The Otterman Empire
Primary Genetic Base: Canadian river otter (Lutra canadensis)
Cultural Base: Composite Ottoman Turks 14-17th Century (military and recreational only)
One of the last and most successful Arp races created, the Ottermen were designed to operate aquatic farms and hatcheries along the Mississippi River. Because of the technical nature of many of their assigned tasks, they had to be intelligent and well-educated.
Their primary culture remains centered around the aqua-culture they were designed to maintain, and remains a highly technical one. It is one of very few completely technological cultures remaining in the Western Hemisphere. Unlike most other groups, they have a functional and highly organized central government. The official name of the government has ranged from the titles of former United States departments to more ambitious designations as their territory expands. No matter the state of affairs, the name rarely stays the same more than three years at a time. To most other groups and cultures, they are just 'The Otterman Empire," or "those tall slinky guys."
It was the Ottermen themselves who invented their own pseudo-culture, a collage of costume, armor and weapons used by the Ottoman Turks circa 14-17th Century (the Otters as a race are addicted to puns and could not resist such an obvious one). It is not, however, a significant element of their daily lives. The pseudo-Ottoman military culture is mostly what the Ottermen do on vacation -- in the winter, when the water gets too cold to swim comfortably.
Cities and regions mount 'armies' in much the same way they do sports teams, and wage mock wars in pan-regional competition, using padded weapons and arrows. Seasoned 'troops' from the games are used in more serious military and police functions in areas where the Ottermen exert control over other races. They are also used to great extent to interact with cultures outside of their own control areas, where there is some value in disguising the true extent of their technological resources.
Otter Arps are large, tailless humanoid mammals with proportions that differ from Human in having somewhat longer torsos and shorter legs. Average male height is 6'10", weight average is 240. Females average at 6'4" and are generally more lightly built. They consume an omnivorous diet leaning heavily toward meat, especially fish and other aquatic denizens. Ottermen always have anchovies on their pizzas.
Beyond all other interests and pursuits, all Ottermen learn to swim from infancy, and their world-view is strongly influenced by an amphibious lifestyle. An Otter Arp who doesn't like to swim is mentally ill; one denied access to swimable water will soon become mentally ill. They are very strong, fast swimmers, and can hold their breaths underwater for much longer than a human; five minutes normally, with eight minutes or more achievable by most individuals in an emergency.
The Otterman military focuses on cavalry, with lightning raids and quick feints. Their riders are skilled with bows, making their numbers even more effective. Otterman infantry are used to take and hold ground behind the cavalry, or to storm strongholds. Otterman troops are all well trained, and their antique equipment is the finest modern technology can produce.
The average Otterman is outgoing and humorous, industrious but with a tendency to make a game out of everything. They are highly intelligent, and take great pleasure in exploring the new and unusual. They have an alarming habit of becoming fixated on 'goals' that they will pursue beyond all reason. While not inherently mean or cruel, they are sometimes seen that way by other races when a current 'goal' (or practical joke) becomes more important to them than the well being of others.
Social gender equality is as complete as biologically possible, though size/strength differences between male and female tend to influence job specializations. The social norm is for monogamous relationships, of which formal marriage may or may not be a part. Females take primary responsibility for their children, usually with most of the rearing and education being done by the State (community).
The riding beast used by the Ottermen, known as the "giant maned weasel-mouse," is of uncertain genetic origin and is reputed to have originated from a group of "kittens" left in a basket on the doorstep of the Central River Control Agency. They are friendly, easily trained animals, and are completely impossible to ride unless one is an Otterman with 5 years of training. The tack and saddle necessary to keep a rider mounted on one is so complex that in the Otterman dialect the word "saddle" has been replaced by "Rube-Goldberg".
Otterman Infantry Officer
Stock number GCC17-2140
Out Of Print – Click here for dealer info
Officers in the Ottermen Empire are highly trained in the finer points of tactics and warfare. Many spend hundreds of hours honing their skill with boardgames designed to simulate battles.
On the field of combat, they stay on the move, directing their troops from the midst of the fray. Their chain armor and swords keep them nimble and combat-effective.
Otterman Empire Bowman
Stock number GCC17-2141
Archery is held in high regard in the Ottermen Empire, a fact this warrior takes pride in. In training or friendly battles, he uses blunt arrows and targets the body for non-lethal hits. In serious combat, he often aims for unarmored limbs, and is capable of making trick shots.
Ottermen Empire Heavy Infantryman
Stock number GCC17-2142
While the stereotype of an Otter is quick and lithe, this race does produce its share of bruisers. The Heavy Infantryman is one such fighter, covering his body with heavy scales and swinging a vicious war axe.
Light Cavalry Bowman
Stock number GCC17-2143
Out Of Print – Click here for dealer info
While the standard archer is an effective warrior on his own, when the bowman is mounted, his mobility threatens even more targets. Not only does the bizarre saddle keeps the rider steady when the giant maned weasel-mouse is stationary, but it makes firing during a charge possible.
Stock number GCC17-2144
Limited Quantity Available – click here to order!
For heavy-hitting fast strikes, the Ottermen have the Heavy Cavalry. Although the extra layers of armor slow the weasel-mouse down, their "poinging" gait allows the Heavy Cavalry to wade into the thickest battle.
The Heavy Cavalry rely on maces and the sheer mass of their armored mounts to break through an enemy's defensive line.
Heavy Cavalry Bowman
Stock number GCC17-2145
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The Ottermen place a high value on archery. Even the most heavily armored cavalry units include some archers.
Sporting heavy armor on both the rider and mount, the Heavy Cavalry Bowman works close to the front lines of the battle, alternating between his bow and his sword.