Random cultural quirks

55 posts / 0 new
Last post
So WOTC publishes all these nice books and "Ecology of ___" supplements that describe D&D's various races and peoples. But although these cover a lot of the big important stuff (politics, religion, history) it leaves to your imagination most of the minor everyday things that makes real cultures so rich. Think of all the stuff you'd leave out if you took a real-world culture and condensed it into an entry for the PH or MM.

This is a thread for all the little extra "facts" you've accumulated in your head through role-playing. It's not necessarily the place to post entire histories/societies that you have made up, or your house-ruled alternatives to official fluff. I'm just looking for random bits of detail that help give these races an extra layer of texture on top of the official fluff.
(some examples to start us off)

In our campaign, I play a wind genasi taclord. Most of my examples from playing him came about by accident..... I didn't set out to invent random racial fluff, they just sort of occurred to me (often after the fact).

For instance.... from his backstory, my character was travelling with a couple other wind genasi before joining up with the party. These other genasi died of the plague (plague features pretty heavily in our setting), and I had a sentence about him going off to the highest hill in the area to bury them. It later occurred to me that cremation would probably be more aesthetically and spiritually pleasing than burial for a wind genasi. I quietly went back and swapped "buried" for "cremated." That got me thinking about how genasi conduct funerals in general. Fire genasi would also favor cremation, probably, and water genasi might do an over-the-waterfalls type thing like they did for Boromir in LOTR. Earth genasi would probably still prefer burial, though.

Similarly, the first night we made camp during the campaign, I assumed my character used a bedroll like everyone else. I've since decided that he sleeps in a camping hammock instead. In fact, he prefers hammocks to normal furniture in general, even if we're staying in a city.

The only time I've come up with one of these factoids on purpose was when I was brainstorming his background and family history. "Ecology of the Genasi" makes it sound like wind genasi are restless types who don't like to settle down. Which is fine if you're an adventurer, but most people aren't. What kind of day-job would such people gravitate towards? Once I thought about it, the answer was obvious. Sailor.

My last example isn't exactly a cultural quirk, but I'm including it anyway. I've decided that my wind genasi character is mildly claustrophobic. This should be fun when our party does the inevitable dungeon crawl.
Dwarves live off alchohol the way humans live off water. as it is a difference in thier body chemistry. they like alchohol and hiring anotomical services from barmaids. they use germanic and norse naming conventions. they tell tales of great warriors amongst thier kin, such as Hans "The Meat Grinder". Female Dwarven warriors who died in battle become Valkyries, and the men, Einherjiar, Moradin is the ruler of asguard. and really just another name for Odin. thier common warrior tactic is piling on swarms of Berserkers who beleive they will make it to Valhalla if they die in battle.

I see high elves as france meets italy. having various artists, and craftsmen. the men dressing rather feminine. wearing tons of ruffles and lace, both men and women wearing loose mobile but flashy clothing. many elves pamper themselves more than any sensible human being. using the best hygeine products, and various fancy materials, preferring silk over cotton. when they eat, they prefer tons of powerful seasonings, as they are also sensualists, prefferring the breeze against thier face. they are just as likely to be sorcerers as they are to be wizards. thier language is probably a dialect of latin written with beautiful but hard to master calligraphy.
Halfling oral tradition is chock-full of fables, which are passed down through the generations with religious dedication. This manifests itself in halfling speech: stories are constantly referenced in a fashion that is guaranteed to confuse those not familiar with the lore. Here is a short index of commonly-used phrases and their translations.

"A real Ovolo's crossing." (A wide river.)
"She's got catfish kisses." (She has freckles.)
"Time to meet Grandma Widdershams." (It's time to sleep.)
"That's downright Frussian." (That's extremely complicated.)
"I've been around the tree outside town." (I almost died.)

Halflings are also well-known for their cuisine. A specialty among sea-faring groups is "fish rolls," which consist of raw fish rolled up in rice and seaweed. A major part of halfling culinary philosophy is, "anything can be fried."
I can't take credit for it, I read it in Don Bassingwaite's Eberron novel the Doom of Kings but I thought it was absolutely great.

