Species: Barzen

Name: barzen [BAR-zin]

Homeworld: Gisufa

Height/Length/Weight: Barzen are medium-sized with no gender difference. They're 2.5-3.5' high at the shoulder, approximately 6-8' long (plus another 4-6' of tail), and weigh between 275-400 lbs.

Physical Description: Barzen are warm-blooded, scaled quadrupeds with low-slung bodies and a thick frame. They have heavy bodies and heavy bones; their skulls have thick, two-parted rounded plating (much like this, but in two halves and not so domed) ringed in ridges and bumps. The plating extends halfway down their broad muzzles and ends where their long, slender ears splay out and downwards; in front of their ears, at the base of the plating, are two squat, sharp-tipped, forwards-curving bovine horns (4-6" long). Barzen are covered in scaly skin of varying thickness and texture - it's lined in bumps and serrated ridges along their spines (from the bases of their skulls almost to their tailtips) and in an arch along their shoulders and hips. Along their backs and flanks are thick, human-palm-sized scales, which shrink to coin-size on their limbs, chest, tail, and neck. Their lower stomachs, groins, and inner joints (especially between shoulder/hip and flank) are smooth and supple, much like snakeskin. (Most of their hide will draw blood from unarmored skin just from casual contact.) Much like Pachycephalosaurus, barzen can lower their heads, aligning their skulls and spines like a fist aligns hand and forearm, and charge something with devastating effects; with practice, a barzen charger can have a knock-back effect of 20 feet or more. Barzen have medium-length muzzles, jagged teeth of varying lengths, and smallish eyes. Their limbs are stout and end in four-toed paws with large, hooking, unretractable claws; each leg also has a dewclaw-like spur (centered, instead of to the inside like normal dewclaws). Their thick paws are surprisingly deft, and they are capable of controlling individual toes, to the extent of being able to point with one toe alone. Their tails are heavy, somewhat tapering, and end in a four-part club of keratin-studded bone. Between the thickened skull plating, the teeth, the claws, and the tail, barzen have few weaknesses and many ways to kill a creature. Their low-slung build makes them hard to flip over, and their only truly vulnerable spot is their lower stomach. (Males have penile sheaths and internal testes; females have four teats on their lower stomachs, prominent only when nursing. Despite somewhat reptilian/draconic appearance, barzen are warm-blooded and do not lay eggs.)

Senses/Capabilities: Barzen primarily use their senses of smell to navigate and communicate; their eyesight is rather poor, black-and-white, and short-range. Their hearing is fairly good, especially in the upper ranges; they can translate even complex sequences of vocalizations, but softer sounds - like a footstep in grass - are often unnoticed, though not necessarily unheard. They have very little sense of touch, except for their underbelly/genitals, inner joints, and inside their jaws. Bazren are powerful creatures, using their strength and endurance to the utmost; they're also quick dashers and surprisingly agile, despite their bulk. They can't run terribly fast - 30 mph or so - but they can charge at a higher speed for a few seconds (~40 mph), and they can swim quite quickly (~20 mph in still water; they swim like crocs).

Coloration/Clothing: Barzen don't wear clothing. They have different sets of coloration, leftover dregs from once being several distinct ethnicities, but it's common to see two types of coloration crossed in a half-and-half sense. The first set is rust-red; mottling of rust-red, steel-grey, and darker red-brown, typically with green eyes and black claws. The second set is blue-green; mottling of desaturated blue, algae-green, and grey-green, typically with yellow eyes and grey claws. The third set is bronze; mottling of copper, greened bronze, and dark yellow, typically with dark brown eyes and gold claws. The fourth set is dusk-violet; mottling of grey-purple, dark grey, and dark (desaturated) blue, typically with violet eyes and black claws. The fifth set is brown; mottling of sienna, sepia, and chocolate brown, typically with blue eyes and black claws. The sixth set is grey; mottling of silver, blue-grey, and dark grey, typically with silver eyes and grey claws.

Races/Breeds: In the past, barzen had half a dozen different breeds with diverse cultures, customs, coloration, and preferred habitats, but these have since mingled to the point of dilution with the coming of humans to their world. Back then, the reds were the gabarzen, the blues were sabarzen, the bronzes were kubarzen, the violets were labarzen, the browns were bubarzen, and the greys were febarzen.

Language: Barzen speak a language aptly named after themselves; the barzen tongue is harsh, coarse, and generally a sound reminiscent of auditory sandpaper. The language is not complex; each race had their own dialect, but in the coming-together of the breeds, the language boiled down to its roots, though much of its detailed vocabulary (words for certain rites, creatures, plants, etc) are taken from one of the six dialects. Those who are new to the barzen tongue are easily confused by the extended vocabulary, but the syntax and structure of the language itself are fairly simplistic. It's hard to speak quietly or without strong vocal chords, and listening comprehension can be a challenge to those who don't already speak a guttural language. Zilirai have little trouble learning it, but most humans and f'saik'n don't bother, beyond some vital phrases ("GTFO" "WTF" "PWN U" "HAI2U" etc).

Technology: Barzen have no use for technology.

Magic: Barzen have a natural affinity for elemental magic - specifically, water (including storms) and earth (including rocks). But what they do with this affinity doesn't resemble any kind of human magic system; it's based on gut-instinct and not ritualized, nor is it formally taught even within their families.

Values: Contrary to their appearance, barzen primarily value a good-natured demeanor and willingness to work with others in the hunt. They also greatly value physical prowess, both in the hunt and battle (and in travel), especially strength and agility. What used to be culture-specific values have since drifted away in the mingling of ethnicities, and most barzen now find themselves without much of a communal or cultural identity, and thus lacking any set values - both a good and bad thing.

Social Groups/Society: Barzen live in a peculiar social structure. Families with cubs will stake out an excessively large territory, find a cave in which to den, and draw any nearby blood-relatives to them to form a temporary pack. The parents stay in the den to care for the infants while the relatives provide food. Any unattached barzen or childless barzen mates can stay in the den if they also provide food for the new family, but those who hunt the marked land without sharing with the family are chased off by the providers. Once the children are at least half-grown, the family begins moving around again. At any given time, in most areas where barzen are populous, enough territories are claimed to offer a den to any wanderers and a social group to hunt with.

Habitat/Settlements: Barzen can be found virtually anywhere, barring extremely cold places. They typically stay near bodies of water, but can survive in forests, plains, mountains, and even deserts. They have no real settlements, other than the caves that they claim as dens. (If no cave is available, some barzen will dig one; others will settle for a sheltered piece of forest.)

Religion/Beliefs: The barzen view their world as the mother to all life on it, which is why they seek out caves in which to raise their own families. They have a relatively non-deistic view, somewhere between "do what it takes to survive" and "don't wreck the world". Again, the distinct cultures used to have their own belief systems and religions, which have bled dry with the blending of races.

Interaction w/ Other Species: Barzen are not particularly hostile to strangers, despite their intimidating appearance. If provoked, they will deliver a warning blow/bite, then wait for the offender to come to its senses and quit bothering them. They are generally cordial towards zilirai and tolerant of f'saik'n, and they're the only Gisufan natives who don't really dislike humans on principle. Once sufficiently angered, they do not forget, though they can and do forgive if the situation was brought about by a misunderstanding. They can be quite protective of those they consider weaker than they (which typically includes friendly f'saik'n and almost all zilirai).

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