Catmen (Kilrathi, Tabaxi)
“Catmen” is kind of a misnomer when talking about the Kilrathi and the Tabaxi. They are both distinct, but related races. Both are beastmen who came from the stars above, having made a pact with the Triad of Evil long ago to turn their weapons of radiant death upon those who would dare oppose Mondain, Minax, and Exodus. After Mondain’s defeat, however, they came crashing out of the sky and became two distinct peoples – the Kilrathi and the Tabaxi.
Kilrathi are massive-bodied felines with rat-tails and frilled ears that are quite expressive. Some have furred tails and furred ears like terrestrial big cats, but this is not the norm by any means. Their muscle density is similar to most of the smaller giants and they are quite capable of tussling with any race they encounter. They believe in a warrior’s code of honor, fighting to the death and finding a too-careful strategy and plan to be the epitome of cowardice, their philosophy being summed up as ‘Scream and Leap!’
Tabaxi, by contrast, are a people of wandering minstrels, rogues, and tinkers. They don’t really seem to care one moment to the next, their identity far more mercurial and centered on the notion of living for the moment, by the moment, for the moment. They represent the smaller of the catmen, being agile and dextrous where Kilrathi are huge and monstrous. They universally have furred ears and tails, as well as sleeker and more attractive bodies by humanoid standards.
When Trammel and Felucca collided and formed Daedalus, the Lunar Rifts formed. These rifts leaked energies and lunar souls from the twin moons onto the world of Alucinor. These beastly souls infused themselves into wilderness dwellers of a few different humanoid races, giving rise to the daedalans, children of the moon. Some are more extreme than others, often referred to as lycanthropes that eventually go mad and must be put down. Daedalans are instead the stable, contemplative beast-souled and beast-behaved denizens that have come to worship the collided moon Daedalus, many of them believing in the Avatar of Virtue that prevented their destruction.
Deep Folk (Gnomes)
Deep Folk keep to themselves primarily. Rock (Tinker) gnomes are the most visible in society, always making their gadgets that help make society flow. Forest gnomes are still referred to as ‘deep folk’ for the simple fact that they always live deep in the woods. Svirfneblin are virtually unheard of, save for contact with the gargoyles. Gnomes as a whole are a very obscur race upon Alucinor and most of them prefer that it remains that way. There are no gnomish nations to speak of, particularly since the daemon Zilbin went on his genocidal rampages.
These beings are but legend borne flesh. It is said that in the old days, they were created to be the ultimate infiltration experts for the Dragon Kings. This has since been rendered false, as many have been unmasked in the eons since their reign. The Faceless, as they are often called, live in every culture and have none of their own. At least, that’s what they’d like everyone to think. The idea of them organizing for a particular purpose terrifies most peasants.
Created by the Dragon Kings to serve in the dragon armies thousands of years ago, they are a relic of the wars fought both aboveground and belowground in the Underworld. The magical process utilized to create the first draconians are since lost to the tides of eternity, though there may be one or two dragons who know the Dragon Kings and remember parts of the rituals. The first draconians were made out of dragon eggs that were not fertilized. These ‘dead eggs’ are traditionally kept in the clutch as food for the eggs that do hatch live dragon young. Instead, these eggs were taken and experimented upon. The rituals to spawn draconians were mainly not performed upon the eggs of species that had fewer than four limbs, as they developed relatively useless laborers and soldiers. Thus, the families of draconians that were considered the most stable and are still around today are the bazu (drake), eisdrak (nidhogg), fenbu (hydra), kappa (dragon turtle), lungrin (lung), montuak (basilisk), osanshouo (salamander), selunian (drachen), and valoran (wyvern).
Little pacifistic empathic humanoids with traits in common with gnomes and halflings. They frequently deal with forest gnomes, but even they are too violent for most emps to be able to stomach. It is the rare emp that goes beyond their forest homelands to go and do heroic deeds. These rare emps are capable of steeling themselves against the thoughts and feelings of bigger, more violent folk. Emps tend to be absolutely vegetarian, having spiritual difficulty even eating foods that may be microbe-laden. Milk and honey are two of their favorite foods, but they don’t always have adequate supplies of either. They traditionally live among silverleaf trees, though the destruction of their trees has led them to a sort of jaded sense of self-awareness, leading their often-frightened ways into a cultural clash. Today, emps are rarely seen in cities throughout the world. When they are seen, however, most of them are thought of as nothing more than toddlers or children. One subrace of emps dwells in the frozen norths, referred to as gwani. They are often mistaken for furry little goblins.
