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This campaign makes half-elves interesting.
Appalachia is rife with stereotypes, so if you are politically correct, you are not going to enjoy this campaign. None-the-less try to avoid egregious racism when running and playing this campaign. The humans are under attack from all sides and so they tend to band together and care much less about skin color than humans in our world do.
- Dragonborne - The dragonborne are called Persians and Gypsies. They rule Persia and are often at war with the Turks and the Tieflings. They also travel in small bands throughout the world in their home-wagons with members of many other races in their entourage. Most other races do not know what to make of them. Sometimes they are welcomed, sometimes feared, sometimes pushed away, and sometimes traded with. Numerous dragonborne also live in Japan, and extreme southern India.
- Dwarves - Dwarves are called Vikings. They inhabit Scanadanavia, Iceland, Svalbard, Greenland, Vinland, and Thule. Even after the Indians drove the white invaders back into the sea, the dwarves were able to hold on to Vinland. This allows you to do all the dwarven and Viking stereotypes and tropes in your campaign.
- Elves - Elves are the original and continuing main inhabitants of the Americas.
- High Elves - High elves are called Incans, Mayans, Aztecs, and Pueblo Indians. High elves build great stone cities, and have complex and sophisticated number, calendar, and astronomical systems. After they drove the Iberian invaders into the sea, they decided to become part of the greater world, and have set up trading empires trading with Europe and the rest of the world. And yet the Iberians still try to recapture islands in the Carribean, and so in the melange of trade, smuggling, and power politics, pirates, rebellions, skirmishes, and wars still occur in the areas around the Caribbean. This allows you to include all the mesoamerican, pirate, Conquistador, and Latin American tropes and stereotypes in your campaign with the high elves, and the humans wit their stronghold on Hispaniola. They speak Mayan and Incan.
- Wood Elves - Wood elves are called Indians. They inhabit the rest of North America. They live as tribes, and they have lots of magic. They drove the Anglo European invaders back into the sea. They do respect the cities of New York, Boston, New Orleans, and Montreal, and have not destroyed them as they destroyed all the other European cities of the coasts. THis allows you to use all the Indian and wood elf tropes and stereotypes in your campaign. PC people are not going to like this, but then the elves did drive the white men back int the sea. In addition, the wood elves have seen that the Europeans will be a great danger in the future, and they have started invading Europe. They have allied with the Celts in Europe, and now have control of most of Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany, and Galacia, and are making serious inroads in their invasions of France and Iberia. They speak many different languages. The capital of the wood elves is Buffalo Road, Indiana, at the current site of Indianapolis Indiana in our universe. This is their only city.
- Drow Elves - Drow elves are called Rock Trow. They live in and under the mountains of Rock (The Rocky mountains). They are not terribly important, but they do interact with the other elves, and with the kingdom of Mordoor in basin and range lands of Nevada.
- Gnomes - Gnomes are called Yankees because they often yank on stuff trying to make if fall down. They inhabit mostly New York city where they dominate. They also have homelands in London, Switzerland, Holland, and Venice. They are very good with finances and mechanical devices, and tend to keep their secrets to themselves. This is part of why there has been no general industrial revolution. They are respected by the Indians (wood elves), because they bought Manhattan with a set of gnome created magical beads that is each an artifact in itself. The beads have spread throughout North America, and are part of what helped the elves drive the white men back into the sea. As part of the trade the elves got the beads of great magic, and the gnomes got ... well ... New York City. The gnomes speak both Common and Dutch. New York City allows you to use all the New York stereotypes and tropes in your campaign. New York City also has lots and lots of humans, though they are only a large minority in New York. New York as members of most races living there at least in small numbers. It is run by the gnomes.
- Half-elves - Half-elves are trusted by no one. They are often called traitors by both sides. This is confusing because they are also traders between both sides, generally illegally. Half-elves run the smuggling routes in and out of North America. They stem from a couple centuries ago when there was still some positive interaction between Indians and humans. They do not have a homeland, exist almost entirely in North America, and have have mostly wood elf backgrounds. There are a few half-elves in South America, where they are despised an hunted. Half-elves allow you to include all sorts of smuggler stereotypes and tropes in your campaign. They speak common and one or more wood elven Indian language. Half-elves also frequently speak French and have French sounding names.
