Racial Fluff In Your Campaign

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The purpose of this post (soon to be a thread, I hope) is to discuss the fluff that we will give the various races in our campaigns. Please state your thoughts, and feel free to bounce ideas off each other. I'll start:

-- Choral music was first invented by the dwarves. There are earlier forms of music, but pure choral music was from the dwarves. They sang while they were still enslaved, and the purpose of their song was to attract Moradin's attention. They were forbidden to make instruments, so their music was entirely through their voices, occasionally augmented through clapping of hands or snapping of fingers. Their masters were amused to no end, and encouraged their slaves to sing. The amusement ended when Moradin finally put his hammer down, and heard his children singing to him. The dwarves remain the world's best choristers, and while they seldom give full performances for outsiders, those who are fortunate enough to hear the music unanimously agree that it is transcendently beautiful.

-- All fey have a sweet tooth-- or many sweet teeth. The elven peoples are no exception. Elves love to add honey, berries, or various syrups to almost everything, within reason. Eladrin and drow have moved on to pure sugar, and they often lack their elf cousins' restraint when it comes to adding sugar to food or drink. However, eladrin seldom drink rum. Most claim that it is a drink for common humans, but privately wish that they had thought of it. Some drow uses for sugar are... best left unstated...

-- As a race, half-elves can differ wildly in appearance. First generation half-elves are a perfect blend of human and elven features, but as half-elves interbreed their children have an increased chance of appearing more human, or more elven. It is not uncommon for a half-elf to appear exactly as a member of one parent race except for one or two cosmetic giveaways, such as an "elf" having human ears or a "human" having naturally green hair.

-- Dance is an integral part of halfling culture. There is a dance for almost everything. Students of halfling culture claim that a halfling's band of origin can be determined through the nuances of his or her dances. One of the most striking halfling dances is the Knife Dance, wherein one halfling tosses knives at another, who catches them and tosses them back. The cycle continues even as a thrid halfling dances in between the two. The halflings call it a sacred rite to Avandra. Everyone else calls it crazy.

-- Dragonborn believe that they were born of Io, just as Bahamut and Tiamat were. Where the two gods were born of the halves of Io, the dragonborn were born of his shed blood. Therefore, the dragonborn believe that while individuals are just mortals, their race as a whole is the equal of any god. Their culture rejects Io's individualistic outlook on life. Individuals may shine (and all are encouraged to do so) but it is ultimately not the individual that matters; it is the race. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one" is a dragonborn saying.
In my campaign:

--The dwarves created the Warforged to protect their ancestral lands when they retreated from the world during the Hundred Years' Chaos. When their underground kingdom fell to demonic invasion, the survivors fled, and vowed not to repeat the mistakes of the past but to instead forge into the future. By now, the dwarves are the foremost creators of Eberron-style magitech in the world.

--The Eladrin suffer from an ancient curse that prevents them from sleeping (they turned on their patron, the God of Dreams, when he turned evil--he created a horde of psychic monsters to attack them through their dreams in revenge). To get around this, they have learned to trance, but this has come at a cost; as an Eladrin grows older, the inability to gain the benefits of REM sleep over their long years drives them batsh*t insane, which is why the Eladrin come off as strange and chaotic to visitors.

--The Shadar-Kai are humans who made a pact with The Raven Lord, the god of death. In exchange for their assistance in rounding up the dead for rebirth, he made them immortal by removing their souls and replacing it with shadowstuff. This had a drawback, however. The longer the Shadar-Kai lives, the less interesting everything gets. Unless they keep themselves entertained, the shadows that make up their souls starts fading away, and the slowly fade from existence. This means that Shadar-Kai courts are places od decadence and hedonism, as well as the pursuit of sensation. The older a Shadar-Kai is, the more jaded to everything he gets, so the more extreme the lengths he will go to for entertainment, and what a Shadar-Kai considers "fun" can range from the silly and baffling to down-right bone-chillingly horrible. The worst thing you can hear a Shadar-Kai say is, "bored now," because this will usually be followed by an attempt to "liven things up."

--Gnomes were created by the Queen of Air and Darkness, daughter of the mad God of Dreams. This means most of them have been touched by her father's madness in some way. Many were killed when the ancient Eladrin empire of Eris fell to the Dark Reaper, so seeing a gnome is rare, for which most people tend to be grateful. The Eladrin may grow into insanity as they get older, but gnomes tend to be bug-f**king nuts all their lives, and most tales of fairy pranks comes from gnomish practical jokes. Also of note are the Redcaps, homicidal gnomes who've come to think of murder as funny business and playfully dip their caps in their victim's blood to get "that nice scarlet color." Since the color changes as the blood dries, redcaps prefer to keep their caps as wet and fresh as they can.

--Dopplegangers, also known as changelings, are another race from the Feywild. their origins are shrouded in mystery, but the hatred they receive at the hands of the Eladrin is not. During the Hundred Years' Chaos, changelings were employed by the Zargoni Conspiracy to infiltrate and weaken the Eladrin Empire of Avaleron. By the time the Conspiracy was uncovered, the damage was done and the empire was in ruins. The remaining Eladrin rulers each came to the conclusion that the changelings were solely responsible for the empire's collapse, and so began the purge of the changeling race. As the true extent of the (mostly harmless) changeling population became apparent to them, they stepped up their efforts in a genocidal frenzy. Many changelings now try to escape into the World to escape this, and changelings and Eladrin don't get along well.
56816218 wrote:
What I find most frustrating about 4E is that I can see it includes the D&D game I've always wanted to play, but the game is so lathered in tatical combat rules that I have thus far been unable to coax the game I want out.
When the Cat's a Stray, the Mice will Pray
Heh, my fluff changes are pretty simple, the deeper stuff I haven't worked on yet as I'm not DMing (yet).

- The Dragonborn Empire is not "lost," its alive. The culture is a warrior culture, with emphasis on strength, cunning, and honor. (I hate the "heirs of a lost empire" trope.)

- Tieflings (stylistically) are more like 3e Tieflings.... thats pretty much it there. (I despise those foreheads)

More (maybe) later.
This new forum is terrible. Try again Wizards.
The gnolls were once more akin to the concept of the noble wolf rather than the savage hyena. A meteor impact devastated the world, leaving intact one small, sheltered land, largely dominated by an orcish empire. During a war to put a stop the orcish grab for the few remaining independent countries in this area, the peaceful gnolls saw many packs leave for the mountains to the Lands of Eternal Night (i.e., everything that was blasted into oblivion). While the land had started to regrow, it was still a harsh place to live. Desperation saw the gnolls there degenerate into the savage monsters we all know and love... to kill. A handful of gnolls remained behind and are available as PCs in my game, preferring the druid and ranger classes.

The drow descended to the Underdark to get away from the constant warfare of the surface nations. The "War Above" was costing them too many of their people, so they followed a charismatic priestess to the "Peace Below". Knowing that "If you want peace, prepare for war," they built up a highly disciplined fighting force, keeping their training sharp by virtue of conflicts with other Underdark races. During the last war, even their Peace Below was not unaffected, and the drow answered a plea for help from their surface elf cousins. When the elven lord asked the priestess to help him end the war "as expediently as possible", she unleashed her horde of warriors, who poured forth into the heart of the orcish empire from every cave and crack. The slaughter was so horrifying to the surface nations that they refused to associate themselves with the drow units and sent no assistance, either during or after the war. The drow found their numbers reduced by 80% lacking such back-up, so they turned absoultely savage and retreated fromt he blood soaked lands above and now reside underground again, nursing a deep hatred for those who partook in their betrayal.

Probably not quite the type of fluff you had in mind, more of a historical re-write, but ultimately you get the same kind of race you have in the MM, so I consider it a kind of fluff. There are lengthy details left out, but this all came about during a homebrew campaign.
In my campaign:

--The dwarves created the Warforged to protect their ancestral lands when they retreated from the world during the Hundred Years' Chaos. When their underground kingdom fell to demonic invasion, the survivors fled, and vowed not to repeat the mistakes of the past but to instead forge into the future. By now, the dwarves are the foremost creators of Eberron-style magitech in the world.

OOH. I like this. I like it a lot.

--The Eladrin suffer from an ancient curse that prevents them from sleeping (they turned on their patron, the God of Dreams, when he turned evil--he created a horde of psychic monsters to attack them through their dreams in revenge). To get around this, they have learned to trance, but this has come at a cost; as an Eladrin grows older, the inability to gain the benefits of REM sleep over their long years drives them batsh*t insane, which is why the Eladrin come off as strange and chaotic to visitors.

--The Shadar-Kai are humans who made a pact with The Raven Lord, the god of death. In exchange for their assistance in rounding up the dead for rebirth, he made them immortal by removing their souls and replacing it with shadowstuff. This had a drawback, however. The longer the Shadar-Kai lives, the less interesting everything gets. Unless they keep themselves entertained, the shadows that make up their souls starts fading away, and the slowly fade from existence. This means that Shadar-Kai courts are places od decadence and hedonism, as well as the pursuit of sensation. The older a Shadar-Kai is, the more jaded to everything he gets, so the more extreme the lengths he will go to for entertainment, and what a Shadar-Kai considers "fun" can range from the silly and baffling to down-right bone-chillingly horrible. The worst thing you can hear a Shadar-Kai say is, "bored now," because this will usually be followed by an attempt to "liven things up."

--Gnomes were created by the Queen of Air and Darkness, daughter of the mad God of Dreams. This means most of them have been touched by her father's madness in some way. Many were killed when the ancient Eladrin empire of Eris fell to the Dark Reaper, so seeing a gnome is rare, for which most people tend to be grateful. The Eladrin may grow into insanity as they get older, but gnomes tend to be bug-f**king nuts all their lives, and most tales of fairy pranks comes from gnomish practical jokes. Also of note are the Redcaps, homicidal gnomes who've come to think of murder as funny business and playfully dip their caps in their victim's blood to get "that nice scarlet color." Since the color changes as the blood dries, redcaps prefer to keep their caps as wet and fresh as they can.

--Dopplegangers, also known as changelings, are another race from the Feywild. their origins are shrouded in mystery, but the hatred they receive at the hands of the Eladrin is not. During the Hundred Years' Chaos, changelings were employed by the Zargoni Conspiracy to infiltrate and weaken the Eladrin Empire of Avaleron. By the time the Conspiracy was uncovered, the damage was done and the empire was in ruins. The remaining Eladrin rulers each came to the conclusion that the changelings were solely responsible for the empire's collapse, and so began the purge of the changeling race. As the true extent of the (mostly harmless) changeling population became apparent to them, they stepped up their efforts in a genocidal frenzy. Many changelings now try to escape into the World to escape this, and changelings and Eladrin don't get along well.

Again, I like this. I especially like the fact that Shadar-Kai can be like malevolent kender, but you have clearly put a lot of thought into how your fey are like. 4E fey are supposed to be alien and/or scary, and you have made them just that. I have a couple of questions regarding the other elven subraces: did the elves split with the eladrin before the god of dreams turned evil? Do the drow still worship the god of dreams?

Heh, my fluff changes are pretty simple, the deeper stuff I haven't worked on yet as I'm not DMing (yet).

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Any thoughts are good, and all are welcome.

- The Dragonborn Empire is not "lost," its alive. The culture is a warrior culture, with emphasis on strength, cunning, and honor. (I hate the "heirs of a lost empire" trope.)

This is cool. There's just as much that can be done with the "empire's poster children" as can be done with the "heirs of a lost empire."

- Tieflings (stylistically) are more like 3e Tieflings.... thats pretty much it there. (I despise those foreheads)

More (maybe) later.

Everybody has different aesthetic tastes. I don't dislike the new look myself, but there is a lot to be said for the previous look.

The gnolls were once more akin to the concept of the noble wolf rather than the savage hyena. A meteor impact devastated the world, leaving intact one small, sheltered land, largely dominated by an orcish empire. During a war to put a stop the orcish grab for the few remaining independent countries in this area, the peaceful gnolls saw many packs leave for the mountains to the Lands of Eternal Night (i.e., everything that was blasted into oblivion). While the land had started to regrow, it was still a harsh place to live. Desperation saw the gnolls there degenerate into the savage monsters we all know and love... to kill. A handful of gnolls remained behind and are available as PCs in my game, preferring the druid and ranger classes.

I like this a lot. It's a different take on the "good member(s) of an evil race" idea, in that while the evil faction is the overwhelming majority, they are also the fallen.

