|The Humanoid Races|
Centaur are one of the Serpent's most successful creations, the result of magical experiments on nomads of the Steppes and the horses on which their livelihoods so heavily depend. Centaur that survived the Serpent Wars have gone on to dominate the Steppes, killing or driving off most of the nomadic human tribes there.
Personality: Centaur are savage and bellicose, combining the ambition of humans with the willfulness of wild horses and the malevolence of the Serpent's dark magics. The rare centaur who is morally superior to the rest of his race is killed or driven off at the first sign of perceived weakness.
Physical Description: Centaur typically stand between 80 and 90 inches tall and weigh between 1,800 and 2,400 pounds. Male centaur are usually larger than females. A centaur appears to be human from the waist up, but has the legs and additional torso of a horse. Centaur have the olive skin and the dark hair and eyes of the human nomads from which they were created, and often cover their bodies with tattoos. They mature around the age of 5 years and have a lifespan of about 40 years.
Relations: Centaur respect the power of giant-kin, and stories about the Serpent Wards cause them to treat kobolds with cautious diffidence. They hate dral and vriaks, and will attack either race on sight.
Alignment: Centaur tend toward evil, and although they are willful they are not typically chaotic.
Centaur Lands: Centaur tribes raid and pillage neighboring tribes, human nomads, and settlements that border the White Steppes for food, wealth, and corpses. Centaur necromancers use animated dead for construction work and as pack animals; some undead are given guard duty, but because the centaur relish combat so much they usually only put their mindless drudges in the line of fire when they have little choice. Some centaur tribes have wandered beyond the White Steppes, but the expansion of their territory has done nothing to dull their keen desire for conquest and pillage. Each tribe usually has two leaders: a "heart" (typically a with one or more levels in barbarian) and a "mind" (usually with one or more levels in runesmith). The two tend to work together more often than not, but some tribes have fallen prey to dangerous political infighting. Non-centaur in the White Steppes are either targeted for attack or completely left alone, with very little middle ground. Centaur in the human lands are either raiding parties or the rare loner or small tribe driven away from home to die.
Religion: The faith of any given centaur usually depends on its tribe, but in all cases centaur spirituality is derived from that practiced by the Serpent's armies. Some tribes worship the misanthropic god Fargoth, or venerate dragons as living deities. Other tribes are simply agnostic, or treat their runesmiths as holy men.
Language: Centaur speak several bastardized dialects of Modern Kaddei, Isuan, and Vulgar Draconic; a few religious leader speak Aquan, Infernal, or even Noble Draconic.
Names: Centaur names are usually taken as a combination of a physical description (i.e. Whitemane) and an aknowledgement of some great deed or ability (i.e. Armripper). Because the centaur language is so unusual, these names might not be intelligible to outsiders.
Adventurers: Centaur adventurers within their own tribes are usually barbarians or runesmiths seeking glory and power to help them rise to positions of leadership. They use scimitars rather than long swords. Otherwise they are NPCs created as per the core rules.
Dral are a race of sapient plants, and are widely believed to be the oldest intelligent beings in the world of Talnera. They are subconsciously guided and bolstered by a collective will, but each dral is still a distinct individual with its own ambitions and desires.
Personality: Dral are typically calm and introspective, and are slow and deliberate with both words and with action. The occasional dral can be passionate, but such high emotions are almost always reserved for a sense of protectiveness for the whole race if they exist at all.
Physical Desription: Dral typically stand between 75 and 85 inches tall and weigh between 200 and 320 pounds (around the age of 20, but they continue to grow larger as they age). Dral are asexual during the ambulatory phase and hermaphroditic after taking root; size distinctions based on gender are meaningless to the dral. They have dark, bark-like skin that toughens with age and a shaggy mane of leaves on the tops of their heads and down their backs and upper arms. Dral become self-aware around the age of 5, but they are ambulatory for only a portion of their incredibly long lives, from around the age of 60 until they choose to take root, an event that typically occurs before they reach the age of 300. During the ambulatory phase, Dral must consume food and drink as other humanoids do; their bodies do not require sleep, but they need at least four hours of mental rest a day and often rest for longer periods during the darker winter months.