- Half-orcs - half-orcs are combinations of orcs from China and humans from various places. There are not many in North America. The most sophisticated of the half-orcs are monks from Japan that wander the world as ronin trying to do good and defeat evil. These are called Kung Fu's. Large numbers of half-orcs live in Japan where they worship dragons.
- Halflings - Halflings live pretty much everywhere in the world in small numbers. They are ignored by most everyone, and so they live in hilly areas where they can settle and be unnoticed. They have not sided with anyone. They are quite common in England, and have helped England push back the invasions by the wood elves from across the sea.
- Humans - The humans of Appalachia are called either Appalachians in the north, Dixies in the south, or Yankees in the far north. Human homelands are Western Europe, Africa, and England (hence the origination of the common tongue). Humans are also present in Eastern Europe and Japan, and minorities in Russia, India, and the Middle East. Humans control Hispaniola, Appalachia, and Kodiak. Rather than being called humans, they are called by the name of their homeland or by their color. Attempts by Japanese and Russian humans to invade North America were also driven back into the sea, although the Russians still control Kodiak Island.
- White Humans - This allows you to use all of the tropes and stereotypes of the deep south, the former plantation culture, and the Appalachian cultures in your campaign.
- Black Humans - Slavery did exist in the south until the Indians (elves) decided to do away with both the black and the white humans. All slaves gained their freedom as the humans banded together to survive the Elven Indian onslaught. You can still use many of the tropes of the deep south, but the races are much more equal, and no one ever uses the 'N' word.
- Blue Humans - Fairly uncommon subrace of humans, the blue humans have blue skin (because their bodies retain silver) and mostly hail from Kentucky. They have resistance to disease.
- Green Humans - Humans did make some serious inroads in Mexico, and there are still some humans living in a magical place called New Mexico. Taos is their capital where there is yet a human wizard college. They sometimes have greenish skin.
- Tieflings - Tieflings are called Muslims and follow the religion of Islam. They inhabit the Middle East, and North Africa. They are at war frequently with the Aarakocra (the Jews), and the humans of Europe, India, Persia, and Africa. They seem to only be allied with the Turks (ogre-kin), Ogres often rule over them, or include the tiefling kingdoms as vassal states in their empire. You don't have to be muslim if you are a tiefling and you don't have to be tiefling if you are muslim but it helps.
Other Playable Races
- Aarakocra - The aarakocra are call the Jews. This is a playable race and the only other race that can fly besides fairies. Flying spells do not exist in the Appalachia campaign, making these even more interesting to play. Their original homeland is the mountains of the Pyranees, the Alps, and Northern Iberia, and the holy mountain Zion. They speak Portuguese, Hebrew and common, and have a maritime empire. Since they are the only race that can fly long distances, they carry messages, and can be found in small numbers throughout the world. Please don't include antisemitic tropes in the game.
- Goblin-kin - Goblins and their kin are called Mongols. They gather in great hordes and invade other parts of Eurasia from time to time. They are unknown in Africa, North America, South America, and Australia, except fro a few stragglers in New York City, and a few denizens of Kodiak. PC goblinoids will probably be from New York. They include goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears. They allow you to use lots of Mongol horde tropes and stereotypes should the PCs ever reach Eurasia.
- Kobolds - Kobolds are called ebu-gogo. They are completely unorganized and only exist in small raiding bands. They are rare enough and secretive enough that many people do not believe they exist. Flying kobolds are called chupacabra. They tend to be vile, stinky, blood sucking vermin, and allow you to use lots of cryptid tropes and stereotypes, such as moth-man etc.
- Kuo-toa inhabit the great swamps of the Amazon, and the rivers of Argentina. Pretty much everything east of the mountains in South America. They did not drive out the invaders from across the ocean. They prevented the invaders from even settling. The only human cities in S America were Rio de Janeiro and Brazilia, and the Kuo-toa and their huge forces of trained attack terror birds and vicious capybaras destroyed these cities. They are called the Amazons, and are ruled by their women. This allows you to use all jungle and female tropes and stereotypes.
