Let’s explore the various races still living on Aerinwohl. Most of the traditional fantasy races are present, some of them twisted a bit, and there are a few new ones from other supplements or mostly original. I’m not going into any mechanics with these races yet, I’ll leave that up to future articles specific to each race, but for now its just a general explanation of their place in the world, their major subgroups, and a bit about their culture and society.
First is humans. Humanity is everywhere, mostly because of their adaptability and fast reproduction. While they are not long lived, where they do live, they tend to take over. Humans are adept at almost any occupation and take up all character classes easily. Most of them do not take any class levels though, content to be farmers, blacksmiths, or tradesmen.
Humans range in all the colors in the real world. There will be cultural differences in the future, but for now, I’m still working on the map to figure out where the differences will be. I’m going to try and stay away from real world ethnicities though and make up some new variations.
Elves are tall and thin, almost gaunt, and viewed with suspicion from almost every other race. The devastation left from the Devil War and following Magehunt have turned most of the world against them. Elves are pretty much the only race that can learn wizardry as they actively hunt down and kill any others who would try to learn it. While sorcery is a new concept in the world, it is still being determined how to deal with it. Elves live in sculpted cities deep in remote areas, often times with no one even knowing they are there.
There are three subgroups of elves: High elves, Dusk elves, and Drow.
High elves are what most people think of when they talk about elves. They are the most common and most traveled, but also the ones responsible for the Magehunt. Many high elves take up wizardry, with some adding fighting and thieving skills to the mix. There are also well known elven bards that travel the world and distribute knowledge.
Dusk elves are about a foot shorter than high elves, have longer pointed ears, and grey skin. Males have no hair whatsoever, while females usually have black hair. Dusk elves live in the Twilight Forest of Xikhorn. From there, they practice their two main focuses of study: Psionic and Druid disciplines. A dusk elf encountered outside of Xikhorn is almost always one of these classes, and oftentimes a mixture of both. Especially prominent are the dusk elf soulknife/druids who wield an immaterial blade while defending the forest.
Drow are the result of the tainting of Mythkael and the genocide of gnomes. While it is believed the gnomes only god ruined them, the exact nature is unknown. After the ride of Mythkael, the drow fled underground into the Night Below and built up their civilization under the feet of their former comrades. The drow culture revolves around worship of Mythkael and all efforts are in reverence of him. I’m still working on details of their culture, but it will not be the Lloth-centric matriarchy in other games.
Hidden away in their mountain citadels, dwarves have mostly receded from the world. With the destruction of their capitol city Bisgemalkin, the dwarves no longer have a unified direction or leader. Clans have become enemies and most citadels struggle to retain control under one single clan. While there are occasionally small villages outside of the mountains, most dwarves have an innate fear of wide open and flat places, leading them to live lives in mountains or underground. Dwarves also have a racial fear of the sea and while some may live within view of the ocean, it is rare that one would step onto a ship.
Dwarves still maintain their financial control of the world though. Though it remains a secret outside dwarven halls, the great Vault of Bisgemalkin still stands and operates. It is believed it is buried far underground somewhere near the old city, but its exact location is secret even to other dwarves. The clan Harimbarr still controls the holdings and outlying banks, so it is still possible to store and retrieve material wealth from the vault.
Merchant dwarves also travel the country, dealing in any item that will gain them profit. While most settle for trading crafted items made by dwarves, they are also the main conduit between cities and cultures, bringing foreign foods, news, and even slaves. For these dwarves, accumulation of wealth is above all other bonds, even family.
Dwarves are roughly the same as typical Pathfinder dwarves physically. While many can be melee combatants, skilled dwarves are more common with many being rogues or assassins. There is also a small sect of druidic dwarves that maintain groves hidden within mountain valleys or inside caves.
Halflings have lost much of their history to the past. They were once world travelers and explorers, plying the way to forefront of the wilderness and bringing back knowledge and wealth. At the edge of the world, on a new continent in ages past, the halflings found and were assimilated into a foreign nation: Magachiro. While Magachiro suffered the same devastation as the rest of the world, it has most rebuilt itself into an naval powerhouse. The culture there focuses on honor above all else, and combats will frequently start and end when honor has been fulfilled. Magachiran halflings tend toward martial classes, either in the samurai or ninja class, or naval pursuits with swashbucklers being common. The halfling culture here is completely integrated into the Magachiran culture though, they are one in the same.
