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Children of the Earthmother - A guide to tauren roleplay (incomplete)
[Image: M1QQ5kc.jpg]

Children of the Earthmother - A guide to tauren roleplay


The Tauren, also known as Shu'halo in their own native language, Taur-ahe, are large, bovine-like beings who carry a great respect for the land. They are strong, but also wise and pondering, a reason that leads many to label them as "gentle giants".

In this guide I will use information from quest text and official sources external to the game (eg. novels and short stories), in hopes that I will be able to teach you how to play a tauren character.

Speculation and bits taken directly from the wikis, granted that they come from the sources I mentioned previously, will be signaled appropriately - speculation will always be marked by two asterisks (**) and bits taken from wikis will be sourced. Information from the RPG, which is regarded as non-canon, will be given in a later, independent section, for it might prove useful to give your roleplay some flavour if used with caution.



Little is known about the tauren and their past before recent times. However, the most important tauren myths have been recorded on banners that can be found in the tent of the Archdruid of Thunderbluff (Hamuul Runetotem). Below is a summary of the myths, along with a link to the full version, taken from WOWpedia.

WOWpedia Wrote:Mists of Dawn
The earliest of the tauren myths, the Mists of Dawn, recounts the creation of the world and the tauren race by a deity called the Earthmother. Before the age of memory, the Earthmother breathed the world into existence from the golden mists, transforming the clouds into rich, endless fields of grain. She created day and night by alternately opening and closing her right and left eyes, An'she (the sun), and Mu'sha (the moon), respectively. The shadow of her hands caused the Tauren, the Shu'halo, the Children of the Earth, to rise up from the soil. They swore to follow their creator until the end of the world.

Sorrow of the Earthmother
The next myth of the Shu'halo, chronologically, speaks of the falling away of the tauren from their initial state of grace. Whispers rose up from far beneath the world, where the Titans had chained the Old Gods. The tauren fell under the sway of these whispers, and learned of malice and deceit. The Earthmother felt a great sorrow at this, and in her grief, tore out her eyes, the sun and moon, and sent them chasing one another across the stars. The Earthmother, now sightless, remained to listen to and guide her children.

The White Stag and the Moon
This tale speaks of how the Earthmother gave the Shu'halo the love of the hunt. The tauren became great hunters, but one spirit eluded them, Apa'ro, the white stag (called Malorne by the night elves.) The tauren hunted Apa'ro to the ends of Azeroth, and finally the stag fled into the heavens, where his great antlers became tangled in the stars. As the moon, Mu'sha, chased her brother across the skies, she saw the helpless stag, and immediately fell in love with him.

Mu'sha saved the great stag, and in return he loved her, and they conceived a child, Cenarius, a demigod, union of the sky and the earth.

Forestlord and the First Druids
Cenarius grew to be as proud as his father, and in time befriended the tauren. He taught them the druidic ways, how to speak to the trees and animals. With this knowledge, the tauren aided the demigod in keeping the land safe.

Hatred of the Centaur
The last of the traditional tauren stories takes place after the fading of the Mists of Dawn and the beginning of the Age of Memory. When Cenarius eventually left the tauren they were saddened by the loss, and over generations they forgot the bulk of his druidic teachings, though they always retained their respect for the earth.

Though the tauren forgot how to speak to the forests, they lived in peace, no longer tempted by the dark whispers from beneath the world. In time, however, a great storm rode out from the west. The barbaric centaur swept into the tauren's lands. The tauren fought nobly, but the power of the centaur was too great. The Children of the Earth were then forced to wander the world as nomads for eons, staying in no place too long.

The most important information to retain from these myths is:
  • The tauren believe that they were created by the Earthmother;
  • An'she and Mu'sha are the eyes of the Earthmother and represent the Sun and the Moon, respectively. Tauren believe the night/day cycle can be explained by their eternal mutual chase;
  • **It is possible that some Tauren were afflicted by the whispers of the Old Gods for a time, but those whispers eventually ceased, before the Centaurs began their attacks;**
  • The tauren have a great love for the hunt that, they believe, was bestowed to them by the Earthmother, making it a very important part of their lives;
  • The fact that Cenarius was born to Mu'sha and Apa'ro (Malorne) makes it possible to create a connection between Mu'sha and Elune;
  • They claim to have been the first to be taught the ways of druidism by Cenarius himself thousands of years ago, a knowledge that was later forgotten, and eventually re-learned. Despite this, they have never forgotten their respect for the land;
  • A few generations after Cenarius left them, the tauren were forced into becoming nomadic creatures due to the attacks of the brutal Centaur, and they have roamed the land until very recently.

