At this stage in the Dragons Gate campaign there are quite a few races to choose from. Some of these you will be familiar with from other Pathfinder campaigns, some will look familiar but may have been altered, and some are unique to this setting. Where possible we leveraged existing lore for ease of understanding the various races. In the descriptions below, anything that is a direction paste of Pathfinder canon is in black. Anything we’ve added, changed, or built from scratch is underlined.
One of the really cool aspects of the Dragons Gate campaign is that as player characters grow, they are continuously affecting the world around them, and through advancement and exploration of the world new races will become available. These ‘unlocks’ will typically be a quest or series of quests but may also just happen as the world changes around you and as new areas are opened up for play.
Only what is posted here is currently available, no culture based sub-races will be available until a later date. Alternate Racial Traits are available for use, but anything tied to a specific culture, or region, or faction, or sub race is only available for your own role-play purposes. Lastly, no use of “Templates” will be allowed.
Aasimars are the unique result of the material corruption of good outsiders and celestial creatures. While physically similar to humans, they are not descended from them, but are instead a completely different species. Despite their heritage aasimars are not always benevolent, and have no inclination towards good or evil.
Society: On Orr, Aasimar society is very different than on most other worlds. Their society is centered around Cloud-City, a Mountaintop city on an island off the east coast of Eramar. This society is shared with Tieflings and Sylphs, though only the Tieflings and Aasimar hold positions of power. This society is very structured and hierarchical, with family name and power being of huge significance. Leadership of Cloud-City is made of the Matrons and Patrons of the most powerful families.
Relations: Aasimar, along with Tieflings and Sylphs, have remained reclusive for much of history. Only recently have they established contact with Rook and their pace in contacting other nations and city-states is not a hurried one. While they don't face the preconceptions common on other worlds, they are also a largely unknown variable and thus treated with suspicion.
Created by an arguable madman called Tharrus, dhampirs are progenies of both horror and tragedy. The circumstances of a dhampir's conception are currently shrouded in quite some secrecy due to Tharrus' nature and desire to protect his own arcane knowledge. Even so, they live and die just like any other mortal creatures, despite possessing a supernatural longevity akin to that of elves. Unlike the dhampirs of other regions across the world, those of Freygate tend to look gaunt and bear somewhat elven features, especially pointed ears. Sunken eyes and rat-like incisors lend an air of Nosferatu about them, regardless of their actual lineage. From those outside of Freygate they may face a lifetime of prejudice, mistrust, fear, and persecution though within their home city there's no stigma at all considering the city is rife with the undead.
Humans who witness the seemingly sinister nature of a dhampir child's supernatural powers or sensitivity to daylight display an array of reactions ranging from awe to terror to outright hatred. Eventually, a dhampir must learn to cope with these difficulties in order to find his place in the world outside of Freygate. Most Freygate dhampirs are inherently lawful due to the nature of their creation, though as with many races there are always those who don't quite fit in to the trend. Dhampirs keep few, if any, close companions. Ultimately, the majority of dhampirs regard their allies as temporary or false should they come from outside their home city. Those whom they deem useful are judged by their merits as individuals, not by their race. However, even with those they feel attached to, most dhampirs are sullen and reserved. Some fear the distrust heaped upon them may be transferred to their companions, whereas others worry their own bloodlust will one day overwhelm them and they'll inadvertently turn upon their friends. In any case, an alliance with a dhampir almost always leads to an ill-fated conclusion.
Society: Dhampirs have a remarkably insular and seclusive community, still largely distrustful of those from outside Freygate due to their general isolation. Cynical and easily disappointed, they tend to live solitary lives. Valuing hard work and meritocracy, the dhampirs of Freygate tend to keep to themselves and work hard to climb the financial ladder, often linking businesses temporarily or working with outsiders for increased status and success. This ability to adapt to a verity of circumstances provides dhampirs with a mercantile camouflage that disguises them from both debtors and rivals.
Relations: As dhampirs are generally regarded as scions of evil, few races outside Freygate view them favorably. They share an affinity for those half-breeds whose sinister ancestry also sets them apart from human society, particularly tieflings and Half-Orcs. Humans view them with a combination of fear and pity, though such feelings often devolve into hatred and violence. Other humanoid races, such as dwarves, elves, and halflings, simply shun them. They have a cordial and workable relationship with the vast array of intelligent undead residing within Freygate, though those tend to be outside the norm as it is.
Dwarves are lovers of history and tradition, and their long lifespan leads to far less in the way of generational shifts in attitudes, styles, fashions, and trends than shorter-lived races exhibit. If a thing is not broken, they do not fix it or change it; and if it is broken, they fix it rather than replace it. Thrifty as a rule, dwarves are loath to discard anything unless it is truly ruined and unable to be fixed. At the same time, dwarves' meticulous, near-obsessive attention to detail and durability in their craftsmanship makes that a rare occurrence, as the things they make are built to last. As a result, buildings, artwork, tools, housewares, garments, weapons, and virtually everything else made by dwarves still sees regular use at an age when such items would be relegated to museum pieces, dusty antique shelves, or junkyard fodder by other races. Taken together, these traits create the impression that dwarves are a race frozen in time.
Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as dwarves are both thoughtful and imaginative, willing to experiment, if always keen to refine and perfect a new technique or product before moving on to the next one. Dwarves have achieved feats of metallurgy, stonework, and engineering that have consistently outpaced the technological advances of other races, though some non-dwarven races have used magic to supplement and perfect their own creations to achieve the same ends through mystical rather than mundane means. They are also a race typified by stubborn courage and dedication to seeing tasks through to completion, whatever the risks. These traits have led dwarves to explore and settle in extreme environments that would cause other races to quail and retreat. From the darkest depths of the underworld to the highest mountain peaks, from rusting iron citadels along desolate rocky coasts to squat jungle ziggurats, dwarves have established their enclaves and redoubts, holding them against all comers or perishing to the last and leaving only their enduring monuments to stand as their legacy. While it is said that dwarves are not venturesome or inventive, it would be more accurate to say that they maintain a focus on and dedication to each task they undertake and every change they adopt, vetting such changes thoroughly before adopting them wholeheartedly. When faced with new circumstances and new needs, they react by applying tried and true tools and techniques systematically, using existing methods whenever possible rather than trying to invent novel solutions for every situation. If necessity requires, however, they throw themselves with equal vigor into developing the next perfect procedure for demolishing the obstacles that get in their way. Once their desired goal is obtained, they focus on consolidating each new piece of territory or conceptual advance. Dwarves thus rarely overextend themselves, but they also may miss opportunities to seize the initiative and maximize the advantages they create.
