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The following article is an attempt to revise the Rakastas’ timelines written so far by fans taking into account real-world supposed relationships between feline species on which the Rakasta breeds are inspired and a longer evolution time. Most of the article by Bruce Heard Rakasta of Mystara appeared on “Dragon Magazine" #247 in May 1998 is also included inside this article, with some little change.
History And Evolution Of Rakastasby Simone Neri
A Note About Rakasta’s Creation Date
As you can see from the following timeline, the Rakastas’ origin has been withdrawn by many thousands years in regards of the existing timelines, in order to have allow time for the individual breeds to develop naturally different characteristics.
I would have liked to withdraw the Rakastas’ origin even further, but that wasn’t possible because the Rakasta legend tell us about Kum-rah, a shaman of Immortal Ka; as I wanted to have Kum-rah as one of the primitive humans (not Brute-Men, but proper humans), I thought that before BC 200 000 the humans could not even have become aware of the Immortals, so I set BC 150 000 for the Rakastas’ origin. As 150 000 years are still few for so many new species to develop (real-world felines have developed into modern species within about 10 million years), we’ve still to suppose that the evolution of Rakastas has been somewhat accelerated by their magical blood – they descend from a normal cat which has been polymorphed into a maiden and then into a cat-woman by Immortal magic, after all.
Foreword About Precataclysmic World map
Inconsistencies between canon references saying the Known World was under the arctic icecap before the Great Rain of Fire (BC 3000) and the Precataclysmic Outer World map found in Hollow World boxed set – which doesn’t feature the Known World under the arctic icecap – are already largely known. The basis of my works on ancient Mystara is the assumption that the Precataclysmic Outer World map of Hollow World boxed set has been wrongly rotated; instead, I use the following precataclysmic map drawn by LoZompatore, which has the Known World under arctic icecap:
Mystara: Outer World Precataclysmic Map
Labels (obviously referring to AC 1000 locations) may help you in recognising familiar locations in this otherwise weird-looking map. Brown areas indicate major mountain ranges.
Foreword About Mystara’s Prehistory
In developing Mystara’s past, I’ve been wondering about the chronological rise and fall of ancient races known by canon sources (like Carnifex, Giants, Eldars, and so on). In my work I assume more or less the following timeline for the Outer World:
- Before 4 millions of years ago (perhaps 5-10): Carnifex civilization’s rise and fall.
- 3 millions of years ago: Rise of Eldar civilisation; their kingdoms spread in a vast part of Mystara. Birth of the Garl race; they’re the ancestors of the Giants. Successor races of the Carnifex (the Lizardman races) still rule parts of Mystara.
- 2 millions of years ago: End of the Eldar civilisation – they mostly transform into Ancestral Dragons and Elves. Immortal Ordana takes care of a part of the Elves, and shelters them in Evergrun’s forests; other Elves remain isolated in other parts of the world. Birth of the first human species (homo erectus, habilis, and so on).
- 1.5 millions years ago: Rise of the Giants’ races and civilisations.
- 1 million years ago: Birth of the Elder Dwarf race (ancestors of the Kogolor dwarves).
- 500,000 years ago: Birth of the Brute-man humans (homo neanderthalensis species).
- 200,000 years ago: Birth of the homo sapiens humans.
- 150,000 years ago: First Rakastas are created by Immortal Ka.
- 100,000 years ago: The end of the age of Giants is marked by the great war between the Gundirrim and the Bromdignag. Birth of the modern Halfling race.
- 50,000 years ago: Rise of homo sapiens sapiens species; the new human species soon splits between Oltec Man, Neathar Man, and Tanagoro Man branches. First human migrations begin. The Garl race becomes almost extinct.
- 10,000 years ago: Brute-men become almost extinct.
Dragons should be the most ancient race of the Multiverse alongside Draedens; anyway you’ll see how they fit into the timeline above in my incoming work about them (hopefully to be finished within September 2008).
Canon sources about Rakasta which were used to write the present article were the articles by B. Heard Rakasta of Mystara, in “Dragon Magazine” #247 (vol. XXII, no. 10, May 1998) and The Voyage of the Princess Ark, Part 28: In the Eye of the Cat, in “Dragon Magazine” #181 (vol. XVI, no. 12 , May 1992), and also the Savage Coast – Campaign Book: Atlas of the Savage Coast by T. Beach.
Fan sources that were of great help in completing this work are G. Agosta’s A Gazetteer of Myoshima, Gazetteer of Ochalea, and Evolution of the Rakasta; and also M. Dalmonte’s History of Rakasta.
1. RAKASTAS OF MYSTARA
Original article by Bruce Heard
Disclaimer: This part of the article has been almost fully taken from Bruce Heard's article Rakasta of Mystara appeared in “Dragon Magazine” #247 (vol. XXII, no. 10, May 1998). The original write-up by Heard has been included in this article to make sure it was a complete treatise on the various Rakasta species which dwell on Mystara. If there is any complaint about the use I have done of that original material, please let me know and the whole Part 1 of this article will be removed, with my apologies.
The following part is wholly taken from the two articles by Bruce Heard, that is Rakasta of Mystara, in “Dragon Magazine” #247 (vol. XXII, no. 10, May 1998), and The Voyage of the Princess Ark, Part 28: In the Eye of the Cat, in “Dragon Magazine” #181 (vol. XVI, no. 12 , May 1992). Some minor adjustments to the Rakastas’ game statistics were made in regards to the original write-up, in order to make what was written therein fully compatible with the D&D® game rules. Also, Table 1 has been added to show real-world feline species which inspired Heard’s 17 Rakasta breeds and to further clarify their diffusion on Mystara.
Please note that major groupings (Ancestor, Greater, Wild, and Domestic) can be misleading because they include Rakasta species with have been given different origins according to my take on Rakastas’ evolution. Thus, such groupings should be considered rather loose, and not representative of a common origin.
Table 1: Rakasta Species on Mystara
CREATING A RAKASTA CHARACTER
Rakastas can be played using normal human character classes (including druids, paladins, mystics, etc.). Each Rakasta starts with 2 HD at first level, using the type of dice corresponding to the chosen character class, and a one-time penalty of –2,200 XP that must be overcome before any of the class abilities can be used. The Rakasta suffers a permanent 30% experience penalty (rounded up to the nearest 100) on all experience points gained thereafter during adventures.
For example, a 1st-level magic-using Domestic Rakasta gains an extra 1d4 hp in addition to his initial 2 HD when reaching 2nd level; he must have first gained 2,200 XP to qualify as a 1st level magic-user, then 3,600 XP (–30% penalty = 2,500 XP) for 2nd level. Rakastas share some ability scores adjustments (including maximum and minimum scores) according to their breed and must respect all limitations that are normally part of the chosen class. They have no level limitation; Constitution adjustments apply only once per class level up to 9th level. Rakastas fight and save as their chosen character classes or as 2 HD monsters, whichever offers the best score.
Size and Weight
Size and weight are based largely upon the Rakasta’s breed and Strength score. Should you decide to make female characters smaller, a –10% size difference is recommended for Rakastas up to 70 inches tall, –20% for taller specimens. Weight is calculated accordingly.
The basic life span of a Rakasta is 90 years (maximum longevity is 90 + 2d8). Middle age for a Rakasta comes at about half its base life span (45 years for a generic rakasta). Old age comes at two-thirds its base life span (or 60 years, minimum 40 years), and venerable age at its base life span (90 years, minimum 60 years). A middle-aged Rakasta loses a point of Strength and Constitution, but gains a point of Intelligence and Wisdom. An old Rakasta loses two points of Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, but gains a point of Wisdom. A venerable Rakasta loses a point of Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, but gains a point of Intelligence and Wisdom.
Only Domestic Rakastas can be clerics or magic-users. Wild, Greater, and Ancestor species cannot choose any of the spellcasting classes save the druid (it’s suggested you use the rules found in to have them start as druids since 1st level) and the bard (if you allow this class to cast spells at all in your campaign).
Wild, Greater, and Ancestor Rakastas can nevertheless take the wokan (or wicca) and shaman options described in GAZ10 - The Orcs of Thar by B. Heard (TSR 9241, 1988, “Dungeon Master’s Booklet”, pages 5-10) and later supplements; use the Rakasta’s chosen class as its normal progression, then apply the additional XPs to be earned to advance a level in the wokan or shaman class.
Table 2: Racial Modifiers & Other Statistics
Most Rakastas share the following special abilities. Please read carefully these entries and confront them with Tables 2 and 3 to understand an individual breed’s abilities. Most Rakasta breeds also have their own special abilities which are listed in their individual description, later in this paragraph.
Most Ancestors and Greater Rakasta have a roar powerful enough to affect their foes (see Table 2 for individual listing). The roar must be used in the first round of any combat encounter to be effective and counts as an action. Table 3 lists the effects of the roar.
Fear of Water
See Table 2 for each Rakasta’s rating. Entering open water requires a successful Wisdom check, else halve the Rakasta’s Strength and Dexterity ratings (rounded down) until out of the water. Halve Charisma as well until dry. Rakasta listed with None are immune to this limitation. Moderate fear requires a normal Wisdom check. High fear adds a +4 penalty to the check.
All Rakastas can gather their strength and release it in a sudden burst of activity. When doing so, a Rakasta may temporarily increase its Strength as follows: subtract half the Rakasta’s normal Strength score from 10; add the result rounded up to the Rakasta’s Strength. The Strength burst cannot exceed 19.
This burst of energy lasts a number of rounds equal to half the Rakasta’s Constitution score (rounded down), or until the Rakasta decides to calm down, whichever comes first. Each time this ability is used, the Rakasta must rest for as many turns as the number of rounds the burst of energy lasted. Rakasta must sleep 12 hours each day in addition to these cat naps, although not necessarily at one time or during night hours. If a rakasta fails to complete either, its Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence scores are all halved (rounded down) until properly rested. Felines normally rest 16 hours a day, but rakasta can limit their rest to 12 hours when adventuring.
All Rakastas are light sleepers. They can wake up at any suspicious sound, provided they make a successful Detect Noise roll. Add a 20% bonus for each subsequent sound. For example, a snoring companion does not affect a sleeping Rakasta. A companion waking up and rummaging inside a backpack does. An approaching thief will too, unless the thief makes a successful Move Silently roll. Use common sense in adjudicating these situations.
