Humanity is a newer race on Terra, boasting a legendary affinity for learning and an infamous curious streak. Since they were introduced to the realm they have learned and copied the best parts of each of the other older races.
Wielding orcish military tactics while hiding behind dwarven walls, humanity was left to flourish while safe from the outside world. They built bigger and dreamed harder, eventually unlocking the secret sciences and drawing the attention of the gods. These divine patrons chose their followers among the masses, going so far as to warp them into another distinct race, the Darkling. Each human is said to carry a spark of creation inside of them. This is how the legends explain that man can wield magic, by tapping into this inner force.
Humans can learn any skill and take up any class that does not have an initiation training they would have no access to, such as the Dwarven Defender or Drow Ranger class variants.
It’s generally accepted that Dwarves were cast from the stone by early godforms to build Terra’s foundations. They have a need to turn resources into finished products and bring order where they see chaos. To them, all levels of culture and life should be strictly ordered. Much of the leadership of the dwarven community is run by distinguished warriors and soldiers. Justice has a firm hand in the halls of the dwarves.
Dwarves make hearty adventurers and, though stubborn, are among the most loyal beings in existence. They hold grudges as if they were carved into their hearts, and are often the first to join the battle against their ancient enemies. They hold a special hatred for the raider races, the drow and orcs, owing to countless skirmishes over the centuries.
Most dwarves met outside of their kingdom are knight errants or miners collecting resources. Dwarven society is pragmatic and their affinity with the natural forces limits their ability to cast some magic. They do however boast legendary defenders who's fighting prowess cannot be matched toe to toe.
Elf-kind has walked the face of Terra for ages so long even most gods cannot remember their birth. Themselves almost godly, the elves stand at a crossroads between the natural forces of reality and the spiritual magic that connects all life. Their culture and beliefs all stem from the one universal elven thought, that their lives are all equally important, and all more important than the lives of others.
Elven culture is an embodiment of patience. They are not weak or lazy, instead they are cunning tacticians who understand their plans do not ever need to be rushed. Elves do not waste resources on following their base emotions but will spend a century crafting the perfect plan to strike back at their enemies. Theirs is a vengence that burns slowly, but forever.
A quirk of this way of thinking is that they rarely discount an option due to emotional attachment or morality. The ends justify the means, and this has caused disaster to visit them many times in their long history. This is why it is said that the drow were once elves, lured by the promise of power they could wield and ensnared by a capricious demon who feeds on their torment.
Elves are very well suited to the pursuits of magic or artisanry, though owing to their long life, they may take up many mantles over the years.
Perhaps the strangest of the races of nature is the Treekin. Though older than all the other races of Terra, they are so hermetic that few of the free races ever see them. This air of mystery and the fact that they live mostly in legend makes them a terrifying thing to behold in their natural habitat. Treekin are the cause of many monster legends and there is often confusion on what exactly they are. One might think that there is a whole society of plant people and it wouldn’t be entirely incorrect.
Most Treekin live in very small groups and rarely leave their forests. There are tales that each Treekin claims a large, special tree for themselves and lives there though none have ever been found. Every once in a great while, often in times when a forest is threatened by one encroaching army or a city is venturing too close, the Treekin will re-enter the world. In battle they represent the cruel, uncaring side of nature and bear down on those who try to take too much from their lands.
Those Treekin who take it upon themselves to leave their forests make stalwart and sturdy members of any party. Though they are not often of the outside world, one would do best not to think of them as frail or naive. Most Treekin are thousands of years old and those who are willing to stand on a battlefield have done so again and again as empires rise and fall.
To the outside world, the Drow is a harsh reminder that even those who have everything can be lured by the promise of more. As a race, the legends say, the drow were once elves who turned their back on their gods to follow the hushed whispered voices of demons. Whether or not this is true, they are now bound to the shadows.
Drow life is an embodiment of frantic, paranoid action and reaction. To this end they are masters at quickly judging others as someone to watch out for due to their power, or prey to be consumed due to their weakness. There are no drow failures, as one misstep is all it takes to end up meat for the creatures of shadow. Owing to this sense of accomplishment simply by surviving, Drow are haughty and prideful even by Elven standards.
Many Drow never make a real choice in their life. They are groomed from childhood to fill the role chosen for them by their ruling priestesses. Though rare, some drow do make it to the surface and escape. In most cases it is almost certain that they would meet a horrible end at the hands of someone who hates their kind. And in the end they are all still cursed to be used and discarded by the demon who holds their essence, unless there were some way to regain what was taken of them.
Loyalty is not a word the Drow know. They live for their own survival. Those that escape and find a way to survive, though, are masters of stealth and cunning tacticians. Removed from the shackles of their society, the drow make a terrifying opponent or perhaps in rare cases a wildly successful roguish ally.
Magic on Terra is a powerful force for change. Often chaotic or discordant, it’s rarely possible to predict the change terrestrial magic will have on the younger races, even more so if the magic is divine. Such is the case of the Darkling; the shadow of humanity. Though the story often takes an evangelical bend it is clear that some small sections of humanity, cults to be blunt, began worshipping dark entities whose magic pervaded their very essence. Why or how this happened is less well known, but the results are clear to see.
Darklings often show one or more traits associated with nocturnal creatures such as fangs, pointed ears or menacing claws. This will often be thematically tied to the divine source, such as some worshippers of a certain goddess showing owl-like features with large eyes and hooked claws. While monstrous, many Darklings have an almost supernatural gift of charisma or charm. Many never age, instead retaining an otherworldly grace over their long lives.
Each Darkling is a unique creature, even if there are common types. For this reason they as a race haven’t specialized enough to excel in anything without question. Their dark powers make them obvious choices for rogues and vagabonds but many are wary about their presence. It could be that anyone you know may secretly be a Darkling.
It would be unfair to focus entirely on the dangerous nature of the ork when describing them. Their culture is one of struggle and overcoming, each adult orc having been put through the crucible of their way of life and having come out on top. They are a physically powerful but ultimately selfish people, often distrustful even of their own. In the past, those who could muster the loyalty of their peers enough to rise to a commanding position would enjoy an incredible power in the way of a raiding army, but times have begun to change even for the Orks. A younger generation, having grown up with trade relations allowing them peaceful contact with the other races, now struggles to find its place in the large capitals of Estval and Montset while the older generation struggles to hold on to the noble culture they see diminishing.
Most orks are very, very imposing. They may stand well over seven feet tall, broad and muscled, with dangerous looking fangs and stunted horns that bud as nubs from their forehead. They are a violent people, but as many are learning, violence is not their first choice in most cases. Their chaotic emotions swing wide in showings of pride, joy, and sadness as often as rage. The old ork culture followed a barter system, and any matter (save the most personal slights) could be settled with an exchange of goods instead of an exchange of blows, something that the other races are coming to turn to everyone's advantage.
The careful adventurer who plies his orkish allies with the proper gifts or tribute and knows how to deal with them gains a force of chaos and combat that cannot be matched. They excel in matters of physical strength, though in any case where conflict is needed the ork will find a way to make the situation his.