CENTAUR CULTURE:  A Brief Description of Our Society
by Halth of the Idatsa-teh
"...Centaur culture is centered around the tribe, the village or camp, and
the family.  Many outsiders might take this to mean that we are a primitive
society, but in reality these associations are loose compared to those of
other cultures, and for this reason our civilization has been more flexible
and adaptable.  At any rate, tribal affiliation plays an important part in
our initial assessments of each other because, as in other societies, each
group's traditional and historical role gives rise to generalizations and
stereotypes, both favorable and not so favorable.
The five centaur tribes are Yazze, Desapva, Mel'nas, Hostia, and Idatsa-teh.
These tribes are joined together in an alliance we call the Centaur
Federation, and each tribe can call on all the others for help in a moment's
notice should our race come under attack.
While there is frequent tension between two or more of the tribes, one of
the main tenets of every tribe is that Centaurs must all help one another in
times of need, no matter what their differences.  Oral history and ancient
texts point to more than one time in history when our race nearly destroyed
itself by engaging in internal strife while a common enemy killed us off.
It is said that in ancient times, one whole tribe, the Aru, was destroyed as
a result of brutal infighting.  Recognizing that disunity is a major
weakness to be overcome, our people now put aside their arguments when facing
a common enemy.  The current state of peace between the Centaur Federation
and the outside world should not be mistaken for a weakness, however.  It is
common knowledge that one of our people in simple hand to hand combat with
a human, dwarf, gnome, elf, deep-elf, halfling, or sprite (if the sprite can be
caught) will be able to quickly render the said humanoid into a meaty paste.
Thus, centaurs with weapons, armor, and magic are truly a force to be
We live not in tribal groups per se, but rather in groups of families that
form a village or camp.  These villages and camps are usually dominated by
one tribe in number, but in no other way.  Still, we refer to these camps by
the name of the tribe that dominates its population--a "Hostia camp" or a
"Yazze village" can have members of any other tribe living in it.  There is
a high degree of intermarriage between tribes, especially during the
seasonal Centaur Federation gatherings.  Membership in a tribe is 
matrilineal--the child of a couple belongs to the tribe of the mother, though
ties to the father's tribe are carefully maintained.
Especially important to our culture is our origin and the consequences for
centaur religion.  All centaurs but those few who completely reject their
heritage hold the Goddess of Nature to be our creator and patron.  Even
centaurs who are formal members of other religions (and this is not frowned
upon) pay homage to the Lady Nashira at least once a year.  Centaurs worship
the immortals they follow in a true and steadfast manner, preferring
to offer heartfelt prayers or small but meaningful offerings rather than
memorized sayings and mechanical rituals.
In keeping with our origins and our preference to live in the wild, we try
not to stay in urban areas unless we have business there.  The accomodations
in humanoid cities is often unsatisfactory, and unthinking people often
assume that we wish to sleep in a barn and eat hay, as if we were merely
horses.  Matters are made more difficult by the small size of humanoid
buildings.  As well as causing some of us claustrophobia, it is difficult to
maneuver oneself without knocking something or someone over..."
See also: Yazze Desapva Mel'nas Hostia Idatsa-teh