found, and the best they can do for meat is the occasional scraggly rat. Their food stores are running low, and soon they will have to subsist solely on whatever they can actively gather.

The centaur leaps from the outcropping and lands heavily on the ground. He wheels and trots back toward the camp, dodging tall patches of grass and kicking up dust in his wake. It isn't far from where he had been surveying the Veldt, so he arrives quickly, nodding to those who give him a word or gesture of respect. His destination becomes clear: the innermost part of the camp, where soft furs of past hunts are laid out and padded with veldt-grass... where the new mothers stay.

(It's been ages since I've done any kind of forum post, and this one has a lot of exposition to try to get things started. If anyone is interested in joining in just note me!)
Blackthorn (played by Lyse)

Foals! Blackthorn wonders how their mothers can stand them. If they stayed wobbly-legged and slow until they grew some brains it would be one thing, but no, they're all over the place at a few days old, jumping like jackrabbits and bursting into tears if they can't figure out how to get back to their mothers. She often wonders if they'd be better off tied down, but then the babies would just break their legs on the ropes. "Are you trying to poison yourself?" she demands, prying a plant away from the little dun-colored child that had been trying to dig through her basket and tucking it back under the lid. "Those leaves are bad. Leaves! Bad!" It stares at her, too young to understand, and she sighs, shakes her head until her mane falls back behind her shoulders, and holds the cover down on the basket as she moves away.

She'd meant to talk with one of the mothers while she worked--the girl has a better memory than most, and and it's time that she start teaching the songs to someone younger; she won't leave the other storytellers scrambling to find her replacement five or ten years from now--but perhaps she had better not, with these plants. The roots are delicious, but she doesn't want any of the babies to poison themselves on the leaves. As she jogs away from the circle, she sees Knollstomp approaching it and slows to a walk. "The river's lower than last I checked," she tells him as she draws near. That was three days ago; it had been lower then than it had been four days before that, too. Not much, never much, but it's something she ought to report.
Knollstomp (played by Heimdall) Topic Starter

Knollstomp spots the wizened storykeeper before she spots him; he considers turning tail to escape her wrath. It's always something! Whether she plans on complaining about the vapidness of one of the new dams or another, reminding him of some small mistake he made in the past, or simply bringing bad news, the chieftain isn't sure his heart can take it right now. Heaving a sigh, he slows to a walk, clasping his hands tightly together and steeling his resolve. Her wisdom, great memory, and even her nagging are essential to the well-being of the herd, he firmly reminds himself, watching her approach. Maybe she'll have good news this time.

No such luck. Knollstomp opens his mouth to greet her, but she speaks first, and his ears droop at her message. He finds himself sighing again and planting his thumb and forefinger against the bridge of his nose. If the river goes dry, they will have to relocate immediately to find water--and on top of the serious food shortage! "I see." His eyes trace the way she had come from, and he nods towards the mothering ground. "How well can the smallest of the foals walk? Any stamina? We may have to relocate..." He hesitates, then adds, "And have you or any gatherers located another source of food? We're eating this place bare with no meat to go around, and we can hardly relocate on empty baskets..."
Zalia (played by CelestinaGrey)

((I am really hesitant to join this, because of the fact that it is completely and utterly outside my comfort zone. My characters are all human in one aspect or another. Half-human half-horse is a fair transition at least, but I still have very sparse knowledge on how to even RP them. Despite my hesitancy though, I'm interested. For now I'm going to sit back and watch. I might join in eventually, but I am a mere spectator for now. Just letting you know that I might join the RP in the future, depending. {I'd have to make a new character, lol.}))
Knollstomp (played by Heimdall) Topic Starter

( Haha, okay! I've never RPed centaurs before, either! I just had the biggest craving. XP Hope you choose to join in later! )
Doak (played by f0x1nth3b0x)

((Neither have I, but I'm following Heimdall's lead and hoping I don't muck it up. :P ))

A young stallion ran in a blur around them then; he wasn't hard to recognize, as he was much smaller than the normal centaur and had very specific coloring. He was also probably the only outsider form the north to be assimilated into this herd. As the Chieftain mentioned the young-lings a group of them burst by, seemingly in pursuit of the older male, who made a wide circle around the mother grounds. His face was split in a white-toothed smile as he entertains the foals. He was keeping them away from others as well as out of everyone's things. However, he could have probably picked a different place to do so. He reeled about then and turned the tables, now chasing the foals in the opposite direction. He was making his way towards Knollstomp and Blackthorn.

