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The yaungol are a race of yak-like humanoids, descended from tauren who were trapped on Pandaria when it split off from the rest of Kalimdor during the Great Sundering. After years of living in the Townlong Steppes, they have been pushed out of their homeland by the mantid. They are aggressively trying to make a new home for themselves in the Kun-Lai Summit.
Ten thousand years ago, a number of tauren tribes were stranded on the western slopes of the new Pandaren continent. Clever and hardy, forced to adapt to a harsh land, they were able to eke out a life in these dangerous environs. They became the yaungol. They counted the lands of the Townlong Steppes among their hunting grounds. There they roamed, in the dangerous wilds beyond the Pandaren wall. The earliest historical record of the race dates back to the time of the mogu emperor Qiang the Merciless. His scholars describe nomadic tribes of "intelligent bovine hunters" who roamed "expansive hunting grounds beyond the western reaches of the empire."
Recent mantid attacks have led many yaungol warlords to the realization that the best hope for their people was to breach the wall and seek new homes in the safer environs of the Kun-Lai Summit. The Shado-Pan, outnumbered and already straining to fight off mantid assaults and a sha uprising, were unable to stop the incursion. The yaungol horde has arrived in Kun-Lai, bringing war with them. The sha had also influenced the brutes, making them more violent than usual. Eventually, the pandaren and their allies had defeated the yaungol. According to Min, those nomads are survivors. Their culture will endure and they will learn from these events.
Only the strongest, most courageous, most resilient of Yaungol may lead the tribes. These traits are of the highest qualities in Yaungol society and are expected of all Yaungol leaders. However, with the constant threat from the Mantid to their south, the Yaungol cannot afford to lose a single warrior in an internal struggle for power. A surprisingly civilized solution to this problem has been put into place. When a dispute arises between them, they fight one another with blunted weapons until one yields or passes out. Similarly, new leaders are chosen in ritual combat. A Yaungol who appears to take the place of chief must place his family banner and fight any who would challenge his authority.
Yaungol Fire-Keepers ritualistically set themselves ablaze to emulate the ascension of Ordos, and cast enchantments and prayers to ease his pain. Ordos was once a shaman of the Yaungol who sacrificed himself to the flame, following the promises of the Fire Lords, in order to become a demigod.
Imprisoned in the dangerous Townlong Steppes and forced to survive in the harsh terrain since the Sundering, the hardy Yaungol were forced to adapt, weaponizing local supplies of oil and developing their own aggressive culture. Burning oil is the cornerstone of Yaungol warfare. In the days of their greatest warriors, this weapon was more deadly than magic. This burning substance would scar foes, scorch lands, burn what the cover provided by trees, and could rout even a terrifying Mantid assault. It is also an old tactic of the Yaungol to light more campfires each night than people they have. In this way, enemy spying in the darkness would assume larger numbers of Yaungol existed, while their true positions and numbers remained masked.
The race is constantly on the move, establishing short-lived "Fire Camps" in areas of abundant natural resources (specifically oil and game) before moving on. Where to set up camp, how long to stay, and when to move out remains the sole discretion of the Chieftain.
In combat, the Yaungol prefer to hit hard and fast, making heavy use of cavalry to flank and harass the enemy while hard-hitting infantry assaults the weakest parts of the enemy line. Fire sorcery and flaming siege weapons back this initial assault. Yaungol are known to retreat as quickly as they charge, always reading the enemy and only fully committing their forces to sure victories.