Society: The great distances between dwarves' mountain citadels account for many of the cultural differences that exist within their society. Despite these schisms, dwarves throughout the world are characterized by their love of stonework, their passion for stone- and metal-based craftsmanship and architecture, and their fierce hatred of giants and goblinoids.
The Dwarves of the central mountain range have extended this hatred to Orcs while the Dwarves of the western range are more pure in their avarice and consider the Orcs damn fine trade partners.
While they are not precisely militaristic, they learned long ago that those without axes can be hewn apart by them, and thus dwarves everywhere are schooled to be ready to enforce their rights and claims by force of arms. When their patience with diplomacy is exhausted, dwarves do not hesitate to adopt what they call “aggressive negotiations.”
Relations: Western Dwarves trade with the Orc Nation while Central Dwarves treat them as enemies. Both groups of Dwarves generally find elves, gnomes, and halflings to be too frail, flighty, or “pretty” to be worthy of proper respect.
Cruel and cunning, drow are a dark reflection of the elven race. Also called dark elves, they dwell deep underground in elaborate cities shaped from the rock of cyclopean caverns. Drow seldom make themselves known to surface folk, preferring to remain legends while advancing their sinister agendas through proxies and agents. Drow have no love for anyone but themselves, and are adept at manipulating other creatures. While they are not born evil, malignancy is deep-rooted in their culture and society, and nonconformists rarely survive for long. There is however, one well document case of a mass exodus of Drow from the underdark. Some of the pilgrims sought escape from rivals while some sought a better, kinder, or at least more peaceful, life. The pilgrimage exited in south eastern Oriar. The more mercenary of the lot left the underground completely and made their way to the Kingdom of ------- and the free cities beyond. Those seeking a different way of life, awed by the easy friendship and cheer of the Halflings of Oriar, stayed underground but near the surface. Over time they grew an alliance with Oriar and while are still not commonly found above ground, have become accepted.
Society: Drow society is traditionally class-oriented and matriarchal. Male drow usually fulfill martial roles, defending the species from external threats, while female drow assume positions of leadership and authority. Reinforcing these gender roles, one in 20 drow are born with exceptional abilities and thus considered to be nobility, and the majority of these special drow are female. Noble houses define drow politics, with each house governed by a noble matriarch and composed of lesser families, business enterprises, and military companies. Each house is also associated with a demon lord patron. Drow are strongly driven by individual self-interest and advancement, which shapes their culture with seething intrigue and politics, as common drow jockey for favor of the nobility, and the nobility rise in power through a combination of assassination, seduction, and treachery. The Drow society under Oriar however is very different as they’ve renounced the dark ways of the Drow. Here, there is no class or gender distinction. There are still those who scheme for power, but it is no different than any other human or elven civilization.
Relations: Drow player characters are typically from beneath Oriar or are from the Freetowns in the southern Gulf. They can also be found in the southern Kingdom , Rook, and Lin’Rah although not with the same frequency as the freetowns. In other lands they are not unheard of but are very uncommon. the Imperial Realm considers all Drow to be enemies of the Crown and in most cases will kill them on sight.
The long-lived elves are children of the natural world, similar in many superficial ways to fey creatures, though with key differences. While fey are truly linked to the flora and fauna of their homes, existing as the nearly immortal voices and guardians of the wilderness, elves are instead mortals who are in tune with the natural world around them. Elves seek to live in balance with the wild and understand it better than most other mortals. Some of this understanding is mystical, but an equal part comes from the elves' long lifespans, which in turn gives them long-ranging outlooks. Elves can expect to remain active in the same locale for centuries. By necessity, they must learn to maintain sustainable lifestyles, and this is most easily done when they work with nature, rather than attempting to bend it to their will. However, their links to nature are not entirely driven by pragmatism. Elves' bodies slowly change over time, taking on a physical representation of their mental and spiritual states, and those who dwell in a region for a long period of time find themselves physically adapting to match their surroundings, most noticeably taking on coloration that reflects the local environment.
Elves value their privacy and traditions, and while they are often slow to make friends at both the personal and national levels, once an outsider is accepted as a comrade, the resulting alliances can last for generations. Elves take great joy in forging alliances with races that share or exceed their long lifetimes, and often work to befriend dragons, outsiders, and fey. Those elves who spend their lives among the short-lived races, on the other hand, often develop a skewed perception of mortality and become morose, the result of watching wave after wave of companions age and die before their eyes.
Society: Many elves feel a bond with nature and strive to live in harmony with the natural world. Although, like most, elves prefer bountiful lands where resources are plentiful, when driven to live in harsher climates, they work hard to protect and shepherd the region's bounty, and learn how to maximize the benefit they receive from what little can be harvested. When they can carve out a sustainable, reliable life in deserts and wastelands, they take pride as a society in the accomplishment. While this can make them excellent guides to outsiders they befriend who must travel through such lands, their disdain of those who have not learned to live off the scant land as they have makes such friends rare.
Elves have an innate gift for craftsmanship and artistry, especially when working in wood, bone, ivory, or leather. Most, however, find manipulating earth and stone to be distasteful, and prefer to avoid forging, stonework, and pottery. When such work must be done within a community, a few elves may find themselves drawn to it, but regardless of their craftsmanship, such “dirt-wrights” are generally seen by other elves as being a bit off. In the most insular of elven societies, they may even be treated as lower class.
