Little is known about this shy, reclusive folk. Physically, they average around three feet high, about half the height of a human (hence the name) and are therefore quite weak. They are surprisingly tough and incredibly agile -- halfling quickness is deceptive, and some adventurers get more than they bargain for when they tangle with a Halfling. They are fond of good company and good drink, and are very soft-hearted overall. But when a Halfling is cornered, or his home (or food and drink!) is threatened, they will fight with a ferocity that would startle any but the most seasoned of adventurers. Halflings do not take too well to magic, and seldom is a Halfling seen who can demonstrate magical powers of any sort. Show a Halfling a good beer, a comfortable seat, and pleasant company, and you will have a friend for life! They make incredible Thieves, due to their innate agility and stealth.
The origins of humanity are shrouded in obscurity. This may seem a ludicrous statement, but the fact is there -- humans just mysteriously appeared one day. Theories on this event are numerous. Some say the Elves found humanity's ancestors roaming in the woods, and nurtured them over the ages until they were mature enough to survive as a sentient species. Another hypothesis is that humans are from a distant star, and that one day a great sky-craft collided with this land and created the barren wasteland to the east. Whatever the solution is, the Elves will not, or cannot say. In any case humans have flourished in the past four hundred years, and now their domain is such that they are the most numerous people in the realm. Human males average just under six feet tall, and females about five and a half. They have no extra special abilities or aptitudes save for their versatility and drive. They do equally well in any class, but are nicely suited for the Ranger and Druid classes, which require well developed statistics all around.
Half-Orcs are almost exclusively the result of an Orc raid on a Human village. They are not terrible-looking, having only the squinty eyes, pronounced canines and coarse hair of an orc, but the innate Orcish poor temper is passed on to these offspring. They are much better behaved than Orcs, and do not have the homicidal hatred for the other races that Orcs do (unless they have been raised by Orcs, and then you will see them only as your foes). They are somewhat dull-witted, and are not terribly patient but they are tough as nails and are relentless in battle. Having a trustworthy Half-Orc companion is like having your own personal army. They excel in all things martial, especially in the Witchunter class, where their instinctive fear of magic can be used to advantage. Half-Orcs are almost universally mistrusted, which is quite unfortunate since they are not horrible by nature, and so must continually prove their worth. Many Half-Orcs seek mercenary service, where no questions are asked and where their strength is in demand.
Elves are the Elder race. They are as old as the trees and the rivers they love so dearly. Ever since time has been recorded, the Elves have been there, singing and tending to the forest animals. Nowadays the Elves are few in number, their folk slowly dwindling as the groves they live in are hewn down. They do not begrudge this, though, but see it as the passing of man age, the time of Humans. The Elves seen in cities are the very young, high-spirited and short on experience. They seem almost like children -- excitable and inquisitive, even though some of them may be older than entire human lineages. Physically, Elves are quite tall, the same height as humans, but seem much taller due to their slimness. They are extremely magical creatures, and many are pacifistic -- unless there is some cause for action. In that case, they make savage fighters, both with spell and sword. Elves make great Mages, Warlocks and Gypsies, due to their quick wits and grace. They can see well in the dark, and have increased power in spellcasting professions.
Goblins have a decidedly mixed reputation. First off, they average about five feet tall, have pale green or grey skin, and save for the fine, luxuriant hair on their heads they have little or no body hair. They are almost always smiling, in that white, sharp-toothed grin of theirs, and more often than not you cannot tell whether or not they are eyeing you like a side of meat. Despite their unsettling near-savagery they have a disarming charm which almost offsets their strange appearance. Almost. Goblins are thin and wiry, small and compact but very tough for their size. They are extremely intelligent, and are exceedingly agile -- they are well-suited for any Mage or Thief class, though are in their element in the Gypsy class. Goblins are fond of bartering, and will sit for hours to haggle down the price of a loaf of bread by one copper coin. Many wealthy merchants hire a Goblin to deal with others of his kind, and the sight of two goblins in a haggling contest is a sight to see! They are stealthy, and have night vision.
The feral folk known as the Nekojin hail from the far east, past the Dwarven stronghold of Khazarad, where the burning desert wastes lay. They are a cat-like race, with long tufted ears and large oval eyes that glitter with a predatory intelligence. Nekojin stand about five feet tall on average, but weigh only slightly more than half a human's weight. Blindingly quick, they have a natural charm and speed that often over-whelms all who meet them. Though they are not well-suited for scholarly pursuits, they are natural stalkers and excel in any stealthy profession. Hailing from the desert, they resist heat and fire, but are vulnerable to cold attacks. Nekojin are ferocious, proud, extravagant, and extremely competitive. They love to show off and are quite friendly when the mood suits them. All Nekojin are very stealthy, can see well in the dark, and have a natural tracking ability.
