The Races of Barran; The Younger of Barran
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The Younger of Barran
Ristaal (High Orc)
|High Orcs, known as Ristaal are descended from the monstrous orcs of the Overlands, from which they migrated south into what is now the kingdom of Islan Tel’Nava and the empire of Tel’Al Anor. The spirits of the monster orcs do not return to Barran, and it is not known whether they are whisked away to another world or simply lost to time. Legend tells that the first of the Ristaal refused whatever fate it is that meets the orc after death, and forced his will and spirit back upon Barran and tore from the earth a new body to inhabit. He returned smaller and weaker than his monstrous kin, but the focus to resurrect himself honed his once-shattered mind with intelligence. To convince his kin to return as he did, he killed one before allowing himself to be killed in turn. When his spirit departed his body, he grabbed his kin’s spirit and hurled it back to the earth along with his own.Orcs have adopted reasonably well to civilization and can generally get along with the other races. They do chafe against the structure of society, particularly within larger cities where they lack breathing room to exert their pent up energy. Their violent disposition tends to get them in trouble with the law, and many fall into gangs or other criminal activity. Others become addicted to the euphoria they get from alchemical berserk elixirs, and spend their time and money in “zerk dens” to get a fix.|
Ogreathi (High Ogre)
|High Ogres, known as Ogreathi were said to be created from the very Earth during time forgotten. They originally migrated across the southern half of Barran. Leaving villages and ports dotting the landscape. There are essentially three branches to the family of Ogres. All have one shade of yellow skin or another and pronounced tusks jutting from their lower jaw. There are Ogres and Two higher branches known as the Ogreathi, collectively.Ogres as most people know the uncivilized, brutish and violent are considered a monster race and not protected by the countries of Tel Al’Anor or Islan Tel’Nava. They are monsters in every sense of the word. They are typically known for their grayish yellow skin.The Ochers are known for their golden yellow skin, attunement to the earth like no one other then the dryads and an exceptional work ethic. Raiding and reaving used to be their standard way of life, to be replaced by more civilized behavior. They are masters of the seas and are said to have an supernatural ability to know what the seas will do.
The Orgoth are the remaining branch of Ogreathi . Orgoth have ruddy, dark yellow skin said to be when the earth scorched them for some unknown slight. They do not have the same affinity to the Earth at their lighter cousins, except when in the presence of Earth based magics where their “curse” is lifted and they see the world more vibrantly that any other Ogreathi can ever hope. Equally industrious and a little more brutish than the Ochers, the Orgoth do equally well on land and sea and are known to be renowned for their military prowess, even their scholars are not to be trifled with.
To the Ogreathi in the lands of Barran, honor is their touchstone. Your personal honor is how you act and carry yourself throughout life. Ogreathi treat with individuals in personal dealings directly and without guile. This is not just among Ogreathi people, but with any individual. Speak the truth and expect the same. Personal honor only extends itself to one’s legacy. If you cannot be trusted in mundane affairs, how can you be trusted in battle? Without your peer’s trust, you are alone.
The Ogreathi are loyal to their lands, their people and their families in equal amounts. For without your family and your honor, you are truly lost amongst the wilds of Barran. Be it land, or sea.
|The eight Wild Elf tribes are all closely related to an animal totem. Like their Parvois cousins, the Wild Elves can survive as many as eight centuries. The Asp, Crocodile and Red Back Spider, at least, are cannibals. The Asp are so terrible and frightening in their practices that many ignorant people of other races are afraid of all Wild Elves because of them.Wild Elf Tribes:
|The High Elves were once the greatest mages and scholars in Barran. No Emperor ruled without having several of them as advisors, and the guilds of magic and scholarly pursuits were controlled by them in fact if not always in name. No more.When the great rituals were performed many of the most powerful wizards in the Empire laid down their lives willingly, seemingly unaware of a side effect caused by the power and scale of the unprecedented magics they were working with. When each one fell, many members of his family fell ill, aged unnaturally or died out right. Only a few families were unaffected, and among those who were, many of the stricken were abandoned or even killed outright by the survivors. After a mere month the High Elves fell from a proud race to a few families of refugees. Their numbers shrank so much that most of them were unable to keep the holdings that may have been in their families for generations – or in many cases there was no one left of the blood to inherit those properties legally.