Elves also have an appreciation for the written word, magic, and painstaking research. Their naturally keen minds and senses, combined with their inborn patience, make them particularly suited to wizardry. Arcane research and accomplishment are seen as both practical goals, in line with being a soldier or architect, and artistic endeavors as great as poetry or sculpture. Within elven society, wizards are held in extremely high regard as masters of an art both powerful and aesthetically valued. Other spellcasters are not disdained, but do not gain the praise lavished upon elven wizards.
Relations: Elves are prone to dismissing other races, writing them off as rash and impulsive, yet on an individual level, they are excellent judges of character. In many cases an elf will come to value a specific member of another race, seeing that individual as deserving and respectable, while still dismissing the race as a whole. If called on this behavior, the elf often doesn't understand why his “special friend” is upset the elf has noticed the friend is “so much better than the rest of his kind.” Even elves who see such prejudice for what it is must constantly watch themselves to prevent such views from coloring their thinking.
Elves are not foolish enough, however, to dismiss all aspects of other races and cultures. An elf might not want a dwarf neighbor, but would be the first to acknowledge dwarves' skill at smithing and their tenacity in facing orc threats. Elves regard gnomes as strange (and sometimes dangerous) curiosities, but regard their magical talent as being worthy of praise and respect. Halflings are often viewed with a measure of pity, for these small folk seem to the elves to be adrift, without a traditional home. Elves are fascinated with humans, who seem to live in a few short years as full a life as an elf manages in centuries. In fact, many elves become infatuated with humans, as evidenced by the number of half-elves in the world. Elves have difficulty accepting crossbreeds of any sort, however, and usually disown such offspring. They similarly regard half-orcs with distrust and suspicion, assuming they possess the worst aspects of orc and human personalities.
Gnomes are distant relatives of the fey, and their history tells of a time when they lived in the fey's mysterious realm, a place where colors are brighter, the wildlands wilder, and emotions more primal. Unknown forces drove the ancient gnomes from that realm long ago, forcing them to seek refuge in this world; despite this, the gnomes have never completely abandoned their fey roots or adapted to mortal culture. Though gnomes are no longer truly fey, their fey heritage can be seen in their innate magic powers, their oft-capricious natures, and their outlooks on life and the world.
Gnomes can have the same concerns and motivations as members of other races, but just as often they are driven by passions and desires that non-gnomes see as eccentric at best, and nonsensical at worst. A gnome may risk his life to taste the food at a giant's table, to reach the bottom of a pit just because it would be the lowest place he's ever been, or to tell jokes to a dragon—and to the gnome those goals are as worthy as researching a new spell, gaining vast wealth, or putting down a powerful evil force. While such apparently fickle and impulsive acts are not universal among gnomes, they are common enough for the race as a whole to have earned a reputation for being impetuous and at least a little mad.
Combined with their diminutive sizes, vibrant coloration, and lack of concern for the opinions of others, these attitudes have caused gnomes to be widely regarded by the other races as alien and strange. Gnomes, in turn, are often amazed how alike other common, civilized races are. It seems stranger to a gnome that humans and elves share so many similarities than that the gnomes do not. Indeed, gnomes often confound their allies by treating everyone who is not a gnome as part of a single, vast non-gnome collective race.
Society: Unlike most races, gnomes do not generally organize themselves within classic societal structures. Gnome cities are unusual and gnome kingdoms almost unknown. Further, gnomes have no particular tendency to gather in specific neighborhoods even when a large number of them live among other races. While specific laws meant to contain the potential impact of gnomes on a society may require a “gnome quarter,” and societal pressure sometimes causes all non-gnomes to move away from areas with high gnome populations, left to their own devices, gnomes tend to spread evenly throughout communities that allow them.
However, even when gnomes are common within a community as a group, individual gnomes tend to be always on the move. Whimsical creatures at heart, they typically travel alone or with temporary companions, ever seeking new and more exciting experiences. They rarely form enduring relationships among themselves or with members of other races, instead pursuing crafts, professions, or collections with a passion that borders on zealotry. If a gnome does settle in an area or stay with a group for a longer period, it is almost always the result of some benefit that area gives to a vocation or obsession to which the gnome had dedicated himself.
Despite their extremely varied backgrounds and lack of a unifying homeland, gnomes do possess some common cultural traits. Male gnomes have a strange fondness for unusual hats and headgear, often wearing the most expensive and ostentatious head-covering they can afford (and that their chosen careers will allow them to wear without causing problems). Females rarely cover their heads, but proudly wear elaborate and eccentric hairstyles that often include intricate jeweled combs and headpieces.
Relations: Gnomes have difficulty interacting with the other races, on both emotional and physical levels. In many ways the very fact other races see gnomes as odd is itself the thing gnomes find most odd about other races, and this leads to a strong lack of common ground upon which understanding and relationships can be built. When two gnomes encounter one another, they generally assume some mutually beneficial arrangement can be reached, no matter how different their beliefs and traditions may be. Even if this turns out not to be the case, the gnomes continue to look for commonalities in their dealings with each other. The inability or unwillingness of members of other races to make the same effort when dealing with gnomes is both frustrating and confusing to most gnomes.
In many ways, it is gnomes' strong connection to a wide range of apparently unconnected ideas that makes it difficult for other races to build relationships with them. Gnome humor, for example, is often focused on physical pranks, nonsensical rhyming nicknames, and efforts to convince others of outrageous lies that strain all credibility. Gnomes find such efforts hysterically funny, but their pranks often come across as malicious or senseless to other races, while gnomes in turn tend to think of the taller races as dull and lumbering giants. Gnomes get along reasonably well with halflings and humans, who at least have some traditions of bizarre, gnome-like humor. Gnomes generally feel dwarves and half-orcs need to lighten up, and attempt to bring levity into their lives with tricks, jokes, and outrageous tales the more dour races simply cannot see the sense of. Gnomes respect elves, but often grow frustrated with the slow pace at which members of the long-lived race make decisions. To gnomes, action is always better than inaction, and many gnomes carry several highly involved projects with them at all times to keep themselves entertained during rest periods.
