The Ravagers are beasts, creatures from we know not where, driven by a mad, base intelligence. They appear human to normal eyes, but that façade conceals a seething hunger for death and destruction. When in a frenzy state, a Ravager will change, physically and psychically. Its skin will become bony and thick to better protect itself. It will exhibit fangs, claws, even horn-like protrusions and spikes. In a frenzy state, the Ravager’s higher psychic functions disappear, consumed by an overriding hunger for the life energy upon which they feed. Most Ravagers sate this thirst through the consumption of blood taken from their prey, thus giving rise to the ancient tales of vampirism amongst normal humans. A few, however, discover that blood alone is not enough. These cases seem to require the ingestion of human flesh as well.
Normally, in a rest state, the Ravager can pass as human easily enough, despite a distaste for direct sunlight which makes them uncomfortable. The frenzy state enhances their physical strength and speed fourfold, beyond the abilities of any normal human to match. They also become tougher, more difficult to injure. Regardless of their state, a Ravager can be destroyed by sorcery, a Guardian’s powers, and by causing enough damage to overwhelm their recuperative powers, usually by beheading or destroying their bodies completely.
We have no definite information about the origins of the Ravagers. They appeared in small numbers millennia ago. Then they flooded the world for a time, prompting the creation of the first Guardians as the sorcerers of the era were nearly overwhelmed by the tide. We believe that the Ravagers originate beyond this world, past a theoretical barrier called the Pale. Hundreds of theories have been posited over the generations, though, and the Pale is merely the latest in a long line.
Modern Ravagers appear to have evolved from the nearly mindless creatures that fought our ancestors. Today, there are a growing number of Ravagers who can conceal their hunger behind a façade of respectability. Still, they must release the drive, the desire, the need from time to time. And they must feed. So, they gravitate to areas of human society where they can sate their desires. They show up in the ranks of organized crime, illegal fight circuits, certain kinds of night clubs, even militias. They avoid law enforcement and the military, since their nature would eventually be revealed.
A few researchers believe that Ravagers have a complex and civilized society (Berk; Hall and Pollington; Raffel).[i] These few also claim that Ravagers are intelligent and capable of controlling their hunger under certain circumstances. The majority of Arcanum researchers disagree. The current theory is that Ravagers are beasts who are able to conceal their bestial natures for a brief time. They appear to lack higher functions, although some can mimic humanity well enough to pass, long enough to feed. They seem to be solitary, ambush predators with occasional, short lived, groups of three or four appearing. What connects the groups, or causes them, is unclear, though some have suggested a familial relationship or social system (see Howard and Raffel respectively).
The Council’s official policy is that Ravagers are dangerous, invasive beasts. The Council recommends that they be destroyed on sight, or that appropriate authorities—Council representatives, the Red Order, or Guardians—be contacted immediately and informed of potential Ravager activity.
 Some reconstructed sources appear to indicate that the Ravagers were drawn to, or even created by, sorcery (ref. Clareson; Thompson and Donne; Ptahotep; Eclesius, Spinnett, and Isaak). Such creation or attraction could have been accidental or purposeful, the sources are unclear. (See Appendix A)
[i] Berk, Raffel, Hall, Pollington, they’re all right. The Ravagers are intelligent and have a society based on a complex ratio of age, personal power, and appearance of power, possibly with some lineage thrown in. They follow the direction of lords and masters and are actually highly organized in some regions, while masquerading as chaotic loners.