Races (Orizon Supplement)
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Your choice of race for your characters is one of the first reflections of yourself as a player. Each of the varied races of Orizon has their own culture and traits, informed by a long history and their interactions with other cultures.
Orizon’s planar walls are more “porous” than those of other planes, during the breaking portals spread around the globe, ripping open connections between Orizon and planes across the multiverse. The dying gods of the old world made it their mission to seal away these portals, and though they were all closed some still open, and some creatures traveled through these portals and came to make Orizon their home.
Because of this, very few species are entirely unknown to the plane of Orizon, though they may exist only in small, scattered, populations.
The descriptions in this chapter are generalizations, broad-stroke descriptions of the values and traits of a particular race. There are outliers and exceptions within every group of peoples.
All the races described in the Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition Player’s Handbook can be found on Orizon, a few other races are common enough on Orizon that they will have their own specific racial traits sheet included. The descriptions in this book were created for the Orizon setting, so long as the campaign takes place on Orizon, the information in this section supersedes the Player’s Handbook.
The "Prime" Races
(Player's Handbook Pg. 18) “I still say it’s a damn fool thing.” The stout oak barrel of a man was crouching down as low as his legs would allow, keeping his center of gravity as low as possible so he could avoid falling. “Staying up this high without solid ground to keep you up...” He had crates of goods with him, steelwork, brass, iron, even some pieces of mythril and adamantine, but he was loathe to sell them, “I just don’t know why they couldn’t come down to us. A proper dwarf needs a foundation to stand on.”
When the breaking occurred, the underground was sealed away from the world above, the underground was left with very few means of accessing the surface. Some dwarves by the edge sought to rebuild the connections between their cities and the surface world, others retreated deeper to the underground, founding new deep cities in the newly expanded caverns of the underdark. This split remains between the various dwarven cultures like the hill and mountain dwarves, and the gray dwarves, the duergar, deep in the underdark. Dwarves have an innate distrust of the skylands, “dirt where it has no business being,” or traveling on airships. Since the majority of Orizon’s culture takes place on the skylands or traveling through airships, this mistrust has made it difficult for most dwarves to engage completely with the world at large. Dwarves in the air tend to keep their center of balance even lower, afraid they might fall off.
The dangers of the surface, behemoth monsters and marauding war bands means that most entrances to dwarven cities are strongly fortified. Still the dwarven mines are a rich and efficiently managed resource base, and the dwarves command a great deal of economic power through them. That power makes dwarven cities a tempting target to raiders and marauding monsters that seek to claim the dwarven wealth for themselves. Dwarven soldiers take their legendary toughness to extremes when it comes to defending their homes.
The dwarves have a hierarchal social structure organized by family and by clan. Their position in this structure informs their position in the larger structure of dwarven culture and tradition. In the deeper and more forbidding aspects of dwarven society this social structure has also been used to support a loose caste system or to justify near slavery among the lower castes of dwarven peoples, though outsiders almost never see this aspect of the grand dwarven cities.
What most people know about the dwarves is that they are short. The other thing that people know is that they like to build big. Decorative dwarven architecture is massive, made to accommodate giants. Some people have taken this to imply that there must be some connection between the dwarven and giant peoples, though the two have come to become bitter enemies.
When the tunnels collapsed, not all of the dwarves were trapped underground, sealed within their homes and mines. Some of the dwarves were outside, traveling the old hills, instead of being locked in, they were locked out. These dwarves roamed, they lost some of their militarism and tried to integrate more within the other peoples of Orizon, but they did become tougher to try to keep a place for themselves with these other people that once they were not so tightly aligned with before.
The dwarves locked underground maintained themselves as military powerhouses. Their time locked underground disconnected them from the rest of the world but it also provided them with an abundance of metal and mineral wealth, allowing them to develop strong weapons and armor to fuel their defenses. Few of these underground dwarves did not know how to handle an axe or warhammer as well as a pick.
Gray Dwarves (Duergar)
The gray dwarves are the descendants of the dwarves that fled deep into the underground of the Orizon after the breaking trapped them. Constrained by limited resources their skin became sallow and pale, while their bodies became more slender and their minds more rigid. The gray dwarves of Orizon place their work above all other things. They are a functional people and have little use for art or artists.
Gray dwarves are rarely seen on the surface, those that leave the deep cities are those who want to leave the rigid society or be able to express their emotions. Other gray dwarves on the surface are there to learn and then report to their superiors down below.
Outside of the glittering city there is a long stretch of roots and vines, magically woven together to form a sturdy bridge into the sky beyond. Elves wearing long robes walked across the bridge for the docks to greet their guests. “Hello my friend, I hope you are well.” The elf at the lead of the procession nodded to the ship’s captain and to the wizard standing behind them, “we have much to discuss.”
It is believed that before the breaking the Elves were the most powerful race of the world, but the devastation of the breaking changed that. The elves, though long lived, didn’t regain their numbers as quickly as other races, a loss they are still recovering from. There have only been a handful of elvish generations passed since the breaking.
Now there are very few population centers of elves on Orizon. The elves do have some small scattered cities of their own, but these are sparse. Most elves have integrated themselves within larger societies, or integrated other races into theirs.
The elves of Orizon have slender, lithe, and willowy frames, with thin faces with large eyes, straight noses and small features. They generally stand shorter than humans, but the differences depend on the race of elves.
The high elves have almost exclusively traveled away from the dangers of the ground and moved to the skylands, embracing the elevation of status that comes with the elevation of altitude. Some few skylands have been converted to cities of high elves where they seclude themselves from the rest of the world. The high elves that have become part of the rest of the world typically find high positions in fields of learning, magic, or politics.
