Humans are fools, and hopelessly naive as well. They are all over the place, their numbers far greater than ours, and yet they have no more sense of their strength than a rat. Let us hope that the Datto remain that way.— Dukkoti Nightrunner, elven warrior
While not the strongest race, nor the quickest, humans dominate the Tablelands.
Physical: Human males average 6 feet tall and 200 lbs, while smaller females average 5 ½ feet and 140 pounds. Color of eyes, skin, and hair, and other physical features vary wildly; enlarged noses, webbed feet or extra digits are not uncommon.
Relations: Human treatment of other races is usually based on what their culture has taught them. In other places like Shetno, close proximity with many races leads to a suspicious unfriendly tolerance.
Lands: Humans can be found anywhere, from the citystate of Keredet to the barren wastes.
People are no good. You can only trust animals and the bottle.— Delmao, half-elven thief
Unlike the parents of Muls, Elves and Humans are often attracted to each other. Half-elves are typically the unwanted product of a casual interracial encounter.
Physical: Averaging over six feet tall, half-elves combine elven dexterity with human resilience. Bulkier than elves, most half-elves find it easier to pass themselves off as full humans than as full elves, but all have some features that hint at their elven heritage. Half-elves, however, do not have the elven ability of the run.
Relations: Humans distrust the half-elf’s elven nature, while elves have no use for their mixed-blood children; elven traditions demand that such children be left behind. Human society gives half-elves have a better chance of survival, but even less kindness.
Half-elves sometimes find friendship among muls or even thri-kreen. Half-elves will cooperate with companions when necessary, but find it difficult to rely on anyone. Many half-elves also turn to the animal world for company, training creatures to be servants and friends. Ironically, the survival skills and animal affinity that half-elves developed to cope with isolation make them valuable beast handlers in human society.
Honor? That word doesn’t exist in the elven language.— Tharak, human guard
The deserts, plains, steppes, and badlands are home to the elves, a long-limbed race of trading, raiding, thieving sprinters. Rumored to be one of the oldest races of the world, the desert has changed them, and they have embraced these changes without question. Running is key to acceptance and respect among elves. Elves who are injured and cannot run are often left to die. Elves in Apocalypse are inherently tribal and exist only within their respected tribes or groups.
After what they call ‘The Great Fall’, disparate tribes banded together under one banner and became known to themselves and to the world as the ‘Elven Nation’. Traveling the great plains and deserts, they bring trade, death, and a dose of hedonism in their wake. Tribes that were once mortal enemies are now butted up against one another, and tensions have not lessened, but facing possible extinction, survival has become the key focus of the Nation and those within it.
An elf who has been disbanded from their tribe is often left to die. In an elf’s mind, to be without a tribe is worse than death. For purposes of roleplaying elven characters, there is no such thing as a tribeless elf.
Physical: Elves stand between 6 and 7 feet tall, with lean builds; angular, deeply etched features; and no facial hair. They dress in garb designed to protect from the desert and elements. There are some physical variations between tribes, which are described in their documentation.
Relations: Elves tend to keep to their own tribe and their proven friends unless they have some sort of an angle – something to sell, or some deception to pass off. Strangers are potential enemies waiting to take advantage of them, so elves look for every opportunity to win the advantage. If an elf believes that a companion might make a worthy friend, the elf devises a series of “tests” of trust that allow the companion to prove that their friendship is “stronger than the bonds of death,” as elves say. Once a stranger has gained an elf’s trust, he is forever that elf’s friend. If this trust is ever betrayed, it is gone forever.
Tribes are as varied as motes of dust or sand in the desert — each have their own focuses and goals, and generation-old animosities and alliances with one another. This is detailed in documentation for the tribes of the Elven Nation.
Lands: Always at home when running the wastes, elves often act as if all plains and badlands were elven lands. However, since most elves are loath to settle or build, they can rarely enforce their claims. Elven tribes make a living either through herding, raiding or trading; most tribes have at one time or another plied their hand at all three of these occupations. A tribe’s current occupation usually determines which lands they currently claim as their own. Elven herders claim grazing lands. Elven raiders claim lands crossed by trade routes. Elven traders claim no lands but wander in search of bargains and loose purses. The Elven Nation is a wandering city, caravaning hundreds of elves at a given time. Where they settle for a few weeks or a month of the year, becomes incredibly dangerous lands to both themselves and to outsiders.