Relations: Dral ended their long seclusion by joining their might to the humans and vriaks that followed the Dragonsaint during the Serpent Wars. Dral tend to be most friendly with those two races out of a sense of familiarity, but otherwise they are too aloof to have developed strong relationships with other peoples.
Alignment: No dral is so consumed with its own ideals that it strays from the balanced needs of its race; therefore a dral character must have some combination of neutral in its alignment.
Dral Lands: The dral will allow other races into their forested homes, but they ask that no settlements be built within a certain distance of their own hidden groves. Settlers who ignore the drals' requests invariably disappear. Dral in other lands are often mercenaries or laborers, seeking to use their great strength earn favors for or repay debts of their race. A few are missionaries or scouts who are more interested in spreading the influence of the dral, or gaining knowledge that can be shared with their race.
Religion: Dral cannot conceive of worship of another power before their own race; therefore Dral cannot gain any levels as a cleric or crusader.
Language: Dral speak an ancient language adopted by many creatures of the forest and known universally as Sylvan. Sylvan is difficult to master, as it is peppered with hums, whispers, and other sounds that are not ordinarily associated with language.
Names: Dral names are a relatively new invention. Before the Serpent Wars only a handful of dral ventured out among the other races, but now the race is learning that individual names are very important when communicating with strangers. A dral will give itself a name when it finds one that it likes--whatever that name might be--before that time it typically calls itself "dral" or "sapling."
Adventurers: The historically reclusive dral emerged from hiding to ally with humankind during the Serpent Wars, and many of their young (called saplings) still adventure among the "civilized" races even after the war's end. Some dral take up adventuring life out of a sense of personal curiosity, while others are motivated by a desire to contribute influence or knowledge to the race. Dral characters are created using the rules found on this page.
Meeri are an ancient and partially aquatic race that populates all coastal areas of the world, and the banks of many major rivers and lakes besides. Long ago, an epic struggle between the meeri and the giants left the meeri with a unique relationship with magic.
Personality: Meeri have a strong sense of civics and are motivated by personal interest and a "live and let live" attitude. They tend to distrust authority, but rather than fighting against it they tend to quietly ignore it. The occasional meer will take up a cause that involves the creation of or subservience to authority, but even then he or she tends to respect individuality.
Physical Description: Meeri typically stand between 55 and 65 inches tall and weigh between 80 and 140 pounds. The difference in size between males and females is negligible. From the neck down, meeri look rather like slender humans with ruddy skin (often shades of red, orangle, purple, or brown). A meer has long, webbed fingers and toes, and their octopus-like heads host large black eyes and six tentacles--each roughly a foot long--surrounding and concealing a beak-like mouth. Meeri mature around the age of 40 and can live beyond the age of 250. They are most active at dawn and dusk; adventurers and soldiers will adapt to whatever daily schedule is required by circumstances, but meeri are happiest when they can sleep for 4 hours through the middle of the day, and another 4 hours through the middle of a the night.
Relations: Like humans, the meeri do not have an easily generalized relationship with another race.
Alignment: Meeri tend strongly toward chaos, although as a race they are not charitable or selfish enough to tend toward good or evil.
Meeri Lands: Meeri occupy coastal areas all over the world of Talnera. Meeri settlements are called city-states, regardless of their size or population. Because meeri disapprove harshly of the idea of central leadership, the administration in their settlements tends to be weak. This tendency toward lawlessness sometimes causes meeri city-states to become havens for criminals of one kind or another, but active criminals quickly find that most meeri believe in self-protection through prompt and harsh punishment of egregious crimes. An individual meer will sometimes feel very loyal to the city-state of his birth, but most will travel from one city-state to another in search of one in which he feels most at home. After the Serpent Wars, this tendency to wander has seen meeri traveling to settlements populated largely by humans and other races in greater numbers than ever. Meeri in other lands are often merchants or mystics, and petty criminals besides. After all, they tend to disregard taxes and any authority figure higher than a mayor or captain of the city watch.
Religion: Meeri tend not to be very religious in modern times, but their ancient duotheistic faith has been integrated into the human pantheon.
