This Rough Magic
Editor’s Note: It is presumed that there are great number of magical species who are not included in this document. Even given the Hidden Court’s chauvinism, the degree of diversity which magic apparently encourages is staggering. This list should be viewed as representative rather than exhaustive.
The Great Roll
Dragons- Draco draco Dragons are exceedingly rare, even in the Hidden World. They are shape-shifters and consummate magicians. There have been no new dragons born in 150 years, much to the worry of the species. Most dragons are content to follow their ancient plans. The watchword for dragons is patience. Of the species on the Great Roll, only the Faery live longer.
Gnomes- These diminutive and retiring beings are, somewhat ironically, among the most easily recognizable magical species, at in least in part because of the natural history written about them by Wil Hyugen and Rien Poortvliet. As is their nature, the gnomes took the press good-naturedly. They still live in the natural places of the world tending to their animal friends. Occasionally, if pressed by great need, a gnome will come to a more populous area, but they are always profoundly uncomfortable.
Theriomorphs- Homo sapiens bestia Theriomorphs is a catch-all phrase for those humans who turn into animal forms, or animal-human hybrid forms. They are often called weres (after werewolf). They have a loose alliance which they call the Beast Court. Several types of theriomorphs divide themselves into clans, tribes and families. A few of the more prominent ones are listed below:
- Benandanti—this family of werewolves comes originally from Europe. They believe that their powers to change come from their dedication to the Christian faith, and their desire to fight the forces of evil. They usually claim an area which they are dedicated to protecting. Unlike many theriomorphs, the beastform of the Belatadante is a human-wolf hybrid.
- The Pride—The Pride is the name of a series of inter-related clans of African descent who can transform into various types of great cats. The most prominent are the Simbaru, who have the ability to change into great lions.
- The People—The People are a loose association of Native American spirit-shamans who take various animals (usually wolves, stags, or ravens) as their totems and possess the ability to change into the forms of their totems. The People hail from many different tribes, and have recently begun to move off of the reservations to try and raise awareness about conditions on the reservation.
- Selkies—Selkies are seals who are able to take off their seal skins and transform into human form. Selkies often intermarry with human families who live by the sea, although often these relationships end in tragedy. Selkies have close connections to Faery, although they are not part of the Goodly Folk themselves. Although traditionally seals, there is a clan off the Pacific coast which are sea lions, rather than seals.
- Bersarks—These theriomorphs are all of Scandinavian descent. According to lore, their ability to transform into monstrous bears was a gift from the Norse gods—a claim still held by some Neo-Pagan Bersarks. In spite of their name and fearsome reputation, Bersarks are not, on the whole, more violent than any other bear or person.
Atlanteans- Homo sapiens atlantea Atlantis sank many long years ago, at the very edge of recorded time. There were those who escaped the overthrow of their island empire, and mixed with other humans. In the present age, Atlantean blood usually manifests in eyes the color of the sea and a predilection towards the magical arts. They are still among the best mariners in the world. They speak of Atlantis as the Ancient West, and consider it their lost homeland.
Nymph-blooded- Homo sapiens nubere Nymphs have always attracted attention from men, and have sometimes interbred with them. Some of those children were born like their mothers, while others took after their fathers, but even those who took after their fathers had something of their mothers in them. Nymphs have not been seen for several decades, which fact makes thaumobiologists wonder if they have become extinct, but their descendants have now spread over the world. Nymph-blooded humans are always attractive, and they have an affinity for the natural world, usually attuned to the part of it their ancestress was associated with.
Vampires- Homo stirges Vampires present something of an enigma to thaumobiologists, in part because they are traditionally so difficult to study.
Giant-blooded- Homo sapiens gigantes Like the nymphs, thaumobiologists suspect that True Giants have become extinct as smaller species have moved into their habitats. Some of the smaller giants could interbreed with humanity, and these relationships have left behind this particular subspecies of humanity. Giant-blooded humans do not achieve the great heights of even their lesser ancestors, but they average between 6’10” and 8’ tall. They tend toward strength, and occasionally one will be born with one of the famous mutations of their ancestors, such as one eye.
Faery – Faeries are not unknown in the world, although they have become rarer in recent years. The term Faery is general term for a variety of linked beings, which inhabit a dimension which is variously called: Elfland, Faery, the Summerland, Tir na Og. Some of the more common varieties are listed below:
Daoine Sidhe (pronounced thee-NA SHEE)- Noble Faeries, often called High Lord and Ladies. Resemble attractive human beings with pointed ears. Often when people think of Faery, it is the Daoine Sidhe they are thinking of. Daoine Sidhe are the result of interbreeding between humans and Tuatha de Danu.
Pixies- The other image that comes to mind when Humans think of Faery—diminutive humans with wings. Pixies are inveterate meddlers into the affairs of others.
Phouka- Even among a group as mutable and volatile as the Fae, Pookas are a capricious and changeable group. Consummate shapeshifters, the Pooka often take animal forms, or even animal hybrid forms.
Fae-touched- Homo sapiens larentis It is possible when a human and a Faery mate for offspring to result. Because this is the result of the Faery sharing something of its essence, it is always the choice of the Faery to do so (this helps to explain the sometimes laissez-faire approach of Fae towards matters of sexual morality). This is something which is not lightly done, although it was more common in previous epochs (and worlds). Depending on the amount of energy given, the offspring are often not Faery, but humans who possess some of the powers and characteristics of Faery, in particular an extended lifespan.
Changelings- The other way for a human to be affected by Faery is by being replaced as a child and raised as a Changeling. Although the current King of Faeries, Oberon, generally frowns on such practices as being likely to raise difficulties between humanity and Faery, it still happens from time to time. Changelings are usually scarred by their time beyond the Veil. An exception to this is the Knights of the Red Cross, an order which claims descent from St. George. They are able, through their code and their conviction, to retain something of their stability.
Golem- Homo sapiens judaica/ Homo sapiens terri (there is a disagreement among thaumobiologists on the proper nomenclature for this species)- The Golems are the result of Jewish magical practices. There are many varieties of magical creations which are popularly called golems, from bronze birds to what are essentially clay robots—these are properly known as Automata. These Golems are different—they are free-willed humans, formed from clay and given life through mystical words. Although the Hebrew Bible claims that all humans were made from the clay, Golems are closer to their earthy heritage, and retain something of the durability of the earth. They are somewhat slower and less quick-witted than other humans, but are exceptionally strong—only dragons and trolls are stronger. They are very loyal friends and companions.
Dwarves- Nanus sapiens The distant cousins of the Gnomes, Dwarves are miners, craftsmen and engineers par excellance. Dwarves range between 2’ to 4’ tall, and tend to be stocky. The traditional habitat of Dwarves is underground, although they have proven to be as adaptable as any sentient species. Their skill with the creation of magical materials remains unmatched.
Trolls- Trolls are among the outer limits of those species on the Great Roll who interact with regular society. They can grow very large, eat anything (although they prefer meat), and tend to be territorial. Because of this, they are primarily found in rural areas, although individual trolls can be found anywhere. Extraordinarily strong and durable, Trolls also have the ability to regenerate their bodies. This makes them invaluable in jobs where there is a high level of on the job danger.