Species, Biology, and Heritage
The peoples of Atheles are many and varied. Those who currently reside in this world may have evolved here, traveled here from the stars, or were pulled by cosmic forces. Here they are divided by species, biology, and heritage.
Species: Those of the same species can procreate and share a common origin, though there is often great biological diversity within a species.
Biology: Refers to the biological differences that exist within a given species.
Heritage: Refers to the skills and knowledge passed down in a person’s culture. While a heritage is based on abilities common to a species, it is not necessarily exclusive to that species. For example, a dworv raised by fauns may have a Fey heritage. Everyone’s story is individual, and you’re free to choose.
Terians, which include both terans and dworves, originated on Atheles and have a close connection to the world. The dworves evolved first, but were put to sleep for many millennia and have only recently (in the last 4000 years) been awakened. Terans evolved when Atheles was inhabited by elves and eldar, who ignored terans until they gained enough technology and strength to become a nuisance. The terans grew in population until they became the most dominant race in the world.
Teran: +1 to any skill (Misc. Mod.)
Lifespan: 60 years average Height: 5’ 8” average Weight: 180 lb average Speed: 30
Terans are a diverse and prolific race. Their average lifespan is 60 years, though it is said those of the Aradan kingdom lived longer, with magic and advanced medicine responsible for fewer diseases and debilitating injuries. Terans spread across Atheles more quickly than any other race. The average teran family has 3-5 children, causing their population to thrive. The teran population was decimated after the war 700 years ago, but is now growing again, repopulating the cities and lands of their ancestors.
Dworv: low light vision 60’
Lifespan: 150 years average Height: 4’5” average Weight: 195 lb average Speed: 20
The dworves were the first sentient people on Atheles, but were put into a long magical sleep by the gods, awakening just 4,000 years ago. The dworves of Atheles are a very industrious culture, believing the only time a person’s hands should be still is when they have passed from this world. While several dworven cultures exist, the one that is best known in Atheles is the dworves of Greyhelm, a grouping of cities at the base of the Swordspyne Mountains in the East.
Dwarves stand just over four feet tall and are almost as wide. They have large eyes, though in the daylight, their heavy lids often give the impression they are squinting. Since they work throughout their lives, often reaching a venerable age of 180, they are typically muscular and deft of hand. They have a great mechanical aptitude, and can figure out most mechanical devices with deductive reasoning.
Dweran: low light vision 30’
Lifespan: 85 years average Height: 5’ 3” average Weight: 225 lb average Speed: 25
Very rarely, a teran and a dworv produce a child together. While they may choose to be identified as either of their parent’s heritage, they are also known as Dweran. On average, they stand close to 5’ tall and are broader and more muscular than most terans. Dweran are rare, and an adventurer might only come across one or two in all their travels.
Craftsperson: +1 to Endurance (Misc. Mod.), +2 Expertise to knowledge checks on one of the following: stonework, woodwork, or metalwork.
Skilled: +1 to a Skill (Misc. Mod.).
Wanderer: +1 to Survival (Misc. Mod.), once per day you get to reroll on a Knowledge check.
The elves and the eldar were both of the same species, but they differed in origin and physical traits. The eldar have long passed from this world and the elves have long forgotten the world they originally called home.
Elf: harmed by cold iron and steel, low light vision 60’, require little food or water, need only 4 hours of sleep
Lifespan: 250 years average Height: 6’ 6” average Weight: 195 lb average Speed: 30
Elves have tall, slender bodies averaging 6’5” in height. They may have many different skin and hair colors. Their ears are pointed and their features are far more angular than terans and dworves. They live an average of 250 years.
The elves vary greatly in culture, but they share some similarities that players should keep in mind. Until recently, elves had not been seen in Atheles for 700 years. When they arrive in teran-populated areas, they are often looked upon with shock and fright. They have an aura that seems alien to terans. This effect fades with time, but wherever they travel, their appearance might cause problems.
During the Disappearance, all elves were pulled into the In-Between, a limbo between worlds. Time moves much slower there, and only 350 years passed for the elves during the 700 years that elapsed in Atheles. During their time in the In-Between, they could see events in Atheles flash by but were unable to interact. The elves now returning to Atheles have found themselves in an unfamiliar world—the home of their ancestors, which they know only from stories passed down by their elders. They find terans strange, and Atheles, which is much more “solid” than the limbo in which they were born, is overwhelming.
When playing an elf, it should be remembered that they have spent their lives in a strange, dreamlike place, and are now confronted with a new world with unfamiliar physics. Although the elves are powerful, they are not super-powered and may even suffer some disadvantages—which might offer a number of roleplaying opportunities. For example, elves with low Wisdom might have a hard time understanding the world outside their own culture. They might readily accept magic as normal, even mundane, but using it casually in a teran tavern could cause the locals to rise up against the “demons” and their “wicked ways.”
Due to their fey blood, elves cannot use iron without hurting themselves. If an elf wears or uses iron, they take 1d4 damage per hour. Steel causes discomfort such as itching or soreness, but no real damage.