Imagine a cross between a snake and a lizard, standing on two feet like a human and with predatory intelligence, and what you have is the Kang. They are a mysterious folk that live in the depths of secluded swamps and jungles, and are rarely seen in mannish cities. When they do venture forth it is to see the odd splendour of the outside world, and so the specimens encountered outside of their homes are usually more intelligent and friendly than their exotic swamp neighbours. Kang are tall, many nearing seven feet in height, and are broadly muscled. Their scaly skin is much thicker than human skin, and is a different colour for each tribe. They have a strange loping walk, and are not very flexible, which is odd since they are snake-like. Kang apparently worship a deity of Peace and Healing, and many of them are Paladins, on some personal crusade to extinguish all evil in the land. They are fierce fighters, and excel as Clerics, Warriors and Witchunters. Kang are apparently immune to, or at least resistant to, all known poisons.
Half-Ogres are the offspring of an Orc and an Ogre. No-one really knows, or wants to know how this comes about. They are about seven feet tall, and are quite hairless. Their bodies are nearly all muscle, and their strength is unmatched for creatures their size. Unfortunately, they have all the cunning and tact of a six-year-old-human, and the coordination of a drunk. Half-Ogres have a rash temper, but are easily distracted, and so if you are careful it is possible to avoid conflict with one. Many store-owners have Half-Ogre workers, for they can work tirelessly and can lift hundred-pound barrels with ease. They have neither the near-berserk fury of Ogres, nor the animal intelligence of Orcs, but have a simple kind of personality which is almost pitiable. They are not truly evil, but are frequently exploited due to their stupidity. Half-Ogres are almost exclusively Warriors. Due to their lack of focus, they cannot learn Kai skills, but can learn powers. All are quite resistant to hostile magic. A powerful, but extremely slow race.
Dwarves are the second oldest race known today. The Elves, of course, are the first. Dwarves average about four and a half feet in height, and tip the scales at around two hundred pounds each. They are a solitary folk, and do not easily welcome strange people -- but do not mistake this for hostility. Once you have gained a Dwarf's friendship, that bond will last to the death (or betrayal). They are cautious and slow to anger, but once their wrath is roused they are terrible enemies. Dwarves love and craft precious gems and metals of all sorts, and are great worksmiths. They manufacture worthy and elaborate suits of mail, and craft gleaming axes with blades of true-silver. These items seldom leave the underground homes of the Dwarves, but there are stories of heroes who have done some great service and have received such a gift. Dwarves make excellent Clerics, Paladins and Warriors. Their stubborn nature and strong willpower give them good defense against magic. Overall, Dwarves are a resilient folk who should not lightly be trifled with.
Also known simply as 'Gaunts', this mysterious and reclusive folk are by far the least fathomable of the known races. Physically, they are immediately recognizable-- they stand seven feet tall on average, but are incredibly thin. They have long limbs and an elongated face, with large eyes that radiate a pale glow. Gaunts dwell in the most remote areas of the realm, and rarely mix with other folk. When they do, it is most often to hire someone to obtain rare materials, which (it is rumored) they use for highly magical purposes. As a race they are incredibly brilliant, with a masterful grasp of all things arcane and forgotten. They are also quite devious, and show little emotion -- a combination which makes folk fearful and suspicious of their motives. Outsiders never see their concealed homes. Gaunts' eyes are extremely magical, allowing them perfect vision in total darkness, as well as a heightened perception. Rumours abound about a secret ritual that allows them, after attaining a certain level of power, to see hidden people.
Gnomes are distant cousins of the Dwarves. They are about the same heightas Dwarves, but are considerably slimmer. Long ago a tribe of Dwarves made ts home on the surface, far from the ancient homeland. Over the centuries this tribe changed, becoming less dependent on their muscles and more on their wits. As this progressed, the natural technological ability of the Dwarves was changed into something more refined than metallurgy or mining: machinery. Where an Elf sees a waterfall and reflects on its natural beauty, and a Dwarf sees only the precious stones being smoothed in its waters, a Gnome plots water-wheels and dams. Gnomes are cunning and inventive, always thinking up new plots and trying to devise more and more efficient ways to do things. They make proficient Mages and Thieves, because they have natural cunning and curiosity. Gnomes can see well in the dark due to their Dwarven ancestry, as well as having an inborn facility with locks and a slightly increased resistance to hostile magics.
Half-Elves are the offspring of a Human and an Elf. Most are born from Human raids into Elven lands -- Humans can sometimes be despicable -- but some are the result of an Elf and Human partnership. This is a rare occasion, for though Elves are very beautiful to Humans, they are aloof, and rarely mix with others. This dubious background makes many Half-Elves bitter and so they remain loners, not wanting to be part of any culture (and in their minds, not welcome). These are usually ferocious and un-trusting, but make good allies if you can gain their respect. They look much like humans, except they are slimmer and more attractive, with slightly Elven features. They mix the good qualities of both races, and are quite versatile. Half-Elves have the same increased magical power as their Elven cousins, and often choose the path of the Ranger or Druid, due to their preference for solitude.