Fair Folk (Elf)
Elvenkind have suffered over time. They were humanoids trapped in the Faerie Realm after Zog cast the Armaggedon spell. They resurfaced for quite a long time in the face of the Age of Darkness, but many of them went back. Everything changed when the moons crashed together, forcing many elves back out of their Faerie Realm and into reality once again. Many were disoriented and refused to accept the ‘filthy’ life upon Alucinor, but many more embraced it. Wild and wood elves took to their forests and lived among them, some establishing long bonds with emps and forest gnomes. Eladrin and high elves were the most standoffish, forming aristocracies and eventually intermarrying with humans in not insignificant numbers. Drow returned to the shadows of the pit, competing with gargoyles for resources in the Underworld. Many elves are arrogant, but if they become a friend, they are your friend for life.
Known for being those nice giants of the woodlands, firbolg are to elves as goliaths are to dwarves. They are sylvan, tough, and quite kind to others. They have an amazing humility about their roles as the guardians of the natural world, even apologizing as they strike down a foe brutally for despoiling nature. Some are natural pacifists, taking after the ways of the emps, but still more venture forth to learn more about the world during their Lifetrek, as it is called. This serves as a coming of age rite whereupon a firbolg learns of the world for a decade then returns home to take a mate. Some never return.
Gargoyles are what remains of a once proud civilization. Once upon a time, they ruled a kingdom. Some say it was named Bael Turath, some say it was named something else. They were either once humans or something near-human. When the draconians attacked them in the name of the Dragon Kings, slaughtering their people en masse, the gargoyles turned to the blood of imprisoned demons and devils in their great museums, imbuing themselves with dark powers. In doing so, they stopped the draconians forevermore.
However, the gargoyles had a prophecy that one day a human would come among them and end their race. The False Prophet. Only through his sacrifice would their race be saved. When the moons collided in the skies above, this False Prophet sacrificed himself to shield the entire world of Alucinor to prevent its destruction. Through this moment, he saved the gargoyles in Ter Mur, which would have utterly collapsed if he had not shielded the world.
Traditionally, gargoyles had two castes, winged and wingless. Females were always wingless, but carried the genes for both winged and wingless. It took thousands of years, but one day a female expressed the winged trait, after the collision of Trammel and Felucca. This was taken as a good omen and that the False Prophet’s sacrifice had saved the entire race. For the last 400 years, every gargoyle born since has had wings.
The cannibal dead, long-lived humans mutated and warped by the depredations of areas of the Underworld, ghouls exist with a hunger for flesh and meat that exemplify the horror of being forced to do terrible things to survive. Sometimes called the calibans, the exiles, the morlocks, the underkings, or worse, all ghouls have some modicum of life left in them and some can still reproduce even after they die and come back from the grave, passing along their unique necromantic-infused traits to their children. Over time, they have stabilized and become their own distinct underclass of a race, living in the worst sewers and worst parts of the worst towns and cities. Universally spurned for being nothing more than wretches, ghouls are the ultimate underclass of malformed and hungry dead – they simply are those who were rejected by those more virtuous once upon a time and their imperfections became manifest. Some who are very superstitious consider their rise to be a sign of failing virtuousness throughout the world – but even the most hungry of the cannibals can possess a noble heart.
Goblin (Bugbear, Goblin, Hobgoblin)
Often considered a scourge on everyone, goblins have been a royal terror the last century. They conquered Tarna and enslaved everyone there, putting those who resisted to the sword. Right now, they control a lot of the wealth in raiding in Hidden Vale and in vast swathes of Novia, frustrating even King Blackthorn with their tenacy. Goblins tend to be the clever little bastards that everyone associates with ‘goblin’, but bugbears are the large hairy bogeymen that are the rarest of them all. Hobgoblins, with their legion tactics, are often regarded as potentially the biggest threat to all civilization. Even the Ferran legions have something to fear from an army led by hobgoblins, and that seems to be the legacy of goblin civilization – conquest, domination, and control.
Mountain-dwelling noble-hearted giantkin, the goliath is one of the few races left utterly untouched by the cleansing of giants in centuries past. They are one of the few holdouts in Tarna against the goblin legions that threaten the existence of everyone else. They dwell atop mountain peaks, in places where no one else dares to tread or even try to live in, for fear of altitude sickness. An extremely rare race, when someone sees a goliath they often wonder if they were imagining it.
Allegedly a bizarre creation crossing lizardmen and trolls with a hint of dragon’s blood, these hungry reptilian monsters strike swiftly and cleverly extract and steal food from their prey. Often consisting of a small muscled body, small limbs, and a mouth many times larger than you would expect for a creature its size, gremlins are frightening when one becomes swarmed by them.
