Personality: The Mo-Swe (singular: Mo-Swa) are generally friendly and laid-back, content to peacefully coexist with their surroundings and enjoy the fruits of its natural bounty. This does not, however, mean that they are extroverted or outgoing: their first response to most newcomers who enter their territory is to politely ignore them until the strangers either leave or come too close for comfort, in which case the Mo-Swe will simply leave themselves. Sometimes they follow and observe trespassers from a distance, in order to learn their ways and determine if they mean any harm, but in most cases they are content to live and let live. Despite their normal laissez-faire attitude, there are two major exceptions to this rule: mothers with new calves (i.e., less than a year old), and during mating season. New mothers are ferocious in defense of their young, and will gladly trample any perceived threat without so much as a warning. Males become similarly aggressive during mating season (September and October, in most places), when they engage in antler-locking and wrestling matches with virtually any other male of their species (and sometimes, if other Mo-Swa are not present, they will engage in combat with any nearby male humanoids).
Physical Description: The first impression which most outsiders have of the Mo-Swe is their incredible size. At nine to ten feet tall without their antlers (which can add an extra foot or more to their height), they tower over almost all other races, and are one of the few who can look a Tuniit half-giant squarely in the eye. Adult female Mo-Swe weigh between 900 to 1,400 pounds, while males weigh from 1,300 to 1,700 pounds. They can run as fast as 35 mph (56 km/h) over short distances, and trot steadily at 20 mph (32 km/h) for hours. Despite their somewhat ungainly appearance, Mo-Swe are excellent swimmers, moving through the water as quickly as 6 mph (9.6 km/h). Mo-Swe are diurnal, but most active at dawn and dusk. They have very poor eyesight but good hearing and an excellent sense of smell. Mo-Swe are very short-lived by most races’ standards, becoming respected elders at a mere 30 years. However, they are considered “teenagers” at one year old, and adults at two, making their potential for adventuring careers not much shorter than that of a typical human warrior. A Mo-Swa's lower half consists of the fore- and hindquarters of a moose. A humanoid torso rises from where the neck would be, topped with a mooselike head and (during the warmer months) antlers. A flap of loose skin, called a "bell" or a “dewlap”, sways beneath each Mo-Swe's throat. Mo-Swe torsos are covered in brown fur like the rest of their bodies. During the warmer months, adult Mo-Swe possess huge, broad and flat antlers that can stretch 4 to 5 feet across. Unlike true moose, both male and female adult Mo-Swe grow antlers in the spring, though the antlers of males tend to be larger, and have more points. Also unlike their wild brethren, Mo-Swe do not lose their antlers in the autumn after mating season, but (like caribou) retain them throughout the winter (except in the case of a particularly lean season), sweeping snow off them with their hands or with a pine-branch brush. If a Mo-Swe's antlers are cut off or broken, they simply grow a new set the following spring (though a mending spell can speed up the process). Arcane Mo-Swe spellcasters sometimes carve runes or glyphs into their antlers for protection or warding, or even employ each antler as a natural spellstaff. It is not uncommon to meet Mo-Swe shamans or druids whose racks are a veritable treasure-trove of useful items, including small tools, jewelry, dreamcatchers, strings of wampum, and even nests for their animal companions. Mo-Swe consider their antlers to be their most important physical feature, and attach much religious and social significance to their size, shape, and number of points (for example, it is considered somewhat embarrassing for a male to have fewer points than his mate, regardless of the actual size of their respective racks). Mo-Swe's antlers begin growing as soon as the first spring thaw, and reach full size in a mere 3 to 5 weeks, during which time the Mo-Swe consume enormous amounts of food to fuel their rapid growth. Once they reach full size, the antlers automatically shed their soft, velvety covering and are ready for use in battle. There is considerable debate among naturalists as to whether the Mo-Swe bear any relation to the extinct European centaur, Centaurus venereae.
Relations: Mo-Swe are mostly solitary, and therefore unlikely to form binding treaties with any outside power, as few Mo-Swe chiefs can speak for more than a small handful of their people. They frequently have trade relations with Native societies, exchanging hard-to-find natural medicines and warm pelts for metal or clay pots, metal axe-heads and tomahawks, flint arrowheads, cured leather, tobacco, and other human-made goods. Mo-Swe treasure their solitude: even the most loyal Mo-Swa travelling companion finds that she occasionally needs time alone, spent in quiet contemplation of her natural surroundings. Alignment: The Mo-Swe's polite and generous nature makes Good and Neutral alignments a natural fit for them. Their solitary nature makes them independent, and inclined slightly towards chaos.
