Vitaeoth, the Wounded
It Takes All Kinds:
The People of Vitaeoth
Vitaeoth is a world of mixing. Some people are recognizable from other worlds and some are different. Some cleave closer to more classical interpretations and some have found newer paths to take.
Vitaeoth has entire nations ruled by nearly every major race:
- Humans come in all shades and philosophies, from the imperialist to the theocratic, from the simple to the educated, from the cunning to the kind. Humans have settled on nearly every continent and have conclaves in most cities on Vitaeoth, even in nations they did not build. They are the most widespread race and also the most polarizing. The one thing that would describe humans best as a race is ambition. No other race has established so many kingdoms, mastered so many magical and martial styles, and killed each other nearly as much as the humans.
- Dwarves claim they sprung from the earth, and their endless underground tunnel highways only seem to prove this myth. Dwarves are builders and engineers, mighty heroes and relentless warlords. Dwarves are generally trustworthy, industrious, and physically hardy. Crafting with stone and metal has always been a field in which no other culture has matched the dwarves. Geomancy has also long been a staple of dwarven culture and engineering, and the dwarves use stone for just about everything but weapons. The dwarves used stone and magic to build bridges that close the gaps between oceans, towers that reach into the heavens, and warrens that reach miles beneath the surface. In addition, the darkness of the Stone Kingdoms has hidden many dangers that have struck at the dwarven kingdoms dozens of times in history, so the dwarves have a strong military and frighteningly capable war machines both magical and mundane. It is said dwarves value pride, skill, and honor as much as they value gold. Dwaves make unflinching allies and unrelenting enemies.
- Elves seem to have always been on Vitaeoth. Since land has existed, and things have grown on it, so too have the elves, as the sayings go. Some even claim that the elves planted the first trees. Lithe and beautiful, they are masters of nature and wardens of the creatures that cannot speak for themselves. Elves are fierce hunters, powerful mages who specialization in phytomancy, and unmatched beast tamers (though they resent the idea of "taming" anything). They claim to have taught many land-walking cultures how to read and write, planting the metaphorical seeds of modern culture in several races beyond themselves. While they are not all kind and altruistic, elves are generally diplomatic as a people, seeking to make no enemies and placate those who are. For all their diplomacy, however, entry into the Green Realms is almost harshly prohibitive. The elves tell that they wish to preserve the Realm's natural power and beauty, but know that not all visitors can be trusted to respect every tree and bush they pass like an elf would. Some whisper that the elves are not from Vitaeoth, and for their part, the older elves desire not to speak of their origins. It seems to be a painful topic for them.
- Gnomes are an exciting lot. Though they began their civilization on mountaintops, the storms called to them. The elves taught them much, but the powers of the storm gave them their identity. Gnomes are quick-witted and spontaneous like a thunder strike, and almost as loud. Their optimism is strong, and keeps them going when failure drags them down. They can be daring or reserved, but most gnomes are willing to take a risk to achieve something. Most gnomes are also consummate tinkerers, happy to build a solution with their hands or make a living with a craft. With humble beginnings of worshipping the powers of lightning and stormy skies and the deities that commanded them, they have come a long way since then. From their mountain homes they took metals and used them to draw the lightning, harnessing it for their survival. They eventually mastered the magical uses of lightning as well, and through tinkering and experimentation quickly discovered that electricity makes a useful energy source. Now, gnomes are the inventors of some of the modern wonders of Vitaeoth. Seeking to tame the storms like ships tamed the seas, they invented (with a mixture of crazy genius and personal injury) the storm-sailors. These confusing contraptions are boat-like constructions that used a combination of magic and engineering to generate propulsion, lift, and thrust. These they eventually adapted into the modern airship that now aids world-wide travel and makes the gnomes quite rich. Slowly growing advances in technology portend that the gnomes may become trailblazers in new fields or weaponry or transport.