The hunter had more time on his hands than usual, as there was not much to be hunted and parties came back too soon, crestfallen. Doak's spirits were too high to flag so quickly and he sought the unending energy of the foals to occupy his time. He was just clearing a fallen log, which most of the foals had to move around when he looked forward to find the Chieftain standing firmly in his way.
Bramblemane (played anonymously)

Sitting upon the furs with a group of foals is the shaman Bramblemane, though just now he is far from acting as though such was his rank; a flower given to him by one of the young fillies is tucked behind one of his ears, and he is now showing them how to make animals with their hands. If anyone is capable of getting the young 'uns to settle down for any period of time, it is surely Bramblemane.

Of course, when he spies the fretting Chieftain, he realizes that he must leave them.

Fondly patting several of them on the head and encouraging them to keep trying the activity he had taught them, he wordlessly rises, and trots towards Knollstomp and Blackthorn, his forehead creasing. "Has fortune yet smiled upon the hunt?" he rumbles in his slow, deep voice upon reaching them.
Knollstomp (played by Heimdall) Topic Starter

Knollstomp's ears flick at the sound of tiny thundering hooves. He watches the foals and Doak strangely; though his brows are furrowed and his lips are set in a firm, stony frown, his ears are perked forward with interest and he is leaning forward, as if somewhere deep down inside he yearns to join them. He stomps and drags his hoof through the dusty grass, the shock snapping him out of his momentary reverie. It is then that Bramblemane ambles towards them, and the chieftain gives the shaman a respectful bow of his head.

"No, Bramblemane," the dun mourns. "and the water in the river is drying up, according to Blackthorn." He nods to the old mare. "We must discuss the possibility of moving the--" Knollstomp's head jerks to the right at the sound of galloping closeby, his own hooves stamping and his body surging to attention. Was someone running in to warn him of attack? Perhaps one of the hunters spotted a prey-herd? But when he spots Doak thundering towards him, the chieftain's eyes go wide and a braying roar bursts from his throat. He narrowly avoids a collision with the other dun by rearing, his forehooves clawing at the air for balance. "DOAK!" The moment his hooves hit the dirt again, he lunges forward, seeking to overtake the younger stallion and grab a lock of his mane in an iron first. "Explain yourself!"
Doak (played by f0x1nth3b0x)

(You posted as the wrong character Heimdall :) )

The fjord danced, his pigtail caught by the chieftain. His hooves stomped the dirt; he was unwilling to tell Knollstomp to let go, but it hurt to have his mane pulled like that. The foals had a near collision with the fjord, but redirected their course once they saw the firm set of Knollstomps face. Doak plopped his back end on the ground and his face sagged in a pathetic look. Ears fallen back, the younger stallion appologized.

"I didn't mean any harm. I was just playing with the younglings..." He whimpered, once again hoping he would be set free. "The hunting party and I found nothing again this morning.. I had free time."
Doak (played by f0x1nth3b0x)

(You posted as the wrong character Heimdall :) )

The fjord danced, his pigtail caught by the chieftain. His hooves stomped in thw dirt; he was unwilling to tell Knollstomp to let go, but it hurt to have his mane pulled like that. The foals had a near collision with the fjord, but redirected their course once they saw the firm set of Knollstomps face. Doak plopped his back end on the ground and his face sagged in a pathetic look. Ears fallen back, the younger stallion.

"I didn't mean any harm. I was just playing with the younglings..." He whimpered, once again hoping he would be set free. "The hunting party and I found nothing again this morning.. I had free time."
Grizzlehide (played by Redbeard)

Not too far from the commotion, perhaps a few stone's throws away, Grizzlehide had been addressing two newly trained scouts. He had planned for a while to send reconnaissance a bit further east than had usually been done; and, since even beyond the hunting grounds scouts had very rarely reported trouble from that direction in the past, it seemed the perfect assignment for these first-timers. "Remember," he said, "in just three days you will come to Rockspill River. Follow it upstream until you find the great Mosshill Rock. There you will find my best scout, and he will lead you further east," His voice was calm and smooth, but demanding and authoritative. "Good luck," he said softly, as he jerked his head upwards, pushing out his jaw - his way of showing pride in his students.

As they started on their way, Grizzlehide's well-tuned ears picked up the sound of many little foals galloping coming from the camp. He turned his head to the side, sending his long, unkempt flaxen hair twirling into his face. He saw some dust being kicked up in the distance - good, the foals are getting to play, he thought. He began to canter towards the commotion, his long hair flowing behind him, bouncing up and down with each stride. But all of a sudden he heard what sounded to him like his chieftain shouting in anger. He paused for a moment, running his fingers through his beard in amusement as he cocked one eyebrow above the other; he could not help but allow a grin to stretch across his face as he picked up speed to see just what was going on.