Goblinoids don't like to shake hands, direct contact is reserves for two things, fighting, and making more little goblins. So the cultural greeting is tapping blades together, so pretty much every goblinoid in the entire civilization of Darguun has a blade on them, even if its just a knife, its just proper edicate.
Aesop had it right 2,500 years ago, "By endeavoring to please everyone, he had pleased no one, and lost his ass in the bargain".
Ogre's like HEAVY spices in there food if they can get it.
Oni are similar in temperament in regards to there food as well,but prefer there food a tad milder.

hello everybody!!!!!!!

Goblinoids don't like to shake hands, direct contact is reserves for two things, fighting, and making more little goblins.

Alternatively, the 4E MM states that most goblins eat and sleep in shared quarters. From there, I theorized that goblins had no concept of personal space, which meant that if you had a goblin rogue in your party he would see nothing wrong with sitting on your paladin's lap.

I really like this aspect of worldbuilding. I'll probably have a lot more to post later.
Alternatively, the 4E MM states that most goblins eat and sleep in shared quarters. From there, I theorized that goblins had no concept of personal space, which meant that if you had a goblin rogue in your party he would see nothing wrong with sitting on your paladin's lap.

I've used this with several of my goblinoid characters, not worrying for example that there are 6 party members in a 2 person tent, or continuing a conversation even though the person your talking with is going to the bathroom. Likewise, I see Goblins as extremely thrifty creatures (it'd most likely be a survival trait) so when a goblin is prying the nails out of the floorboard of an abandoned house to sell to a blacksmith just say "It'll pay for my ale".
Geographical cultural quirk:

In my Eberron campaign, residents of Sharn consider tossing anything out a window a serious taboo. (For you non-Eberron readers, Sharn is known as "The City of Towers," and thanks to a local planar manifest zone boasts some vertigo-inducing architecture.)

Also in my Eberron campaign, the gnolls of Droaam consider cross-dressing an acceptable means of lateral mobility in society. (Granted, the difference between "boyish" filthy, blood-caked clothing and "girlish" filthy, blood-caked clothing is hard for non-gnolls to discern...)
Nice... these are awesome, guys.

Interesting how we have two opposing interpretations of goblinoids and their attitude toward personal contact. Someone on a different message board posted essentially what Xenophile said, but with a twist... although goblinoids are indifferent to physical contact in general, being allowed near a mother orc's children is a sign of intimacy (similar to how mother bears are super touchy when it comes to their offspring).

Anyway, some more genasi stuff:

By RAW, all wind genasi have Windwalker -- a racial power that lets them fly 8 squares and take no falling damage upon landing. I thought it would be cool if this power didn't show up until puberty, so that culturally, it becomes a sort of coming-of-age thing that signifies the ascension to manhood / womanhood. I don't know if this violates RAW in any way, but I wouldn't think so.

Relatedly... my DM has decided to interpret the "take no falling damage" clause to its logical extreme, meaning the power lets you float down an arbitrarily long distance. My particular genasi character is from a town located at the top of a flat-topped mountain. This particular town expects its youth to leave and seek their fortunes elsewhere the moment they come of age (it's a very hot piece of real estate, by wind genasi standards... this arrangement helps maintain equilibrium). So once a year, there's a special ceremony. All the young genasi who manifested their Windwalker power that year line up, have blessings and gifts bestowed upon them... and take a running leap off the edge of a cliff.