Language: Meeri speak their own language called Aquan, also known as the language of the seas. Aquan is riddled with long vowel sounds and sometimes awkward glottal stops.
Names: Meeri names tend to be words in their own language that have simple translations. Examples are C'thayk (strong), M'eeloh (beautiful), and Tz'yulkay (civic-minded).
Adventurers: Meeri instinct toward unusual magic, their apathy toward most laws, and their tendency to travel makes them eccentric and memorable adventurers who often dabble in the arcane (like bards, rogues, sorcerers, or warlocks). Meer characters are created using the rules found on this page.
Gnolls are a relatively young race of wolf-like humanoids, and have been successful in carving out a place among the other sapient races primarily because of ferocious tenacity.
Personality: Gnolls take a sadistic thrill in the hunt. They use as much of their prey as can be made useful--as food, tools, clothing, and the like--but in many cases they do not hunt the most productive prey. Instead, they view the intelligence and power of their victims as a measure of their own prowess.
Physical Description: Gnolls typically stand between 85 and 95 inches tall and weigh between 220 and 380 pounds. Male gnolls are usually larger than females. Gnolls look rather like bipedal wolves or coyotes and are covered in brown, black, or gray fur. Their eyes are yellowy, be they gold or orange or green. Gnolls mature around the age of 10 and can live beyond 60 years in the unlikely event that nothing kills them before then.
Relations: No other humanoid race will have anything to do with gnolls; the Serpent would not trust them among his troops during his war, and the gnolls themselves raided both his armies and the Dragonsaint's forces indiscriminately.
Alignment: Gnolls tend toward both law and evil.
Gnoll Lands: Gnolls do not really have lands of their own, but instead they have spread to any wilderness area that will support them. Gnolls keep some piece of their prey as trophies; when they hunt in a pack, the hunters will divide spoils based on the strength of individuals. These trophy disputes often lead to a change in leadership of whole tribes, as a weakened pack leader can be killed by subordinates while on the hunt. Indeed, the only time pack leadership can formally change is during a hunt or a formal challenge. Gnoll packs often keep wolves, bears, or even smilodons as barely-trained pets. Gnolls separated from their semi-nomadic packs sometimes hire themselves out as trackers or warriors, but most often they will scavenge for survival until they can find other lone gnolls and attempt to start a new pack.
Religion: Gnolls revere Hauk, the hunter of souls, as their chief deity.
Language: Gnolls speak their own language, Gnollish, but some learn the language of whatever local civilization they terrorize.
Names: Gnoll names translate to a combination of pack names and rank within the pack (i.e. Bloody Paw Chief, or Skin Cloak Hunter). This practice means that many gnolls have the same name, and that any given gnoll's name could change frequently with his social status.
Adventurers: Gnolls that rise to positions of power in their own societies, or the rare few that strike out into civilization as loners, are most often barbarians or rangers. They are otherwise NPCs created as per the core rules.
Gnomes are one of the elder races, and evolved alongside the giants. It might be more precise to say than gnomes evolved under the giants' feet, for they were a feral and pest-like race that rose to civilization only after the giants fell from it.
Personality: Gnomes are opportunistic and half-wild, but loyal to their families. They talk quickly and often, and have a deep love for music and natural beauty, but they are not afraid of filth and hardship and are not squeamish in the face of miserable conditions. Gnomes see themselves as simple people, but they can be violently devensive of their families, homes, and whatever else they hold dear.
Physical Description: Gnomes typically stand between 35 and 40 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 50 pounds. Male and female gnomes are about the same size. Gnomes look more or less like small, dark-skinned humans. Their eyes are usually some shade of green, but almost always striking and strongly colored. Their hair tends to be fair, from silvery white to golden blond to coppery red. Gnomes mature around the age of 40 and can live beyond 200 years.
Relations: Gnomes live just about everywhere, and their small settlements are just below the earth's surface and inoffensive to most neighbors. Gnomes tend to get along best with the tree-like dral and the widely settled humans. However, the feud between gnomes and giants goes back as far as either race has been sapient, regardless of whether gnomes or giants had the upper hand. Gnomes tend to attack giants on sight, and giants are more than willing to return the courtesy.
