Races and Countries of the World
The humans are the most common residents of Nodea, as about 30% of the population is human, or about 50%, half-human. They are filling the gaps, and controlling most of the fishing trade. Most of the humans’ lands of origins are the islands, which vary greatly in culture, size or population. The islands span all the way from the Eastern Coast to the west and northwest, and the ones closest to the shores belong to one of the great nations.
The cultures vary from the Orcish Mercenary Fleets, a fearsome naval conglomerate of human, goblin and hobgoblin corsairs, to the Independent Alliance of traders and (allegedly) smuggler fleets of the central parts of the islands, where small and fast ships thread the waters with a crew of humans and halflings, two rather closely aligned races, the Slaver Fleets of the far Northeast, with vast slave oarmen and women and a crew of hardy humans and dwarves, to the numerous grand ships, half-grown, half-constructed by the Union in the vast dockyards of Smokinsk.
Another group of humans is known to populate the mass of land known as the Jaguar Continent. The Jaguar Continent is inhabited almost completely by humans, with a few half-elves here and there. The only landmass remotely close to the Jaguar Continent is the Greenstar Island, home to the Elven Union. The Jaguar Continent trades only with Elves, and even with them with extreme prejudice. However, the Continent is home to many unique or luxurious resources, which are kept rare by the extreme xenophobia of the locals.
L’Empire d’Aurque is the southernmost part of the Main Continent. It is sizable, having savannas and forests, lakes and deserts, bordering the Kobold Tribes to the northeast and the Dwarven Lands to the northwest. The orcs are currently in something as peace with the kobolds, so that both parties can focus on the dwarven threat from the north. Orcs regard dwarves as uncivilized and stuck-up brutes, knowing nothing of art, and the relations between the two races is only worsened by the dwarven expansion and slave camps opened near the borders.
The Orcish Culture intertwines art and bloodshed, believing that war is an art, and art is a war by itself. The orcish capital, La Perle, is the architectural marvel from where virtually all the new fashions start, be they in cuisine, clothes, etiquette or melee weaponry. The army of the Empire, while outdated by modern standards, is still quite fearsome. Nothing is capable of stopping the ranks of the Chevaliers, a knight order of rhino riders, whose melee and riding prowess is only rivaled by the gaudiness of their attire. Orcs venture in Nodea mostly looking for fame or fortune, and most become chefs, animal handlers, tailors, executioners and gladiators. Indeed, the Orcish culture is one for refined tastes.
The dwarves occupy the northern lands and mountains, mostly living in the mountains themselves, but also settling down further in the south in farming camps. The Dwarven Lands are usually regarded as a neighbor that no one likes, but their skill in smithing and the relatively recent invention of the gunpowder makes them just as welcome trading partner as anyone.
Dwarven crafts are usually build for function rather than for form, preferring to look as stern as possible. Dwarven economy is boosted further with slavery, as they do not see it as necessarily evil. Slaves, mostly orcs for their brute strength, or kobolds, for their large numbers, are rounded up in big camps that usually travel to the south slowly every season, in order for only the most servile or capable slaves to be brought in the mainlands. Gnomes are also occupants of the territory of dwarves, and they usually occupy the second-lowest caste in their system. Gnomes are usually looked down on, and mostly take the role of casters and magic users, since the common dwarf looks down on these things as necessary, though something no sensible dwarf would take care of.
Dwarven culture is based on superiority and belonging. They have four castes, the topmost being occupied by civil servants, who usually are revered deeply, guild masters and leaders, who steer their guilds of artisans in the right direction, and lawyers, who take the roles of clerics and moral police, who show what being a dwarf means. The cast is known as the ‘Guides’ and a Guide is regarded as though he’s nobility.
The second caste, or the ‘Carvers’, are the ones who carve the dwarves’ path in the world: Artisans, Slavers, or Inventors. They are regarded as something as middle class, though quite often they have more money that the Guides, which is usually rectified after a visit from a lawyer.
The third caste, or the ‘Pullers’, are the ones who pull the dwarves on the right path by their own choice. While not as rich or powerful as most of the above, they are still above the slaves, and some of them are happy with doing the hard work for dwarvenkind. Until recently, gnomes were begrudgingly accepting their place, since it was a niche that no one else was able or willing to take. After the discovery of gunpowder about half a century ago, gnomes have been migrating in every direction.
Slaves occupy the lowest of castes. Slaves, or "Servants" as they are known, are usually at the disposal of whoever owns them, but other than that, they are free to have free time, marry, have children of their own, but everything they own is owned by their masters.
Dwarves and gnomes that go in the city are mostly either agents, sent to investigate or spy for the Dwarven Lands, or simply young ones, of any social status or wealth, that are simply tired of castes and politics.
