Humans

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CONTENTS


CONTINENT

The human continent of Ornoth lies in the centre of the known world. South of the equator, it stretches taller and wider than the birthplaces of most of the other races. Its borders are not fixed, defined instead by the extent to which humanity has spread. In the Age Before, this was limited to small villages wherever arable land could be found and farmed and held strong against the encroaching wilderness – but in the First Age, the boundaries of human habitation have spread to encompass most of the mainland, stymied only by the vast tangles of The Great Forest to the south, The Norwood to the north-east, and Vidar Forest to the north-west. The raging current and dangerous reefs off the north shore of the continent as well as the monstrosities that inhabit the Northern Ocean hinder exploration in that direction, and the cliffs bordering the Sterling Sea make maritime adventuring difficult. The human propensity for invention and adaptibility means that these will not stand as barriers for too long, though.


SPIRITS

Humans share a strange relationship with the spirits. In exchange for the energy they need to survive, the spirits provide advice and magical support to their human charges. Those who do not wish to come under the control or influence of a spirit’s energies seek paths to power that the spirits cannot influence, either through the development of the magical power contained within themselves, or through rigorous study of the power the spirits control.

The spirits that cohabit with humanity are more varied and are able to wield more power than those spirits who share the dwellings of the older races. Since only a small number of scholars have travelled to other lands, there is currently no accepted theory as to why this is. Perhaps humans are more powerful sources of the energy the spirits live on – with their shorter lifespans, they have to fit more living into fewer years, and this provides rich sustenance for the spirits. Pessimistic sages suggest that perhaps the converse is true – humans’ lives are short because the spirits leech away their energy too quickly. Other proposed explanations include the presence of the spine of the Great Dragon in the middle of the continent, an unusual concentration of ley lines, the absence of other intelligent races native to Ornoth, and one particularly bigoted theory that humans are innately superior to all other races. However, not even the spirits themselves know for certain.


OTHER RACES

Dwarves are fond of humanity’s adaptibility and virtue, but the inconsistency of their cultural landscape is a little off-putting. Humans can come closer to acting as true dwarves than any other race, but at the same time they can be almost elflike, or as dark as the monsters that lurk underground.

The degree of variety in human culture fascinates elves. Of all the races, humans display the greatest adaptibility and zest for life. On the other hand, humans lack the long-term perspective that elves possess, a fact that frustrates the elves.

To gnomes, humans represent a constant yearning for change and growth often not present in the longer-lived races. They share the gnomes’ inventive spirit in many ways, and strive to improve themselves and others. The problem with this is that the short lives of humans make them disorganised and unpredictable.

Halflings enjoy the company of humans more than that of any other race. Endlessly adaptable and ever-changing, they are very much like halflings in spirit. Halflings consider humans big and goofy, but rather sweet in their own way.


CLASSES

BERSERKER (Barbarian)

Berserkers live mainly in the savage regions of the continent. Vidar Forest is home to a number of barbaric tribes, with complex relationships connecting them all to each other. A few communities of wild men subsist in the swampy areas around Green Marsh, and three clans live high upon Hermit Plateau. Rumours persist of uncivilized settlements past the southern reaches of the Great Forest.

A settlement’s reaction to berserkers generally depends on how geographically close the town is to one of these wild areas.
  • Yarad Crossing and Port Deas are the most accepting, as they have to deal with the rowdy antics of sailors and adventurers all the time – berserkers are usually not much worse than those.
  • Caitan, Sparks Hill, Agium, New Sephos, and outer Redking are tolerant towards the berserkers, provided that they don’t cause too much trouble.
  • Lake’s End and Kwona really don’t care one way or the other, and the people of Caravan never let prejudice get in the way of their trading.
  • Redking proper and Ravenwatch are more sheltered than the other towns, and are not especially fond of berserkers – largely due to the stories of them starting bar fights that end up destroying whole neighbourhoods and the like.
  • Chakor enslaves the natives that live in the south of the Great Forest, who usually have berserker tribal leaders. Because of the trouble they encounter when trying to capture slaves from these southern barbarian-led clans, the residents of Chakor hate berserkers, no matter their place of origin.

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MINSTREL (Bard)

While there are a number of musicians, singers, etc wandering the land, only a few of them are professional, adventurer-quality minstrels. Most of these have come from the musical college in New Sephos, although a few have been individually taught by older musicians. They can be found everywhere, either wandering from town to town or employed by taverns or wealthy patrons.