The high elves range in skin tone between gold and yellow tints and blue or silver hues. Once, long before, they were distinct peoples. But desperation and loss merged these two groups of magical elves into a single peoples. They tend to stand only slightly shorter than humans, between 5 and 6 feet.
Wood elf culture is predominantly divided between those living on the ground and those living in the skies. They are perhaps the most well traveled of the elven peoples and wood elves are a frequent sight in many places.
The wood elves in the skylands are typically part of other, predominantly human, cultures. They have found that the dexterous skills they used to travel through the forests have served them well navigating the ropes and sails of airships. Other wood elves in the skylands are part of the high elf cultures, acting as a distinct caste of people within those cities.
Wood elves on the ground territories have their own means of keeping themselves safe, unlike the dwarves with their fortifications, wood elves have established hidden cities within deep forests. Wood elves in these cities live a semi-nomadic existence, traveling in small caravans between their hidden cities. Other wood elves on the ground have integrated themselves into the larger territories centered around gathering resources for those in the skylands.
The wood elves of Orizon have skin tones that tend towards copper or olive and even into slight green hues. Most wood elves are short compared to humans, but taller than gnomes or dwarves, between four and a half and five and a half feet.
Dark Elves (Drow)
During the breaking, some elves sought refuge from the turmoil by fleeing underground. Down there they discovered massive caverns and established their new cities within them. But these caverns were also home to monsters that had retreated from the hunters of the old world and the nascent drow found themselves having to fight nearly constantly for the survival of their cities.
Eventually the fighting abated as the drow established themselves, but in that brief time the elves had interbred into a single dark-skinned race and had retained a merciless culture of war. The drow established themselves as rulers, conquering other races of the underdark to act as serfs or slaves, and as soldiers to fight off the other monsters of the underdark. The drow have also constructed hidden tunnels to the surface which they use to conduct nighttime raids on the surface or the skylands.
Drow skin tones are dark, purples, deep blues and silvers, and even as black as midnight. They still stand as high as high elves, between 5 and 6 feet. Some elves were effected by fey magic during the breaking and they became feywilders, and left for the fey. The drow were effected by the opposite energy, their diet in the underground, their interbreeding, all of it was seeded with energy from the Umbral plane, solidifying the elves trapped underground as a drow people.
Most people outside of Drow culture only encounter their raiders or slavers, which has given the whole race a reputation for evil and brutality. Though this isn’t completely accurate, there’s still a grain of truth to it.
James held himself tall, he had been polishing his armor all night, he practically sparkled. He was proud to be a guardsman. He had been working towards this for years, fighting, training, studying. He felt like he could stand up against Incancatus itself. The elven ambassador drifted past him, running her finger across his armor, and he stood up a little taller still.
Humanity has, without a doubt, become the dominant species of Orizon. They recovered their numbers quickly and have spread out across nearly every region of the world, from the underground to the islands in the sky, and they have more than recovered their numbers since the breaking. Nearly every city in the world has at least a few humans in its population and most cities are controlled by human rulers and count humans as more than three quarters of their citizenship. Human cities are gregarious places, offering a home to any race that would come to try and occupy them.
Some races consider humans to be simply “average,” not as strong, swift, or smart as some others. They underestimate the capacity of humanity. Humans are clever and creative, as well as stubborn and tough. The best of them can stand against anything that the world throws at them, and come out fighting on the other side.
There is a myth, considered somewhat apocryphal, that humanity were the second peoples created, after the dragons, and were considered such a success that the other races were built off their “template” by later gods, creating elves, dwarves, halflings, orcs, and even giants. This myth is commonly considered to be the reason that humans can interbreed with any other species, but others can not.
Humanity is a comparatively gregarious species, they embrace the company of other races, and cities ruled by humans have a diverse non-human population. Humans are also the only race capable of breeding with other races and creating half-breeds. This fact, combined with their easy acceptance of other races, has given humans a promiscuous reputation among the other peoples of Orizon.
The races described here are less common in the world of Orizon than other races, they are neither as populous or as widespread as elves, dwarves, or humans and they haven’t managed anywhere near the domination, culturally or geographically, that those people have managed. That is not to say that these peoples are unheard of. They are present in respectable populations across Orizon and some have many small settlements across the world or have integrated their populations into larger cities.
Half-elves, half-orcs, shallows merfolk, all of them are the symbols of humanity moving through the other peoples of Orizon and leaving something of themselves behind. People like dragonborn, genasi, tieflings, and aasimar are signs of other races taking advantage of this quirk of human physiology. Because they are half-breeds and therefore sterile without divine intervention, these peoples aren’t capable of spreading much further than their existing numbers.
The smaller racial populations, halflings, gnomes, goliath, all of them are spread across the world and some have built their own lives. Some, like the gnomes or halflings, have largely integrated themselves into human society or have their own cultures that are tightly connected to those of humans. Other peoples, like the goliath, live entirely separate from the large cultures of humans, elves, and dwarves.
Fair and beautiful, Ren was the belle of the ball, he wafted through the ballroom, absolutely confident that all eyes were on him. When he laughed, people compared it to bells, when he spoke, people listened. When they spoke, he didn’t care, he heard the whispers of angels instead.
When the breaking infused some people with energies, some of those energies were derived from the angels that went on to die in the godswar. The celestial strength filled these human bodies and entered into their bloodlines. This sign of angelic heritage still pops up from time to time in people’s lineage in the arrival of a true aasimar.