The wikis feature a section about the War of the Ancients, but the tauren played no role in them in the primary timeline, so I will refrain from talking about it, although it is interesting to note that the Night Elves viewed them as little more than savages in that period.

Before the Horde

Most information for this and later history sections is taken from the official site and WOWpedia For more information, play Warcraft III, read the novels and short stories, and complete all the quests featuring tauren (gasp!).

As dictated by the last Myth, the tauren have been nomads for a long time prior to their firstcontact with the Horde. They roamed the Barrens, hunting for a living and never staying in one place for too long.

Although split into different tribes, the tauren were united by a common enemy: the marauding centaur. These primitive horse-men terrorized central Kalimdor, leaving only death and suffering in their wake. In spite of their best efforts, they failed to put an end to the centaur attacks. Over the years, the centaur wiped out the wild game of the land, threatening the tauren with starvation.

The New Horde

[Image: 4pdFpBe.jpg]
Cairne Bloodhoof, deceased chieftain of the Bloodhoof tribe and high chieftain of the united tauren tribes.

During the Third War, the chieftain Cairne Bloodhoof had a chance encounter with the orcish Horde that would alter the destiny of the tauren forever. After befriending Warchief Thrall, Cairne and his Bloodhoof tribe were able to fend off the centaur as they journeyed to the fertile lands of Mulgore.

Owing a blood-debt to the orcs for their assistance, the tauren joined Thrall on Mount Hyjal to defend Kalimdor from an invasion by the demonic Burning Legion.

Following the Legion’s defeat, the tauren who helped defend Hyjal returned to their new home in Mulgore. For the first time in millennia, the tauren had a land to call their own. For this alone they were forever indebted to their orcish allies. Upon the windswept mesa of Thunder Bluff, Cairne built a refuge for his people, where tauren of every tribe were welcome.

Many tauren who traveled to the capital were content with Cairne’s vision of a peaceful and harmonious future, but at least one tribe felt otherwise. The stern Grimtotem tribe looked upon Kalimdor’s other races as inferior and believed that its matriarch, Magatha, was the only one fit to rule the tauren. Although Magatha constantly disagreed with Cairne over the direction of their nation, the elder crone nonetheless coexisted alongside him in Thunder Bluff without major incident. The Grimtotem tribe did not, however, join the Horde along with Cairne and the tauren under his rule.


[Image: W40dLlD.jpg]
Baine Bloodhoof, son of Cairne and new high chieftain of the tauren.

For years the tauren flourished throughout Mulgore, but tragedy befell the noble race following the campaign against the Lich King in Northrend. Believing that the reckless new warchief, Garrosh Hellscream, would lead the Horde to ruin, Cairne challenged the young upstart to a duel. The tauren high chieftain fought with a ferocity that belied his age, but an act of betrayal had sealed his fate before the battle had even begun. Unbeknownst to either of the duel’s combatants, Magatha had poisoned Garrosh’s blade. After Cairne was wounded by the tainted weapon during combat, he was immobilized by the poison, and Garrosh was able to slay him.

Following the high chieftain’s death, Magatha’s Grimtotem agents stormed Thunder Bluff and seized the tauren capital as their own. They had also hoped to murder Cairne’s son, Baine, but the young tauren managed to elude his would-be assassins. After formulating a strategy to exact retribution upon Magatha, Baine launched a counterattack and wrested Thunder Bluff from the hands of the treacherous matriarch. Ultimately, rather than spill further blood, Baine banished Magatha and all other Grimtotem who still supported her from tauren lands.

That was not the last hit that the Tauren received...

Camp Narache is currently under siege by the quilboar, who have begun to leave the tunnels of Bramblebade Ravine. They have distorted Red Cloud Mesa visibly, by growing thorned vines on every piece of land they snatched and burning huts present in the current warzone where they fight the tauren braves.

Grimtotem forces were able to corrupt the water wells within Mulgore. However Baine's forces were able to heal the wells and kill Orno Grimtotem, the leader of the Grimtotem forces invading Mulgore.

In addition, Alliance forces that invaded the Barrens, burned Camp Taurajo to the ground. The survivors fled to Camp Una'fe and Vendetta Point. To protect Mulgore from being invaded, the tauren created a mighty wall named the Great Gate.

While these and many other chaotic events have transpired in recent months, Baine has bravely taken up the mantle of tauren leadership and is now focused on ruling just as his wise and benevolent father would have.


