Alphuffels are a species of sentient, llama-like ungulates from the desert of Trod. For millennia, the city of Cancara has held the annual Alphuffel Trials. These trials consist of an obstacle course which must be completed by an Alphuffel, guided by their trainer, usually a human. When the Alphuffel Trials began, Alphuffels were not a sentient race. They were intelligent animals, but they lacked complex reasoning and language. Outside of the Alphuffel Trials, Alphuffels were used as sentinels for Guff herders, Guff being woolly animals native to Trod.
Guff Wool and Guff Oil are the main exports of Trod, and Alphuffels help the shepherds by guiding herds of Guff around the plains. Alphuffels also fight and scare off Storm Dogs, a dark grey wolf-like animal native to Trod and related to Fluffels, which like to prey on Guffs, However, every year the smartest Alphuffels would tend to win the trials. These prized Alphuffels were used as breeding stock, and soon the trials would have to be made more complex and difficult to sufficiently test the new, more intelligent, population of Alphuffels. This process continued over the millennia, with the Alphuffels getting smarter and the trials getting harder and harder. Eventually, Alphuffels became so intelligent that they started to use basic language to communicate with their trainers. The trials started to include verbal tests.
Nowadays the Alphuffels are so intelligent that they don't need trainers. Many of them now go to school alongside people, and only some of them participate in the trials and become sentinels. Others simply go on to do other jobs, effectively becoming functioning members of society. Accountancy is a particularly popular job among modern Alphuffels. While they are not as dexterous as a human, having cloven hooves rather than hands, they are surprisingly capable with them, and can learn to use a pen and write almost as well as a human. Their mathematics and logic skills now actually surpass humans, on average. Most modern Alphuffels are equally good at running on all fours and walking bipedally. Alphuffels are well respected in Trod, but in other lands people often treat them with prejudice, although this has been becoming less common in recent centuries.