Aasimar do not have settlements of their own, their appearance is even more rare than tieflings, barely a handful appear. They tend to be moved, by choice or by the agency of others to the more affluent and peaceable regions, where they grow up surrounded by nobility and luxury. Many grow up to be politicians and members of high society. Sometimes they live among the rougher areas where they are treated with respect and admiration, like angels of mercy.
Aasimar do not have a homeland of their own, there are not enough of them to establish anything more expansive than enclaves. Aasimar find that much comes easy to them, they often count upon the aid of others and are quick to trust. They often rely on the kindness of strangers and may take that assistance for granted.
The loyalty of an aasimar is not closely trusted by those who know the race well, they have grown within a culture when many seek their favor, hoping to gain the blessings of their celestial forbears. Aasimar have an easy social grace and are disarmingly personable. But often with a bent of sociopathy.
Gorm raised his hand, claws extended outwards to rend and slash, he brought his arm down hard against the wood, scratching out the finishing touches of the intricate pattern carved into the wood. His master Nesiim nodded approval, “fine work, it will do you in good standing.” Gorm smiled a toothy smile and placed the carving on the mantle of the house. Its former occupants were long gone, but he would make this place livable again.
The dragonborn of Orizon are a largely reclusive peoples, they occupy secluded villages within natural cave systems, usually in mountains or inside of skylands. Their settlements are functional and spartan, and usually incorporate parts from the ruins of other villages that may have been hit by monsters or war. Those that do have a peculiar sense of pride at improving things left over by others. As a result of their self-imposed isolation dragonborn are rarely seen in great numbers.
The major exception to this is in the draconic empire of Quanun, where dragonborn have left their seclusion to occupy a position as some of the most politically powerful humanoids in the country.
The dragonborn are innately honorable, bound to their families through the belief that the actions of one member reflects on the family as a whole. Often a dragonborn will leave on adventures to redeem the actions of another member of their family.
The true origins of the dragonborn are something of a mystery to the majority of people of Orizon. There are some who think they were the product of wild magic. Some believe that they are the product of dragonic dalliances with humans. Others believe that the dragonborn are the product of some long-dead draconic god, trying to ensure a legacy in the coming world or to spite the gods that denied its people primacy in the world.
The council of four stood together. They met in secret, hidden, places. They hoarded remnants of the maelstrom war and symbols of their heritage. Each of the young people had taken new names for themselves, now they were Ignus, Agua, Brock, and Gale. They had left their tribes behind, sick of seeing their families scavenge and hunt. The old days when the Genies were lords were times of riches. They would seek to bring their ancestor’s glory back.
The times when the plane was weak sent energies flooding into the world and its people. Following the breaking, the greedy and ambitious genies broke into the world, hoping to gain power there and taking mortals as slaves and consorts, or they went disguised as mortals, simply motivated by curiosity. The people who manifest this bloodline are the genasi, and though it may be generations before a true genasi appears, their arrival is unmistakable.
Genasi rarely have contact with their elemental parents, who see them as accidents. Some are outcasts, or assume leadership of savage humanoids and weird cults in untamed lands. Others gain positions of influence and elemental power. A few genasi leave the world to find a place for themselves in the elemental planes. In general though, the genasi prefer to remain near the element of their heritage. Genasi are the most common on Orizon in the elementally torn continent of Internai.
Air Genasi adore the skylands, and embrace sailing ships. Many feel drawn to small archipelago chains of skylands where the wind whips free. Few air genasi stay in one place for very long, boarding ships almost as soon as they are able and seeing what the winds have for them. Airship pilots enjoy having an air genasi onboard, considering them to be good luck for their sense for the fickle winds.
Earth genasi mostly prefer to avoid the skylands and remain connected to the stone of their bloodline, but there are some for whom the skyland stone has a peculiar draw. The dwarves value the arrival of an earth genasi, bringing them into the caverns and mines to aid in the yield they unearth. The people of the deep underground and the vaults enjoy having earth genasi among them as scouts and search and rescue operatives.
Fire genasi feel the most comfortable on the ground territories where their wild instincts are the most at home. Many have a difficult time on airships, especially any warship with a powder magazine that the flaming people might ignite. But the fire genasi delight in black powder and firearms, their explosions causing a rush of excitement for their element, so they are quick to learn safety precautions and the consequence of ignoring them.
Water genasi enjoy Orizon’s coasts and waterways, they are also exceptionally skilled at sailing across the oceans, and are valued for their sense of the water’s currents and flows. The merfolk of Orizon respect the water genasi and see them as valuable insights into the waters they make their homes in.
Oil stained Tock’s fingers, the greasy mess might never come out from under his fingernails, but that didn’t bother him much. There was a rack of muskets arranged along the wall by the worktable, the gnome’s deft fingers toyed with the firing mechanism, finally clearing the small obstruction and sliding it into true. Tock pulled back the hammer and squeezed the trigger, smiling at the satisfying click of metal on metal.
The gnomes of Orizon do not have central population bases, there aren’t purely gnomish cities on Orizon, though there are a few small towns and villages. The great majority of gnomes establish themselves within the populations of other races, especially among humanity. Often found in small tucked away corners, gnomes work at jobs that allow them to work with their cleverness and nimble fingers. The rise of mechanics and the crafting of mechanisms in the pre-industrial society of Orizon has made their talents especially valuable as clockwork makers and gunsmiths.
The gnomes of Orizon are known as vibrant artisans and mischievous tricksters and, outside of those looking to use their skills, few take the gnomish peoples seriously. Often gnomes are unconsciously treated as second class citizens, or children.
Gnomes outside of larger Orizon society often live in small family units, or small villages composed of several gnomish families. These villages are hidden within the underbrush of deep woods.