Hunting is a very important aspect in tauren society. [1] **It is likely that young tauren (sometimes called youngblood) will have to partake in a hunt to prove themselves to the tribe.** A tauren skilled in the ways of the hunt knows that his prey is not for mere trophy. The beasts of the plains provide them with a means of survival. [2] Such is the way of the beast, which only seeks to feed itself, and whose hunting is considered pure. [3] For the tauren, more than a sport and a means of survival, hunt is regarded as a great honour. [4]

[Image: tauren04-large.jpg]
A female tauren looking for prey.

Balance is a key aspect in their culture: when an elder departs, a young tauren will take his or hers place. [5] It is also the reason for the creation of the order of the Sunwalkers, who revere An’she much like how the druids revere Mu’sha, the Sun and the Moon, two faces of the same coin.

There is nothing more sacred for the tauren than the land itself. They know that secrets lie deep within the earth, but they condone hollowing and defiling of the land, which is what the dwarves were doing in Mulgore in order to discover more about their heritage, for it is not the way to earn the teachings of the Earthmother. [6] Also, the tauren will not forgive those who fiddle with the natural course of life, especially if unprovoked – for example, the gnolls of Mulgore were punished for killing beasts needlessly. [7]

A tauren's tribe is highly valued in his or her life. Tribesmen work together to face adversity and survive, [8], and, no matter how old, a Tauren elder will still help the tribe to the best of his or hers abilities. [as proved by Greatmother Hawkwind] **As for leadership, it is fair to assume that most tribes and/or villages are led by a leader who takes care of the matters of the physical world (a warrior or hunter, perhaps a Sunwallker) and another one who attends to tasks related to the spiritual world (a shaman, maybe even a druid or seer), as noted by the conjunct leadership of Zarlman Two-Moons and Baine Bloodhoof in Bloodhoof Village prior to Cataclysm.**

Humility and the desire to learn are much appreciated traits in Tauren society. [9] This love for humility makes it so that any task, even the most humble one, is recognized by the elders **and possibly other members of the tribe**, for it also helps the tribe despite coming across as trivial to some. [10]

The death of a tauren is generally regarded with a mixture of grief and acceptance, as it is part of the natural course of Nature. The most common ritual to honour the dead consists in having the body of the defunct wrapped in a blanket and then laid on top of a structure supported by four totems, with a pyre underneath. Later, an offering is made and the pyre lit, the flames consuming the body as the spirit of the departed leaves its earthly shell to join the ancestors. Two examples of speeches that one might hear in such a funeral:

Quote:Chief Hawkwind says: Earth Mother, into your arms we give one of our own. She is Unaya Hawkwind, my mother, and Greatmother to us all; the wisest of our tribe.
Chief Hawkwind says: May her spirit fly to you swiftly; may the winds carry her gently, and the grass whisper her name.
Chief Hawkwind says: Watch over her as she has watched over us; let her look down on us with joy, through the eternal gaze of An'she and Mu'sha, until we too join her in death.
Chief Hawkwind says: For we are all born of you, and shall all return to you.

(taken from,_First_Rites)

Quote:Orcish Orphan says: So this is how a chieftain is honored!
Baine Bloodhoof says: Elders of Thunder Bluff, I have called you together in the sight of the ancestors to honor my father, Cairne Bloodhoof.
Baine Bloodhoof says: Father, you were a man who led wisely, who battled skillfully, and who always sought the best for your people.
Arch Druid Hamuul Runetotem says: When my druids and I were ambushed by renegade orcs, you challenged Warchief Garrosh to trial by combat to answer for their deaths, chieftain.
Hamuul Runetotem places his torch on the pyre.
Kador Cloudsong says: You fought bravely, chieftain, but Grimtotem treachery poisoned Garrosh's weapon and denied you fair combat.
Kador Cloudsong says: May your spirit know peace. Magatha and her kin were driven from the city and your worthy son carries on your legacy.
Kador Cloudsong places his torch on the pyre.
Baine Bloodhoof says: May your spirit continue to guide us, father, as you did in life.
Baine Bloodhoof places his torch on the pyre.
The spirits of Elders Bloodhoof, Runetotem, Skyseer, Mistwalker, Stonepire and Dreamseer appear.
Elder Runetotem says: We know you, Cairne Bloodhoof, and your people have told us of your deeds. You are welcome at the hearth of the ancestors.
The elders bow before Cairne Bloodhoof as his spirit rises from the pyre and they walk away together before vanishing.

(taken from

A video of this scene voiced by Jesse Cox can be seen in the spoiler below.