Wild Rakastas can conceal themselves when hiding or moving slowly within their natural environment (see individual descriptions). Greater Rakastas have the same ability, but all chances are halved. Table 3 lists the chances of success. Ancestor and Domestic breeds don’t have this special ability.
Called nepeta rakastaria by some Known World sages, this plant of ancient Ochalean origins has a powerful effect on all Mystaran felines. Unless making a successful Wisdom check, the Rakasta feels an uncontrollable and immediate urge to rub and roll on the plant, displaying a state of utter ecstasy (licking, biting, chewing, rubbing its cheeks and chin, shaking its head, purring, growling, leaping in the air). The victim never actually eats catnip but only enjoys its contact and smell. This display persists for as many rounds as the Rakasta failed its Wisdom check, during which time it can make no action (attacks, spell casting, etc). If attacked at this time, the Rakasta retains all magical, armour, and Dexterity bonuses to AC, while the attacker sustains a –2 penalty to its attack rolls against this Rakasta due to its unpredictable twists and rolls. There must be a fresh patch of at least a foot-square in order to affect a Rakasta.
Part of all Rakastas’ Dexterity comes from their vibrissae, which act as air-current detectors. Should these be damaged or cut off, the Rakasta loses 2 points of Dexterity, and both the blind fighting and detect invisible proficiencies. These whiskers regrow in 1d4 weeks.
Table 3: Special Abilities & Weaknesses
Weapons and Armour Limitations
Rakastas have no limitations on what weapons they can use, other than class related or campaign setting restrictions. Ancestor and Greater Rakastas never use missile weapons other than hand thrown weapons (stones, javelins, hand axes, etc). The former weapons are either too complex, out of character, or simply deemed cowardly. Hand-to-hand or unarmed bloodlust is more in their natural style. Some Rakastas will not use any missile weapons at all due to their Warrior Honour. Paladins and wild rakasta never use firearms. There are no further weapon limitations.
More lightly built Rakastas stay away from heavy armour as a matter of racial preference. Rakastas listed with a weight divider of 4.6 or more (see Table 2) avoid armour whose standard encumbrance exceeds 250 cn. Rakastas with a weight divider of 4.1 or more avoid armour whose standard encumbrance exceeds 400 cn. Rakastas with a weight divider of 4 or less have no armour restrictions, other than those usually imposed by the chosen character class or the particular campaign setting.
Increase the weight of armour for larger Rakastas, as follows: for Rakastas up to 70” tall, use the normal armour encumbrance. For every extra 4” size (or fraction thereof), add another 10% (retain fractions). For example, normal plate mail is listed at 500 cn. For each extra 4” size, add +10% (+50 cn). For an 80” tall Rakasta, this armour should weigh 50 + (3 x 50) = 650 cn.
Generally speaking, Rakastas favour swiftness, manoeuvrability, and aggressive tactics over cautious or defensive approaches (such as heavy armour). Ancestors never wear armour other than hides and bones. Greater and Wild Rakastas do not normally manufacture metal armour of any sort, but they might wear it if made available to them.
Usually the term “Alley Rakasta” is used to indicate one of the civilised Rakastas living in the Savage Coast, mostly in the Kingdom of Bellayne and its vicinities. In a wider sense, the term refers to any mongrel Rakasta which has mixed parentage. In the Savage Coast, most Ally Rakasta mongrels are born out of Domestic Rakasta parents, but somewhere else on Mystara it could be possible to find mongrels which have different parentage. The DM is always free to rule that two too much different Rakasta species cannot produce offspring and that they’re sterile.
To generate ability scores for a mongrel, roll 1d20 for each of the Alley Rakasta’s statistics. A roll of 1 indicates a –2 adjustment for the ability. A roll of 2-5 indicates a –1 adjustment. A roll of 14-19 indicates a +1 adjustment. A roll of 20 indicates a +2 adjustment. If the total of all adjustments is +1 or more, the moggie has a high fear of water. If the total of all adjustments is –2 or worse, the moggie has no fear of water. Otherwise the moggie has a moderate fear of water. Specific racial adjustments and other features only have a 25% chance of being passed on to the moggie’s progeny (roll a d%: 01-25 father’s, 26-50 mother's, 51-00 random).
Alley Rakastas should use Tables 4a-4c do determine their appearance, as Domestic Rakastas do. They don’t have a culture of their own, and they’re the most likely to live among human and demi-human societies, adopting their customs.
Table 4a: Hair Characteristics
Table 4b: Domestic Coat Patterns & Colours
Table 4c: Physical Features
These Wild Rakastas, originally natives of Davania’s Meghala Kimata Plains, now live mostly in Hule. Many centuries ago they joined the expanding Milenian Empire to defend themselves against other rival Rakastas such as the Simbastas, Pardastas, and Fast Runners. From the Milenians they adopted the use of bows and arrows. Their alliance to a human race and the use of a cowardly missile weapon made them pariahs, but all was fine until the Milenian Empire collapsed. The Caracastas lived on as a marginal people, hated and stalked by their greater cousins.
Huleans showed up on Davania, much later, in a new attempt to colonise the area. After this attempt failed as had the one before, many of the Caracasta who had allied with the invaders left with them and resettled in Hule. Caracastas aren’t uncommon in the ranks of the Hulean armies. As a reward for their services, the hagiarchy gave the Caracastas conquered lands, mostly dry woodlands and scrub that human farmers had disdained. These Rakasta are known in Hule as the Karakulak.
Their short, dense fur is a uniform pale reddish-brown. Most conspicuous, elongated tufts of black hair protrude at the tips of their large, pointy ears, which they quickly twitch when they are agitated. The Caracasta use their ears to quietly exchange simple messages among each other, comparable to empathy.
Under Hulean guidance, the Karakulak have learned to manufacture and use specially made arrows and composite short bows that exploit their natural energy bursts, maximising short range fire. When non-spellcasting Karakulak fire their bows during an energy burst, they gain a +1 bonus to initiative and their arrows inflict an additional +1 damage, while the firing range becomes 70/120/180. Normal bow range otherwise remains 50/100/180. These weapons require a separate bow weapon mastery to use and are strictly limited to native Karakulak.
Spellcasting Caracasta cannot use the special bows regardless of class. They can, however, use the quick movement of their ears to cast any spells up to 3rd-level. This spellcasting technique requires two general skill choices and can be used independently from the energy burst.
AL: any non-lawful.
These creatures of Mystara’s primeval past are direct descendants of Ba-steh, although their bloodlines are closer to Ba-steh’s shaman husband than to herself. They remain essentially primitive, oversized versions of the contemporary Simbastas. Their kind has long since been relinquished to the Hollow World. Despite their tremendous strength and ferocity, their primal ways have sealed their fate on the surface world.
Unlike modern Simbastas, the Cave Rakastas have a more powerful roar than the one described for Greater Rakastas when using its natural energy burst. This enhanced roar causes fear to all opponents within 100’ who fail a saving throw vs. paralysis. The fear lasts 1d6+1 rounds, during which victims drop any weapons at hand and attempt to escape in the opposite direction at maximum speed.
AL: any non-chaotic.
Contrary to what their name seems to imply, these are not a Greater Rakastas. This wild felid type remains one of the best examples of arboreal Rakastas, and somewhat of a legend as well. Cloud Pardastas live in the forests of Bellissaria and Skothar, along the Minaean Coast, Tangor Bay, and the Tangor Peninsula. On Skothar, they call themselves Rimau-Dahan – literally, fork-of-branch tigers.
Cloud Pardastas gained their name from the large spots on their backs, which look like cloudy blotches. Their base coats varies from brown to pale or rich yellow, with white or light tawny on the inner limbs, throat, and chest.
The odd name also comes from their unusual ability. When using their energy burst, the Cloud Pardastas can harness natural magical forces pervading the forest and blend away into its mist, fog, or clouds. In effect, the Cloud Pardastas can cast dimension door to a distance of 10’ per experience level, at which point the energy burst ends. The Cloud Pardastas may invoke this power at any time while the energy burst still lasts. The Cloud Pardastas must be in contact with forest mist when they perform the dimension door.
Cloud Pardastas’ clans are tucked away in small villages built on the branches of very tall trees, virtually invisible from the ground. Cloud Pardastas suffer no movement penalty when inside a tree. They have been observed by some hunters to sneak or run down tree trunks head first, without any difficulty whatsoever. They can hang from branches using only their legs, or run underneath one with ease. Jumping from one branch to another is a native game, which they do without requiring Dexterity checks or the use of a Jumping general skill, unless the distance exceeds 15 feet (horizontally or downward). Cloud Pardastas have free Jumping general skill, as can be expected of arboreal creatures. To accomplish these feats, the Cloud Pardasta’s long tail must be free to help balance movements. On the other hand, they lose two points of Dexterity when caught on the ground.
Cloud Pardastas also have a +15% bonus on Climb Walls checks when climbing on trees.
AL: any (non-evil).
These Rakastas can be found in just about any region of Mystara. They’re mostly found in the Savage Coast, in the Kingdom of Bellayne or as nomads in the Yazak Steppes. The term “domestic” is by no means derogatory but merely a common way of referring to more “civilised” Rakastas, especially in the eyes of neighbouring humans with whom they interact more easily than Greater or Wild Rakastas ever could. Aside from their physical appearances, Domestic Rakastas have the same natural ability – a legendary power that makes them very successful indeed, even when compared to their more powerful cousins.
This fabled ability is specific only to Domestic Rakastas and not to the Alley Rakastas. While a Domestic Rakasta uses its energy burst, it can literally avoid death. In game terms, if the Rakasta would have been killed, it survives instead but with only one hit point left. It can perform this feat no more than nine times in its life – thus the proverbial nine lives. However, each time a “life” is forfeited, the Rakasta permanently loses a point of Charisma.
Physical appearances are linked to the Domestic breeds; however, many variables are possible. Either pick a breed with its corresponding characteristics, or roll at random on Tables 4a-4c.
The Fast Runners dwell on the dry grasslands of the Meghala Kimata where they compete with Simbasta prides for food and freedom. Fast Runners also survive in the southern Steps of Jen on Skothar and on the Isle of Dawn’s southern plateaus.
The coat of a Fast Runner is coarse, varying from yellowish-grey to golden or reddish-fawn with small dark spots. These tall, lanky Rakastas often stun observers by their running speed and their agility when pursuing a prey. This alone makes them the most successful hunters among Rakastas. This notoriety and the ensuing attention has been a curse to them for centuries.