Alignment: Gnomes tend toward neutrality, but like the other major civilized races they would rather have goodly neighbors than evil ones.
Gnomish Lands: Gnomes are as widespread as humans, and are generally a welcome minority population within the lands of others. Gnomish communities can be packed quite tightly (under cities), but are usually very spread out over a large patch of wilderness. Gnomish leadership is typically based on a sort of representative seniority, in which elder make important community decisions but can be voted into retirement by a majority of their peers or of the families that they represent. Gnomes in other lands are either minority citizens or transients en route to a neighboring setlement; in either role they often take it upon themselves to look out for the natural world. As a result, gnomes can often be found in less urban areas, or even in and around the gardens and parks of larger towns. Their connection with nature sometimes makes them highly respected wise men in rural communities, as well.
Religion: Gnomes typically worship the natural earth, but many are attracted instead to the spirits of the vriaks or the humans' nature god Verloren.
Language:Gnomes speak their own language, Gnomish, but often learn the languages of their neighbors as well. Gnomish is a lyrical language of soft consonant and alliterative sounds. Many gnomes also learn High or Low Giant, and in fact their own written language borrows heavily from the ancient runic texts of the giants.
Names: Gnome names are very long, and follow a given name with a chosen nickname, the given name of his father or her mother as well as one clan name from each parent. The name that each parent chooses to pass on to a child is a matter of significance, especially since gnomes do not change their own clan names when they marry. An example of a gnomish name might be Merreg "Badger" Skerreth Elyarn Arouim.
Adventurers: Gnomes do not usually seek adventure by choice, but many devotees of nature do seek to take a more active role in its defense, and so take up arms as a ranger or druid. Gnome characters are created using the rules found on this page.
Giant-kin (ogres, ogre magi, hill giants, frost giants, and others) were once a proud and ancient race whose civilization was destroyed and whose bodies were warped into dozens of variations by some long-past divine conflict.
Personality: Most giants and giant-kin are little more than brutish savages trying to scrape together a life by hunting and pillaging. Others have grander designs, and in fact the most dangerous giants are those who have learned enough of their own history to find or make a path back to that former glory, or to some kind of revenge.
Physical Description: Giant-kin in the North range from 100 to 200 inches tall and can weigh anywhere from 300 to 2,000 pounds. Their complexion and hair color appears to brighten with their size, and typically their intelligence as well. For example, ogres and hill giants tend to have muddy, bluish-brown skin; flat, almost boxlike faces with squashed noses and sloping foreheads; dark blue or even violet eyes, and rough brown hair. These brutish giant-kin are dim-witted scavengers, hunters and thugs through and through. By contrast both frost giants and ogre magi possess pale blue skin and eyes, white pupils, and pale blond to shock white hair. Short, straight horns sprout from the foreheads of ogre magi but are absent on the brows of frost giants. Both races are reasonably civilized, and possess building, crafting, and cultural skills to varying degrees.
Relations: Giants do not generally make good neighbors, but they don't typically go out of their way to antagonize any other race either. Gnomes are the exception to that rule, and giants of all kinds will attack them on sight.
Alignment: Giant-kin alignment is as varied as the giant-kin themselves, but for whatever reason they seldom tend toward good.
Giant Lands: Long ago, most land anywhere was under the jurisdiction of one giant civilization or another. As a result they can now be found in pockets all over the world. Some roam far and wide, while others try to build communities. In any case, giants generally view all other races as food, pests, slaves or otherwise inferior beings. They tend to prefer strong, personal leadership and will recognize and follow power wherever they find it, or exert it when they don't.
Religion: Many giants now hold more superstition than religion, but most worship the twin gods Targ and Chuul. Some scholars speculate that this deity is all that's left of the giants' long-dead pantheon.
Languages: Less intelligent giants only speak Low Giant and possibly the language of a local race, while more intelligent giants also know High Giant, a strong language with complicated grammar. Some giants even know Ancient Giant, a nearly unmanageable predecessor to the modern languages.
Names: Giant names are usually short and strong, and typically stand on their own. Sometimes a proud giant might add an honorific such as "Son of" or a statement of heroics like "Wallbreaker." Some examples are Brok, Galinda She-Bear, Krog, or Tork Son of Groll.
