Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Races Part 2

Here's Part 2 of my continuing series of brief ideas on the races that will be found in my S&W setting.

Half-Breeds: Like Giantkin, these other half-races live lives where they never feel at home. Shunned, hated, and abused, it's little wonder many half-races live tragically short lives either turning to lawlessness or to the dangerous lives of adventurers.

Half-Elves are one half-race that may be able to find acceptance in the civilized world, as human-elf pairings are those that are more likely to be those based on love and affection. Still, such relationships are typically never accepted by either human or elf communities. The parents are often times shunned and degraded, and their children even moreso. It is this descrimination that drives many half-elves to become forces of change in their communities, while others will leave home as soon as they are of age (even before so) to become travelers, bandits, beggars, and adventurers. Many half-elves will try to hide their heritage, posing as either a human or an elf, but these ploys never stand up to instense scrutiny.

Half-Ogres are rare. Ogres value strength and ferocity above all other qualities and these qualities are taught at a very young age, so few half-ogres live very long. Among humans, half-ogres are a constant reminder of the violence that oftentimes brings them into the world. Half-Ogres who are particularly cunning can use their wits to lead small bands of ogres, or play up their more brutish looks to become hired guards and sellswords to wealthy merchants. Still, a half-ogre needs to live long enough to be able to take advantage of these opportunities and very, very few do.

Half-Orcs live lives similar to that of half-ogres. They are seen as weak by their orc families, and are seen as abominations by thier human families. Orcs are more intelligent and ever so slightly more cultured than ogres, so half-orcs do tend to have a better chance of living among orc tribes. Their lives tend to be miserable, as orcs see half-breeds as being little better than a goblin. If there isn't a goblin to abuse, then the next best thing is to kick a half-orc. Among humans, half-orcs suffer racism and even outright violence directed to them for simply existing. Life for half-orcs among humans is even sometimes worse than the lives of half-ogres since orc attacks on human villages are much more common, so there is a greater sense of animosity.

Halflings: Halflings primarily call the Five Shires home. They are a peaceful, agrarian people who prefer to stay out of the world of the big folk. Still, there are those that desire a life of adventure far from their quaint shires. One wouldn't think to look at them, but halflings are just as well suited to adventure as humans, dwarves, lupin, and other races. They may not be front-line troops (though more than a few invaders that have attempted to raid the Five Shires have discovered the ferocity of halfling warriors), but they are naturally stealthy and agile; perfect for thieves, scouts, and spies.

Humans: I'm not going to go into a lot of detail here, since I'm still researching and compiling information on the various human cultures available to players. Still, humans are the most populous race in the Known World. Few places in the world have not hosted this race in one form or another. They are the most diverse and adaptable race in world, so it should come as no surprise that they can be found virtually everywhere.

Minotaur: There are essentially two races of minotaur in the Known World: civlized (Taladasian) and uncivilized. The minotaurs from the island of Taladas are still a warrior race, but unlike the vast majority of minotaurs do not worship the standard minotaur gods of slaughter. They have come to worship gods of strength and justice (more informaiton on the various dieties of the campaign will come later). Taladasian minotaurs are sailors and merchants, but their most valuable commodity is their sword-arms. They may not be as massive and powerful as the bestial minotaurs, but they are still quite naturally strong.

Lupin: The dogfolk are a common sight in the Savage Coast region and are generally well-recieved by the most cultures in the Known World. They hail mostly from Renardy, where lupins make up the entirety of the government. The lupin ability to detect werewolves has made them highly sought after in parts of the world were the dread creatures are known to tread. (I'm going to modify the Dragon articles on Lupin and Rakasta sub-races for use in generating them as PC's.)

Rakasta: The catfolk of Bellayne are a common sight in the Savage Coast region. While not as well liked as lupins, rakasta are still a generally accepted race. They do not have the lupin reputation for loyalty and honor, but rakasta are known for being cunning warriors and nigh undetectable sneakthieves.

Ratfolk: The Ratfolk, or Ratanna as they call themselves, are a hated and reviled race, but many cities have found them to be a necesarry evil. They can be found throughout much of the Known World, but they are rarely seen. They live primarily below larger cities, especially those with advanced drainage systems. They build their warrens in these complexes. The Ratfolk have struck bargains with some cities to keep their sewers clear of creatures and spies for the price of clean food, clothing, and the like. Most refuse to deal with the ratfolk, however, and some city leaders even go so far to send the city watch or even bands of hired adventurers to rout out the creatures. Truth be told, Ratfolk are sneaky and dangerous not by any cultural goal to subvert other races, but out of necessity. They know what their reputation is, but many warrens attempt to change that perception. Sadly, most end up having to fight it out with their neighbors, which only solidifies the prejudices against them.

Sisters of Sword: The Sisters of the Sword are members of an ancient order of warrior women devoted to the gods of Light. The order takes in orphaned or otherwise unwanted girls, usually human, elven, or half-elven, and through a series of rituals the girls are transformed into a sister. All sisters retain their skin, hair, and eye color, but their bodies are transformed into tall, athletic, and beautiful women. They are trained in combat, mostly as fighters, but some become rangers, paladins, clerics, and spellswords. Sisters of the Sword are a rare sight in the world today, many of their cloisters have fallen over the years, and their numbers have dwindled as a result.

Spellborn: Spellborn are living constructs that were created during the First War. Long thought lost, they have only recently emerged from the ruins of their masters' former empire in the Anauroch Desert to become part of the greater world. It is unknown how the spellborn attained sentience, and if their sentience is a recent development. While most appear to be as honorable as any other race, their appearance is unnerving to many, leading many spellborn to be distrusted at best and attacked as monsters at worst.

Surasti: When Avalon was at the height of power, the kingdom of Surast was at it's darkest. Like a mirror image of Avalon, Surast was as dark and depraved as Avalon was cultured and blessed. The Mage-Kings of Surast had long conspired with demonic forces to concrete and expand their power. This constant use of foul magic tainted the land and the people. The Surasti, what few there are left in scattered, isolated pockets throughout the Known World, have the look of demons. Even though they overthrew the Mage-Kings and put their lands to the cleansing flame, their bodies are forever marked as having been tainted by foul magic. Their appearance has largely relegated the Surasti to the fringes of society. Even though they are no more prone to fall to the forces of darkness, most other races think the Surasti are always on the verge of succumbing to some demonic urge.

Tortles: Tortles are a gentle race of fishermen that can be found in many warm coastal regions in the Known World. They don't have any nation of their own, and largely live under the juridiction of other kingdoms, but as long as they are able to fish and largely keep to themselves they don't mind. Tortles have been targets of raiders before, but many have learned that the seemingly slow and over-kind creautres have fire in their bellies when threatened.

Wyrmblooded: Were the Draconians are born through the sorcerous tainting of dragon eggs, the Wyrmblooded were born by the blessing of the dragons gods Bahamut and Tiamat. Wyrmblooded are dragon-like humanoids that live in remote mountain regions, usually not far from an actual dragon lair. Some wander into the realms of other races in search of trade or adventure. While the first encounters with these beings were wrought in violence and fear, many villages and towns near wyrmblooded settlements have grown accustomed to the dragonkin.

Those are the races that players will be able to play at the start of the campaign, at least for now, the list may change a bit as I get to fleshing out the setting more. Plus, further deatils will be put out the further along I get with this process.

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