Races and Monsters
Humans – Humans take up the majority of the world’s population. Most cities and kingdoms have their origins in humankind (though some cities have become rather mixed in their racial populace). There are many different subtypes of humans, as well as many different cultures and languages that are practiced by these subtypes.
One group of note, however, is the subrace of Halflings, who are merely humans with stunted growth that leaves them barely taller than a young child. They have developed many skills and talents over the centuries that have actually helped preserve their way of life as wanderers and troublemakers. They are probably the most-often encountered humanoid aside from humans throughout civilization.
- [Game Mechanics: Use Halfling stats]
Elves – Among the most withdrawn of the major races as a whole, elves have nearly become human myth and legend amongst the common folk; adventuring types tend to run into the fairer race more frequently however. Their chief deities are Artariel, Ilaine and Ermus, the god of spirit, the goddess of nature and the god of the arts, respectively.
The Juri’vaal, or Young Elves, are commonly seen within the plains and forests of the world and are most likely to take a place of residence in a human city. They specialize in crafts that use plants and wood (though they prefer to avoid killing a tree for their own purposes). They are the most varied of the Elf subtypes, with various hair/eye color combinations, differing physiques, and even height. On average, however, they do not exceed 5½ feet in height and have less overall mass than humans. Young elves are the most common of the Elf subraces.
- [Game Mechanics: use Elf stats]
The Juri’vycus, or Pale Elves, are the next subtype of elves most commonly seen; they tend to lair in the mountains and arctic tundras. Their isolated regions lends them a certain amount of privacy that allows them to expand their knowledge in the arcane. With the exception of the Eleni’Dhurai, the Pale Elves have the slightest build of all the subtypes. Their eyes and hair tend toward earth tone colors in varying shades (brown, gray, green, and blue).
- [Game Mechanics: use Elf stats with the following changes: remove the racial bonus to bows and 1H swords and add 4 to Maximum MP.]
The Juri’vecyan, or Fury Elves, take up residence where other races tend to avoid: the center of a dangerous marsh, an overheated desert, or even the bowels of a long-forgotten cavern. They are survival experts and are among the land’s best hunters and scouts. They tend to have tanned skin and well-toned physiques compared to their cousins. They usually have the more pronounced of the “normal” hair colors: red, blonde, chestnut, and even auburn. They have the brightest eye colors (with sky blue, bright green and lavender as the most prominent); however, their eyes darken a few shades whenever they become impassioned (hence their name).
- [Game Mechanics: use Elf stats with the following changes: STR 3d6+3, 2d6+4 INT, replace the racial bonus in 1H Sword with a base of 15 in 2H Sword, replace the armored casting ability with Elven Fury, which adds a permanent +5 racial bonus to attacks and +1 to damage with any melee weapon]
The Juri’volynn, or Shadow Elves, take their name seriously and live where the sun rarely (if ever) shines; they are the rarest of the subtypes, and they are rumored to be descended from the mythical Juri’aol, or “Drow” as humans have come to mispronounce it. Despite peasant rumors of their evil and deceit, Shadow Elves are not actually so natured; they are willing to share what knowledge they may have with individuals deemed worthy. Sometimes discovery of a Shadow Elf is enough to make one worthy. Contrary to the rough Common translation of their name, the Shadow elves’ skin tone can range from a light mist gray to as dark as a moonless night sky. Their hair usually grows long and full, the colors almost always contrary to the color of their skin. Their eyes, however, are dark to the point of being almost completely black, though in rare circumstances one will have bright colored eyes. In those instances, the colors are always different (like one eye being forest green and the other sky blue).
- [Game Mechanics: CHA 4d6, DEX 2d6+4; Darkvision instead of Infravision; Darkness once per day as the spell with relevant MP costs, capped at LV3; light sensitivity (-10 to all vision-based Perception skills while in bright light, though they can become accustomed to it); add 2 to Maximum MP; remove the racial bonus to bows and 1H swords]
The Eleni’Dhurai, or Fallen Brethren, is a race of elves that have been cast out of the blessings of the gods. They are gaunt, pale elves with transparent wings; these wings are what have earned them the nickname “Wind Riders”. They cannot fly for very long, usually only about 1-2 hours on average before they need to rest. They excel in all things martial; their archery and swordsmanship are rivaled only by the best of any other race. While they do have the ability to use magic, they tend to focus on the more destructive spells (Elemental Fire and Earth, Force spells, and other Invocation spells), and they cannot heal magically (a curse from the gods that have forsaken them, they claim). However, they have strong natural healing and are generally over even grievous wounds in a matter of hours.