Adventurers: Giant-kin were conscripted or enlisted in the Serpent's armies during the Serpent Wars, and many of them have still practice the necromantic runesmithing and dragon-worship that the Serpent brought to them. Others were military leaders who have found new uses for their military training. Otherwise they are NPCs created as per the standard D&D rules.
Grimlocks are a barbaric and subterranean race of indeterminate origin. Whether they are the result of potent magics or an evolutionary dead end, the grimlocks are terrifying inhabitants of the world's dark places.
Personality: Grimlocks are savages without a culture of their own. They have shown themselves to be little more than wild beasts with humanoid forms. Grimlocks are known to carry of slaves for one purpose or another, but the tales told about supposed survivors of this practice paint such wildly varying pictures of grimlock life below the earth as to be unreliable.
Physical Description: Grimlocks typically stand between 65 and 75 inches tall and weigh between 120 and 240 pounds. Male and female grimlocks are almost identical in size, though many males are slightly larger than their female counterparts. Grimlocks are muscular humanoids with thick, gray, scaly skin and no visible eyes (or eye sockets). They have large, triangular ears and broad, prominent noses and are able to compensate for their lack of sight with superior hearing and smell. It is not known when grimlocks mature or how long they live.
Relations: Aside from the slaves they seem to keep, the only non-lethal relationship grimlocks seem to maintain with other races is an inexplicable reverence for giant-kin. Many grimlocks fought for the giants in service of the Serpent, but when the giants deserted at the end of the war, the grimlocks melted away into caverns and mountainsides.
Alignment: Grimlocks are completely evil and tend to be chaotic.
Grimlock Lands: Grimlocks keep to mountainous terrain and caves, and use their coloring to lay in ambush until victims are close by, or until nightfall. While on the surface, they are usually encountered only in small gangs or packs; their underground lairs can be home to many more. Groups of grimlocks are generally led by whomever is the strongest among them, but such leaders are usually temporary and hold little sway. Because nobody truly knows much about grimlock lands, all observations are limited to the behavior of grimlocks while they raid other lands.
Religion: Grimlocks do not appear to have a religion, but some speculation suggests that they might worship the dead gods of the giants.
Languages: Grimlocks do not have a formal language and typically communicate with base sounds and gestures. Those few Grimlocks that know how to speak a formal language will use either Low Giant or Vulgar Draconic.
Names: Grimlocks do not appear to have or recognize names.
Adventurers: Some grimlock leaders rise to power on the basis of strength and fury, and therefore tend to be barbarians. Grimlocks are otherwise NPCs created as per the core rules.
Humans are a young race, but their meteoric rise to success has been largely due to their ability to adapt to and even thrive in virtually any environment by means of technical aptitude rather than raw magical power or brute physical strength.
Personality: Human personalities are as widely varied as the lands in which they live, and run the gamut from passionate defense of life and hapiness, to indifference and apathety, to cruelty and sadism, and to everything in between.
Physical Description: Humans typically stand between 60 and 75 inches tall and weigh between 100 and 260 pounds. Male humans are usually larger than females. Humans of the the North commonly posses fair to olive skin, and fair to dark hair. Their eyes tend to be some shade of blue or brown or--in some very rare cases--of green. Humans mature around 15 years and live to be over 70 if they take care of themselves. Human attitudes and styling tend to be diverse; a human from an eastern provincial farm and a human from the crumbling alleys of Kaddegh are like to be as different as night and day, for example. Humans mature around the age of 15 and can live beyond 80 years.
Relations: Humans have expanded onto nearly every habitable surface of the planet, and as a result of this spread they have made contact with nearly every civilization around. Humans tend to be second on every other race's list: either as a second-best friend or a second-worst enemy.
Alignment: Just as human personalities can very widely, so too can human alignment.
Human Lands: One way or another, most lands are human lands or at least border them. The North has been divided up into 7 major issues and described on this page. Human society is varied in structure, but it tends to form around some variation of aristocracy. Humans prefer to let a ruling class take care of tedious things like laws and wars, while the everyman is left with important work such as growing food and building cities. Humans travel to other lands for any number of reasons, so it isn't easy to summarize what any given human might be doing away from home.