Ok, so maybe it's corny as all hell. But damn if it doesn't make all other coming-of-age rites look lame. :D
My most analyzed race in my game is the drow, and although their society has had a major overhaul in my campaign, some things that were there in the beginning for me are still there. Betraying their surface origins, many refer to stalagmites as "trees". Reflective minerals high up in the ceiling of a cavern are "stars", and precious gems are "fruit". In one drow culture, it's a religious requirement to make a pilgrimage to the surface to watch a sunrise. (This group is trying to re-establish peaceful relations with elves.) A favored dish among the drow as well as the githyanki in my game is spiced mushrooms, and a common phrase used in most traditional drow cultures is "Lolth have mercy!" which translates out to "It ain't gonna happen!"
Hey Yaliceme, Tibetan Buddhists have an interesting alternative to burial, or cremation that may suit your Genasi. It's called a sky burial and the dead are cut into smaller pieces and placed upon mountain tops for the birds of prey to eat. They'll even eat out the marrow by dropping the bones so they crack in half. Thus, one could be buried at sky in the bellies of the birds.
A few more ideas...

- One of the most popular elven hobbies is the growing of bonsai trees. Some privileged individuals have entire miniature forests growing on their estates.

- Dragonborn food is notoriously spicy. Some of the more flavorful dishes can cause genuine physical pain to members of more sensitive races.

- Before two dwarves can be married, they must first complete a metal ornament of some kind which is then used in the ceremony. It reflects that they are both skilled enough and wealthy enough to manage a good household.

- Halflings observe over a hundred holidays and festivals throughout the year. These celebrations can last between a few minutes or an entire month, depending on the occasion.

- Goliaths believe that their skin markings say something about their destinies. Albinos, however, have no such markings. These individuals are considered wild cards who are unrestrained by fate. What the the other goliaths make of this varies from tribe to tribe.
Goblins in my campaign are by and large one of the few species that tends towards democracy rather than Oligarchy or Monarchy, although their form of rule by the goblin for the goblin is rather odd.

You see, the goblins have a tradition called Kragga (which translates to Cunning Race in goblin) that's essentially a year-long political campaign that ends each year around spring. During the race, potential chiefs (and the current goblin chief) of a particular tribe threaten, promise, and bribe their ways into the good graces of their fellow tribes people, and then comes the actual rite of Kragga. All of the goblins get together during spring time and vote on who they think should be the chief. The winner doesn't automatically get the position though, instead he or she gets 3 days to set up the area where all of those chiefly hopefuls will fight to either the death or first blood (depends on how traditional the tribe is). This ensures that goblin leaders are either the most popular (in which case they'll provide well for the tribe), the strongest (in which case they'll be able to defend the tribe), or (rarely) both.

BTW shiftkitty, I really like your Drow saying...mind if I steal it for the drow of my campaign?
some from my campain world (moved up to age of sail) Culture is more important than race

Gnolls used to have a culture based around a cycle of rebirth. "the dead nurish the living (fertilize the ground) the living allow the dead to be reborn in turn (it looks like grandpa Yeggi)" eventually Gnolls took to just eating the corpses directly, they became what they are now as a result. Gnolls civilized or not are used as enforcers in southern and eastern kingdoms, selling their brute strengh to the city states of Estalia (italy-like) brought them into contact with the high culture of those cities and made Estalian gnolls much more civilized than in other places.
Some of the younger Estalian Gnolls have made their profession as musicians instead of soldiers. But as a group they adapted the rebirth custom to mean that any (and usually every) large meal is usually followed by purchesing the "services" of a barmaid (depending on gender). It is a tradition Estalian Gnolls are fond of.

Among Orcs everything short of using the outhouse has to do with conducting war, prepairing for war, or starting war. Orcs every thought has to do with war. EVERY SINGLE ONE.
No orc ever submits to the authority of another without them beating him somehow, this means an orc chief must be the biggest and baddest orc in the tribe no matter what.

Gnomes: humans invented gunpowder, gnomes took the idea and ran off with it. After they escape the feywild they become curious, will do anything, and invent anything to satisify their need to know. if that means the invention impales the user with a chicken, it's okay by them.