Goblins are a race of childlike creatures with a usually, but not always, destructive and voracious nature that makes them almost universally despised. Weak and cowardly, goblins are frequently manipulated or enslaved by stronger creatures that need destructive, disposable foot soldiers. Those goblins that rely on their own wits to survive live on the fringes of society and feed on refuse and the weaker members of more civilized races. Most other races view them as virulent parasites that have proved impossible to exterminate.
Goblins can eat nearly anything, but prefer a diet of meat and consider the flesh of humans and gnomes a rare and difficult-to-obtain delicacy, especially when living in Rook. While they fear the bigger races, Goblins are beginning to see them as more than oppressors due to the help given to them in their time of need.
Society: The Goblins of Rook currently reside in a clan-like structure, just about able to sustain their own needs through farming or hunting and gathering. Goblin babies are almost completely self-sufficient not long after birth, and such infants are treated almost like pets. With the aid of Mhorgahl the half-orc merchant and several new residents of Rook, the Goblins of Rook are seemingly trying their best to generally keep their collective heads down further than usual and fit in, providing developing carpentry and tanning skills to earn their way. For the vast majority of them it is a welcome change from the constant violence and threat of death they grew up knowing.
Relations: Goblins tend to view other beings as now providing sources of food, which makes for poor relations with most civilized races. Goblins often survive on the fringes of human civilization, or in this case the eastern slums. They have a special animosity toward gnomes, though the city laws are keeping them in check from any overt antagonism for now. Of the most common races, half-orcs are the most tolerant of goblins, sharing a similar ancestry and experiencing the same hatred within many societies. Goblins are mostly unaware of half-orcs' sympathy, however, and avoid them because they are larger, meaner, and less flavorful than other humanoids.
Subrace - Oversized Goblins
Some goblins are simply bigger than others. Regardless of whether it's due to excess food, diligent training or simply being born larger, such goblins attain a much larger size than their kin. These goblins are monsters among their own kind, not just in height, but also in girth and in strength. If not cast out for eating all of the tribe’s food, oversized goblins often become the bosses of their tribes, and the most powerful of them become chiefs.
Rather unusually, one goblin settlement within the caverns of Salisara seem to almost entirely consist of oversized goblins. Presenting a force to be reckoned with, this group of strong-armed goblins manage to hold their own against the threats of the deep caves, fending off predators and attacks that would send lesser goblins fleeing. Such attacks are often wholly welcomed as each fallen enemy means more to cook in the pot. Whether their hunger, and thus aggression to the other settlements around them, can be controlled remains to be seen.
Gripplis stand just over 2 feet tall and have mottled green-and-brown skin. Most gripplis are primitive hunter gatherers, living on large insects and fish found near their treetop homes, and are unconcerned about events outside their swamps. Agile but weak, grippli tend to have an innate intuition and awareness of their surroundings and often work with nature around them, rather than against it.
Society: The Grippli of the Murkale swamps are generally content with their lot in life. Hemmed in by capricious and violent fey 'Guardians', the tribes have led a sheltered existance. With the demise of several fey that opened up a safe corridor within the swamps, the grippli have begun to explore further outwards and contact with mercenaries and sellswords has been favourable so far. Those with wanderlust have even ventured outside of the swamps entirely. Though not their favoured land, such individuals are still widely respected by the tribes and often encouraged to visit to regale their tribes with tales of the outside lands.
Relations: Grippli are inquisitive and friendly, having suffered no great predation or unfavourable treatment in generations within the swamps, fey aside. As such relations with outsiders have been favourable, with free trade and offers to guide in exchange for information proving common. Of the other tribes within the Murkale swamps however there is less contact. Having observed slaving expeditions preying on the human tribes, the Grippli have largely kept clear of large groups and their targets, trusting the swamps and the fey to take care of those unwelcome visitors.
Elves have long drawn the covetous gazes of other races. Their generous lifespans, magical affinity, and inherent grace each contribute to the admiration or bitter envy of their neighbors. Of all their traits, however, none so entrance their human associates as their beauty. Since the two races first came into contact with each other, humans have held up elves as models of physical perfection, seeing in these fair folk idealized versions of themselves. For their part, many elves find humans attractive despite their comparatively barbaric ways, and are drawn to the passion and impetuosity with which members of the younger race play out their brief lives.
Sometimes this mutual infatuation leads to romantic relationships. Though usually short-lived, even by human standards, such trysts may lead to the birth of half-elves, a race descended from two cultures yet inheritor of neither. Half-elves can breed with one another, but even these “pureblood” half-elves tend to be viewed as bastards by humans and elves alike. Caught between destiny and derision, half-elves often view themselves as the middle children of the world.
Society: Their lack of a unified homeland and culture forces half-elves to remain versatile, able to conform to nearly any environment. While often considered attractive to both races for the same reasons as their parents, half-elves rarely fit in with either humans or elves, as both races see too much evidence of the other in them. This lack of acceptance weighs heavily on many half-elves, yet others are bolstered by their unique status, seeing in their lack of a formalized culture the ultimate freedom. As a result, half-elves are incredibly adaptable, capable of adjusting their mind-sets and talents to whatever societies they find themselves in. Even half-elves welcomed by one side of their heritage often find themselves caught between cultures, as they are encouraged, cajoled, or even forced into taking on diplomatic responsibilities between human and elven kind. Many half-elves rise to the occasion of such service, seeing it as a chance to prove their worth to both races. Others, however, come to resent the pressures and presumptions foisted upon them by both races and turn any opportunity to broker power, make peace, or advance trade between humans and elves into an exercise in personal profit.