Though they for most of known history have lived primarily in the Empire, the High Elves no longer truly have one singular home or even one identity. Some small family groups have wandered to try to find a place with other elves, though it is said many have fallen to the Asp when they naively entered into an agreement for a resting place with them.
The High Elves division names and national allegiance/location are found below.
Tah’or’i (Dark Elves)
|Dark Elves, or as most refer to themselves Tah’or’i, while stand-offish towards others, are not broken down into sub-sets quite as specifically or noticeably as the other elves that populate Barran. They are small in number, and while their blood almost always breeds true (meaning that if a Dark Elf mates with another race, the offspring has never been known to NOT be a Dark Elf) they celebrate the rare occasion of a new birth as one group. Dark Elves as a people are avid genealogists, and most are able to tell you the name of their ancestor who moved away from the other elves so many years ago. They are also somewhat longer lived than their paler cousins – some of their elders are known to have lived a millennium or more.Dark Elf tradition remembers when all elves lived together, and how Ta’hor had a different name, though they can’t remember that much detail. Deep in the heart of the estate of the Kornik family, there are records that would prove it to any who would or could read them, but the ability to read ancient elven text is rare in the modern day, and the Korniks don’t allow any but family and the most trusted of their friends into their archives. Other families have similar libraries, though none are quite so comprehensive. A significant portion of the Kornik library is open to recognized scholars and sages, but many of the oldest texts are kept in seclusion by the family. To see those one would need to be a close friend of the family, convince them that there is a true need, or have a writ from the King in their hands.
The subterranean city of Ta’hor is the single largest population of Dark Elves on Barran, and it supplies the Kingdom with great amounts of ore and gems, as well as finished goods. In return they have established the closest thing to a freehold as is possible within the constraints of the law. The city is so important to the Dark Elves that they will usually answer the question of “who are you?” or “what are you?” with “Ta’hor’i” or “I am from Ta’hor”. They do not refer to themselves as Dark Elves, though are not usually offended when others do. Any insult to their core, home, city – or their family – however, will be met with the most dire response. An ignorant slur against Ta’hor has been known on rare occasions to cause the most urbane and civil Dark Elf to kill a customer in honor combat and demand that his family pay all expenses for cleaning up the mess caused. The law, especially within their home Kingdom, is paramount, however. They will follow that law to the letter as long as self control remains. If they lose that control they will accept any punishment given them, without question or argument.
|Aquatic Elves are a race unlike any other – at least in their own minds. They are a proud people, unmatched in their abilities upon the waters. Living approximately 400-550 years, they come to physical maturity around age 16, and then age approximately 1 year per every 6 a human would age. (A 200 year old Aquatic Elf would appear to be around 47, were they human.)Pureblood Aquatic Elves are easily identified by their blue or green hair and blue or green eyes. Those without “proper breeding” (as the Sea Elves would put it, referring to such unfortunates as ‘Varkhurr’) have other eye colors, or hair that is only streaked with blue or green. Much like other elves, they have elongated ears; however, many years of “ideal matching” have led to Aquatic Elves having ears with multiple tips.
The race itself is not unified, and does not go by a single name. At one time, they were all Alfvadr, but now only those that reside on the islands off of Tel Al Anor use that name. A Llyn or Barquene would be insulted to be referred to as such, and few Varkhurr would allow themselves to be called by the name until they are considered to be “of full blood”. Since the Alfvadr are very elitist, they will call any Llyn or Barquene a Varkhurr.
The Aquatic Elves have three acknowledged sub-cultures, their name and location are listed.
|Adharcroi are a strange and fascinating race. Born of the Fae and the Dragons, they are one of the oldest races to walk the face of Barran. Though mortal, their Fae heritage causes aging to act unpredictably with them; apparently physical age, as a Human might judge it, is no indicator of the true age of an Adharcroi, and in some cases is outright misleading. Instead, horn length is the only true judge, with horns getting larger as one ages (in the same manner that a tree adds rings as it gets older.) The upper limit of Adharcroi age seems to be about a millennium and a half, though few things are hard and set with these beings when it comes to age.In the distant past, the Adharcroi lived carefree lives; a devastating attack by the Alfvadr forced them to mature. Now, they see themselves as caretakers of the world, long-lived enough to see the repercussions of the actions of other races, and conscientious enough to be stuck with cleaning up the mess.