The drow descended to the Underdark to get away from the constant warfare of the surface nations. The "War Above" was costing them too many of their people, so they followed a charismatic priestess to the "Peace Below". Knowing that "If you want peace, prepare for war," they built up a highly disciplined fighting force, keeping their training sharp by virtue of conflicts with other Underdark races. During the last war, even their Peace Below was not unaffected, and the drow answered a plea for help from their surface elf cousins. When the elven lord asked the priestess to help him end the war "as expediently as possible", she unleashed her horde of warriors, who poured forth into the heart of the orcish empire from every cave and crack. The slaughter was so horrifying to the surface nations that they refused to associate themselves with the drow units and sent no assistance, either during or after the war. The drow found their numbers reduced by 80% lacking such back-up, so they turned absoultely savage and retreated fromt he blood soaked lands above and now reside underground again, nursing a deep hatred for those who partook in their betrayal.

I like this. I like it a lot. It's a new take on the drow. They're still evil but they have a very legitimate grievance against the rest of the world, and that kind of nuance isn't often to be had.

Probably not quite the type of fluff you had in mind, more of a historical re-write, but ultimately you get the same kind of race you have in the MM, so I consider it a kind of fluff. There are lengthy details left out, but this all came about during a homebrew campaign.

Don't worry about it. I'm very interested in everybody's fluff ideas, and fluff can be tied into a race's history. Please feel free to continue to post if you would like to.

The Stray, narukagami, Shiftkitty, thank you all for posting. Please feel free to continue if you so choose. That goes for anybody who would like to add their own fluff as well.
OOH. I like this. I like it a lot.

Thank you. When I head gnomes had been moved to the MM, I started thinking "Where are all the weird magictech inventions going to come from?" And thought about the next most logical race. Thinking things this way freed up the gnomes to become vicious and crazy, too, and gave me something interesting to do with the dwarven race, because I had always liked the image of dwarven wizards being more artificer than mage.

Again, I like this. I especially like the fact that Shadar-Kai can be like malevolent kender, but you have clearly put a lot of thought into how your fey are like. 4E fey are supposed to be alien and/or scary, and you have made them just that. I have a couple of questions regarding the other elven subraces: did the elves split with the eladrin before the god of dreams turned evil? Do the drow still worship the god of dreams?

Yeah, the Feywild has just been fertile ground for my imagination, especially since I liked games such as Changeling: The Lost where the fey are completely scary bastards.

On the Drow and Elves: the Madness of the God of Dreams was the incident that caused the elven race to split. It wasn't an isolated incident, however. This happened during a period where all the gods had fallen into evil and decadence. This Age of Darkness resulted from a terrible war with the demons--the gods won, but their victory was Pyhrric, because before that time there wasn't much evil in the universe, and the gods had become tainted by their own vices. Their creations rebelled, and another war followed in which mortals discovered a way to fight the gods on their own terms and become gods themselves. The old gods were overthrown and cast into various hells, becoming the lords of devil kind.

The Elf/Eladrin/Drow split was the most dramatic of these battles. Before the Age of Darkness, the Eldar people were one, and mostly worshiped The God of Dreams and The Goddess of Magic and Fate, who had worked together to create them. However, as the gods fell to evil, the elven races began to fracture. The first big schism was the departure of the ancestors of the elves, who rejected the evil of their gods but were not ready to rebel against them. Instead, they retreated into the world. They were reviled by the other elves for a time, called "faithless wanderers," but as the madness of the God of Dreams and the wickedness and petty cruelty of the Goddess of Fate grew more open and inescapable, the elves realized their kin had been correct to leave, and openly turned on their creators. This, again, did not sit well with everyone, and civil war broke out between the elves who recognized that change was needed and those who felt that turning against their lords was rankest blasphemy.

The Eladrin won, toppling the God of Dreams and the Goddess of Fate and casting them into separate hells, but not before the God of Dreams cursed them. The Drow, who had sided with the evil gods out of misguided love, were cast out of the Eladrin lands. Those who remained in the Feywild took to the deepest, darkest woods and caverns, and these drow worship the God of Dreams still. The ones who came to The World warred with the Elves and were driven underground. Worshipers of the Goddess of Fate, these drow are very much like the drow as presented, since the Goddess of Fate is my world's version of Lolth.
56816218 wrote:
What I find most frustrating about 4E is that I can see it includes the D&D game I've always wanted to play, but the game is so lathered in tatical combat rules that I have thus far been unable to coax the game I want out.
When the Cat's a Stray, the Mice will Pray
A nod to the dragons:

The war in my world was about the eradication of arcane magic and the strict control of access to divine magic. The dragons had long grown apathetic to the "ground scratching apes" that were the rest of the beings on the planet and their endless wars. They didn't realize the danger to their very essences until almost too late.

When the war ended, a Council of Dragons met to decide what to do with these unpredictable creatures. Almost unanimously, the metallic dragons voted to better educate them on magic, the cosmos, and everything, while the chromatic dragons, again almost unanimously, decided that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", and that the little apes should be exterminated once and for all. Sensing the very real possibility that a dragonwar could erupt and indirectly attain the chromatics' genocidal goal, the metallics created agents to serve as go-betweens and to help educate the people and be amongst them to take on any chromatics that might take matters into their own hands. This is the origin of the Dragonborn in my game. Their chromatic counterparts are the Dragonspawn.
some of my stuff has been inspired or shamelessly ripped off of threads from these very forums, but in my defence, it was all from brainstorming threads like this one.

Dragonborn - Dragons were cursed by the gods for hubris. Only 1% of all dragon eggs hatch to become dragons. 69% are inviable (not quite stillborn, just seem to come out unfertilized), the rest are Dragonborn. Dragonborn are scorned and hated as mutants by their dragon parents and kicked out immediately. 20% of all Dragonborn eggs become Dragonborn. 50% inviable, the rest....KOBOLDS. Kobolds have a 100% kobold fertility rate. Always give birth to more Kobolds. Unless managed (sometimes kept as slaves by Dragonborn communities), they can become quite the pest. Dragonborn eat the inviable eggs, as they believe that they will grow up big and strong. Its completely normal in Dragonborn society and often gets weird looks from the other races.

Tieflings - Are the dominant race of a parralel dimension, which for all intents and purposes is "hell". They aren't evil however. Their personalities are as varied as humans. The dimension that they come from has a very thin boundary of reality, and Tieflings will often "trip" in to the prime material plane, ending up under people's beds, in their closets, etc. If something goes bump in the night, its probably a tiefling who got himself lost.

Halflings - Junk peddlers (think Jawa from starwars), getting around in walking/flying/floating mechanical junk cities.

Eladrin - Are pretty much half-elves from the distant future. Humans and Elves become one race. An experiment with time travel gone wrong has left them both in the past and future at the same time (using the fey step ability, puts them back in to the future for a short time).

Oh, Warforged are also sentient junk robots created by the halflings. Still need to come up with a more appropriate name than Warforged though.

Still trying to think of stuff for the other races.
Running a Norse inspired campaign.

Halflings are an off-shoot of humans. Loki played a prank on a human, turning him into a halfling and thus the race was born.

Teiflings are the offspring of Eladrin and Devils. The Eladrins in their quest for power turned to the Devils and made blood pacts with them in exchange for greater hellish magic. Part of the pact included mating with devils and producing offspring that later turned into the Teifling race.

Dragonborn live in the mountains with the dwarves and are a mostly shamanistic tribal race.
TheCapn, stolen or not, those are some awesome ideas for races!
56816218 wrote:
What I find most frustrating about 4E is that I can see it includes the D&D game I've always wanted to play, but the game is so lathered in tatical combat rules that I have thus far been unable to coax the game I want out.
When the Cat's a Stray, the Mice will Pray
Thank you. When I head gnomes had been moved to the MM, I started thinking "Where are all the weird magictech inventions going to come from?" And thought about the next most logical race. Thinking things this way freed up the gnomes to become vicious and crazy, too, and gave me something interesting to do with the dwarven race, because I had always liked the image of dwarven wizards being more artificer than mage.

The game designers seem to agree with you. The dwarves are credited as the first artificers in the Artificer article.

Yeah, the Feywild has just been fertile ground for my imagination, especially since I liked games such as Changeling: The Lost where the fey are completely scary bastards.

On the Drow and Elves: the Madness of the God of Dreams was the incident that caused the elven race to split. It wasn't an isolated incident, however. This happened during a period where all the gods had fallen into evil and decadence. This Age of Darkness resulted from a terrible war with the demons--the gods won, but their victory was Pyhrric, because before that time there wasn't much evil in the universe, and the gods had become tainted by their own vices. Their creations rebelled, and another war followed in which mortals discovered a way to fight the gods on their own terms and become gods themselves. The old gods were overthrown and cast into various hells, becoming the lords of devil kind.

OOH. Once again, I like that.

The Elf/Eladrin/Drow split was the most dramatic of these battles. Before the Age of Darkness, the Eldar people were one, and mostly worshiped The God of Dreams and The Goddess of Magic and Fate, who had worked together to create them. However, as the gods fell to evil, the elven races began to fracture. The first big schism was the departure of the ancestors of the elves, who rejected the evil of their gods but were not ready to rebel against them. Instead, they retreated into the world. They were reviled by the other elves for a time, called "faithless wanderers," but as the madness of the God of Dreams and the wickedness and petty cruelty of the Goddess of Fate grew more open and inescapable, the elves realized their kin had been correct to leave, and openly turned on their creators. This, again, did not sit well with everyone, and civil war broke out between the elves who recognized that change was needed and those who felt that turning against their lords was rankest blasphemy.

The Eladrin won, toppling the God of Dreams and the Goddess of Fate and casting them into separate hells, but not before the God of Dreams cursed them. The Drow, who had sided with the evil gods out of misguided love, were cast out of the Eladrin lands. Those who remained in the Feywild took to the deepest, darkest woods and caverns, and these drow worship the God of Dreams still. The ones who came to The World warred with the Elves and were driven underground. Worshipers of the Goddess of Fate, these drow are very much like the drow as presented, since the Goddess of Fate is my world's version of Lolth.

That sounds good. It's all very logical.

A nod to the dragons:

The war in my world was about the eradication of arcane magic and the strict control of access to divine magic. The dragons had long grown apathetic to the "ground scratching apes" that were the rest of the beings on the planet and their endless wars. They didn't realize the danger to their very essences until almost too late.

When the war ended, a Council of Dragons met to decide what to do with these unpredictable creatures. Almost unanimously, the metallic dragons voted to better educate them on magic, the cosmos, and everything, while the chromatic dragons, again almost unanimously, decided that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", and that the little apes should be exterminated once and for all. Sensing the very real possibility that a dragonwar could erupt and indirectly attain the chromatics' genocidal goal, the metallics created agents to serve as go-betweens and to help educate the people and be amongst them to take on any chromatics that might take matters into their own hands. This is the origin of the Dragonborn in my game. Their chromatic counterparts are the Dragonspawn.

In a word: nice. I like the mirroring of the Dragonborn and the Dragonspawn, and I also like that the voting patterns were only almost unanimous. That leaves plenty of room for a surprise encounter or two. I assume that either there are more metallics than chromatics, or else more chromatics broke with the whole of their race than metallics did.

some of my stuff has been inspired or shamelessly ripped off of threads from these very forums, but in my defence, it was all from brainstorming threads like this one.

There's nothing wrong with that, so long as we don't try to pass it off as our own ideas. Copyright is a good thing, even in situations like this where no money is changing hands.

Dragonborn - Dragons were cursed by the gods for hubris. Only 1% of all dragon eggs hatch to become dragons. 69% are inviable (not quite stillborn, just seem to come out unfertilized), the rest are Dragonborn. Dragonborn are scorned and hated as mutants by their dragon parents and kicked out immediately. 20% of all Dragonborn eggs become Dragonborn. 50% inviable, the rest....KOBOLDS. Kobolds have a 100% kobold fertility rate. Always give birth to more Kobolds. Unless managed (sometimes kept as slaves by Dragonborn communities), they can become quite the pest. Dragonborn eat the inviable eggs, as they believe that they will grow up big and strong. Its completely normal in Dragonborn society and often gets weird looks from the other races.

This is a very, very neat idea. I like the theme of "degeneration" (dragon to dragonborn to kobold). The most interesting result is the change in racial psychology. The dragons, and to a lesser extent the dragonborn, must be obsessed with breeding, which (in dragons) would likely explain why dragon attacks aren't as common as they could be. They have other concerns.

Tieflings - Are the dominant race of a parralel dimension, which for all intents and purposes is "hell". They aren't evil however. Their personalities are as varied as humans. The dimension that they come from has a very thin boundary of reality, and Tieflings will often "trip" in to the prime material plane, ending up under people's beds, in their closets, etc. If something goes bump in the night, its probably a tiefling who got himself lost.

Is it a racial power like the eladrin's fey step, or is it more like a ritual they can innately perform but which isn't necessarily accurate? In any event, I like the flavour. It gives another reason for children to have nightlights.

And now that I think about it, I can't shake the image of a tiefling Santa Claus leaving hellish presents in homes that offered good hospitality on those times he/she got lost...

Halflings - Junk peddlers (think Jawa from starwars), getting around in walking/flying/floating mechanical junk cities.