Dwarves – The dwarves have all but disappeared from the sight of humanity since the Shadow Wars in 674 YG. As a rather reclusive bunch, they are nonetheless moral creatures with a strong sense of honor and justice who revere the Good Lady Lilandra as their chief deity.
The Hill Dwarves, who used to be the friendliest of the bunch, have retreated into various hiding spots throughout the land in order to avoid another conflict.
- [Game Mechanics: use Dwarf stats with the following changes: 3d6 CHA, 2d6+3 POW; no racial bonus to Craft (Metal) and Craft (Stone), but they do begin with Fast Talk (25), Persuade (25), and Insight (25)]
The Mountain Dwarves, on the other hand, were always reclusive and ornery; their ancient mountain kingdoms have been slowly emptying out over the centuries (leaving behind various artifacts and trinkets of great worth to certain collectors), so scholars of all races have been questioning the cause of their sudden egress.
- [Game Mechanics: use Dwarf stats]
The Arctic Dwarves, while few in number, still retain their self-committed goal to help any soul in need of aid within their unforgiving lands; however, the chances of actually being lucky enough to be saved by one are frightfully low.
- [Game Mechanics: as Dwarf except as follows: Low-Light vision; a +4 to relevant stats for resistance rolls involving cold and cold effects, and a -4 to relevant stats involving heat, fire, and fire effects;]
The Plains Dwarves were wiped out during the Shadow Wars. Their demise is what led the other dwarves into isolation.
Gnomes – Gnomes are more curious than their brethren from other planes. Their natural tendency to invent is a great boon (and bane for some, like their cousins the dwarves). The most merchant-minded and innovative of all the natural races, gnomes have a penchant for arcane science. As such, many tend toward arcane callings to aid in their professions. In fact, tools such as mechanical elevators, pulley trolleys, and even humble weapons such as the staff sling and the crossbow were created by these small folk.
Sadly, while there used to be a number of gnome subtypes, most of the others were wiped out during the Shadow Wars. It was their needless genocide that caused many of the other races – dwarves especially – to withdraw from the surface world, the world of human politics. The River Gnomes and the Forest Gnomes are no more. All that is left are the Rock Gnomes.
- [Game Mechanics: use Gnome stats]
Goblins – Goblins of Lyannus are not as blood-thirsty and cruel as their brethren from other settings. In fact, they are excellent craftsmen of wooden items and equipment who are always looking to trade for things they don’t make as often (such as metal equipment). Even though the goblins of Lyannus are generally nocturnal, they don’t mind the sunlight as much as their distant cousins, the krilloths. Their chief deities are Ilaine, goddess of Nature, and Moralay, goddess of Fortune.
Treedwellers are green-skinned forest goblins who make their homes within the trees of the forests (as opposed to on them, as elves are wont to do). While rather small for human-sized visitors, Treedweller homes are cozy and full of life. They are the most social of the goblin types and usually operate by day as often as by night. A derogatory term for them is “greenskins”.
Cavedwellers are more nocturnal than their forest cousins. They tend to have a gray hue to their skin, and their body hair is usually a bit thicker than the treedwellers. They are reclusive and cautious, but no less loyal and friendly if their trust can be earned. Despite their preferred dwellings, they are just as skilled in woodworking as the others; they tend to choose caves near forests or any other source of wood. Individuals who don’t like them tend to call them by their derogatory name, “grayskins”.
Orcs are not nearly as common a sight as in other worlds. Although essentially similar physically, orcs are, in reality, abnormally large goblins of either Tree or Cavedweller stock. They tend to be slightly taller and more muscular than the average human, though they retain their normal intelligence and wit. About one in fifteen goblins becomes an orc. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell an orc from any other goblin until they reach adolescence, so they are treated no differently.