The Adharcroi are all born into one of their clans, whose names are listed below.
|The Tha’rune are a people with a common ancestry to most humanoid races on Barran. There are scholars that believe that the Tha’rune may have been human, or something rather similar, from countless centuries ago. The same sages debate as to why they were removed from the face of Barran and taken to the Paracels or “planes” of the Elementals. There are theories that abound concerning the changes of their physiology to help withstand the brutal conditions that encompass the elemental planes. The debate continues into why the Elder elementals would have done that. Did they need a slave class or hunters? If the Elder wars are to be considered as a reason, then the Tha’rune would make an excellent race of Dragon hunters. Out of all of the postulating and consideration, this is the only fact that the Tha’rune would ever consider acknowledging.During the Elder Wars, the Tha’rune were a people that were excellent dragon hunters. Their ability to shrug off elemental attacks and the knack of staring fear in the face and growling are the two strongest aspects of the these people. But when the Wars were over, the Tha’rune were sent back home to the mortal plane, unwanted weapons of a bygone age. the mortal plane of Barran never saw them coming. Centuries after leaving the mortal plane, they returned in tribes of several hundred to a few thousand. They appeared all along the Northern shores of Barran and swept south. In time and after many battles and conquests, the Tribes of the Tha’rune finally made their homes in what would become the Empire of Tel Al’anor and the Kingdom of Islan Tel’nava. Like most invaders to new lands, they set up home and integrated with the people who lived here before them.
There are many tribes of Tha’rune scattered across the face of Barran all have become fully integrated and strongly defend their homelands as anyone would. A few tribes of note:
|The Ṻrazâd (\oar-ah-zod\), as the majority of Dwarves call themselves in their ancient tongue of Dwarish, have an average life span of about 500 years. They have a deep connection to the stone and mountains that were their ancestral homes. They possess a temper as hot as that of their forges. They take deep pride in their craftsmanship and are meticulous in their work, the quality of which is renown throughout the land. The Ṻrazâd tend to be quite materialistic and have a passion for enterprise, good bargains and coming out on the better end of contracts. They possess a lust for battle, making them fierce warriors — especially against the hated trolls — with the axe being the traditional weapon — which they call an egil (\ed-jill\), but they are also known to use hammers, swords and even bows and arrows.The Ṻrazâd are notoriously stubborn and can be as unmoving as the stones they so love to work with, but it is this same stubbornness that makes them quite steadfast in their loyalty to family and friends as well as anyone to whom they have pledged. To all Dwarves, not just the majority, contracts are a way of life, and once one is writing no Dwarf would dream of breaking it.
The names of the various cultures and types of Ṻrazâd are provided with their regional affiliation.
|Hoblings are masters of the deal, silver-tongued and shrewd. Their business sense is second to none, but their skills have turned on them, earning them a reputation for avarice that has led to them being shunned by many. The distrust and dislike by the other races has isolated the Hoblings, leading them to rely on their own. This has given them stubbornness and a strong survival instinct – to the point that some have likened them to cockroaches: hard to kill, and rife in the poorer sections of the cities & towns.In the last few years, Hoblings have become a race decimated. Though no longer a slave race in Tel’Al Anor, their freedom there was bought at a terrible price: many of their kind there were slaughtered to fuel the Rituals of Apocalypse, and the survivors were left to fend for themselves. The lucky ones in House Aelowine in Islan Tel’Nava managed to do well enough for themselves due to their money and connections, but for the most part, Hoblings fared poorly, shunted into ghettos, distrusted, reviled.
Hobling communities have existed across Tel’Al Anor and Islan Tel’Nava for countless generations. Their sharp business sense and bargaining skills earned them a poor reputation, leaving them as second class citizens for most of history. In fact, until recently, they where a slave race in Tel al Anor, working as labourers, servants, and the occasional gladiator. As recently as a decade ago, no upper-class household in Tel Al Anor was complete without at least one “Hob” on the domestic staff, either cleaning or cooking.