The elves of the Elven Union are a peculiar nation. Three and a half centuries ago, the posh and bloated magocracy was displaced in a bloody revolution, giving the power to the people. Magical universities and colleges were demolished and rebuilt again, but the Union’s dislike of wizardry has yet to calm down completely. In its place, alchemy and engineering take the leading role for the Elves’ new future. Their view of the world is that everyone must have what they need and do what they can for a brighter future. As such, there are no staggeringly rich or poor people. The armies of the Elven Union are a grand sight indeed. The Green Army, as it’s communally called, is one of the most trained in the world. Every citizen, be he or she elf, human, or half-elf, is forced to spend at least 15 years in some sort of communal service. Due to the length of the draft, most of the standing military at any time is composed of elves, while the middle ranks are mostly humans or half-elves, and the highest ranks are again, mostly elf only. In the Elven Union, it doesn’t matter how sharp your ears are, as long as you’re loyal to the party and not a member of the Narinsky royal family. Elves that venture the city mostly go there because they are tired of being told what to do for the People’s Good, or simply because they want to make something for themselves, or because they really need a break after 15 years of draft. In the city, they mostly take to either being cheap labourers, or joining the Elven Mafia, a criminal syndicate slowly gaining control of the prostitution and smuggling in the poorer parts of town.
The Far Continent
The Far continent is, well, far. To the East. Its population are mostly races that bind the humanoid and the bestial. These ‘beast’ races range from the militant and bureaucratic Tengu, the Catfolk, masters of sword, shadow and ceremony, the brutal and cunning Ratfolk Hordes of the Steppes, the polytheistic Grippli, masters of dance and science, the monastic, yet humorful Vanara, the nimble and charismatic Kitsune, and the usually hospitable, strong and friendly Nagaji.
Goblins and Hobgoblins
The goblins occupy the islands bordering the orcish lands, and are usually their allies. Goblins and hobgoblins are the same race, where roughly 30% of the greater Goblin race are Hobgoblins. It’s not uncommon for a goblin to have a hobgoblin child or the opposite. Quite often even children of the same parents are different. Hospitality is incredibly important for them, in fact, it is considered rude to leave a goblin dinner until you are barely able to walk, and are expected to bring at least several friends or family members. They are only other race that has managed to figure out the secrets of gunpowder, and their black-sailed ships are one of the most terrifying sight that a sailor could see. Goblin Wolf Riders occasionally serve as light cavalry to orcish armies. Goblins find themselves in Nodea looking for change, when they get tired of endless running, riding or sailing around. Often, they are looking to build a reputation, or to manage to get a ship or start plundering the ocean.
The Kobold tribes occupy the middle of the Main Continent, their territories being just to the west of Nodea, bordering Dwarves to the North and Orcs to the South. There are many tribes, as when the time arrives, a tribe may split or two tribes may merge in a greater one. The steppes have begun excavations, since rumors of gold, mithral and adamantine deposits in their lands has arrived. The following gold rush has seen many settlements being formed, and not all of them following the laws of the land or the laws of mortals. Kobolds, while usually peaceful, defend the dragons, forest and rivers of the steppes to the death. The nomadic kobolds revere the dragons, which often are just as nomadic as they are, and go to them for guidance, and in times of need, bring it food or guard the young. In turn, the dragon provides information and teaches them. Kobolds prefer running rather than straight up fighting, and often circle around the enemy on riding geckos, a tactic which infuriates the dwarves to no end. The orcs are not usually considered an enemy, though it’s not rare that a dragon must send envoys to the northern orcish villages to avoid overstraining the natural resources. Kobolds usually venture to Nodea in order to achieve something great, in order to prove themselves. The greatest honor a kobold hero can achieve is to become a dragon rider, a figure of legend in kobold folklore. The name of every single dragon rider and their tales are remembered by all dragons. In truth, some kobolds go to the town because they are driven by greed, or thirst for blood. These kobolds are usually pitied by others, but are usually unwelcome back, until they prove themselves.
The Jaguar Continent
The Jaguar Continent is a place of mystery and uncommon magic. The story goes, that many centuries ago, the elves sent a conquering force to the Continent, then occupied by nothing more than illiterate, unorganized tribes. The tribes were no match for the might of the elven wizards, and they were losing territory and people fast. The three strongest surviving tribes, the tribe of the Jaguar, the tribe of the Crocodile and the tribe of the Eagle gathered on the sacred grounds of the gods in order to fight for priority and stature in the afterlife. Just before the horns of war sounded, the tribesmen were stunned by the fact that the stars in the sky have aligned to form the shape of their gods. In the battle between the three animal gods, the jaguar stood victorious, and feasted on the remains of the two other ones, absorbing the essence and becoming the Bloody Jaguar, a beast with the speed and ferocity of the jaguar, the resilience and strength of the crocodile, and the senses and the wings of the eagle. The tribes, refreshed with powers multiplied tenfold, struck back the elven invaders back to their shores and on their ships, a crushing defeat in less than 48 hours. Elven Historians discuss that this defeat was instrumental in removing the public trust from the wizards, and let to the glorious revolution. Whether or not this is true, the people of the Jaguar Continent are known to be the most furious and bloodthirsty of all the fighters in the world. The people on the Jaguar continent believe in the concept of absolute freedom. A farmer is free to murder his village’s taskmaster and take his place, just as his neighbor is free to betray him and take his lands. This freedom goes all the way to the top, and leads to everyone knowing who may be out to get him, and how able he is at a given job. The only people exempt of the freedom of ‘blood succession’, are the members of the fighting force, known only as Jaguars. A jaguar is an amalgam between a special force team and an adventuring party. Necessarily formed of three people, one of the fangs, one of the scales and one of the wings, Jaguars are revered as some of the mightiest swordsmen, archers or casters in the known world. Summoners are exceptionally common in the Jaguar continent, and so are Slayers and Antipaladins.