Bear Cavalry, with more bears!
Fearsome Woodland-born Heroes
Physically, the ursine look like somewhat bipedal bears. While actual bears rarely move on their hind legs, these creatures are somewhat bound to it by default. However, they can move on all fours like their wild cousins. Like many strange creatures encountered throughout the realms, the ursine were creations of strange and often horrific experiments. Tribes are what separate the ursine from one another. Usually, each tribe is based off the species they originated from. Beyond that, each tribe has a caste system of sorts; hunters/gatherers, farmers, traders, guards, and the elder councils. While there is no official hierarchy, some social branches gain more respect than others. Despite their bestial appearance, they tend not to be hostile with ‘regular’ humanoids. Their actions with outsiders rarely venture beyond trade and negotiations, but it isn’t too uncommon to see an ursine travel as a guide or bodyguard. Within their lands, many tend to live off a diet associated with their wild equivalents, while some have successfully imported and maintained food stock from the outside world. While this has lead to slight infighting and social conflict, these resources have been a blessing in tougher times.
Free Minds and Free Spirits
In ages past, several kingdoms captured and trained bears as a means of tactical offense and element of surprise. Already built for survival, they made powerful allies among their battle companions. Their service continued until wartime had ended and an uneasy age of ceasefire had begun. In this age, arcanists, alchemists, engineers, and biologists began to experiment with new methods of advancing the society around them. While most kept to a code of ethics, the scientists from the land of Markovia cared not for petty morality. With their bred battle stock wandering aimless and without purpose, they used them as test subjects. After months of brutal testing and no direct results, the bears began to exhibit more and more human-level intelligence, as well as slight mutations to make them seem a little more humanoid. The developments were gradual; more bipedal structure, slight speech capabilities, and even hand-eye coordination/operating items requiring human hands. Through crude methods of communication, they relayed plans to stage a coup. When Markovia’s ‘dumb animal army’ were ready for feeding time, the bears’ plan was carried out. While the Markovian military suffered many casualties, the legion of bears suffered only a few. They failed to destroy the government, but succeeded in escaping the territory. Luckily, the country’s fuehrer, Vladek, was more interested in other things besides hunting the bear creatures down. Free from the shackles of tyranny and corruption, they set out to start their own tribes and try to live in this new, confusing state. Eventually, each experimented species branched off and created their own societies. Their newfound intelligence came with the dysphoria of not being a true humanoid. To keep outsiders from fearing them as savages and wild beasts, they attempted to adapt to “civil” environments and incorporate humanoid customs into their new societies. Never forgetting their roots, each of the cavalries maintain a strong defense and stronger pride in freedom. Most Ursine are trained at a young age to defend themselves, as well as honing the wild instincts from youth. This isn’t to say that ursine society is completely wild. Many have imported and learned to forge all sorts of arms and armory to fit their needs. However, due to their specific needs, outsider smiths are either likely to massively inflate prices for their pieces or outright reject giving service. Even with trade complications, they are a very civil people. Many prefer diplomatic reasoning over war and rely on their councils of elders for wisdom. Among the few things to rile them up are oppression and authoritarian rule, due to the traumatic past of the “Founders”, as they call them.
STATS AFTER THE JUMP