These hardships have tempered the Hoblings, teaching them the values of endurance. Though their outlook might be bleak, the world that has made them suffer has also made them strong, self-reliant survivalists.
Stoneborn (Stone Elves)
|Living constructs made flesh, Stone Elves are a people still attempting to find their place in a world that they were not built for. Initially constructed as warriors, the Children of Stone find themselves unsuited nearly equally for all non-combat related tasks. While they have started to adapt, many still seem somewhat awkward to the other races.Having been built without emotion, Stone Elves have the appearance of being eternally calm. That is not to say that they have no emotions; however, emotions are new to them, fledgling things, that lack the strength to control them the way that emotions affect other races. Their mental strength and dedication to logic, combined with this underpowered emotional capacity, gives them the ability to even shrug off magical attempts to control or coerce them. This can be combined with their other ability; they retain a remnant of their primordial mental connection to each other. They can use this remnant to enter the minds of others that they are in physical contact with, and share their calm and logical view.
The Children of Stone have not existed in a fleshly form long enough to determine an average lifespan for them; no Stone Elves have died from old age in the two centuries they have existed in Barran. However, they have tracked their aging process and compared to that of other races, and have estimated that their lifespan will be in the range of 800 years – though those who make such predictions will readily state this is merely conjecture.
Chosen of the Earth, Sky, Water, Sun (Dryads)
|Scions of the Great Forest that once covered most of the land, Dryads are an old race, one of the first mortal races to walk on Barran. Yet, so many know so little about this mysterious race, who chose in ancient times to hibernate so that they could return to protect the Forest. Recently returned, the Dryads were shocked at how the world had changed – often, for the worse.The Dryads are a people displaced, and, in many ways, disheartened. After living in the glory and simple rhythms of the early days in the Great Forest, the world that they awoke to is harsh, jarring, and unwelcome. The Great Forest is gone, splintered, and in its place are vast nations that war amongst themselves and harm the land they live in. The Dryads have failed in their task of protecting the Great Forest, and those they left in their stead have failed as well. The apocalypse they sought to prevent has happened – and now they must find a way to live with the aftermath. What lies before them is the daunting task of undoing the damage, breathing life and harmony back to damaged places….and not losing their own way while doing so.
|Once a proud race as numerous as any other in Barran, including, according to their tales, Imperial advisors, the Selunari are now represented by two tribes of scant population. The war and the Rituals of Apocalypse took an awful toll on them, nearly wiping an entire race and several cultures from the face of Barran. Worse, from even some of the survivor’s points of view, the two tribes that survived in any numbers did so through some very odd actions and possibly sheer luck.Over two centuries ago, most of the many tribes of Selunari were rebelling against the rule and laws of the Empire in a thousand small ways, though never in open armed conflict. They evaded taxes, never submitted to the census, and were just trouble makers in general for the most part. Finally, when one of the sporadic wars of the time began, they refused to supply men and women to fight in the Emperor’s army. This was intolerable to the Emperor, who was not particularly fond of Selunari in the first place.
An order of forced conscription was finally given. Troops began to circle Selunari encampments in order to force most or all of the able bodied people of each tribe to enter into the military. Fights between Tribe and guard broke out quite regularly and many on both sides died. After the officer of one such detachment was killed, the Emperor’s generals – one of whom was that officer’s father – declared an addendum to be made to the Imperial conscription order. From that day on, any able bodied man or woman among the tribes who refused an order to fight for their Empire would be killed. Any who fought and killed a loyal soldier of the Empire could find his village burned and his family killed as well, or many of those he cared about may be magically or alchemically enslaved in some fashion. Family being far too important to them, the Selunari gave in and entered into the military service of the Empire. In the most troublesome groups, like the Jaenos, enslavement and similar effects were used quite widely to gain control of those in leadership positions for the good of the Empire.
The names and general locations of the surviving Tribe names are provided below.