- Lycanthropes - lycanthropes are pretty rare in the Americas, their homelands are the slavic lands of Eurasia, which they share with the humans and the vampires. Lyanthropes include were-rats, were-boars, were-wolves, were-bears, but not were-tigers.
- Ogres - Ogre-kin are called Turks and they control Anatolia, and big chunks of the Middle East and Eastern Europe and North Africa. In Appalachia, they generally only show up in New York City. Their capital is Istanbul. They speak Turkish, and they are constantly at war with the vampires of Eastern Europe. Ogres tend to be friendly with Aarakocra and war frequently with the vampires and gnomes.
- Orcs - Orc-kin are called East Asians, or Asians, or Chinese. They have not awoken yet to the prospect of World Conquest, but give them time. If they do ever conquer the world, their empire will split into pieces just as the empire of Alexander the great was divided up by his generals. The orcs have tried to invade North American again and again, but these invasions have always fallen apart. None-the-less orcs riddle the under-mountains of the west of North America where the Trow do not have control. The Trow and the Orcs fight continual wars. Orcs generally have slanted eyes and speak languages that no one else can understand and write using indecipherable symbols. This is surely a non-PC game for PCs. The old Turk homeland is in central Asia. The new Turk homeland is Anatolia.
- Yuan-ti - Yuan ti go by many names. They live throughout the islands of the Pacific with particular homelands in New Zealand, Taiwan, Hawaii, Madagascar, New Guinea, Sumatra, and Java. They also have small settlements in all the continents bordering the Pacific, so they can be found in N America, S America, Australia, Asia, Southeast Asia, and Japan where they make important minorities.
Other Important Creatures
- Angels - live in the arctic north of Thule. From there they transverse into Heaven.
- Demons - live in the frozen wastes of Antarctica. From there they traverse into Hell. The Hell-Mouth is located at the South Pole.
- Dragons - dragons live at the tops of mountains everywhere and in large numbers in the mountains of Japan where they are worshiped.
- Giants - Giants pretty much live in Patagonia. Most everyone hates them. At first they were driven from Europe by the humans and so traveled in great ships to north America centuries ago. And then the elves drove them into S America, and then the high elves drove them even further south into Patagonia. Although you can still find the occasional giant or two in some part of the world or the other, but as a living society, the giant homeland is Patagonia. They defend Patagonia by throwing boulders at passing ships. They tend to have extra fingers and toes. Half-giants are hated and feared everywhere and slaughtered when they appear.
- Were-tigers and Rakshasa - These live in Southeast Asia, but in their tiger form they can wander very far afield. They are known in all parts of the world, but rare. The Were-tigers of North America are called sabre tooth tigers.
- Vampires - centered in Transylvania, vampires are the main antagonists to the Ogreman Empire.
- Yeti - Yeti are called Sasquatch in North America, and various other names throughout the world. They exist in small numbers everywhere in high alpine environments.
A Special Note About India
India has no dominant race. All races exist in India. India is the original homeland of all the races, so calling the wood elves of North America Indians is actually accurate in this campaign. You can put all your homebrew races there if not somewhere else. Many unusual races also exist in India that exist no where else. The Britonic Empire controlled India for about a century until the Indian invasions of the Britonic Isles broke their empire and they hired individuals of all the races of India to be part of their empire. Therefore you can have any player play any playable race anywhere in the world. If it isn't the PCs homeland, then the empire brought their ancestors there. The Britonic control of India allowed the common tongue of England to unify India. All creatures of India speak their own tongue and also common. The various races the Britonic spread around the world brought the common tongue with them, and so even though the empire is long gone, the common tongue stuck. The common tongue is called English.
A Special Note About Australia
No races are specified for Australia. The Dungeon Master should put whatever race there that seems most appropriate. It is a strange place, cut off from the rest of the world and history somehow. So a homebrew race might also be perfect for Australia.