The Toru come from Fritz Leiber’s The Wanderer, which is not a great book. Their society is completely un-known, and while the primary example is a cat-person, there are apparently other anthropomorphic races who live on their world, as well. While the name has been changed, the specifics of Paizo’s world remain the same for these Toru: their planet has an elongated orbit that causes winter and summer to last for generations, and fall and winter to last for a single generation. They are, culturally, dragon-riders, though this isn’t necessarily reflected in their stats. In fact, stat-wise, they’re slightly cat-like humans, a great race choice for something that’s almost human, but different enough to feel like something else.
Due to the long, slow orbit of the planet Rhysis, its seasons last for generations. Nearly two hundred years pass before summer begins to change to winter, and back again. The races of Rhysis have adapted to this shift, over time, and none moreso than the Toru, the planet’s dominant race. Toru are cat-like in appearance, lightly furred in the Summer and thickly coated in the Winter, with pointed ears and lithe movements.
Ability score increase. Choose either Dexterity or Charisma. That ability score increases by 2.
Age. Toru mature more quickly than humans do, reaching adulthood by the age of 14. Their adulthood lasts much longer before they are considered old, however, and they rarely live longer than 80 years.
Alignment. During the Winter, Toru value community and careful observance of the social order necessary to survive the long, harsh decades. During the Summer, however, Toru are more individualistic and self-reliant. No matter the season, they value generosity and kindness, and tend towards good alignments.
Size. Toru are about the same size as humans, ranging from 5 to 6 feet tall. Your size is medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. Thanks to their cat-like eyes, Toru can see in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Sensitive ears: You have sensitive hairs in your ears, and if you have proficiency in Perception, you double your proficiency bonus. (This has no effect if you do not have proficiency in Perception.)
Versatile. You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice, and with one weapon, tool, or language.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Torun. Spoken Torun is a tonal language, often requiring two tones to form a word, something only possible because of the construction of Torun tongues. Other races can never learn to speak Torun perfectly, though some can learn to speak it passably. Written Torun is complex, beautiful, and ideographic. The basics are simple, but it can take a lifetime to learn the nuances of the brush strokes required to communicate fluently. Those Toran who master the written language are considered artists of the highest caliber, and Toran singers are prized around the solar system for their ability to sing chords.
Subraces. There are two main kinds of Toru, and few Winterborn ever meet a Summerborn in their lifetime, and vise versa. The third kind of Toru, the Transitional, comprise a single generation that acts as a suffer between the two extreme seasons.
Winterborn Toru are physically prepared for the years of snow and ice.
Ability score increase. Your Constitution increases by 1.
Thick fur: You’re naturally adapted to cold climates, as described in chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Ability score increase. Your Strength increases by 1.
Active: You have advantage on Athletics checks.
Transitional Toru are viewed either as heralds of Summer’s return, or pariahs foretelling its end. In either case, their arrival takes on a mystical significance, and they bear a solemn responsibility to prepare their world for the coming changes.
Herald of change. You gain one feat of your choice.
Hacking the Toru
As the primary race and their planet, I wanted the Toru to be humanlike, to mirror their cultural domination of Rhysis. Because the world is covered in snow for generations, though, I wanted to keep their fur (this would also keep them mammals, which is always more attractive for players). The Toru are, essentially, fuzzy humans with darkvision. They lack a little of the human versatility, having to choose between two ability scores, instead of being free to put their points into anything, and their choices are limited in other ways, but they can still get access to a feat. In the Pathfinder setting, Transitional Triaxians have, essentially, no racial abilities, and that seemed unfortunate, to me. If they are supposed to help their people get ready for the change of seasons, it makes sense that they have a little more versatility than their parents or their children, who are locked in to the (useful but limited) seasonal abilities.
Currently, one of my players has built a toru character, and he chose the race specifically because it’s almost human, and my player wanted a mechanically-human character who was still an alien. He’s transitional, so I expect him to run around saying “Winter is coming.”