Religion: Humans have a tendency to assimilate the religions of other races into their own, and they will practice other forms of spirituality besides. The first non-gnomish druid was human, as was the first non-vriak shaman, and the first non-dral avatar. The human (and therefore implicitly universal) pantheon can be found on this page.
Languages: The two most common human languages are Modern Kaddei and Isuan, although some humans know Old Kaddei, the language of the first human empire in the North. Humans also do not shy away from picking up the language of whatever other races with which they most often come into contact.
Names: Human names are pretty much what we the players would think of as classical Northern European (including traditional English and Irish) names. Try not to get too crazy.
Adventurers: Human adventurers come from all walks of life, and can follow any path to reach their goals, whatever those might be. One noteworthy detail regards spellcasters. A human spellcaster can be of any type, humans invented and still prefer the magic used by the runesmith class; the race is otherwise identical to the Human listing in the core rules.
Lesser Kobolds (usually referred to simply as "Kobolds") are a race of cast-offs, proto-dragons hatched from the unfertilized eggs of the highly magical race of dragons. Almost all kobolds are female, and as a result they do not usually live beyond one or two generations.
Personality: All the distinctive personality features of the mighty dragons exist to a lesser degree in kobolds. Where dragons are proud and aggressive, kobolds are blustering and petty; where dragons hoarde gold and gems, kobolds scavenge and thieve; where dragons are intelligent and masters of the arcane, kobolds are cunning and fond of traps and simple spellcraft.
Physical Description: Kobolds typically stand between 25 and 30 inches tall and weigh between 30 and 40 pounds. Female kobolds are slightly larger than males, but there are so few males that the difference is academic. Kobolds are diminuitive reptilian humanoids with fine scales, whip-like tails, and the snouty heads of their dragon forebears. Kobolds born from dragon eggs are physically mature when hatched and can live beyond 40 years, but a typical kobold's lifespan is much shorter.
Relations: Kobolds live in and around adult and older female dragons, typically as its own vermin-like offspring. They typically worship the dragon from which they were born, and view any intruder into her lair as an invader to be repelled at all costs.
Alignment: Kobolds are inherently neutral, but if they do not adopt the alignment of their draconic mother then their baser draconic urges makes them likely to behave more evil than good.
Kobold Lands: Kobolds live in and around the lair of their mother. If she dies, is driven off, or otherwise vacates her lair, then the kobolds typically remain and continue to defend it. Some kobold clans will leave the lair in search of their mother goddess, but such an exodus is extremely rare. Kobolds outside of their lair are often the last survivors born into a dead or dying clan. Because of the distrust of other humanoids, they tend to keep low profiles as they search for another dragon's offspring to which they might attach themselves.
Religion: Kobolds worship the dragon from which they were born, and sometimes honor other dragons with which their mother goddess might interact.
Language: Where dragons speak Noble Draconic, a language of magic and power, kobolds speak a bastardized version called Vulgar Draconic. Because so many kobolds joined the Serpent's armies during the Serpent Wars, the use of Vulgar Draconic has become widespread, even standardized, and is acknowledged by modern scholars as a language in its own right.
Names: Because kobold clans are so wrapped up in the identity of their dragon mothers, the only names they take are those that describe their general jobs. Some examples are Priestess, Guard, Scout, and Gatherer. When interacting with outsiders, the will add the word "for" and the name by which they know their mother goddess, as in the name Gatherer for Tiarnaxia.
Adventurers: Kobolds were quick to follow the Serpent and his draconic allies in the early years of the Serpent War, and with few exceptions they followed him to the last. More than a few kobold clans were orphaned during the war and in its aftermath, and these often continue the Serpent's quest for wealth and power in their last days. Kobold spellcasters tend to be Dragon Shaman, Sorcerers, or--more recently--Runesmiths. Kobolds are otherwise NPCs created as per the core rules.
Greater Kobolds (who refer to themselves as "Kith") are the result of thousands of years of evolution by kobold clans that managed to survive as a race, without their parent dragons. They have remained more or less in hiding until after the end of the Serpent Wars.