He arrived behind Doak, and could see precisely what the situation was. His grin gave way to a chuckle as he peered directly into Knollstomp's fiery eyes and asked plainly, "Well, well, well Knollstomp, what have you caught here?" while he gave a swift and friendly pat to Doak's rump.
Knollstomp (played by Heimdall) Topic Starter

"Then--then check--" Unable to finish his sentence, Knollstomp's grip tightens. He pulls up with increasing intensity on Doak's pigtail for several painful moments, first trembling with rage, before he takes a deep, even breath and wrenches his fist open to release the younger dun. His blazing eyes slowly cool down. "Do you think this is the time to be frolicking? You are no less a colt than they are!" His hazel eyes fix on the approaching Grizzlehide, then, and he pouts at the grin on the elder warrior's face. "An errant boy. He's not one of yours, is he?" With a sigh, he watches the old chestnut centaur's scouts go speeding off. "Where have you sent them?"

The chieftain shakes out his mane irritably and crosses his arms, and regards Doak again. "If you find nothing, then look again. Otherwise we will starve." Deep down he knows this is an illogical thing to say--after all, herds aren't exactly difficult to spot, so checking constantly for them is a waste of energy. And energy is paramount if they're going to relocate soon...

"Well then, Doak, since you have been galavanting about with them... have they any stamina? Could they make the long walk?" He poses the same question he did to Blackthorn, though he knows he'll have to investigate further if Doak says yes.
Blackthorn (played by Lyse)

Opening her mouth to answer Knollstomp's question, Blackthorn closes it again and half-turns to glower as a pack of foals race by them, following Doak. Her ears tilt back, though she doesn't pin them firmly; better they be playing games with him than getting into trouble, but does he have to do it here? She might be less sour if it was any other centaur they were chasing, but that northerner.... She can't call him a stranger anymore, but she's too set in her ways to be accepting, even after all this time he's been in the herd. Add in the foals frolicking with him, and Blackthorn doesn't feel obliged to be pleased to see him.

Her ears slant forward in a more welcoming angle as Bramblemane trots up to them. "Don't make a brushfire out of it," she says to Knollstomp, with a short, sharp shake of her dark head. "I said lower. It's got a good month." She skitters backwards, her tail swishing in short, angry jerks, as Doak turns from his foal-play and comes pounding towards them. This time her ears do pin all the way back, and she snorts sharply as Doak nearly collides with Knollstomp. She taps the ground with one hind hoof as some of the foals, scrambling away from Doak and Knollstomp, seem to be coming her way, but turns to watch them hurry back to their mothers. She's seen some foals in her time who would be foolish enough to make for the edge of the camp, but this crop is more timid--all the better at that age.

Blackthorn turns most of her attention back to the stallions' little drama just as Grizzlehide canters up, her ears again rising in greeting--she likes the sorrel warrior, and not just because he's her agemate--and a thin smile crosses her face as Knollstomp begins lecturing Doak. The colt can use it, in her opinion. In an only half-conscious movement, she tucks the lid of her basket under the arm it's propped on and reaches in with her free hand, fingers sliding down the stalks of the plants, past the poisonous leaves, to pop the roots off the stems at their base. Now that the physical drama seems to be over, she needs something to do while they talk.

As Knollstomp poses his first question again to Doak, Blackthorn lets it lie, finally going on to address the second thing he'd asked her. She's had the answer prepared ever since Doak interrupted, and leaps in with it before he can speak. "The riverside plants are dying," she says, as a starter. No surprise there; they grow at the riverside for the water soaking their roots, and with it dropping, they're going. "We're getting as many as we can while they're still green. There's plenty of these," she adds, lifting the next plant she'd grabbed from her basket, "but if it gets too dry the roots go poisonous. And there's still plenty of groundnuts. Those we should be storing for the next relocation," she adds. None of the riverside plants dry well, or keep well cooked, and root-mash spoils easily, but groundnuts keep forever.