Mo-Swe Lands: Mo-Swe inhabit the boreal forests of Tuniitaq, Nouvelle France, Novorassi, a few of the more-recently acquired lands of the Iroquois League, and some of the more northerly regions of Fúsāng, in virtually every habitat where trees and vegetation (and preferably fresh, cool water) are present. Their diets require extensive browsing and their coats are very thick, so by necessity they must live in temperate forested areas where snow cover is present in winter. Nearby lakes, bogs, swamps, streams and ponds are highly desirable, both as sources of aquatic browse, and because the Mo-Swe use them to cool off in the summer. The Mo-Swe have no concept of land-ownership, and therefore claim no lands as their own, and do not respect national borders unless they are enforced (in which case they generally decide that discretion is the better part of valor, and seek greener pastures elsewhere). Mo-Swe have no cities of their own, or even true permanent villages. However, they are known to cultivate "orchards" of fruit-bearing trees and berry-bushes, and to weed out invasive species which prevent the growth of their favorite foodstuffs. In times of great calamity, Mo-Swe will pass messages from one Mo-Swe to the next via bellowing, to call all of their brothers and sisters together over many hundreds of miles to a convene a "Grand Rendezvous", in order to discuss matters such grave import that they may impact their entire race. Due to the incompatibility of their physiques with human cities, and their general love of silence and solitude, Mo-Swe almost never visit human settlements larger than 5,000 inhabitants. When they do visit cities, they are often forced by necessity to sleep in stables (since no inn will allow them a room) along with horses and other livestock: an experience they find unclean and humiliating. Mo-Swe leave cities as quickly as they possibly can, for the relative peace of the wilderness. Warfare: Mo-Swe rarely take sides in human conflicts, though their slightly chaotic and independent nature makes them sympathetic to many natives with grievances against colonial encroachment, and they despise all who harm or damage the natural balance of their habitats.
Religion: Mo-Swe respect and revere a wide variety of gods, manitous, and spirits, though few are moved to truly worship these natural forces. Mo-Swe sometimes become clerics of nature gods, but more frequently they become druids, or even hunters with a spiritual bent. Many who spend time in places with great spiritual resonance, or who travel with human shamans, often become shamans themselves, and learn to appease and navigate the wills of the many manitous which govern the natural world and its workings. The closest Mo-Swe have to an overdeity is Nittawosew, the goddess of fecundity. It is she who first walked over the frozen world at the dawn of time, and with her great hooves scraped away the timeless snows to reveal the first tender shoots of green life. Her breath gave rise to the warm, moist winds of early spring, and her antlers pierced the dark vault of the heavens, allowing the light of the sun to shine upon her people even by night. Nittawosew is the bringer of life and renewer of the seasons, Mother-of-Many-Strong-Calves, and patroness of all plant and animal life. Given their limited contact with strangers, very few Mo-Swe have converted to the faiths of the various colonial societies, though there are a scant handful who have become willing servants of the new gods. The vast majority of Mo-Swe follow the traditional shamanistic spirituality which their forebears have followed since time unremembered.
Language: The Mo-Swe language is reminiscent of Proto-Algonquian, though it utilizes grunts, snorts, and other animal noises as part of its lexicon. It is not clear whether modern Algonquian is descended from Mo-Swa, or vice-versa, or whether the two languages simply influenced each other's development simultaneously. Perhaps because they see each other so rarely, the Mo-Swe language is very concise: its unique verb structure combines nouns with numerous affixes which denote location, action, relation, and time, meaning that ideas which must be expressed in long and complex sentences in other languages can often be rendered in a single word of Mo-Swe.
Names: Males: Abooksigun, Abukcheech, Achachak, Ahanu, Anakausuen, Aranck, Askook, Askuwheteau, Chansomps, Chogan, Eluwilussit, Enkoodabaoo, Etchemin, Etlelooaat, Hassun, Huritt, Keme, Kitchi, Machk, Makkapitew, Matchitehew, Matunaagd, Matwau, Megedagik, Mekledoodum, Mingan, Mukki, Nixkamich, Nootau, Pannoowau, Powaw, Rowtag, Samoset, Segenam, Sucki, Sunukkuhkau, Tihkoosue, Togquos, Wematin Females: Alawa, Alsoomse, Chepi, Hausis, Hurit, Kanti, Keegsquaw, Kimi, Makkitotosimew, Nadie, Nijlon, Nittawosew, Numees, Nuna, Nuttah, Oota dabun, Pules, Sokanon, Sokw, Sooleawa, Tahki, Wapun, Wawetseka, Wikimak
Mo-Swe adventurers commonly take levels in Brute (especially the Berserker path), Hunter, Medicine Man, Shaman, and Warlock. Many who travel with colonists take levels in the Horizon Walker prestige class. Many male Mo-Swe find long-term travel among humanoids difficult, as the life of an adventurer often necessitates being away from home during mating season; for this reason, female Mo-Swe adventurers are slightly more likely to join humanoid adventuring parties than males. Mo-Swe typically become hunters, brutes, druids, and other nature-oriented classes, though spellcasting classes are not unheard-of (but divine casters are slightly more common than arcanists). Male Mo-Swe who become runecasters often scribe runes and glyphs directly into their antlers, using them as living spellbooks, effectively casting runes and glyphs on themselves in a way which few other intelligent races can match. Some Mo-Swe become overland couriers and messengers for the Tuniit, the French, and sometimes the Iroquois. Their natural abilities and deep familiarity with the northern boreal forests make them excellent coureurs des bois. Though they love water, they are averse to traveling in canoes; if they partner with a team of voyageurs on an expedition, they generally prefer to swim alongside the canoe when the water is deep enough, and run along the riverbank when the water is rough or too shallow.
