Posted by: Sean | November 17, 2008

Theme Week Tauren: The Tauren Play File

Earlier this week, I advanced the theory that the Tauren tend to value cautious thought and decisive actions, or as I’d like to put it, “courage in wisdom”. They have no time for the foolish and hasty, but they equally have no time for those who isolate themselves rather than engage with the world. Both qualities are required. I asked Jess, and she suggested the key virtues of the tauren were, “wisdom, serenity and tenacity”, which is similar if not completely the same as mine.

However, neither of us drew up a final point to the equation: They’re a deeply conservative group. Much like the night elves, they dislike change. Not so much, I feel, out of the same ‘the world falls out of balance’ mentality – They have a great respect for the Earthmother and trust her balance is not so easily upset. But they’re creatures of habit, following the same trails, the same paths as their ancestors. They’re slow to change, and rapid change is likely to make them uncomfortable.

With that said, let’s get into it!

The Horde

Blood Elves: The blood elves pretty much fail every standard the tauren have. They’re a rapidly, frighteningly changing group. Tenacious? In a way, definitely, but the tauren aren’t exactly going to see casting aside those of your race who fail to hold that tenacity as ‘wretched’ in a good light. Wise? You’re joking. The blood elves have had a legendary history of pique, anger, folly and heartbreak. Strength? Definitely, but not ‘in wisdom’. Serenity? They were a pack of addicts!

So why is it that a blood elf is happily working amongst the tauren in Freewind Post?1

Because right now, the blood elves have yet to actually do anything bad to the tauren. While there’s not a whole lot there to appeal to the tauren, they’re not ones to judge. For now, as a result, the tauren largely have a low view of the blood elves but try to be reasonable.

If, however, the blood elves betray the Horde in any way, expect them to never be forgiven.

“The elves of blood must have hidden depths. Blood is important to us as tauren too, but we hold in living blood, in our kin. Perhaps we too would be as they are had so much of that living blood died.”

Orcs: The orcs are a curious race to the tauren. If it were not for Thrall, it would not be likely that the alliance between the two races would have remained. While the tauren are deeply indebted to the strange green skinned warriors, they are such a hasty, violent creature that the more gentle tauren would surely have cut ties now.

But Thrall tips the balance in a big way. He is, to the tauren mind, practically everything they imagine a leader should be – He practically defines ‘strength in wisdom’. So much so that, in fact, the whole orcish race benefits; your average tauren is likely to have Thrall as the standard of what an orc is rather than the rank and file. The similar spirituality also helps. Your average tauren probably sees the average orc as well meaning if a little impetuous and hasty, perhaps in need of guidance.

“Wait. Stay your hammer, young warrior. Delay your vengeance a day and see if the need for vengeance remains. If not, then you will regret nothing. If so, then you will have had a day to think of better ways to gain it.”

Trolls: The trolls are an intriguing race to the tauren. They too see the trolls ancient practice of voodoo as repugnant; but they were never around to see it as it used to be. It’s now an intriguing side note rather than a major part of how the tauren see the trolls. And the trolls have a lot to offer as far as the tauren are concerned. They’re sort of a calmer, less driven version of the orcs, as far as the tauren see them. If ‘strength in wisdom’ is the cardinal virtue of the tauren, then the trolls may not be as strong as the orcs, but they apply their strength more wisely.

Plus, the trolls like drums and dancing. The tauren have a lot of time for drums and dancing. While this sounds flippant (and it is a little) the shared cultural touches should not be overlooked in how they can bring two peoples together.

“Blue skins come with green skins, the people join the green skins. So the people join the blue skins too. If an orc begins to feel the blood burn, appeal to the troll to try and restore the order of things.

Undead: And then there are the undead. Your average tauren hasn’t had much contact with your average forsaken. They’re a continent away, after all, and so you get more from hearsay than meeting them. Thus, what your tauren thinks about them depends entirely upon how swayed he has been by the Grimtotem Clan. The vast majority of the tauren view the Grimtotem as an embarrassment, and it’s worth noting that most Grimtotem are hostile to both Alliance and horde.

Now, they’re open advocates for the Forsaken. They even let some of them in.

How would you react? Unsurprisingly, most tauren don’t have time for the undead. They see them as an abrogation of the Earthmother’s world, they see them as scheming and unwise, and if that wasn’t bad enough, the damned Grimtotem like them!