Dark-Elves are not actually a seperate race, but are in fact a fanatic sect of Elves who believe that the other races of the realm are destroying the ancient homelands of the Elves, and must be stopped for this. They are the enemy of all other races (save Elves), and will wage war with anyone who threatens the forests and their homes. Dark-Elves do not accept the traditional Elven belief that this is the natual course of time, and are determined to stop it. Consequently, they are driven from any already-populated area, and so make their homes far from the wooded groves they love. Most live in the mountains, or in caves, and thus have a much more pallid complexion than their sylvan brethren. Due to their harsher lives they are tougher and less friendly between themselves. Any Dark-Elf seen outside of a stronghold is one who does not agree with the intolerant views of his people -- an outcast. Dark-Elves are more skilled in combat than the Elves, but are less powerful magically, making them ideally suited to be Warlocks, Gypsies or Ninjas.
Witchunters are a breed of elite warriors who have taken a vow to destroy all magical enemies. They will use no magical weapons, armour or items, and will only grudgingly accept beneficial spells being cast on them. They are trained from birth to be ferocious and efficient fighters, and will give no quarter when faced with an enemy spell-caster. During their training to become Witchunters they develop a strong anti-magic aura which interferes with spells being cast on them. This is due to their near-fanatical focus and their strong willpower. They will use any non-magical weapon, but will wear no armour heavier than Scale because they favor quick, complex attacks that heavy armour will not permit.
These are the holy warriors of the realm. Dedicated to fighting for their deity (which can be good OR evil, take note!), they are serious fighters with minor priestly powers. They can use any weapon or armour, but prefer swords. The Knights of the King are Paladins, as are many of the wandering warriors you see patrolling the roads. Most Paladins will actively help anyone in need, even risking their own lives to save the ones they aid. Evil Paladins, of course, further their deity's will by slaying all people not of their own faith, so be wary when meeting a stranger offering help.
Clerics are martial Priests. While Priests prefer using spells, Clerics prefer to fight. And they are quite good at it, too. Like Priests, they do not enjoy bloodshed (although a little maiming is just fine), and will only use blunt weapons. They will wear any armour in the fight against their foes, and quite a few wear the most armour they can get. Clerics are an effective class, and have a strong survival rate due to their good armour and healing spells. They are a valuable addition to any party.
Priests embody the virtue of their deities, be they good or evil. They channel the power of the gods to cast their spells and are notably intolerant of Priests of a different faith. Good Priests are welcome in all cities for their invaluable healing services, and for their spiritual guidance. Evil Priests are universally shunned, for their magical practices often require human sacrifice. In fact, evil Priest seems to enjoy these disgusting rites, which only perpetuates the disgust felt for them. Priests wear only robes and use blunt weapons, for good priests do not wish to kill needlessly, and evil priests do not want the victims to bleed to death before they can use them.
Missionaries are almost a contradictory class -- they essentially are Thieves with Priestly powers. This may seem an odd combination, but the need is there -- Missionaries need some stealth when voyaging into heathen lands to convert others to their faith. They have good Priest magic and knowledge, and also the trouble-solving thief skills. Overall, hey are more skulkers than fighters, but can fight well when the need arises. Often they make good spies, as they already have good stealth and evasion skills. Missionaries will use any one-handed weapon, and can wear only leather armour.
The Thief class is fairly self-explanatory. Thieves steal, for different reasons, and are very good at it. Not all thieves rob for personal gain: many are vigilantes, robbing sleazy nobles to help the poor. Others rarely use their thieving skills and are basically scouts, creeping ahead to survey enemies. Of course most thieves rob for their own benefit, and thus it is usually good to keep an eye on all Thieves in your party, even if they have given their word they will not rob you. Thieves have a number of useful abilites, including Thievery, Stealth, Lockpicking, and Traps. They can use any one-handed weapon, and will wear no armour greater than leather due to their need for stealth. Thieves can also Backstab from the shadows when they are hidden, as can any class with Stealth.
Bards are the wandering entertainers of the realm, traveling from city to city while playing songs of merriment and bringing information. In that last respect, Bards are very important: few people travel far, and for some places Bards are the only source of outside information. Thus, they are often warmly greeted and usually stay free of charge at any place they frequent. Bards are trained in exclusive colleges, where they are taught a multitude of things, from swordplay, to stealth, to magic. Bards practice a unique form of magic by using their considerable musical talents to weave spells. These spells usually take the form of charming magic. They can only use one-handed weapons, as they disdain heavy, slow weapons, and will wear only leather armour.
