Races

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 tumultuous 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.

Created through selective breeding and magic in times of antiquity, half-orcs have been a race that has had difficulty finding its place in the world. Created as formidable infantry soldiers for the battlefields of the Darkling Wars and the later Wars of the Kingdoms, half-orcs filled a niche that has since mostly disappeared. As seen by other races, half-orcs are monstrosities, the result of perversion and violence—whether or not this is actually true. 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. Their need to always prove themselves worthy encourages half-orcs to strive for power and greatness within the society around them. With the founding of Pesh, the half-orc city, many members of this race are hoping to finally overcome their racial history and begin their lives anew.

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.

Dwarves are a stoic but stern race, ensconced in cities carved from the hearts of mountains and fiercely determined to repel the depredations of savage races like orcs and goblins. More than any other race, dwarves have acquired a reputation as dour and humorless artisans of the earth. It could be said that their history shapes the dark disposition of many dwarves, for they reside in high mountains and dangerous realms below the earth, constantly at war with giants, goblins, and other such horrors.

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.

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.