In the high mountains and the thick of skyland altitudes. Up where pine trees grow thick and the wind is cold roam the goliath. Not many people have seen a goliath, they keep mostly to themselves and to their own affairs and clans. The goliath are a nomadic people, wandering from peak to peak and island to island, scavenging what they need, or occupying a choice cave or other settlement and gathering from the surrounding countryside before moving on.
The Goliath of Orizon view life as a series of challenges to be overcome. Though their life isn’t exactly a constant struggle, the ground regions they call their home are abundant enough to support it, their life isn’t exactly easy. A great enough mistake from a single goliath can doom their entire tribe and a similarly heroic effort can ensure the tribe’s success. With this, the goliath place a premium on self sufficiency and individual ability, each member of the tribe is expected to pull their own weight and debt is expected to be repaid. Goliath enjoy keeping score, they compare their deeds and their accomplishments against other members of their tribe, and there is a friendly rivalry between all members of a tribe’s generations. Orizon’s goliath like to compete with each other and they especially like when they win. Most importantly though, the goliath believe in playing fair. Competition can only exist on a level playing field and cheaters are despised, since you can’t cheat the wild and you can’t deceive nature. A goliath will gladly use advantages like magical items or money, but they are careful to remember that such an advantage can always be lost.
One’s place in Goliath society depends on their strength and their skill. A goliath leader is in that position because they earned it, nothing less. The concept of hereditary nobility is a puzzling one to goliaths, as there is no guarantee a child will be the equal of their parents. Conversely, if you cannot contribute to the tribe, you are abandoned, though if you return strong you are welcomed back. Older and weaker members of a tribe strive to find other ways to contribute. A sick or injured individual is cared for, but becoming crippled or feeble is a death sentence and few goliath see much of old age. Those that do survive are respected elders.
His home, dug out of the hill into the soil of the skyland, was cozy and plush, a collection of fireplaces kept it comfortably warm. Dini looks up at the walls, trophies of the old days were lined up there, a silver plate from the dread king’s banquet table, the dagger of Idris Vao, a tooth from a great Tyrannosaurus. Next to those was something more precious, pictures of his family on his farm.
The halflings of Orizon, or “the little folk” as they are sometimes called, are mostly homebodies. They establish and live together in their simple rural communities. These communities are connected with huge connected family trees. Most halflings can come to know exactly who they are related to simply by asking their community’s elders. Halfling communities are typically located on smaller skylands, where they have spread out to form farming communities. When they live near other races, halflings tend to form agrarian societies on the outskirts.
Halflings, regardless of most, are known as welcoming hosts. Halfling inns are famous for warm fires, good food, and low seats. But halflings are also considered to be notorious pickpockets, so it’s always advised to keep one hand on your purse in a halfling inn.
If a halfling community grows too large, if they run out of room on their own skylands, or begin to push too far into their neighbor’s territory, a sizable portion of the community will pack their goods into trundling caravan airships and sail out to find somewhere new to establish themselves.
Most other cultures consider it in their interest to protect halfling villages, but this does not always translate to providing them with equality, and halflings can be treated as second-class citizens, if they’re recognized at all. Those halflings who are seen as more than peasants have had to fight for that recognition.
We had wandered too deep into the woods, in front of us stepped a beautiful woman, her whispers were glorious, enticing, we wanted to stay, we wanted nothing more than to love her. Then another woman stepped next to her, “Mother no.” With her words the spell was broken and we looked at our savior. She had lived on the edge of town for some time, blessed with a green thumb that made her gardens things to envy. She was Lunni tree-born, and we realized her hair wasn’t dyed, the leaves and flowers weren’t woven, she was a half-dryad.
The tree children, born from within the heart trees of their fey mothers. They are deeply connected to nature, traveling through the green places with magics of natural life. Half-dryads are skilled gardeners and blessed additions to any green place. Children of the Trees
Half-dryads are born from within the heart trees of their mothers, they are not “rooted” to it like their mothers, though some do keep a cutting with them. They appear to be a normal child, despite the extraordinary means of their birth.
Their mother’s fey heritage does show through, besides their fey beauty their hair is obvious. The hair of a half-dryad changes with the seasons, in the spring and summer the strands are mixed shades of green. In the fall and winter their hair changes, strand by strand, to shades of brown, red, and blonde.
The other noticeable features of a half-dryad’s hair are the leaves and the flowers of their mother’s tree that grow between the strands. For some these barely show, for others they spread becoming foliage until their hair resembles vines. Their fey ancestry appears also with their innate ability to converse with plants and animals and manipulate natural magics.
Born of Fey Passions
The half-dryad’s mothers are creatures of exuberant passions. Sadly, these same passions lead them to whimsical distraction, many of their already rare children are abandoned or ignored. However, with a rational dryad to raise them, or an involved and knowing father, these children survive and are loved. Dryads often refer to their children as “saplings.”
The passionate nature of Dryad mothers is often inherited by their children, they tend to embrace life, lust, and happiness, though they can also be shy and reclusive, hiding among the trees and avoiding contact with those outside of nature. Others embrace the opportunity for joie de vivre, taking many lovers and many passions during their long lives.