The halflings of the rest of the world are a terrifying bunch. When the Gnome Slayer killed the last gnome, the deity that was shared by the gnomes and halflings went mad. While he instantly turned the magehunters into drow, his sanity was broken and the halflings lost their religion and, many of them, their sanity. Overnight, their long history and culture was forgotten, completely removed from their consciousness and they were reduced to near mindless savages. In the centuries since, they have regained at least their sanity, but they still have no god and harbor a long resentment for all elves. For religion, feral halflings follow druids, witches, or even shamans. Barbarians are common in their ranks, as are wilders and sorcerers. Halflings have no written language anymore, and stay away from classes that require reading. Deeper still, the feral halflings view writing as a way of permanently stealing the speaker’s words and will not sit by as their own words are transcribed.
The gnomes are, well, gone. There are none left, not even in remote areas. Mythkael saw to the death of every last gnome and with his success, became a demigod. There won’t even be a “well my gnome came from a hidden city far away!” Nope, they are all dead and gone.
Half-elves exist in areas where elves and humans come into contact. Depending on the parentage of their elf side, they could be welcomed into one society, or pushed out of both. High half-elves tend to resemble their elven parent more than their human, being taller and skinnier than a human. As most humans distrust and shun high elves, this pattern continues with their half-breed offspring. They are somewhat welcomed in elf cities, but regarded with suspicion and wariness by humans and others. While still having elven blood, even half-elves are barred from learning wizardry.
Dusk half-elves stand a little shorter than a human on average and have grey skin that is usually lighter than the elf parents. They still retain their elongated ears, but they are not as long as full-blooded dusk elf. Because dusk elves are viewed as reclusive, but relatively harmless, dusk half-elves are often welcomed by their human parents as much as their elven parent. Many times they grow up knowing both their parents, sometimes even living with either parent for a time and learning the culture of both sides.
Drow half-elves are extremely rare and usually only found on the surface after a drow raid. Because communication between the surface and Night Below is limited, many times drow fathers do not even know they have a child, but it wouldn’t matter. Half-drow of any sort in drow society are seen as week and killed at birth if discovered. On the surface, they are viewed as second class citizens and assumed to be as evil as their parents. Half-drow retain some of the magic abilities of their parent, but do not suffer the daylight weakness and have earned the nickname Daywalker.
Orcs and half-orcs exist, but most are found far from the Crystal Sea area. Far to the south, beyond even the undead sanctuary of Mikabrun, lies the great Horde. Much of the land is barren and desert, but the orc tribes have seemingly united into a great army that pillages surrounding areas, expands and retracts, and somehow manages to feed itself. While previously mostly hunters and gatherers, there has been a renaissance in orc society that has brought about reliance on agriculture and herding. The orcs have a tribal and shamanistic society, with several families joining together under the banner of the greater Horde, but each retaining a bit of autonomy from the rest of their people. They are lead by druids and elemental shamans, revering nature and the base elements of the world, all the while exemplifying strength and dominance through force.
Orcs are generally feared as most are savage barbarians and would rather settle disputes through violence than discourse. Half-orcs, often times the result of conquest, can assimilate at least into human culture relatively well. They may still be distrusted at first, but can easily be given trust when earned. Half-orcs are often martial classes, sometimes with a level or two of druid or shaman thrown in.
That covers the core races, now onto expanded races from other books. First up is Ultimate Psionics from Dreamscarred Press as that book contains a wealth of information on psionics and is the go to book for the updated 3.5 rules.
Blue are psionic goblins made obvious by their blue skin. As they are essentially goblins, they will be dealt with in more detail later, but for now, they exist, they are mostly psions, and they are found with other goblins. The rest of the world just treats them the same as other goblins.
Dromites can be found in underground hives nearly anywhere, though they don’t have much communication between hives. Underneath Eberdeen, there is a small hive of dromites that lives peacefully and interacts with the various races of the city. There exists an ancient hatred between dromites and dwarves though, which probably grew from their reliance on underground, safe areas to live. The dwarves value profit and accumulation of wealth, while the dromites typically only own what they can carry.
Duergar are hidden in the Night Below and rarely come to the surface. The exact reason for the split from the surface dwarves remains a mystery, but surface dwarves will kill duergar on site.
Elan do not exist here.
Forgeborn do not exist here.
Though their origin is not known, half-giants have been around for millennia. They make excellent soldiers and guards in human cities, though their immense size makes it difficult for them to truly live with the smaller races. Half-giants are generally dimwitted and seen as gentle protectors of whatever they have chosen to dedicate themselves to. When a half-giant does make a dedication, it is for life or until the deed is finished. Dedications can include protection of an individual or site, destruction of a foe, or recovery of ancient knowledge or artifacts. Whatever the deed, it must be specific. It is common to find a single surviving half-giant still standing guard in a town that was ruined with they the only survivor but still dedicated to protecting the location.