“If you must speak with a forsaken, don’t. Let him speak, say nothing, and send him on his way.”

1The next question: Why is she STILL there now that the blood elves are cured, I can’t answer.

The Alliance

Before I begin, it’s worth noting: The tauren, unlike most horde races, has next to no history with the Alliance. Don’t believe me? The orcs have fought the humans for three wars now. The trolls were there for the last one. The undead were humans. The blood elves were high elves.

The tauren were dancing happy la-la songs until the orcs showed up. Well, OK, not true. Actually, they were being slaughtered by centaurs.

So, here’s the pop quiz: Which group do you think the tauren get enraged by fighting; the Alliance or the centaurs?

Right. This is why the tauren, as a general rule, don’t really have any problem with the Alliance. They have, at most, known about the night elves. They’re enemies of their friends, and that’s it. Your average tauren, if there’s no pressing need, is likely to let an Alliance civilian get away. The definition of ‘pressing need’ vary, of course.

Draenei: The draenei are a curious parallel to the tauren. Both are the largest members of their faction. Both are the calmest, least angry race within their faction. (Alright, this is debatable for the draenei, but the similarities are there.) In fact, were events slightly different, had the draenei allied with the Horde rather than the Alliance, it’s likely that the tauren would have found an awful lot to like about the draenei.

As it is, however, they’re a bunch of massive blue guys, the few people the tauren actually have to look eye to eye with rather than securely looking down. And they look like demons. They’re threatening and, as such, the tauren look at them with suspicion. Tauren are, as always, slow to judge, but being allied with the Horde means that the draenei are enemies by default, and the suspicion has more chance to increase than anything else.

“It’s foolish to judge a river by the surface; the depths run deep. These kind could be a treacherous river or a life-giving stream. For now, we can not know.”

Dwarves & Gnomes: Similarly, the tauren have had little to do historically with the dwarves and gnomes; some dwarves fought alongside Jaina Proudmore in the Third War, but otherwise, they have had no contact prior to the current age. In the absence of stronger ties, they react strongly to the most visual elements they find, and they see strange technologies, ferocious warriors, and rampant drunkenness. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the tauren don’t see the gnomes and dwarves as particularly dangerous or respected foes.

“A small race in every sense. Their ever-present need to build greater and greater things only shows that they themselves are not enough.”

Humans: The nominal leaders of the Alliance, the humans are probably the most talked about member of the Alliance within the horde. Certainly, the orcs will tell the most stories of them.

What do those stories tell of? Slavery. The camps. Sweat and trouble and brutality. The tauren don’t know that was a completely different kingdom, the tauren don’t know what the situation was. All they get are stories of hate and horror.

But… there’s Jaina Proudmore. Probably at this point the best recognised human to the Horde, courtesy of her attempts at outreach rather than battle. She is distinctly not horrific, nor hateful. As such, most tauren are probably confused by humanity, courtesy of really always dealing with them second hand.

“Hmph. Humans cross our lands. See if anyone here knows the colours of Proudmore. If those aren’t her colours, we’ll make sure they never leave alive.”

Night Elves: Finally, we have the night elves. Unlike the remaining races, the night elves actually are known to the tauren. They lived on the same continent, and while the Cenarion Circle didn’t officially welcome the tauren into their ranks until the end of the Third War, clearly they had some dealings with each other.

Yeah, they got along pretty well when they talked.

Kalimdor is big. And it’s mostly empty. The Eastern Kingdoms were where all the fighting used to occur precisely because until recently, that’s where everyone was.

So now the night elves and the tauren have to deal with each other. Again, rosy relationship, right?


Now every single little land issue has flared up. They have to deal with each other. Both have long and storied histories with the land, sacred spots, boundaries. Those boundaries are now being tested. The sacred spots are often at risk.

As such, the night elves are both the race the tauren are closest too (courtesy of their druidic links) and may just be the one they have the most anger towards.

“Ah, I miss the days when I never had to see those damn long-ears. I liked them more back then.”