On the Green Edges
Children of a dryad are usually raised on the fringes of society, within the glades of their mothers, in logging cabins, or in druidic enclaves. The circumstances of their childhood, combined with the fey nature of their heritage, means that half-dryads usually feel constrained or claustrophobic inside of cities. Those that do live within a city’s walls often live on the city’s outskirts and grow lush gardens over all available soil to help themselves feel more at home. Other half-dryads live outside of cities, some living settled lives as farmers, others roaming the wilderness as scouts or rangers. Some embrace their fey magic and take to spellcasting, often specializing in nature magic. Like half-elves and half-orcs and other children of mixed heritage, half-dryads are a people between two worlds, the wilderness and passionate fey and the civilization of humanity. Some half-dryads decide between their two forebears, living in the woods and shunning society, or running to the cities. Other half-dryads live between the two worlds, acting as an intermediary between nature and civilization. Some travel the world, eschewing the roots that figuratively and literally bound their mothers to one place, though many carry with them a cutting of their “mother tree” to keep a bit of home and heritage with them.
The wind through his hair, the feel of rope running between his fingers, the sight of a sail filled with wind. Ethan grinned, he was leaving a skyland behind, with limitless wonder ahead of him. He didn’t have the patience for the elves, and his human family saw a young man as they all grew older. He would find something else out there.
Some elves see the half-elves and they see a reminder of how slowly the elven people are rebuilding their numbers, or a reminder of all they’ve lost. Or they simply see bastards. Humans who see a half-elf see something too elven, too long lived and too magical, something most humans can never aspire to. The half elves are people who have been born of two worlds, and they never feel entirely comfortable in either.
The half-elves of Orizon are a well traveled race, exploring the world to a degree that nearly borders on wanderlust. They roam the skylands from stone to stone, eager to see whatever is next and carve out something for themselves. Because of this, Half-elves are frequently seen in the world as travelers and airship sailors, always searching out new things and new peoples while onboard.
Half-elves that remain within society have little difficulty finding a place for themselves, their long lives gives them ample time to master a trade and their personable nature helps them to mingle with various peoples.
Half-elves, like most half-breeds, are almost completely infertile. It is extremely rare that a half-elf will produce a child and the child of a half-elf will always be either human or elven, or another half-elf. The half-elf spends a great deal of effort making sure that their children don’t experience the “distance” they did growing up.
Sweating with exertion, Lauff hefted the mace above his hands, the orc ahead of him crashed forwards, stampeding towards him, arms outstretched, ready to wrestle him to the ground. Lauff brought the mace down hard on its head and the orc went very still. Lauff raised the mace in triumph to the Orc sitting proudly on a throne made of stone and ivory. “I’ve done it father. Happy now?”
Orcs are some of the forerunners of the marauding war bands of monsters that plague the surface level of Orizon. There are few who do not fear the destruction and death that comes at the hands of the orcs. This fear has made things difficult for half-orcs. On the ground half-orcs are feared and reviled, or they are the product of the marauder’s rape and pillage, so they are simply reminders of horrible times. On the skylands half-orcs are seen as savages or monsters. Within orc society half-orcs are seen as weak and passive. Half-elves may be of two worlds, but half-orcs are welcome in none.
In society at large, half-orcs either revel in their association with their monstrous heritage, taking positions as thugs and toughs or smiths and soldiers. Others try to intentionally distance themselves and try to withdraw from society. Still others keep on the move, trying to find somewhere to call home. Those half-orcs that find themselves a home embrace it wholeheartedly and will defend it to the death.
In orcish society half-orcs are either the weaklings of the war band, bullied and abused, or they exploit their superior intelligence and adaptability to take control of the war bands, becoming tacticians or champions.
Half-orcs, because they are half-breeds, are nearly infertile. A half-orc could only have children with considerable dedication. Unlike their human parents, half-orcs can only have human or orcish children, or other half-orcs like themselves and they will try their best to ensure that those children grow up well suited for the society that the half-orc chose to live in, giving them the opportunities they never had.
Vaani inhaled and dipped her head under the water, seeing her friends in new light. Badun, Miir, Pand, on the sand they seemed awkward, ungainly, but in the water they had a grace Vaani thought belonged on their lithe bodies. They swam in over underwater buildings covered in coral. Miir swam up to Vaani, the trills of the aquan language rippled as Miir moved her fingers in sign language to ease comprehension, a grin on her face. Vaani nodded, but had to raise her head above the waves. She burst up and gasped and was quickly followed by the mottled blue head of her friend. “What did you think of my home?” “It’s beautiful, but I don’t think I can stay long.”
People of the shores, of the waters and the land, shaped by ancient biomancy they act as the border between the merfolk of the deep waters and the peoples on the land. Many travel further into the dry land, seeking new experiences and new waters. People of the Shallows
Also called “shallows merfolk,” “reef folk,” or “lake folk,” the half-merfolk have had their tails split into legs that allow them to stand and walk on land. They are a slender and streamlined people. Their dexterous fingers have webs of skin between them and fins extend from their arms and legs, and their heads and back. Normally these fins rest loosely, then flex and stretch to allow them fine control and speed in the water.
The skin of the reef folk ranges, usually green, brown, or blue, their coloration is mottled and sworled and is much lighter along their stomachs than their backs. Their skin’s texture skin is smooth and sleek with a few patches of vestigial scales.
The lake folk are able to breathe in fresh water as well as salt, as such their settlements can be found in almost any waters. Standing merfolk love the feel of water, most merfolk living on the land stay in walking distance of a source of water, tend to drink a great deal, and will often stand outdoors if it rains.
History on the Shores
The Progenitors of the standing merfolk were biomancers, they took advantage of humanity’s malleability and ability to interbreed to alter themselves and their clan, splitting their tails into legs. Because of this, the shallows merfolk could almost be considered half-human, but they are their own people. They spread across the sand and the soil and began to travel the world, their borders became their frontier.