It is important to note, however, that only the most valiant tauren are laid to rest at Red Rocks, the tauren’s sacred burial ground. It is an honor bestowed upon the great warriors who helped found and defend Thunder Bluff and those who have given their lives for the greater good of their tribes and chieftains. [11]

Recently, the ancient yeena'e ceremony has been brought back by the Sunwalkers. (detailed in the short story Bleeding Sun; I’ll eventually elaborate on it)

Faith and Spirituality

Much about this regard has already been discussed in the previous sections, but here we will elaborate some points.

A tauren's faith is directed first and foremost to the Earthmother, the one responsible for creating both the lands and the tauren, and who still guides them to this day. She is the embodiment of all life and of Nature, two things that the tauren worship with fervour. Mu'sha, the moon, and An'she, the sun, are her two eyes that she tore apart upon seeing her children fall prey to dark whispers from below the earth millennia ago. Tauren druids revere Mu'sha and Sunwalkers and seers revere An'she, although all tauren give their due respect and adoration to both.

Tauren are deeply connected to their Ancestors, and shaman are often given advice on various matters, usually via their dreams. The Ancestors may even give away due praise or make requests to the living by communicating with the shaman. [12] Spirits also play an important role in the beliefs of the tauren. They seek to appease to them, for they, like the Earthmother, embody aspects of the land itself. [13] Thus, shamans play an important role in tauren society, serving as guides for those who desire the wisdom of the spirits and the Ancestors.

[Image: RLpqFDV.jpg]
A tauren letting the wind carry golden dust over the plains.

The Rites of the Earthmother

The rites presented in Cataclysm appear to only be directed at aspirant tauren braves, that is, tauren who take up arms, whether to fight or to guard. [14] However, in the World of Warcraft (vanilla) questline, there is no such a reference. **Thus, it would be safe to assume that the rites in Cataclysm are specific for tauren braves, but other tauren may embark in different rites, possibly following the basic structure of ‘strength, vision, and wisdom’ present in the quests before Cataclysm.**

As of Cataclysm, these are the parts that constitute the Rites of the Earthmother [15]:

Quote:Rite of Strength: the first ceremony, proving physical strength.
Rite of Courage: to prove bravery in the face of the enemy.
Rite of Honor: to uphold the honor of your people.
Rite of the Winds: willingness to seek the unknown.
Rite of Vision: willingness to follow the guidance of the spirits.
Rite of Wisdom: to honor one's ancestors.

Since there is no further official word on the matter, feel free to adjust these rites and assign different tasks that your tauren accomplished in their youth. There exist many different tribes, after all, and no tribe is obliged to hold the same customs in detail. It should be noted, however, that the difficulty of the rites that the questline implies are actually out of ordinary for the regular young tauren, and, in fact, they are far more difficult. [16]

If you seek more information on this matter, please take your time to read the quest text of all the rites. You can find them here.

This was just intended to be a research on the tauren, and then I ended up writing a guide. Uh. Feel free to shoot down any oddities and just give feedback in general.

Planned sections missing:

Equipment and buildings
Relationships with other races
Information from the RPG

Good luck!

Posted from my phone!
The true test of his choice lies forward.
— The story of the Silithian.

See life through shades of silver.
Though it's unfinished (I think) this guide by Beltharean was pretty expansive. Maybe it'll help.
[Image: tumblr_nfm4t0FZcT1rtcd58o1_r1_500.gif]
(01-12-2014, 09:31 AM)c0rzilla Wrote: Though it's unfinished (I think) this guide by Beltharean was pretty expansive. Maybe it'll help.

My problem with that guide is that a good portion of it is taken from the Horde Player's Guide, which is considered non-canon. That is one of the reasons that led me to create my own guide, that sticks to canon as closely as possible. However, the plan for the final section (about the RPG information) is to link that guide (and possibly all RPG books), since it essentially contains RPG information, and possibly comment on the likehood of some claims, because, in my opinion, while a few are fair others are so elaborated that they seem dubious at best.

Also, thanks for the positive feedback so far!
Very nice! Hopefully you'll include information about the two Tauren subraces (Taun'ka and Yaungol).
Do you have what it takes to join the Fighting Blues?
Do you have what it takes to defend your homeland?
Will you stand up in defense of the innocent? The weak?
Will you stand up in defense of Justice and the Law?

[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRVE3uy8TjirssygDEKMi2...Ia13_WYQpw]

Aawwwwyeaaaa! Cows!
[Image: dean2s.png]
As per Thoradin's suggestion, and taking in account that Sub-race CMCs may become more easily attainable in the future, I am currently writing a sub-race section (only for Taunka for now, since the Yaungol are MoP-only so not very interesting for CoTHians due to that). I was wondering if you guys think I should put that section in the guide as I was planning or if it's enough to warrant its own thread?

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