Relations: Half-elves understand loneliness, and know that character is often less a product of race than of life experience. As such, they are often open to friendships and alliances with other races, and less likely than most to rely on first impressions when forming opinions of new acquaintances. While many races join together to produce mixed offspring of notable power, such as half-orcs, half-dragons, and half-fiends, half-elves seem to have a unique position in the eyes of their progenitors and the rest of the world. Those humans who admire elvenkind see half-elves as a living link or bridge between the two races. But this attitude often foists unfair expectations and elevated standards upon half-elves, and quickly turns to derision when they do not live up to the grand destinies that others set for them. Additionally, those half-elves raised by or in the company of elves often have the human half of their parentage dubbed a mere obstacle, something to be overcome with proper immersion and schooling in the elven ways, and even the most well-meaning elven mentors often push their half-elven charges to reject a full half of themselves in order to “better” themselves. The exception is those few half-elves born of humans and drow. Not unlike most half-orcs, such unions are commonly born out of violence and savagery that leaves the child unwanted by its mother if not killed outright. Moreover, as the physical features of half-drow clearly mark their parentage, crafting a reputation founded on deeds and character instead of heritage is more challenging for them. Even the most empathetic of other half-elves balk at the sight of a half-drow. Among other races, half-elves form unique and often unexpected bonds. Dwarves, despite their traditional mistrust of elves, see a half-elf's human parentage as something hopeful, and treat them as half-humans rather than half-elves. Additionally, while dwarves are long-lived, the lifespan of the stout folk is closer to a half-elf's own than that of either of her parents. As a result, half-elves and dwarves often form lasting bonds, be they ones of friendship, business, or even competitive rivalry.
Perhaps the most peculiar and dichotomous relations exist between half-elves and half-orcs. Those half-orcs and half-elves who were raised among their non-human kin normally see one another as hated and ancient foes. However, half-elves who have been marginalized by society feel a deep, almost instant kinship with half-orcs, knowing their burdens are often that much harder because of their appearance and somewhat brutish nature. Not all half-orcs are inclined or able to understand such empathy, but those who do often find themselves with a dedicated diplomat, liaison, and apologist. For their own part, half-orcs usually return the favor by acting as bodyguards or intimidators, and take on other roles uniquely suited to their brawny forms.
As seen by civilized races, half-orcs are monstrosities, the result of perversion and violence—whether or not this is actually true. Half-orcs are rarely the result of loving unions, and as such are usually forced to grow up hard and fast, constantly fighting for protection or to make names for themselves. Half-orcs as a whole resent this treatment, and rather than play the part of the victim, they tend to lash out, unknowingly confirming the biases of those around them. A few feared, distrusted, and spat-upon half-orcs manage to surprise their detractors with great deeds and unexpected wisdom—though sometimes it's easier just to crack a few skulls. Some half-orcs spend their entire lives proving to full-blooded orcs that they are just as fierce. Others opt for trying to blend into human society, constantly demonstrating that they aren't monsters. Their need to always prove themselves worthy encourages half-orcs to strive for power and greatness within the society around them.
Society: Unlike half-elves, where at least part of society's discrimination is born out of jealousy or attraction, half-orcs get the worst of both worlds: physically weaker than their orc kin, they also tend to be feared or attacked outright by humans who don't bother making the distinction between full orcs and half bloods. Even on the best of terms, half-orcs in civilized societies are not exactly accepted, and tend to be valued only for their physical abilities. Within orc tribes, half-orcs find themselves constantly striving to prove their worth in battle and with feats of strength. Half-orcs raised within orc tribes are more likely to file their tusks and cover themselves in tribal tattoos. Tribal leaders quietly recognize that half-orcs are often more clever than their orc cousins and often apprentice them to the tribe's shaman, where their cunning might eventually strengthen the tribe. Apprenticeship to a shaman is a brutal and often short-lived distinction, however, and those half-orcs who survive it either become influential in the tribe or are eventually driven to leave.
Half-orcs have a much more mixed experience in human society, where many cultures view them as little more than monsters. They often are unable even to get normal work, and are pressed into service in the military or sold into slavery. In these cultures, half-orcs often lead furtive lives, hiding their nature whenever possible. The dark underworld of society is often the most welcoming place, and many half-orcs wind up serving as enforcers for thieves guilds or other types of organized crime.
Relations: Half-orcs are looked at with loathing and disgust by every civilization that is at war with the Orcs. They are found in Rook but are barely accepted, marginalized, and are not allowed property in the city proper. The Dwarves of the western mountains could care less about Half-Orcs as long as their gold is good. Anywhere else Half-Orcs will have a rough go of it and in most parts of the Imperial Realms they will be attacked on sight.
Optimistic and cheerful by nature, blessed with uncanny luck, and driven by a powerful wanderlust, halflings make up for their short stature with an abundance of bravado and curiosity. At once excitable and easy-going, halflings like to keep an even temper and a steady eye on opportunity, and are not as prone to violent or emotional outbursts as some of the more volatile races. Even in the jaws of catastrophe, halflings almost never lose their sense of humor. Their ability to find humor in the absurd, no matter how dire the situation, often allows halflings to distance themselves ever so slightly from the dangers that surround them. This sense of detachment can also help shield them from terrors that might immobilize their allies.
Halflings are inveterate opportunists. They firmly believe they can turn any situation to their advantage, and sometimes gleefully leap into trouble without any solid plan to extricate themselves if things go awry. Often unable to physically defend themselves from the rigors of the world, they know when to bend with the wind and when to hide away. Yet halflings' curiosity often overwhelms their good sense, leading to poor decisions and narrow escapes. While harsh experience sometimes teaches halflings a measure of caution, it rarely makes them completely lose faith in their luck or stop believing that the universe, in some strange way, exists for their entertainment and would never really allow them to come to harm. Though their curiosity drives them to seek out new places and experiences, halflings possess a strong sense of hearth and home, often spending above their means to enhance the comforts of domestic life. Without a doubt, halflings enjoy luxury and comfort, but they have equally strong reasons to make their homes a showcase. Halflings consider this urge to devote time, money, and energy toward improving their dwellings a sign of both respect for strangers and affection for their loved ones. Whether for their own blood kin, cherished friends, or honored guests, halflings make their homes beautiful in order to express their feelings toward those they welcome inside. Even traveling halflings typically decorate their wagons or carry a few cherished keepsakes to adorn their campsites.
