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The Kobold Press Tome of Heroes is full of player options for any 5E D&D game. Several subraces in the book have sidebars describing their place in Midgard. However, some do not!
One subrace missing a Midgard description is the bhain kwai. These minotaurs prefer to live in low wetlands and are renowned for carrying heavy loads for long distances.
They’ve never appeared in any Midgard product . . . but where could you find bhain kwai minotaurs if you wanted them in your Midgard game?
Bhain Kwai Minotaurs in Midgard
The bhain kwai are originally from a land beyond beyond Khandiria. Some may yet live there. The bhain kwai we know anything about are descendants of refugees fleeing some horrible event that occurred in their homeland centuries ago.
This event is never discussed, at least not with those who are not bhain kwai. When it is mentioned, it is simply referred to as the Time of Dread.
The refugees traveled over a thousand miles on foot, carrying possessions or pulling them in hand carts. When a decision on what direction to go could not be decided, the procession split, with some heading northward, the others to the south.
The northbound group eventually reached Parthia. Some of this group settled along the forested river bank at the southern edge of the Lumera Forest. The rest continued on into Kalpostan, choosing the river banks of the Kurtadam Forest.
The southbound group crossed the White Sea, arriving on the east coast of the Southlands. There, some settled the jungles of Keshara, while others went further south, finally stopping on the Spice Coast.
Bhain kwai can be found further afield than this, but those are typically adventurers, traveling merchants, pilgrims, or other wanderers. Most bhain kwai settled into their new lands, bringing their culture with them and accenting it with what they considered the best parts of the cultures that share the land with them.
Custodians of Nature
The bhain kwai keep to traditions they carried with them. They are devoted custodians and guardians of nature, altering the land around them only enough to accommodate their needs. They fiercely oppose violations of nature on a larger scale, violently if necessary.
Attempts to cut swaths of forest or jungle, draining swamps, damming or diverting rivers, or digging open pit mines near a bhain kwai community will likely have the gentle giants up in arms to oppose it. Such acts bring dark mutterings about how they may well bring about another Time of Dread.
They have no clan or family names, but to add specificity or personal identity, the bhain kwai often adopt nicknames or have them applied by those close to them. These may modify an existing name, like Little Dham, Sweet Fah, or Smiling Ngai. They might also names given based on the appearance or personality of the individual, such as Still Water, Wise Eyes, or Iron Hands.
Hints at Adventuring Classes
The bhain kwai have a strong druidic tradition, and followers of that tradition are the fiercest defenders of the natural order in their new homelands. Bhain kwai druids show control of water and mud, using the natural environment to ensnare and incapacitate enemies.
They are also said to have a style of unarmed combat, taught to those who embrace the bhain kwai teachings of pacifism and protection of the natural order. They are not open about such things to outsiders, but reports of unarmed bhain kwai thrashing bandits and raiders have spread, lending credence to such tales.
The religion of the bhain kwai varies by region, but they are devout in their worship. Those in Parthia and Kapolstani have mainly adopted the Empire’s dragon gods.
Kapolstani Bhain Kwai
Those bhain kwai who settled in Kalpostan are dutiful citizens of the Mharoti Empire. Their ancestors, finding that this territory was the home of the founder of the Empire, decided it would be a safe place to settle.
Apparently, a distance of fifteen hundred miles and the direct protection of a mighty dragon was considered enough to safeguard them against whatever horrors they left behind when they fled their homeland. They are allowed to live their lives as they see fit, constructing small villages and living agrarian lives in harmony with nature.
Shortly after their arrival, Mharot requested the best of them—learned elders, historians, poets—to hold audience with him that he could learn of their people and culture, as well as the lands they left.
The bhain kwai appreciated this gesture, though how many of them considered Mharot’s motives is unclear. After all, a victory over Khandiria would leave an open path to the Brilliant East and those lands would become the next horizon to reach.
Parthian Bhain Kwai
The bhain kwai of Parthia are likewise under the purview of the Mharoti, as Parthia is a vassal state of the Dragon Empire. Those who settled here admire the Parthians’ sense of industry, though the minotuars find the Parthians’ bloodthirsty nature and constant feuds with Beldestani unpleasant. (Indeed, it is why the bhain kwai settlers in Kalpostan decided to keep moving.)
They appreciate the Parthian tradition of hospitality, and attempt to emulate it. Travelers coming upon a Parthian bhain kwai village are welcomed and provided what rest, comfort, and refreshment are available. This will be simple but hearty fare, and rough but comfortable accommodations, as is the bhain kwai way.
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