The Evil That Men Do
Common: Human, Dwarf, Half-Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Half-Orc
Common are obviously common throughout the Middle Kingdoms. Unrestricted PC races.
Uncommon: Elf, Tengu, Orc, Ratfolk
Uncommon rares are not unheard of, but are a rare sight in the Kingdoms, and usually collect a good bit of stares and sometimes animosity when in settlements. Unrestriced PC races. May have unforeseen role play benefits and drawbacks.
Rare: Drow, Duergar, Gnoll, Goblin, Grippli, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Lizardfolk, Svirfneblin
These are almost unheard of in settled areas. They’re generally detained by guards or killed on sight. Restricted PC races. Will have a hugely difficult time in settled areas. Also may have changes to template. Talk to me before you settle on one of these.
Unicorn: Aasimar, Catfolk, Dhampir, Gillmen, Ifrit, Merfolk, Suli, Sylph, Tiefling
Unicorn means these races are generally legends. If they exist in the Kingdoms, it’s under complete disguise, or in their own settlements at the edges of the map. NPC Classes, not available for characters.
If it’s not on the list, it probably doesn’t exist in the world in enough numbers to matter.
Humans are everywhere, like a damn lice infestation. Far and away the most common race in the Middle Kingdom, they’re known to the other races to be smelly, boorish, soft and all together unpleasant. Humans on the other hand think they’re totally awesome.
As an out of game note: Humans being the de facto race in Varneth comes with some benefits. Like the White Male in America, you will find you generally have an easier time of things being human. Doors will open, women will swoon, and merchants will drop their goods at your feet. Seriously, though, as opposed to a tangible “you get a +2 to Str” from other races, you will find intangible benefits to the race in broader social interactions and opportunities as a Human.
Elves are xenophobic assholes that have hold up deep in forests or in mountain cities. This doesn’t really preclude you playing one, but you’re going to be like a guy with three arms walking into a bar everywhere you go. Heads will turn, everyone will want to talk to you and racial tensions abound. There’ll be pretty much no way to keep a low profile. The elves of the northlands have mostly shuttered themselves within the great forests of the east, rarely venturing outside these lands and protecting its borders from intruders of all kinds. Whether by their very long-lived nature or their connections to the Fey world, they tend to see the world quite differently from other races, who often consider them hedonistic and flighty. There are many rumors in the Middle Kingdom as to what the elves are up to, ranging from ancient sorecries to pacts and portals with the Realms of Fey. Above all they value personal freedom, magic and nature.
Half-Elves on the other hand (or quarter, or eighth – Elves have super dominant genes that tend to keep on keeping on, so it’s almost impossible to breed out that Half) are pretty common, and whilst still a bit on the outside, are fairly common sights across the land.
Dwarves Dwarves in the known world are divided generally into Northern and Southern Clans, with more specific breakdowns internally. Southern Clans are way, way, way to the South, and thus don’t show up much in the Middle Kingdom. Regarding the Northern Clans, they establish strongholds (known as Holdings or Holds) made up of job-related Clans. There are Clans for metalwork, lumbering and woodworking, religion, stoneworks and the like. While not strictly a caste system, dwarves tend to follow (and revere) the path of their ancestors and stay within the Clan. They abhore slavery and prize hearty food and drink, precious metals and excellent craftsmanship.
Halflings are pretty stock as well. They show up everywhere, hang with humans and other races, and are their usual carefree, fun loving selves.
Gnomes are thinkers and tinkers. As a society, they consider themselves ‘Aether Engineers’, probing the secrets of the world and strive to understand the how and why of the esoteric. They’re also painted as goofy, scatterbrained and just downright odd by the other races, though well tolerated for their offbeat worldview and depth of knowledge. They are fierce traders and capitalists, second only to the Tengu in settled parts of the land. They value inventiveness, new ideas and the chance to barter.
Half-Orcs are common in the kingdom, though generally treated as lower class. They’re well respected as far as guards and bouncers go, but nobody invites them to parties.
Tengu are a rare site in human based kingdoms (along the lines of Elves, but more common). They maintain large aerie kingdoms in the mountains of the south, and most Tengus encountered are travelling merchants that make their way between cities to trade off the items and junk that Tengu compulsively collect. A small percentage settle in major metropolitan centers and act as traders or more rarely, treasure hunters.
Lizardfolk (NPC race) are common in the swamps and marshlands of the Middle Kingdom and to the wetlands of the south. They tend to keep to themselves, though sometimes venture out into the edge of settled lands to forage or trade. They worship their own gods and very few speak the common tongue.
Kobolds and Lizardfolk are loosely aligned, both worshiping the Dragons as their gods. Lizardfolk settle primarily in the southern marshes, though small bands can be found almost everywhere there is water and food. They tend to live simple, spiritual lives, in harmony with their environment.
Kobolds tend to intermingle with larger groups of humanoids, and are a common site amongst orcs, ogres, goblins and the like. While known by some for their nasty dispositions and cowardice, a subsect of Kobolds prides themselves on civility and scholarship, and sometimes integrate into Kingdom society. The largest creche of kobolds is Sshar’kahl’shassishla’thoola-Hokba’to’shhst (translated to The Dank Stinky Place with slightly better food than the last Dank Stinky Place), located somewhere to the northeast of Songspire.
Orc/Goblinoids (NPC race) are found everywhere, and are often organized into clans comprising loose kingdoms. Whether they disliked the Human-run kingdoms first or the other way around is a moot point – while not at war, per se, they tend to be shut off from the dealings of humanoids and defend their turf with great fevor. Many are nomadic and often range far from their settled areas, with many embracing a constantly moving lifestyle. Some have broken from tradition and settled in outlying areas in the Kingdom, but are a rare sight. There is a major enclave of orcs and whatnot in the mountains to the northeast.
Drow are ghosts, boogeymen, and tall tales, often the punchlines of black humor and warnings to keep children in line. They reside somewhere in the great northern mountain ranges and are rarely seen in the Middle Kingdom. Little to nothing is known about their culture, except they are warlike, worship dark, hateful gods and despise ‘sun dwellers’ with a passion. Roughly twice every century a warlord and his army will make the trek to Songspire to parlay with the rulers, then return from where they came. The nature of these talks is complete conjecture outside those in the room at the time. The last meeting occurred roughly 20 years ago. There are whispers of other Drow societies, but no one has found them and managed to report back.
Duergar, or Deep Folk, are concentrated in the northwest mountain ranges. While they may trade and parley with outsiders from time to time, they tend to stay underground and keep to themselves. Rumors of a wide ranging system of tunnels connecting Duergar clans abound, as well as their ongoing fight with a ‘Deeper Dark’ that has been pushing at their subterranian borders.
Ratfolk are found everywhere, but never in great numbers. They generally don’t prefer the company of others and leave their nests to pursue their lives doing whatever they do. They’re tolerated because they stay out of the way and tend to live out of sight and scavenge things that others throw away, helping keep the cities clean.