Society: Rather than place their faith in empires or great causes, many halflings prefer to focus on the simpler and humbler virtues of their families and local communities. They have aligned with like minded Humans and have formed the Kingdom of Oriar which exists largely to keep outside forces from infringing on the carefree lifestyle of those within its borders.
Halflings rely on customs and traditions to maintain their own culture. They have an extensive oral history filled with important stories about folk heroes who exemplify particular halfling virtues, but otherwise see little purpose in studying history in and of itself. Given a choice between a pointless truth and a useful fable, halflings almost always opt for the fable. This tendency helps to explain at least something of the famous halfling adaptability. Halflings look to the future and find it very easy to cast off the weight of ancient grudges or obligations that drag down so many other races.
Relations: A typical halfling prides himself on his ability to go unnoticed by other races—a trait that allows many halflings to excel at thievery and trickery. Most halflings know full well the stereotypical view other races take of them as a result, and go out of their way to be forthcoming and friendly to the bigger races when they're not trying to go unnoticed. They get along fairly well with gnomes, although most halflings regard these eccentric creatures with a hefty dose of caution. Halflings respect elves and dwarves, but these races often live in remote regions far from the comforts of civilization that halflings enjoy, thus limiting opportunities for interaction. By and large, only half-orcs are shunned by halflings, for their great size and violent natures are a bit too intimidating for most halflings to cope with. Halflings coexist well with humans as a general rule, but since some of the more aggressive human societies value halflings as slaves, they try not to grow too complacent. Halflings strongly value their freedom, especially the ability to travel in search of new experiences and the autonomy this requires. Strangely, the Halflings of Oriar have been at the forefront of the growing alliance between Oriar and the Drow that have settled beneath them.
Fierce and militaristic, most hobgoblins survive by conquest. The raw materials to fuel their war machines come from raids, their armaments and buildings from the toil of slaves worked to death. Naturally ambitious and envious, hobgoblins seek to better themselves at the expense of others of their kind, yet in battle they put aside petty differences and fight with discipline rivaling that of the finest soldiers. Hobgoblins have little love or trust for one another, and even less for outsiders. Life for these brutes consists of duty to those of higher station, domination of those below, and the rare opportunities to seize personal glory and elevate their status. Hobgoblins' skin is a sickly gray-green that darkens to mossy green after long exposure to the sun. Their eyes burn fiery orange or red, and their broad faces and sharply pointed ears give their features a somewhat feline cast. Hobgoblins lack facial hair, and even hobgoblin women are bald. Except for their size, hobgoblins bear a strong physical resemblance to their goblin cousins.
Society: Hobgoblins on Illacrim live in small regimented communities in fortified locations that are often hard to reach. Every hobgoblin in a settlement receives military training, with those who excel serving in the army and the rest left to serve more menial roles. Those deemed unfit for military service have little social status, barely rating above favored slaves. Despite this, hobgoblin society is egalitarian after a fashion. Gender and birth offer no barrier to advancement, which is determined almost solely by each individual's personal merit. Hobgoblins eschew strong attachments, even to their young. Matings are matters of convenience, and are almost always limited to hobgoblins of equal rank. Any resulting baby is taken from its mother and forcibly weaned after 3 weeks of age. Young mature quickly—most take no more than 6 months to learn to talk and care for themselves. Hobgoblins' childhoods last a scant 14 years, a mirthless span filled with brutal training in the art of war.
Relations: Hobgoblins mainly view other races as nothing more than tools—implements to be enslaved, cowed, and put to work. Not surprisingly, hobgoblin communities count no other races as their friends, and few as allies. Elves and dwarves earn special enmity, and are devilishly hard to break into proper slavery as both races hold blood feuds against goblinkind. Halflings and half-orcs make especially prized slaves—the former for their agile skills and the ease of breaking them to the collar, and the latter for their talent at thriving under the harshest of conditions. With such a preference for slaves, many hobgoblin communities regularly trade with the Free Cities for fresh labor and chattel.
Humans possess exceptional drive and a great capacity to endure and expand, and as such are currently the dominant race in the world. Their empires and nations are vast, sprawling things, and the citizens of these societies carve names for themselves with the strength of their sword arms and the power of their spells. Humanity is best characterized by its tumultuousness and diversity, and human cultures run the gamut from savage but honorable tribes to decadent, devil-worshiping noble families in the most cosmopolitan cities. Humans' curiosity and ambition often triumph over their predilection for a sedentary lifestyle, and many leave their homes to explore the innumerable forgotten corners of the world or lead mighty armies to conquer their neighbors, simply because they can.
Human society is a strange amalgam of nostalgia and futurism, being enamored of past glories and wistfully remembered “golden ages,” yet at the same time quick to discard tradition and history and strike off into new ventures. Relics of the past are kept as prized antiques and museum pieces, as humans love to collect things—not only inanimate relics but also living creatures—to display for their amusement or to serve by their side. Other races suggest this behavior is due to a deep-rooted urge to dominate and assert power in the human psyche, an urge to take, till, or tame the wild things and places of the world. Those with a more charitable view believe humans are simply collectors of experiences, and the things they take and keep, whether living, dead, or never alive, are just tokens to remind themselves of the places they have gone, the things they have seen, and the deeds they have accomplished. Their present and future value is just a bonus; their real value is as an ongoing reminder of the inevitable progress of humanity.