The life of the Fast Runners remains indeed a difficult one. On Davania, where they call themselves Msongo, they must beware of the Simbastas who view them as annoying pests. Elsewhere, Thothian monarchs and Jennite warlords who wish to bolster the ranks of their armies often seek their services, often with less than amicable terms. The rich and the powerful covet them as household hunters and status symbols. Unfortunately, the Fast Runners are too few truly to challenge these difficult neighbours.
When using its natural energy burst, the Msongo can run at a much faster pace than other bipeds: the Msongo can run at quadruple speed (instead that triple speed); they can go at five time normal speed when succeeding a normal Strength check; six time normal speed with a –4 penalty on the check. Finally, with a –8 penalty, it can accelerate to seven times its normal movement rate, but for one round only, after which the energy burst ends. Time normally allowed to keep the running speed is counted beginning from the end of the Msongo’s energy burst.
AL: any (non-evil).
This almost mythical creature hails from tropical rainforests and swamps on the Immortal’s Arm. Other indigenous races rarely venture deep into known Jakar territory, so great is their fear of the powerful felidae, remaining instead within clear terrain and coastal areas. Savage Coast explorers sailing from Vilaverde were the first easterners to encounter the Jakars and call them the onça grande, or tall jaguar.
The heavily muscled Jakars sport beautiful spotted coats, usually tawny with large rosettes circling smaller spots, or entirely black, which helps them remain concealed within rainforests. Some unscrupulous Vilaverdans have begun a nefarious trade, capturing Jakars either for their pelts or as monsters to be shown in circuses. This trade, naturally, is fraught with dangers, judging the growing number of Vilaverdan hunting expeditions failing to return.
The Jakars normally live in small hunting clans, but on occasion high priests have risen from their ranks and founded more durable and advanced civilisations sweeping many of the small clans and uniting them. They often focused around powerful religious poles, with great pyramids, temples, palaces, and fortresses built to protect them. If any, these remain hidden at the heart of the rainforest. Many times in the history of the warlike Jakar, these kingdoms abruptly vanished as a result of bloody conflicts, the omnipresent rainforest quickly reclaiming their lost cities. Rumours of untold treasures and secret rums abound, which keeps the greedy coming.
The Jakars tolerate and respect the were-jaguar, depending on prevailing alignments of the hunting clans, since they perceive it as a magical kin. Werejaguars, on the other hand, never show goodwill toward the Jakars and might very well cause them harm if given an opportunity. Jakars have maintained a natural and mutual affinity with the common jaguar. Jakars have an empathic connection with the animal.
During the feline’s natural energy burst, a 1st-level Jakar’s claw and bite attacks are equivalent to +1 magical weapons. They don’t actually give attack or damage bonuses, only the ability to strike certain magical beings. For every five additional experience levels, the Jakar improves this ability (+2 equivalent at level 6, +3 at level 11, etc).
Jakars have a +10% bonus on Climb Walls checks when climbing on trees.
This is the oddest-looking Rakasta, appearing as a cross between a weasel and a Rakasta because of its long neck, pointy head, and slender body. Its clans are well established in the rainforests of the Immortal’s Arm, getting along fairly well with the Jakar people.
The first Vilaverdan explorers encountered melanistic Jakarundi, leading them to call these Rakastas tigrete preto, literally “little black tiger” (or trigrillo negro for their neighbouring customers). Their colours vary from black to brown, grey, red, or tawny yellow.
The Jakarundi are perhaps the most talented wokani among Wild Rakastas. Although this hasn’t been proven, some sages in Texeiras think that there may be some elven blood in them. Because of their magical talents, they are usually welcome among the Jakar clans for the help they may offer. When using their natural burst of energy, Jakarundi can cast one spell normally available to a wokan of half their experience level (rounded up). A Jakarundi must succeed a Wisdom check at this time to choose a spell, else it is chosen at random among first-level spells. If not cast before the end of the energy burst, this spell vanishes on its own. Non-spellcasters make their Wisdom check with a –2 penalty, while spellcasting Jakarundi benefit from a +2 bonus.
AL: any non-lawful.
This strange Rakasta claimed the coldest regions of Mystara. On Davania, these nomads travel as far as the southern tip of the Brasol Range. On Skothar and Brun, they do not venture past the Nentsun Plateau, the Hyborean Reaches, or the Wyrmsteeth Range.
Recognisable by their tail, shortened as a protection against extreme colds, tufted ears, stocky bodies, and big broad paws, Lynxmen are notorious for their thick neck ruffle when angered. Its pelage varies from reddish-tawny or cream with faint spots and facial lines in Davania forests, to grey in Skothar and Brun woodlands. In frozen regions, Lynxmen turn pure white to blend in with the icy background.
These hardy felids travel the dark frozen expanses of the polar rims leading to Mystara’s Hollow World. Their natural instinct guides them through these treacherous lands. Lynxmen travel between the two worlds according to the cycles linked to the clans’ own totems, signs in the skies, or divinations from their priests. Davanian clans know the way to Hollow World’s Nithia, while their northern kin travel instead to the land of the Antalians. On this route, the latter compete with Norwold Malamutes (a Lupin breed dwelling in northern Norwold). Lynxmen can move across snow at a normal speed.
When using their natural energy burst, Lynxmen can shake off the effects of any cold-based attack, or survive a situation
where natural cold would be fatal. For example, a Lynxman accidentally falling into the sea in polar conditions might crawl out and still survive with one hit point left instead of freezing to death. It could also shake off all damage from a magical cone of cold. The energy burst ends immediately after any one such situation occurs.
The Mountain Rakastas have claimed the entire continent of Brun as their native land. They favour above all unpopulated areas where they can freely hunt. If unchecked, these adaptable athletes claim any vacant land, including forests, swamps, grasslands, and semi-desert regions such as Terra Vermelha and El Grande Carrascal in the Savage Coast. Humanoids usually get in their way, both as prey and hunter. As a result, the widely scattered tribes of Mountain Rakastas have adopted mountain ranges such as the Endworld Line, the Kurish Massif, and even the Wyrmsteeth Range as their true natural habitat.
The Mountain Rakastas’ pelage varies from plain grey-brown, being the most common in the northern climes, to sometimes reddish or almost black. Accustomed to broken terrain, these adroit stalkers developed acrobatic skills unparalleled among Rakastas. Many humanoids, both with awe and fear, have reported the ability of the Yutin people, as they call them, to perform stunning leaps. The Mountain Rakastas use this skill to leap over humanoid camp walls and moats, up into trees, or down from a rocky ledges, to stalk a prey or evade a sudden threat.
When using their energy burst, Mountain Rakastas choose to boost either their Strength or their Dexterity. They also have a free Jumping general skill with the following differences – broad jumping: no running start is ever needed for any leap, and the distance is 3d6 + Dexterity (in feet); upward leap: 2d4 + half Dexterity (rounded up, in feet); downward leap: 3d12 + Dexterity (in feet). Mountain Rakastas also have a +10% bonus on Climb Walls checks when climbing on trees.
Although they are ground-dwellers, these Wild Rakastas favour forested regions on northwestern Davania and the southern half of the Immortal’s Arm. There aren’t Ocelotl tribes or nations, just scattered families travelling the land, selling their wares, entertaining villages, and telling their legends. A few easterners also know them as the Trigillos Errantes.
The Ocelotl (or Ocelastas, as they’re sometimes called) has one of the most beautiful coats among Rakastas. This of course, makes them the target of some unscrupulous easterners. Spots cover their cream to tawny coats. A darker ring surrounds the spots. pale interior, which frequently join with each other, forming long, horizontal chains that almost become stripes. A white spot on the back of their ears gives the impression from a distance of two eyes staring backward.
The Ocelotl people once had the opportunity to honour the evil Immortal Atzanteotl in exchange for power and protection. They recognised him for what he really was and moved on, choosing their own path in life. Angered with their attitude, Atzanteotl cast a curse upon them, condemning the Ocelotl never to rise as a powerful people. Over the centuries following the curse, the Ocelotl spread out to the land in search of a secret to break the curse. Although they never found anything concrete, they did accumulate knowledge of Atzanteotl’s evil and a few ways to counter it. Their unwavering resistance to the Immortal eventually caused Atzanteotl to lose interest in them, allowing the Ocelotl to slowly work on their quest to weaken the curse and someday, perhaps, to break it. The curse consists of deadly epidemics striking ocelotl communities of more than 30.
In their quest the Ocelotl developed the talent to heal their own wounds, once, when using their natural energy burst. If most of their wounds were caused by chaotic or evil magic, the Ocelotl can cure up to three hit points per experience level. The latter includes spells cast by chaotic or evil spellcasters, or damage from chaotic or evil magical weapons. In all other situations, the cure affects up to one hit point per experience level. The Ocelotl remain unable to alter Atzanteotl’s epidemics, however.
AL: any non-chaotic.
These clever Rakastas can be found almost anywhere on Mystara, away from heavily populated centres – that is, regions with few human or demi-human settlements. Small tribes have been discovered fairly close to human settlements, but these Rakastas are elusive and sneaky enough that people often fail to notice their presence at all. Their natural habitat includes any sort of woodland, savannahs, semideserts, and rugged mountains. Pardasta tribes exist especially on Skothar, Bellissaria, Ochalea, Cestia, and Davania, in regions stretching roughly between the 30th parallel.
Their pelage can be fairly short and sleek in warmer climes to deeply furred in the north. Base colour varies from pale straw, tan, or grey-buff to bright reddish-yellow, or jet black for natives of heavily forested regions. Small spots cover their head and necks, turning to larger rosettes on their back and flanks. The base colour of their throats, inner limbs, and belly remains white.
Pardastas are smart and strong enough to live near other rakasta or human settlements without too much difficulty. They often outwit the powerful Simbastas, they know how to avoid angering the mighty Sherkastas, and if threatened by humans they always find a way to exact a terrible revenge against their aggressors. Pardastas are supreme stalkers and always seem to find their quarry. They excel as thieves, spies, and rangers. They generally dislike Tabaxi, unless they share the same alignment.
When using their energy burst, Pardastas are immune to all mind-altering attacks (fear, sleep, hypnotism, charm, etc). This does not affect their natural fear of water or spells that already had been cast upon them before they used their energy burst. They also have a permanent +2 bonus to their initiative rolls.