That works with their nomadic/trader flavour, but is an original take on it. Nice.

Eladrin - Are pretty much half-elves from the distant future. Humans and Elves become one race. An experiment with time travel gone wrong has left them both in the past and future at the same time (using the fey step ability, puts them back in to the future for a short time).

Now this is very interesting. What are eladrin relations to humans, elves, and half-elves? I can see some being disdainful ("I can't believe we evolved from them!") and others taking a more nuanced view ("As they are, we once were"), and still others being hopeful ("We're here for a purpose! We have to guide them into becoming us!")

And now I see eladrin trying to subtly meddle in the affairs of humans, elves, and half-elves... yes, this is one very interesting idea indeed...

Oh, Warforged are also sentient junk robots created by the halflings. Still need to come up with a more appropriate name than Warforged though.

Still trying to think of stuff for the other races.

Based on what you've already listed, I'd say that a) the name will be cool, and b) the rest of the fluff will rock. You have some seriously cool ideas.

Running a Norse inspired campaign.

You have my attention. I like the Norse.

Halflings are an off-shoot of humans. Loki played a prank on a human, turning him into a halfling and thus the race was born.

This? Is just so very Loki! It even fits in with halflings being created and then left to their own devices, because I don't see Loki particularly caring for them.

Do halflings always breed true with humans?

Teiflings are the offspring of Eladrin and Devils. The Eladrins in their quest for power turned to the Devils and made blood pacts with them in exchange for greater hellish magic. Part of the pact included mating with devils and producing offspring that later turned into the Teifling race.

Now this is interesting. It makes for a darker take on the eladrin, or at least some of them. However, IIRC, there aren't really any devilish figures in Norse mythology. How do you see the devils fit in? Are they also denizens of Muspellheim or Hel, or do they take the place of the giants?

Dragonborn live in the mountains with the dwarves and are a mostly shamanistic tribal race.

A valid take on them. I can see them living with the dwarves. How closely intertwined are the two cultures?
for my world i elpt it similar for the purposes of keeping things simpler with the players, hlaf of whom are pretty new to the game.

the few differances i made were to do with kobolds, goblins. then some aestheic changes with teiflings and dragonborn.

goblins have an additional sub species, chum-chum. these make up all the minions of the goblins. they are smaller and more thoghtless than the other goblins, frequently as black and blue as they are green. not naturally, but because the keric (normal) goblins beat on them constantly.

kobolds arn't monsters. they are a population of small lizard men interested in the expirience of life rather than material wealth. they bearly understand the concept of currency no matter how intelligent an individual kobold may be. they also have difficulty with a number of things that require abstract thought such as religion and simbols. A cleric of Pelor may be asked by a Kobold what the heck that picture on his tabard is
"it is my god, the great and radient Pelor"
"what? so he looks like that picture?"
"um... not quite.. it. uh..hmm "
there are a rare few kobolds who break through this stereotype. but most people are surprised to hear of them.
in a given city, there will be about as many street urchin children as kobolds serving largly the same function.

teifling tails and horns are at their largest as seen in the cores, and most are biased towards as they are shown, but a good 5th of tails have been known to be proportionally similar to cats, and horns are seen with some regularity that are as thick and long as a forefinger and indexfinger together.
horns have been seen as large as a Sable's and Kudo's (african heard animals, there are some great horns in some african animals)



dragon born are not blessed with mamalinian breasts. (i was going to just ignore the issue, but then a player asked specifically if they breast feed their young, then if the males had nipples, so i made a call) but females are are much leaner than their male counterparts, and their 'hair' short. where as length of 'hair' is an indicator of maturaty and verillity in male dragon born.
there are more colours available to the dragonborn. but green and blue are usually no more than tinges to an otherwise normal copper or dull bronze.
'black' dragon born are more a deep dusky colour, and would described as a very dark brown and many of them have gold tinges. silvery white dragon born are more uncommon, but do occur, and true albino dragonborn have never been known to be encountered. where the players are currently, not a great deal about the dragon born vs teiflings war is known. as the story unfolds, more information comes to the players

vecna and grumish are the same being. vecna being the god of secrets can pull this kind of trick off. moradin discovered the ruse many an age ago, and tricked him into poking his own eye out (as grumish) in order to 'discover' the secret moradin had plundered from the expedition mining the astral sea. which was nonother than that moradin had caught on to his ploy. The Orcs were once a more settled and spiritual race, tollerated by the dwarves, but (vecna as) grumish set them on a warpath that has continued for milenia as the orcs try and avenge the peseived slight upon their (aparently) innocent deity. the dwarves still hunt for gold, gems and other secrets held by the earth, and vecna tries his hardest to tempt each one of these dwarves to his sway. frequently under the guise of moradin or (more often for the other races) Pelor
to bring what is hidden into the light my god tells me!, i must find all that is hidden! "tell me your secrets child, and i unto pelor, and you will be fogiven for your transgressions")
the artifact: 'vecnas eye' inspired me.
for my world i elpt it similar for the purposes of keeping things simpler with the players, hlaf of whom are pretty new to the game.

Fair enough. It's important to keep things similar if you have a lot of new people.

the few differances i made were to do with kobolds, goblins. then some aestheic changes with teiflings and dragonborn.

goblins have an additional sub species, chum-chum. these make up all the minions of the goblins. they are smaller and more thoghtless than the other goblins, frequently as black and blue as they are green. not naturally, but because the keric (normal) goblins beat on them constantly.

Ah. Okay, that all makes sense. The constant physical abuse would also explain why chum-chum gobs only have 1 hp. What are the racial names of hobgoblins and bugbears?

kobolds arn't monsters. they are a population of small lizard men interested in the expirience of life rather than material wealth. they bearly understand the concept of currency no matter how intelligent an individual kobold may be. they also have difficulty with a number of things that require abstract thought such as religion and simbols. A cleric of Pelor may be asked by a Kobold what the heck that picture on his tabard is
"it is my god, the great and radient Pelor"
"what? so he looks like that picture?"
"um... not quite.. it. uh..hmm "
there are a rare few kobolds who break through this stereotype. but most people are surprised to hear of them.
in a given city, there will be about as many street urchin children as kobolds serving largly the same function.

Okay. I like this. It takes the kobold out of the monster category, but it still keeps them annoying while leaving room for kobold PC's. Alright.

teifling tails and horns are at their largest as seen in the cores, and most are biased towards as they are shown, but a good 5th of tails have been known to be proportionally similar to cats, and horns are seen with some regularity that are as thick and long as a forefinger and indexfinger together.
horns have been seen as large as a Sable's and Kudo's (african heard animals, there are some great horns in some african animals)

And for the $64,000 question: do these special horns and tails have abilities which feats unlock, or is this purely cosmetic?

dragon born are not blessed with mamalinian breasts. (i was going to just ignore the issue, but then a player asked specifically if they breast feed their young, then if the males had nipples, so i made a call) but females are are much leaner than their male counterparts, and their 'hair' short. where as length of 'hair' is an indicator of maturaty and verillity in male dragon born.
there are more colours available to the dragonborn. but green and blue are usually no more than tinges to an otherwise normal copper or dull bronze.
'black' dragon born are more a deep dusky colour, and would described as a very dark brown and many of them have gold tinges. silvery white dragon born are more uncommon, but do occur, and true albino dragonborn have never been known to be encountered. where the players are currently, not a great deal about the dragon born vs teiflings war is known. as the story unfolds, more information comes to the players

Okay. I think I get what you mean by "hair." I like the broader pallete for dragonborn; they should reflect all ten major varieties of dragon, in my opinion.

vecna and grumish are the same being. vecna being the god of secrets can pull this kind of trick off. moradin discovered the ruse many an age ago, and tricked him into poking his own eye out (as grumish) in order to 'discover' the secret moradin had plundered from the expedition mining the astral sea. which was nonother than that moradin had caught on to his ploy. The Orcs were once a more settled and spiritual race, tollerated by the dwarves, but (vecna as) grumish set them on a warpath that has continued for milenia as the orcs try and avenge the peseived slight upon their (aparently) innocent deity. the dwarves still hunt for gold, gems and other secrets held by the earth, and vecna tries his hardest to tempt each one of these dwarves to his sway. frequently under the guise of moradin or (more often for the other races) Pelor
to bring what is hidden into the light my god tells me!, i must find all that is hidden! "tell me your secrets child, and i unto pelor, and you will be fogiven for your transgressions")
the artifact: 'vecnas eye' inspired me.

This? Is a stroke of brilliance! I would see Ioun as Vecna's nemesis more than Moradin, but your setup for the Moradin-Vecna/"Gruumsh" rivalry make perfect sense. Pelor is also probably quite choked at Vecna.
The game designers seem to agree with you. The dwarves are credited as the first artificers in the Artificer article.

I noticed, and I'm quite pleased.

OOH. Once again, I like that.

Awesome sauce. I've worked very hard on this background, so it's nice to hear the work is appreciated.

That sounds good. It's all very logical.

The 4e fluff changes were very conducive to my imagination. I regard the preview books as money well spent...it helped me look at the world I had created for my 3.x game in a new light, and this in turn allowed me to incorporate things that just weren't available to me when I first began work on the world, like Eberron.

I have a few bits of other racial fluff, though most of these others hew pretty closely to what's presented. Still, here are my takes on the other races available in my game.

City Elves (half-elves): The half-elves of the campaign world are actually mostly half-eladrin. Most half-elves consider themselves fully elven and a separate race from their fore-bearers, and, for most folk, these "city elves" are indeed the only exposure they have of the elven races. While there are still half-elves born from elf/human or human/eladrin parents, half-elf/half-elf and half-elf/human children are far more common. What most members of this race don't realize is that the breeding of a whole race of half-eldarin is based on manipulation of bloodlines by a hidden council of Eladrin leaders attempting to weed the Madness out of their blood. Their plan is to breed these half-elves back into the Eladrin population, and thus breed the strengths of humans and the "innate superiority" of the eladrin race together.

Halflings: The Halflings hail from the northlands. Once nomadic tribes plying the rivers for their trades, they suffered horribly during the Hundred Years' Chaos. To escape death, they ventured to new lands. They are a people without a home, traveling in caravans across the plains and along the rivers of Coralton. They are secretive and insular, keeping themselves separated from outsiders, and yet they provide services and entertainment to those same outsiders. Most see halflings as opportunistic thieves or vapid entertainers, but the ways of the halflings are strange, magical, and sometimes sinister. It is rumored that a rare few halflings possess a mystical sight that allows them to glimpse the past and future, and they guard this power jealously, for (the rumors say) it was this power that inspired the hunts against them in the first place.

Tieflings: During the Hundred Years' Chaos, some of the noble families of the Kelsenon Empire threw in their lot with Vecna and his diabolic allies. They forged a pact for dread power, unconcerned that their pacts carried a price that would mark their descendants "unto the last generation." At least, until the curse reveled itself among the Noble's children (including the illegitimate ones). The Tieflings of Coralton today are the descendants of these traitors, and walk a fine line. On the one hand, they retain the blood of nobility (if not always the title). On the other, they are the physical remnants of corruption and treachery, and are remembered as such. While there WAS a historical Bael Turath, those tend to live south of the campaign area, most of the tieflings in the campaign setting are descended from these noble lines.

Dragonborn: A proud race of mighty warriors, the Dragonborn once ruled the distant desert empire of Arkosiah, though that land was torn asunder a thousand years ago. Now scattered, the dragonborn are a race of wandering mercenaries, keeping their culture alive through mighty oral tradition. The Hobgoblins, however, have captured and enslaved many dragonborn clans, a state of affairs which enrages those free dragonborn who learn of their plight. Many members of this proud warrior race seek to liberate their fellows from the bondage their captors have placed them in.

Hobgoblins: The hobgoblins of the Ten Fangs Army are marching on the Free Lands of Elonderon. Driven by their martial culture, which focuses on codes of Honor and Superiority, they are poised to sweep through the Free Lands and subjugate the "Lesser Races" before them, as they have already subsumed the Dragonborn. Some members of the hobgoblin race, however, seek to understand the cultures they have encountered, rather than subsume or destroy them. These "renegades" now travel the lands their brethren seek to conquer, hoping to sue for peace or find a way for the races to coexist together.
56816218 wrote:
What I find most frustrating about 4E is that I can see it includes the D&D game I've always wanted to play, but the game is so lathered in tatical combat rules that I have thus far been unable to coax the game I want out.
When the Cat's a Stray, the Mice will Pray
Well I spent about 45 minutes typing a grand history of my world but then the Internet ate it, so now I will give the highlights.

Near the beginning of the world there was a war between the Dragons and the Giants.

The Old Eladrin (before the division into subraces): fought along side of the Dragons as allies.

Dwarves: fought under the Giants as slaves.

