The Krosven Steppe
Races of Iro
The Big Four
Humans: The dominant race of Iro, particularly in Eora, humans have existed since the beginning of life in the world. They were, according to Skallanite dogma, born out of the heart of the Humanoid and possess an extraordinary sense of hope and determination unseen in the other races, and can be found in almost every nook and cranny of Iro.
Elves: The dominant race of Valden, elves were first seen circa 1E 343, and two years later they marched upon the ancient city of Kokator, wearing armor unseen by the Thousand Tribes and carrying deadly, advanced weaponry. The elves took over the city and enslaved the Thousand Tribes for over 800 years. No one, not even the elves, are sure where they came from; some say they crossed the Avalia Ocean in enormous ships, other say they descended from sprawling mountaintop cities in the Spine, and some even believe they fell from the sky. Most elves agree, however, that they existed long before the other races were born. Since they have such long lifespans, elves tend to be aloof and uncaring of small events, instead focusing on the greater picture.
The High Elves live in the forests of northern Valden, and are more human-friendly than their counterparts, the Wood Elves, who, despite the name, tend to live in the swamps of Blackmarsh, keeping to themselves. The Drow were normal elves who were captured by dwarven forces in the First Era, and banished to work in their mines, never to see the sun again. Once the Treaty of Ironrock was signed, the Drow were allowed to return to the surface. Some did, but most delved deeper into the Underdark, where they began to worship the Spider Queen, Lolth.
Dwarves: The dwarves are a hardy race that lives either in the Spine, or near it. In Skallanite dogma they were formed from the hands of the Humanoid, and were supposedly born inside the rock itself. They are fond of drinking and games involving brute strength, and their keen sense of the rock makes them integral for parties venturing under the earth.
The Hill Dwarves have settled in villages along the foothills of the Spine, where they tend to act as ambassadors to the other races in terms of introducing them to dwarven culture. The Mountain Dwarves live in vast carved cities underneath the Spine, and are notoriously xenophobic.
Halflings: In the middle of Iro, along the nebulous Borderlands between Eora and Valden, lie the numerous halfling villages. The halflings were created out of the feet of the Humanoid and are excellently swift and silent at the same time. However, most halflings decry adventuring, perfectly content to live in their half-buried homes and eat fanciful feasts all day. Those that do wish to see more are often hired on as scouts or thieves.
Lightfoot halflings hail from the central part of Iro. Since their home is and was directly in the path of numerous armies throughout the ages, the Lightfoot have learned how to keep quiet and out of the way when trouble comes. The Stout halflings, meanwhile, live in the western part of Iro, specifically in Red Keep, a series of caverns hollowed out long ago by dragons who have since been killed or pushed out. The Stout have intermingled with the dwarves and thus are hardier than their cousins.
The Lesser Races
Dragonborn: Hailing from the Yonavi Islands, the dragonborn are an interesting race. They claim to be born from the scales of the Humanoid, but Skallanite dogma does not suggest that the Humanoid had scales, leading many to believe that the dragonborn were created by Sut, the Trickster, likely by fucking a dragon. (Gods, am I right?) To what end Sut created them no one knows. The dragonborn sailed into southern Valden in the second era, seeking peaceful relations with the elves, who agreed after a long, 100 year debate. The two have since formed an alliance that lasts to this day. Despite their polar opposite demeanors (dragonborn are highly crude and clan-oriented, and are basically the sailors of Iro), the elves and the dragonborn get along famously, and since their meeting in the second era, the dragonborn have made a name for themselves as sailors, warriors, and excellent shipwrights.
Gnome: Distant cousins of the halflings, gnomes settled along the northern part of the Spine and into the fringe of the Frozen Forest, known as the Warmweald. They were born from the mouth of the Humanoid, which is why you can never get a gnome to shut up. They are tiny beings full of personality and wit, and they love adventuring, or any excuse to get out and explore the world.