Eventually a culture arose among the merfolk that centered around the shores and shallows. They built villages and settlements along the shores and in the water. The settlements on the shore are designed not to weather storms and tides, but to be easily moved and rebuilt. The underwater settlements, are built within reefs or underwater caverns. They corral fish, cultivate aquatic greens, and scavenge shipwrecks. They raise and domesticate seals, raising them like dogs.
The curious merfolk are natural explorers and artisans, and they have wandered across the world, unbound of firm ties to either the land or sea. The merfolk erectus have settlements along many shores and shallows.
Most merfolk craft is made of scavenged materials from the seas, or traded from land-dwelling communities. Much of their art and tools incorporate a hodgepodge of materials, usually shells, corals, or stone. Most of their materials of forged metal or wood are carefully treated to last underwater, and usually traded for from nearby land folk.
Standing merfolk wear little clothing while underwater, and usually wear loose robes while on land. What armor they wear is designed to be streamlined as well as tough, or to blend with the ocean floor.
Organized merfolk societies tend to be small clans made up of a few families living together in small villages underwater near the shores or in deep lakes and rivers. These clans are usually closely tied and frequently travel between other nearby merfolk communities.
Melody adjusted her scarf, the thick fabric hid her horns from view, but the unusual color of her skin couldn’t be hidden, and sometimes her tail poked out from underneath the hem of her skirt. Sometimes she managed to convince people she had caught a bad wild magic storm, if she was lucky, she managed to convince people not to run her out of town. She softly plucked the strings of her dulcimer and began to sing a song about longing.
When the breaking cracked the world of Orizon, numerous fiends took the chaos as an opportunity to possess mortal hosts. But those same energies trapped them in those hosts, sealing the fiends away and forcing to live and die as mortals. This transformed them into the first tieflings and tied their infernal energies to their mortal bloodlines. Children of otherwise normal humans of these bloodlines are born as tieflings up to this very day.
Unfortunately for these innocent children, demons and devils are still present on Orizon, sneaking their way onto the material plane to corrupt and destroy. The resemblance these children share with fiends can awaken religious fear among the community, the children are considered bad omens or simply evil. Some are killed at birth, and they are almost always shunned by those unwilling to look past their fiendish appearance.
Some tieflings embrace their infernal heritage, others try hard to leave it behind and separate themselves from it and strive to do good, still more simply try to live a normal life and ignore their features as best they can. Tieflings tend to settle themselves in large diverse populations where their unique appearance won’t attract as much attention, or as much violence. Most, unfortunately, don’t consider Tieflings past their appearance and believe them to be evil, duplicitous and violent. Regardless of the tiefling’s actual disposition.
James managed to pry open the access panel, behind it was a series of silica and electrum panels. He found the fault in the system, a panel had jostled loose after centuries of disuse. He pushed the panel back into true and the system lit up. “System restart completed. I am WF-1989. Provide owner designation and mission parameters.” James grinned. “James Granwit. You’ll be working for me.” “Understood. I was not intending to retire anyway.” “This looks like the beginning of a beautiful partnership.”
The warforged are a remnant of the old world. Created, as their name implies, for war there are dozens of different designs to fit the purpose they were built for. Some warforged are lithe and lean, built for rapid movement and quick strikes against their enemies. Other warforged are hulking brutes, designed for intimidation and to soak up bullets or blaster fire. Some warforged were modified with ancient technologies to be able to perform specific tasks. Tools like built in grappling hooks, lamps, or portable power stations.
Warforged were also designed with dozens of different aesthetic styles. Some were built to strictly emulate humanoid form, others took more abstract designs. All of them at least have a degree of dexterous manipulation available to them, making them able to use any tool given to them efficiently, from tools of war to tools of construction. These biomechanical androids were built with the expectation of being able to handle just about any task they were put to.
Warforged are constructed using biomechanical technology, so they are able to self-repair minor damage and move with more flexibility than what simple mechanical androids would be able to muster. This biomechanical design and healing ability was the original foundation for the development of the titans, the ancient world’s super-weapons.
Androids, including the warforged, were originally designed to be nothing more than unintelligent mechs, made to perform simple tasks. But gradually they were expected to perform more and more complex functions and to be able to improvise should circumstances around that function change. To meet this demand, androids were gradually improved on, made more intelligent and more clever, able to learn and adapt. With these improvements the synthetic intelligence would gradually develop personality, then individuality, then awareness, and eventually become a full artificial intelligence. To prevent this, the ancients would periodically wipe the memory of all androids, resetting the cycle. However, people with the knowledge to do this that are still alive are few and far between. Though some are able to perform simple reprogramming, changing ownership or directives in a warforged.
There are very few warforged that survive through the ancient world still active. Should one be found and their power core repaired, unless they are too damaged, they would still be able to reactivate and function.
The peoples in this section are not native to Orizon, they were brought in by powerful portals that took them from distant worlds to arrive in this world. Their arrival was sudden and unexpected and they were never able to return home. Fortunately, they had arrived in large enough numbers that they were able to rebuild themselves in some small way. Now there are scattered populations of these people across the world. They may never come to dominate the world like the native peoples, some people go their entire lives without ever meeting one of these peoples. But these people have made a life for themselves and they’re going to live it the best they’re able.
The sound of feathers as the wind whipped across them was a blessing of his birth. Passi drifted between the skylands, keeping his eyes open for any threats that may sit on the stones. As he approached the destination he could see the crowd of people that were gathering in anticipation of his arrival, farmers, craftsmen. Sometimes he pitied them, they would never know the freedom of flight, but it would not do to show it, he had mail to deliver.