Pardastas have a +10% bonus on Climb Walls checks when climbing on trees.
AL: any non-lawful.
As with the Cave Rakasta, the onslaught of more adaptable races on the surface world all but doomed the Rakastodon to survive in the Hollow World as yet another witness of Mystara .s forgotten past. It is the direct descendant of the tiger-like Ba-steh. Rakastodons now live in high grass or forested areas in the Hollow World’s equatorial regions.
Rakastodons are a stump-tailed brutes, with massive forelimbs and sabre-like fangs. Pelage varies, but a reddish-orange colour seems common among their kin, sometimes with stripes. Their most impressive feature, the dirk-like fangs, are used to deliver the final blow to an immobilised victim.
The Rakastodons have been traditional rivals of the Cave Rakastas. As primitive as they may be, these chaotic loners remain at odds with the Cave Rakasta pride-oriented society. The sheer size, power, and organisation of Cave Rakastas have prevented their kind from falling prey to these lethal hunters.
A Rakastodon may topple an opponent when using its natural energy burst. If the opponent is smaller or lighter than the Rakastodon, it is automatically brought down with any successful claw attack. Else, the opponent needs to succeed a Strength check for each of the Rakastodon’s successful claw attacks. If the opponent’s Strength is less than the Rakastodon’s, apply a –2 penalty for each point of difference. Once knocked down, a victim must succeed a saving throw vs. Paralysis or die instantly from the Rakastodon’s next successful bite attack.
AL: any non-lawful.
These wild felids remain one of the lesser known eastern Davanian Rakastas. Their realm lies on the savannahs and scrubs, where they compete with the Pardastas and Simbastas. There, they calls themselves Kisongo.
Lean and lanky, the debonair Servastas can be recognised by their small heads perched over slender necks and surmounted by huge bat-like ears. Small black spots cover their tawny coats, with dark rings and a black tip marking their short tails.
The Servastas use their huge ears to detect underground creatures, a talent that goes back thousand of years when their ancestors hunted simple rodents. They have an additional +10% bonus to hear underground noises, but with a –1% penalty for each foot in depth. Nowadays, Servasta have developed a taste for other creatures also dwelling beneath the surface, including demihumans and humanoids, halflings being a most delectable treat.
The Servastas rely on an elaborate combat style that consists of stalking underground prey from the surface until the latter comes out. Then, they jump upward and pounce down on the unsuspecting victim. Servastas can use this form of attack at will against prey less than a foot tall. On larger prey, the Servasta’s natural energy burst is necessary for this form of attack to succeed at all. If it does, Servastas may either inflict maximum damage with any melee weapon at hand (including possibly a thief’s backstab) or take a firm grip over the prey’s back and arms, allowing an automatic neck or shoulder bite every round until shaken off. The latter requires a successful Strength check with a –2 penalty. Servastas have a free Acrobatics general skill.
AL: any non-lawful.
Mightiest among the Greater Rakastas, Sherkastas prowl the forests and swamps of southern Skothar. Some have also claimed the mountain forests of northern Skothar. The southerners, who call themselves the Harimau-Belang, remains the most common. Their base colour runs from reddish-orange to reddish-yellow, with dark stripes and white or cream fur inside their limbs. Their northern cousins, the Tagh, show a thicker, light-grey or white pelage, with brown or black stripes.
The more reclusive Sherkastas form small clans and shun contact with races. Other individuals sometimes mingle with neighbouring human or demi-human populations. Sherkastas, because of their size and ferocious appearance are normally considered evil monsters, or at least dangerous predators by other races. However, with time, a few become more accepted by the local population.
The Sherkastas loathe the Rakshasa evil spirits that resemble them. For centuries, individual Rakshasas have subjected clans to a despotic rule or slavery. These spirits resort, to magic, fear, or blackmail to maintain their hold over the clans and influence their minds. Sherkastas can only unmask Rakshasas for what they really are when attacking and realising fangs and claws aren’t hurting them. Rakshasas delight in pitting their feline slaves against humankind to further their own schemes. This has done great harm to the Sherkasta clans and their relations with human populations. The power of the Rakshasas over Sherkasta clans can last decades, but usually a Sherkasta escapes to return later, when it has reached a sufficient experience level to challenge the spirit and free its clan.
Sherkastas and weretigers, on the other hand, get along fairly well and sometimes ally against a common foe. Sherkastas can also maintain an empathic link with common tigers.
When using their natural energy burst, Sherkastas can virtually shake off the effects of magic previously cast upon them. A successful Wisdom check dispels a first-level spell, provided it originated from a lower-level spellcaster. Sherkastas cannot alter the effects of area spells or spells that are not cast directly upon them (fireballs, explosive clouds, phantasmal forces, etc). For example, a 10th level Sherkasta can dispel a charm cast by a 7-HD rakshasa, but not one cast by a Rakshasa maharaja (13th-level spellcasting ability). Furthermore, at every fifth additional level, the Sherkasta may increase its spell immunity one level (second-level spells at 6th level, third-level spells at 11th level, etc).
AL: any (non-evil).
These regal creatures once roamed most of Mystara. Over the centuries, they too have retreated in the face of human and demi-human hegemony and now live essentially on the continent of Davania, in the savannahs stretching around the Aryptian Basin, from the Adakkian Sound to the Pass of Cestia and the Gulf of Mar. They call themselves the Ikimizi.
Unlike most other Rakastas, male and female Simbastas look different from each other. The normal pelage colour for both is a tawny yellow that blends with their natural environment of dry grasses. Colour may vary from ginger to black, with the male sporting a huge mane, making it appear even taller than the powerful Sherkastas. This mane sets apart the Simbasta male from the female.
Again, unlike other felids, Simbastas are sociable creatures, naturally living in large clans called prides. Females, often siblings with their cubs, originally formed the core of the pride, with peaceful males ensuring safety and progeny. This arrangement demanded that young males born to pride Simbastas leave to avoid unhealthy lineages. The stronger male Simbasta usually headed the pride, until driven off by a younger or more powerful male. The first duty of the new master was then to eliminate all existing cubs, which among Ikimizi still is an ancient religious ritual. A brutal and shocking practice by human standards, it nevertheless ensured the strength of the prides. From there, a pervasive Code of Honour was slowly established, governing the behaviour and society of modern Simbastas. As a result of their solemn and dignified ways, the proud Simbastas are the only Rakastas capable of becoming paladins.
Simbastas generally consider normal lions as simple animals, yet they enjoy taming mature males – something they can do very well (+2 bonus to the general skill). The relation between them and this animal is one of strength, where the Simbasta means to demonstrate its own power before eventually releasing the lion. They view themselves as the rightful and deserving heirs of Kum-rah’s legacy. They honour him under that name and tolerate none other amongst their prides, including Ba-steh so far. Simbastas often are at odds with Wemics, which they consider inferior half-breeds.
It is in the Simbastas’ temperament to want to control and dominate. As a result, Simbastas’ energy burst allows them to attack and save as if three experience levels higher, and with an additional +2 bonus on all damage, if striking to subdue an opponent. A subdued opponent views the Simbasta with awe and immediately ceases combat. When subdued, unwilling PCs may salute the Simbasta and leave with the intention never to cross this Simbasta’s path again. NPCs and “willing” PCs may instead embrace the Simbasta’s authority and offer their blades in servitude.
AL: any lawful.
Snow Pardasta tribes are scattered above forest lines on the northern mountains of Skothar (Nentsun Plateaus) and Brun (Hyborean Reaches, Norwold). On Davania, some can be found as far north as the Ice Peaks and the Diamond Ring.
Their thick, long fur protects them from the intense cold of their natural habitat. Small spots cover their heads and neck, becoming large irregular circles on their back and flanks. Their pale grey fur makes them difficult to detect against the bleak background of high mountain rocks.
Hardly anyone competes with the Snow Pardastas, considering how remote their homelands are. There, they hunt the ibex, the markhor, and as opportunities present themselves, marmots and other small mammals. Occasionally they wage sporadic wars against encroaching yetis or sasquatches. Their villages, often built around temples, include a few freestanding buildings made of stones and slates, and walls covering the entrance to natural caves.
Snow Pardastas can tread ice and snow without movement penalties. Although they cannot boost their Dexterity ratings as Mountain Rakastas do, Snow Pardastas benefit from the same leaping abilities. Furthermore, a Snow Pardasta can blend into a rock big enough to contain the whole creature or into a large chunk of ice for the duration of its energy burst, after which it reappears outside. While doing so, it can see and hear what happens outside, but it cannot communicate or cast spells. The Snow Pardasta is at a disadvantage outside its natural terrain. When exposed to warm weather or less mountainous terrain, the Snow Pardasta suffers a –2 penalty on all saving throws, ability checks, and attack rolls.
Rakastas may bear some blood ties with foreign breeds. These creatures are very rare and usually have a special goal in life. Among a few documented cases are Rakastas with elven or even draconic bloodlines, especially with the mighty dragonne. Table 5a shows what lineage a Rakasta might have (if any at all) and its strength. The lineage of a Rakasta has no bearing on its breed or physical appearance.
It is possible to have mixed heritage (rolling 2 or 3 tens and 2 ones, for example). Rolling anything other than tens and ones or different numbers would indicate a total lack of a clear bloodline, other than the Rakasta’s own breed.
Lineage generally is hereditary but can be weakened or strengthened through successive family generations. If either of the parents has no clear lineage, then roll 5d10 on Table 6a for each cub. If both parents have at least a trace of a bloodline, roll 1d20 for each cub. An odd result relates to the father’s lineage, an even number to the mother’s. With a score of 19-20, lineage is strengthened by one category On a roll of 7-18, lineage is passed on as is. On a roll of 1-6, lineage is weakened by one category. If either parent had equal traces of two different bloodlines, then choose one at random (50%) as the one passed on to the cub.
Feel free as a DM to assign different dice numbers to additional bloodlines for use with Table 5a, as appropriate to your campaign. For example, lammasu, feystags, cath shee, and ebon tigers could be related to some Rakasta as well. Table 5b shows examples of stronger bloodlines. Note also that Giampaolo Agosta has introduced some new Rakasta bloodlines in his A Gazetteer of Myoshima.
