The Grrrlf are a nonhuman race of furred bipeds in Betrayal in Antara. While Grrrlf Arrows are available in Chapter 1, the party's first chance to encounter a Grrrlf is in Chapter 2.
The Grrrlf are large, husky, and muscular, with narrow eyes set close together, a wide flat nose, floppy ears high on the head, and a thick mane of fur on head and shoulders which tapers to shorter fur on body and limbs. They wear plain, simple clothing and share a common language with the other races in Antara. Pack leaders may wear feathers in their topknots.
Grrrlf do not eat grain products, and the smell of yeasty baking may provoke nausea in a Grrrlf. They also dislike heights.
History and Culture
Human histories relate that Antara was a human country before the Grrrlf War, during which bloodthirsty Grrrlf fell upon the Antaran population and forced them to flee in all directions. After the war, brutal experiments on captured Grrrlf prisoners reportedly led to the development of the Yelloweye potion, which temporarily changes the human eyeball so that it can see in the dark. The original Shepherd garrison was established in the Harkune Mountains to see that the Grrrlf kept the treaty.
Grrrlfland, north of the Ridgewood and the Harkune Mountains, is outside the Antaran Empire, though TrKaa couriers sometimes carry messages there. The Ancestral Den is important to the Grrrlf, who assemble to defend it from wraiths.
Despite reports of this bloody past, the Grrrlf abhor violence and have spent the past few centuries fighting to conquer their "bestial nature." They hunt animals and birds for food, but take care not to cause harm in rage or anger lest such doings damage their ka, which is a concept of honor shared with humans.
They are presently accepted in the Empire, mingling freely among the other races, despite widespread ignorance about their culture and lifestyles. Some humans, including the contemporary Shepherds, consider them beasts and accuse them of causing the Feeblepox epidemic, though at the time the Grrrlf had done whatever they could to help the plague-swept humans. Bands of bloodthirsty Shepherds roaming the highways make it dangerous for Grrrlf to travel alone.
Music and Dance
The Karrruf, a dance performance derived from spiritually significant rituals, is deeply important to the Grrrlf, who perform it every year. The Museum of Antiquities in Ravenne exhibits farrrl drums and other musical instruments used in the Karrruf, though they didn't know its title until told by Kaelyn Usher. One of the characters in the performance is "The Ears," a part played by Raal during the Festival in Ticoro as an attempt to better inform humans about Grrrlf culture. Kaelyn, Raal's skin-sister, has also danced the Karrruf, and banters with Raal about whether the performance is "spiritual" or "erotic."
Other traditional Grrrlf drum-songs include the Maffurrr, a song used to pass the time while waiting for the meat to cook.
When seriously injured or in intense pain, Grrrlf can suffer from a condition called krrrshkuf (wound-madness), an adrenaline-fueled "primal rage" which is a physical reaction entirely beyond their ability to control. Grrrlf in the grip of krrrshkuf are unaware of their surroundings, running and crying out in mindless pain, remembering almost nothing of what happens to them during that time. Once free of pain, the Grrrlf will regain their faculties.
It is customary for older Grrrlf to add their experience and essence to the great river of the Grrrlf Spirit before becoming a burden to the pack. The ceremony of this Time of Passing is called Harrr-Quan, and it is considered an honor to be invited to one. It is said that a Grrrlf who dies by violence will never join the ancestral link of the Grrrlf.
The Grrrlf produce the finest woodcraft in the Empire, designed to showcase the medium's natural form and beauty and superior in every way to that done by humans. Grrrlf shields, spectacularly detailed and relatively impervious, are sought throughout the Empire, though they were originally created for ceremonial purposes at a time when the Grrrlf abhorred violence. Grrrlf arrows fly farther and truer, have more stopping power, and incorporate "an aesthetic human fletchers seldom consider;" Grrrlf staffs and bows seem more grown than crafted, with jutting points and intricate animal carvings impervious to nicks and scratches.
Grrrlf woodwork is also sold in other forms. The lever chest commissioned by a father in Torlith with his young son's name as a solution was Grrrlf-made with rare and expensive wood.
During the Wraith incursion in the Ridgewood, bands of maddened, soulless Grrrlf roam the forest. With no way to restore their souls, the party is forced to kill these groups of hostile Grrrlf upon encountering them.
In accordance with their normally peaceful natures, these Grrrlf do not carry swords or archery equipment, attacking with Grrrlf Staffs instead. They usually wear Leather Armor.
- In Ormede, local children play a cruel game of "Soldier and Grrrlf" by play-hunting younger children: "When we find 'em, we're gonna kill 'em dead!"
- The "beast" discussed in the Cardone inn is actually a wounded Grrrlf. He can be healed by being given Nudrations, a concoction made by combining Rations with Nudberry Roots.
- In common discourse, Grrrlf and humans meaning each other well address one another as "fur-siblings" and "skin-siblings." An older Grrrlf with whom a human has a filial relationship may be addressed as "fur-father," while a Grrrlf with a close friendship to a human may refer to her as "fur-sister."