Understanding Ironhoof, Lord Of Beast Valley

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The son of Orlanth and the horse goddess, this demigod ruler of the Beast Men has reincarnated several times throughout – and even before – history, most recently in 1615. He adopted the Grazeland Pony Breeders and was the first sacred King of Dragon Pass. Ironhoof is a centaur and lord of all horses.

Ironhoof is a liminal being: half-man, half-horse; half-god, half mortal. He is caught between the two natures he embodies – both an embodiment of untamed nature and a wise teacher and just ruler. I’ve heard stories that Ironhoof’s spirit resides at the Wild Temple and takes corporeal form when summoned by the Beast Men. The Beast Men, when led by Ironhoof,, bore great friendship for the Grazelanders, always sided with them during the first wars after humans had resettled the Pass. As politics became more complicated (particularly after 1380), Ironhoof became more reserved, and often commanded his subjects to avoid all human contact. Even the Grazelanders became suspect after a time.When the Hero Wars period began, the general increase of magical energies attracted the Beast Men from their lairs, and they could often be seen marching or scouting for either of the major combatants. Mercenary regiments of half-men were often hired, while Ironhoof himself would lead his armies in person when their interests were involved.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The “re-emergence” of the Beast Men as a significant faction in Dragon Pass was likely a response to the major release of magical energies in the Hero Wars era. Previously, humans just generally avoided going through Beast Valley, and the Beast Men, for the most part, stayed put. Sure wandering satyrs and centaurs might be seen in Sartar or Sun County, but they were no more notable than the occasion elf or troll.

But in the Hero Wars, Beast Men mercenaries became a common sight. Most were mere mobs of beasts – minotaurs, manticores, and other half-men hybrids. But some were bands of centaur skirmishers and archers.