Hobgoblins – Contrary to popular belief, the Hobgoblins of Lyannus-Fey are actually extremely different from their distant cousins, the goblins. Honorable to a fault, these humanoids who originally hail from the Eastern Nations of Hu Tsung Shou and Takeshi are well-known to keep their word (as are most of the people of Takeshi). While they generally can take any occupation, Hobgoblins almost always prefer to remain loyal to their roots, using Takan weaponry and equipment whenever possible. Hobgoblin samurai are quite a common sight throughout Takeshi, though wizards and priests aren’t that far behind. Uncommon is the hobgoblin that “stoops” to the level of thieves and assassins.
Ogres – Ogres of Lyannus also tend to throw planewalkers in for a loop; they are a rather kind and peaceful race. Although they tend to be larger and much stronger than humans, they despise violence and fear war, especially if a “more intelligent race” has become their enemy. Their racial quirk of less-than-average intellect is something that they know and accept, but it hasn’t stopped them from attempting innovation of their own. In fact, some of the world’s greatest sages and scholars are ogres who surpassed even other races in knowledge. Their chief deity is, strangely enough, Adonia, the god of Peace.
Ogres are the most common examples of the race. On average, these bulky humanoids stand at nine feet and weight about five hundred pounds. While they are capable of eating anything, they try to stick to wildlife. Their usual chosen havens are caves and forests, but they’ll live anywhere that’s big and spacious with plenty of food and water.
Every so often, a Dwogre, or Little Brethren to other ogres, is born to ogre parents. About the height of an average human and sometimes even smaller, they are regarded as loved relatives by all the other ogres because of their “curse”. As such, they generally become leaders and battle-brothers with the taller ogres.
Krilloths – The hyena-faced krilloths are a dangerously capricious bunch. They remind many powerful wizards who can travel throughout the planes of gnolls, but they are vastly unlike each other. Krilloths use a lot of guerilla tactics and sheer numbers whenever they hunt (this includes hunting other humanoids). They also like to use poisons – both natural and artificial – so much that most expect their weapons to be coated even if they are not. As a result, antitoxins are highly sought after in areas where the Hyenas hunt most. They do have a strange fascination – and fear – of magic and magic users, and a lot of would-be masterminds use this to their advantage. Their chief deities are Verryl, god of Anarchy, and Fenrir, the Lord of Beasts.
Kobolds are a little-seen subrace of krilloth hailing from unknown origins that closely resemble their kin, yet are a race all their own. For one thing, kobolds do not like violence; they are more than willing to parley with a hostile encounter if conversation is at all possible. However, they are not without their defenses; kobolds have some of the greatest warriors in all the history of Lyannus. This is due to their perfection that requires absolute control of the mind, body, and soul. It is rumored that the people of Hu Tsung Shou and Takeshi somehow were able to communicate with them long ago and were trained in their ways; of course, even the people themselves have long forgotten the truth behind their similarities.
Dragons and other Mystical Beings
True Dragons – As of 691 YG, the dragons of Lyannus have completely withdrawn from the public eye. No one knows if they still remain in this world or if some sinister plot has caused their disappearance. All that is known, however, is that they no longer play a significant role in world events. However, before their disappearance, the dragons of Lyannus were as varied as most other races in the land. While each subtype of dragon tended toward a certain view of life, each type was as varied as most humanoids can be.
[Note that while the dragons of Lyannus are similar to dragons on most other planes, they each go
by different names:
- Gold Dragon = Emperor Dragon
- Silver Dragon = Noble Dragon
- Bronze Dragon = Knight Dragon
- Copper Dragon = Jester Dragon
- Brass Dragon = Advisor Dragon
- Red Dragon = Tyrant Dragon
- Blue Dragon = Counselor Dragon
- Green Dragon = Champion Dragon
- Black Dragon = Vassal Dragon
- White Dragon = Feral Dragon
There are myths and legends of other types of dragons that differ greatly from the “original” ten.
