Sunday, May 26, 2013

Races of Arden: Humans

The most diverse and adaptive of all major races, humans can be found everywhere above ground. from the most frigid northern climes to the extreme heat of the Red Desert. They intermingle with one another the most and while there are deep cultural differences between the various regions, people are judged by their behavior or culture they reflect than surface appearance.

Human Subraces

Drakhai. Legends say the Drakhai were not native to the Northlands. At the end of the First Age the god Amun-Ka wrapped his coils around the Summer Lands, the first home of the Drakhai, dragging it beneath the Elder Sea. Mithris vanquished the serpent-god, but was unable to save the lands of his most loyal servants. So he commanded Pryon to lead the refugees across the still roiling Elder Sea until they made landfall. The Drakhai have made the Northlands since the start of the Second Age, some wandered the lands  finding new homes in the other human cultures while others fought to carve out their own kingdoms to reflect the best of their now lost culture.

The Drakhai have skin tones ranging from tan to olive while their hair runs the full range of pale gold to black, although various shades of brown to ginger-brown are the most common. Their eye color runs the full range although amber and gray are the most commonly seen. The least mixed Drakhai are found along the Palador coast, the large island of Brun, and the western shores of the Caseeri Sea. With the passage of time trace features of the Drakhai can be found in most every grouping of people.

Melani. Hailing from across the southwestern expanse of the Elder Sea, the Melani populate many of the islands found across the sea and along distant eastern coast of Skartha. They worship the same gods as the Drakhai, albeit with their own version of the various major ceremonies and holy days. Their history tells a similar tale to those of the Drakhai, but instead of going east they went west to Skartha and the many islands across the Elder Sea. This makes the Melani uncommon in the Northlands, found primarily in port cities and coastal towns. Those found farther inland or to the north likely ended up there through love or war; either through their own experiences or those of an ancestor.

The Melani have skin tones ranging from light to mid copper, while their hair runs to darker colors of brown to black; even when it grays with age it keeps its darker hue. Their eyes range from a steel-tinged yellow to brown, although on rare occasions green eyes are found among them. The least mixed Melani live on the many islands while those on Skartha have intermixed with people native to that distant continent.

Neharan. The original inhabitants of the central and southern regions of the Northlands, they were driven back by the Drakhai when the refugees first arrived and incursions from Ophiran warlords. The might of the Neharans was at its greatest during the Age of Legend. They ruled many distant lands and intermingled with those they ruled over. When their great empires of magic collapsed the Neharan people were scattered.

The skin tones of the Neharans have a golden-hue and tan very easily. Their eyes are commonly gray-green to green with gray and hazel colors uncommon while the hair of Neharans blue-black to dark brown. There are few unmixed enclaves of Neharans to be found in the Northlands. The courts of the Northern Kingdom, the central lands of Korshada, and the necromancers of Thulivar hold the purest remaining strains of Neharan.

Ophiran. Native to the southern continent, Ophirans have spread out from the jungles and plains south of the Red Desert to the central region of the Northlands. According to legend all Ophirans can trace their lineage back to the eternal city of Ophir whose cornerstone was set in place by Apherion, Emir of the Celestial Court. During the Second Age only Neharan magic was able to keep the ancient Ophiran Warlords lust for conquest in check. While the city-states and minor kingdoms founded by the Warlords fell long ago, the remnants of their towers, walls, and sanctuaries can still be found throughout the Northlands with many of them incorporated into later construction.

The Ophiran race has a bronze-colored complexion ranging from mid-tones resembling copper to very dark tones of deepest brown. The eye colors common to Ophirans are dark brown, black, brown, and amber while their hair color is is black, brown-black, dark-brown, or brown. Their hair also tends to be naturally wavy or curly. The least mixed Ophirans are still found in their birth city of Ophir and among the nomads of the Red Desert.

Shemish. The Shemish came to the Northlands following the path set for them by the god Nevix, Sage of the Celestial Court. The original Shemish homeland is found in the deep jungles south of the Red Desert. During the Age of Legend the Shemish mages learned the secret to crafting golems in the style of the gods from the First Age and built flying castles allowing them to raid and conquer the more primitive tribes of men. At their height the Arch-Magi of the Shemish ruled a half dozen kingdoms in the Northlands. If not for their constant conflict with the Neharan Sorcerers and Drakhai Kings they might have endured deep into the Age of Trials, if not the present age.

The complexion of Shemish range from earthen-oak to near jet in shading while their hair ranges from dark-brown to black to blue-black with a tight natural curl. Their eye color ranges from slate-gray to amber to deep brown. People of mixed Shemish ancestry may range from pale copper to varied shades of Bronze. In the Northlands, the least mixed clusters of Shemish are found in Parshem and on the Anvil Plateau. Beyond that they are primarily found in the jungles south of the Red Desert. Traces of Shemish ancestry can be found in most of the central and southern regions of the Northlands. There are also a surprising number of people in the Northern Kingdom with a small amount of Shemish blood.

Teltec. Few Teltec are found in the Northlands. Their home is across the southern expanse of the Elder Sea located in tropical forests and steep mountainside dominions. Those who make their way to the Northlands are the result of conquest, exploration, or curiosity. Sometimes they are the winners, other times they were taken as extra muscle or guides who were too valuable to let go. Legends tell of a great Teltec Empire whose strength was founded on a caste of slave-warriors trained from birth to serve without question. When the orcs turned on their Neharan masters the Teltec slave-armies were their last resort. 20,000 were brought across the sea on the last of the great flying fortresses ruled by the Nehar, but even the most ruthless Teltec warrior was unable to stop the Age of Legend from ending.

The Teltec race has a dark copper complexion ranging from a ashen-copper to a dark burnt copper shade and their eyes are extremely variable in color although brown and gray are the most common colors found. The hair of the Teltec is a range of pale amber to charcoal black and has a naturally wavy look to it.  The Teltec are the least mixed of all races because of their remote and distant homeland. They are most mixed with Melani because of their close proximity, although a surprising amount of Shemish is found in their bloodlines and reflected in their ancient artwork; hailing back to the Second, and possibly the First, Age.

Vahnir. The Vahnir homeland is the northern climes of the Northlands. Their history is a mixture of savage barbarism and enclaves of petty kingdoms built around a code of family, personal honor, blood debts, and near-reckless bravery. In the First Age, when a handful of mortals ascended to godhood, it was Fafnir, chief shieldman of Wodar who first climbed to the ranks of the divine. They were enslaved for a time by the Neharans during the second age, but the most cunning among the Vahnir deciphered the arcane secrets of the Neharan, stealing the secrets of magic for themselves. At various times throughout all the ages Vahnir warlords have raided the coasts and central regions of the Northlands. Of all Vahnir kingdoms, the Northern Kingdom has endured the longest tracing their royal lineage back to the kingdom's foundation.

The Vahnir race is very fair-skinned, some being almost albino. They have light red, yellow, blond, or platinum blond hair; although on rare occasions some are born with stark blue-black hair.Their hair may be straight, but curly and kinky hair isn't uncommon. Eye colors range from pale blue or violet through deep blue, with gray occasionally popping up. The least mixed groupings of the Vahnir are found in the petty northern kingdoms and the large island of Albens. Because of their history of sail and by extension the traditions of trade and raiding they are known for, many people with Vahnir ancestry can be found along all the coasts of the Northlands and into the central regions.

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