Races of the World
Of the Common Races: United yet Diverse
Of men, elves, dwarves, half-elves, and halflings, there is little of note to say. They are the main races of the civilized floors, comprising the great tribes. Of this exception are the Tenris, who are comprised purely of the hardy and strong dragonborn. The common races are more or less at peace with one another, with the main countries united under truce and trade. Common is the main languages of the countries, though the races still practice their own languages among their own communities. Tenris and the Caradrim however, utilize their respective languages (Draconic and Halfling) when dealing with their own. Now of the common races we shall speak of no more.
The Deeping Dwarves: Splintered but Fierce
Not all dwarves live in the sun of the Tower’s upper floors. Some in times of old decided to make their fortune in the floors below, delving into the basements to find their way and make their homes. In time they were successful, carving out a home for themselves in the dangers of the deep floors of the Tower. But those days were long ago. Nowadays the Deeping Dwarves found themselves hard pressed, their homes threatened, and their clans scattered. Gone are the days of benevolence and contact with the surface floors of the Tower. The Deeping Dwarves have taken to cruelty, enslaving others to fight their wars. Their reigning council, the Stone Summit, grows very paranoid. Yet there are still some dwarves above that support them, mainly due to lack of news except those that call for aid. And in truth, the Deeping Dwarves are not evil, but desperate.
The Drow: Ever Enigmatic
In the bowels of Dragonell, in the basement floors, live the Drow. Ruthless, calculating, and geniuses at tactical combat, the Drow are rumored to rule many basement floors. Occasionally there are Drow that venture into the upper floors, mingling with the races there or coming on raids. How they appear so quickly and disappear just as quickly is a mystery to many of the inhabitants of the upper floors of the Tower. However, it is suspected by many scholars that the Drow have a vastly superior grasp on the magic in the world, and thus have advanced technology and means of crystal teleportation. To the upper floor dwellers, Drow are a mystery, an enigmatic race that seems capricious, emerging from the basement floors at time to simply amuse themselves and explore, or to come and raid small villages and towns. There has never been a full-scale invasion of the upper floors with the Drow, but their capricious actions have earned them a reputation that elicits wariness at best and fear at worst.
The Catfolk: The Adventurers
The Catfolk, or the Felidae, are a nomadic people that roam the civilized floors of Dragonell. Due to their natural wanderlust, they can typically be found in the tribes of the Caradrim. However, there are also those that choose to wander without tribe, and these are typically merchants and peddlers, selling handcrafted wares to those who would have them. In this way, they earn enough to survive. Some view this life as very difficult, but the Catfolk dismiss this claim, seeing their freedom of movement as a great advantage compared to those bound to city walls. Overall, the Catfolk are a race of adventurers, carefree merchants, crafters, and artisans that long to see what the Tower has to offer. As such they are often valued in expeditions of all kinds, as their travels have earned them much knowledge that is useful in exploration.
The Volkir: They do not forgive and they do not forget
The Volkir are a race of proud wolf people that once lived on the floors that Tenris now occupies. They are a strong race of fighters and hunters who have had their land taken from them. During the clearing of the floors, the Volkir were driven out, for the Dragonborn were their bitter rivals, and with the other great tribes before them, the Volkir had the choice to flee or die. Their tribes wandered desolate for a time, many splintering and venturing to floors far above. Of them, none know what befell them. Some settled in the netural floors and others escaped to the far reaches of their ancestral floors, ekeing out a rough life that in the modern age turned to banditry and preying upon travelers. Here and there on the floors of Tenris ruins can be found of the Volkir’s culture – in the times of the tribes they erected proud structures that fell during the taming of the floors. Their tribes are scattered now, and while some live at peace with the common races, of the dragonborn they do not forgive and they do not forget. Many work as mercenaries in foreign lands, wandering and searching for a purpose. They are cunning and fierce warriors and also magnificent forgers of weapons and armour. Thus some have found a place in Zailan and others seek adventure with the Caradrim. But never will they venture with goodwill into Tenrisian lands, and often is an expedition with a Volkirim strained when entering those floors. Long do they wish for vengeance.