Dwarves: most dwarves have no tolerance for rulebreakers among their own kin much less among guests. The punishments you will recieve in a dwarven settlement are: the loss of fingers (for lesser crimes) death (for serious crimes) or shaving (for the worst crimes)
dwarves can feel their beards, there are nerve endings in their hair. this is why shaving hurts so much. it's like sawing off an arm.

querks
Elderian find the smell of gunpowder disgusting.
Elves find it annoying
Dwarves and Teiflings find it aluring
Goblins never invented fire and most are afraid of it.
Dragonborn take personal property very seriously
Goliaths call humans "pinkies"
Lizardmen will eat their children before they can walk upright (once they can walk properly they are off the menu.)
Dwarves: most dwarves have no tolerance for rulebreakers among their own kin much less among guests. The punishments you will recieve in a dwarven settlement are: the loss of fingers (for lesser crimes) death (for serious crimes) or shaving (for the worst crimes)
dwarves can feel their beards, there are nerve endings in their hair. this is why shaving hurts so much. it's like sawing off an arm

What if said rule-breaker is a woman? What do they shave?

I was about to knock on the whole "dwarves have nerve endings in their hair" thing and point out that this would require them to have blood vessels in their hair as well, which would be all sorts of weird. Then I remembered that D&D has races with things like ice crystals or flames for hair. *glares at whoever wrote the fluff for 4E genasi*
There's a thread full of ideas ostensibly written for barbarian tribes, but could be easily adapted for use by various cultures in your campaign.

I recommend you check it out, and please post any relevant ideas there as well.

The thread is: 1001 "Barbaric" Customs: Superstitions, Taboos, Rituals, etc
The Elven language splintered when the race did. There are now two languages. One is the language of the elves. The other is the language of the eladrin and the drow. Of the latter, the language is split into two distinct dialects; few non-native speakers can tell the difference, but native speakers can immediately.

The fey races love sugar, and most members will put it in/on almost anything.

The dwarves are split into seven clans, with a council of clans led by a High Thane ruling them (although some Thanes can keep the clans unified better than others). The position of High Thane is for life, but neither elected nor hereditary. It is passed on cyclically, from one clan to another and another and so on in a specific order set millennia ago. Each clan gives a degree of social deference to the clan that precedes it in the cycle, and receives the same degree of deference from the clan that succeeds it. When a clan's representative is High Thane, its members neither give nor receive deference.

Halflings refer to battles as dances, and use dance terminology in place of military terminology. Battlefield is dancefloor, opponent is partner, and so on.

Many dragonborn ritually cut themselves while praying. They seldom cut deeply; a few drops of blood is usually sufficient unless the prayer is really important. This is an Arkhosian custom.
The campaign I'm in now has a different take on Tieflings: for historical reasons, they have their own country and culture. Think 'Arabian Knights' etc.

So my Tiefling warlock is the 'foreigner' in the group, and it shows. First and foremost, he doesn't bathe in water if he can help it. He prefers to cleanse his body with fire. Unfortunately, for some reason, this basic daily function causes his traveling companions no small amount of alarm.

Every time he builds a fire big enough for a proper bath, everyone panics and frantically rushes to put it out. Sigh.

Roll2Dis
Every time he builds a fire big enough for a proper bath, everyone panics and frantically rushes to put it out. Sigh.

:heehee How very rude of them.
In my setting, the three elven races hold that family and kin-bonds are more important than almost anything else. In the Elven tongue, the word for 'orphan' is the same as the word for 'corpse'. Family interactions define the individual, so an elf (or eladrin or drow) without a family is nothing. Obviously, such individuals have a great incentive to find a substitute family (such as an adventuring party).

Elven naming conventions reinforce this cultural quirk. Only a close family member can give an elf (or eladrin or drow) a name and an individual who loses his or her family or who is separated from them for a long time is no longer considered to have a name. An elven adventurer is likely to take whatever name his or her companions choose to bestow, but will not consider it as anything other than a temporary nickname unless those companions are particularly close (i.e. close enough that the elf considers them 'family').

Some elves (and eladrin and drow) go by their family or clan or house name when among non-elves, rather than using a personal name. This shows that they are a representative of their family (or clan or house) rather than an individual.

