The Dakhee are a race of furry, animalistic people who stand over 6 feet tall and are covered in fur. They have long, strong arms that hang to their knees and hands the size of dinner plates. Extremely muscular, their torsos and shoulders are broad in comparison with their bodies. Their fingers and toes are equipped with claws.
Their angular faces feature prominent cheekbones, heavy brows and a jutting, somewhat pointed lower jaw. Underbites that display their sharp lower canines are common. Their fur is usually dark, shaded toward black, with reddish, purple or blue tints. Eyes can be brown, black, violet, yellow, or orange.
Males have shoulder-length manes that shade from black near the roots to a brighter display of tinting at the ends. Pointed, tufted ears stand up through the hair from a position slightly higher on the head than human ears. These have a bit of mobility, and can swivel and perk to a small extent. Females are slightly sleeker-looking than the males, with short hair on their heads and sharper, longer claws. Males normally trim their claws in a traditional display of peaceful intent.
Despite their fearsome appearance, Dakhee are a gentle, wise race. More than capable of defending themselves, they dislike violence and strive to avoid it if they have a choice. This predilection has given them great experience as mediators, and other races who know their true nature often turn to the Dakhee to resolve conflicts. Dakhee care about others and always try to be impartial and fair.
Once, the Dakhee were simple lion-like predators that ran on the plains. A wizard who specialized in magical ‘genetics’ came looking for creatures to make into guardians for his tower, and selected some of these animals as ideal subjects. He manipulated their beings with his powers and gave them intelligence, then enslaved his new race to protect his home. Eventually, this wizard was killed by adventurers. For a time, the Dakhee continued protecting his now-empty tower, but eventually some kind-hearted individuals interceded and taught them how to live as free beings.
Today, the Dakhee still live on the plains, hunting for their food (they are mostly carnivorous). They fully understand what happened to them, but have no particular dislike of magic (though arcane arts are seldom practiced among them). However, they despise those who use their power abusively. They believe that all self-aware, intelligent creatures should be considered ‘people’ and respected as such, no matter how else you deal with them.
They still dislike it when strangers approach the old wizard’s tower. This is partly ingrained in them as an instinct, but this reaction is also due to the possibility of the wizard’s secrets still being locked inside. They always have packs placed to keep watch on the place, and attempt to discourage unauthorized exploration through intimidation or warnings depending on the appearance of the trespassers. They will not actually fight, but they will lie to make the place sound more unpleasant or useless.
There are not very many Dakhee. Their numbers lie somewhere between 5 and 10,000. They form family-based nomadic bands made up of several related or closely allied families, usually between 25 and 50 members. These groups are led by whoever shows the greatest ability, freely advised by other members whenever they have something to add. When two or more bands encounter each other, they usually settle down together for a few days and have an impromptu celebration. Dakhee understand gods, but have none of their own, practicing nothing more than a sort of rough ancestor-reverence. Clerics are either converts to other faiths, or else are actually druids.
The Dakhee language is composed of some human sounds, along with hisses, snarling noises, and throaty sounds such as growls, chuckles, and coughs. They can also purr. They can learn to speak most human tongues without unusual problems. To humans, their voices sound deep and raspy, but understandable.
Dakhee have low-light vision. They gain +2 in Search, Spot, and Listen checks. Wilderness Lore is always a class skill. They gain the Improved Unarmed Combat feat for free, and their claws do 1d6 damage (1d4 if blunted), plus a Rend attack if they connect with both claws. Dakhee can also take the Scent feat with one of their feat slots if they choose. Finally, other animals accept them as animals rather than humanoids, and react accordingly. Prey animals are typically unsettled by them, while their wild cat ancestors who still roam the plains treat Dakhee as being their own species. On a successful Animal Handling roll, a Dakhee can communicate simple concepts to one of these cats.
Racial Modifiers: +2 Strength, -1 Dexterity, +1 Wisdom, -2 Charisma.