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Few individuals outside of the dreaming west have seen a montaran in person. The montaran are an insular society of sentient fungi living deep within the continent that is commonly known as the dreaming west. Montaran are best described as a race of sentient fungi. The physical characteristics for a montaran can vary widely. The majority of a montaran’s body is recycled dead tissue from other races, they are incapable of supporting a living brain on their own chitin and fluids. Given the montaran’s isolation, anharr corpses are the most often used to form body tissue. The fungi forms a bond with the dead flesh and replaces the bits too rotten to be used with hard chitin. The end result is about an 80/20 mix of dead body to fungi. This can involve multiple bodies depending on how mutilated the dead are to begin with. Respect for the dead is an alien concept to this race everything is stripped down and only useful pieces are used. While anharr corpses are the most often used, foreign races are highly prized and some rich montaran have been know to pay handsomely for aelfe blooded bodies.
In most cases the montaran will elect to keep a fungi face as they do not communicate in the same manner as most races. The montaran typically communicate by releasing methane and other vapors released by decomposing flesh. If a montaran needs to communicate with an outsider they will take a face for the purposes of communication. With a dead face the montaran can converse like any other species. This significant language barrier is one of the reasons they prefer to be isolated.
Montarans have little cultural need for clothing. To keep the decayed naughty bits of other species covered many will elect to wear the clothing the corpses died in. Most montarans can not spare the expense to clothe themselves for fashion purposes. Rich montarans will have clothes made for them as a status symbol.
This race is predisposed to industrial pursuits, they have a low opinion of nature and do not feel connected to it. Organic matter is a means to an end and useful only in how it furthers the interests of the species. The isolation of the montaran hinders their industrial pursuits significantly but they try in their own capacity to advance and bend nature to their will. The montaran fancy themselves as the ultimate apex predator and are extremely arrogant about the fact that they consume all living things in the end (They’re not super douchey about it though, they just treat other races like you would a pet). For this reason the race looks very favorably on the practice of necromancy. Necromancers are a common site in larger Montaran towns and villages.
The montaran are a spiritual people but they do not subscribe to a deity. They worship raw life force and that spark that makes something alive. Chitin idols have been erected in many settlements to personify this intangible idea and give people a place to focus their joy and praise. It is very similar to sun worship that you see in some primitive tribal cultures.
The lifespan of a montaran is hard to calculate, they will periodically replace all of their body parts and become unrecognizable to outsiders. Theoretically they could live a very long time but they are usually undone by a shortage of corpse parts. Mantaran are only capable of living for brief periods with insufficient body parts, if they cannot replace the necessary parts the brain dies. Before discovering other species, fully grown Montaran lived for about a week. Once brain death occurs the montaran is indistinguishable from normal fungal growths and will continue to live as a non sentient organism until it runs out of food to decompose. The original montaran settlements are built from the still living but brain dead remains of past rulers and heros. Shaping the growth of dead montarans is a highly prized artform that is as much architecture as it is botany.
Most fighting done by montarans is internal between local rulers over scarce resources such as fresh bodies. In these fights stealth is the most important factor. The easiest way to settle any conflict is to steal the supply of fresh body parts from the opposing side. Without fresh parts the attrition rates for montarans can skyrocket and lead to massive casualties. When outside threats appear the montarans try to present a united front. They favor narrow piercing blades and arrows in battle because blunt weapons mess up the corpses too much to be used later. Prisoners of war are taken at every opportunity to ensure a longer lasting supply of fresh bodies in the future. While the montarans have attempted to industrialize and modernize they are woefully behind other lands that are much more open to trade. The best montaran troops will have modern equipment but the majority of soldiers will use hand me down swords and armor. During particularly large battles recruits will follow behind veterans and pick up his equipment once he dies.