The Oathsworn of Stonewind
Playing a non-Tauren character is more difficult than playing a Tauren in Stonewind. This section is meant to give some guidelines to having a non-Tauren in a Tauren guild. Nothing stated here is a hard rule. A wide diversity of characters can and do work in Stonewind, Tauren or not. These are simply factors that you may want to consider before pledging your non-Tauren to the tribe.
Oathsworn should thoroughly consider how they want to, or even if they want to, participate in Tauren culture. Otherwise, they may struggle to engage with Stonewind as a guild, as many of our events and opportunities for RP are based on the traditions and rites of the Tauren people.
If you do choose to play a non-Tauren character, you will need to learn the basic lore for the race of your chosen character AND that of the Tauren. If you have a non-Tauren character that you think would be a good fit for Stonewind, we encourage you to apply.
However, we also encourage you to consider the points below, and think about how you might go about answering the questions put forward before you have your character make the leap into tribal life.
Oathsworn are non-Tauren characters that have pledged themselves to a Tauren tribe. They make up a minority of Stonewind, and their low numbers are not without reason. Oathsworn have extra challenges to face in joining and staying with a Tauren-themed guild, challenges that a Tauren character generally doesn’t have to deal with.
Before you ask if your non-Tauren character can join Stonewind, you will need to consider why your character wants to join Stonewind in the first place, same as a Tauren player would. There is, however, a much more fundamental, and very often overlooked, question that a potential Oathsworn should be thinking about:
Why does your character want to join a Tauren tribe?
This seems like it’s asking the same question as before. However, you have to consider that a non-Tauren has a lot more to think about in joining Tauren society as a whole than a Tauren character would.
The Tauren have been a nomadic people for generations, only having established permanent settlements relatively recently. Theirs is a life centered around the Hunt, with deep ties to the land and all that inhabit it. At a glance, this may sound like an idyllic life, but it should be borne in mind that the lifestyle can be a difficult one. For a character that didn’t grow up in this tribal way of life, it might make for a jarring change of pace.
Consider the Pandaren, a race that shares quite a bit values-wise with Tauren culture. A Pandaren looking for a place to call home on Kalimdor may reasonably find common cause with a Tauren tribe. However, the vast majority of Pandaren are accustomed to an agrarian (farming) way of life, not the hunter-gatherer based lifestyle that most tribes live by. The way of the hunt is central to Tauren culture, with farming still being a new concept. If your character doesn’t share this hunter-gatherer mindset, or else has no drive to explore or participate in it, then the character may face difficulties enjoying their time with the tribe.
Giving more examples, most trolls and orcs would have to make some lifestyle changes, but could probably adapt fairly quickly to living off the land, as that's a part of their cultures as well.
However, consider races like the Sin'dorei and Nightborn. Even with considerable variations in backstory, the lifestyle changes they would likely have to make in order to function in Tauren society might be overwhelming. Furthermore, they may face being ostracized from their fellow elves, should word get back about their new living arrangements. It’s not without reason why blood elves, goblins, and forsaken are conspicuously absent from the Stonewind roster. It’s not because we explicitly forbid it. Rather, it is because the odds of an individual of those races being compatible with Tauren culture are extremely low. Not impossible, mind you, but they would definitely be the exception to the rule, and would only be considered after careful vetting.
Sharing the values of Tauren culture can be helpful, but it is important to remember that a huge portion of Tauren culture is steeped in tradition and ceremony. How is, say, a troll, whose traditional belief system is based around the Loa, going to feel about the praising of the Earthmother?
To be clear, your character does not have to believe in the religion of the Tauren. However, they should have an open mind when it comes to many of the ceremonies that the Tauren people hold dear. If the idea of going on a Vision Quest makes your character laugh, then the Tauren culture is probably not for them.
Tauren take their spiritual teachings very seriously, and failing to respect that is unlikely to be received well. Your character should know what they are getting themselves into before they try to join this culture. They don’t need to know every detail of the Tauren way of life, but should at least know the basics enough to say whether or not it will work for them.
So your character is un-phased by the lifestyle and culture of a Tauren tribe. Great! Now, why would they want to be a part of this culture rather than, say, their culture of birth? And just saying that the Tauren “seem like nice people” does not cut it. Your character is consciously removing themselves from their own culture to join another. As a result, they need to have thought about why they are making such a possibly drastic change.
Think of it as though you were choosing to move to another country. If you keep using your former cultural norms, speaking the same language, and generally behaving like you never left home, then chances are you’re not going to fit in all that well with the locals. That’s fine, if you’re a tourist. However, if you plan on living there permanently, you had better be prepared to adopt a different mindset.
Remember, not all Tauren are nice. Some Tauren may not accept a non-Tauren into their social circles, or may otherwise be slow to warm to a foreign member, regardless of what the character does. A Tauren doesn’t have to be Grimtotem to be closed-minded. Your character is going to stand out, which may add a layer of difficulty in living day to day that your character might not want to deal with. It would generally be easier for individuals to stay with their own kind in this scenario, so why is your character choosing to step out of this otherwise comfortable zone?
There are many ways that you can address this, some simple, some less so. Maybe your character is unhappy with aspects of their own culture, and sees Tauren culture as a preferable alternative. Maybe your character is fascinated by the Tauren way of life, and wants the opportunity to experience it first hand (to good or ill effect). Or maybe your character has some sort of connection to the Tauren people through their backstory (a debt, an inspiration, etc.) that drives them to want to become more involved with the culture, despite the misgivings or difficulties they may face in making the adjustment.
The character’s motivation doesn’t have to be perfectly clear. However, you should be aware that your character will be asked this question at some point. In addition, it is perfectly fine if your character struggles to adapt to the culture; it can make for some genuinely fun RP to participate in.
This is why it’s important that your character have a motivation to participate in the Tauren way of life, so that they can keep at it even when they face an uphill battle.
Playing an Oathsworn can be a challenging and rewarding RP experience. If your character wants to be a part of our Tribe, we would love to meet them and learn their story!