Maenads do not exist here.
Norals do not exist here.
Ophidians do not exist here.
Xeph share land and culture with the dusk elves in the Twilight Forest. How the two become so close and joined together is unknown, but at least in recent history, the two have lived together in harmony. Xeph outside Xikhorn are viewed with curiosity, but not hostility. The are master crafters and soulknives, making much of the defense force for Xikhorn, while the dusk elves provide the religious foundation with their druids. Both races share a love for martial arts as well, and some of the best schools of monk training are found there.
And now, onto the Advanced Race Guide.
Because the connection to the Outer Planes has been pretty much severed, aasimar are rare at best. There may be the occasional one born to human parents, but only in the case when there was once a celestial ancestor, often times many thousands of years in the past. For the most part, aasimar are viewed with a bit of awe, as their holy presence is obvious, but many times they are just known to be different, the specifics unknown. They can easily blend into human lands without problem.
Catfolk have a special relationship with the feral halflings. Since there are several different breeds of catfolk, when the halflings retreated from civilization and into the jungles, they encountered the jaguar catfolk who did not take kindly to the encroachment. While both societies are similar in nature and primitiveness, they have never welcomed each other and often fight for resources or land. There are also lion and tiger catfolk in other areas of the world, but the breeds rarely interact. As a whole, they are centuries behind the rest of the world technologically and typically live in matriarchal tribes that move frequently, as the hunt demands. Trophies are significant to their peers and status, and even in civilization, they will take trophies from their conquered foes for adornment. Generally, catfolk are accepted by other races, but not overly welcomed.
Dhampir exist, especially in areas where the Shadow Plane is close. They don’t even need to have a vampire parent, sometimes just having a pregnant mother go near or into the Shadow Plane will be enough to taint the child. However, as pretty much everyone alive hates the undead, they are not welcomed anywhere outside of Mikabrun. It doesn’t matter that they are not technically undead and had nothing to do with their condition, they are still hated and killed usually.
Because the Shadow Plane is a realm of undead and not shadow and dark fey in Aerinwohl, fetchlings do not exist here.
I’m grouping them into one entry, but genasi (I’ll have to figure out if that term is useable), are found nearly everywhere as well. Due to the close proximity to the elemental planes, there are frequently areas where children are born with elemental aspects. Sometimes there may be a half-elemental in their ancestry, but other times it was just being close to a source or pure elemental energy. Genasi frequently become clerics dedicated to their element, and as such water genasi are welcomed in the desert, and earth genasi welcomed by the dwarves. They are not shunned like the other planar half-breeds, but seen as a touch from the gods. They oftentimes are born under a sign in the stars, or conceived during an skyfall of their element.
Goblins are everywhere. While once in great competition with the gnomes, they are now free to run amok across the globe, spreading chaos and leaving trinkets and broken technology in their wake. In ages past, it is rumored that they had a world-spanning civilization, but something led to their fall and they are now a plague on the populated world. In nearly every large town, there is a ghetto of goblins that live in squaller on the scraps of the bigger races. Goblin children can be found begging for change in markets, while adults can be found skulking around or scavenging for metal or parts for some device they dream of building.
Hobgoblins can be found far to the north, living a nomadic lifestyle in the barren and frozen wasteland. The frequently make pacts with dark powers, despite the limited planar connection of the world. It is not uncommon to find hobgoblin witches or clerics to demon lords or Archdevils. Hobgoblin society is also structured around a strict rule of law and order. The weakest are left behind or killed, while the strongest rise to dominance. Hobgoblins are not welcome in the civilized areas of the world and feared for their dedication to evil and suffering pain on others.
Kobolds see themselves as the offspring of dragons. With most of the dragons dead or missing, they now see their place in the world to dominate the lesser races as the dragon’s emissaries. Most kobolds have a connection to their dragon heritage that changes the color of their scales, while a few even have wings and a breath weapon. Kobolds are thought to be the source of the recent emergence of sorcery, and as such hated by the high elves. Fortunately for the rest of the world, the kobolds more frequently fight amongst themselves, especially along draconic color lines.
Orcs were detailed above with half-orcs.
Ratfolk, like goblins, infest cities. While goblins tend to congregate in ghettos, ratfolk are more often found distributed throughout the population. They often serve the ruling class as messengers and gophers, doing tasks that the nobles do not one to connect themselves to. While living virtually everywhere, ratfolk do their best to make themselves unseen and unnoticed.
