Found in the plateaus of mountainous regions, the yak-folk are an elusive race with a tendency towards rich cultural histories and colorful civilizations. Standing at seven to eight feet tall, the yak-folk are easily recognized by their long fur coats, cloven hooves, and the horns on the males.
The Yak-folk have different cultures based on their mountain homes, which influence their behaviour based on nearby races, abundance of grasses, and availability of resources. Their most well known culture is devoted to the maintaining of tradition and stability in the world. Traditions are all written on stone tablets, which are held in temples- the tallest buildings in a Yak-folk settlement- and obeyed to the letter. Regardless of individual feelings towards these rules, they are followed by every generation.
Failure to follow the rules results in the individual going on trial. Yak-folk trials are based more on persuasion and discussion than the presentation of evidence, with an individual expected to show that they are in line with the traditions, whilst the opposing side tries to persuade the jury that the accused individual has disregarded the traditions. Punishment can vary from intense teaching to excommunication from the settlement.
The traditions of the Yak-folk demand that they remain unchanging in a chaotic world. They will start and end no wars, seek no prophecies, break no oaths, and take no more than they need. They are tasked with returning to the land what they take, which they do by planting more seeds in the earth than the plants they harvest every season. Children are only born when members of the society reach elderhood, and divorce- the removal of an oath- is seen in the same light as treason or deceit.
It us unknown exactly where these rules came from. The most common belief is that at some point, a single yak-folk created these rules in order to subjugate others and maintain order under a dictatorship. Others believe that the rules were made after a period of warlords hoarding the healthiest pastures, and that the rules ensure that no individual yak-folk takes more food than another.
Yak-folk follow a religion of many gods, varying in domain, form, and temperament. These deities have at times found their ways into other religions through word of mouth or the presentation of holy gifts to races early on in their development, aided by the vagueness of the deities (allowing them to be easily incorporated into other religions) Deities are worshiped through actions and following traditions; it is believed that they have no need for prayers, as they judge each and every individual by what they do, not what they say. In this way, your life is judged by the gods regardless as to if you worship them or not.
Yak-folk also show their devotion through their usage of colour. They believe that the greatest creation of the gods was colour due to how hard it is to describe each one, as well as how vivid the colours of the world can be. Their clothing, made from natural fibers, is brightly colored and adorned with patterns. Their houses are low to the ground and have bright- usually red- colored roofs. A side effect of this is that yak-folk feel that colourblind individuals are ‘different’ (cursed or special, depending on the situation), and that creatures that cannot detect colours have been disregarded by the deities.
Technologically, yak-folk are moderately advanced, but limited by their traditions. Many of their tools are passed down through generations, with new ones made when old ones break. Their favored material is stone, as it does not change over long periods of time. Occasional trade with other races provides them with metal with which to make new agricultural tools, but beyond that their tools are mostly made of recycled materials.
Yak-folk children are conceived in the late summer and born away from the rest of the community. They are raised by their mothers and her siblings/close friends for a few days, then reintroduced into society when they can walk. Education is controlled by the priesthood, who teach the young about their traditions, and rigorously enforce how one should and should not act. The childhood of yak-folk is rarely a fully enjoyable one, as many traditions do not make sense until they are older and more aware of the world.
Whilst the Yak-folk are indeed beastfolk, it takes a naive or stupid person to assume they are comfortable being referred to as such. Using common terms for cattle in reference to them- such as the terms bull, cow, or calf- is seen as derogatory, and is heavily frowned upon as a linguistic taboo. The usage of such terms to those without positions of power can lead to imprisonment, with few races willing to free them at risk of further upsetting the yak-folk. Yak-folk prisons usually take the form of bridges, with one entrance/exit only. In areas of poor development, these prisons can consist of no more than cages hung together on a mostly robust pulley system, with criminals exposed to the elements and a sheer drop should they try to escape.
Yak-folk don’t tend to interact with other races on their own accord, instead waiting for other races to come and talk to them. When they do approach others, they do so either due to curiosity or a need for help. Whilst yak-folk tradition dictates they should not engage in many worldly affairs, they may provide others with aid in doing so, such as the knowledge needed to defeat a common enemy or funding to create something that will be universally helpful. Occasionally yak-folk will send out scholars to traverse the stone pathways down their mountains to learn about the modern world.
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Apologies for the lower quality of this post- I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life, so I’ve had my focus elsewhere. Please let me know if you’re still enjoying OTDW in the comments below : )