Personality: Like their forebears, kith are proud and avaricious. However, they have channeled these traits into a strong warrior tradition based on honor and justice, and a love of the earth and the metals and minerals that it hides. While the kith are not above trickery and deception, they view such behavior as a necessary means to an end. Applied to private life, this quality exerts itself most strongly in the dry, ironic sense of humor that kith seem to favor.
Physical Description: Kith typically stand between 50 and 55 inches tall and weigh between 100 and 160 pounds. Unlike lesser kobolds, the rare male kith are much larger than females of their race and often grow to be almost as large as humans. Kith have the same scaly bodies, thin tails, and long reptilian heads as their lesser cousins; however their appearances are often enhanced by crests, frills, or beards as well as several chromatic and metallic scales among their typical rust-colored ones. Kith are hatched from eggs after a year-long incubation and mature around the age of 20 years; they can live beyond the age of 150 years. Although kith are more likely than lesser kobolds to breed males, no more than one male is born to every hundred females.
Relations: Like the dral, kith have not been among the other races long enough to form strong relationships with them. Unlike the dral, other races are like to assume that kith are simply large kobolds, and often react coldly to their presence. Kith have had to fight grimlocks for generations, and have developed a hatred for that race.
Alignment: Kith tend to be lawful, but they are not particularly good or evil.
Kith Lands: Kith live below the earth, typically wherever they can find valuable mineral deposits (be they iron, gold, gems, or anything else), and they defend their homes and mines fiercely. Kith laws are harshly enforced, and apply mostly to property rights and breeding protocol. Kith enjoy sex as much as any other sapient race, but they are very open and earnest about it and their laws are designed specifically to ensure the continued survival of their race. Inter-clan disputes are settled by regulated, ritual combat rather than warfare. Males are cared for by whole clans and kept in prime breeding condition for as long as possible. While male kith are highly trained in combat and magic, they never leave the clan for adventure. Kith in human lands often serve as craftsmen, for their mastery of mineral works is unparalleled.
Religion: Kith typically worship Yxia, a dragon-like goddess of their invention, or Balifon, the god of creation and craftsmanship.
Languages: Kith speak Vulgar Draconic, although their language is considerably more refined--and has many more words--than the dialect spread by their lesser cousins. Many kith also learn to speak Noble Draconic, or the languages of those with whom they trade.
Names: Kith names sound a bit like the dredges of an alien alphabet, and are thick with sibilance and short vowel sounds. Their names don't seem to mean anything in particular, even to kith.
Adventurers: Kith have a strong warrior tradition and a natural talent for magic. They adventure for honor, for wealth, for personal improvement, or for the good of the clan; these goals are often one and the same. Kith characters are created using the rules found on this page.
Troglodytes (or "Trogs") are one of the younger races, and seem to have migrated to the southern forests from faraway tropics by some route unknown to most explorers in the North.
Personality: Trogs are primitive, foul-smelling, and aggressive, but they spend a great deal of time in a state of near-sleep. Trogs in the north are therefore hostile and appear to be slightly disoriented at all times; their behavior has given rise to the phrase "Trog drunk" when describing an angry, clumsy drunk.
Physical Description: Trogs typically stand between 55 and 65 inches tall and weigh between 100 and 180 pounds. Male and female trogs are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Trogs are reptilian humanoids with lean bodies, wiry arms, and long tails. Their legs are squat and muscular, and their heads are lizardlike and crowned with a frill that extends from the forehead to the base of the neck. Their skin is usually brown and spotted like a leopard's fur, though they have a limited ability to change their color. Troglodytes are born from eggs, and mature before the age of 5; their natural lifespans are unknown.
Relations: Troglodytes hate meeri and attack them on sight unless the odds of such a battle are stacked overwhelmingly against the trogs. Otherwise the trogs are indiscriminately nasty to anything that isn't a trog.
Alignment:Trogs tend toward evil and chaos, though some tribes are more or less belligerent but neutral.