Table 5a: Basic Bloodlines
Table 5b: Effects of Bloodlines
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER RACES AND CUSTOMS
Unfortunately for Rakastas, some human or humanoid cultures covet Rakastas for certain valuable items, usually spell components, medicinal ingredients, valuable pelts, and so forth. Items involved are the whiskers, fangs, claws, bones, or blood of Greater Rakastas. They also involve the coats of many Wild and Greater Rakastas as well. Black Rakastas (Domestic) also receive unwanted attention from some wizards. The Wild and Greater Rakastas are often thought of as monsters or dangerous predators by human cultures. Many believe them to be lycanthropes and hunt them down. Choosing a Greater Rakasta or even Wild Rakasta as a PC to adventure into human lands requires precautions to avoid constant difficulties. Disguises can help. Support from local nobility (the PC is hired by a local leader) may do the trick. Fame also does much to reassure villagers that not all Rakasta are dangerous monsters. It's up to PCs to establish such a rapport with local populations.
Rakasta societies adopted legal practices that may astound human neighbours. For example, the Kingdom of Bellayne on the Savage Coast, which considers itself very civilised, does not usually resort to the death penalty or long term prison –they prefer instead declawing, neutering, or banishing their criminals. Simbasta warriors, on the other hand, cast out known cowards, but only after cutting off their tails, which among Simbastas is much worse than death. Elsewhere, hanging by one’s whiskers or tail may be considered for lesser crimes.
Rakastas are thought to have a short attention span. In situations that aren’t life-threatening, Rakastas are easily distracted. They tend to switch their interest without warning or reason. Although this is left entirely to the player’s desire to role-play, the DM may request an occasional Wisdom check. Rakastas also are a playful folk, especially when large balls of wool, rodents, fish, or birds are involved. Their presence may require a Wisdom check on the part of the Rakasta to keep focusing on the task at hand.
Another game, the cat’s cradle, remains a child's diversion at least among humans. For some Rakasta cultures, however, it has a greater meaning. For example, among Rakasta tribes of Davania, a 10th-level druid using a cat’s cradle can attempt to diminish the bite of the equatorial sun. In effect, it causes clouds to mask the sun and bring rain (control weather). It can attempt this once per moon cycle with a successful Wisdom check. The idea is to “catch the sun” in the cradle’s strands, as clouds of rain seem to do. Likewise, tribes living near the arctic circle and beyond can try the same to calm a winter storm and bring out the sun (trapping it up in the sky).
2. RAKASTAS’ EVOLUTION TREE
The following table shows the evolutional drift of Rakasta species. The red line represents the Rakastas’ main branch, while orange lines represent evolutional drifts from the main branch.
Rakastas’ Evolution Tree
Relationships between species have been selected according to assumed real-world feline ones. Regarding this, species names could be misleading because, for example, there isn’t any close relationship between Jakars (jaguars) and Jakarundi (jaguarundi), and the relationship between Simbastas (lions) and Pardastas (leopards) is closer than that between Pardastas and Snow Pardastas (snow leopards) or Cloud Pardastas (clouded leopards).
3. HISTORY OF THE RAKASTAS
The will to preserve relationships between Rakasta species as they're between real-world corresponding feline species has led me to develop a timeline of Rakasta history filled with long migrations from one continent to another, in an attempt to explain the modern canonical spread of Rakasta species on Mystara.
Enough about the Rakastas' creation date has already been said. About their birthplace, I have chosen to go with Skothar; I based my choice on the following points:
a) Following real-world relationships between felines, the Smilodon species goes extinct without descendants among any of the modern feline species. Thus, so it was to be for the Rakastodon Fatalis, which should represent a died-out evolutive drift from the descendants of Kum-rah and Ba-steh, which is successfully overrun by younger Rakasta species. Almost all modern Rakasta species (and mostly so the Pardasta Ancestor branch) should therefore be tied to the Cave Rakasta species. Because of this, all modern Rakasta species had to be generated in the same place, that is the one where the Cave Rakasta species lived.
b) Some theories about Rakastas' origin explain the evolutional drift into different species by having some of them descend from Cave Rakastas and some other from Rakastodons. They also have an easier time in explaining the Rakastas' spread over Mystara, because they use a double-location origin, with one of the two species originating in Davania and the other one in Skothar.
However, in the "Rakasta of Mystara" article (from Dragon Magazine #247, page 33), Bruce Heard writes: The Rakastodons have been traditional rivals of the cave rakasta. As primitive as they may be, these chaotic loners remain at odds with the cave rakasta pride-oriented society. The sheer size, power, and organisation of cave rakasta have prevented their kind from falling prey to these lethal hunters.
Thus, it seems that the two ancestral species shared near lands, as they competed among themselves. This negates the chance to have a double-location origin for the Rakastas - unless you assume that their "rivalry" traces back only to their history in the Hollow World (but I prefer to have them as early rivals in the Outer World, as it's likely that they already had in the Outer World whatever relationship they have in the Hollow World).
Moreover, as according to the cited passage the Rakastodon Fatalis were already a losing species against the more versatile Cave Rakasta, it also seems unlikely that the former could have spawned competitive species - it's more likely that they had become extinct without any descendants.
c) Las but not least, there's the legendary link between the Rakastas' creation and the human shaman of Ka, Kum-rah. As I follow the theory of a single birthplace of humanity and as I place that birthplace on southern Skothar (modern Tangor Bay area, south of the Jennite Sword range), the birthplace of Kum-rah's and Ba-steh's descendants had also to be the same as the humans' one, that is central Skothar.
Thus, because of (c) the birthplace of Rakastas had to be Skothar, and because of (a) and (b) it had to be the only Rakasta birthplace.
Which follows is an attempt to build a Rakasta timeline which takes into account what said before and includes most of the information taken from canon and fan products, like the abovementioned works about the Savage Coast and Myoshima. As you'll see, the timeline is a long history of migrations, at first pushed by competition between the Rakasta species themselves, and soon by the rise of human population and its splitting into many different cultures. I've included eight maps here and there in the timeline, in order to make following the events much easier.
Note that the following timeline doesn't include events happened specifically on Patera itself, as they've already been covered by Giampaolo Agosta's work on Myoshima.
Moreover, note that some clues are included about ancient human cultures and races, as well as regarding early demi-human or monstrous ones. These clues are of course in agreement with my take on ethnographic subjects (as some of you already know, I've done some work on that matter on the Italian MMB - I hope to finish and translate the whole thing into English as soon as possible).
Part 1: Evolution of Modern Rakasta Species
Before BC 150 000: Kum-rah is a faithful shaman of Immortal Ka in one of the early human tribes of southern Skothar. According to a Rakasta legend about their race's creation, one day a cat fell in love with Kum-rah; she protected and served well both her master and the Immortal patron of him. At the end, Ka decided to reward Kum-rah transforming the cat into a beautiful young maiden, Ba-steh, which soon married Kum-rah.
Time later, wishing to test her, Ka sent a rat scurrying across Kum-rah sacred cavern. Dismayed, Kum-rah observed his young wife who, forgetting herself, chased and gruesomely dispatched the hapless rodent, to the disappointment of Ka. At first the Immortal wanted to turn her back into a cat but, realising that would have been unfair to his shaman, Ka decided to turn them both into half-human and half-cat creatures. It was this way that the first two Rakastas were born.
Decades later, Kum-rah died. According to the legend, he was revived by Ka nine times to serve him more. At his tenth death, Ka finally allowed his shaman to rest in peace. To ease Ba-steh inconsolable pain, Ka allowed her to become his servant, and she took place at Ka's side. There, she learned about magic, the Outer Planes, and the ways of Immortals. Eventually, she outgrew her charge and left to learn about the rest of the Multiverse.
BC 150 000: Before departing Mystara, Ba-steh left behind many sons and daughters. These childrens, which are the ancestors of all modern Rakastas, have a high percentage of magical blood in their veins thanks to the magical nature of their mother; because of this, they tend to develop evolutional diversifications soon - due to environment, hunting habits, and so on -, and as following generations of Rakastas grow, less and less the children resemble their parents in appearance. These first Rakastas live in central Skothar, north of early human groups.
BC 145 000: Early Rakastas have by now diversified into two different species, Rakastodon Fatalis and Cave Rakasta. Rakastodon Fatalis species shares Ba-steh own bloodline; they're large, stump-tailed brutes, with massive forelimbs and sabre-like fangs. Cave Rakasta instead, despite being direct descendants of Ba-steh, share a bloodline which is closer to that of her husband Kum-rah; they're a primitive, oversized kin, gifted with tremendous strength and ferocity.
Both species are less intelligent than modern Rakastas and even then contemporary humans. While Rakastodons tend to be loners and chaotic, Cave Rakastas develop a pride-oriented society. Because they live in adjacent lands, the two species soon begin to compete among themselves, with Cave Rakastas slowly getting the upper hand thanks to the fact they form individual prides to cooperate.
BC 130 000: Cave Rakastas are slowly evolving toward two different branches, a smaller, weaker but more agile one, and another more similar to their ancestor, while somewhat smaller in size. The latter branch is the so-called Pardasta Ancestor species (from which all Pardasta, Simbasta, Sherkasta, and Jakar breeds will descend), the former branch (which will be called "main branch" from there on) will instead give birth to all other smaller Rakasta species.
As these new branches begin to develop more competitive and successful characteristics - including greater intelligence -, the elder Rakastodon Fatalis and Cave Rakasta species slowly die out. The Rakastodon Fatalis species is the first to become extinct, followed some tenths of thousands of years after that by the Cave Rakastas. Some individuals of both species are preserved into the Hollow World by the Immortal Ka. There, they continue their competition in the forested and high-grass areas of Hollow World's equatorial regions.
BC 120 000: Another rift occurs within Rakastas' main branch, with some individuals beginning to sport slender forms, shorter muzzles, and larger ears. Those groups live mostly in the wide grasslands and steppes of north-central Skothar (modern Jen region); the Caracasta branch will originate from them.
BC 112 000: Still another branch develops within the Rakastas' main one, when tribes of Rakastas living along the humid forests and swamps of the Gulf of Tangor begin to sport smaller bodies, no fear of water, and beautiful spotted and striped furs which help them in hiding and hunting in those terrains. These Rakastas will become the ancestors of the Ocelotl branch.
