Shadow of Night
RACES – PCs
Elves & dwarves – These two races are basically unchanged from what you’re used to from D&D or Tolkien, et al.
The elves live in Khoresh, a vast woodland realm to the east, beyond the Argon Sea and the land of Montair. Many elves travel freely among the humans, desiring to learn more of their culture.
Dwarves are a scattered people, living in large bands wherever work can be found. The largest group close to the starting area on the map actually lives and works in a mountainous island just off the coast of Quana to the West. They have a name for this island, but as the dwarven language is very secretive, they don’t normally tell anyone else what it is. Consequently, most humans refer to it as simply “the dwarves’ island” or something like that. A fair number of dwarves dwell in the human cities also, making them the most common race humans are likely to encounter.
Gnomes – Gnomes are also unchanged, but they are extremely rare. If you have a gnome in your party, expect to be stared at in populated areas. No one is sure about the gnomes of Doron. Where do they come from? Rumors say they have their own land far, far, far to the south, but no one has ever seen it.
Half-elves – Unchanged, but very rare.
Humans – Humans are the most varied of all races. If you choose to create a human character, be aware of various backgrounds, abilities and prejudices, as detailed below. Humanity is primarily divided between the two hemispheres. The two groups don’t exactly hate each other, but they have developed the habit of referring to each other by where they’re from. There aren’t any real differences between them, per se, but it’s important to know where characters are from.
Northmen – The people of the north include those in nations such as Quana and the northern wastelands (Sarg). This also includes a number of variant cultures. See the nation descriptions above as examples. Other nations and territories are also included in this category. Magic is rare in this area, but not unheard of.
Amaiss – Also known as the people of the ice, the Amaiss are a group of loosely-connected tribes who wander the frozen tundra in the far north. They know virtually nothing of magic, but their warriors are strong and unyielding. Their greatest warriors are the Hunters, who specialize in exotic weaponry, led by the Weapons Masters. Generally considered Northmen, but distinctive, nonetheless.
Southmen – An even wider variety of humans fall under this designation. Virtually any possible combination of groups can be imagined (within the quasi-medieval setting). Magic is far more common in the south, but not so common as is typical.
Dark Men – A broad term referring to those men who have fallen under the domination of the Shadow. (This is not a reference to their skin color.) The Shadow drives them onward, giving them unusual perseverance and dedication.
Horna – The blue-skinned Horna come from a land to the south, which has been overrun by the Shadow’s ogre armies. Their appearance is quite bizarre at first look, causing those in normal society to keep hidden most of the time. Besides their skin color, they are mostly hairless and possess a short, curved horn in the center of their forehead. Their strange ability to control their own bone density make them ideal for hand-to-hand combat and agile movements.
Shifters – The bestial shifters come from the wilderlands across the Argon Sea, east of Quana. No one is sure of their origin. Some say they were bred in the ancient years by Ekadiz the Second, in his effort to join the dragon-lords by creating his own slave race. Others tell stranger stories of werewolves and other bizarre creatures in the dark years of Doron. What is known is that the shifters’ bestial nature gives them a special affinity to many other creatures, including the intelligent dinosaurs who share their forest and jungles.
RACES – NPCs
Dinosaurs – Sentient dinosaurs were extremely rare sights up until just a few years ago. Now they can be seen with reasonable regularity within the largest settlements of Quana. It is said they have their own land somewhere across the Argon Sea and to the South, where things are much warmer. Be that as it may, dinosaurs are accepted by some, but distrusted by many, mostly because of their bizarre appearances. The most common dinosaurs that one may encounter within a town or city are the smaller, two-legged varieties, though larger types may offer their services where massive strength can be a huge asset.
Thalassalaos – The legendary “sea people” are said to dwell on a large island known as Arkalania. Very few others have actually been there or seen one of this mysterious race, though it is said they can swim like fish, but are otherwise very similar to humans.
Dragons – Forget what you know about D&D dragons. The dragons of Doron, while visibly and powerfully similar, do not share the same personalities as D&D dragons. While they are intelligent, sentient beings, most (if not all) dragons are totally under the sway of the dragon-lords. Full-grown dragons are extremely rare – perhaps fewer than a dozen still exist. Carn the dragon-lord is usually seen with a massive red dragon.
Ogres – Ogres are somewhat more intelligent than many fantasy settings, but are still remarkably stupid. However, their ferocity in battle cannot be questioned. Some ogres are born with multiple heads, which does nothing to increase their intelligence but does give them surprising advantages in battle. They once had their own language, Ogron, but have not surprisingly forgotten a great deal of it. Their speech today is mostly Common with a spattering of their own words mixed in.
Urzans – The insectoid urzans are among the most feared beasts of Doron. The Shadow is said to have thousands of them in his service, but actual encounters with them have been rare… until recently. Very little is known about them for sure, but they fight with single-mindedness, causing some scholars to theorize a method of communication that does not involve actual speech. To be sure, the urzans seem to talk to each other at times, using a bizarre series of clicks and rasps, but no one is sure if this is an actual language. Everything else about urzans falls into the realm of rumor. No one even seems to be sure about how many arms they have, as the rumors claim anywhere from three to eight!
Dragon-men – The Sciritae, as the dragon-men are also called, are a reptilian race generally found in the service of the dreaded dragon-lords. No one knows their origin, but they are hated by all for their cruelness and rapacity.
Kerensé – The kerensé no longer exist as a race of people, but they are not completely extinct – the dragon-lords remain. Their appearance seems either reptilian or draconic – no one is entirely certain today, as knowledge of the kerensé is mostly forgotten. They were known to be highly intelligent and built amazing works, few of which survive today.
Nomads – The nomads were always few in number, though it is now thought that they are completely extinct. They were rumored to be large in stature, though not as large as ogres, and fierce warriors. The last tribe of nomads lived in the fortress of Lorenga over 300 years ago.