Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Sentient Races of Old Aalia

Here's a little summary of the main sentient races that have featured in my LL campaign so far, mainly for the benefit of the players.

Humans (any alignment)
The usual deal.

The natives of Old Aalia are olive-skinned, like the people of the Mediterranean. Pale, blond-haired northerners, and dark-skinned southerners are also seen from time to time.

Mongrel-folk (any alignment)
The strange radiations which permeate the vaults of the great city S'raka have caused the accelerated and haphazard evolution of those down-trodden people who inhabit the region. Mutations, ranging from the completely debilitating to the potently novel, are rife among this folk.

Rat-folk (any alignment)
Rat-folk, sometimes called "halflings", are another race which has evolved in the warping influence of S'raka's vaults. They are half the size of humans, and appear to be a 50/50 cross-breed between humanoid and rat. Most rat-folk spend their lives in the vaults of S'raka, where they live as scavengers. A few of the more gifted members of this race sometimes venture to the surface, and may find a way to make a living as adventurers or business-owners. They are generally regarded as vermin, in the same social class as beggars or mongrel-men.

Dwarrow (typically LN, N, NE)
The dwarrow are a race similar to the standard D&D duergar. They live underground in labyrinthine cavern complexes which they constantly expand and mine for minerals. Dwarrow have jet black eyes, and skin that is gnarled like old tree roots and coloured in hues of earth or stone. Although they are important trade partners, the dwarrow are seldom trusted by humans -- they are exceptionally avaricious and scheming, regarding all forms of precious metal and gems as the sole property of their race.

Dwarrow are known for their contempt towards other races, and are fond of slavery. Kobolds are commonly kept as mining slaves by Dwarrow -- the fortress city of Minitol, in particular, maintains a very large population of the creatures. The Dwarrow of the Glaarm mountains in the far north of Old Aalia harbour a hatred and resentment of the race of Kobolds, with whom they have been at war since a slaves' revolt succeeded.

Swine-folk (typically CE)
Sworn enemies of human-kind, the swine-folk of Old Aalia are a detested race of carnivorous beast-men created centuries ago by a demented god. Wherever the swine-folk go they leave destruction in their wake.

Kobolds (typically L)
A diminutive race of snivelling wiry-haired dog-men, kobolds are equally at home underground and on the surface. They dwell primarily in the forests in the east of Old Aalia, though some kobold settlements are known to exist in the deeper vaults of S'raka. They are also often found in the company of dwarrow, who keep them as slaves. When left to their own devices, kobolds tend to roam around in large packs, and generally show little respect for other races, though among themselves they have a rigidly structured social hierarchy.

Forest Gnomes
A meek and homely race who live in burrows and caves among the roots of forest trees. They are friends with burrowing animals such as moles and badgers, and primarily enjoy the pleasures of a quiet life in a cosy home.

Svirfneblin (typically L or N)
Subterranean relatives of the forest gnomes, svirfneblin are a pale and almost hairless race who make their homes deep underground wherever gem deposits can be found. The race is so rarely seen (except by dwarrow, who encounter their communities in the course of their own delving) that rumours abound about their nature and their existence. A common conception among humans is that the svirfneblin cosmically manifest around mineral deposits.

Elves (typically N or C)
Tall, thin and ephemeral, elves are a fey race native to a magical dimension which exists in parallel to the world of men. They are of diverse appearance, being basically similar looking to humans, but always have one or more unusual features that mark them as obviously non-human, such as: pointed ears, silver or violet hair, cat-like eyes, sharp pointed teeth, extra fingers, etc.

Often Neutral in alignment, elves are fickle, mysterious and mischievous. They enjoy music and song, as well as fine food and drink -- but all their pleasures have a strange otherworldly quality, which other races can find both intoxicating and eerie. They have a talent for magic, and many individuals have some degree of innate magical potency.

Although they seldom co-habit, elves and goblins have a mutual respect for each other. Their kings perhaps have some kind of alliance.

Goblins (typically N, NE or CN)
A mischievous fey race, goblins are of diverse appearance. Typically they are half human size, hideously or comically ugly (by human standards), and have black or dark green skin. Though they seldom have any regular or organised contact with other races (apart from elves), they have a habit of appearing out of nowhere, causing trouble, and then returning to their own dimension via whatever subtle path they arrived by.

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