BC 100 000: The slowly-rising human population in southern Skothar - which by now still live mostly south of the modern Jennite Sword - begins to apply some pressure over neighbouring Rakasta tribes, gradually increasing competition for game and food. This causes a series of tribal squabbles to begin between humans and Rakastas, and among Rakastas themselves. As a result of these struggles, a number of Rakastas is forced to move toward the higher, colder, and inhospitable areas of the Nentsun Plateau. Slowly, they adapt to live in the colder environment, and will become the ancestors of the Lynxman branch.
BC 94 000: Still other Rakasta tribes are forced to move outside their native lands in central Skothar by their more aggressive brethren. These tribes adapt to live in impervious and desolate areas, where other species don't dare to go hunting. They'll become the ancestors of the Mountain Rakasta branch.
BC 90 000: A group of Rakastas belonging to the Pardasta Ancestor branch, which since some years has adapted to live in Skothar's forested southern mountain and hill ranges (modern Jennite Sword range), is the first to develop an evolutional rift with the Pardasta Ancestor branch. These creatures develop large spots on their back fur, the ability to hide very well from neighbouring human tribes, and a close affinity with the forests. With the passing of millennia, these Rakasta will evolve into the Cloud Pardasta species.
BC 78 000: Rakasta tribes living in grasslands of the modern Jen region have by now evolved into the Caracasta Ancestor species. However, they're hard-pressed by neighbouring Rakasta tribes and decide to head north, beyond the northern tip of the Nentsun Plateau. There, they meet local elven and dwarven clans, and some of the last aggressive Garl tribes, with whom they fight. Too few and weak to resist, they ultimately decide to head further east, crossing the lands which join Skothar with Brun, and going beyond the Dragons-dominated Endworld Line. Eventually, they find a large expanse of grassland, the future Yazak Steppes, and settle there.
Map 1: Origins and First Evolutional Drifts
BC 69 000: Movements of tribes pushing each other begin as the human tribes of southern Skothar start to expand. This leads many Rakasta tribes to abandon their lands for other hunting places; some of these tribes displace the tribes of their kin living in badlands, wastelands, and other previously-unwanted lands, and seize these from them.
The displaced Rakasta tribes, which by now have evolved into the Mountain Rakasta Ancestor species, flee northwards and then head westwards, following their Caracasta Ancestor kin. In Brun they finally find free hunting lands where they settle. Some tribes stay in the area between the Black Mountains and the Frosthaven Sea, mostly dwelling in forests, hills, and mountains; others go south-west, crossing the Caracasta Ancestors' lands, and end up in the jungled Orc's Head Peninsula; still others claim the free steppes of central Brun, around The Cradle. The latter are the first to develop different characteristics from their brethren, first of all an amazing speed to hunt game in the steppes; they'll slowly evolve into the modern Fast Runner species.
BC 59 000: The Mountain Rakasta Ancestor tribes which live in the Orc's Head Peninsula have rapidly evolved to adapt to the tropical rain forest terrain where they dwell. They overcome the fear of water, and develop a pointy head, a long neck, and a slender body. These tribes will become the modern Jakarundi species. Their kin belonging to the Mountain Rakasta Ancestor tribes which dwell in central Brun will therefore evolve gradually into the Mountain Rakasta species.
BC 52 000: Another group of Rakasta tribes living in the Bay of Thorin area diversifies from the main Pardasta Ancestor branch, with furrier bodies and a large built remembering the one of Cave Rakasta ancestors; many of them settle in the lowland jungles, but some brave the neighbouring peaks of the Nentsun Plateau, adapting to the colder climate. This branch, so-called Sherkasta Ancestor, will give origin both to Sherkastas and Snow Pardastas within ten thousands years.
BC 50 000: By now the humans have evolved into the homo sapiens sapiens species, which has expanded in the area north of the Jennite Sword and differentiated into three main races: the Oltec Man, the Neathar Man, and the Tanagoro Man. The migration of human tribes will soon force many Rakasta tribes to undertake a long series of migrations themselves.
BC 48 000: Tribal movements push the weaker tribes of Rakastas out of their ancestral habitat in central Skothar. These tribes are the last remnants of the main branch which dates back to the descendants of Ba-steh; they've developed a smaller body in regard to their kin, and they tend to be weaker, but they're also overly agile and more intelligent than the other species. In front of foes they cannot win, however, these Rakastas choose to migrate north, following the path toward Brun which the Caracasta Ancestors and the Mountain Rakasta Ancestors had taken before them. These Rakastas wind up in the Yalu River valley, and become the Domestic Rakasta Ancestors.
Map 2: First Species and Migrations
BC 45 000: The Oltec Man human race moves north into the steppes of central Skothar. Many tribes of Rakastas are misplaced by this migration, and forced to leave their ancestral lands.
By now the Rakasta tribes which were forced to live in the Nentsun Plateau have evolved into the Lynxman species. At the same time, however, most of their tribes are hard-pressed by neighbouring Rakasta tribes belonging to the Pardasta Ancestor and Sherkasta Ancestor species, and decide to flee the area utterly. Some of their kin manage to resist and withdraw into the colder areas of the mountain range, where they survive. The Lynxmen which migrated from Nentsun go north from there, reaching Norwold and the ice-covered Wyrmsteeth Range; while they find there a climate similar to the one of the home they left, they find also new, powerful adversaries like Dragons and Frost Giants. Some Lynxman tribes nevertheless manage to carve out lands for themselves in Norwold. Still other tribes head east, hoping to find free and suitable lands for them, thus beginning a long migration which will last ten thousands years.
The Cloud Pardasta tribes, living in the Jennite Sword area just north of the birth place of humanity, are the first Rakasta tribes to fight true wars with humans. At the beginning they manage to successfully defend their forested lands, but soon they're overcome by the humans. Some tribes decide to fight for defence of their homeland until death, while other migrate north, trying to find a new home of their liking.
BC 43 000: Lynxman tribes which have migrated from Norwold pass north of the Black Mountains and reach the Great Waste; finding still there Dragons and Giants, they continue their migration.
In the Jennite Sword area, the Cloud Pardasta tribes which have decided to resist the humans' advance finds themselves at odd when the Tanagoro tribes start also to attack them. Most of their tribes are enslaved by the Tanagoro, which in the following millennia bring them in the lowlands south of the Jennite Sword (in the Tangor Bay area), and by sea in the Tangor Peninsula area (which at this time is a mountainous island).
Meanwhile, the other Cloud Pardasta tribes which had decided to leave their homelands migrating north, find suitable lands within the forests of the Minaean Coast and Bellissaria, where they settle.
BC 42 000: The Lynxmen cross the sea to Davania via the Serpent Peninsula, whose wet climate they dislike. They enter in the Adakkia region, but there they've to fight the last remnants of lizardman civilisations of past ages.
A branch of the Pardasta Ancestor species, which has adapted to live in humid forests, becoming the Jakar species, is forced to migrate north to flee competition with more numerous races. These tribes head north, crossing the forest Sherkastas' lands in northern Skothar and reaching Brun. Following the Lynxmen's previous migration, they discover the humid and forested lands of the Serpent Peninsula, and they settle there.
BC 41 000: Expansion of human tribes in the Gulf of Tangor area force also many tribes of the Rakastas which live there, the ones which have become the Ocelotl species, to migrate following the Jakars' route. Smaller and weaker than other Rakasta species, they're unable to find shelter in any other of Skothar's lands, and therefore they head for Brun, where plenty of free lands is said to exist. After a long but swift journey, they manage to cross the Caracasta Ancestors' lands and settle in the forested Orc's Head Peninsula, among local Jakarundi tribes.
BC 40 000: Pushed by the lizardmen, the Lynxmen head south, reaching Halfling lands in central Davania; while initial relations between them are good, the Halflings soon begin to fear the Lynxmen and push them out of their lands. The Lynxman tribes begin to cross the large valley which divides Brasol and Ice Peaks ranges; the equatorial climate they find there doesn't suit them, however.
In the Yazak Steppes, the Caracasta Ancestor species has divided into two distinct species which have developed different hunting techniques: one, the Caracasta species, has reddish fur and hunts larger animals, sporting tufts on the ears; the other, the Servasta species, hunts small animals and rodents instead, have spotted fur, and large, bat-like ears.
Map 3: Beginnings of the Great Migrations
BC 39 000: The Sherkasta Ancestor branch has by now evolved into two different species, as the two groups of tribes living one in lowland forests one in high and icy mountains have been divided by the migration of other Rakasta tribes and by the expansion of humans in the south. The tribes which dwell in the forests become the Sherkasta species, which is larger, has no fear of water, and has a beautiful striped fur suited to hide in the forest; the tribes which dwell in the snowy mountains become instead the Snow Pardasta, which have an almost grey or white spotted fur and favour colder climates and high altitudes.
Also the Pardasta Ancestor species dwelling in the steppes and plains of central Skothar has by now evolved into two different species: one, the ]i]Simbasta[/i] species, shares an appearance which reminds the one of their Cave Rakasta ancestors, with large size, majestic behaviour, a great mane on males, and powerful built; the other, the Pardasta species, is smaller and swifter, with spotted fur, and they're very good hunters.
However, smaller in number, Pardasta and Simbasta tribes are quickly forced out of their ancestral plains and steppes by the advance of Oltec Man tribes from the south. The Simbastas are the first to migrate, setting for a long journey north. They meet the jungles of the Sherkasta tribes, and try to fight they way through their lands, but they're overcome by the Sherkastas, which know their lands too well. Therefore, the Simbastas turn on the mountain passes held by the Snow Pardastas; a long series of skirmishes begins, with many Snow Pardasta tribes forced to retreat in the innermost areas of the Nentsun Plateau by the Simbastas, while many others are forced to migrate from their ancestral mountain lands before them. At the end, the Simbastas manage to cross the region and head for central Brun, where they find some plain lands to roam; they preserve their nomadic lifestyle, however.
The Snow Pardasta tribes derived from the Nentsun Plateau by the Simbastas at the beginning head north into the icy reaches of Norwold; many tribes manage to settle there, but the presence of Dragons, Frost Giants, and other Lynxman tribes forces some of them to continue their migration south-eastward.
Pardasta tribes, instead, suffer the full blunt of the Oltec Man advance; after many battles, most tribes of Pardastas decide to migrate north onto the peninsula of Bellissaria, where they meet the local tribes of Cloud Pardastas.