Humans in many places are fascinated by older races and cultures, though at times they grow frustrated or even contemptuous of ancient and (to their mind) outmoded traditions. Their attitudes toward other races are thus a curious mix of exoticism and even fetishism, though usually with a very superficial level of understanding and appreciation of those cultures, alongside a deeply rooted arrogance that means most humans have a hard time regarding themselves as anything other than the default standard of society. Human scholars engaged in the study of other races—who might be assumed to be the most cosmopolitan and well versed in their nature and culture—have often proved no better than the less-learned members of their race when it comes to genuine closing of the social distance. Humans are gregarious, often friendly, and willing to mix and interact with others, but their sheer obliviousness to their off handed marginalization of others is what so chagrins other races when dealing with them.
Of course, well-meaning, blundering ignorance and numerical superiority are not the only things that make other races suspicious of humans. Entirely too many examples can be found throughout history wherein human xenophobia and intolerance has led to social isolationism, civil oppression, bloody purges, inquisitions, mob violence, and open war. Humans are not the only race to hate what is different among them, but they seem to have a susceptibility to fear-mongering and suspicion, whether about race, language, religion, class, gender, or another difference. More moderate human citizens often sit idly by while their more extreme compatriots dominate the political and cultural conversation, yet there are also many who stand in opposition to extremists and embody a spirit of unity across the bounds of difference, transcending barriers and forming alliances and relationships both large and small across every color, creed, country, or species.
Society: Human society comprises a multitude of governments, attitudes, and lifestyles. Though the oldest human cultures trace their histories thousands of years into the past, when compared to the societies of other races like elves and dwarves, human society seems to be in a state of constant flux as empires fragment and new kingdoms subsume the old. In general, humans are known for their flexibility, ingenuity, and ambition. Other races sometimes envy humans their seemingly limitless adaptability, not so much biologically speaking but in their willingness to step beyond the known and press on to whatever might await them. While many or even most humans as individuals are content to stay within their comfortable routine, there is a dauntless spirit of discovery endemic to humans as a species that drives them in striving toward possibilities beyond every horizon.
Relations: Humans are fecund, and their drive and numbers often spur them into contact with other races during bouts of territorial expansion and colonization. In many cases, this tendency leads to violence and war, yet humans are also swift to forgive and forge alliances with races who do not try to match or exceed them in violence. Proud, sometimes to the point of arrogance, humans might look upon dwarves as miserly drunkards, elves as flighty fops, halflings as craven thieves, gnomes as twisted maniacs, and half-elves and half-orcs as embarrassments—but the race's diversity among its own members also makes many humans quite adept at accepting others for what they are. Humans may become so absorbed in their own affairs that they remain ignorant of the language and culture of others, and some take this ignorance to a hateful extreme of intolerance, oppression, and rarely even extermination of others they perceive as dangerous, strange, or “impure.” Thankfully, while such incidents and movements may taint all of humanity in the eyes of some, they are more often the exception than the rule.
Kobolds are weak, and often nervous. Those who used to live near the city of Orashar on a continent to the south of the world are less craven than most, and have none of the usual resentment for other races, having worked in peace with the Duergar under Orashar in peace for countless generations. They proudly claim kinship to dragons and the comparison to their glorious cousins leaves kobolds with a profound sense of motivation to work well and better themselves to be worth their lineage. They are hardworking, clever, and blessed with a natural talent for mechanical devices and mining. Kobold tactics specialize in traps and ambushes, but kobolds enjoy anything that allows them to claim success without putting themselves at risk. Often, they seek to capture rather than to kill, in order to learn more about the foe for the long term and thus better prepare against further attacks.
Society: Kobolds thrive in cramped quarters far from the light of the sun. Most live in vast warrens deep beneath the earth, but a few instead prefer to make their homes beneath tangles of overgrown trees and brush since moving to the lands south and east of Rook. Most kobolds get along well with their own kind, with those formerly from Orashar also happy to interact with other races should they be amenable to trade. While squabbles and feuds do occur, the elders who rule kobold communities tend to settle such conflicts swiftly. Those who demonstrate the growth of draconic coloured scales are especially favoured in Kobold enclaves, with no discrimination between chromatic and metallic colourations.
Relations: Kobolds often find it hard to work out the intentions of other races, and often continuously question to confirm intent, but their innate caution ensures that they rein in such behavour when around those who appear actively aggressive. Thanks to generations of peaceful interaction, Kobolds favour trade relations with Duergar and Dwarves who often keep their word, and half elves who have tended to treat them favourably. Due to a lack of exposure to Gnomes and Halflings relations between these races are often stilted and awkward, though Goblins are a much clearer prospect - those the Kobolds have met have almost uniformly been unpleasant and thus Kobolds view Goblins and their kin as untrustworthy at best and dangerous threats at worst.
The Ratfolk community under Rook is almost entirely militarized. Originally founded by a refugee clan of Ratfolk fleeing from kobold tribes, they have established a secure foothold in the Lost District, and with the aid of tools and equipment they found there have managed to turn the tables on their reptilian foes. Due to the constant state of war the Ratfolk have lived in, they have established a very tight knit community.
Children are raised communally and almost all able bodied adolescents and adults serve in the ranging parties. When they become adults, every Ratfolk gets a choice of joining the Rangers, the Healers, or the Craftsmen. The vast majority of Ratfolk serve in the Rangers but there is no stigma in choosing either of the other paths. All Ratfolk ultimately serve to support the Rangers and their duty as the protectors of the colony and Rook.
Relations: the ratfolk community beneath Rook have remained hidden for more than a century and a half, despite this, the ratfolk are devoted to protecting the people of Rook, and are overjoyed at an opportunity to finally join their "Sky Friends." Other than a burning hatred of kobolds, the ratfolk are incredibly accepting and often find the Sky Friend's prejudices against each other rather confusing. Ratfolk tend to be friendly towards any non-reptilian race.
