Straaden (wood folk)
Straad or Striders are four armed forest dwellers. They are the ancient race, being they were created as the first moral race about 1800 years before the other races. They have a thick bark-like skin colored light brown to gray and are about as tall as an elf. They reproduce slowly (which is an unknown process) and will eat meat, but are mostly vegetarian.
Straad are shy, and live in small clusters, forming a loosely connected network that can web for thousands of square miles. These clusters are well hidden and its almost impossible to find them even if you know where it is. The clusters can communicate to each other using magic communication devices or by speaking with animals. They disdain fighting for territory or for honor, but are quick to defend their homes with powerful magic, poisons, and acids. Straaden trained in melee are entrancing when watched. They move with grace and great precision over their body. They can deliver blows quickly and strongly. Some say the early monk cults learned many fighting techniques from Straaden, as they move in similar fashion. Younger Straad will often hunt great beasts as a trail of their fighting abilities, but usually only fight unarmed.
They may venture out to establish relations, trade for rare items or exchange information. But do so seldom, and when so only the most revered and skilled will leave and they only specifically seek what they left to find. Straaden goods are beautiful but simple. They are somewhat random in when and how they create objects and where they put their time. They seem to wear lavish and ornately decorated tabards and cloaks for no visible reason or suggestion of authority. Some have theorized that they have a hive-mind like government system, where all are connected and can voice opinion. Their homes are simple and made mostly of living plants. Straad are master users of Nature and Healing Magic. On some rare occurrences men have been healed or raised when fighting honorably if they fall near enough to Straad territory.