BC 38 000: Lynxmen tribes finally reach modern Vulcania region, south of the Diamond Ring range. There, they find free lands for them and decide to settle there; in the following centuries, however, they will move further south, toward the southernmost tip of Vulcania, whose the icy climate recalls them their ancestral home in the Nentsun Plateau.
BC 37 000: The wandering Simbasta tribes meet the Caracasta and Servasta tribes which dwell in the Yazak Steppes area. The swift but smaller Caracastas and Servastas soon lose ground against the more powerful Simbasta, and decide to migrate south. They head toward the Immortal's Arm peninsula, while the Simbasta occupy their lands, clashing sometimes with the Domestic Rakasta Ancestors which dwell in the Yalu River region.
After having been pushed out of the Black Mountains area by local Giants and Dragons, the Snow Pardasta tribes head south, quickly crossing the Simbastas' lands until they find the high Endworld Line which could be suited for them to settle. They begin a long series of skirmishes with the local Mountain Rakasta tribes and the Dragons which dwell in the range.
BC 36 000: Caracasta and Servasta tribes pass through the Immortal's Arm and reach Davania; their tribes spread over a large area, with the Caracasta tribes mostly moving in the modern Meghala Kimata steppes, while the Servastas spreading between the coast of Izonda region up to the Adakkian Sound and the Meghala Kimata themselves.
BC 35 000: Snow Pardastas are driven away from the Endworld Line by Mountain Rakastas and Dragons. They head south-east, along the Immortal's Arm, finding however the climate too hot for their liking. After some time, they cross to Davania, and head toward the central ranges of the continent, having gathered some rumours about its environment.
The Oltec Man human race divides in two branches: the Olthar branch stay in central Skothar, while the Oltecindian branch migrates north-west, crossing the Minaean Coast and reaching Bellissaria, where skirmishes ensue between them and Cloud Pardasta and Pardasta tribes. Many Pardasta tribes decide to migrate in the islands north of Bellissaria to avoid the Oltecindians.
Map 4: Time of Pardasta Migrations
BC 33 000: Snow Pardasta tribes manage to reach the huge Brasol and Ice Peaks ranges, in central Davania; there they finally settle around glaciers and highest peaks.
BC 30 000: At this date, many Pardastas have crossed the ancient Alatian islands and Pearl Islands to reach Ochalea; as many Oltecindians settle in Bellissaria, many humans also follow the Pardastas' migration, ending in those islands the Rakasta have crossed themselves.
Fast Runner tribes dwelling in central Brun soon come to conflict with the aggressive Simbasta clans, which claim for themselves the best gaming lands. Soon finding themselves at odds against their more powerful kin, the Fast Runner clans migrate eastward, crossing the Great Waste and the Serpent Peninsula thanks to an agreement with Jakar tribes which live there. They settle in the vast expanses of the Meghala Kimata, where they live alongside local Servasta and Caracasta clans.
BC 20 000: Still followed by the Oltecindian tribes, the Pardastas see their Ochalean lands invaded by the humans. Many Pardasta tribes leave Ochalea for the near coasts of Davania, where there are abundant lands both for them and for the humans. In the following millennia, some tribes will settle in Cestia, pushed by other human tribes (the Orimuls).
BC 19 000: After the Olthar invasion of their lands, many Sherkasta tribes decide to abandon their ancestral forests to live in the Nentsun Plateau, where their ancient Snow Pardasta kin also live. There they settle, slowly developing a different culture that in incoming millennia will bring to the formation of the Harimau-Belang Sherkasta culture of the lowlands, and the Tagh Sherkasta culture of the mountains.
BC 15 000: The arrival of Olthar human tribes in western Brun applies some pressure over the Rakasta tribes which dwell in the central plains of that continent. After some skirmishes with the humans, the wandering Simbasta tribes decide to find lands where game is more abundant, and head south, crossing the Immortal's Arm and reaching Davania. Passing beyond the Servasta lands, they end up in the Aryptian Basin and Meghala Kimata area, spreading over a large area and, after some battles with local Caracasta and Pardasta tribes, quickly becoming the undisputed rulers of the savannahs.
Also in this time, a great warrior among Rakasta tribes which has travelled over most of the Outer World's tribes, by the name of Ninfangle, reaches Immortality under the sponsorship of Ka. He becomes one of the first Rakasta Immortals alongside the father of the Rakasta race.
Part 2: Rakastas in the Age of Humans
BC 9500: Many Oltecindians tribes are crossing the Simbastas-dominated lands of central Davania to reach the wester shores of the continent; hard-pressed both by the Simbastas and by the Caracastas and Pardastas which dwell there, they cross the Serpent Peninsula and leave Davania for Brun. In the Serpent Peninsula, the Oltecindians find the Jakar tribes and, after some successful fights, manage to enslave them thanks to their superior knowledge of magic. In the following millennia, the Jakars will serve the Oltecindian civilisations and their culture will adopt many traits of the Oltecindians' ones.
BC 4500: The coming of the Planar Spiders and Araneas headed by Arachne Prime on the Isle of Dawn spreads panic among local Giant and Pardasta tribes. The latter abandon the southern reaches for Ochalea and Bellissaria rather than fight the powerful arachnid spellcasters.
BC 4000: Many Jakars regain their freedom after they've shown loyalty to their Oltec masters and ways civilised enough to allow them to be considered subjects of the Oltec Empire. They integrate themselves in Oltec society, becoming often brave generals and skilled sorcerers.
BC 3500: The Blackmoor civilisation is flourishing thanks to the meteoric rise in technology. Rakastas, considered similar to Beastmen and non-humans, are not considered proper subjects of Blackmoor and often persecuted and hunted down for sport. The Rakasta tribes living in Skothar near to Blackmoor seek shelter into the wilderness, where they become isolated and aggressive, refusing any contact with humans (this happens mostly to the Mountain Rakastas and Tagh Sherkastas which live near the Blackmoorian borders).
BC 3400: Immortal Ganetra, which has become known among wise Sherkastas with the name of Ssu-ma, gifts the Tagh Sherkastas with knowledge of writing. Wise Taghs, thanks to the teachings of Ssu-ma, become aware of the existence of the Pachydermion civilisation of Kompor-Thap on Patera, and are given the magical means needed to establish contacts with them. They reveal this information to the Harimau-Belangs, presenting to them the Pachydermions as heralds of Ssu-ma.
BC 3200: After invitation by Ssu-ma, Sherkastas of Skothar and Pachydermions of Kompor-Thap build a great magical gate to keep stable contacts among themselves. The gate is called the Svargadvara. The two cultures begin to entertain a frequent trade, increasing their knowledge about the world's progress and looking closely after the worrying progresses of Blackmoor's technology. The mountain culture of the Taghs, heavily influenced by the Pachydermions' one, becomes very much different from that of the Harimau-Belangs.
Map 5: The Last Migrations
BC 3000: The Great Rain of Fire. Powerful Blackmoorian nuclear devices explode, and a chain reaction escalate the incident into a planetary catastrophe: Mystara's axis shifts, some old lands sunk beneath the waves, new mountains rise from the seas, and volcanic activity shakes the whole planet. Blackmoor's civilisation is destroyed and most advanced cultures of Mystara reverts back to a new Stone Age.
The catastrophe marks the collapse of main Oltec cultures, the Oltec and Azcan Empire which were already at war since centuries. The surviving Jakars catch the chance to flee from the genocidal war and head south, crossing the Savage Coast region and heading into the tropical forests and jungles of the Immortal's Arm. Their culture reverts somewhat to a more savage lifestyle, but they preserve the legacy of priestly rule taken from the Oltecs.
While passing through the Savage Coast, the Jakars push Jakarundi and Ocelotl tribes before them; both races migrate in the Immortal's Arm. The Jakarundi dwell among Jakar tribes, while the Ocelotls settle in the southernmost jungles of the peninsula.
In Skothar, the Sherkasta sages gather their people (mostly Tagh, but also some Harimau-Belang more directly threatened by the Great Rain of Fire) and use the Svargadvara to transport them to the safety of Patera, where the Sherkastas settle in the jungles south of Kompor-Thap. The Svargadvara, though, is destroyed by the magical energies released by the Blackmoorian disaster. Taghs which stay on Mystara seek shelter from radioactive contagion in secluded valleys between the highest peaks; their culture becomes more and more insular and aloof, and they leave the Harimau-Belang, which they consider too barbaric, to their doom.
Kata-Ng, the White Sherkasta, a Tagh healer and sage, reaches Immortality after four lifetimes of fighting to save the Rakastas from extinction in the upcoming disaster.
Chaos ensues among populations living in central Brun, which are hit by the changes caused by the planetary axis' shift. Movement of tribes and peoples begins, harsh wars for resources start, while a nuclear winter falls over most of central and northern Brun. Blackmoorian settlements in the area which survived the Great Rain of Fire are destroyed during those events. Many Rakasta belonging to species which lived in central and northern Brun (Mountain Rakastas, Domestic Rakastas, Lynxmen, and Snow Pardastas) die.
Many tribes of Pardasta remain stranded in the newly-formed islands of Ochalea, Isle of Dawn, Alatians, Alphatia, and Bellissaria; fearing water, they can't migrate anymore after the cataclysm has sunken the landbridges which linked these lands.
BC 2800: Some Mountain Rakasta tribes, scattered around the expanses of central Brun, move in the icy Kurish Massif and in the Wyrmsteeth Range, which thanks to the planet axis' shift now have come out of the arctic area and begin a slow process of thawing.
In Davania, the movements of elven clans and the earthquakes rocking the Vulcania region convince the Lynxman tribes to migrate south-west to abandon that doomed land and to find again the cold climates they like so much. Within centuries, Lynxmen move from the mountain ranges of Vulcania to the southern reaches of Davania, foraging sometimes north into the Brasol range.
In central Davania, competition for resources increases after the global disaster, moreso into the mountain regions of Brasol. Many Snow Pardasta clans, after the slow tawing of the region's glaciers, decide to head south-east into the colder ranges of the Ice Peaks and the Diamond Ring, where they settle.
On Patera, the pacific leadership of the wise Sherkasta followers of Ssu-ma is questioned by the more warlike factions of the younger Sherkasta (most of them descendants of Harimau-Belang individuals) who do not remember the Great Rain of Fire. After a while the wilder Sherkasta rebel to their Tagh leaders and to the pacific lifestyle preached by the followers of Ssu-ma (both Sherkasta and Pachydermions).
