Sorry there aren't more variations & its a little messy! But I think this gets the point across pretty well. The only thing to keep in mind is that the baku in mythology is a chimeric creature, with an elephant or tapir head-ears, tiger paws, and an ox tail. For the sake of this creature, I am mixing and matching some of the animal parts (for example, giving it tiger ears instead of elephant sometimes, or piglet-like ears- and having them almost always have stubby hooves on their bottom feet). Exaggerate and switch up whatever you like, but generally the tapir head shape, and stout stature seem to be the normal for this species.
This is my species for
. Obviously, feel free to use this species for anything, or ask any questions you like about them!
Dreams or Nightmares? - The Baku
Most common elements: Spirit (and sub-spirit affinities), rarely Earth and Fire.
Hereditary magic: Magic is a fairly complex issue for the Baku. The Baku is born with no affinity at all, and instead of environment or genetics playing their cards in influence, it is mainly the magic of dreams (and the affinity of those dreaming) that affect their growth. All Baku are capable of being aware of others' dreams, daydreams and influences. Because of this, Baku are highly volatile and reactive to elements, gaining all of their variation as they grow.
Spirit is very important to the Baku because it allows their species to be higher influenced by dreams and have a heightened awareness of their dream eating abilities. Baku who have Spirit affinity usually have one or more extra elements attached. Baku who do not have a Spirit affinity of some kind will generally have one (fire, water, air, earth), though two are possible on rare occasions. Because of how much more powerful a Baku will become with a Spirit affinity, in many instances adult Baku will take baby Baku to areas of concentrated Spirit creatures for their first few months of life so their children will grow with stronger dream eating abilities.
Dreams and nightmares affect the Baku differently. Dreams over time tend to affect the Baku positively, making the Baku feel empowered by their affinity. Nightmares over time tend to also affect strongly, but cause a more negative effect of the affinity. For example, one growing up eating primarily Fire Dreams may cause the Baku to become more passionate and have brighter red or orange markings. On the other hand, one that consumes Fire Nightmares will perhaps become slightly more aggressive than a regular Baku, maybe more impulsive, and have more burnt brown and black looking markings.
Common weaknesses/resistances: While they have no specific elemental weaknesses, Baku are highly affected by those who have a weak affinity or no affinity at all. The Baku's affinity is capable of draining if around too many non-magical creatures- to the point of complete drainage within a year. If the Baku is drained of all of its magic for too long, it becomes more and more drowsy until it falls into an eternal slumber. So generally, they like to avoid creatures like Dogs and Pigeons, because they find them boring and draining- to some, even threatening to their well-being, so when choosing company they tend to like stronger influenced creatures.
If around creatures with magic simply different from their own, and they cannot learn any more affinities (IE, they lack the spirit affinity), their magic will stay intact and not dissipate, they just won't be affected by it. Most individuals won't drain from this sort of interaction, they just won't get much stronger.
Common locations and preferred environment: It is said the Baku species originated in the Valerian Utopia, a lost forest village apparently the base of a small volcano north of Mew York, but a lot of Baku are simply dispersed in smaller cities and tribes. They naturally enjoy semi-tropical, colorful forests. Since Baku grow by eating specific affinities' dreams, it is not uncommon for them to travel alone or in small groups, and they can tolerate most environments, however.
Baku do not stay in places that have high concentrations of non-magical creatures for very long. Baku who DO decide to live in large non-magical cities for a long time will typically make a voyage once a year to feast on the dreams of creatures to replenish their magic, or have to join large groups of other Baku and willing hosts to be eaten within the city. This is very draining and stressful for them physically, however, so most avoid this fate.
Sentience: All Baku are sentient.
Language: All are capable of speaking Common, and can speak to other Baku telepathically or through dreams. If the Baku is Spirit, their telepathic and dream speaking/affecting abilities are extended to other species if the other creatures minds allow it (some creatures are unaffected and hard to get into the minds of- especially creatures who can control or freeze minds).
Trivia: It is in the Baku's nature to be somewhat shy and superstitious. Because they have very good intuition and can see into the minds and dreams of others, they can feel like they know too much about others to get well acquainted with them. For the same reason, some creatures are afraid of being around Baku in fear of their insecurities and secrets will be known- even though Baku aren't known to share these secrets- they are hard for a lot of insecure creatures to trust. Baku tend to look and act somewhat sleepy a lot of the time, and are generally fairly docile and non-aggressive. The more magic it has, the more awake a Baku may seem.
All Baku are born black with white stripes, and they get their physical attributes as they grow up, physically and mentally influenced by the dreams they eat. Once they are an adult, their bodies don't change colors and shape as drastically at all, even if their affinities can still change. At most, they gain a new color of stripe alongside the ones they grew up with, or maybe grow in size and their features may simply become more exaggerated because of gaining more magic, but it won't change their overall appearance as much as it would have if they had grown up consuming new affinities.
There are tales of a mythical Baku who became monstrous and ate the dreams and all the nightmares of all creatures it came into contact with, strong enough to fully steal all affinities it came into contact with, and became all the elements at once. Nobody knows if this is even possible, however. For some Baku, this is an empowering tale. For others, it is terrifying.