Tengus can be found in civilized areas as well, but they are by no means common. They have a large presence in Magachiro, but are viewed as thieves and a nuisance, and are dealt with accordingly. For most people, the assumption is that a tengu was doing something illegal, which is often times the case anyway. There is little room for arguing though and most tengu go to the wilderness or find ways to make themselves useful in the cities.
Tieflings are not as rare as aasimar, though many wish they were. Because of the Devil War, there were many offspring left behind. While some were half-devils, many showed no signs of evil until generations later when their tiefling descendent showed itself. Tieflings vary greatly as a race, and there are tiefling versions of nearly every race. Because of their transformation into evil, many drow are born as tieflings, often times with wings that allow them to bring terror to the surface. Tiefling orcs are also greatly feared as their ferocity is amplified with hellfire. Due to their inherent evil nature and the fact that they are literally offspring of devils and demons, tielfligns are rarely accepted anywhere unless they can somehow hide their lineage.
And then the new races.
Arcanix are a strange, blue-skinned race of tall, four-armed humanoids. They are mammals, but stand on their three toed feet. Their upper arms are strong and end in two fingers and a thumb, while their lower arms are small, more dexterous, and have three fingers and a thumb. Elongated skulls sit on their broad necks, while their faces have sunken eyes, small holes for nostrils, and wide mouth. Arcanix have very little body hair, but the lower portion of their skull often grows long thick hair that is held in place in a braid.
Arcanix have a natural affinity to magic and ley lines. As if another sense, they can find magic items, track down magic users, and follow ley lines to their destination. Though unable to use magic energy themselves, they do feed off the energy of others, pulling the magic energy from objects or cast spells to feed and heal themselves. Most of the time, they can bleed this energy from their surroundings, but an arcanix whose recently fed on pure magic can be a dangerous foe.
Arcanix are known to only have three cities of their own, each located a ley line nexus. One is near the ruins of Bisgemalkin, one in the southern desert surrounded by the Horde, and the third in the Night Below. Arcanix have a strong relationship with high elves and a few have even become magehunters in their own right. Most, however, settle to become rangers or slayers who help the high elves hunt down wizards.
Because of their alliance with the high elves and the destruction they wreak to magic items, arcanix are not often welcome in cities. While some could be genuinely good, their presence alone means magehunters could be near. Some have chosen to break from this bond with the elves and seek to better their reputation with the rest of the world, becoming diplomats and bards, but many succumb to the magic hunger and end up destroying something precious.
V’reen are a reptilian race that was discovered before the magehunt on a remote continent. The land, seemingly lost in time, was full of ancient beasts and giant feathered reptiles. The v’reen may have evolved there, or may have been molded by their pantheon of gods. Their legends though, state that their ancestors slew the gods and took their knowledge for themselves, leading to the development of biohacks. While they have no arcane or divine heritage, the v’reen have managed to somehow control, influence, and modify other living creatures to fit their needs. This has led to some strange creations, monsters that are a mix of several sources, buildings that are actually grown to the demands of their inhabitants, and finally, tools and weapons that can be bonded to a humanoid creature to aid it in battle. The worst thing one can face in battle is a v’reen warrior outfitted with chitinous armor, long ferocious claws, and an elongated jaw filled with more teeth than possible.
V’reen stand about seven and a half feet tall with no distinction between male and female. Their thin skeletal frames, hide an unexpected grace and fluid movement. They have long tails that are mostly used for balancing, but can be used to make attacks, if properly trained. Their heads are saurian, with a snout that is filled with sharp teeth, and a thin ridge that stars between their eyes and terminates at their neck. Most v’reen also have feathers, usually on top of their head in a plume, or along their forearms and lower legs.
Since their entrance onto the world stage a few centuries ago, v’reen have traveled the globe and joined other societies. Their law-abiding approach to life makes them amicable neighbors, but their tendency to experiment on pets and vermin ruins that appearance. In their eyes, all life is something to be improved. Not all attempts are successful though, and sometimes failures must be removed.
Though most sentient species shun the idea of adding a living creature to bond with themselves, a few have embraced the concept. Orcs in particular take to biohacks readily, while there is a growing black market for mercenaries and others in the realm. Biohacks are not explicitly illegal in most cities, but coming in the town gates with extendable, hidden claws will grant suspicion and a close watch.
That for now is all I have. Tomorrow, I will probably go through the classes in all the books. As I progress through everything, things will change. New ideas will come and some will be modified. This is a living, growing, changing setting that will hopefully be complete one day.