The friction between the two groups causes two migrations: Sherkastas migrate to nearby island groups founding cultures inspired to that of their ancestors - the Harimau-Belangs who survive in Skothar - and found in the following decades the nations of Surabayang and Malacayog, while many Pachydermions retreat to the mountains of Kompor-Thap. The more peaceful Sherkastas remain in the area now occupied by Rajahstan, serving as a buffer between the two opposed cultures.
BC 2400: On Patera, with the prompting of Ssu-ma, Rakastas and Pachydermions on the Far Side continent begin to trade and share ideas with one another. The Sherkasta tribes thus begin adopting many of the ways of their Pachydermion neighbours.
BC 2100: Domestic Rakastas relegated in the Yazak Steppes by the human peoples nearby join with isolated Mountain Rakasta tribes and settle in a secluded area of the Yazak, where many of them abandon nomad lifestyle and settle down, founding the city of Plaktur. The city become the centre of a flourishing Rakasta culture which dominates for some centuries that area of the steppes.
Map 6: Aftermaths of the Great Rain of Fire
BC 1700: The massive invasion of hordes of goblinoids destroys the Plaktur civilisation and forces the Rakastas to escape; most Domestic Rakastas go southwards and eastwards (into Sind), while the Mountain Rakastas scatter and most end up in the barren terrains of the Savage Coast (like El Grande Carrascal and Terra Vermelha). Both reverts to semi-nomad lifestyle.
Some groups of powerful sorcerers and nobles instead use a collective spell in order to escape en mass and they are transported on a great island of Patera, which they call Myoshima and where they lay the basis for the foundation of a Rakasta empire.
BC 1600: Ba-steh, which in the last one-hundred-thousand years has become an Immortal, comes back on Mystara from the Dimension of Myth after the main civilisation which worshipped her has crumbled before foreign invaders. On Mystara, she - which now has adopted the name of Bastet for herself - discovers that her descendants have grown and divided into different species, but have forgotten her. Thanks to the help of Ka and other Immortals, she manages to get back her important role in Rakastas' pantheon and also begins to influence the human civilisation which most resemble the one which worshipped her on the Dimension of Myth: the Nithians. In the Nithian Empire the cult of the cat-goddess Bastet, patroness of luck, fertility, and pleasure, spreads quickly.
BC 1500: Lupins fled from the Taymora land in Ochalea and fight for the land against both the Ogre Mages and the nomad tribes of Pardastas. A long interracial war seriously weakens the three races.
BC 1300: The Great Horde of Wogar marches from The Cradle through the Yazak Steppes, heading west following the omens of a shaman of Wogar, and destroying many settlements in the process - among them those of the Domestic Rakastas, whose tribes flee further west and south on the Savage Coast. Elven and Otzil civilisations of the Savage Coast are destroyed by the goblinoids and revert to a primitive lifestyle.
BC 1000: The slow melting of the glaciers in Norwold's mountain ranges have deprived many Lynxman and Snow Pardasta clans of their natural habitat. Many of these clans decide to migrate further north toward the icy wastes of Hyborea, where they settle.
Nithian explorations along Davanian coasts lead to the discoveries of the Fast Runners, which - alone among the Rakasta species - establish good relationships with the Nithian. Considering them the favoured sons of the goddess Bastet - given their resemblance to her - they invite many of them to join their empire. Many Fast Runners become scouts in the Nithian armies and a large colony of them agrees to settle in the Nithian colony of Thothia, on the easternmost tip of the Isle of Dawn. They also help the Nithians with their colony in the Hinterlands in order to receive help from them against the aggressive Pardasta, Caracasta, and Simbasta tribes. A series of wars begin between the Rakasta races.
In Sind, Domestic Rakastas settle down again, building villages and establishing good relationships with the nearby Sindhi and Urduk cultures.
BC 900: The Simbastas have got the upper hand in Davanian Rakastas' conflicts; the most hard-pressed Caracasta agree to ally themselves with the newly-formed Milenian Empire and are hired by the Milenians as scouts and soldiers in their armies, giving them valuable information regarding the best ways to fight the Simbastas and learning the use of the Milenian bow. Doing so, they draw on themselves the hate of the traditionalist Simbastas.
BC 800: On Ochalea, Pardasta and Lupin clans ally with the newly-arrived Alphatian settlers and, after harsh battles, the allies manage to break the Ogre Mages' dominion over the island and to seize some lands from them. Pardastas keep a lower and independent profile before the new gradually-developing Ochalean culture, staying at the borders of Lupin and Alphatian settlements.
BC 700: The Milenian Empire begin to push its borders northwards, meeting the Kerendan, Thyatian, and Hattian tribes and fighting against them. Thanks to the Caracastas' mediation, groups of Fast Runners agree to ally with the Milenians to drive away or subdue the resisting tribes, in the hope the new lands thus conquered could be granted to them - and thus fleeing the pressure of Simbastas and Pardastas.
Thanks to his lackey Danel Tigerstripes, Atzanteotl has his cult spread among many peoples. Among the ones that become to worship him are some Jakar clans and almost all Ocelotl tribes of the Immortal's Arm.
BC 600: Evil spirit called the Rakshasas, gathered by Atzanteotl through his servant Danel Tigerstripes, are sent to Sind, where they begin to infiltrate in Sindhi society. Weakened by the incoming desertification, the Rakasta civilisation of Sind slowly dies out.
BC 500: The Ocelotl tribes decide to abandon the wicked worship of Atzanteotl after realising the evil practices he's introducing among them. In retaliation, Atzanteotl curses the whole Ocelotl species so that they cannot anymore live together in large groups. The Ocelotl city-states are quickly abandoned because of the effects of the curse, and many Ocelotls killed by the Jakar clans still faithful to Atzanteotl. In the following centuries, Ocelotl heroes will try to lift the curse or find a cure for it, but to no avail; some Ocelotl clans will settle also in the Izonda region of Davania in the hope the curse will not follow them there.
BC 200: In Sind, chaos reigns among humans because of the infiltration of shapeshifters, and the lack of resources forces the last Rakastas to abandon the country and magically travel to Patera, where they're welcomed in Myoshima by their fellow Domestic Rakastas.
BC 100: The Milenian Empire has begun its decline and is collapsing under the pressure of the Simbasta clans and the Kingdom of Varellya, to the south. Caracasta clans seek shelter from the Simbastas' fury fleeing north-west, toward the Adakkia region, while many clans of Fast Runners decide to join a Milenian expedition aimed at founding a colony as far away as possible from their corrupted empire. After a long and perilous voyage, these Fast Runners land together with the Milenians on the western shores of Skothar; while the humans put the basis of the Minaean civilisation, the Fast Runners spread in nearby steppes, where they meet the primitive Jennite civilisation.
Map 7: The Rise of Human Civilisations
Part 3: Rakastas in the Modern Age
AC 100: Another goblinoid horde invests the Savage Coast, destroying the scattered settlements of the Tortles and driving west Lupin and Rakasta tribes. These come into contact with the wizards of Herath, which have a civilising effect on their cultures.
AC 440: Carnuilh human tribes migrate from the north into the central part of the Savage Coast, allying themselves with local elven clans and founding the Kingdom of Bellayne. Nearby Domestic Rakasta tribes come into contact with this realm; most of them keep their semi-nomad lifestyle, but some of them settle at the kingdom's borders. Bellayne starts to develop a feudal society and government. The culture of Rakastas settled near Bellayne is deeply influenced by that of these humans and completely diverges from the one of nomad Rakastas.
AC 450: Sindhis rebel against the shapeshifter's oppression. The Rakshasas decide to flee on Patera, where they settle mostly in Rajahstan; there, they introduce elements of the Sindhi culture.
AC 500: Human tribes of Carnuilh and Thorvalian ethnicity, derived from their ancestral lands by Hulean armies, settle themselves in the Savage Coast, founding the realms of Eusdria and Robrenn. Local elven and dwarven clans ally with these human kingdoms.
The human culture of Bellayne is almost wiped away by a mysterious plague. The survivors invite the largest of the Domestic Rakasta tribes living at the edges of the kingdom to take possession of the disgraced realm, allying with local elves and humans. A new Rakasta-dominated Kingdom of Bellayne is born, which includes demihumans and humans minorities.
On Patera, groups of Domestic Rakastas coming from Rajahstan, Myoshima, and Surabayang found the pacific trade matriarchy of Selimpore.
AC 550: In Bellayne, the strong influence of the Lawful Brotherhood (a religious order originated in the north) and the protection it offers against the steppes' goblinoids, convince many Rakastas which once belonged to the Neutral Alliance to join that order, learning its costumes and ways. Many human followers of the Lawful Brotherhood arrive in Bellayne, and they influence the Rakastas' culture, causing an even more deep rift between the culture of the nomads and that of civilised Rakastas.
AC 600: The influence of the Lawful Brotherhood accelerates the evolution of Bellayne toward a full feudal system. There, the intermingling of Domestic Rakastas originates the new breed of the Alley Rakastas, which forms most of the city-dwelling and civilised folks.
AC 700: Hulean expansionism in Davania leads to the foundation of some colonies (among which there's Garganin) on the Davanian coasts facing the Serpent Peninsula. Many Caracasta clans dwelling in this area ally themselves immediately with the Huleans, trying to win new lands against Simbasta and Pardasta tribes.
BC 800: Hulean colonies on Davania are mostly destroyed or abandoned because of wars against Simbastas and nearby human city-states. Survivors going back to Hule bring with them most Davanian Caracastas which had allied with them in past wars. These Caracastas are allowed to settle in Hulean lands and soon begin to represent a valid addition to Hulean armies.
AC 900: Myoshiman explorers riding flying tigers begin to explore Mystara.
AC 903: First official contacts between Myoshima and the Kingdom of Bellayne.
AC 920: First Rakastas coming from Bellayne reach Patera and settle in Selimpore.
AC 940: Some of the most warlike Pardasta clans of Ochalea meet the Myoshimans and are helped by them to migrate and settle within their lands on Patera.
AC 961: First unfriendly contacts between the Heldannic Knights and Myoshimans.
AC 964: The Alphatian explorer, Prince Haldemar of Haaken, established the first contacts between Alphatians and Myoshimans.
Map 8: The Modern Age