Dragonborn: Created by a combination of Dragon and Eladrin magic to fight against the Giants. As a result they hold the Eladrin and Elves in a high level of esteem.

Warforged: Created by the Dwarves to counter the Dragonborn threat. The Dwarves would also create a secret army of warforge to help them rebel against the Giants. In the resulting choas the art of creating the Warforged was lost until recently when a forgotten vault of warforged reawakened.

Tiefling: Founders of the first human kingdom. Came into conflict with the Dragonborn. They created a powerful artifact during the war:
-The Orb of Dis Pater- This Orb when activated would kill all sentient beings in a one mile radius. However, unknown to the Tieflings for every soul destroyed the Orb would create a one foot per soul radius explosion. Thus one killed being one mean a one foot explosion, two killed two foot radius etc. When the Tiefling released the Orb against the Dragonborn army the resulting explosion caused an massive earthquake that caused the peninsula that the Tiefling capital was on to seperate from the mainland and form an island. The earthquake also devastated both capitals causing the fall of both Empires.

Drow: The Noble class of the Old Eladrin Empire. Wished to dominate over all creature even their cousins. After losing the resulting war they retreated to the former capital of the Tiefling Empire. Most people believe that few Drow remain, unaware of the massive underground kingdom they have created. Recently the third most powerful family of Drow has found evidence of the long lost Orb of Dis Pater and seeks to control it.

Modern Eladrin: The Mage class of the Old Empire. Wished delve into the study of magic and remain in the Feywild. Fought against the Drow.

Elves: The peasantry of the Old Eladrin Empire. They fell in love with the wild places of the Earth and rejected the Feywild. Fought against the Drow.

Humans: Following the fall of the Tieflings humans became relatively unimportant until a young human noble entered the Elven civil war on the side of the Elves and Eladrin. He helped tip the balance of the war. After the War the Elves and Eladrin were exhausted and retreated to the interiors of their lands and gave the human noble rule of much of their former territory. The campaign will begin at the apex of the Empire that this nobe created.

Halflings: Have prospered during the time of the human empire. The act mainly as traders. Although their gypsy live style makes the other races wary of them.

Half-Elves: The relationship between Elves and Humans was originally quite distant. This changed following the founding of a port city near Elven lands. At first it was a source of conflict. The Elves sent a large force of rangers to watch over the human city and ensure that the humans did not intend to attack. However, the human port would soon come under attack by a large coalition of pirates of many races. The city would have fallen to the attackers had the Elven Rangers not attacked the pirates before they overtook the city. The Human city held a month long celebration for the Elves. Less then a year later both societies reported a series of strange births, and thus the first Half-Elves were born. And since then Elven and Human relations has improved dramatically.

Proto-mortals- In the beginning the Overgod created the first mortals. They were humanoid in general shape but had few defining characteristics and were generally without purpose. The Overgod gave each of the lesser gods a portion of the Proto-mortals to mold as they saw fit which gave birth to the traditional humanoid races. However, a now forgotten god never claimed his portion so now a faction of these beings still exists in a distant land seeking purpose from a none existent god.

Sorry it turned out so long. But thanks for reading.
I'm running a sword and sorcery style campaign right now in which many of the races' background have been given complete and total disregard.

Elves: The elves are mostly unchanged in this campaign, except that like in many other fantasy games, they are very hostile towards outsiders and intruders. They are extremely reclusive, rarely venturing beyond their forests, and often seem stoic and grim when not among their own kind.

Dwarves: I like the "enslaved by giants backstory," so I've kept that. Dwarves in this campaign tend to be a bit more jovial than in others. They are met with suspicion by many races because they favor heavy armor (often considered to be a cowardly trait by the various barbarian peoples) and magic in their craftsmanship. Some people mistakenly believe them to be a breed of fey creatures or earth spirits.

Eladrin: Almost universally mistrusted. They live in grand cities near the borders of the Feywild, and in this campagin, grand cities are rare and often corrupt. The Eladrin are extremely fickle, and their dealings with other races are always unpredictable. Outside of their cities, they are more often met with fear than with hostility. Strange and marvelous powers are attributed to this race, and many people give them a wide berth.

Halfing: Halfings in this campaign are split into two distinct tribes (very big ones spread out all over the world). One tribe is much like the PHB halfings, traveling the swamps and rivers, and they have a very Cajun style and feel to their culture. The other tribe resembles the halflings presented in the 3e Races of the Wild. They travel in caravans using covered wagons, and are very much like gypsies. In either case, they retain their amicable nature and reputation for trickery.

Tieflings: The tiefling civilization is very much alive and well. It it centered in a massive city-state where demon worship and dark magics are both commonly practiced. Reviled by other races, PC tieflings are usually individuals who have broken off from this decadent society, and can expect to be met by others with open hostility until trust can be gained.

Dragonborn: In this campaign, there was no great Dragonborn empire. Instead, Dragonborn live in barbaric tribal societies and place a high emphasis on honor and personal strength. They revere dragons as emissaries of the gods. The battle rages that they fly into are legendary, and though this makes many hesitant to fight along side, everyone agrees that there is no better warrior to have in front of you than a Dragonborn.

Warforged: The warforges aren't common in this campaign. They vast majority are the result of a failed experiment by a wizard with questionable moralities. In an attempt to create a great army, he trapped the souls of great warriors within mechanical bodies. Unfortunately, even though these warriors retained their memories, they found themselves unable to adapt to their new bodies and had to relearn their skills in their entirety. Furthermore, they retained their individuality fully, and so there is nothing to ensure their loyalty. Most of them, understandably, turned upon their creator and he was destroyed, and now they are scattered throughout the land. Since that time, the secret of their creation has been discovered by a few others, but the results are invariably the same.
Dragonborn are evil servants of Tiamat.
Dwarves have an indian culture.
Eladrin is only the name of one of the two surviving elven Kingdoms. The other one is Drowet.
Drow have an egyptian culture (with some twists).
Those Elves and Drow who do not live in Eladrin or Drowet are barbarians.
Half-Elves life everythere and they are not the only half-breeds. Half-Dwarves and Dwelves (Elf/Dwarf Half-Breeds) also exist.
Halflings are semi-nomad horse-people.
Tieflings are descents of demons and devils interbreeding with humans.
I've only worked out the Dragonborn so far in my upcoming campaign, but looking here, I noticed a few similarities to others. I've gone very, very in depth with them, as half of my group is Dragonborn, and the 'missions' as it were (Cultbusters! KotS->RHoD->etc.) will be coming as visions from a Dragonborn oracle of a great evil being brought into the world. One of the PC's (Star-Pact Warlock) is actually the threat, trying to bring his patrons through to devour the world. In any case, on to dragonborn.

Dragonborn are the creation of Bahamut and Tiamat, before her greed and pride got the better of her. Due to the knowledge lost through time and war, Dragonborn do not know of the influence Tiamat had in their creation. The dragonspawn are Tiamat's later attempts to create offspring on her own - without the stabilizing forces of Bahamut's power, the creatures resulting were warped and twisted.

Dragonborn and tieflings waged a war on each other for many centuries, resulting in the [assumed] destruction of both empires. In reality, the Tiefling empire did collapse, allowing Humans to become the dominant force in the region. However, that collapse was due to political turmoil and instability, as well as an overextension of their military might. At this time, Tieflings have been accepted into most areas, except for the remains of the Dragonborn empire. In the last decades of the war, the dragonborn fell back and consolidated their power to a few mountain strongholds, turning back waves of Tiefling forces with the aid of terrain and weather. There they remained, cultivating their society and rebuilding the strength to expand and reclaim old lands, until very recently when they emerged to once again become a major political and military force in the world.

Dragonborn society is organized in a rather complex caste system (in the loosest terms). All young are tested at (some very young age I have yet to determine), and again at maturity, to determine where their skills best lie, and to which caste they'd best lend their talents. The castes are named after the true metallic dragons, and are thought to have originally mirrored the interests and proclivities of those dragons. The gold caste are the most religously inclined, and include the various clerics and paladins of Bahamut, as well as the divine oracles through whom their god is said to communicate to the dragonborn. The silver caste are the aristocrats and bureaucrats who run the day to day management of the empire - rarely do PC classes come from their ranks. The copper caste is made primarily of merchants and scholars, those who provide valuable services to the empire that don't involve actual labor on their own part. The brass caste is that of the military - pretty straightforward. The bronze caste is the labor class, overseen by guilds and unions of every possible type. As members of any caste can look like any other dragonborn, special identifiers are used - Brass-issue armor, Silver's sashes of office, Bronze's bandanas (anything else would likely get in the way of work), etc.. Being of different castes does have its social implications (which I'm banking on - Gold paladin and Brass warlord in the party) - however, it is not a system whereby 'lower' castes are ignored. The system actually works simply to give deference to the dragonborn most able to handle the situation at hand. For example, while on the street a gold dragonborn might get the most deference, simply by their religious nature (all look up to them as spiritual leaders), you better believe he'll be showing the utmost respect for the chief Bronze architect building his new temple to Bahamut. In our party, as another example, the paladin will be following every order the warlord issues in combat (flavor for the warlord's powers), as he naturally assumes that the warlord's training as a Brass inclines him to be more adept at managing a battle - however, if the next room contains multiple cultists, the paladin will make sure everyone knows prior to the ensuing fight what the strengths and weaknesses of this cult happen to be, and what to expect from their foes. All dragonborn follow this, and the method is alway to defer to the likely expert in present company, never to take charge oneself, for fear of making a great faux pas.

-----

Alright, that's the super-brief condensed version - aka, I really should be doing work now, so perhaps some more later
Ah. Okay, that all makes sense. The constant physical abuse would also explain why chum-chum gobs only have 1 hp. What are the racial names of hobgoblins and bugbears?

the term hobgoblin is a humanisation of their racial name.
the human term goblin is derived from what the hobgoblins call themselves.

hook'ha-boon
translated to roughly to hook correct(when used as a response to a phrase)/reflection of a mirror/fold in cloth, paper, metal. ha grammar word to make the last word describe the next boon folk/family/collection of people/city
the human term hook also came from this language. the hobgoblins teaching the humans how to work metal, incl. how to make 'correct bends'. sword also orginally being a hobgoblin word too.

bugbears

from the hobgoblin words
bug be're
which have no real meaning and were actually taken from the human words
'big brother'
be're in modern hobgoblin is often used now as the word for bouncers at bars, body guards and a coloquial term for the hobgoblin military police, regardless of the actual race of the professional in question.

hobgoblins and humans have had much cultural exchange over the years, one conquering the other and vis-versa, a number of times. but most hobgoblins and human civilizations (what's left of them) keep to themselves in modern times

And for the $64,000 question: do these special horns and tails have abilities which feats unlock, or is this purely cosmetic?

cosmetic all the way
the most i will allow the players, if i'm pushed hard, it a bonus to acrobatics checks granted by the tail. an improved skill focus and any kind of tailed teifling qualifys.
that's if i'm pushed.

This? Is a stroke of brilliance! I would see Ioun as Vecna's nemesis more than Moradin, but your setup for the Moradin-Vecna/"Gruumsh" rivalry make perfect sense. Pelor is also probably quite choked at Vecna.

well, Ioun and vecna are nemesis. but that's more to do with magic bussiness. but they have eachother pretty well locked up.
on the religeous purely front, moradin and pelor are vecna's/"grumsh's" foes.
pelor contantly shining light into vecna darkness by way of his inherant nature. vecna showing that the more light is cast, the deeper that shadows fall. vecna is more Zen than the core would suggest. with nothing (darkness) there is the potential for anything. it is certainly the philosophy that moriden exploited to convince vecna to poke out his own eye.
moridin and vecna are fighting a very sneaky information/proxy war. cold war style. vecna truley worries about moridens best kept secrets.
moriden isn't actually that 'good' a being. he just has way better PR.
and is less 'icky'
Dragonborn society is organized in a rather complex caste system (in the loosest terms). All young are tested at (some very young age I have yet to determine), and again at maturity, to determine where their skills best lie, and to which caste they'd best lend their talents. The castes are named after the true metallic dragons, and are thought to have originally mirrored the interests and proclivities of those dragons. The gold caste are the most religously inclined, and include the various clerics and paladins of Bahamut, as well as the divine oracles through whom their god is said to communicate to the dragonborn. The silver caste are the aristocrats and bureaucrats who run the day to day management of the empire - rarely do PC classes come from their ranks. The copper caste is made primarily of merchants and scholars, those who provide valuable services to the empire that don't involve actual labor on their own part. The brass caste is that of the military - pretty straightforward. The bronze caste is the labor class, overseen by guilds and unions of every possible type. As members of any caste can look like any other dragonborn, special identifiers are used - Brass-issue armor, Silver's sashes of office, Bronze's bandanas (anything else would likely get in the way of work), etc.. Being of different castes does have its social implications (which I'm banking on - Gold paladin and Brass warlord in the party) - however, it is not a system whereby 'lower' castes are ignored. The system actually works simply to give deference to the dragonborn most able to handle the situation at hand. For example, while on the street a gold dragonborn might get the most deference, simply by their religious nature (all look up to them as spiritual leaders), you better believe he'll be showing the utmost respect for the chief Bronze architect building his new temple to Bahamut. In our party, as another example, the paladin will be following every order the warlord issues in combat (flavor for the warlord's powers), as he naturally assumes that the warlord's training as a Brass inclines him to be more adept at managing a battle - however, if the next room contains multiple cultists, the paladin will make sure everyone knows prior to the ensuing fight what the strengths and weaknesses of this cult happen to be, and what to expect from their foes. All dragonborn follow this, and the method is alway to defer to the likely expert in present company, never to take charge oneself, for fear of making a great faux pas.

i love this.
teeters on the edge of improbably idealistic, (but doesn't go over the edge by any means!) but really works in the Dnd world. if my next game incl. more dragonborn, you bet your fluff will be aprt of it.
i love this.
teeters on the edge of improbably idealistic, (but doesn't go over the edge by any means!) but really works in the Dnd world. if my next game incl. more dragonborn, you bet your fluff will be aprt of it.