In some elven (not eladrin or drow) clans, an individual actually has to achieve some great feat of skill or heroism to be granted a personal name, and that name will depend upon their achievement. An elf who has not sufficiently distinguished him or herself is known simply as 'Warrior of Clan [Clan Name]' or 'Youngest Child of [Parent's Name]' or some similarly generic epithet.

Among the eladrin, the most 'noble' of families are defined by descent from the archfey and use inbreeding to maintain the 'purity' (as they see it) of their bloodlines. As the archfey are effectively immortal, such families are ruled (usually quite autocratically) by their distant but still-living ancestors. These archfey are, generally speaking, absolutely convinced that they know best about everything. They often insist on micromanaging the relationships of their descendants, which can lead to some conflict and, occasionally, hilarity.

The elven races don't have the same taboo against incest that most other races do, nor do they have any problems with plural marriage. Sehanine and Lolth are both Corellon's sisters and his wives (although Lolth's banishment to the Abyss is generally considered to constitute a divorce). The elves and eladrin consider themselves Sehanine's children by Corellon, while the drow are Lolth's children by him. The drow reject Corellon's input altogether and believe that Lolth created them on her own.

Both incest and plural marriage are very common among the drow, reasonably common among the eladrin and somewhat less common among the elves (who have had far more contact with foreign cultures that disapprove of both practices). In the case of the drow, such unions serve to reinforce loyalty or to keep power concentrated in the hands of a few. Among the eladrin, they serve to maintain the 'blood purity' that many archfey and noble eladrin are so obsessed with.

"My flying carpet is full of elves."

*stealing the above elf/eladrin/drow lore, rolling thievery check...*

A player of mine is really enjoying the gnomes, and he's setting the mold for gnomes in my game. His gnome has no sense of private property, private space, private time, private nothing! Gnomes, it has been decided, will casually walk into the bathroom while you're using to ask if you know where the glue is. Having sex? The door opens and in walks a gnome who calmly starts looking for something in the dresser. If you aren't using something and the gnome needs it for anything, he'll just take it. He has no concept that it's "yours". You weren't using it, you didn't need it, what's the big deal?

Also, gnomes hate to be idle. They will fidget with things, take them apart and put them back together, sometimes thinking they've somehow made them better. They clean fussily, but they don't always put things back where they were, because they seem to always know a better place for it. However, what a gnome considers "better" is unfathomable to most folks.

They nibble their food like hamsters. No big chomps, a gnome will eat his food in components. For example, a Twix candy bar would first lose the chocolate covering. Then the caramel would be carefully nibbled and licked off until all that's left is the cookie. Now the cookie gets nibbled, starting at one end and making as small a bite as possible until it's all gone.

They also have no real use for names, because they sometimes find names they like better than their old one, so they change them on a whim.
That gnome stuff is gold, pure gold.
That gnome stuff is gold, pure gold.

This entire thread is gold ;).

I especially like Xenophile's halfling phrases, and I'm gonna have to snatch Roll2Disbelieve's 'fiery bath' idea.

A cultural quirk of the militaristic dwarves from my homebrew is that they 'size-up' anyone they meet (both on the battlefield and off) and are quick to capitalize upon any weakness they perceive. Wish I had more useful ideas to add; maybe I'll remember or think of something later.
/\ Art
Seconded. I love this thread! That 'orphan' stuff played into what was turning into an out-of-character problem for our drow rogue, Havoc. I threw a low-ranking drow priestess who had, as a result of her being captured and tortured by the duergar, had lost her faith in Lolth, into H2. Bent on founding a new house in what was left of the Horned Hold, she latched onto Havoc as a consort. Havoc's player went along with it, but wasn't sure how to work it into his personality (he saw some RP potential there). His first thought was that Havoc wanted the backing of a house, but Havoc had been doing so well on his own, why bother? When I showed the fluff to Havoc's player, it meshed neatly with his orphan background. Why did he chain himself to an outcast Matron? To be alive again. (To keep him with the party and not locked up in a house, the Matron has let him "off the leash" while she sets up house and essentially finds a new deity.)
The warforged in my campaign (who are often simply known as "Builders") are all located along a gigantic metal and stone wall that would dwarf the great wall of china. Most warforged are forged near the wall, and while they might leave for a while, they always come back at least once a decade to pay homage to the construction created by their "elders". The wall was built so long ago not even the Eladrin know what it's original purpose, and the warforged certainly aren't telling. All anybody knows, is that the scattered colonies of halflings, wilden, and elves on the left side of the wall are thankful for it's presence, an yearly make a donation of metal and stone to help contribute to it's upkeep.

