In the Service of the Queen
(From the Blue Rose Core Rulebook)
The most unusual people of Aldea, rhydan are animals gifted with intelligence and arcane abilities. Indeed, their collective name is from two ancient Aldin root words meaning “thinking animal.” Rhydan “awaken” from otherwise ordinary beasts of the wild, gaining intelligence, awareness, and arcane talents—all the gifts of possessing a soul from the Eternal Dance. Some of them are quite fond of humans, others more wary, but in general, rhydan are cautious in their dealings with the “two-legged peoples” (including vata, although the sea-folk are close allies of rhy-fen).
Rhydan are close to nature and its cycles. Since they are relatively few in number and scattered across different species of animals, rhydan do not have the kind of civilizations or communities other people do. Some continue to dwell largely in the wilderness, while others come together in small groups, or choose to dwell in the settlements of other peoples, particularly in Aldis.
The “nobility” of the rhydan are the fierce griffons and the graceful and wise unicorns, which do not arise from the ranks of common animals, but breed true amongst their own. Reclusive, they are not suitable as characters.
Rhydan awaken from a number of different animal species, but the most common of them known in Aldis and the surrounding lands include the following:
Rhy-bears tend to be relatively small bears with black, brown, or golden fur, most common in the mountainous regions of Aldea and places like the woodlands of the Pavin Weald. They tend to be thoughtful dreamers and loners, although willing to communicate and even bond with humanoids.
Rhy-cats are the size of leopards, with coloring and temperaments similar to those of Siamese cats. They are the most common rhydan in Aldis, and the most closely associated with humanoids, although rhy-cats have a reputation as both aloof and potentially dangerous when encountered in the wild.
Rhy-fen are awakened dolphins, with a long history of friendship and cooperation with sea-folk and islanders. Both people consider rhy-fen their peers and allies; harming or killing any dolphin is just as serious a crime as attacking a member of their own communities. Sea-folk in particular often live together with pods of dolphins and rhy-fen and have bonded companions among them.
Masters of the plains, rhy-horses look much like unawakened horses and have the same ranges of coloration, although pale and dappled hides, star-shaped markings, and blue eyes are more common for them. Rhy-horses are fiercely independent; they allow no one except a bonded companion to ride them on a regular basis. Rhy-horses are most common on the plains of Rezea. They are long-time allies of the Rezean people, who revere the “lords of the plains” and help protect them from harm.
The most reclusive of the rhydan, rhy-wolves are usually found in the woods of the Pavin Weald. They live in tightknit packs, and a friend of theirs is a friend for life, so they do not bond easily. They can be found in the company of forest folk in the Pavin Weald, and some packs have adopted whole forest folk communities and live together with them. Rhy-wolves are eminently practical, sometimes ruthless, but also proud and honorable.