Ah, thank you :D

It is a tad idealistic, but the whole situation becomes so needlessly complex that it borders on socially crippling. On one extreme, they become so paranoid that they'll step on someone's toes that nothing gets done - on the other, someone slights someone else, and it leads to ill-wishes between the two, leading to long standing feuds. The one counterbalance to that is the fact that because they're so obsessed with one's rank and caste, that they treat outsiders (who have neither) with suspicion and will always back another Dragonborn over say a human. Dragonborn get mis-assigned all the time, though it's less common now that the empire has been reduced to a shadow of its former glory and there's less young to sort. Ah- that's something I should have pointed out - it hasn't actually re-expanded yet, it's just getting ready to. It basically took them that long to get a handle on their society again.

And in cases of war, the Brass caste rises to prominence, and works in hand with the Silvers to run the empire - a form of "Law of Siege" as my one player said.

One final bit of fluff - I'm currently treating their remaining strongholds as a type of "Lost Horizons" situation. Envoys have been there since the re-opening of borders and diplomacy, but those who have returned to their homelands have not been able to explain to their peers how to get there. It's part of the magic the dragonborn are currently using to protect themselves. It won't be able to handle concealing anything much larger than their current borders, however, so they'll have to deal with that sooner rather than later.

Actually, I'd like to add that as a final note - I've been constructing this society as a joint effort between myself and 3 of my 4 players. Two of them are the dragonborn players (one of whom is a military history buff/major), and the third is my brother, our usual DM, and as obssessive with creating game worlds as I am with making characters. Therefore, I owe alot of this to them.
The drow, elves and eladrin were once one single race ruled by corellon, sehanine, and lolth. This single ebon-skinned race was known as the Vaier, and lived in the Underdark. The three greatest Vaier were not gods yet, but they all aspired to be and thus when Tharizdun offered Lolth godhood it was an offer the spider queen could not refuse. Lolth gained godhood, but at a cost. She was corrupted by the abyssal shard, however she thought Corellon and Sehanine were the corrupted ones. She took a group of Vaeir who shared her belief, known as Drow, the word that would later become the name of these Vaeir, and mad war against the opposing Vaier under Corellon and Sehanine. Corellon and Sehanine's Vaier fled to the surface, and bleached their skin to show that they were different than the evil Drow. Corellon and Sehanine began to argue themselves. Corellon thought the Vaeir should study the arcane and build great cities, Sehanine thought the Vaier should resign to nature and become one with it. Sehanine and Corellon both agreed the Vaier could not stay together, so Corellon left to the Feywild and named his Vaier Eladrin, Sehanine remained on the prime material plane and named her Vaier the Elves.
How do you call the original race? Vaeir? Or Vaier?
This is a very, very neat idea. I like the theme of "degeneration" (dragon to dragonborn to kobold). The most interesting result is the change in racial psychology. The dragons, and to a lesser extent the dragonborn, must be obsessed with breeding, which (in dragons) would likely explain why dragon attacks aren't as common as they could be. They have other concerns.

good idea, I hadn't thought of that. Might make for a good story arc later on in my campaign.


Is it a racial power like the eladrin's fey step, or is it more like a ritual they can innately perform but which isn't necessarily accurate? In any event, I like the flavour. It gives another reason for children to have nightlights.

And now that I think about it, I can't shake the image of a tiefling Santa Claus leaving hellish presents in homes that offered good hospitality on those times he/she got lost...

Actually, what I was aiming for was that once a Tiefling trips in to the Prime Material plane, they can't get back to their original plane (except through magical means). So they are stuck. Small Tiefling communities spring up in populated areas (usually in the scummier parts of town), where they all try to take care of each other. Many Tieflings will become Wizards or Warlocks, attempting to use magic to break through back to their own plane, others will just try to integrate in to their new home.

Now this is very interesting. What are eladrin relations to humans, elves, and half-elves? I can see some being disdainful ("I can't believe we evolved from them!") and others taking a more nuanced view ("As they are, we once were"), and still others being hopeful ("We're here for a purpose! We have to guide them into becoming us!")

And now I see eladrin trying to subtly meddle in the affairs of humans, elves, and half-elves... yes, this is one very interesting idea indeed...

Thats pretty much what I had in mind. The Eladrin live mostly in their floating island cities high up in the sky, but those interested in the world of the past (or interested in meddling) will come down to live amongst the other races. They take a special liking to Half-Elves, who they regard as their direct ancestors, and some groups of Eladrin are secretly trying to increase the interbreeding between Elves and Humans.

In the case of advanced technology: "A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". The Eladrin are so advanced that their technology has come around full circle and for all intents and purposes is magic. They went beyond the need for machines and instead use living constructs (golems, in other words) for their menial tasks.

In my current storyline, the Human and Elf kingdoms have allied, and are jointly ruled by a male and female of both races. They aren't necessarily married to each other - its more like a business partnership. They believe having both sexes and both races represented will cover the best interests of both kingdoms.



Based on what you've already listed, I'd say that a) the name will be cool, and b) the rest of the fluff will rock. You have some seriously cool ideas.

Thanks! I'm currently leaning towards the name Junkforged. It'll be interesting to play off the percieved racism of giving them the "junk" title - implying that they are merely refuse. But on the other side of the coin, the Junkforged may find it a point of pride, to say that they rose from mere scraps in to sentience. Most Junkforged will be quite amicable, thanks to the Halfling's equally amicable nature. The Halflings, after discovering the Junkforged sentience almost instantly began treating them as equals. Humans and Dwarves, however will probably still treat them like machines or servants. The other races probably don't know what to think, or just don't care.

I liked the idea of being able to attach equipment to a Warforged, so I'm rolling with that. Most Junkforged will be made up of random things that they find lying around. Whatever tool works the best. It may not be pretty, but it gets the job done.


I'm having trouble thinking of a place for the Dwarves, though I think they will be the technological masters, living in great clockwork cities in and under the mountains and specialising in machines of war. Perhaps they will be intertwined with the halflings, who make their cities out of the castoffs from Dwarven cities. Perhaps Dwarves and Halflings were once the same race, but split in to two - one the underground dwellers, the others are surface dwellers.

Edit: It just occured to me that there could be two offshoots of the Warforged. Warforged being created by Dwarves, for...war. Junkforged being created by Halflings for utility.
I've turned the ancient empire of Bael Turath into a version of Ancient Egypt steeped with dark worshipping of primordials designed after the sumerian culture / religion. Other than that, I've kept the world rather plain jane, except most areas are deserts.
Thats pretty much what I had in mind. The Eladrin live mostly in their floating island cities high up in the sky, but those interested in the world of the past (or interested in meddling) will come down to live amongst the other races. They take a special liking to Half-Elves, who they regard as their direct ancestors, and some groups of Eladrin are secretly trying to increase the interbreeding between Elves and Humans.

In the case of advanced technology: "A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". The Eladrin are so advanced that their technology has come around full circle and for all intents and purposes is magic. They went beyond the need for machines and instead use living constructs (golems, in other words) for their menial tasks.

In my current storyline, the Human and Elf kingdoms have allied, and are jointly ruled by a male and female of both races. They aren't necessarily married to each other - its more like a business partnership. They believe having both sexes and both races represented will cover the best interests of both kingdoms.

ah "A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"
very true... but i think there may be more to this saying than just as a line of wisdom.
It's funny how your youth greatly influences how you play Dnd. i've heard of people playing religeon war themed games in isreal (housemate went there afew weeks ago, and he stayed with some rollers/rolers). then i know a guy who had quite a strict upbringing and he shakes his fist at the BoVD. but, myself, i have a great deal of dificulty swallowing time travel. i think at one point in my childhood, i wasn't allowed to watch TV till i had read a chapter of Blackholes and Baby Universes and explained what it meant to my dad.
the problem about it is not that i think it's not acheiveable, but what kind of technology you'd have access to if you could acheive it.
pretty much, if you could time travel, your race probably EATS stars for energy. or creates energy out of nothing. your race probably no longer has a body as we know it.
your race probbaly has truesight to 10000 squares. if it has weapons, they always hit, and they'd always kill.
basically by the time they break the time traveling physics rules, they've been breaking the other physics rules for a while. (for a couple of hours, which would be an eternity to them)

more likely, i would see elderin as being the race that your time traveling race once looked like well before being able to time travel. then the time traveling race made the elderin out of a sense of sentementality. or even as a joke, thought excersize, education excersize, or maybe the elderin are what was made when one of the time traveling race had a dream. dreaming his pointy eared ancestores into existance a little bit earlyer than they were actually around.

also: if any of your players has a sciencey mind, or you end up getting one who has a problem with the suspension of disbelief, you should probably sort out what kind of time traveling there is.

a single universe that can be changed, (and every action different from the 'original' radically changes the future)

a single universe that can't be changed (the elderin race were always supposed to be, and any actions they have are critical the the universe being created in the future, in which they are sent back in time)

or the multiple universe system, (in which every single possibility is played out, contantly making new universes eveytime an atom goes left instead of right. the elderin going back in time mearly go down a different universe path to the one in which they evolved into in the future.)

myself, i wouldn't put large scale time travel into my own campagn.
i think i'd get to hung up on what the consequences are.
i do put time anomolies into the game tho. nothing like spending a night in an eldarin city and walking out to find that last night, the Orcs have done several years worth of pillaging. (the elderin shrug their shoulders when asked what the hell is going on, "I dunno, the place always looks different than the day before") but always acelerated/decelerated time.
time jumping creeps me out.
i may include a puzzle that includes it, made by a mad magician. but no more than that.

Thanks! I'm currently leaning towards the name Junkforged. It'll be interesting to play off the percieved racism of giving them the "junk" title - implying that they are merely refuse. But on the other side of the coin, the Junkforged may find it a point of pride, to say that they rose from mere scraps in to sentience. Most Junkforged will be quite amicable, thanks to the Halfling's equally amicable nature. The Halflings, after discovering the Junkforged sentience almost instantly began treating them as equals. Humans and Dwarves, however will probably still treat them like machines or servants. The other races probably don't know what to think, or just don't care.

I liked the idea of being able to attach equipment to a Warforged, so I'm rolling with that. Most Junkforged will be made up of random things that they find lying around. Whatever tool works the best. It may not be pretty, but it gets the job done.


I'm having trouble thinking of a place for the Dwarves, though I think they will be the technological masters, living in great clockwork cities in and under the mountains and specialising in machines of war. Perhaps they will be intertwined with the halflings, who make their cities out of the castoffs from Dwarven cities. Perhaps Dwarves and Halflings were once the same race, but split in to two - one the underground dwellers, the others are surface dwellers.

Edit: It just occured to me that there could be two offshoots of the Warforged. Warforged being created by Dwarves, for...war. Junkforged being created by Halflings for utility.

junkforged is a great idea, adds a whole new element to the game. if warforged make it into into my campagn at all, some if not all of them will be junkforged.
cultural theft is really very common historically. you could say that junkforged are the pasta to the warforged noodles.
or the halfling woodblock print to the dwaven poster design.
feel free to make the orginal idea come from either dwarf or halfling.
perhaps the halfings were the first to come up with the process, but the dwarves really made it work, (and then possibly the halfing used what the dwarves had come up with, and improved their own designs)

The histories of technology and culture are always less straightforward than what one would imediatly assume.
perhaps there is a 'real story' and then the story that everyone knows.
if you have warforged in the campagn, perhaps finding out the real story could be a part of an adventure. perhaps if it's a grand conspiracy to conciel the truth, it could be the junkforged's epic destiny
ah "A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"
very true... but i think there may be more to this saying than just as a line of wisdom.
It's funny how your youth greatly influences how you play Dnd. -snip- but, myself, i have a great deal of dificulty swallowing time travel. i think at one point in my childhood, i wasn't allowed to watch TV till i had read a chapter of Blackholes and Baby Universes and explained what it meant to my dad.
the problem about it is not that i think it's not acheiveable, but what kind of technology you'd have access to if you could acheive it.

