A web enhancement for d12 Monthly, Issue 22 (Forests & Jungles).
Sometimes articles get cut from the final issue for a number of reasons, so I have decided to include them as bonus web content. Enjoy!
Centaurs in Dungeons & Dragons are misplaced in the world.
Somewhere along the lines they ended up as forest-dwelling fey.
This has always seemed a little odd to me as, given they are half horse, they would want – and need – a place to gallop and roam.
In Aythia, my D&D campaign world, they live on the plains and hills, being close to forests, but mainly for hunting purposes.
And this is why many believe they live in the forests and woodlands – they are often seen there.
Centaurs are hunter-gatherers who roam in clans on the plains, moving where the food is good and claiming territory when they find a good location to settle.
Centaurs shun outsiders.
The only race they are agreeable with, and trust, are elves.
The elves have always treated centaurs with respect, and have traded with the centaurs for generations. The elves give them knowledge and items, in exchange for insights and healing techniques the centaurs have developed over centuries.
Centaur life is divided down gender lines: the males are the traditional hunters and scouts, while females look after the homes, including being their defenders.
Raising the young is a village exercise and young centaurs are taught by the whole clan.
Settlements are built around a clan structure, where multiple families join together. Each clan has their own rules, and deals with outsiders differently.
Some trade with other races, allowing them to cross their lands in exchange for tribute, while others jealously guard their territory and attack any and all who set foot within it.
Centaurs are not warriors in the truest sense. They do not build and maintain armies, and they do not instigate conflict (unless in defence of their lands and clans). They are, however, skilled bowmen and can hold their own in a conflict when it is called for.
Centaurs train in archery, using powerful composite war bows that most humans could not possibly handle (min STR 16 to use), and long lances made from strong wood they trade with elves to acquire.
They use a lance-shield combo when in melee combat with a foe, but prefer hit-and-run and ambush tactics, using their bows at range to weaken an enemy.
If they meet an enemy they cannot defeat, they will move on rather than risk more life than is necessary.
Centaurs loath to be captured or kept prisoner, so much so that they would rather die than surrender.
They love the freedom that comes with running across the open plains, and detest enclosed or confined spaces (you would never find them in a dungeon).
Centaurs are pleasant enough and harbour strong family ties, they are fair in their dealings and are good on their word, and expect all others to be the same.
Very few centaurs are cast out of their clans as they all understand how valuable it is to belong to one.
Centaur lairs are usually found in protected plains, straths or other valleys where they can have a defensible position; and which is near running water so they can grow food and raise animals.
Given their semi-nomadic nature, you would be forgiven not seeing centaurs as farmers, but they are well-trained in agriculture and grow a good many crops to off-set their hunting and gathering.
Their lairs will also often have huts or lean-tos for protection from the elements, as well as a hearth for communal cooking and warmth.
Centaurs gain experience as bards, druids, rangers, or, in rare cases, clerics of either Gruan (the Nature deity), or Crulaan (the minor deity of freedom and open spaces).
Encounters with centaurs usually come in the form of meeting a scout or company which is either out hunting or on patrol.
The following table can be used to randomly roll how many centaurs are encountered if they are indicated.
Table: Centaur Encounters
|1-2||Solitary; scout or hunter|
|3-4||Company (D4+4); patrolling or hunting large game|
|5||Troop (D10+8 plus a leader with D4+1 levels); out looking for a new home, or on an important mission|
|6||Tribe (2D100 plus 10 x level 3, 5 x level 5, and a leader of D4+4 levels); moving to new home or in actual lair|
Centaur Weapons & Armour
As mentioned previously, centaurs have two main weapons: composite great bow, and a lance.
They shun armour, but do employ large (usually round) shields when armed with their lances.
Large Shields: these offer +2 to AC when used.
Over to You
Where are centaurs in your own campaign world? Let me know in the comments below.
While You’re Here…
Since 2021 I have been publishing d12 Monthly, a monthly zine, which has a ton of articles for any edition of Dungeons and Dragons.
I will also be releasing some more products in the near future.
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