Wildheart, Wild Cabals, Kindred (Wylderkin)
|The Wildheart, as they were once called, are sentient animals, having humanoid characteristics. They were created or shaped by the Fae through use of untamed magics. The Wildheart were misunderstood and hunted in the first decades of their existence, until they banded together in communities known as Cabals. The Cabals were created to survive, to find strength in common goals and means. Over time there were other, fringe groups known as the Kindred that formed as well. The Cabals are all bound together by a code and have worked to be vital and integral parts of Younger society. None of the gentler Cabals remain, either they became slaves and were used like beasts of burden, or they were hunted in the early days. Only the fiercest, most resourceful and most adaptable Wildheart have survived, no longer called Wildheart but known by their Cabal distinction.There are not overwhelming numbers of Wildheart remaining and they do not segregate themselves from Younger Society. They have had to evolve and adapt to become who and what they are now. They have come to learn that they are what they make of themselves. They have learned that to be a survivor, they have been required to grow up and learn what responsibilities are and how society works. Many Wildheart are excellent at intrigue and societal expectations. They have had long enough to adapt and are not backward or confused by the majority of society’s intricacies. This does not mean that their animal nature is suppressed; it just means that they have had to assimilate their nature and their situation and become the best that they can be. No one is going to give them a pass, just because they are “dumb animals”.
The Cabals, their original membership, and their general ideals are listed below.
The Kindred and their general makeup and ideal are also provided.
|There are five Clans of Biata. Two serve each of the ruling nations of Barran, and a fifth, which is much smaller than the others, lives in an undisclosed location that is presumed to be an otherwise uncharted island or hidden away in a forest far in the north. The four most well known Clans often work as facilitators of some sort within their nation. More than just their warrior Clans, they are negotiators, diplomats and merchants whose integrity and honesty is almost never questioned. A Biata will almost never lie, though they are masters of the art of half truths and subterfuge as well – their method of double-speak and cautious wording is something of a trademark among their people in both nations. The Biata people serve the two ruling nations in nearly identical (and because of the similarity, directly opposed) ways. The Eagle and Hawk are warriors and military leaders for their masters, while the Crow and Raven are healers, scholars and teachers to the elite.The Biata are consummate nationalists. Each serve either as elite soldiers, or as a scholar of some sort, to the best of their ability, and the good of their nation comes before loyalty to race, hometown or even family. While they hold themselves to be part of a clan structure it is a loose one. A child of the Hawk, for example, who shows a more scholarly lean, will be sent to a cousin within the Raven to be raised and trained. They will only perform such fostering within a nation however. The Biata of the Empire and their counterparts within Islan Tal’neva have no more love for each other than the military organizations of those nations.
The two combative Clans of Biata are unusual amongst the warriors of Barran in that they almost never serve as marines, and never as sailors in their nations navies. They are not averse to the risk of sea combat, but an ancient tradition between them, the gryphons and another personage unknown to Biata currently living forbids them from taking to the sea for a military life. So rare are seafaring Biata that they’ve come to be considered unlucky to have one a ship intended for battle, and sea passage is often more expensive for a Biata attempting to sail without connections assisting him or her.
The Biata Clans and their National affiliation are outlined below.
|The long-lived races excel at tasks where patience and experience reign: High Elves mastered the Arcane arts. Dwarven smiths are beyond compare. None can match the logic of the Biata or the Stone Elves. Sea Elves are unmatched in nautical skills.Put simply, Humans are, at best, the runners-up – always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Faced with so many other races, Humans are relegated to the role of second-best; flexible, jack-of-all-trade types, perhaps, but still forever doomed to reside in someone else’s shadow. This has led to some to refer to Humans as ‘The Mediocre People.’
This weakness has, in turn, led to the Human’s greatest strength – their adaptability. Their ability to be second-best at nearly anything has meant that they are almost always able to find a place somewhere. Their shorter lifespans give them a different point of view, allowing them to see things or come up with solutions that might elude the longer-lived races. On the flip side, their longer lifespans give them the ability to pick up skills the shorter-lived races find difficult and time-consuming. Put simply, Humans are the perfect addition to any venture – the ultimate sidekick, the partner with complementary skills. It’s not that they’re second-best at everything – it’s that they’re second-best at everything. No other race can boast of being that balanced.
The various human sub-cultures are briefly explained and listed below.