- Halflings have never known limits. Potentially descending from the same progenitors as the gnomes, halflings chose to worship the winds and the sky more than the clouds and storms that intrigued their gnome cousins. Halflings are gregarious and free-spirited, seeking to emulate the freedom of the winds that touch all corners of the world. Halflings are just behind humans in how widespread they are, their whims carrying them to adventure or just to see what's over the horizon. This would eventually inspire them to leave the mountaintops to live closer to their gods and their chosen element, taking woods from the lowlands and using them to fashion cities that extend from mountaintops, gliders that let them frolic in the winds, and powerful wind magics to protect their light bodies from being swept up by a gust. Just as many halflings migrated to lower areas, but usually chose to live on plains where they could grow food and still feel the wind on their skin. They constructed large farms, windmills, and settlements made of hovel-like buildings that didn't stop the flow of wind like straight and tall buildings that other races erect. Nearly two centuries ago, an ambitious group of pious halflings completed a wondrous achievement in the name of their wind gods: constructing an air-city. The bastion of Evergale is considered one of the magical wonders of the world, with airships coming and going, guided glider tours that use magically maintained air currents to see most of the neighboring nations from above, and where the greatest aeromancy mages study.
- Orcs have come perhaps the farthest of all the people of Vitaeoth. They have fierce and intense demeanors, and can burn with passions as hot as the flames they worshipped in ancient days. They are potent warriors, cunning scholars, and ambitious pyromancers. They fight hard to stamp down an old identity as vile raiders and tribal creatures, hoping to become something more. An orc hero that helped end the Eon Wars, Hanes Oldwar, pioneered a new direction for the orc people. A stranger in his own lands, he was raised by humans, educated by elves, trained for combat by dwarves, sought the knowledge of the gnomes, and learned how to live to the fullest from halflings. His multi-cultural background taught him that his people have every chance to pull themselves from their culture of war and blood, and he taught every orc who would listen. His tireless work and prestigious legacy as a hero that ended the Wars made him almost god-like to his kin, though he tried hard to discourage any kind of worshipping of him. Now his teaching continue to live on in the minds of the orcs, the most recently "civilized" of the races. While orcs have been building to this cultural renaissance, they have also coordinated the creation of black powder weapons with the dwarven kingdoms (who were once hated enemies), constructed some of the most effective siege weaponry of Vitaeoth, and even creatively used fire magic to invent a central heating system that is becoming very popular in larger cities. Orcs still face persecution from their old identity as battle-hungry, and some orc tribes have tried hard to keep the old ways of might-makes-right, but the orcs are standing tall with every other race on Vitaeoth.
Elemental races are much more common in the modern day. The elements have firmer grasps on the Prismatic Cosmos than ever before, but the births of these races are received quite differently by everyone. Some cultures recieve them as blessings of good fortune, and others can see a birth as an omen or a curse.
There is no specific way to have an elemental child. A spellcaster with a particular love and talent for a specific Arcana, an incursion of elemental energies, or being born on special dates of the calendar are all ways for the building blocks of creation to mix into the blood of newborns and create entirely new species with strange and fantastical powers.
These people, collectively called the Prisma-Born (Prismans for short), can be born to any race, but are usually considered a race in and of themselves. They are most commonly born of human parents, as humans seem to be able to have children of any element. Some races have higher populations of specific elemental affinities. More Lignans are born to elven parents, for example. Dwarves more commonly produce Terrans and Orcs tend to have more Ignan children. While the races seem to favor some elements over others, anything is possible.
Not all Prisma-Born are aware of their ancestry at birth. The ones who come from the womb exuding elemental powers are quite rare, as most Prisma-Born only come across their ancestry privately in early life. A Fulgun might zap the family cat by accident, or a Terran may find themselves sinking into the dirt as if stepping into water. Their ancestry becomes more obvious in adolescence. This can often lead to embarrassing stories of self-discovery, heart-breaking tales of being thrown out of their homes, or with family and friends showing kind acceptance.
The following descriptions are for adult Prismans, who have grown into their ancestry. The young may be screened magically or alchemically to determine any alignments with the elements, but these techniques are still not perfect.
- Ignans are Prismans with the blood of fire. They often grow a red tint to their skin, and their hair might flicker like real flames. Sometimes they have goat- or bull-like horns that grow from their brows, and their eyes are usually bright like lit coals. Their spirits burn like hot flames, and they make unpredictable warriors, talented performers, and intense leaders. They can also be foolhardy, wrathful, and a bit too intense or excitable for some to tolerate. Few can also love or hate as deeply as an Ignan, so they make excellent companions (if you can stand the excitement), and worrying foes if you make one angry.