In the meantime though, the space on, inside (sections of the wall are hollowed out into living spaces) and beside the wall has transformed into a fantasy equivalent of the french foreign legion. A group of people striving to forget their pasts, or who are looking to "add something to the wall" to give their lives meaning before they die.
A cultural quirk of the militaristic dwarves from my homebrew is that they 'size-up' anyone they meet (both on the battlefield and off) and are quick to capitalize upon any weakness they perceive.

I never thought that a parallel could be drawn between dwarves and Batman. UNTIL NOW.
I didn't like that dragonborn are supposed to all be warriors of some sort (guards, mercenaries, etc), because it seems like the race would be dead in a generation or two. So to me, Dragonborn have a strong martial tradition and judge each other by their strength and prowess, but they're not all warriors. Instead, they play a lot of martial games to test their prowess, from basic stick-fighting to complex games similar to capture the flag and rugby where teams compete across a wide area (a village, a section of forest, etc) with several objectives.

Female dragonborn develop a hoarding instinct when they reach a particular age, which varies from individual to individual but is generally around 35. For most dragonborn females of that age, an attractive male is one that can contribute best to her hoard. On her death, a dragonborn female's hoard is generally split up among her daughters.

It's customary among orcs (and those who know their ways) to stop a bowshot apart when they meet outside a settlement and watch each other for a half hour or so. They use this time to gauge the other party's intentions, and to decide if they are really what they appear, or if they are in fact shapechangers, undead, etc.
I never thought that a parallel could be drawn between dwarves and Batman. UNTIL NOW.

IMAGE(http://img206.imageshack.us/img206/2121/midgetbatman.jpg)

"Quick, Gimli! To the Meadmobile!"
-- snip picture --
"Quick, Gimli! To the Meadmobile!"

^^^

Also:

That gnome stuff is gold, pure gold.

This entire thread is gold ;).

Seconded. I love this thread!

Yaaaay, people love my thread!
As a cat lover ;), here's a Cormyrean custom I always found interesting: It is unlucky and an offense to the gods to kill a cat, as they are the eyes and messengers of the deities. It is good to keep a cat but its a sin (a sin mind you ;)) to clip its tail, ears, or fur or to hamper its ability to have kittens. A cat may never be caged.

My copy of Cormyr: The Novel is deeply buried in a bookshelf (somewhere) and its been a decade since I read it. One of the 'backround' tales mentioned how this all started (one of the Royal Magicians had a cat familiar or something). Anyone remember the details? Now I'm curious and I can't find the book.
/\ Art
Eladrin have a long standing custom of making the most arrogant among them speak to foreigners and go out adventuring, so that people will assume ill of them and leave them alone. Tieflings similarly encourage the less intelligent among them to go out and wander in an effort to reduce suspicions that they are planning to dominate the world again.

An ancient and difficult endeavor of halfling chefs is a competition in which they try to put weight on their elven and eladrin guests. Few can master this tradition, but that won't stop them from trying.

All gnomes are evil, blood thirsty insectile creatures. They feast on babies during the party's rest breaks.
An ancient and difficult endeavor of halfling chefs is a competition in which they try to put weight on their elven and eladrin guests. Few can master this tradition, but that won't stop them from trying.

