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Satyrs, Fauns, and Other Humanoid Ungulates
Updated 2004-02-29

With the exception of the short summary from Tall Tales of the Wee Folk accessory, this is Open Gaming Content, using the System Reference Document under Open Gaming License.)

Vocabulary

Caprine: Adjective for "goat-like".
Doramania: Abnomal interest in fur.
Nyphomania: Exaggerated sexual desire in a female.
Satyromania: Exaggerated sexual desire in a male.
Trip: Collective noun for goats (and, therefore, satyrs).

Anatomy

The page "Goat Anatomy & Physiology" is very useful when studying satyr anatomy. Many things about goats apply to satyrs as well. "Bonobo Sex and Society" article from Scientific American (and republished in many places round the 'net) is also interesting.

Feet & Legs

Feet of satyrs are pair-hoofed (ungulates) as in other members of the zoological order of artiodactyla. The hoofs of satyrs are derived from the skin, along with horns. The horny material that covers the end of each digit is also referred to as the claw of satyrs, as on other artiodactyls such as minotaurs, deer, sheep and cows. The claw is composed of three basic segments: wall, sole and periople.

Interesting Parts

Female satyrs have humanlike breasts. Satyrs' chest muscles are well developed, and female breasts generally stay frisky and upright until old age. Nipples are slightly larger than human nipples. Nursing satyrs produce more milk than humans, for satyrs almost always procreate two or more lambs at a time.

Digestion

Satyrs are omnivores, although their digestive system is better adapted for plants than animal protein. Wild tribes occasionally hunt, but many of the civilized individuals or even whole tribes are vegetarians. Wild satyrs have no taboos against eating humans, but only very few of the most feral tribes do that.

Satyrs' digestion can handle stuff that would make humans sick. They occasionally even eat their own feces. They derive benefit from microbial fermentation by resorting to the practice of coprophagy (feces eating). Besides, this is one of the more unusual sexual practices, and many satyrs try everything at least once.

Genitals & Reproduction

Satyrs have humanlike genitals. Male satyr penis and testicles are, on the average, one and a half times larger than male human equivalents. Muscles of satyr's pelvic diaphragm are, on the average, 50% stronger than human's.

Despite the frequency of sex, the satyrs' rate of reproduction in the wild is smaller than that of humans. A female gives birth to two lambs (rarely one, or more than two), usually one to three times on her life. Wilder tribes reproduce more quickly. So satyrs share at least one very important characteristic with human species, namely, a partial separation between sex and reproduction.

Female satyrs nurse and carry around their young for up to three years. By the age of three years, the lamb is able to keep up the pace with the tribe. Wild satyr females give birth for the first time at 16 or 17 years of age, becoming full grown by about 18. A satyr's longevity is unknown, but they can live hundreds of years - possibly as long as elves.

Behavior & Society

Satyr communities are peace-loving and generally egalitarian. The strongest social bonds are those among females, although females also bond with males. The status of a male depends on the position of his mother, to whom he remains closely bonded for her entire life.

Like bonobo chimpanzees, satyrs normally substitute sex for aggression. Whereas in most other species sexual behavior is a fairly distinct category, in the satyr it is part and parcel of social relations - and not just between males and females. Satyrs engage in sex in virtually every partner combination (although such contact among close family members may be suppressed).

Lest this leave the impression of a pathologically oversexed species: their sexual activity is rather casual and relaxed. It is a completely natural part of their group life. Like humans, satyrs engage in sex only occasionally (like, a few times a day), not continuously.

Wild male satyrs stay in their natal group, whereas females tend to migrate during adolescence. As a result, the senior males of a satyr group have known all junior males since birth, and all junior males have grown up together. Females, on the other hand, transfer to an unfamiliar and often hostile group where they may know no one.

On arrival in another community, young female satyrs single out one or two senior resident females for special attention, using whatever means available to establish a relation. If the residents reciprocate, close associations are set up, and the younger female gradually becomes accepted into the group. After producing her first offspring, the young female's position becomes more stable and central. Eventually the cycle repeats with younger immigrants, in turn, seeking a good relation with the now established female. Sex often smooths the migrant's entrance into the community of females, which is close-knit in most satyr tribes.

