Sunday, May 31, 2009

Races of the Shadowend

The Shadowend is home to a great number of intelligent races, tribes, clans, and lineages. Some of these, like the Trueborn of Dore or the wild leshii, are few in number, living in small, isolated communities or individually among the more populous races. Others number in the hundreds of thousands and rule kingdoms, or inhabit vast warrens in the mountain depths.
Common Races
Dwarves: Masters of earth and stone, dwarves are an ancient race that command many greatholds and smallhalls in the mountains of Shadowend. Dweorhin (mountain dwarves) and duergar are frequent in the north, while dwerg, or hill dwarves, are better known in the south.

Elves: Elves are a powerful, reclusive race skilled in magic and attuned to the natural world. Faerilven have small settlements throughout the woodlands of Shadowend, while corrupt faerilven become dark elves, or darilven. Sailven have numerous communities in the waters around the Shadowend.

Giants: Giants of all kinds are found throughout Shadowend. The Typhos loathed the original giant race, and corrupted many over the ages, creating the common giants known today. If any true giants remain in the Shadowend today, they are well hidden.

Gnomes: Cunning, inquisitive, and clever, gnomes are fond of secrets and knowledge, and skilled in the magical arts of divination and illusion. In the east, wood gnomes live in small villages and warrens, while stone gnomes hold expansive subterranean realms rich with gold and gems in the west.

Goblinoids: Goblins and their kin are a plague throughout the Shadowend. Goblins live wherever they can, while hobgoblins form itinerant mercenary bands. Bugbears live in the small family groups, often in larger communities of goblins, or as elite soldiers in a hobgoblin troop.

Humans: Humans control most of the civilized land in Shadowend. The Amerite Empire once controlled most of the Shadowend, and as a result Amer blood and culture is common throughout region. The Haluar tribes are native to the east, though most of their culture was swallowed by the Amerites, and the northern lands are the domain of the Aesar and Vanar.

Orcs: A savage race, orcs live in places even goblins find unpleasant. Periodically, a massive horde sweeps out of the Kameurhorns, inundating the civilizations of the south. Lesser orcs, also called pig-faced orcs, live in small groups throughout the Shadowend, often in the employ of unscrupulous lords or merchants.

Uncommon Races
Domovii: Humanity's familiar, domovii have linked their fate to the larger race. Domovii are fey that dwell in human villages and hamlets, trading their labor and skills for protection and security.

Jotunar: Jotunar are born to human families in the wilder lands of Shadowend, and sometimes called giantkin. Two lineages of jotunar are common; the frost giant-blooded talvijotun, and the hill giant-blooded firjotun.

Troldfolk: Also called bridge trolls or bjergfolk, troldfolk are found wherever they can steal a living. They fey beings are mostly seen as pests by the larger races, but powerful troldfolk paragons are a common feature in legends and tall tales.

Rare Races
Half-Breeds: There are several half-human lineages worth noting. Fuah are goblinoid-human half-breeds, found wherever the two races meet. Most fuah make their way as thieves or mercenaries. Half-elves, or ha'ilven, are often found where the two races meet. They are adaptable and personable, and move easily between the two cultures. A few half-elven families are found near the Driathorn Forest, the Shadowend Forest, and the Elven Forest. Roane, also called sealkine, are the offspring of a union between a selkie and a human. Their fey parentage makes them curious and charming, traits that set most roane on a life of travel and adventure.

Leshii: Spirits of the forest, leshii are wild fey that sometimes venture out of the deep woodlands to investigate the larger world. They are roughly human in appearance, with barklike skin, leafy hair, and a crown of branch-like horns.

Liosilven: Originally faerilven, the light elves underwent a magical transformation into radiant defenders of good. Their transformation made them immortal but incapable of reproducing, and the only remaining liosilven stay hidden in their well-protected home in Utgard.

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