That's awesome. I have to try that with a halfling character!
An ancient and difficult endeavor of halfling chefs is a competition in which they try to put weight on their elven and eladrin guests. Few can master this tradition, but that won't stop them from trying.

Oh noes! That totally destroys the point of playing an elf for me! Bad hobbits.
Tiefling society (such as it is, depending on the campaign) are very particular about their tails. They are considered almost secondary sexual characteristics of their race and most tieflings would strongly object to the touching of their tail by somebody they weren't particularly attracted to or involved with. As such, if one were to ask a tiefling what their ideal mate would look like, a description of some particular size and length of the tail, and the shape, size, and length of the "fin" at the tip would probably be included in their answer if their inclinations ran toward members of their own race.

Some tieflings take measures to accentuate one's tail in a social setting, from something as innocent as wearing taillets (bracelets for the tail!) to risque flaunting like wearing clothes that leave the base of the tail, small of the back, and even a bit of buttock exposed. If a tiefling's tail were ever removed or permanently altered in an unattractive way, the tiefling in question could come to think of themselves as a "freak," though only the cruelest members of the race would draw attention to a maimed tiefling's tail (or lack thereof).
This thread is awesome, I intend to steal half of it for my game

In compensation, I will attempt to contribute :P

Dragonborns often refer to members of other races (with the exception of goliaths) as "softskin". It is not so much a derogatory as an affirmation of their race's own toughness in which they take great pride.

Tribal dragonborns maintain a communal hatchery where the eggs of all the tribe are cared for, each one marked with a glyph associated with its family. It is considered the duty of all within the tribe to help care for and educate the next generation.

There is a friendly rivalry between dwarven and dragonborn smithies regarding who makes the better weapons and armors. Two artisans of each race can spend hours arguing the superiority of his crafting style over a strong drink (which, with no arguments, the dragonborns will admit the dwarves are better at). Any third party asked for his opinion in such an occurence his generally advised by those "in the know" to change the subject or excuse himself.

Touching a dwarf's beard is considered an intimate act and dwarven standards of decency states that it should not be done in public. Tugging a dwarf's beard is generally answered with violence of some sort (from strong punch to the shoulder to a full-on beating depending on the situation).

Elves have very little modesty regarding their style of clothing and will often wear as little as the weather allow during their times of leisure, stopping just short of revealing their privates. This tendency tends to be less accentuated in elven culture living close to other races, but it is not uncommon in a remote elven village to see elves walking around in nothing but small briefs (male and female alike).

Because (as stated above) elves consider clothing to be purely practical, the ones they wear are usually plain and made to be efficient rather than pleasing to the eye. Elves who want to supplement their appearance usually do so by styling their hair, getting body paint for their exposed skin and wearing earrings.

Eladrins who spent their lives in the feywild find most thing in the natural world dull and will often look bored and melancholic to their comrades. A considerable amount of time in the world will offset this, but then the same eladrin will feel hyper stimulated and overly energetic when back in the feywild. Few of them manage to strike a balance.

Halfling have very strong traditions about clans. A given halfling clan will pride itself among other halfling by the size, reputation and history of its clan. It is considered the duties of each halfling who leaves the clan to reflect positively upon his family so that it may gain higher status. Breeding is also important and arranged marriage between children of different clans are generally conducted as a matter of political alliance. Most other races would never suspect the intricate and complex web of alliances, rivalries and pride that form worldwide halfling politic, indeed, few people actually know there is such a thing as "worldwide halfling politic".

Tiefling's tail can unconsciously betray their emotions and state of mind, much like that of a cat. An annoyed or frustrated tiefling's tail will swing from left to right, it will stick close to the ground when its owner it suspicious or wary and it will curve up in an upward "S" when the tiefling is feeling particularly proud. Tiefling who often deal with their own learn to master those reflexes and keep their tail still...or in the case of those who have no patience for this, wrap it around their waist like a belt.

