Ursinal


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This caste of the guardinals serves as the sages and information brokers both to that celestial kind and the entirety of the Upper Planes. Slow to anger, they tend to remain amongst the home planes, rarely venturing forth with their kin on the raids common amongst their more passionate kin.

Culture

Ursinals serve as the backbone of the guardinals; recording their history, advising their members, and debating the very nature of their various missions and tactics. These wise beings are renown for their ability to find whatever knowledge is needed to best answer a given problem. If not through the multiplanar bonds of communication both physical and magical they maintain between one another to better exchange new findings and interesting developments, then through the vast network of connections most all ursinals build purely by nature of their work.

The specific nature of an ursinal can vary greatly. While many of them epitomize the ancient sage holed within their tower, others are lone explorers venturing out to uncover hidden secrets through direct exploration. Still others infiltrate, delving into the ranks of enemy and neutral peoples and kinds to learn from within. (And, according to some, even allies on occasion.) Still, one constant is that ursinals tend to work alone, or with as few people as possible. While they may be eager to share the results of their chosen profession, this rarely extends to the discovery itself.

The ursinals are currently "led" by the Duchess Callisto, the most recent representative of her caste among Prince Talisid's Five Companions. As with the other castes, though, her leadership is for the most part in name only. She gained her position some years ago, and has maintained it thanks to her ability — through respect for her knowledge and experience, as well as simply the far greater number of connections and favors she holds — to marshal the efforts of far more of her kin than most. Even while traveling with Talisid, she still maintains contact with her colleagues, both for her own benefit and theirs.

Appearance

Ursinals appear as humanoids of 8-9 feet tall, with bear-like characteristics that range in prominence from barely noticeable to hardly distinguishable as humanoid. Most though, as with other guardinals, appear between these extremes, with lightly furred bodies (usually from golden-brown to red, rarely black or white), bear-like faces with muzzles, and high-perched, tufted ears. Most are clawed to one degree or another, and all have a great strength they can bring against their enemies should the need arise, far greater than even their size would suggest.

References

  • Book of Exalted Deeds, pgs.174-175
  • Planes of Conflict - Liber Benevolentiae, pg.51
  • Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II, pg.49
  • Warriors of Heaven, pgs.74,81-82
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