Favored Class: Brute, esp. the Berserker path
- +6 Strength, +4 Constitution, -2 Dexterity -4 Charisma Mo-Swe are sturdy and very strong, but they can be gangly, and their solitary nature makes them reserved and unlikely to speak out or take on leadership roles.
- Monstrous Humanoid Mo-swe are monstrous humanoids
- Large Size Mo-Swe are Large creatures. They take a –1 size penalty to their AC, a –1 size penalty on attack rolls, a +1 bonus on combat maneuver checks and to their CMD, and a –4 size penalty on Stealth checks. Mo-Swe take up a space that is 10 feet by 10 feet and have a reach of 5 feet.
- Fast Mo-swe have a base speed of 40 feet.
- Tauric Body A Mo-Swa's tauric body gives them some unusual traits. Mo-swe possess four legs and two arms, granting them a +4 racial bonus to CMD against Bull rush or trip attempts while standing on the ground. Mo-swe use weapons and armor as if they were one size smaller. A Mo-Swa's carrying capacities are 1½ times greater than a bipedal creature of the same size. A Mo-Swa's physique (not to mention their bulky antlers) makes climbing impossible: they automatically fail all Climb checks. Their arms are only about as strong as a human's, which means they take a -10 penalty to Strength checks to support themselves by their arms (e.g., when hanging from a cliff or branch).
- Fury - Mo-swe are known to have terrible tempers, particularly when injured, during mating season, or in the defense of calves, and can fly into a rage in battle. A Mo-Swa's Fury grants them a +2 morale bonus to melee attack and damage rolls and imposes a -2 penalty to AC. They can enter or leave a fury as a free action, and can remain in fury for a number of rounds per day equal to their Constitution modifier plus their hit die. If the Mo-Swa is at or below ½ their maximum HP at the beginning of a round, that round does not count against their daily maximum. If a Mo-swa gains the rage ability from a class, they lose this ability, but add their hit dice to the number of rounds they can rage per day, and gain a +1 morale bonus to melee attack and damage rolls while at or below ½ health.
- Low-Light Vision A Mo-Swa can see twice as far as a human in torchlight, starlight, or other conditions of poor illumination.
- Rugged Northerner All Mo-Swe gain Rugged Northerner as a bonus feat at first level or first HD. This means they treat extreme cold conditions as severe cold, and severe cold as cold weather conditions. They are not impacted at all by normal cold weather conditions. They do not become fatigued by frostbite or hypothermia.
- Natural Attacks Mo-Swe have a primary Gore attack that deals 1d8 damage, and two secondary Hoof attacks that deal 1d6 points of damage each.
- Natural Snowshoes The Mo-Swe's broad hooves are perfectly adapted to the deep snows of Tuniitaq. Mo-Swe take half the normal movement penalties due to deep snow, marshy ground or mud (as if they were wearing snowshoes at all times).
- Bellow Mo-Swe have extremely powerful voices, which can be heard up to six miles away. While this ability is not sophisticated enough to convey linguistic meaning (it's really more like a wolf's howl than any kind of speech), it can be used to warn of danger or to call for help.
- Cold-Acclimated Mo-Swe become uncomfortable in warmer temperatures. They become sickened if they spend more than an hour in temperatures above 80°F (27°C), and nauseated after an hour of exposure to temperatures higher than 95°F (35°C), a Mo-Swe becomes nauseated after one hour of exposure. These afflictions can be removed by an endure elements spell (and prevented entirely by an amulet of endure elements), or by simply entering a body of cool water. These afflictions return one hour after exiting the water, if the ambient temperature has not dropped to a more comfortable level.
- Languages Mo-Swa. Mo-Swe begin play knowing only their racial language. Not that they're intentionally xenophobic; they are simply very widely-dispersed, spend most of their lives in relative solitude, and only rarely interact with outsiders.