((Five minutes' Internet research did not give me an actual plant for the "poisonous leaves, good roots" plant that she's got, so that's a fantasyland food, I guess. >_> The groundnuts are apios americana, and... I assume there's, like, grassy things growing on the riverbank. *is lazy*))
Bramblemane (played anonymously)

All throughout the entirety of the commotion, Bramblemane keeps his silence and his stillness. The only change that comes over him is a twitch of his brow and a thoughtful pull of his mouth into a frown behind his great beard, though he does also nod briefly in acknowledgement of Grizzlehide when he arrives. These herd-matters are of great concern to him, but his kin, with their talking and their worrying, seem to have it quite in hand, and so he deigns not to speak or distract them unless it is required of him. For now, he listens, growing increasingly concerned--were the spirits displeased with them?
Nightwind (played anonymously)

The dark huntress wasnt far away from the little gathering amidst the herd, moving through the forests with ease and a silent pace that would rival the gentle paw-steps of the wolf. Her black mane and tail rippled in the breeze, while a stray branch may brush just gently against her smoky obsidian body. A spear fashioned from redwood and topped with a sharpened stone was her weapon of choice, but it was held at a downward angle, a signal she had yet to find prey.

Nightwind's search had lasted since early this morning, since before the sun had risen, following trails and signs, trying to discover the migration of her prey. All to little avail. With sorrow making her heart heavy, she had turned and trotted home, dusted hooves thumping across the earth. She was now just returning to see a group all surrounding the chieftain, Knollstomp. The lady centaur gracefully swept up to all of them, her strange mismatched green and blue eyes flickering from face to face. "Someone please tell me some good news for once." Night murmured, her tail flicking back and forth against rump.

{yay here i am xD}
Knollstomp (played by Heimdall) Topic Starter

( Hey Nightwind! Glad to have you along, but could you PM me Nightwind's info? I'd like to look over each centaur before I add them to the roster. She seems okay so I'll reply for now. Just keep in mind that the herd is on an open plain with patches of trees, not in a forest :) I'll have to clarify in the main post. )

Knollstomp steps away from Doak, still listening for the younger male's answer. He does, however, turn his head briefly to Blackthorn, hearing out the old mare's status update. He sighs with the grim news. "Yes, perhaps I was hasty," he murmurs. "but we still must worry." And worry he does, his tail flicking nervously from side to side. "Groundnuts... by the stones, I don't want to feed the herd nothing but groundnuts... how much sap do we have for keeping water-baskets? Perhaps the roots can be kept moist in one of those, and stored in a cool place until we are ready to move... we might be able to save some of them, anyway. We will need more water-baskets if we are to relocate, anyway, so if you could tell the gatherers to look for sapgrass or a copse of pine..." He trails off with a pointed nod.

Then, he addresses Bramblemane. "Shaman, I will need your assistance now more than ever. You must speak with the spirits again--plead with them if you must, for now is no time to be proud. Ask them in what direction we should move, if we do."

The chieftain's eyes fix briefly back on Doak--he isn't about to let the younger centaur go so easily!--until Nightwind makes her appearance. He nods curtly to her as she approaches. "I am afraid not, hunter. And I assume there is none from you?"
Unknown user

((ill get that to ya by tomorrow, been busy))
Grizzlehide (played by Redbeard)

The corners of Grizzlehide's curled lips lower a little with every voice he hears - not because he dislikes the speaking, rather because he dislikes the speech. Once his pleasant smile vanishes altogether, he lets out a sigh and speaks softly, not really caring if anyone can hear him, "I sent some new recruits eastward to meet up with my best scout," he pauses, using the time to brush some supposedly wind-borne seeds from his beard, "They are going further east than we've been in a long time. I'd like to know if things are still safe out that way." He continues, forcing a chuckle, "maybe they'll even spot a big 'ol herd of mammoths!"

He then realizes that he hasn't really greeted anybody; he ponders whether or not it is too late to acknowledge anyone - yep, he feels a little awkward. "Anyway," he begins, looking everyone over, "how are the foals getting along? Is there going to be a storytelling anytime soon? I sure could go for a good..." he catches himself, "...battle. But the small ones need a good, solid, allegory or some artsy thing... to learn about what's to come if we don't find food anytime soon - you know, practical reasons, of course." He looks towards Blackthorn, involuntarily stomping his back hoof, "Perhaps a story tonight, you know, to calm them down?"
Doak (played by f0x1nth3b0x)

The young stallion fusses with his hair while all the other equine beings come to greet the Chieftain. He fixes his tail of hair before rubbing the spot in which it attached to his skull. His expression is sour and he mumbles in a language none of the others seem to understand. He looks about him and gives a nod to each of his gathering herdmates. His ears are plastered back, and he sulks still sitting. Knollstomp's attention is spared for him, obviously still waiting for his answer. Subdued, the fjord offers:

"The foals are energetic enough to make a good journey, at least the older ones. Those unable to endure are still small enough to be carried if need be." He finished his words and went back to sulking.

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