Tarutaru

A diminutive race of magically active beings. The Tarutaru – ‘Taru’ for short – are characterized by babyish faces, large eyes, pronounced Elfin ears and bear-like features. Their bodily proportions are equivalent to those of human children, with large heads atop a pudgy, short-limbed body, a combination that appears utterly harmless up until the point the fireballs start flying. Some speculate the small creatures' mastery of magic is a kind of acquired survival trait; lacking the endurance and strength to be serious warriors, they have little else to protect themselves from the dangers of the world. For their part, the Tarutaru call it a mark of divine favor, proof that some higher power is watching out for them.

Vital Data

Representatives: Shantotto, Tosuka-Porika (FFXI)
Typical Height: 0.8-1.0m (Male / Female)
Typical Weight: 34-38kg (Male) / 32-36kg (Female)
Hair Colors: Brown, blond, red, blue, grey, green
Eye Colors: Brown, blue
Habitats: Forests
Lifespan: 20-40 years
Young: 4-6 years
Average: 10-15 years
Old: 30-35 years

Society

The Tarutaru live in a geniocracy, a society ruled by scientists, sages, thinkers, and other experts on worldy matters. In the eyes of the Taru, what one knows defines everything – prestige, social standing, privileges. Accordingly, competition for wisdom is fierce and those in positions of authority live in constant fear of being usurped by younger, more knowledgeable individuals. This in turn creates enormous pressure to pursue new ideas and innovations, setting up the intellectual 'engine' that allows Tarutaru society to progress. While Taru scholars turn their attentions to many subjects, the study of magic is by far the most prestigious; spellcasters are the geniocracy's first line of defense, revered for their martial prowess and respected for their intellectual accomplishments.

Taru travel mainly for social advancement, lured by the prospect of lost spells, rare alchemical ingredients, or ancient grimoires of legendary power. As competitive as they may be, however, Tarutaru are also firm believers in the mantra ‘strength in numbers.’ Tribes often band together into larger federations for protection, surrendering individual sovereignty to a ruling council composed of the wisest members of each tribe. Leader of the council is the member regarded as the most knowledgeable by mutual consensus; this role is generally prized more for its prestige than its attached powers, which are minimal at best. Because of this, tribes actively jockey for the leadership role, recalling and replacing their representatives whenever a more suitable candidate emerges.

As may be expected, magic is an everyday fact of Taru life; it powers mechanical constructs, gives new life to worn-out fields, enhances crops, and even protects tools and clothing from wear and tear. Though somewhat menial compared to the glamor of hurling offensive magics in the name of the Tarutaru nation, many able mages make profitable careers out of these mundane applications. Only metalworking is generally shunned; as a rule, Tarutaru favor organic materials such as wood and cloth, finding such resources far easier to alter with magic than their intractable metallic counterparts. As a result, almost every metal item used by the Taru tends to be the work of outside hands.

Roleplaying

Though childlike in body, Tarutaru are highly intelligent beings, albeit ones possessed by an inexhaustible curiosity about anything and everything in life. No self-respecting Taru will miss the chance to obtain new knowledge – or show off the fruits of their studies whenever opportunity allows. Though they make little distinction between the trivial and the life-saving where information is concerned, the little creatures' intellectual posturing generally comes through when it's most needed.

Parties may also find their patience stretched to the limit by the Tarus’ piping, mousy voices. While fluent in Common Tongue, Tarutaru have the unfortunate tendency to replace single 't's with 'tarus' and slip into child-like rhyming schemes; the results aren’taru pretty-witty by any stretch of the imagination.

As much as Taru society emphasizes the benefits of mutual cooperation, it’s no surprise that the little creatures go through great lengths to find companions and even greater ones to keep them. While not as outright distrustful of advanced technology as the Mithra, Tarutaru do tend to be wary in the presence of nonmagical machinery; to them, grinding gears, steam, and clockwork are ruthless, soul-less things, lacking the innate warmth and vitality of a magic-driven device.

It’s a testament to the race’s long-lived mystic traditions that even Taru names are steeped in occult significance. Male naming pairs similar-sounding words drawn from ancient ritual incantations, giving rise to monikers like Yung-Yaam, Jatan-Paratan, Baren-Moren and Kyume-Romeh. Such names are not only chosen for aesthetic value; the Taru believe that granting a boy a particularly powerful spellname increases his chances of becoming an accomplished spellcaster in later years. Females have single rather than double names, ending in two rhyming syllables chosen by parents according to the child’s time of birth. These ending syllables are said to be an indicator of future personality and career, and girls born during auspicious times are groomed from early on for high office. Examples of female Taru names include Finene, Chomomo and Kerutoto.

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