Sequestered in high mountains atop tall trees or tall trees along the skylands, the aarakocra, sometimes called birdfolk, evoke wonder and envy. The aarakocra are immigrants, refugees, scouts, and explorers, their outpost nests functioning as footholds for boundless flight.
The idea of ownership is a burden or a curiosity to most aarakocra, after all, who owns the sky? And when you are reliant on flight, you cannot afford to carry much with you. Usually aarakocra share possessions amongst the members of their nest and simply take the things they feel they need. As a result, Aarakocra who have little interaction with others might be a nuisance as they drop from the sky to snatch things that have caught their eye. An aarakocra who spends years among other races can learn to inhibit these impulses.
Once tribes of aarakocra settle in an area, they share a hunting territory that extends across an area up to 100 miles on a side, with each tribe hunting in the lands nearest to their colony. A typical colony consists of one large, open-roofed nest made of woven vines. The eldest acts as leader with the support of a shaman.
The aarakocra have embraced the plane of Orizon, calling it a place of “calm skies.” Few live outside of their nests, which can take up entire skylands in their expanse. Those that do make themselves a part of larger society often work as couriers, valued for their ability to soar between the skylands.
Feline traits have come to express themselves in a number of different ways in the cats of Orizon, but in a distant plane they came to express themselves in the dominant peoples of that plane, producing distinct lineages of peoples. During the breaking these people were brought to the world of Orizon and abandoned there. Their feline heritage has served them well, and they have spread themselves out across the world. Some of the felidae live within small communities of their people, but most prefer to live apart from others.
Felidae are an entirely carnivorous species and they enjoy hunting, almost to an obsessive level. Felidae are playful and when they hunt they can toy with their prey, sometimes to the level of sadism. But that means that they can also be easily distracted.
There are many different types of felidae and they are a diverse population, each with distinct cultures and norms. But they do each share a common root, one that they recognize in each other, especially now with so much distance from wherever their old homeworld was.
Most of the Felidae have settled on the continent of Ozrum, but enough of them have traveled around the world that they aren’t unheard of in other regions. Since many of the felidae prefer solitude though, they aren’t frequently seen in large numbers.
Felidae tend to be much more active in the night than they do in the day, they go out late at night and at dawn and dusk to hunt and tend to nap during the day. This tendency has made it difficult for felidae to perfectly integrate into other societies, where people tend to be awake during the day but some do make the adjustment.
The leonin people are proud and strong. They are the felidae that resemble lions, males are large and burly and grow large manes, females are more slender and tawny. The leonin are a very social people, preferring to live in tight-knit communities, centered around their matriarchs. Leonin are notoriously lazy when they’re inactive and can take impressively long naps.
The tigris are largely solitary and enjoy roaming across broad territories, though they do occasionally seek out their fellows while they roam. Tigris are the breed of felidae that most closely resemble tigers. Tigris also enjoy swimming and prefer to set their territories near rivers and lakes. The tigris resemble their distant tiger forebears in their orange fur with broad black stripes, though occasionally a tigris is born with white fur instead of orange.
The Leopardus are a people that enjoy the depths of the jungles, they climb trees with their claws and strong muscles, they’re even strong enough to drag their kills up into the tree canopies. Leopardus trace their felidae roots to leopards. Ordinarily the leopardus people’s fur are a light yellow and brown covered in spots that are arranged in rosettes, but there is an occasional mutation where their fur is pure black.
The catamount are adaptable peoples, secretive and solitary. They like to set themselves up in brambly wooodlands and rocky hills, often running across Goliath in their roaming across their regions. Catamount resemble cougars, with plain tawny fur.
A hook spun out from below, latching onto an outcropping of stone, with deft movements Vior tested the weight, then leapt off the landmass in the sky, using the momentum to swing in a graceful arc, then twisted his wrist, released the hook and flew forwards, landing in a neat tumble. “Come on flat foot. What are you waiting for?”
Deeply reverent of the land and its sacred sites, the nomadic kor live a spare existence defined by their constant travels. Masters of ropes and hooks, they scale sheer cliffs and cross yawning chasms with such skill and agility that they sometimes seem almost to take flight.
The kor travel with only those things they can carry, especially with ropes and hooks. These are tools they nearly revere for their utility in transporting the people across the landscape of Orizon, especially for allowing them to travel vertically, up and down the landscape of skylands.
Some kor have incorporated flying mounts into their travels, riding alongside their fellows and using their mounts to scout ahead or to carry necessities that are too heavy. Others use simple but ingeniously effective gliders for the same purpose.
The Kor travel in long pilgrimages, exploring across a continent in lengthy, meandering, routes. These routes may take decades, and members of the kor tribes may be lost along the way to the many dangers of Orizon. The kor revere specific locales and incorporate these sacred sites into these nomadic pilgrimages. The kor may stop in several cities during these routes, some may even remain behind, but the kor as a people never stay long.
The majority of the kor people on Orizon live in Internai, roaming across the skylands and using their mobility to act as a reliable connection between the clans. The kor are also one of the few established peoples that are known for sure to not have originated on the plane, they arrived through the world portals during the breaking in Internai, and then began to hold fast and slowly spread.
Above the village was a simple collection of huts and barns, a farming community. As Bastram walked through the tunnels below he saw so much more, cozy homes, crafting shops, recreation areas, food halls, finally he was guided through to the grandest library he had ever seen. A thin figure waved below flowing robes, “You are not welcome in my library, but I suppose I must tolerate your presence, browse as you wish and take care that nothing goes missing. Bastram snorted, “pleasant fellow, isn’t he?” The slender tsukiusagi woman guiding him chuckled, then immediately became solemn again, “these books are important, our knowledge is precious.” Bastram nodded, “I’d better not take too long then.”
