Age of Dystopia
The races of Valkhana are varied, and whilst its uncommon inter-species relations do happen
Courageous and stalwart, dwarves are known for their skill at arms and their talent as miners and builders. They call the hills, mountains, and underground cities home, but many dwarves are wanderers or merchants, responsible for bringing both trade and news back to their holdfasts. Dwarf enclaves are also common in human cities. While not xenophobic, they are considered gruff and exclusionary by many of the other races. However, once a dwarf considers someone a friend, they are loyal and kind forever after. By the same token, a dwarf who’s been betrayed has a long memory and will bear that grudge for centuries.
Dwarves are organized into clans of varying sizes, which are connected by a web of alliances and rivalries. The amount of responsibility an individual dwarf holds depends entirely on their standing in the clan. A young but trustworthy dwarf could hold significantly more power than an older, more experienced family member who’s proven unreliable.
Not as small as halflings, nor as tall as humans, adult dwarves range in height from four to five feet, but are stocky and solidly built. Dwarves are famous for their beards, which they grow long and wear plaited, braided, in tails, or any number of other styl
Elves are graceful and perceptive people with intrinsic connections to the natural world. They make consummate hunters and scouts, and are heirs to ancient magical traditions as well. They favor woodlands, rainforests, and jungles, constructing their dwellings and cities in and amongst the trees, sometimes high off the ground. Some branches of elfkind leave the forests behind for mighty stone cities or life on the seas.
Elves are a mercurial race, changing attitude and course of action like the wind changes direction. This often takes them far from home as they explore the world beyond their homelands. Elves embrace the adventure of meeting new people and going to new places. They are open and friendly, but it’s often difficult to tell if they’re being sincere or sarcastic. Regardless, most elves are brave and helpful, often coming to the aid of those who don’t know as much as them about surviving in the wild.
Elves are tall, thin, and graceful people. They run in height from five to six feet with a slight build. Elves are particularly long lived, and their leaders are usually selected for their age and wisdom.
Gregarious and clever, gnomes are natural builders, tinkers, and engineers. They are always busy doing something, whether it’s expanding their warren-like homes, fixing broken contraptions, or negotiating business deals. Like dwarves, they are known for their love of gold and gems, but unlike dwarves, they aren’t miners. Gnomes would rather work or trade for the valuables they desire. A long history as merchants and wanderers have made them a race known for their business acumen. Gnomes also have magic in their blood, and commanding arcane power has helped them stand up to larger races on countless occasions. For this reason mages are always welcome in gnomish settlements and caravans.
Gnome cities are typically underground, though some branches prefer to live in wooded hills. Other gnomes take to the road and live in wagons outfitted with all the comforts of home (and a number of traps to keep thieves at bay). Whether on the road or in a settlement, gnomes defer to the wisest of their community for leadership and guidance.
Gnomes have large eyes, bulbous noses, big heads, and knobby fingers. They stand only three to four feet tall and are sleight compared to their dwarf cousins.
Considered brutes by most races because of their practice of raiding settlements for food and supplies, orcs are powerful warriors with an undeniable ability to survive in the worst of environments. Most orcs live in wastelands, badlands, rifts, and ruins because everywhere else in the world has been claimed by the other races. In order to survive, orcs scavenge what they can from the land and attack surrounding towns and cities for everything else they need.
Orcs organize themselves into tribes controlled by the most cunning, physically powerful, or magically adept orcs. Orc chieftains maintain their positions through strength and leading successful raids, but they must always be on the watch for rivals who will challenge them to become chief.
Orcs are the most bestial of the intelligent races, with pointed, bat-like ears, slits for nostrils, hairy bodies, broad mouths, often with under bites that expose tusk-like teeth. They stand between five and seven feet in height with broad, sturdy builds. They take no great pains to cultivate their appearance, except to accentuate whichever features make them more intimidating.
Humans are most numerous and adaptable of all the races. In fact, it’s their ability to adapt to their environment that’s allowed them to spread far and wide across the world, inhabiting lands alongside all the other races and making new homes for themselves in the harshest environments. Whereas there are a number of traits closely associated with the other races, humans aren’t as easily pigeonholed. Some humans are greedier than the greediest dwarf, while others reject the entire concept of wealth and give away all their worldly possessions. Humans represent that which is best and worst in the world.
Human settlements run the gamut from small hamlets to vast cities, with homes from tents and wagons all the way to huge mansions and castles. Their forms of government are also many and varied. The only thing one can say with certainty chapter 1 – character creation 13 about humans is that they will always find new and inventive ways to divide themselves, squabble and even wage war on each other. The other races are grateful for this, as humans would likely take over if they could ever stop fighting amongst themselves.
Humans usually stand between five and six feet tall, but their height can vary up to a foot or more above and below that range.
Kindly folk who are known mostly for their love of food, drink, and the simple life, halflings are a hardworking people who make their way in life as farmers, innkeepers, and merchants. There are always those halflings who yearn for a life of adventure, however. To them the quaint villages of yeoman farmers are stultifying, so they leave at the first opportunity to see the wider world. While often stereotyped as thieves, Halfling adventurers have many and varied pursuits.
Halflings call the farmlands and rolling hills home. Some build their homes inside the hills, while others prefer humanstyle buildings. When they live in human dominated cities, halflings often build their homes in basements and construct larger accommodations aboveground if they expect to have boarders or do business with non-halflings.
Roughly half the size of humans (as one might expect from their name), adult halflings rarely stand more than three feet tall. They are sometimes portly, but this extra weight does
little to hinder them.
The Saurians are a race of intelligent lizardfolk who ruled the greatest empire in ancient Valkana. They won a long and brutal war against the elves. Dwarves and orcs were their servitors, though the orcs ultimately rebelled against their enslavement. All of the saurians’ accomplishments were brought to ruin when the Cataclysm came. Their cities tumbled down and their empire ceased to exist in one terrible night.
Since then the saurians have struggled along with all the other races. Many died in the Chaos Wars, but in the centuries since the saurians have surged back. They have produced many notable scientists and engineers, and some powerful mages as well. They live among the other races in the city-states of the Tasmetra Basin. While some long for the ancient glory of their people, most are content to live in an era of relative peace.