The forest gnomes who live in the Warmweald are very secretive and tend to keep their homes secret from outsiders, while the rock gnomes are better known as they are master inventors, creating many of the items you see and use every day. For this reason they are known colloquially as “tinkerers.”
Half-Elf: Half-elves are the offspring of humans and elves and were once shunned by both. In fact, it wasn’t until well into the Second Era that humans accepted half-elf children into Eora at all; half-elf children were once either exiled permanently to Valden or murdered shortly after birth. The elves typically used half-elves as slaves for their dirty work, a practice that dwindled in the end of the Second Era. After the birth of the Republic and the Humanity Doctrine was drafted, the practice of slavery was outlawed and half-elves were finally given equal(ish) rights to humans and elves. Today, half-elves are seen often in cities and villages alike, though they keep a wary eye on those around them. Half-elves are impotent, by the way, which is another reason why everyone thought it was cool to enslave or murder them.
Half-Orcs: If you thought half-elves were treated poorly, let’s talk about the half-orc, a creature almost always born out of brutal rape between a human and an orc. Half-orcs are to this day seen as inferior beings, but the Doctrine, coupled with the rise of Padorism, has given them immunity from being murdered and aborted left and right. Unlike half-elves, half-orcs are not impotent, and it is only through breeding with each other that they have managed to survive in Iro. They tend to live in the harsher lands of the world: the turbulent Northern Coasts, the lava-singed foothills beneath Father’s Fire, and in various and dangerous underground caverns that are linked directly with the Underdark. Interestingly enough, it is the Padorans who have given the half-orcs a voice; specifically, Inhalers have sent missionaries to various half-orc settlements to preach about Padora’s greatness. The half-orcs hate it, but begrudgingly allow them to stay in exchange for increased freedom. Thus, many half-orcs become Peacekeepers.
Tieflings: Like half-elves and half-orcs, tieflings have had a rough time of things. They are the offspring of humans and demons, or humans and other tieflings. As you can imagine, during the World War some demon and human, ahem, interaction went on. Much of it was rape, but there were also dozens of “demon cults” out there who welcomed the demons into Eora with open arms (and legs). Because of this, tieflings are met with wariness. The elves, who allied with the demons originally, took pity on these new tieflings and allowed them to remain in Valden, where the majority of them live to this day. Many tieflings do live in Eora, and those that do tend to be shrewd businessmen or merchants, getting by on their charisma and their hard work.
[Elemental Evil Races: These are from the Elemental Evil supplement, which I am incorporating because WotC published it for free and it’s great.]
Aarakocra: These bird people hail from vast, elaborate eyries located high up in the Spine. They are a very secretive race and do not like to mingle with the other races whenever possible. However, some aarakocra, do descend to Iro to do business with the dwarves, and still others pledge to join adventurers for various reasons, but mostly because they were exiled from their eyrie. Aarakocra in general are from the Elemental Plane of Air, and so it was assumed that the peaks of the Spine held portals to said plane, though Thomas Krosven found no such thing at the top of the Knob. The aarakocra themselves aren’t sure how they got here, only that they’ve been here “since before you.”
Svirfneblin (deep gnomes): These gnomes live primarily underground and in the Underdark, in enormous cities built into solid rock. They are friends of the dwarves and often help them with deep mining. Most other races will never see a deep gnome in their lifetime.
Genasi: Genasi are offspring of mortals and genies. They do not exist in Iro, though one of the adventurers you’ve been traveling with, Nova, is one. How she got here, no one knows.
Goliath: Goliath have been spoken about infrequently, living in caves in the tallest points of the Spine. No one outside of the aarakocra has seen one, and the aarakocra only see goliath when goliath are hunting for food…. Goliath who are considered not useful in their tribe are exiled, and very, very few of those exiled ones will descend to the surface to do odd jobs for dwarves and halflings. Chances are, if you’ve seen a goliath, it was a malnourished one working as a sideshow performer.