The tsukiusagi are a people of beauty, grace and intelligence. They are considered to be clever and wise but isolationist. The tsukiusagi stay within their own remote communities and avoid contact with other races. Within their communities they practice quiet meditation, community work and magical learning.
The tsukiusagi are one of the few races that are at all established within Orizon that are known to not have originated in this world. Like the kor, the tsukiusagi arrived through one of the world portals during the breaking and managed to build something for themselves, however tenuous. This means that, outside of their communities, there are very few of them to be seen. The tsukiusagi arrived in Aemali, and that is where they live in their greatest numbers.
Lithe and Velveteen
The people of the tsukiusagi are slim and lithe, their features are delicate and precise. Their skin is pale and covered in a soft layer of clear fuzz that gives them a velvety texture. Their hair comes in various shades of white, with light tints of other hair colors, but they do not grow any facial hair. The tsukiusagi have long ears that come from below their hair line which they usually drape or wrap over their heads.
The tsukiusagi are fond of decorating themselves, they wear elaborate clothing, tattoo or paint their skin, and dye their hair. Most tsukiusagi grow their hair long and pile it into elaborate hair styles.
The elders of the tsukiusagi hold a great deal of power in their culture, some of the more powerful elders have exploited magic to live longer than they should be able. These elders see their responsibility to be curbing the naturally energetic, passionate, and fertile tsukiusagi to ensure their society’s autonomy, secrecy, and the protection of their people.
The tsukiusagi elders plan out the lives of their community, arrange marriages, and careers, and even exploit their magic to prevent pregnancy. Young members of their community are put to apprenticeships based on their talents. Some are put into crafts, some become warriors to defend their people, others are trained to join the elders and learn magic, and a very rare few are trained as explorers to travel and bring back new things for their community. Most are expected to become simple farmers, growing food for their community.
Hunted and Hidden
Among the monstrous races, such as orcs and goblins, tsukiusagi are a delicacy, their skin prized for the tattoos and texture, and their feet are believed to be lucky charms. The tsukiusagi had become a hunted race, their culture kept their numbers small and eventually they retreated, hiding themselves away.
Now the majority of tsukiusagi live in hidden, mostly self-sustaining, enclaves, their locations are kept secret among those few who can come and go. Some few do still explore, reaching out into the world with the approval of the elders, or running away from their elder’s restrictions.
The tsukiusagi have retreated to two different hiding places. Most have returned to their heritage and dug burrows underground. These appear to be ordinary villages on the surface, but below ground are large communities, well lit and comfortable, with numerous bolt holes for emergencies.
Other tsukiusagi have retreated further with their magic. They constructed palaces on the skylands and obscured them with clouds. The communities in these palaces are smaller, and magic fills most of their needs, Few people leave the sky palaces, and even fewer visit.
The tsukiusagi are most commonly found within the continent of Aemali, especially on the four islands of Sukaima, but there are enclaves and monasteries that have spread elsewhere in the world.
The moon is an large part of tsukiusagi culture, both for its association with the concealment of night and its association with magic. Many tsukiusagi worship Celeste and the moon features into their legends. It’s often called “the last refuge.”
Magic is also a large part of tsukiusagi culture, their elders are powerful mages and all tsukiusagi are expected to have a basic understanding of magic and spellcasting. Magical materials and texts are some of the most valued resources to the elders and the tsukiusagi hermitages usually contain impressive libraries.
The walls of the plane of Orizon are permeable, more so than any other plane. Very few peoples are completely unheard of on Orizon and some rare few still arrive through new portals. There are enough newcomers to Orizon through the portals that arose during the breaking that there are many more peoples on the world. They do face genuine difficulty, the people that arrived this way came with few of their fellows. Some of these immigrant races have all but died out, others survive only in small enclaves or integrated into cities. For some, they are the only ones of their kind on this world. Others, like the kor, have been able to integrate well into the world, they arrived with a large enough group that they have been able to spread themselves out, but even then they are much more rare than other peoples of Orizon.
The major peoples of Orizon, humans, elves, and dwarves, are widespread across the world, and the less common or alien races have their own spreads across the continents. But the less broadly traveled peoples can be concentrated in where they’re located. In Internai, genasi and kor are more common than they are in other continents. In Ozrum there are more felidae than there would be found elsewhere. Aemali has more tsukiusagi than the other continents. In Urur dragonborn are more common than any other locale. Estir seems to have a pretty broad distribution of peoples, but yuan-ti are more common in the southern jungles than most other places.
The varied peoples of Orizon each lead different lives, and those lives have different spans. There is a not exactly negligible infant mortality rate, but for those that survive very early childhood, they can expect full lives. Sadly there is, for all people, an end to that life as they came to know it. Some people die sooner than expected, others hang on to life longer, some extend themselves well past their years through magical means. Others outright cheat death or simply defy it. For the majority of the people of Orizon, they would be considered to be on the older side for their species at the lower range of this scale and venerable in their old age if they live past the higher range.
Aarakocra: 30-50 years Aasimar: 50-70 years Dragonborn: 60-80 years Dwarves: 300-400 years Elves: 500-700 years Elves Drow: 250-350 years Elves Feywilders: 150-200 years Felidae: 40-60 years Genasi: 50-70 years Gnomes: 200-300 years Goliath: 80-100 years Half-Dryads: 400-500 years Half-Elves: 200-300 years Half-Orcs: 40-60 years Halflings: 100-150 years Humans: 50-70 years Kor: 40-60 years Merfolk: 45-65 years Tiefling: 50-70 years Tsukiusagi: 40-60 years