Gypsies, if it is at all possible, travel even more than the Bards. In many respects, the two classes are quite similar: they both have the same assortment of weapons, armour and skills. There is a profound difference, though, and that is the fact that Gypsies are not nearly as welcome as Bards. This is because when a Gypsy band comes through town, things always disappear. They are almost compulsive thieves -- but they are not evil. Gypsies just make their money by 'alternate means', as they say. They also command respectable magics, and this has saved many a Gypsy skin when the authorities have come to get them. Gypsies use the same weapons as thieves, for they need stealth to use their abilities, and because they need freedom in all things they do.
Warlocks are the front-line fighters in any magical conflict. They combine the best abilities of both the Warrior and Mage classes, but as a result are not quite as effective as either of those 'pure' classes. The Warlock class is quite a powerful one, though, when you think of what a good fighter could do with potent magical spells! The King's Battle-Mage corps is comprised almost exclusively of Warlocks. They eschew the heavier armor in favor of lighter armor, as speed is a necessity when casting spells. They need one hand free to direct their ranged spells, so they may only use one-handed weapons.
There are as many kinds of Mages as there are other classes: Wizards, Sorcerors, Necromancers, Summoners, Transmuters, Elementalists, and a dozen more. Most of these specialists, though, never venture forth from their respective towers as they are not very well suited to adventuring. For this reason, most magic-users you meet in cities will be general Mages. These people are quite powerful, and wield a potent magical arsenal. Mages have at their command mostly combat and defense spells, as they are either adventurers, searching for fortune, or are the emissaries of other Wizards, who need them to search out lost artifacts or spell components. Either way, they are formidable and unpredictable foes. Mages use only staves (including the staff-sling) and daggers in combat, as they need as much mobility as possible. For this reason also, they will only wear robes for protection, and thus rely on their magic for protection.
Druids are the traditional protectors of the forest. They worship and revere all forms of wildlife and nature. They are usually solitary folk, each keeping watch of a different part of the wilderness, but in times of need they come forth to preserve the balance of nature. Normally they are quite pacifistic, and avoid combat, but when the balance of things is in danger or their wilderness is threatened, they will retaliate with force. Druids command substantial magics, and will not hesitate to use them in the process of cleansing their lands from intruders. Druids use only blunt weapons as they find bloodshed distasteful, but if they are caught unaware they will use their sickles to defend themselves. They will wear only natural armor. The Druids and the Rangers are very close, and they often consult each other on the ways of the world.
Rangers are the hunters and protectors of the wilderness, along with the Druids. They will never willingly harm an animal, but will fight in self-defense if necessary. Rangers share the same attitudes as the Druids in respect to what they believe in, and in fact, Rangers are just more adventurous and militant Druids. Some unscrupulous Rangers use their abilities for man-hunting, at which they excel. All of them practice some form of druidic magic, and this combined with their formidable combat abilities and their stealth makes them powerful characters. Rangers are excellent sneakers and can plan an ambush quite well if it is necessary. They wear only leather armour, for they need stealth and mobility to employ their powers, but they will use any weapon. Overall, Rangers are a powerful and expensive class.
Warriors are the basic front-line fighters in any party. They are able to use any weapons and wear any armour, and have good Combat and Hit Points. Even though they are a basically simple class, they are quite effective and can be varied: Warriors are guardsmen, mercenaries, infantry, bowmen, gladiators, and a multitude of other professions. They have no magical powers but can use any magical weapon or armour piece they can find, as well as all the standard potions.
The origins of the ninja are basically unknown, save for the fact that they come from a distant and exotic land. They seem to have an animosity against mystics, so they probably originate from the same area. Ninjas excel in the art of stealth and subterfuge. While they can fight fairly well in hand to hand combat, they prefer to immobilize their opponent before he would have time to react. After a deadly attack from the shadows, they will usually finish off their victim with their mastery of pressure point attacks. The ninjas of Silvermere have been rumored to be in league with the thieves guild, and are usually hired by them to do the bulk of their dirty work.
Mystics are a rare and unusual class. They are the students of ancient unarmed combat arts, and develop considerable mental powers (called Kai powers) in the course of their training. The source of these Mystics is not well known, but it is generally assumed to be an ancient teacher in some secluded cave. Of course, this Mystic teacher could live right in a city for all that is known. There are fairly advanced disciples in most cities, and they teach these exotic skills to any they deem worthy. They have yet to divulge the location of their master, however. Mystics' unarmed combat is effective against weapons and armour due to their knowledge of critical points. Usually use no weapons at all, but some have become proficient in the staff. They will wear no armour except for robes, as speed is the main element of their art.