Viewing the Classes

Death Knight: The immediate assumption any tauren is going to make about a tauren death knight is that surely, they’re a Grimtotem. If this is wrong, a tauren is likely to be shocked. No matter who they are, few tauren are going to trust a death knight; they simply don’t believe someone can change that quickly.
Druid: The druids are one of the hallowed orders of the tauren, but unlike the night elves they’re not held in that much awe amongst their people. Rather, being a druid is a privileged burden. Tauren see family as a huge, encompassing concept; in smaller camps literally everyone is considered ‘family’ in one way or another. Druids, in many ways, are tauren charged with seeing everything as family.
Hunter: By contrast, the hunter is a very highly regarded part of tauren society. Tauren put great reverence on the part of good hunters, ones who know how to shoot an animal and cleanly kill it, leaving the body so that every last piece of it can be used. Tauren, used to nomadic lifestyle, don’t waste much, and they still expect their hunters to be efficient and skilled.
Mages: Much like the orcs, the tauren just don’t see magic as natural. It’s a fearful and forbidden pursuit, as far as they’re concerned, but at the same time, they don’t see it as a crime. A troll mage won’t be feared as a person for practising magic; it’s purely the magic itself to be feared.
Paladin: There’s a certain strangeness to the idea of a paladin for a tauren. The Earthmother is a peaceful deity, a giver of life and sustenance. What fearful god must you worship to make war in his name?
Priest: By contrast, the priest is a role the tauren can understand. The main thing that would confuse a tauren about a priest is… aren’t we all priests? Don’t we all venerate our god? Why is the priest so special?
Rogue: (Tauren rogue joke ha ha ha. Let’s move on.) Seriously, the tauren don’t have a problem with the idea of the rogue. Actually, in many ways a rogue is preferable to a warrior. Think again of the hunter metaphor: a single clean arrow or gunshot killing a target. A tauren dislikes radical change; if a problem can be removed with one quick arrow, isn’t this preferable to a full scale war?
Shaman: Despite being seen as a slow and ponderous race (true) any who saw a tauren shaman would not believe how energetic one can be. Tauren adore dance, and a tauren shaman is the master of it. With tribal drums beating and ritual dance, a tauren shaman coaxes forth the elements and dances with them, often to do war. However, in peace, the tauren shaman is the primary counsellor of his people, the best manager of a tribe. There is a reason the chieftains of the tauren are shamans.
Warlocks: While the tauren don’t quite have as much venom toward the warlocks as the orcs do, the orcs are where the tauren get most of their information from regarding warlocks. As such, few tauren think they’re a good idea; and it’s unlikely that a warlock will be welcomed or even tolerated on their lands.
Warrior: Tauren warriors are a hardened lot, from years of fighting a losing war against the centaurs. It’s likely that tauren warriors may be the best bodyguards on Azeroth; surely no other species are as good at spotting threats and reacting appropriately.



  1. A few things…

    First, the blood elves. It seems the general consensus is that the blood elves are no longer addicts due to the Sunwell being “restored” by the heart of M’uru. But when you look at what is said, all that is indicated is that the Sunwell has just begun to regain its energies and will take time before it is fully restored. And if the time it takes for a Naaru to be restored is any indication of how long the Sunwell will take to be restored, then it could take around 1,000 years for the Sunwell to be fully restored. Also in addition to that, its unknown if the Sunwell will produce light or arcane energy when considering the source of its rebirth. And if what Lady Liadrin said can be any indication, I would lean more on the light side of things as I doubt arcane energy make you feel the love and grace she felt when it was rebooted.

    But to the point of their addiction, I would say its still very much there; particular for those not in the general vicinity of the Sunwell. Because those who are close to it, while it may not be fully restored; it should still give some sort of relief with what energies it now produces. How much though, is still up for debate until Blizzard gives us some answers.

    And with their magic addiction still intact mostly. I would say the stink of fel/arcane energies on them would automatically put off most tauren. Hell, even if their addiction was gone, they are still soaked in such fifth and will be so for who knows how many generation.

    Second, on the dwarves. For them its a bit of a mixed bag, as on the one hand they like the Wildhammer’s for their mutual love & respect for nature but they border on hate when it comes to the Ironforge dwarves for plumbing deep into the earth. And with this desecration, they will attack their dig sites whenever possible. So I would say, they would not like them very much to say the very least.

    And third, the night elves. I really don’t think they possess as much animosity towards them as you suggest. They are greatly tied to one another through their shared views of nature. And as for the territorial problem. As you said, it is a big place plus the places the tauren occupy are former stopping grounds of the night elves back before the Great Sundering so I doubt the night elves care much for what they abandoned over 10,000 years ago. And as the night elves changed so much since the Great Sundering, I would say the tauren like the present day night elves more than the ones who long ago were obsessed with arcane magic. They might even respect them greatly for their change.

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