I grew up watching Star Trek and Dr Who with my parents. I think in terms of my game, and my group, our suspension of disbelief is pretty flexible. Real world science holds no sway over our games. Pseudo science and wacky mathematics is what our group finds particuarly fun. It was actually one of my other players - a rabid Dr Who fan - who suggested the idea of time-traveling elves to me.

more likely, i would see elderin as being the race that your time traveling race once looked like well before being able to time travel. then the time traveling race made the elderin out of a sense of sentementality. or even as a joke, thought excersize, education excersize, or maybe the elderin are what was made when one of the time traveling race had a dream. dreaming his pointy eared ancestores into existance a little bit earlyer than they were actually around.

Seems a bit convoluted to me, and again, we're not really basing this on real science in the least. Again, our philosophy is that facts and plausibility shouldn't get in the way of a good story. So long as we can come up with even a half-baked reason for why something is the way it is, then its good enough for us.

also: if any of your players has a sciencey mind, or you end up getting one who has a problem with the suspension of disbelief, you should probably sort out what kind of time traveling there is.

No problems here. However, I'm not actually allowing direct time travel in my game. Basically, the Eladrin are kind of like a holographic projection of themselves. They are simultaneously in two places at once and nowhere at all (again, back to fantasy science). For all intents and purposes though, they will act just like any of the other races and won't actually be given any time travel abilities that could break the game. If I have an Eladrin player who uses feystep, they won't really remember what they see "in the future", they will forget what they saw because it hasn't happened yet, and from their perspective they perceive the past as their present.

I think with time travel, so long as you don't think too hard about it, its all good. Though, I'm probably going to go with the alternate timeline idea. So the Eladrin messing around has spawned a new alternate history.

i do put time anomolies into the game tho.

We've done the same. Had a time bubble that sped up time relative to you the closer you were to the center. It happened to be in the middle of a road. As they were approaching they saw statues of people on the road. As they got closer, the statues started to move (at first in slow motion) until they realised that the statues were infact people. Encounter ensued. When the party came out the other side of the bubble, 200 years had passed on the outside world.

junkforged is a great idea...

Interesting idea, and something I shall have to think on. I'm toying with Halflings and Dwarves having an ancient allied empire once upon a time, which has since fallen (as great empires do), and given way to the rise of Humans and Elves. But I'm not quite sure how to make that story work.

The histories of technology and culture are always less straightforward than what one would imediatly assume.
perhaps there is a 'real story' and then the story that everyone knows.
if you have warforged in the campagn, perhaps finding out the real story could be a part of an adventure. perhaps if it's a grand conspiracy to conciel the truth, it could be the junkforged's epic destiny

Again, good idea and sounds like something worthwhile to work in to the story.
I'll update this with specifics after my players actually discover some of these secrets, but...

My campaign is set in an Exploration Age world; more than half of my players are brand new, however, so I didn't want to go too far from the book-at least, overtly. One of the themes of the game is discovery, and if my players decide to follow up certain threads, they'll learn the secret history of Nibiru. I figure, hey, I'm playing a game with magical acid arrows and dragon-people, I can use whatever I want. The civilized peoples(i.e. PC races) are as affected by the local culture as they are the vague racial traditions described in the PHB, because I feel that's both more interesting and gives my players room to make up cool traditions and cultural aspects of their characters.

That said! Here's some stuff I threw into the mix for funsies.

Dwarves: My favorite bit from 4E is giving the dwarves, giants, and primordial elements a link. Dwarf society can be seen as almost a massive reaction to their time as spiritual slaves to the titanic forces of the primordials; craft, discipline, ambition, dependability, all of these virtues are, in a way, a defiance against the tenants of those still loyal to the Elemental Chaos. I wanted to give them the feel of being eternal immigrants, holding a body of lore, tradition, and ceremony that keeps them 'dwarves' no matter what king they're loyal to or what community they live in.

Humans: I'm really glad to see 4E give humans a set of 'typical' traits beyond 'not being typical'. It made the races feel much less like 'You MUST BE LIKE THIS!' and a lot more like, 'This is what most folks see J. Average Elf is like.'. It helps that the traits are pretty darn cool too; humans are crazy. You worry about doing business with a human because the lunatic might decide to invest your money into a trip to the moon, and actually manage to do it at that. I have more pastoral people treat my human adventurers as if they were constructed of dynamite and haven't noticed their fuse is lit.

Eladrin: This one's a favorite of mine; I based their cultural origin off of the old Chinese legend about the Seven Immortals. The Seven Auspicious Siblings were the legendary founders of the noble houses of the Eladrin; to spare you all my lame attempt at writing a fairy tale, each sibling eventually mastered an art form to such an extent that Corellon felt compelled to reward them with immortality, allowing them to raise their families in his estate of the Feywild. Their children could also earn this gift, if they could find their own path to perfection; I felt that this provided a good way to further the Eladrin-Elf separation and provide a neat motivation for Eladrin scholarly-adventurers, or who just want to maintain the aura of 'noble fairies'.

To expand on the whole 'Eladrin falling back into the rest of the world' shtick, I noted that several families of younger Eladrin have moved back to the Material World because they believe that they cannot learn the route to perfection by just studying the Feywild any longer, claiming that those Eladrin houses that stay exiled in fairy-land are on a different road to the same destination the drow have shacked up in, and that without the harsh realities of the Material plane, the Feywild's ideal forms don't mean all that much. I wanted to remind my players that even the Eladrin don't know everything about the Feywild, or themselves, so as to keep that whole, 'We daren't go a huntin, for fear o'little men.' flavor while allowing viable PC Eladrin. Plus, I dig the idea that the various elf races can be so changed by a major philosophical rift that it can form what's essentially a new species, and my players having to survive the fallout of another rift in the Metaelven psychobiology.

More when it ain't three in the morning.
Seeing as I expounded upon the Dragonborn in my campaign earlier at length, I figured I'd throw in a few bits about some of the other races. As none of my players (or I) are ever interested in gnomes, I've prety much wiped them out as a race - a few survive, but they were an unfortunate casualty of the Dragonborn / Tiefling war in days past. I'm just copy/pasting from a document I've been writing up with my players, so excuse any funniness with the phrasing.
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"Avast! Prepare to be boarded, and have your assets and holdings liquidated and acquired by the FreeSea Holdings Corporation!"
~Dread Pirate Nierva, CFO of FSH Corp.

Haflings are unique among the many races for never truly uniting under a single government, for any period of time. Too free-spirited a people, they once lived mostly on the island that is now the human nation of Sakmos. Over time, however, they began to rely more and more upon the sea for sustenance, both in food and in the gold the earned as the fastest sailors and traders around. With the fall of the gnomish kingdom of Trul, many halfling ships aided in the evacuation of the main trading port. Since that time, gnomes and halflings have interbred, resulting in a fundamental split in halfling society.

In a parallel to the dwarven and gnomish interbreeding effects, halfling / gnome offspring were noticeably more adventurous, free-spirited, and mischievous than their halfling counterparts. Given the strict trading laws that governed much of halfling life and society, and adopted by every major trading group, an ideological split was almost inevitable. In the end, most halflings opted to stay within the bounds of acceptable trade regulations, but a significant number splintered from the whole and began wholesale piracy in the Southern Sea. Still clinging to a modicum of trade decorum, the pirates attack halfling and outsider trading ships alike, but hold no ill will against their kinsmen, knowing that in the end "it was just business".
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(The following is one of the human kingdoms, as created by my brother.)
The Kingdom of Cyrdalla is a land of wealth, prosperity, and decadence. While not the largest nation, its vast natural resources have allowed the Cyrdan population to thrive. A large and exorbitantly wealthy upper class holds most of the power in society, though the years of peace have caused them to grow lazy and self-serving. They long ago stripped the king of most of his real power; now, each noble musters his or her own personal armies, who are increasingly being pulled from the defense Cydralla's borders in order to serve as showy displays of power to their rivals. Clearly, peace has made the nation weak.

In this environment of obscene wealth, a new class of criminal has emerged. Charming and charismatic, the burglars who prowl the rooftops of Cydalla's cities are the quintessential swashbucklers. They are beloved by the middle-class for their roguish antics, and their habit of making fools out of the aristocracy they prey on. The nobles, meanwhile, fearing embarrassment more than actual material loss, have resorted to hiring vigilante spies. These free agents, many of whom have as little respect for the nobles as the thieves themselves, seek to prove themselves by bringing in the most famous burglars for their valuable bounties. The result is a game of cat-and-mouse between underworld celebrities, which is unarguable the number one source of entertainment for Cyrdans everywhere.

Religion also plays a large role in Cyrdan society. Cyrdans worship the Two Paths; the Path of Iron and the Path of Flame. The Path of Iron is an order of paladins who worship law and order; they are often called upon in Cyrdan cities to settle disputes among the populace and keep the peace. The Path of Flame is an order found more in the countryside and smaller villages; these paladins act against injustice in all its forms, operating outside the law when necessary. Despite the opposing nature of the orders, they recognize themselves to be two halves of a whole, and there are few major disputes between the orders. Since they always maintain a peaceful relationship, they act as a balance system against each other, ensuring that neither one strays too far from their purpose.
--------------------------------------------------------------
(I'll have to expound on dwarves later, once I have more written up, but I thought I'd show you all where it's headed with a nice little bit I stole from these boards... most epic thread ever, btw.)

"See, ya take a fistful 'a snakes - gotta make sure ya grab small, weak ones, ifyaknow what I mean - then ya shove 'em down yer drawers, then... 'ey, where ya goin!"
~Kirlak Delthen, on his patented "Trouserfang" healing system
-------------------------------------------------------

That's all for now. Mostly a bump, because this thread is pretty awesome.
The gnolls were once more akin to the concept of the noble wolf rather than the savage hyena.
....the peaceful gnolls
....Desperation saw the gnolls there degenerate into the savage monsters we all know and love... to kill.

You know, it is always interesting when people anthromorphize entire animal species and then project upon them personality traits based on that person's (typically entirely inexperienced) view of what that animal represents...

Wolfs are noble and PEACEFUL... while hyenas are degenerated savage monters?
Wow, I mean... talk about a total warped view of reality. Especially if one stops to consider that this means that Mr. Shifty here is saying that the animal that kills something every time it eats is more peaceful and noble than the animal that eats other's leftovers.

I don't care how much love one has for their puppy... that was just... well... STUPID!!

Tieflings: During the Hundred Years' Chaos, some of the noble families of the Kelsenon Empire threw in their lot with Vecna and his diabolic allies. They forged a pact for dread power, unconcerned that their pacts carried a price that would mark their descendants "unto the last generation." At least, until the curse reveled itself among the Noble's children (including the illegitimate ones). The Tieflings of Coralton today are the descendants of these traitors, and walk a fine line. On the one hand, they retain the blood of nobility (if not always the title). On the other, they are the physical remnants of corruption and treachery, and are remembered as such. While there WAS a historical, those tend to live south of the campaign area, most of the tieflings in the campaign setting are descended from these noble lines.

The noble families made the daemoninc pact which marked their descendants, all of them, until the last generation. As a part of this pact, they learned dark secrets and powers unknown. They ruled Bael Turath, and under their leadership, with their dark power, the empire grew, and grew, and grew. Soon it appeared obvious that the whole world would fall under the dominion of the Tiefling overlords of Bael.

It was not the Dragonborn who defeated them. (They tell their tales, but this is about facts.) The Dragonborn were the first to show that defeating Bael was possible though.

The actual defeat came from a betrayal. Shiv’ta S’xor, youngest daughter of one of the Triumvirs of Bael, fell in love with a human, a knight struggling against the powers of Bael. With her help, he was able to unbind the magic that gave power to the Teiflings. The ensuing release of magical energy was cataclysmic, causing his own death as well as the deaths of all the tieflings, every one but Shiv’ta, who was spared. Some say because she was safely far enough away from the explosion; others that her previous rejection of the tiefling pact saved her. Regardless, she was the last tiefling.

Until she had a son. (Was the father the paladin? That might be romantic, but that doesn't make it true.)

Every Tiefling today is not just the descended of power-hungry tyrants who sold their souls to take over the world; they are also descended from the one who betrayed them and dispossessed, almost destroyed, the whole race. How individual Teiflings feel about that depends on their point of view regarding soul-sale, world domination, and interspecies dating.


Tieflings: The tiefling civilization is very much alive and well. It it centered in a massive city-state where demon worship and dark magics are both commonly practiced. Reviled by other races, PC tieflings are usually individuals who have broken off from this decadent society, and can expect to be met by others with open hostility until trust can be gained.

