Ursidaen are generally considered to be an offshoot of the human race, their sole difference is the ability to turn into bearlike form at will. They live in small isolated communities in the North and are rarely seen in Adylheim.
Ursidaen are, in most respects, entirely similar to humans. Their physique is similar, even though some have remarked that they are usually relatively short, sturdy and in possession of more body hair than is usual. Curly hair is especially common amongst the Ursidaen. When they shapeshift they take on a bear-like form. They are different from normal bears in that they have opposable thumbs, though their paws are not nearly as good for fine manipulation as are human hands. They may look like different types of bear, some looking like black bears, other like brown bears, some even ending up as polar bears or grizzly bears. There is no known reason for why someone ends up as a specific type of bear. Due to the relatively unstable nature of the Ursidaen, their children are often deformed and if their children are not either fully human or fully bear at birth, they are usually killed by their parents. Because of this unstable nature, mating with any other races do not produce desirable results.
Changing from their bear form to their human form (or the other way around) is a painful process for the Ursidaen. Their body physically changes and they are fully conscious while their bones shift inside their bodies, their muscles grow in record time and hairs sprout or fall off all over their body. The transformation usually takes around half an hour to an hour. Due to the painful nature of the transformation and the length it takes to complete, they may stay in one shape for months without reversing to their other form.
Culture & Organization
Ursidaen live in small villages led by the Council of the Elders. These attend to any day to day needs of those who live there, including picking those who will survive birthing. Decisions are usually made by consensus of the village. Amongst themselves they speak a language called Sidaen, which can best be characterised as a series of growls and barks. The primary purpose of Sidaen is to be a tongue which can be spoken both in bear and human form. Ursidaen rely primarily on primitive Low Magic for their magical rites, many of which involve Summoning and contacting local spirits to aid them and their village. Their religion is mainly animistic in origin, often offering sacrifice to local spirits rather than the Gods, though they do not claim the gods do not exist, merely that they do not have time for them and have better things to spend their time on.