Posted by: Sean | November 14, 2008

Theme Week Tauren: On the Interconnectedness of all Things

The world is a funny place. One tiny thing can disrupt a whole cycle. For example:

Yesterday, I woke up feeling unwell. I debated back and forth whether or not to go to work, but in the end decided I wasn’t well enough. I sent in an SMS saying I was unwell, and went back to sleep. Later, I woke up again, and felt surprisingly better. But by then, it was too late to catch a bus in, so I had to drive. (I hate driving, but sometimes it’s the only way.) As long-time readers of this blog will know, I blog from the bus; the only time I have to do so. Ergo, you didn’t get any posts from me. Coupled with Jess being in the throes of exam time with university, and the end result was… no posts yesterday.

We’re really sorry about that, by the way.

Still, think about the idea and extrapolate it. A fawn gets lost from the herd. He walked into an unfamiliar territory and becomes chased by a raptor. The gazelle runs high into the northern ridges to try and escape the raptor, and tumbles off an edge. As it tumbles, it dislodges a boulder. The bounder blocks a pathway used by the rest of the gazelle herd, and they do not go through it this year. The plants there remain uneaten, and thus their seeds are not spread by the gazelle’s jaws. The plainstriders do not have enough food later in the year, and thus the kodo starve.

All from one fawn getting lost.

A part of me really can’t help but see this as the way in which a tauren likely sees the world. Small things become bigger, and you can never know which one will become important. This may even be part of the reason they were nomadic (it surely isn’t because they didn’t have the technology to found a city; between their incredible lifts and their prowess with guns, it’s pretty clear they’re the most technologically savvy race of the Horde,) as they sought to limit their impact upon the world, trying to change it as little as possible. I don’t think they see themselves as custodians the way the night elves do, though. The tauren are too earthy, too real to divorce themselves from the process. They know all too well that they may be that ‘one little thing’ as well. Sometimes they may even want to be. The race is long.

Imagine this thinking from a druid’s perspective. She sees nature in all its different forms. She knows how the animals are, and to a lesser extent how they all think. She knows when the roost comes home and when the coyotes begin their hunts. At every step she is trying to find the thing out of place, the one little thing that could change it all, and then she tries to see what to do about it. All from one fawn getting lost.

Or imagine this from a shaman’s perspective. The spirits whisper to him as he walks the land. He knows the spirits as a whole and knows many by name. He knows their petty jealousies, the way they interact, the chances of the tide turning. He too is waiting for that one errant whisper, the one hint that the spirit world is disrupted. He knows the physical world will follow, and advises his people. All because of one petty jealousy.

How about from the warriors perspective? She looks the battle over, tries to discern its ebb and flow. Somewhere will be a breakthrough, an orcish warrior clashes through a great cleave from his axe and hurtles forward. Broken from his line, humans flow into the hole he’s left. Soon the orcs are surrounded and the battle turns against them. She hefts her hammer and wades in behind the orc, ready to seal that line the moment it’s made. All because of one impetuous rush.

The chieftain knows his people. He knows the ancient family grudges, the difficulties. He knows the loves and hates, the fears and hopes. He worries that Firedawn will finally just demand her rightful share of the kodo kill from the last kodo run, even though she knows that poor old Atykarf is the better leatherworker and that this will be a long winter. He knows that many tauren will leap to Firedawn’s defence because of her strength in defending the town against the Scourge when all hell broke loose. All from pride.

And finally, think of it from the role-players perspective. A tauren is not likely to speak or act rashly. They will be slow to decide, painfully slow at times. They are perhaps more likely than any other race to ask for a day to consider. But they will also be at least somewhat empathetic. They may or may not be wise; wisdom is a gift that does not come to all. But perhaps a tauren is more likely than most to admit their limits, and state them upfront. Don’t just play the tauren. Play the tauren in his world. Think of the whole scenario at all times, and try to bring that into your play. Soon, you’ll get the idea to mention seemingly unrelated factors in even a minor decision, only convincing your party at length that this is crucial. And they’ll think, “Now that’s a tauren.”

All from one little change in mindset.

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Responses

  1. Good thought! I say the night elves probably come a close second in such a line of thinking, particularly since they could live long enough to see the real long term effects of such.

    “This may even be part of the reason they were nomadic (it surely isn’t because they didn’t have the technology to found a city; between their incredible lifts and their prowess with guns, it’s pretty clear they’re the most technologically savvy race of the Horde,) as they sought to limit their impact upon the world, trying to change it as little as possible.”

    I wouldn’t go that far. They were nomadic after all because of necessity, as the constant attacks of the centaur made it so the only way they could survive was on the move. Because if they had established a city, even if every tribe of the tauren lived there and defended it. The likelihood of the centaur ravishing most of them, was much too high for such a risk hence they waited until their forces were supplemented by the many orcs & trolls of the Horde to finally feel safe enough to settle down. Plus I will also say, their impact to the world was probably greater as nomads. Because they were not unified and as organized as they are now, therefore the likelihood of doing more harm was greater as a result of such a lack of focus as a whole.

    And when it comes to guns, they would be new to the tauren I would say. As they come across them only through the occasional trading that go on between them & others while they were nomads. And it probably wasn’t until actually joining the Horde, that they may of begun to produce them themselves due to their limited capabilities as nomads (which were so limited, that even producing basic steel tools and weapons were considered luxuries to them and often gained through trade as well).

    So ultimately, I think the tauren having guns are more for gameplay reasons rather than lore reasons. Because, they had to give some one the gun skill in the Horde, and the only one to make sense was the tauren probably due to their trading with others. Because without that reason, there is little to make sense of why they have the gun skill as you think they dislike guns a bit and rather have a bow much like the night elves for example. But I will say now with guns, their excellent hunting skills would give them the appropriate “prowess with guns” so that the gun skill they get as hunters makes sense.


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