Most races revile them, and dragonborn especially treat them with contempt.

The city state isn’t massive, but it is growing in power. Enet’a’beal is actually a series of small towns, loosely connected by culture and geography. For the most part, the cities are located in a connected series of deep, dry canyons that wend their way through the Salt Sea, a dried up sea. The surface, outside the canyons is flat, hot, bleak, forbidding. (Like Bonneville if you’ve ever been.) The canyons and gorges can sustain life, but it ain’t easy. The tieflings mine the salt, a valuable export. In most of the smaller cities, salt mining is a dangerous occupation. In some of the larger, growing mines, paid workers are being replaced with slaves.

The cities and towns of Enet’a’beal are places where Tieflings are the dominant race, but there are communities of them in racially diverse and in human-dominant cities. In many cases, Tieflings are ghettoized. (These areas may be ghettos in the sense of poverty stricken.) Sometimes they are forced to live in ghettos by law, but more commonly it is social pressure. Ghetto tieflings have a tendency to see Enet’a’beal as a “promised land” but in reality is isn’t quite that great.
The Kingdom of Cyrdalla is a land of wealth, prosperity, and decadence. While not the largest nation, its vast natural resources have allowed the Cyrdan population to thrive. A large and exorbitantly wealthy upper class holds most of the power in society, though the years of peace have caused them to grow lazy and self-serving. They long ago stripped the king of most of his real power; now, each noble musters his or her own personal armies, who are increasingly being pulled from the defense Cydralla's borders in order to serve as showy displays of power to their rivals. Clearly, peace has made the nation weak.

In this environment of obscene wealth, a new class of criminal has emerged. Charming and charismatic, the burglars who prowl the rooftops of Cydalla's cities are the quintessential swashbucklers. They are beloved by the middle-class for their roguish antics, and their habit of making fools out of the aristocracy they prey on. The nobles, meanwhile, fearing embarrassment more than actual material loss, have resorted to hiring vigilante spies. These free agents, many of whom have as little respect for the nobles as the thieves themselves, seek to prove themselves by bringing in the most famous burglars for their valuable bounties. The result is a game of cat-and-mouse between underworld celebrities, which is unarguable the number one source of entertainment for Cyrdans everywhere.

This thread is absolutely crammed with inspiring stuff, but still this stands out. Kudos to your brother.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
The Drow are the Eladrin. Not an offshoot, literally the same people. This is because, unknown to all but a scant few, the Shadowfell is actually the Faewild many thousands of years in the future, corrupted by dark magic. There are no passages or portals from one to the other, the only way to travel between them is using the World is a stopover which has caused it to be both a staging ground and battlefield for the two realms for centuries.
Racial fluff in the campaign that I'm playing can be rather diverse... to say the least.

Currently our party consists of a half-elven wizard from the world of eragon, a halfing rogue from eberron, a human fighter from an unknown world, and a dragonborn warlord from an unknown world.

With me playing a tiefling warlock(fey) from Sigil.
The Drow are the Eladrin. Not an offshoot, literally the same people. This is because, unknown to all but a scant few, the Shadowfell is actually the Faewild many thousands of years in the future, corrupted by dark magic. There are no passages or portals from one to the other, the only way to travel between them is using the World is a stopover which has caused it to be both a staging ground and battlefield for the two realms for centuries.

In my campaign I image that it'd be something like this:
Shadowfell: Shadow Plane/Plane of Shadow/Shadowlie.
Feywild: Dream Plane/Plane of Dream.
???: Temporal Plane/Plane of Temporal Energy.

The three pseudo planes.
Dwarves: Scottish. Always have been in my campaigns. Right down to Haggis and Bagpies

Halflings: I didn't like the nomadic version. Halflings have small but stable rural communities usually near swamps, rivers (like DMG). They are masters of agriculture growing Rice, Wheat, Potatos for food. They also produce Tobacco and Mary's Weed (Pot) to smoke, Cocoa Beans and Coffee Beans for drinks. Until the arrival of nomadic Humans they had no Alcohol but since they found out how to produce it have created many varieties of booze from their agriculture.
This thread is absolutely crammed with inspiring stuff, but still this stands out. Kudos to your brother.

He's crazy good at this stuff. He's a lit major - creative writing to be specific - for a reason. I still remember his college application essay - that one about page #whatever in your autobiography - and how he was part of the remaining human survivors in LA fighting against the rogue cyborgs. No wonder he got into all the honors programs...

I'm personally waiting for the other two kingdoms he's working on right now. They're bound to be good as well.
The only major fluff rewrite I've made has been for tieflings. It's not much, but I like it.

Tiefli was once a dust covered kingdom spiraling toward destruction. Two years of back to back droughts left the farm lands decimated and the economy in ruins. The population dwindled, due to both starvation and migration, until the town was a shadow of its former self. That is, until the abandoned church of Pelor in the center of the town was bought by Kaloth. The once humble church was soon converted into a gilded golden cathedral; the Church of Deals. Inside the church are scores of portals, windows to other realms, ranging from the Nine Hells, to the Fey Wilds, to beyond the stars themselves. The populace rejoiced, as the blessings offered at the church far surpassed anything Pelor and ever given them. Wishes of fresh rain, bountiful crops, and even gold coins were answered; breathing new life into a once dieing town. Tiefli was once again a great kingdom, but this windfall was not without its price. The families that agreed to the pacts with otherworldly beings had been bound to their service, ranging from physical labor to financial debt and odd "favors." Almost every family in the town was bound to the church. Over the course of several centuries, due to The over saturation of portal magics and the malign wills of those peering through them, reality itself began to warp around the church; affecting the kingdom and its peoples. The noble church had shifted, exuding an inner darkness, the walls seeming to melt into waves resembling fire. It wasn't long before every building in the kingdom followed suit, a dark red mist permeating the air. The citizenry also befell to the gradual transformations. Horns, tails, and discolored skin creeping in through the generations. Eventually They could no longer be considered what they once were, being universally renamed "Tieflings." The church now leads the kingdom of Tiefli, the kings done away with out of debt to the chapel. Despite the corruption Tiefli is still quite prosperous, supplying much of the world with food and trade. Only time will tell how the Church of Deals will affect the world as Tiefli builds and expands.

-Dwarves view warfare and combat as a grim necessity rather than something to be enjoyed. It's for this reason that they use appropriated tools as weapons of war:axes and hammers. These wqeapons are often inscribed with the names of their family, friends and loved ones. This leaves them with a constant reminder that they are fighting for a purpose, their homes and livelihoods, so they don't become enarmoured with the idea of killing. They tend to be suspicious of those who wield ranged weapons and weapons whose purpose is only to kill, such as swords. This is, in fact, the origin of their distrust of elves, who they view as bow-happy savages.

-Gnolls rule a matriarchal empire inspired by real-world India. I figured that if Europeans used to believe that inhabitants of India were dog-headed, why can't I have that actually be the case in my campaign world?

-Tiefling appearance is based of the noble house they originate from, which is also linked to the demon their ancestors gave their alleigance to. These houses/demons are inspired by the vestiges/goetic demons from ToM. For example, House Zaganites have a serpentine appearance, while House Aymites seem to have gems for teeth. The "generic" tiefling apperance is that of House Amonites, the most populous. This of course, doesn't account for the massive amount of corssbreeding between houses that has occured after the fall of Bael Turath.

-Hobgoblins and Bugbears have a symbiotic society and truly respect each other as a race. Those names are actually derogatory human terms for their race. They refer to themselves as the "Hogjyobin" and "Bugayre".
Part two!

Humans: The other civilized races can agree on one thing; humans are flipping crazy. It's almost like they enjoy diving head first into cosmological chaos and doing things the hard way; which wouldn't be fine if it took more than a demon breathing hard to corrupt a human into a slathering servant of the heat death of the universe. Other folks worry about the explosive energy of humanity, and some elder peoples blame the downfall of the great empires on spirits and dragons trying to direct or control that energy to exclusively their own ends. They can be found anywhere and in anything, sort of like diamonds, or soap scum-humanity as a species has a reputation similar to adventurers as a whole. When a group of humans migrate, or work on some great project, the neighboring communities batten down the hatches and hope that the explosion doesn't dredge up anything sticky, hungry, or both.

Why do humans act like this? No one's entirely sure, least of all the humans themselves. "It seemed like a good idea at the time." or "Well, it sounded awesome!" is a common answer by those serving the cause of good, evil, or the Benjamens, and ultimately it seems like something of a survival tool. Humans lack the spiritual unity of many of the other races, or the shared past-because they just sort of showed up one day, and what keeps them from being a raider race like the goblins or orcs is their ambition. Humans want to improve themselves-sometimes for good, sometimes for ill, but always dynamically, from the merchant who invents new ways to sell hot meat pies to the arcanist who finds a new school of magic.

Elves: I've kept a lot of the tribal feel the current elves have, but the elves don't just live in forests; they're the descendants of Eladrin border-wardens who paroled locations thought to be weak points in the Feywild or good places for the drow to invade their two realities. When orders from the High Houses stopped coming, the soldiers in the woods, deserts, swamps, icy mountains, continued their tradition of guarding these sacred locations, often using geomantic rituals to observe a plot of land's health and well being.

Recently, elves have been moving into entire neighborhoods over the course of a generation or two, adapting to city life as well as any other dangerous, wild part of the world-their neighbors don't mind, for the most part, though there is an ugly stereotype about the elves being behind recent disappearances of dogs, cats, rats, and other street animals. On the other hand, the elves's tradition of moving furniture and pieces of art in order to bring the most positive balance of ley line energy to a given plot of land has become something of a fad in well to do houses, and it's considered something of a coup to have a real live elf feng shui master rearrange your living room.

Dragonborn: Lex Draconia! Colorful companies of Dragonborn are famous throughout the world in being the deciding factor in dozens of major and minor conflicts throughout history. The military traditions of old Arkoshka remain an essential part of a Dragonborn's childhood, weather you're from a big city family of 'copper' city guards and legacy special agents of the king, or an isolated company defending the ruins of an ancient castle from the deprivations of the goblinoids and other monstrous peoples. The Dragonborn ideal is to civilize anything they come in contact with; this means, more often than not, leading by example, showing your companions and neighbors the benefits of civility, honor, decency, and manners. Sometimes, it means cutting a mother.

And sometimes, when the local ruler doesn't know what he or she's doing, it means causing some trouble, either to put the leader back into some perspective, or to replace him with a better ruler. The Dragonborn try to resist the urge to grab power for themselves, because, well, it doesn't tend to go well-while greedy Tiamat is a traditional boogieman of the Dragonborn, what makes others more nervous are the vicious, tyrannical teachings of Bane and Torog, both of whom are seen as beneficial gods among some Dragonborn troops. After all, Bane blesses the common soldier and the mighty general, and Torog knows that the only true justice is perfect justice-more than one band of would be liberators and heroes have become monstrous tyrants over a few short weeks by letting these teachings turn them into the very oppressive figures they swore to oppose.
Um, I come to this thread to see the interesting ideas others have used for the races in their games, NOT to watch brewing flame wars (I can go to General Discussion for that). Can we please stop the baiting and flaming and get back to the interesting tales?
56816218 wrote:
What I find most frustrating about 4E is that I can see it includes the D&D game I've always wanted to play, but the game is so lathered in tatical combat rules that I have thus far been unable to coax the game I want out.
When the Cat's a Stray, the Mice will Pray
I'm working on a setting that is less than serious. A number of races appear below, all hidden in boxes for convenience.