Satyr males remain attached to their mothers all their lives, following them through the forest and being dependent on them for protection in aggressive encounters with other males. As a result, the highest-ranking males of a satyr community tend to be sons of important females. Satyr society is not only female-centered but also appears to be female-dominated.

Many males leave their tribes for a few years at their adolescence or young adulthood. They form all-male gangs (trips), with the only purpose to have as much fun as possible.

Many human scholars believed that there were no female satyrs at all. Only the satyr groups at the edges of the forests had been observed, and these were consisted of rampaging male gangs. Female satyrs usually migrate deeper into the forest, rather than towards the outside world. More civilized tribes have appeared, though, and some even live among human societies.

Nature of the Satyr

(Abridged from "Tall Tales of the Wee Folk" accessory, TSR #9254.)

Wild satyrs are often misunderstood by other races. They are supported by nature's bounty; everything they need is there for the taking. The one important thing nature does not provide to them is wine, so they make it themselves, but only because they are so terribly fond of drinking it. They would prefer not to work at all, and will not hesitate a moment if offered any opportunity to get the drink by any other means, including theft. Bribes of wine are the quickest way to a satyr's heart.

Satyrs are full of animal passions, which they cannot separate from the act of seeking immediate fulfillment. If it strikes a satyr, for example, that he likes some trinket-say, a neat magic item or piece of jewelry - the concept of wanting to own it is inseparable from the concept of trying to gain it. The satyr is therefore likely to do whatever is possible (theft, bargain, etc.) to acquire it.

Satyrs have no conscience in the way humans do. Accurately, they perceive themselves as a part or extension of nature. Their impulses are therefore directly from nature. How can one question nature, since it is what one comes from, it is what one is? One of course simply follows. Impulse and action are one. There is no difference between right and wrong. If something is done, it springs from nature; it simply is. If you asked a satyr if what he did - say, stealing your trinket - was right, he will be puzzled. If you force him to think about it, he would have to say, it was nature; if you think nature is good, then the action was good; if you think nature is bad, then it was bad.

Most other races usually describe the wild satyrs as strange and perverted. They think the goat-people are dirty, stupid, rude, crude, cowardly, and malicious. A satyr has no problem with these descriptions, because he doesn't attach any value judgments to them. It is impossible to insult a satyr: If you try - say, by calling him a dirty little coward - he will agree with you if the description seems factually correct, and disagree if it doesn't. Neither way makes any difference to him.

As might be guessed, people are quickly frustrated when they try to deal with wild satyrs. The favorite activities - that is, the most common impulses - of satyrs are feasting, drinking, pursuing dryads, and dancing. They like to dance after dark, particularly by moonlight; in the late hours they also often enjoy teasing neighbors who are of other races. Sometimes a band of satyrs sees fit to buzz a nearby human farm, knocking on doors and windows, whooping and yelling, and playing strange music. More than one family so terrorized has thought they were being assaulted by a horde of devils. Satyrs find it very amusing that so many other races keep regular hours; they themselves are awake or asleep as suits their whim.

When dealing with wild satyrs, it is essential for you to understand their nature. If you want to keep a satyr from harassing a farmer, it does no good to "reason" with him, trying to convince him it's not right or some such; instead, you must stir some other impulse; you might suggest that there are some dryads back in the forest just waiting to be chased.

Satyr (Civilized Tribe)

Satyr (Feral Tribe)


Bibliography

Hellweg, Paul: The Wordsworth Book of Intriguing Words. Wordsworth Editions Ltd., ISBN 1-85326-312-5, 1993.
Nephew, John: Tall Tales of the Wee Folk. Dungeons & Dragonsģ Creature Crucible (tm) Official Game Accessory, TSR #9254, ISBN 0-88038-760-2, 1989.


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np@co.jyu.fi (Mr. Niilo Paasivirta)