Halfbreeds (Half-Elf, Half-Orc)
On most other worlds, the concept of a halfbreed usually illicits some sort of mental image of forcible intercourse. Not so on Alucinor. When many elves fell out of the Faerie Realm, they intermarried with humans and began more peaceful lives. When many orcs were created by Mondain’s cruel magics, the ones that sought to feel peace felt it in the arms of a human. Halfbreeds have been around for as long as the races have met, some with strife, but mostly with intermingling. It never is a source of strife for those outside of the fold of the halfbreed, though some purists might think less of one. King Blackthorn is one such monster, considering halfbreeds to be disgusting abominations worthy of destruction on sight.
Harpy (Aarakocra, Kenku)
Often cited to have a human’s head and torso with bird wings and lower body, harpies actually come in a wide range of visualizations. The aarakocra tribe are incredibly capable fliers, while the kenku tribe are obsessed with mimicry. In both cases upon Alucinor, they look far more attractive and like a meshing of human and animal than they do on other worlds. More than a few warriors have been given pause at the sight of the naked chest flesh of an angry harpy matriarch protecting her brood.
Beings touched by the elemental planes of existence, jinn’assai are the quintessential tricksters of the universe. Many of them seek to give people what they want, but many turn out to be charalatans with no real truth to the notion of genies existing. Now, genies do exist, but jinn’assai are the offspring and lesser forms of genies given flesh. Not fully steeped in their individual element from the Elemental Realm they originate from, jinn’assai are travelers, grifters, and the ultimate wanderers. Some turn themselves into walking talking sources of information on the world, bouncing from continent to continent. They are most common in Atarka between the dunes.
Lizardfolk (Lizardmen, Thepa)
Created from some of the foulest of Mondain’s magics, lizard men were birthed from the combination of the wizard’s own expendable servants and great reptiles which dwelt in the Novian wetlands. Strong and dangerous in battle, these cool blooded creatures were once a significant threat to dungeon-faring adventurers in the earlier ages of Novia.
With time, however, these creatures came to develop both culture and language, in spite of their monstrous origins. Long hunted as unthinking beasts, the lizard folk were almost eradicated from the lands which would become Novia, and were, in fact, thought extinct until colonists came upon a tribe surviving in the Great Stygian Abyss. The settlers treated these reptilian men with understanding, and found them capable of understanding human speech, although they were largely unable to replicate it. The lizard men eventually were given a place among the colonists of the Abyss, living harmoniously amidst men, goblins, mountain-folk and trolls for a time.
In this motley settlement, the lizard men appeared to divide themselves into tribal units based on pigmentation, with green, red and gray tribes living in distinct territories. Curiously, the gray lizard men (enigmatically referred to as the “Silent Ones”) were capable of pronouncing human language.
After the destruction of the Abyssal Colony, the lizard men were not seen in Novia again during the course of the Avatar of Virtue’s adventures there, although the colonists as a group were said to have resettled in one dungeon or another. It is unknown if this strange race ultimately vanished at last from the land or if these creatures retreated once more into places unknown to men.
Lizard men are known to have their own unique language.
While stories of the minotaur exists on multiple worlds, the Sosarian beast bearing this name had its nativity in grotesque experiments at the hands of the wizard Mondain. The wicked mage encouraged perverse trysts between his followers and Baratarian fighting bulls, resulting in these abominable half-man/half-auroch offspring. These minotaurs, similar to their counterpart in Earth’s Athenian myth, came to dwell in the labyrinthine depths of many of the realm’s dungeons, where they could be found lying in wait for unwary adventurers. To this day, they now reside as seaborne terrors, plying the oceans as pirates who descend upon settlements with rabid stubborn abandon.
Mountain Folk (Dwarf)
The Stubborn Folk, as some whisper, live beneath mountains and atop mountains alike. They universally learn trades, are tough and resistant to toxins, and share a love of drink and song. Their origin is the land of Tarq, a land that recently has been devastated by massive earthquakes. Many dwarven subcultures have been trapped and separated as a result of these upheavals, leaving those above-ground desperate to seek a source for this ill that has struck the lands. All the dwarven subraces are well-represented upon Alucinor, with duergar living near drow and gargoyles in the Underworld. Hill dwarves are a more common sight in Novia, with mountain dwarves dominating Tarq. Ashtalarea has a significant population of dwarves who live in the side of a great carved mountain.
Refugees from the ophidian civilization that fell, naga are the result of magical merging of humans with the lower parts of a snake. They are extremely rarely seen outside of Serpent Isle. They tend to use arrows laced with potent venom. They follow odd virtue-beliefs surrounding the concepts of Order, Chaos, and Balance. Most people consider this to be a bizarre interpretation of the Law/Chaos axis, but naga don’t seem to think that’s the case.