Eladrin and tiefling's eyes share the property of glowing brigthly when their owner is experiencing strong emotions. The notable exception is tiefling with black eyes, their eyes instead stop reflecting light in those moment, making them points of absolute darkness and making those tiefling even more disquieting than the rest of their race, especially since it happens just as much when they are happy as when they are mad.

Dopplegangers have only one taboo about their shape shifting abilities, they do not attempt to imitate another of their own's natural form. This is considered both an insult to the imitated and a sign of great shame and self loathing by the imitator.

Dragons have genetic memory, the hatching young has the basic knowledge of the lives and deeds of his ancestors, and recover much of their knowledge and wisdom as he grows older. This is the reason why dragons can simply seed their eggs around the world and leave, the young do not need basic education, and they often developed personality akin to their parents as a result (and thus the traits usually associated with its particular color). Dragons are also due to this, font of ancient knowledge as an adult dragon who focuses for a moment can pluck out a specific memory from one of his many predecessor from his mind, memories that can sometime date thousands of years.
Tiefling's tail can unconsciously betray their emotions and state of mind, much like that of a cat. An annoyed or frustrated tiefling's tail will swing from left to right, it will stick close to the ground when its owner it suspicious or wary and it will curve up in an upward "S" when the tiefling is feeling particularly proud. Tiefling who often deal with their own learn to master those reflexes and keep their tail still...or in the case of those who have no patience for this, wrap it around their waist like a belt.

Argh. My tiefling also has tail mannerisms like these, but I didn't think to post it. Thanks for picking up the slack. :embarrass
Traditionalist Dragonborn insist that when a young Dragonborn comes of age, they must go out into the wilderness to find "the dragon in their soul". The young Dragonborn goes without food and with the barest amount of clothing possible and seeks out omens that fortell what sort of dragon spirit lurks in their soul. A dragonborn might, for example journey to a pristine spring and after days of meditation and searching, see a single unmarked gold coin at the bottom (signifying that their soul is like that of a Gold dragon). Dragonborn going on such spiritual quests are asked to bring back tokens of their epiphanies, and those who fail such quest are treated as children until they have such an experience.
Dwarves, though incredible craftsman and engineers, are infamous for heinous poetry readings called "Stone Sonnets". The "Stone Sonnet" is unique to every dwarf but it must entail a particular type of rock or gem that dwarf enjoys. Despite it's name, the Sonnet can be any form of poetry the dwarf wants, as long as it includes things like the composition of the rock, the shininess of the rock, or in some extreme cases the taste of the rock. Eladrin poets have likened Stone Sonnets to "murder of the nth degree..."

It is a grievous faux pas in halfling society to incorporate any food into a meal that may cause disgust amongst the guests. Halfling chefs are expected to research the tastes and dislikes of their guests weeks before the meal, and entire schools have been founded to perfect the art the halflings call "Culinary Divination"

In magical circles, a mage without an ancient artifact of some kind is likened to a dragon without fire. There is a colossal underground black market tailored towards mages and the buying and selling of oftentimes illegally acquired artifacts.

Orcs will not swim or bathe. They believe the grime and dried filth on their flesh protects them from harmful parasites and disease. Any orc will quickly point out that there are rarely ever any elderly orcs, a fact he will undoubtedly attribute to their embargo on bathing. However, any doctor will tell you that the reason there are no elderly orcs is because most of them die before reaching old age...
Perfect. Halflings are trying to make elves fat, and they can do so by trying to predict their favorite foods.
Orcs will not swim or bathe. They believe the grime and dried filth on their flesh protects them from harmful parasites and disease. Any orc will quickly point out that there are rarely ever any elderly orcs, a fact he will undoubtedly attribute to their embargo on bathing. However, any doctor will tell you that the reason there are no elderly orcs is because most of them die before reaching old age...

And this is why elves, with their sensitive noses, see no alternative but to wage war, in the hope that they can achieve victory before they choke to death on orc fumes. Or at the very least, control the population enough to survive.