Warforged
The first 'Warforged' were created by an independent think-tank known as MantiCorp. The makeup of the scientists and engineers was naturally almost all gnomes and dwarves, with a few humans. The first being they built, then not called a Warforged as it was not made for war at all, was made for menial tasks, especially the lifting and carrying of heavy boxes. They melded magic and technology to create a living construct, which they called a Reactive Original Being Of Technology, or a R.O.B.O.T. These ROBOTS could only perform the task that was ingrained into them at their time of creation, and a gnomish scientist expressed a desire for a being that could learn. For this, they needed powerful magick, so they asked the local mages' guild for help. They declined, saying that such a project would be an abomination against life. So instead, MantiCorp hired a number of secret agents, (mostly halflings) who broke in and stole their spellbooks. However, after scouring through them, they couldn't find anything that would create a sentient mind. This figures, because after all, if the mages' guild was against that sort of thing, then they wouldn't have those spells, now would they? The MantiCorp superiors decided to put the spellbooks back, re-hiring the agents to do so, but not before inscribing Explosive Runes on random pages in each one. (Much hilarity would ensue. Consequently, MantiCorp was charged the fine of no less than 1 million gold pieces for damages, resurrections and theft. They could live with this.) Next they turned to religion, since the creation of sentience was the gods' territory. Naturally such a thing would be an affront to the gods, but MantiCorp had a history of not being extremely religious. So they at least tried to figure out how a soul was created, but no one really knew. "Well the gods made them." "How?" "Um, out of godstuff." "Where do I get this godstuff?" "The astral sea?" "Hmm..." Since they really didn't know how to find godstuff, they ended up contacting Beings From Beyond, out in the far realm, and asked them how to make souls. The reply was half-Vodka, half-orange juice, and then the message back was "No, that's a screwdriver" and the Beings From Beyond said "Oh, our bad, the word is similar in our language." They then went on to say that to create a soul, the closest they could get was to use residuum and ground astral diamonds, and then hammer it into a soul shape. "What shape is a soul?" "Icosahedron." So they did that, but before installing the soul, they had a thought: What if the creation turned on them and destroyed them? The answer was to make sure to pre-program in constraints. Thus, all future models would obey three rules: 1) Do not harm a humanoid, or through inaction, allow a humanoid to come to harm. 2) Follow orders from a humanoid, except where those orders would violate the first rule. 3) Preserve your own existence, except where it would violate rules 1 and 2. These models were still not called warforged. Instead, they were called A.N.D.R.O.I.D.s, which stood for "Articial Neurological Development Reacting Original Individual Device". They were necessarily expensive, what with all the residuum and astral diamonds. Fear not though, for MantiCorp are cheapskates, who only like to spend money on important things like pranking the mages' guild. They tried making a soul out of pixie dust (ground up pixies) and regular diamonds. It seemed to work when they made an ANDROID MK II, except it wasn't as individualistic. This was OK, and in fact, it was better for their purposes. There was much rejoicing. By and by it came to pass that a general from the Northern Kingdom of Stay The Hell Out came by and saw these ANDROIDS. He immediately thought of what they could do for warfare purposes, since they didn't need to sleep or eat or anything, and people for some reason disliked it when they used Undead. Of course, they would need to be modified to remove those nasty "Don't harm people" rules and while they're at it, could they make them cheaper? As it was, with maintenance for the ANDROIDS plus the initial cost, it wouldn't be as cost effective as grunts. MantiCorp said sure, and made a special production that replaced the laws with the following: 1) Do not harm those on your side, unless they've become traitors 2) Obey superior officers, except where it would violate rule 1, and where the officer is a traitor. 3) Preserve yourself except where it would violate rules 1 and 2. To cut down on cost, MantiCorp began breeding Pixies (which would later earn them a nice income in the exotic pet department) and used glass instead of diamond. The resultant beings, the Warforged, have even less personality, less creativity, and a strong desire to kill. In short, they were perfect.


Dwarves
Dwarves are the most populous, expansive and dominant of all the races. Their hard-working tendencies, mechanical ingenuity and toughness all played a part in ensuring this for ages to come. A few things of note where these dwarves are different from dwarves in other settings: They were never enslaved by giants. In fact, almost the opposite. While dwarves never practiced slavery, there was a darker period of their history where they would hire giants to do menial labor for low wages and harsh conditions. Dwarves, being much brighter than giants (see Giants, below), were able to get away with this. Since then, others advocating giants' rights within the dwarven community have succeeded in improving both living and working conditions for the giants. They keep much of the same jobs, such as moving rocks in quarries and pushing full mine-carts, but now they are in much better conditions. Interestingly, improving the working conditions for the giants also improved the working conditions for the dwarves as well, so it was beneficial all around. Another item of note is that the females, as well as the males, sport beards. Females' hair and beards tend to be silkier and softer, in addition to them having softer skin and higher-pitched voices. Braiding the beards is common among both sexes, but braiding the head hair is more common among females. Dwarves were originally from the kingdom Stay The Hell Out. There was only one real war between the dwarves and the elves. A forest that was clearly in dwarven territory was being inspected by a mining company, and found to have large coal deposits in it. Alas, some elven squatters had moved in and were viciously defending it. The Chief Mining Engineer was sharing some drinks with a wizard friend of his and lamenting about this problem when the wizard suggested that they throw a fireball in there and just burn the whole place down. The mining engineer looked at his friend incredulously. That was much too dangerous, it might accidentally light the coal on fire! The wizard thought about this for a bit, and decided that it might be much better to fire off some kind of sound wave that would level all the trees. The trick would be casting it without being in the middle of the area of effect. To this end, the engineer suggested that he cast it on a projectile with a delay, and then they could launch the said projectile via a very large catapult, trebuchet, or slingshot or something. They both went home and began working on parts of it; the wizard would brew up said spell and the engineer would start designing the siege weapon. They both enlisted outside help. The engineer called up SmithCo and contracted them to help with the siege engine. They were happy to oblige, since SmithCo often worked with National Mythril Inc. The wizard called up MagiTeck. Once the designs were complete, testing went underway. Silence was cast on the testing crew, and the bomb was launched. It was a huge success – even from miles away one could feel the force of the explosion. It was put into practice quickly, being launched into the middle of the forest, felling most of the trees and killing most of the elves. Naturally, this caused an outcry from the rest of the elven population, and a huge war was started between the elves and the dwarves. The dwarves, alongside the giants and gnomes, fought against the elves and began to push them back. They noticed that the elves had an obvious advantage in the forest, so the sonic bomb was deployed with extreme prejudice, making the three companies involved very rich. Additionally, where there were no coal deposits to worry about, they invoked a scorched earth policy and simply burnt down the forests. It was a devastating win on the part of the dwarves, and they grabbed much territory from the elves. That was years ago, however. Modern dwarves are much less prone to all out assault of that variety, though they still hate the elves. (This is acceptable, nearly everyone does. See Elves below.) They have spread from their mountainous kingdom of Stay The Hell Out and ingrained themselves in societies of all sorts. At first, they found that the sun burnt their pale tones easily, but they began to slather themselves in mud to protect against this. They found that some of the mud left their skin feeling softer and cleaner, and mud export companies cropped up. Through gradual exposure however, dwarves can develop tanned skin that protects against the sun itself. The modern dwarf's profession is just as likely to be a farmer or fisherman as it is the traditional blacksmith or engineer, depending on where the dwarf lives and the demand for the position in the community. Because of the influence of other races, some females have begun to shave their beards. Almost all dwarves are Unaligned. (Though if this were 3.5, Lawful Neutral would be a better fit.)


Giants
Giants are big, dumb, and strong, but generally good natured. (In fact, usually Good-aligned too.) They originated in the same mountainous area that dwarves did, and lived as cheap labor for many years, until there was an uprising (among particularly vocal and empathic dwarves, not giants) when there were labor reforms. Now they are slightly less cheap labor for dwarves. They fought alongside the dwarves during the war against the elves. Though they lacked the finesse for swords, this was all right because dwarves didn't use swords either. What giants were good at was bashing people on the head with clubs or hammers. They did this excessively during the war, when they weren't busy pulling the siege weapons around. Giants are quite eager to please, and not prone to complaints, leading to an exaggeration of their dumbness. In fact, most giants are able to grasp algebra and trigonometry quite well.


Gnomes
Gnomes evolved from the same mountain primate that dwarves did, and in the same region (obviously). Gnomes, much like dwarves, are ingenious and curious sorts. Their pursuit of science and magic can lead to disastrous results sometimes, or fantastic wonders at others. The chief difference bewteen a dwarven engineer and a gnomish scientist is one of the theoretical versus the practical; the gnomes are more theoretical thinkers while the dwarves attempt to apply it. Gnomes are almost all Unaligned, though if asked their alignment they would say “Science!”


Druergar
The druergar are dwarves that live entirely undergound, usually in mountain caves. They have very pale skin, can see in the dark, and are smellier than normal dwarves. They are also almost completely Unaligned.


Elves
Elves are dirty, smelly, tree-living beings who would rather protect plants and animals than other sentient life. They regard nature above all else, and vehemently hate all the other races (except Eladrin, see below). They stay in their forests and rarely come out. They live to be about 2000 years old, and mature around 40. Sickeningly, when they're around 40 they look much like a 20 year old human, and they remain looking like this for the rest of their lives. They also remain fertile from maturity onward. Elves evolved from the same tree-dwelling primates as humans, but they are clearly less evolved, since they remain in the trees and generally hate progress. The only reason they live as long as they do is due to corruption – I mean influence – from the Feywild, which occurred early in their evolutionary history (not long after the split between humans, elves and orcs, evolutionarily speaking.) They are for the large part Unaligned, though they think they're Good.


Eladrin
After the war with the dwarves, the elves wanted a way to gain more power in case they had to defend themselves again. They developed a magical ritual that ascended an elf, and this became the eladrin. (Most of the time, see below). The eladrin are even more xenophobic than the elves, not only hating the other races but blatantly exclaiming how much better than everyone else they are. Unfortunately, the eladrin live forever, barring outside forces (such as being stabbed). They are mostly Unaligned and make no claims to being Good except as in “We're good at everything!”


Drow
The most evil and contemptible elves who underwent the ritual became drow. They are all Evil and Chaotic Evil. ALL OF THEM. There is not ONE drow who is NOT Evil or Chaotic Evil. In fact, let's say that if a drow has a change of heart, they suddenly, spontaneously and instantly go through a magical transformation that turns them into an eladrin. There, now there can be no good drow, ever.


Humans
Humans are possibly the most sickening beings in the whole setting. While most of the other races are jaded, cynical and Unaligned, most humans are romantic, idealistic and Good or Lawful Good. They believe that they can make a better world if they just all could get along and try, or if they defeat evil monsters or go on epic quests or run for public office. Most other races are tired of them.


Half-Elves
Elves hardly ever consort with other races, but if a human is sufficiently dedicated to nature sometimes an elf with breed with them. The result is a half-elf, a being no one likes. The elves hate him on principle of being half-human, all other races hate him on principle of being half elf. As such, half-elves tend to become either brooding, angsty, emo, dark and sulking kinds of people, or homicidal maniacs. It should also be noted here that if an eladrin or drow were to breed with a human, the offspring would be a half-elf. If an eladrin, drow, and/or elf were to breed with one another, the offspring would be a regular elf. (Not an eladrin or drow.) Half-elves are usually Unaligned. Or Chaotic Evil.


Orcs
Orcs are another evolutionary off-shoot from humans and elves. They used to be solely Chaotic Evil, but eventually they realized that upholding Chaos and Evil was just as much an ideal as Good was, and philosophically speaking there's really no difference, or even point to being Evil or Good. They gradually switched over to being Unaligned, though some idealistic youth will try to instill Chaotic Evilness and bring back the glory days.


Half-Orcs
Half-orcs are rather rare, because humans and orcs find each other extremely ugly. That said, an ugly enough human or ugly enough orc sometimes find solace in the other race. The result is a half-orc, who is usually considered to actually be less ugly than normal humans to orcs, and vice-versa to humans. They are usually Unaligned if brought up in orc society, and Good if brought up in human society.


Halflings
Halflings are rogues, thieves, con-artists and the sort. They are sneaky, shifty, shady, kleptomaniacal, cowardly and almost completely untrustworthy. Most races barely stand their presence, but they have a niche, since being sneaky is a valuable asset. They are often hired as spies, scouts and assassins. The only real way to earn their trust is through gold – and even then you better be sure that you're the highest bidder. They are mostly Unaligned.


Dragonborn
Dragonborn generally keep to themselves. They have a militaristic and draconian (ahaha) society that emphasizes strength over all else. Unlike other settings, strength is more important than honor – if you are the second-strongest and you defeat the strongest through trickery, well, you're the strongest now, now aren't you? Advancement through assassination is common, and in fact expected. The belief that they eat their young is probably an exaggeration. They came from an evolutionary offshoot of dragons. (They and dragons possessing a common ancestor.) They are almost all Unaligned.


Kobolds
Came from the same evolutionary offshoot as dragonborn, except they're not as noble, advanced, smart or tough. In fact, they come off as a bit bratty and annoying. They can be found in any nation, unfortunately. Fortunately they make for excellent target practice. Unaligned, but particularly paranoid.


Tieflings
Tieflings are believed to be descended from humans who consorted with devils and/or demons. Fun fact: They are not. Their horns/tails/hooves/whatever are completely natural. They evolved from a satyr-like race. They perpetuate the myth that they have a bit of demon in them so that they have an excuse to act angsty. “Oh, my life is so hard! I have to struggle with internal evil all the time!” Usually Unaligned, with very few actually evil.


Goblins, Hobgoblins and Bugbears
Actually all the same species, but different castes. Most are technically considered female though they don't breed, with the male drones being breeders. Goblins take care of most of the labor, with hobgoblins and bugbears taking larger tasks and defending the 'colony.' They are ruled by a queen, who gives birth to more goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears, as well as drones and breeding females. They are considered pests by most other races, though they are Unaligned and thus rarely seek to actively inhibit others.