Fallen celestial souls are not a common thing. In the case of the nephilim, they never developed their own individual society like the gargoyles did. Instead, they tend to be lone wanderers who try to find their place. There is an entire colony of nephilim that still manages to thrive in Tarna, though goblins seek to eliminate them utterly. They tend to have a nimbus glow around them that’s faint and transcendental, like they were touched by angels.
The quick and deadly nezumi are quite resistant to curse-workings. They are native to Qin, from there spreading throughout the world. They are instrumental in the fight against the beings from the Shadow Realm that threaten to overwhelm Qin and the Tokuno Isles. In Novia and other realms like it, they tend to live in sewers and underneath the significant cities, eking out a meager existence on the refuse and garbage of others. Some nezumi are the most devoted, disciplined samurai that there are.
Said to be descended from elves, nixies are peaceful creatures that attack savagely if provoked. Often considered to be merfolk by most, they actually have a deeper more interesting society beyond the collection of seashells. It is said, as well, that they are the people who inhabit Ambrosia and the Isle of Fire after they had sunk beneath the waves. They ‘ride’ upon seahorses underwater, gripping them and going along with their fast-moving fronds. Extremely magically puissant, some of the most powerful sorcerers in Alucinor are nixies.
Burly, often boar-faced or pig-visaged humanoids, the orcs were the vanguard of Mondain’s first advance milennia ago. Tribal by nature, they are regarded often as sub-human at best, just a slight cut above true bestiality. They abhor most things human and cultured and tend to lay waste to these instutitions, stealing whatever weaponry and armor they can find in the wake of such barbarism. Breeding like rabbits and having similarly equitable lifespans, orcs are fecund and dangerous, being the main scourge of multiple continents. They are part of mainstream society in a handful of continents, Novia and Serpent Isle among them. The Solian Lands have a thriving orcish civilization based on duty and honor, but a universal is that orcs and goblins hate each other with a surprising virulence. Morgaelin has the most frightening orc clans in the world, cannibal necromancer orcs that live beneath the surface and emerge only to rape and pillage.
Today, most orcs one will meet have a bizarre notion of honor, making them frequent friends of the kilrathi.
Plains Folk (Human)
Their title given to them being a pun (that most humans don’t get), humans indeed are the plainest folk of all by most imaginations of the rest of Alucinor. However, they have proven that their virtuous and heroic hearts keep the world around them thriving, even while they themselves might not in the short term or longer term.
(Given that the reader may know what a human looks like, an image is not provided.)
The walking dead, brought back to life for a purpose. King Blackthorn created masses of revenants in his zeal and lust for power, always inadvertently, as he tortured people to death and tossed their corpses out to see. In more recent days, he has taken to torching them to avoid the messy situation of them rising up and attempting to attack him. Even a paladin’s heart might be preserved through this transformation from weak, soft human into angry undead. Sometimes, a revenant is not released from his damnation even if he kills the perpetrator of his misery. Oftentimes, the imperfection to the process results in a revenant attempting to find a new obsession before he decays that much more quickly. Any race can become a revenant, but it is most common in the stubborn races, such as humans, dwarves, and minotaurs.
River Folk (Halfling)
Sometimes called bobbits or hobbits, the river folk are the nicest people you will ever meet. Many of the inns and groomers throughout the entire world are run by halflings of all varieties. Ghostwise halflings, however, are so extremely rare that one wouldn’t know one by appearance alone. Known for their luck, some adventurers bring along a lone halfling just for that very purpose. They are one of the nonhuman races that Blackthorn tolerates and has a softer heart for. It is rumored his wetnurse was a halfling. Wonders never cease.
The warforged are an extremely popular race. They sacrifice their lives so others don’t have to, the magic animating them permitting their reanimation later more easily in many a case through the Create Warforged ritual. Now, the history of creating these machines of war goes back to an ancient ritual that may have been discovered upon Serpent Isle. Before, the bronze and brass automatons that were in common use couldn’t be repaired and remade. The iron warforged are the epitome of usefulness, as one can pop one back into a forge to be reforged anew as a stalwart companion again. Rumors abound that there were potent servants of virtue upon Serpent Isle known as the Lords of Discipline who had their consciousness transferred into perfect, flawless automaton bodies. If such a process existed, someone would definitely use it to become immortal in some fashion.
The antithesis of the naga, wildmen have had their head and necks replaced with that of a serpent, so they might elongate it to bite someone. Absolutely chaotic and mad like their forebears, shasrajah exist as raiders and bogeymen upon Serpent Isle and have spread this into other lands as invaders.