The Tengu of Kamigami no Kuni (The Land of the Gods) are a proud people who have long been isolated from the rest of the world. They are often collectors of rare items and are easily won over by flattery and good manners. Good and Neutral Tengu tend to form strong familial bonds, are generally calm and work together to better their surroundings, while Evil Tengu are often seen as selfish, impulsive and brash.
The Tengu have been engaged in a civil war for many centuries, between the Kami and the Oni which has grinded to a halt. It was only after the actions of the Adventurers of Rook that the war was ended and the Tengu were able to leave the island. For this reason Tengu have developed many martial traditions, with swordplay being a core aspect of their fighting styles. The Samurai warriors of The City of Crows are the stuff of legend on the island and the hidden blades of Tengu ninjas are rightly feared by anyone attempting to gain political power. Other Tengu prefer a simpler life, following the path of a Monk. Tengu spell casters prefer the use of Illusionary and Enchantment magics, using them to charm and confuse their rivals.
Society: There are five main cities of Tengu on Kamigami no Kuni. Four of the cities are watched over by Kami, while the fifth has been lost to the evil influences of the Oni. The Kami maintain distinct climates around the cities leading to stark differences in terrain on the small island. The Tengu living in the Kami related settlements are broadly Good aligned, while those exposed to the Oni are mostly Evil. While some churches to Gods known to Rook exist on Kamigami no Kuni, most clerics and other religious Tengu follow the teachings of the Kami or the Oni.
Relations: The Tengu do not have many existing relations with other races in Rook, though they are broadly friendly politically and hold no prejudices against races that would normally be looked down on by others. Their current settlement on the continent of Eramar is close to the base of Mount Possible, and good working relations have been achieved with the Gnomes who reside there, trading tech for cultural curios and crafts.
Undine vary in color, from a pale turquoise to a deep sea green. They have humanoid physique and could be similar to a human, with gills, and scales. Living underground for the past couple of centuries, their looks and bodies are more adapted for the deeper darkness. Establishing large cultures that adjust themselves for alternatives to materials in the surface realm, they use a great deal many submarine materials instead of the numerous ores found underground. They are a very practical race, preferring to optimize their space than spread out. They’d sooner sleep shoulder to shoulder than to build another building.
Undine hold no animosity towards other races, they care more for the well being and safety of their people. They would rather have their people stay strong and well than caring about the status of the other races. Community is usually the most important factor to any Undine.
Society: The only connection between all the Undine groups is the vast ocean and the intricate system of tunnels in the Underdark. While the distance may be large, the many undines across the planet share their unity. Undine society in Vatnmusterri is a large collective of the strongest, they have the strongest decide the future of the many. With a tight knit community, the large oligarchy of strong decide the progress of their cities and culture while being lead and aided by the wise. Relations: The undine are typically very open to all relationships, specifically the ones in Vatnmusterri have already established their open connection to the Elves in Varundaelle, the halflings and drow in Oriar, and the many in Nyhavn. They don’t see themselves as superior, yet pride their strength to be on equal terms with all other races.
Unknown to most, the Oread were the first sentient species on Orr and it was the Oread who gave the world it’s name. Stoic and contemplative, oreads are a race not easily moved, yet almost unstoppable when spurred to action. They remain a mystery to most of the world thanks to their reclusive nature, but some few have been found in cities around the world, particularly in Rook. Those who know them typically find oreads to be quiet, dependable, and protective of their friends.
Society: Oread civilizations exist but are rare and always secluded. Adult oreads have a well-deserved reputation among other races for being hermits and loners. Few take well to the bustle of city life, preferring instead to spend their days in quiet contemplation atop some remote mountain peak or deep below the earth in a secluded cavern. Oreads with a greater tolerance for life among humans often join the city watch, or find some other way to serve their community in a position of responsibility.
Relations: Oreads feel comfortable in the company of dwarves, with whom they have much in common. They find gnomes too strange and many halflings far too brash, and so avoid these races in general. Oreads in general are not prone to racial predispositions as other races can often be and tend to form their own opinions of others over a long period of time.
Sylphs are a shy and reclusive race consumed by an intense curiosity that has been repressed for centuries due to their current living situation. Sylphs spend their lives blending into the crowd, remaining unnoticed as they spy and eavesdrop on the people around them. They call this hobby “listening to the wind,” and for many sylphs it becomes an obsession. Sylphs rely on their capable, calculating intellects and on knowledge gleaned from eavesdropping to deliver them from danger.
Society: On Orr, Sylph society has been integrated with that of the Tieflings and Aasimar. They were immigrants to cloud city and never really gained significant standing. Many have taken their status to heart and see themselves as second class citizens. There are some few however who buck this reality. Those have been among the first to leave Cloud City.
Relations: Sylphs, along with Aasimar and Tieflings, have remained reclusive for much of history. Only recently have they established contact with Rook and their pace in contacting other nations and city-states is not a hurried one. While they don't face the preconceptions common on other worlds, they are also a largely unknown variable and thus treated with suspicion.
Simultaneously more and less than mortal, tieflings are the unique result of the material corruption of fiends. While physically similar to humans, despite their fiendish features, tieflings are not descended from the race and are actually a completely separate species. Despite their fiendish appearance and netherworld origins, tieflings have a human's capacity of choosing their fate, and while some embrace their dark heritage and side with fiendish powers, most lead lives of relative normality.
Society: On Orr, Tiefling society is very different than on most other worlds. Their society is centered around Cloud-City, a Mountaintop city on an island off the east coast of Eramar. This society is shared with Aasimars and Sylphs, though only the Tieflings and Aasimar hold positions of power. This society is very structured and hierarchical, with family name and power being of huge significance. Leadership of Cloud-City is made of the Matrons and Patrons of the most powerful families.
Relations: Tieflings, along with Aasimar and Sylphs, have remained reclusive for much of history. Only recently have they established contact with Rook and their pace in contacting other nations and city-states is not a hurried one. While they don't face the preconceptions common on other worlds, they are also a largely unknown variable and thus treated with suspicion.