Alostrovari: seafaring (once per day, when on a boat, you may reroll a skill check)
Anarvari: forager (once per day, when in the wilderness, you may reroll a skill check)
Evantari: dazeless (+10 against daze, sleep, or stun-based mind magic)
Geavari: forged in fire (+5 to saves vs heat-based effects, +3 Expertise to Survival checks in the desert)
Kaelvari: fleet of foot (in the forest you move across difficult terrain at normal speed)
Losvari: demon sense (+2 Expertise to Knowledge checks about the Navirim and its inhabitants)
Orovari: wild at heart (+1 to Endurance (Misc. Mod.), +2 Expertise to Knowledge checks about nature)
While part of the same species, many of the different fey biologies cannot reproduce together. The fey have beliefs that this is due to the many facets of magic. Others believe it is due to evolution of the different types in different parts of the multiverse. They fall under the fey species due to other close biological similarities.
Elfling: cold iron causes harm, steel causes discomfort, low light vision 60’
Lifespan: 130 years average Height: 3’ average Weight: 65 lb average Speed: 20
Elfling adventurers are usually on their Calling—a period spanning most of the elfling’s life, when they leave home to travel the lands and fulfill their life’s purpose. An elfling has a difficult time staying in one place for very long, as they are driven by an insatiable need to explore. In a campaign based in one location, an elfling might encourage the group to move, explore, or do anything other than stay in that one place. If the campaign is located in a massive city like Seahaven, the elfling will be content enough to explore all the small areas and dark alleys of the city before wanting to move on.
Despite their size and tendency toward merriment, elflings should never be used as mere comic relief. They see themselves as integral players in the game of living on Atheles, and are rarely petty or trifling. Even when acting as a thief, an elfling would not be motivated by selfishness. Rather, elflings see themselves as agents of the chaos of Creation, so stealing or otherwise disrupting the established order may be considered their divine duty. An elfling might steal from one place only to move the stolen item somewhere else where the victim might find it—just to observe the resulting confusion. This is serious business to an elfling.
But this doesn’t mean they take life seriously, either. They have a great appreciation for jokes, gags, and laughter. This can sometimes annoy other party members, but their Charisma and usefulness usually helps keep them wanted by adventuring parties.
Their selflessness is also a boon for any party. They rarely hesitate to risk themselves for others. They do this not for heroics or morality, but rather for the adventure of it, and perhaps to sate their boundless curiosity.
If elflings travel with companions for a prolonged period of time, they will form a bond with them and come to see the group as their nomadic family: those whom the Universe chose to share in their Calling. The elfling will always protect and help those with whom they have bonded. While this is endearing for companions, their propensity to get themselves in trouble can often swing the balance in the other direction. Having a poor understanding of—or distaste for—teran laws of ownership and control, they often run afoul of constables and nobles.
Due to their fey blood, iron causes discomfort in Elflings. They can use and wear it, but it may cause soreness, itching, or a skin irritation. Their connection with Atheles allows them less pain than other fey.
Feral Elfling: cold iron causes harm, steel causes discomfort, low light vision 60’
Lifespan: 90 years average Height: 3’ average Weight: 65 lb average Speed: 20
Feral elflings were caught between worlds during the Disappearance. They lived in a harsh, dream-like world, fighting for their lives against both the environment and the demons that dwelt there. Unlike their cousins, feral elflings have little problem with violence, due to the extreme measures it took to survive during the Exile, as they call the Disappearance.
They have not adjusted well to life on Atheles, finding its inhabitants soft and weak. They do not get along with others, though some tribes have slowly begun to tolerate contact from the outside.
Physically, they are nearly identical to their elfling cousins, but with more wide set eyes, a paler skin tone, and their characteristic sharpened teeth and tribal scarification.
Due to their fey blood, feral elflings can not use iron without hurting themselves. If a feral elfling wears or uses iron, they take 1d4 damage per hour. Steel causes discomfort, such as itching or soreness, but no real damage. Unlike their western cousins, their time spent in the In-Between caused feral elflings to develop a stronger aversion to iron and steel.
Faun: cold iron causes harm, steel causes discomfort, low light vision 30’
Lifespan: 100 years average Height: 5’ 6” average Weight: 155 lb average Speed: 30
Fauns are a reclusive race found in the Eastlands. They live in small communities deep in the forests, where they trade amongst themselves and with teran settlements when the need arises.
They stand about six feet tall and resemble terans. They have more body hair than most other races, pointed ears, and small horns. Their feet end in two large, flat toes, although they can still wear standard boots and shoes. They live an average of 100 years, though the loss of their habitat and disease has shortened their lifespans in recent centuries. Physically, fauns tend to be androgynous, and their culture recognizes three sexes. They have no terms for gender and often struggle with other cultures’ strict classifications and beliefs.
As a culture, they revere nature-based magic and talents.
Ancient Fey: +2 to saves vs charm, animal friend (can use the spell Calm Animal as a Standard Action)
Chaos Fey: fearless (+10 against fear-based magic)
Wasteland Fey: +1 to Survival (Misc. Mod.)