- Aquans are Prismans with the blood of water. They often have a blue tint in their skin and have long hair that seems to drip on occasion. The more attuned Aquans have hair that flows like it's underwater, and their eyes become sapphire- or pearl-colored. Aquans can be calm and collected like a babbling brook or lake, driven and swift to action like a mighty river, or capricious and ambitious like the ocean. Often this personality is construed to indicate how far inland they were born, but Aquans often are all of these things. When at rest, Aquans are serene and calm, while in motion they become driven and unstoppable. Some see this as shallow or just following the crowd, but Aquans can feel the flow of the world around them, and can adjust to situations even more quickly than adaptable humans.
- Ventans are Prismans with the blood of air. They often have pale skin, with fine hair that twirls and twists in the slightest breezes. They have singsong voices and weigh much less than their physiques might suggest. Their eyes are the most mundane of all the Prismans, but have a wide range of possible colors. Like the wind, they have a strong need for open spaces and movement. Their carefree and whimsical personalities make them seem eccentric and aloof, but they simply enjoy a good dance, a new flavor, or finding something new to smell or touch. Ventans hate staying in one place for long, so many of them become explorers or airship captains. They feel cramped when underground or indoors, and many suffer from claustrophobia. They are free spirits, in nearly every sense of the word.
- Terrans are Prismans with the blood of earth. They can have skin in mostly earthen tones, and their eyes almost look like solid round pebbles with geode-like irises painted on them. Many don't grow any hair, but some sport crystalline protrusions that can grow from anywhere bone is close to the skin. These crystals can be any color or shape, and some learn to use them as weapons. Terrans are quiet and stoic, unmoving like their namesake. They can be stubborn, loyal, or organized, and don't always speak many words. They feel unnerved when on the deck of an airship or in water, when their feet aren't on the ground, and some even get sick when climbing a building several stories high from the ground level. Some call them simple, but the smart know not to underestimate that quiet stare, for Terrans are also quite observant and patient. A Terran with a grudge is an eternal curse, as they also don't forget easily.
- Fulguns are Prismans with the blood of lightning. Fulguns are even more active than Ignans, and their parents often begin to worry when they find that their energetic child is still bouncing off the walls well into their teens. Fulguns are dichotomies: periods of exciting activity followed by rest. When they are on the job or interested in something they give it their full attention and strength, tackling any challenge with all their vigor and intelligence. Then they sleep so soundly that precious little could wake them. They wake up and seize the day only to need a nap by noon. When they awake they throw themselves into their work, play, or duties and when supper comes they sleep again. Thankfully their cycle of activity and rest is relatively predictable, but Fulguns who push themselves often find that they can change their resting cycles. For their part, Fulguns never go half-way on anything. Assuming you can deal with their timetables, they will never slack off or slouch, in work, love, or adventure.
- Ferrans are Prismans with the blood of metal. They have skins in many colors and then often have a kind of sheen that makes them look like a metallic statue. Their eyes can match their skin or be any rainbow of metallic hues. Their skin is usually hard to the touch, and they usually do not grow hair. When they do the hair feels like cable and often can cause injury if not handled carefully (and it's very difficult to cut). Ferrans are people of strong organizational skills, senses of direction, and understandings of laws and justice. Ferrans often take jobs in militaries or large organizations, as the straightforward nature of their work pleases them. They can be very difficult to sway in conversation, and are sometimes even more stoic than a Terran. But while a Terran will quitely tell you that they do not agree, the Ferran will tell you that you are mistaken and must be brought to the right path. This rigidity makes it difficult for a Ferran to change once they are on a path, but it is by no means impossible. If a Ferran has claimed tha you are an ally, they will never leave your side when you need them.