Almost every town welcomes wandering musicians and minstrels. However, the musicians themselves (generally) tend to avoid Chakor and Agium, the former because if they are good at what they do they are likely to end up as some rich Chakan’s slave, and the latter because Agians have strange tastes in music. On the other hand, a minstrel who can play Agian music can make a small fortune playing in bars. Lake’s End is another spot to steer clear of, as the sickness there is extremely contagious.

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PRIEST (Cleric)

Priests are those of each town that feel a particular connection to their spirit. There is no “normal” or “average” priest, as each town’s are different. However, they all share a deep sense of commitment to their spirit and town, and the gift of magical power that has been granted to them.

The priests enjoy positions of trust and some power in their home towns, but in other towns their reception is much more varied. Towns with similar outlooks or goals usually make each others’ clerics feel welcome, and incompatible spirits are usually cold or outright hostile towards priests not of their faith.

For information on which priests are welcome in which towns, see Human Town Links.

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SHAMAN (Druid)

Shamans are not often found in a large settlement unless it has some connection with nature. There are three types of town – those with close ties to nature are Caitan and Lake’s End, but Redking City and Chakor are too big to have any meaningful connection to nature anymore (if ever there was one). The other towns are about average. In settlements smaller than town size, shamans are a lot more common. Their connection to nature is a lot more important to villagers, who often live only a few score yards away from groves of trees, rivers, and other nature-type things.

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WARRIOR (Fighter)

From stalwart defenders to cruel marauders, warriors are a common sight across Ornoth. Towns that suffer monster incursions with any sort of frequency employ trained militia to repel the invaders, and all of the militia have some training as warriors. Warriors are accepted in every settlement, although some towns request that warriors not wear armour or carry weapons while in town – and the more dangerous-looking ones are usually watched fairly closely anyway.

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CRUSADER (Paladin)

Since crusaders are the embodiment of their town’s spirit, their behaviour is as varied as the spirits themselves. The crusader of Kwona is often out checking on the mages near the town, making sure that they haven’t forgotten to eat or been consumed by unholy fire or anything like that. In stark contract, the crusader of Chakor is known (but not by name) for personally capturing and enslaving hundreds of people and sending them to work in the mines.

Because crusaders are the envoys of their spirit, one can usually find at least one or two in Ravenwatch sorting out trade agreements, settling disputes before they get out of hand, or just simply talking.

For information on how a particular spirit’s crusader is received in other towns, see Human Town Links.

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HUNTER (Ranger)

Hunters are usually from settlements of village size or smaller, and serve as protectors in lieu of the more formally-trained warriors that larger towns have. Villages situated near forests tend to have more hunters than anywhere else, due to the higher concentration of wild animals and the correspondingly greater need for folk who can exert some measure of control over them. Most hunters stay near their homes and forests, but a few take up adventuring to hone their skills. They are usually welcomed in smaller settlements, and in towns and cities they are treated much the same as warriors.

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SNEAK (Rogue)

Sneaks are quite a diverse lot, with different types coming from different towns. Redking sneaks tend more towards brutality (usually hidden beneath a thin facade of civility), while those few that hail from Ravenwatch focus on stealth and avoiding confrontation. Since many are adept in the art of disguise, sneaks are not usually recognized as such, and their acceptance into a settlement depends on what they are pretending to be.

Caravan is suspected to harbour a small number of sneaks, since items from the larger towns and cities tend to go missing just after the caravan takes its leave.

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BLOOD MAGE (Sorcerer)

Blood mages are not uncommon among humans, but many do not seek to develop their talents. In most settlements there is at least one person with some innate magical ability, and while some use their power to help themselves and others, the majority do not because of simple prejudice. Those that choose to pursue the path of the blood mage usually do not fit in well in their home town, or come from a village with a particularly independent or free-willed spirit.

Adventuring blood mages sometimes have a scholar for a travelling companion, as the myraid uses of magic are still being discovered and documented – and what better way to discover than to witness first-hand?

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SCHOLAR (Wizard)

The majority of those who seek out knowledge are at least somewhat interested in the arcane arts. To those who are not, this is quite the hindrance – not only they are expected to know small insignificant spells, but when visiting villages or even some small towns they usually find themselves coerced into performing them to entertain anything from a single child up to the whole village. As a result of this, even the scholars who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of knowledge other than magical know several cantrips. This turns it into a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, unfortunately.

Scholars are initially welcomed into almost any settlement, but few can stand the enticements to “perform” and the slowly increasing hostility when they refuse for more than about a week. In more magic-accepting towns, this week is usually more like a month, and can even stretch long enough for the scholar to settle down and become a permanent resident. In the more common case, they take their leave rather rapidly, mostly with some kind of damaged structure featuring prominently in the tales told of it afterwards.

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Humans

Dei Penates ArcaneZedric