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The worst thing you can say to a dwarf is “It can’t be done.”If he’s already decided to do it, he may never speak to you again. If he hasn’t decided to take up the task, he may commit himself to it simply out of spite. “Impossible” is not a concept most dwarves understand.
Anything can be done, with enough determination.— Sha’len, trader
Dwarves form only a small part of the people encountered in the world. These strong and devoted beings live to fulfill their focus, a task they choose to devote their lives to. Stubborn and strongminded, dwarves make good companions, even though their usual focused nature can tend to be bothersome.
Physical: The dwarves of the world stand 4 ½ to 5 feet tall, with big muscular limbs and a strong build. They weigh on average 200 lbs. Dwarves are hairless, and find the very idea of hair repulsive. They have deeply tanned skin, and often decorate it with tattoos. Dwarves can live up to 250 years.
Relations: A dwarf’s relation with others is often a function of his focus. People that help the dwarf accomplish his focus or share his goals are treated with respect and considered good companions. There is little room for compromise, though, with those that disagree with the dwarf’s focus. If they hinder the dwarf, they are considered obstacles that must be removed. Community is important to the dwarves. Dwarves have a very strong racial affinity. They rarely share their history with non-dwarves; it can take years for a stranger to gain enough trust to be admitted into a dwarven family circle.
Remember the intensity of your focus. Breaking or ignoring a focus has social, philosophical and spiritual repercussions. For someone to stand in the way of your focus is an assault on you. There is no greater satisfaction than fulfilling a difficult focus, and the staff will reward you depending on the difficulty of the fulfilled focus. Keep a serious, sober attitude nearly always. The only time you show your festive side is when you have recently fulfilled a focus, during the hours or days until you set a new focus. Only during these brief “days of fulfillment,” and only to other dwarves and your most trusted non-dwarven friends, do you show your full joy and sense of humor. But these days are also a time of vulnerability, for until you set a new focus you lose all of your special focus-related bonuses.
Mind of a child, strength of three grown men. I’ve seen a half-giant tear the walls out of a building because he wanted a better look at the tattoos on a mul inside.— Daro, human trader
Legend has it that in ages past, a sorcerer-queen used wizardry beget a union of giant and human in order to create a race of powerful slaves. Whatever the truth of this legend, the goliath race has increased in number and is now fairly common especially in human-controlled lands near the shore of the Sea of Silt. Goliaths gain great strength, but dull wits, from their giant heritage, and are nearly as agile as their human forbearers.
Physical: Physically, the goliath is enormous, standing about 11 ½ feet tall and weighing around 1,200 pounds. Goliaths have thick hair, which often kept braided (especially among females) or in a single tail that hangs behind the head and down the back. They dress in garb suitable to their occupation or environment. Goliaths mature at about 24 years of age and can live about 170 years.
Relations: The most powerful warriors in the world, Goliaths seem content to dwell in humanity’s shadow. Goliaths tend to be friendly and eager to please, adopting the lifestyles, skills, and values of those they admire. A Goliath character who encounters a new situation looks around him to see what other people are doing. For example, a Goliath character that happens upon a dwarven stone quarry may watch the dwarves, and then start quarrying stone himself. If he can make a living at it, he will continue to quarry stone just like his neighbor dwarves do; otherwise he will move on to something else.
Always remember how much bigger and heavier you are than everyone else. Take advantage of your height in combat, but remember the disadvantages. Between your size and your lesser wits (even if you are a relatively intelligent Goliath, people will assume you to be dull), you find yourself an object of comic relief. You are used to being teased and will endure more witty remarks than most people, but when you have been pushed too far your personality can suddenly shift, and you can unleash astonishing violence on your tormentors and any who stand in your way. Less frequently, these shifts can happen to you without provocation – you just wake up with a different ethos and altered disposition. Remember you are influenced by powerful personalities, and can shift your personality and ethics. You tend to imitate the tactics, clothes and demeanor of your “little master.”