The Gnolls: The Divided People
The Gnolls are regarded as a savage people, voracious creatures that plunder and burn and kill. And for the most part, this assessment is correct. The majority of the Gnoll race are fierce and rapacious, wandering the unprotected areas of the floors and harrying travelers on unguarded sections of the Great Road. However, there are some Gnolls and even some Gnoll tribes (albeit fairly small ones) have attempted to coexcist peacefully with the common races, and have moved onto the neutral floors to set up trade with other outposts in the area. These take jobs as mercenaries, guards, blacksmiths and the like. Of the peaceful Gnolls, those that coexist with them find them capable of being refined, cultured, and loyal. However, they are still viewed with suspicion by most of the common races outside of those that reside with them.
Tieflings: Blood pays for All
In times of old, the tribe of Udun desired power beyond their means. In a forbidden ritual of blood and crystal, they summoned the Old One, the demon king Sankekur, from the dark depths of the Abyssal Plane. And in a dread bargain, they bound their souls to him in exchange for power. And thus the Tieflings were born in Dragonell. In the tribe of Udun, the blood of Sankekur flows in their veins, black and strong. From then onwards, the Udun’s visage were that of half-demons, strong of mind and body. But the Udun’s actions were far-reaching. Sankekur’s summoning tore a wound into the Planes, disrupting the equilibrium of the Tower. Now, should it suit them, Planar creatures can enter at their whim. As it is, other Demons have entered, impregnating races with their seed and creating Tieflings not of the tribe of Udun.
Though the blood of demons run in their veins, Tieflings are not inherently evil. The Udun used their power to protect their lands, but they were eventually absorbed by the Great Tribes during the clearing of the Tower. Thus they scattered, and they settled in the lands of the Great Tribes in the new era. In the more civilized areas, Tieflings are received neutrally, albeit with slight suspicion. But in more rural and less educated areas, they are received with suspicion, paranoia, and hatred.
Of Hostile Races and Societies
While the floors of the civilized races are tamed to a degree, there are perils still roaming the edges and dark places of the floors. The Great Road paved by Veraphesh is more or less safe, but at night travellers would do well to find a hostel, as the edges of the Road can be dangerous indeed. Marauders and bandits still roam the floors and even Tenris cannot be policing everywhere at once. Furthermore not all tribes were absorbed by the great ones. Some remnants remain, grudging the great tribes for claiming their ancestral lands.
The Orcs: Ever Savage
The most common marauders and bandits are often the savage orcs, though they were hunted fiercely during the taming of the floors. It was many years before their strength recovered, but recover it did, and the orcs returned to harass the floors with a vengeance. Many vicious wars were fought to placate the orc menace, but the orcs could never truly be destroyed. Still they fester, on the edges and dark pits of the Tower. The neutral floors have particular trouble with orcs, with naught but the Great Road and outposts being safe at night, and even sometimes at day. Those who venture forth to the neutral floors ensure always to have guards ready, or else ensure to travel speedily. Orcs have been known to waylay travellers in the dark hours. Yet thankfully, the days of orcs gathering mighty and savage armies to attempt to sweep the Common races away have ended, and never again can such vicious might be gathered under the sun, or even the dark places of the world.
The Shahadin: The Forgotten
The Volkir were not the only ones that had their lands taken from them. The Shahadin were a tribe of nomads that often feuded with the T’ian K’aishek and the Kyonmu. They were horselords, skilled swordsmen, and expert survivors. During the clearing of the Tower, they fought long and bitterly against the Great Tribes, until their people were worn down almost to nothing. Defeated in war, the Shahadin’s way of life was almost destroyed, their people scattered, their histories erased, even those under record of the Caradrim. For their battles were brutal and vicious, with the poisons of Shahadin assassins used to deadly effect. Their peoples have yet to fully recover, but rumours say that on the 23rd floor, the Shahadin tribes reconsolidate their power. And for those who deal in unsavory ways, nothing is more effective then a Shahadin assassin. Yet the Shahadin are also the forgotten: stricken from the annals of history, they are a legend given life.