When working on Fallen, I’ve come across a lot of these questions like the title of this blog. Do they wear pants at all, or do they just let it all hang out? Is that legal? Is it moral? Well, my solution was that centaurs aren’t usually in cities since they’re not comfortable there. They prefer large, grassy areas and dirt roads (better on their legs and feet), so since my books are set in Boston, I don’t need to know.
But, since I mentioned it, I’ve decided that they don’t wear pants since they couldn’t don them. Instead, they have small magical items (necklace, ring, etc.) which hides their bits away and makes them more or less a Ken (or Barbie) doll. Smooth.
It’s not that bits are offensive. They aren’t. But when we’re talking human-level sentience, if two-leggers need to wear things covering theirs, I imagine the laws involving four-legged creature like centaurs would have to be similar. And given the shape of a horse body and human torso… Well, I have enough trouble putting pants on as it is. I don’t want to think about yet MORE legs and booty, thanks!
Honestly, a lot of my world building has come down to the question of how magical races would integrate with modern society. Satyrs? Well, that’s easy. They just have pants designed for their leg shape. They could definitely wear pants like the human races do. That one was easy. Where do vampires get food? From consenting adults or blood banks. Also, your fae barista might give you an extra shot of glamour to help you get in the right headspace for a big interview. Things like that.
The thing that I’m really thinking about in terms of all of this is how magic intersects with police work. For example: there are many creatures who can change their physical appearance at will or shapeshift entirely. Now, a therianthrope’s DNA is likely the same whether they’re an animal, in their beast form, or in a human guise. So that would only confuse the visuals. You get a therianthrope bull in a china shop on camera, you won’t know what they look like as a human, but you might see some identifying marks. Plus paw prints, DNA, and so on would be traceable, I imagine.
Of course, I am fully aware that this stuff all flies in the face of real biology. A centaur could not exist, scientifically speaking. Nor could dragons or shapeshifters. I’m not even going to go there because, honestly, this is fantasy. I’m here for the magic. I love science, but this ain’t it!
Doing this kind of world building is a lot of work. There are a lot of intricate pieces to the series as I’m working on–more than just the cosmology of angels and demons. I have to deal with vampire politics, the laws around certain kinds of magic, and so much more. While the story starts from the POV of just one character, the series is actually much bigger than what it seems to start. I have plans for several trilogies, some stand-alone novels, and all of it ties into the meta plot, which is a lot. I’ll discuss a little of that in a future blog post (no spoilers, I promise).
However, this kind of daydreaming is one of my favorite parts of writing. A lot of us writers really get into the “what if” parts of our story crafting, and I’m no different. Using the modern world as a framework was the easiest thing I think I could have done because all the world building I do can exist on top of already-existing structures, which makes things easier. For my high fantasy novels, I have to create everything. Not only the magic bits, but the countries, factions, world, laws, and so on. It’s far harder than this. Or, at least, it’s more complicated in some ways. I still have to answer questions like how centaurs wear pants, but I have to do so on top of figuring out what the name and structure of the centaur country would be.
How do you think centaurs wear pants? No, really. How?