Crepuscular, originally from Theas (Australia). There may be between one and two thousand left, loosely related. They have the lowest population but highest percentage of magic and greatest strength. They are among the three most powerful races, and routinely manifest multiple talents. About 95% of tigers have some magic; lack of it is considered a handicap. About 1% of those have low power, 9% have below average, 22% have average, 33% have above average, and 40% have high. Tiger cubs develop their magic early, usually about the time they first peek out of the pouch. The only race that develops magic earlier is the platypus, whose puggles often manifest it upon hatching.
Tigers stand about 5 feet high (vertical) or 2 feet (horizontal). They are ambipedal. They often sit upright, leaning on the heavy tail, as a resting position. They can hop on two legs or walk on four, but generally drop to all fours for fast running. They are about half anthropomorphic, with quite dextrous hands; delicate fingers curl back above large tough palms while running. They're famous for their striped backs and their enormous jaws that open up to 120 degrees. They are also the only marsupial race in which both sexes have a pouch, which faces backwards. Although the males can't nurse young naturally, they do carry babies old enough to have detatched from the mother's nipples. They have tough skin and can tolerate tattoo ink, perfumes, or cosmetics.
These are the wizards of Quiar, famed (and often feared) for their potent magic. They are incredibly powerful, but almost unknown. Their racial gifts run to crypsis (ability to avoid detection by others) with a range including camouflage, illusion, invisibility, shapeshifting, and teleportation. They also have bardic, creation, and healing magic. Unique among the races of Quiar is their ability to grant racial magic to someone who lacks it, or remove it from someone who has it, by manipulating an individual's connection to the world. This is the rarest of abilities and only appears in high-powered tigers. This race has the highest percentage of individuals who can travel between worlds, in various ways. Many tigers also learn formulaic magic, which does not rely on innate talent -- especially those unfortunates born without magic of their own. They are adept at charms, potions, and spellcraft.
In Theas, tigers are highly respected. Traditionally they are rulers, consulting wizards, shamans, storytellers, historians, theoreticians, philosophers, teachers, healers, and heroes. Contact with Larnach (Europe) came first, and did not pose many problems. Contact with Mothar (South America) and Fasach (Africa) proved disastrous, as the Motharans resented the tigers for having better magic than their own spiritual leaders, because they believed that they were favored of the fey and were outraged to discover this in error. Meanwhile the Fasachis considered the tigers too powerful to live, certain that so much magic would necessarily corrupt anyone who had it. (This claim is not borne out by any evidence, as evil tigers are rare and the other tigers quickly deal with the problem when it arises. The race tends toward serene responsibility, although the recent insecurity has shaken that somewhat.) This led to a war that nearly wiped out the tigers, who were not numerous to begin with. The few survivors went into hiding -- quite successfully -- but there are probably just one to two thousand alive. Motharan and Fasachi people still hate and fear them. Larnachi people are just baffled by the whole dispute and keep trying to defuse it, with erratic success.
Theasian people are now very protective of tigers and would never betray one to a foreign hame or phyle. Some tigers have bodyguards of other races -- most famously people born without magic, paid with the bestowing of a talent, although it's rare because the necessary talent is rare. Theasians believe that the tigers are the key to magic, and that if they become extinct, then magic will leave Quiar or at least be greatly diminished.
None of the tiger villages survived. A few tigers have settled into leadership roles in mixed populations, using their shapeshifting or illusion skills to pass unnoticed. Most are itinerant, traveling as traders or storytellers, along with rare heroes who appear and disappear mysteriously to aid those in need. A handful of hermits typically include wizards, shamans, and healers.
The surviving tigers concentrate on repopulating their race, breeding as quickly and carefully as they can. They memorize genealogy; everyone knows their own, and experts know everyone's. Typically a male and female travel together until they have a litter -- usually four cubs, and the parents do their best to ensure that all four latch onto nipples. (In the rare cases where more than five cubs are born, the parents may keep the extra cubs alive by bottle feeding, fostering with a wet nurse, or using magic to make the father's vestigial nipples functional.) When the cubs detach from the nipples, the parents usually divide the litter in half and go their separate ways. Each parent then fosters one cub with kangaroo parents, keeping one to raise personally. Others remain together, traveling in small family groups. This dispersal makes it more difficult for foreigners to find and target the tigers, since they rarely congregate in sizable groups.
Tigers try very hard to breed with other tigers, and they can breed all year round. However, if a female goes into heat alone, she will try to mate with another race -- preferably a kangaroo or some other marsupial -- rather than lose that opportunity to reproduce. They have the second-highest rate of viability, exceeded only by platypi. So tiger-chimerae, while almost unheard of before the war, are increasing in frequency.
Note there are no feline tigers in Quiar.