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So far I have a lot of basics about the world, and some specifics about the roles of different races in the world. To start, this is not a friendly world, Though during the day humans, halflings, and the like go about their daily business, but at night the world is overrun by werewolves, vampires, and hordes of undead controlled by necromancers. Many races are isolated and secretive, having little contact with each other, humans and halflings being the largest exception to this rule.
Magic is abundant in this world, at every level from powerful wizard lords with control of great fiefdoms, to minor sorcerers using their power to protect their homes from the dark forces of the world as best they can. Necromancy is not viewed as strictly evil, and it is not uncommon for a wizard to turn to it in order to protect their town. It is not considered the most wholesome of practices, but is mostly viewed as necessary by the villages who are protected by it.
Religion is incredibly varied, the standard pantheon are the most widely worshipped, but there are places where people still worship ancient gods of nature and the elements who have almost completely vanished form the tets of most of the world. There is also a growing religious movement that condemns the worship of other gods in favor of what they believe to be the one true god. This church is strictly against arcane magic of any form, and has been known to execute wizards, sorcerers and other users. (Imagine the catholic church during the dark ages)
Races of the world
Humans and halflings are the most seen races and make up the majority of the populations of most towns and villages.
Dwarves live in elaborate cities carved into the stone of mountains. They are incredibly protective of their secrets of smithing and mechanics. There are legends of giant automotans hidden deep within the mountains they call home, but no outsider has ever found any proof of this.
Orcs, though fearsome, and sometimes a nuisance because of their violent nature are largely respected by humans. They are powerful allies when treated as equals, and it is not uncommon for a village with no protection from any sort of official rule to have a small population of orcs in or near the village as protectors. Half-orcs tend to capitalize upon this view of them as strong guards, and often become mercenaries, protecting trvellers of towns for a fee.
Elves tend to live deep in ancient forests, rarely associating with humans, they are known for their powerful magic, and are the most common worshippers of the ancient deities of nature. They are not unknown among humans, and are often greatly respected citizens when they choose to live in human settlements. Half-elves live among both elves and humans and easily integrate into either society.
Gnomes are live in nomadic tribes and incorporate pieces of different cultures into their own. They study the magic of the elves, and the smithing and mechanics of the dwarves. They move almost seemlessly between the races trading information and treasure. Some of the oldest tribes carry centuries of historic artifacts from nearly every intelligent race.
Gnoll are renowned as great hunters. They see the abundant werewolves as a blight on the world and for centuries have hunted and studied them.
Kobolds are skilled scavengers, they often follow behind Gnome tribes, finding and putting to use any bits and pieces that they leave behind. However, kobolds have a greater tendency to settle down than gnomes and are actually quite common in human and dwarf cities. When travelling they tend to stay in small groups of no more than a dozen, but when settled in cities, they will often gather together in larger groups, some larger cities will even have an entire district inhabited primarily by kobolds. They are not generally looked down upon by other races, but they prefer to live among themselves rather than integrated with the rest of the population when possible.
So that's what I have so far. I still have a while to plan this, I just wnat to hear what people think. If anyome has any feedback or suggestions they would be welcome. Thanks.
The Ansu Scale: How Humans regard difference
The Ansu Scale is a measure of how fairytale figues became to be. People who were distinctly different from the prefered normality of Human were shown contempt and hatred for their differences. The Very tall were seen as something to fear and the small something to despise and mistreat - its why we talk about 'Dwarf Throwing'. At a certain point the beleivability of difference enters the realm of the fantastical - tall become too tall to be human so they are Giants, Ogres, Trolls. Small becomes too small to be Human - and we Get Elves, Dwarves, Fairies.
This scale varies with the preference of individuals and communities - in one community the average might be 5' tall so Dwarves and elves are tolerated to a better degree and the really tall feared as Giants - but in places where the average is taller than usual the smallest become abnormals and the Tallest become above normal.
So when you put elves in communities as respected members of humanity you are violating a human cultural taboo - to not conduct third-person relationships with those who fall outside the acceptable. If elves are acceptable in a community then it is because they have something in common with the people who welcome them into the community.
ANSU is a Protoindoeuropean Root meaning 'demon' but its subroots are An meaning Ancestor and Su meaning Swine. The Language focus has been on the Ancestor component of the word. Jotunns (Giants of the Norse have -unns, a variation on Ansu), Likewise Huns (-uns being a variation of Ansu). You are effectivly describing someone as being like the ancestors (Physically powerful/Large Barbarians).
How Humans would regard the Gnolls and Werewolves
The Word 'Ghoul' comes from protoindoeuropean roots Ghe- (Demonstrative of) and Ul (To Howl) so the 'Ghoul' of primitive peoples would be anything that looks like a Dog/Wolf and walks upright. would qualify as a Ghoul. That would be so far outside the Circle of 'What is Acceptable' that it wouldnt matter that Gnolls are Waging a War with Werewolves. From the human Point of View they are both the same thing.
How Humans regarded Elves
The Word Elf comes from protoindoeuropean roots 'Albho' meaning 'White' and 'Wight' so The Pale Elves are seen by primitives as 'Wights': Spirits moving in the Woods. So it would take some real cultural understanding and family-level mixing to bring about the acceptable violation of the boundary between them and us.
Increasing Human Height differences
When Rolling for a Human roll: 12d6 inches and add 2 feet so the range is 3 feet to 8 feet. So now Halflings can be unrecognizable from really short humans...
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