~~Let us start by introducing you to the races and nations in, but firstly the races. We have:
It is very difficult to make generalisations about this race due to its extremely varied nature. Rather, this is a collective term for those sentient creatures who that, whilst humanoid in form, have strong animal associations and features. These have been reported as ranging from elongated canines, strange eyes and distorted facial characteristics, to the predominance of fur or scales, clawed hands and feet and even tails. The cause of these animalistic variations remains unknown, they may be magical or natural in origin, but for some reason few have actually wanted to make a detailed study of these creatures. However, despite the uncertainty with which Beastmen are regarded they are widely tolerated both due to their fighting ability and affinity with nature.
It is unclear whether this is a race apart from mainstream Elves or whether some ancient cataclysm separated them many generations ago. Scholars have debated if the term ‘Dark’ is a misnomer and if they are more truly named ‘ones cast from the light.’ Certainly the respect for nature prevalent amongst many Elves is most notably absent. Few have visited their cities, but those who do return speak of fantastic architecture that embodies hidden darkness. Generally Dark Elves live in deep underground complexes – many of which are ruled by strict matriarchal societies – and have developed midnight black skin and shockingly white hair. Some few others have found similarly isolated and secluded places on the surface and have developed physical differences to their underground brethren, with the exception of the pointed ears common to all Elven kind. Scholars debate as to whether this race should be classed as ‘evil’ in their disregard for all others, however it is more likely that their obscure past and peculiar culture make their perception of reality truly different to that of surface dwellers.
These short, hardy folk are still a rare sight. Humanoid in form, but short in stature, Dwarves are thought to be more long-lived than man but are very secretive. Therefore, little else is known about them. Indeed, their introverted nature makes their intent extremely difficult to gauge and they can be very taciturn in day-to-day business. When a Dwarf turns their hand to any mundane or magical task their dogged and methodical approach will usually mean that they are soon to be its master and they particularly excel as artificers and craftsmen. As a result, Dwarves will generally have finely crafted clothing and equipment which will be cared for and maintained in the same fastidious manner with which a Dwarf will care for themselves. Although mythology pits the races of Dwarves and Elves against each other, there is little or no evidence to support such inter-racial hatred. However, it is important to remember that Dwarves tend to make friends and enemies for life and neither a good deed nor an injustice is ever likely to be forgotten.
Like nature itself, Elves are wide ranging in both their appearance and attitudes. From the wild and unpredictable, to the calm and serene (and sometimes within the same individual), there is little above their facial features and respect for the land that is common to all. In general, they put great store in the land of their birth, for it sustains them when leaders may come and go, and though may be seen by some as arrogant or superior, this may simply be due to their lack of comprehension as to how some races live a life so brief. Elven longevity has given rise to much speculation about links with the alleged ‘immortals’ called the Fey. However, from the little ‘evidence’ that has come to light, no such connections have been proved.
The most widespread of all the species, Humans are generally considered a young race by most standards. Yet the proliferation of Humankind is undeniable and their main strength is in their seemingly infinite capacity for variety. Moreover, of all the humanoid races mankind appears to be the most capable of mastering the widest range of skills and abilities, whether magical or mundane. Indeed, it appears there is little that Humans are not capable of achieving.
These are a widespread and varied race and it is often difficult to tell where the Goblin race ends at the Orc race begins. In general Goblins are of a slighter build, with sharper facial characteristics and tend to be shorter lived than Orcs. Though wild as individuals, they are capable of reaching great heights of achievement. What they do not know or possess, they will beg, borrow or steal and their behaviour and dealings with other races will usually depend on their immediate personal or clan needs. Their sheer lust for life makes them a vibrant (some would say, virulent) force to be reckoned with.
Ogres are a large and proud race whose strength and raw courage is legendary and their physical presence and strength of will makes it easy for them to berate, and press into service, lesser races for their own whims. An Ogre’s life can be characterised as a series of brutal incidents strung together around eating and drinking, which makes them very abrupt in their dealings with others, with a tendency to trample over ‘social niceties’ that other races hold dear, without understanding the offence they have caused. However, it is a foolish individual who mistakes an Ogre’s ferocity for stupidity and it is well worth bearing in mind that Ogres make slightly better friends than enemies. Any race attempting to deal with an Ogre delegation better be prepared to accept some coarseness from their guests. Ogres have a magpie-like attitude to dress; as bright as possible and as much as possible, with their obviously savage appearance further enhanced by baroque styles of armour and viciously detailed weaponry.
Physically, there is no such thing as your average Orc, as they come in a variety of skin colours and sizes, although green skin does seem to be the most common. Their tendency to regard survival of the fittest as the central tenet of child care means that they are generally tough, robust creatures. This makes them ferocious fighters who combine sly courage with a determination to succeed at all costs. It is difficult to argue that Orcs are inherently ‘evil,’ they are simply products of the environment in which they are bred.
The common image of a Troll is that of a foul, violent creature with little concern for other creatures or, indeed, the world at large. However, folklore does this race a great injustice. Trolls are large and varied hominids, whose skin colour and texture generally reflects the climate from which they originate. For example, those from the far North have a smooth, pallid skin with coarse patches of hair while those that dwell in more temperate latitudes have skin colours that tend towards a swamp green or a rock grey, again depending on their origin. Their mode of dress often reflects their deliberate and contemplative nature, e.g. multi-layered with many odds and ends attached, each with some significance to the Troll in question. Trolls are extremely methodical in nature and can spend a long time considering many factors before acting upon a problem. This often leads to the misconception of low intelligence in these creatures. Trolls are also extremely sensitive to the nature that surrounds them and may often sit communing with nature for long periods. This activity is thought to give rise to the myth of Trolls turning to stone in sunlight. A single Troll will have the same capacity for good and evil as any other being, but their size and their indifference to adversity gives them a better than average aptitude for martial skills and behaviour. Trolls are not necessarily averse to magic but it is undoubtedly true that Troll mages are very rare.