See, the trick is to break their will. Not too much, mind you. Nobody wants to watch a docile gladiator, and muls are too expensive to waste as labor slaves. But, you don’t want them trying to escape every other day. No crowd likes to hear that their champion was killed during an attempted escape.— Gaal, keredet arena trainer
Born from the unlikely parentage of dwarves and humans, muls combine the height and adaptable nature of humans with the musculature and resilience of dwarves. Muls enjoy traits that are uniquely their own, such as their robust metabolism and almost inexhaustible capacity for work. The hybrid has disadvantages in a few areas as well: sterility, and the social repercussions of being created for a life of slavery. Humans and dwarves are not typically attracted to each other. The only reason that muls are so common in the world is because of their value as laborers and gladiators: in the days of old where slavery was legal in Keredet, slave-sellers force-breed humans and dwarves for profit. While mul-breeding practices were exorbitantly lucrative, they are often lethal to both the mother and the baby. Conception is difficult and impractical, often taking months to achieve. Even once conceived, the mul takes a full twelve months to carry to term; fatalities during this period are high. As likely as not, anxious overseers cut muls from the dying bodies of their mothers.
Since the fall of slavery, most muls are either indentured to the king as his personal gladiators or find themselves employed by larger operations that make use of their work potential. Muls are still bred, some in secret though none are bred for slavery in this day and age.
Physical: Second only to the half-giant, the mul is the strongest of the common humanoid races of the world. Muls grow as high as seven feet, weighing upwards of 250 pounds, but carry almost no fat at all on their broad muscular frames. Universal mul characteristics include angular, almost protrusive eye ridges, and ears that point sharply backwards against the temples. Most muls have dark copper-colored skin and hairless bodies.
Relations: Most mul laborers carry with them the conventions of slave life, having been part of their history for so long, figuring out through painful experience who can be trusted and who cannot. Their mastery of the rules of slave life and their boundless capacity for hard work allows them to gain favor with their employers and reputation among their fellow workers.
Names: Muls that were sold as laborers will have common slave names. Muls sold as gladiators will often be given more striking and exotic names. Keredet names (such as Atlalak) are often popular for gladiators, because of the Keredet reputation for violence. In the old days of slavery, masters who change their mul slaves’ professions usually change their names as well, since it’s considered bad form to have a gladiator with a farmer’s name, and a dangerous incitement of slave rebellions to give a common laborer the name of a gladiator.
As far as you have seen, all of life’s problems that can be solved are solved by sheer brute force. You know to bow to force when you see it, especially the veiled force of wealth, power and privilege. The noble and templar may not look strong, but they can kill a man with a word. You tend towards gruffness. If you are old enough to remember the slave pits, you knew some muls that never sought friends or companionship, but lived in bitter, isolated servitude. You knew other muls who found friendship in an arena partner or co-worker. You are capable of affection, trust and friendship, but camaraderie is easier for you to understand and express – warriors slap each other on the shoulder after a victory, or give their lives for each other in battle. You don’t think of that sort of event as “friendship” – it just happens.
Since the freeing of slaves in Keredet, the world of a Mul has become a different place. Many are still finding their own path, struggling to make terms with having sudden freedom.
Created many centuries ago by an unknown sorcerer-king to serve as a race of sorcerous warriors, dragonborn or dray, as they call themselves are a strong, resilient race of dragon-like humanoids. Most dray were cast out of their home by their creator, and a handful of Dragonborn survived when the old kings were destroyed. From those ancient refugees arose a race of mercenaries, sorcerers, and traders known for their calculating (and sometimes duplicitous) ways.
The Dragonborn are not a numerous people. They live in tight-knit clans that often share a secret citadel or tower in the wastes. Clan members roam far from their mysterious retreats, looking after the group’s interests. Some Dragonborn clans take part in trade, hiring raiders or mercenaries of other races to serve as their hunters. They are also renowned as sorcerers. In the old days, Dragonborn clans struck deals with the sorcerer-kings of various city-states, paying richly for licenses or dispensations to practice arcane magic in those locations. Nobles, wealthy merchants, and templars had need of a sorcerer clan’s services and paid very well for them. In the current days, however, Sorcery is illegal in all areas of the known world, hunted and killed. For this reason, most view the Dragonborn as highly suspicious even if they show no signs of sorcery.
Dragonborn live by a brutally pragmatic philosophy rooted in their exile. They tend to be avaricious, sly, and amoral, although they carefully observe the exact wording of any deal or bargain they strike, since it’s good business to have a reputation for living up to agreements. The dray learned long ago that they can rely only upon one another, and they are fiercely loyal to their clan brothers and sisters. A clan gathers from far and wide to avenge an insult or an injury to one of its own, and the group won’t rest until the vendetta is settled.