Trog Lands: Troglodytes tend to live just beneath the earth's surface, like gnomes. They raid surface settlements as a source of food and steel--they acknowledge the value of the alloy without being able to replicate it themselves. Unlike grimlocks, trogs have no need for slaves; unlike gnolls, they have no particular love of the hunt. They are bloodthirsty, territorial predators, and little more. Because they do not have cold weather adaptations, troglodytes usually surface for significant periods of time during the warmer summer months; they spend the rest of the time underground. Trog shaman have also managed to develop a curious substance called "trogfire," an oily black sludge that generates thick clouds of hot steam and fog even at room temperature. Trogs use this substance to help them move around in cold weather and even as a weapon to be cast upon their enemies. It is perhaps for this reason more than any other that the shaman lead their people. Trog in other lands are always raiders or refugees. They do not leave known warm holes for any other reason.
Religion: Trog tribes are shamanistic, but their relationship with the spirits is often more coercive than that practiced by the vriaks.
Languages: Troglodytes speak Vulgar Draconic, which they learned during their service with the Serpent during the Serpent Wars; some trogs can speak Low Giant or even Modern Kaddei.
Names: Trog names are simple and usually meaningless, but leader might add an honorific in Vulgar Draconic. Names such as Ug, Adda, or Dob the Strong are common.
Adventurers: Trog leaders are usually shaman or barbarians. Otherwise, they can be created as NPCs using the standard D&D rules.
Vriaks are a bird-like race that evolved alongside humans and gnolls. Due to their early support of the Dragonsaint and a liberal dose of ignorance among the humans, vriaks are often revered as angels in rural human settlements.
Personality: Vriaks are, by and large, extremely talkative. Although an individual vriak will express his or her loquacious nature in a personal way, the race is deeply communicative. They also tend to be highly spiritual, and have a rich shamanistic culture that rivals the more organized human pantheon.
Physical Description: Vriaks stand between 40 and 45 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 70 pounds. Male vriaks are usually larger than females. Vriaks of the north typically have white or gray feathers, with or without spots. Vriak beaks are straight, and almost as long as the head (typically about four inches). Wings grow from their shoulders and their legs and feet are mostly featherless, with the short thighs and long foot and toe bones common among ordinary birds. Vriak have whiteless eyes that range in color from amber to golden to orange, and are accentuated by long brow feathers just over the eyes. A Vriak's wingspan is typically between 90 and 100 inches; when completely folded the highest point of a Vriak's wings is several inches higher than its head, and the lowest is between its knees and ankles. Vriak mature around the age of 20 (counted from hatching) and can live 100 years or more. Vriaks are egg-layers, but their young are aware and learning from their parents through the egg shell during a two year incubation period.
Relations: The vriaks are generally friendly with humans and gnomes, but they tend to be cool toward the "self-worshipping" dral and the alien meeri.
Alignment: Vriaks tend to be goodly, but are not particularly lawful or chaotic.
Vriak Lands:The vriaks have settlements all across the continent, but they have recently been most successful in the western river valley from which the old empire of Kaddegh once reigned. Vriak settlements are often elevated, or at least comprised of buildings on stilts, and their laws maintained by two to five of the eldest and most experienced shaman among them. In order that the laws may be easily remembered (as in prayer), they are often kept simple. The vriak do not therefore accept ignorance as an excuse for lawbreaking. Vriak punishments tend to focus on community service or fines; the rare execution is death by exposure. Vriak in human lands can fill almost any niche, though they tend to gravitate toward military roles (in the case of those still crusading for the Dragonsaint) or spiritual ones (as advisors or mystics).
Religion: Most vriaks are at least respectful of their shamanistic spirits. The few vriaks who abandon that heritage almost always replace it with a strong adherance to another faith, so that truly agnostic or atheistic vriaks are rare indeed.
Languages: Vriaks speak the language known as Astran, the language of the heavens. Surprisingly many also know Ancient Kaddei because of their exposure to the remnants of the old human empire.
Names: Vriak names are generally similies relating to the nature spirits with which they live, and the vriaks will do their best to translate their names into the local language when necessary. Examples of vriak names include "Laughing Brook", "White Fox", or "Wind Dancer".
Adventurers: Vriaks are motivated to a life adventure by passion and often faith or spirituality. Vriak characters are created using the rules found on this page.
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