Dragonlance - Age of Might
The violence of the minotaur race has its roots in their creation. Originally a clan of ogres living on the western coast of Taladas, the minotaurs were created when the Greygem escaped its bonds and spun crazily across the world. As it shrieked over villages of high ogre folk, the people underwent a painful transformation. They awoke in the morning as minotaurs. When these hapless man- beasts sought help from their ogrish brethren, they found enslavement instead. Eventually the minotaurs broke free, sailing crude ships to Ansalon to begin anew. However, they did not leave without exacting a price. They drenched the earth with the blood of ogres the night they left, devastating the lands and lives of their former masters.
Originally descended from the high ogrish races of Taladas, minotaurs see themselves as the heir apparent to the world of Krynn. The other races of the world are weak and riddled with dishonourable folk – a fallow field waiting to be cropped by Krynn’s master race. The minotaurs will stop at nothing to conquer that which they believe to be theirs. Minotaurs, like most other races, believe themselves to be the chosen of the gods.
Minotaurs are an honour-bound race. They believe strongly in preserving their honour and emerging victorious in the struggle for dominance in Krynn. Their brutish heads belie the keen minds within; many are smarter than the average human.
Above all else, minotaurs value their honour. Without honour, they have no life. They live by a rigid code of honour, developed over the years in response to many hardships. This code embodies the minotaur way of life. Thus, minotaurs allow no exceptions to the code of honour. A minotaur will honour his word, no matter how painful the consequences might be. Only in cases where the security of the entire race hangs in the balance will a typical minotaur even consider breaking his word. Naturally, minotaurs do not lightly pledge such oaths.
Even the brigand minotaurs of Kothas and Mithas retain some sense of honour. (Ansalonian minotaurs are more vicious and backstabbing than their Taladan counterparts because they have suffered more under taskmasters.) Anyone who questions the honour of even an outlaw minotaur will likely get a Gaffhook in the throat.
Minotaurs adhere strictly to the rule of might: Might makes right. They believe that any problems they have can be solved with strength, cunning, and skill. The rule of might finds clear expression in the arena, where all minotaur legal cases are settled. If a defendant can keep himself alive in the arena against the champions of the minotaurs, he has proven himself innocent.
Minotaurs also believe very strongly in competition. Competition allows one to measure oneself against other minotaurs and against lesser beings.
Families are the building blocks of minotaur society. Each minotaur family represents the whole family of minotaurs throughout Krynn. Each family therefore safeguards the precious core of minotaur history and honour. Any just minotaur would die for his family, as for his nation.
These huge bull-headed humanoids stand at a hulking 7’ tall. Their torsos and limbs are humanoid: rippling chests and humanlike arms, legs, and hands. Their feet, however, end in a cleft hoof. Their whole bodies are covered with a layer of short hair. Their fur ranges in colour from a whitish blonde to glossy black, although most minotaurs have only one colour of fur. Only after they reach the age of 110 do they start to show signs of mottling. Minotaurs live up to 150 years – more than either the bovines or humans who forms they share.
Minotaur horns grow to 24” long. These lengths are measured and cherished because minotaurs pride themselves on their horns. Horns symbolize a great and noble heritage that no other beast on Krynn can claim. Minotaurs rigorously wax and polish their horns to make them shiny and strong. Criminals are punished and exiled from minotaur society by having their horns sawed off. Such creatures are no longer considered minotaurs, but beasts akin to humans. Dehorned minotaurs have lost their pride and sullied their honour. By no means will a minotaur in good standing ever befriend one of these hornless, hapless creatures.
Minotaurs have an uneasy truce with every port city they trade with, particularly with the regions bathed in the Blood Sea. They actively trade with Ogres, the Dragonarmy and of course, Palanthas.
Since minotaurs are such honour bound creatures, they are strongly lawful in alignment, though since they are transformed from ogres – most are also inherently evil. However like all of the races of Krynn exceptions do exist, though usually such minotaurs are outcasts among their own people.
On Ansalon, minotaurs live in a sea-based culture along the eastern shore of Ansalon in two kingdoms, Mithas and Kothas. Built on the rule of might, these lands are led by an emperor in Nethosak, capital of Mithas. The emperor’s advisors are the Supreme Circle, a body of the eight most vicious and powerful minotaurs in the all of the land. Each member of the Circle has won his or her post by personal combat in the circus. They each serve a life term, which they defend by combat. Life terms usually last five to six years.
Because Ansalon minotaurs care little about architecture and aesthetics, their cities and towns are squalid. Most buildings are made of mud and rough planking. The streets between the buildings are dirt or gravel. Only the arena and circus have any grandeur about them, built of masoned granite and ringed with lofty seats. The rest of the town has only the taverns on each corner to commend it. (Minotaurs love strong drink and good fights.)
Like all races, minotaurs recognize all of the gods, however they rank Sargonnas as the highest among them and Kiri-Jolith and their war patron. However since the Ansalonian minotaurs are also a sea-faring race many of them also worship Zeboim. They view the gods of good, with the exception of Kiri-Jolith, as insufferably weak, like their followers.
Minotaurs speak their own tongue, Kothian. This a an off-shoot of the Ogre language.
Minotaurs are excellent seafarers. Since the time of their creation, they have been perfecting their sailing techniques, for both piracy and exploration. Although their ships remain somewhat crude, their navigation is top-notch. Minotaurs are also excellent combatants.
Minotaur warriors frequently hire out as mercenaries when they are not in the service of the minotaur emperor. Minotaurs also make skilled wizards and priests. They consider thieving beneath them, although they often engage in piracy and pillaging. Minotaurs also disdain the use of armour beyond leather, as they regard this as inherently cowardly, though nobles may occasionally wear breastplate or hide armour. Minotaur fighters almost always refuse to use shields, leaving their hands free to wield weapons with both hands.