- Lignans are Prismans with the blood of wood. The skin of a Lignan usually takes on a kind of texture that mimics bark or leaves, and it is sometimes rough to the touch. Their eyes are strikingly colorful like wild flowers, and their hair grows like grasses of many types. Sometimes their hair even buds or flowers in older age. Their colors change from healthy greens to warm autumn colors with age as well. Their voices are crisp and pleasant, like wind rustling the leaves or rain falling in the woods. Their personalities range from whimsical to collected, but most usually have a deep, instinctual respect for natural beauty and safety. Some do not have a love for nature, or even crave its corruption. These lignans take on a more ashen complexion and their grass-like hair starts to shrink into a tall moss or mold. Animals tend to treat them with more respect and gardens they tend happen to grow a little higher. Lignans have a wide range in personalities, but they seem to get darker in mood the farther they live from forests or swamps, meaning they are quite rare in urban areas. While some find them less-than dependable, but lignans simply treat others as they are treated.
- Umbrans are Prismans with the blood of shadow. Umbrans are not always trusted, as their shadowy blood means many people misunderstand their intentions. Their skin ranges from an ashen grey to midnight black, usually with hints of color from the skin of their parents, and their eyes are usually a pure white, grey, or black, but they occasionally gain very striking colors in their eyes. Their monochrome hair is fine and soft and usually grows very long. Bright lights make them uncomfortable, but they are not blinded by it. Umbrans are usually very quiet, observant, and cunning, speaking when they have something important to say, and taking opportunities that others might miss. They are also easy to overlook, appearing to blend into the shadows of a room, and many Umbrans enjoy this tendency to be missed, carrying out their own motives unnoticed. They seem to be fairly evenly spread across the world, as their ability to adapt to situations both physical and social, and their survivalist cunning means that there is little they cannot handle. It can be a surprising boon to have an Umbran ally, when a well placed dagger or word saves their allies from a dangerous turnabout.
- Luxans are Prismans with the blood of light. They are brilliant to look upon and often hush a room when they enter it. Their skin can be any color, but it glows with a faint radiance. Their eyes gleam like jewels and reflect light like some animals, and their hair can be any color imaginable (sometimes it changes by the year or even by the hour). With their striking appearances they often are noticed before their companions. Their personalities are bright like themselves; Luxans are generally more persuasive than their Prisman comrades. Their personalities are usually big and hard to miss, and they select fighting styles or magical disciplines that make a big impression. Their impressive presence also tends to breed a lot of confidence or pride, so Luxans tend to stand a a little taller than others whether they deserve it or not. Luxans will make you and your comrades stand out much more, and the Luxans will make the most of it.
- Aetherians are the rarest of all Prismans: aether-blooded. These people are barely understood, and for good reason: every single aetherian has disappeared within a week of their birth. They appear as their parent race but with pure white hair and golden tattoo-like markings across their bodies. Their eyes have similar golden markings on the irises, and their faces seem like idyllic versions of their parent's races. Little is known about their abilities or personalities because every Aetherian has been stolen from their cribs within a week of their birth. It is believed that they are taken by cloaked strangers in the night, slaying anyone who attempts to stop them. Some whisper that adult Aetherians are the ones who take them away, but no one could hope to guess why. There have been an unusual rise in Aetherian births in recent years, so the Aetherians may have to make a move if they wish to continue concealing themselves. Their tendency to disappear at birth and their supposedly impressive powers make them poor choices of a PC race.
The Beastkin is a blanket term used by "civilized" races to refer to the numerous second-class citizens that have more feral counterparts. People with the faces of animals, who grow claws or tails, or who look upon others with inscrutable eyes are the Beastkin. Most do not know the Beastkin well, instead choosing to look down on them as savage creatures only recently gaining footholds in science and art, and some even fear them as the hybrid forms of terrible creatures that walk on legs but stalk prey on paws at night like the legends of werebeasts. For most Beastkin this could not be farther from the truth.
In general these people's societies have not progressed as far as the Core races' societies have, but the reasons are usually chalked up to simple minds and primitive ways rather than circumstance, history, and cultural roadblocks. There are many peoples from some of the rougher parts of the world who have had to spend more time adapting than other races, or had to contend with larger predators or scarcer food sources, leaving them behind those races who might have lived a bit more comfortably on peaceful plains with farms. Not all Beaskin have had it rough, but they have unique challenges that do not face other races.
Beastkin have their own names for their races listed below, and the educated call them by these names, leaving "beastkin" as a derogatory term used by the ignorant or hateful.