True Giants – Unfortunately for many regions, giants are still very much a common sight (especially in the large wilderness areas that are near scattered farms and hamlets). While not naturally evil, their incredible appetites tend to lead them into populated areas in search of any food that will sate the hunger.
Frost Giants (Geru’Vishlan) are mostly located in Wyrrh’Vaelan’s many scattered islands and caverns, though there have been more than coincidental sightings in Hu Tsung Shou and northeastern Nedros. Generally, these brutes feed off the land, but if their appetite is not sated to their liking, they are not hesitant to enter a village or even a town in search of food. They are usually armed with various weapons, though they shun metal armor for more natural types (like hide and leather).
Fire Giants (Geru’Dan) are probably the most passionate of the giants. Their love of forging is detained only by the insatiable appetite shared by the rest of their cousins. Easy to befriend and easier to anger, the Geru’Dan are black powder bombs waiting to explode. However, any lucky enough to hold the friendship of one for an extended amount of time may receive gifts in the form of excellent weapons and armor (and as such, many warriors make the attempt, usually to a disastrous and fatal end).
Hill Giants (Geru’Jishnu) are barbarous creatures who care for nothing other than their own satisfaction. The smallest of the true giants, these beings are not above smashing whole villages and (if they have the advantage) towns just to feed off of the populace. Towns and cities that frequently see these monsters (in both senses of the word) always have a standing force of elite “Giant Slayers” who specialize in combating them. Most of the time, Geru’Jishnu are armed with young trees and large rocks.
Storm Giants (Geru’Vashiin) are the most introverted (and least seen) of the true giants. Their tendency to know a huge amount of information makes them the occasional target by knowledge-hungry adventurers and individuals (especially wizards and bards). Among the tallest of their brethren, they prefer to live in the highest mountains and the deepest canyons they can find. The only canyons large enough to house them, though, are located only on Tyr’Ghale, Hu Tsung Shou, and Takeshi.
Trolls (Geru’Firigis) are not true giants in the strictest sense of the word; they are actually a mixed breed of giant and ogre stock. The trolls that live within the swamps and mires of the known world have evolved over the centuries into their current form. Legend says that they became what they are because their ancestors were among the greediest and most despicable examples of either parent race and, as such, were commonly hunted when signs of their passing existed. However, their relatively small number is outset by their incredible regeneration and cunning.
Stone Giants (Geru’Olantus) have not been seen in centuries. Many believe that they were wiped out during some unseen cataclysmic event.
Dydaens “Faceless Ones” – Lyannus-Fey’s “variant” of the lich (though the two are distinct and undead liches are still present), Dydaens are powerful spellcasters that are created when an unborn child is possessed by a demon from another dimension. After birth, the child has no nostrils, ear canals, or mouth, yet can think with the mentality of a teenager. After only a few days, the first signs of magic use make themselves apparent (usually – but not always – in a subtle manner). Most Dydaens learn to channel Suggestions and Dominate effects first in order to preserve their lives; others tend toward more vulgar methods. After only a year, the Dydaen becomes fully grown, their mastery of magic already on its way toward completion (though they only really master the weaker spells one school of magic within this time; it takes a Dydaen many decades to become a true master channeler). Because of their otherworldly ties, Dydaens have near-complete control over channeling and are exceptionally adept at counter-magic. However, this extra-dimensional characteristic also serves as their weakness; most opponents who know even the basics about Dydaens know that physical attacks are the quickest, though not necessarily the safest, way to defeat them. Their bodies are frail and easily broken, both from the accelerated growth and the unnatural possession; as such, Dydaens almost never carry weapons and armor (though magic items are usually plentiful enough to warrant the lack of a defending weapon) and generally have others provide the necessary protection.
Viraaths “Living Armor” – The ultimate bane to a mortal army, Viraaths are the souls of fallen knights and soldiers who were betrayed by someone close to them before dying on the field of battle. Filled with hatred and rage, the soul possesses the last true vestment of the knight’s honor (or the soldier’s livelihood): the clothing and armor worn before death. Unlike the Dydaens, however, Viraaths do not suffer the same flaws of being “otherworldly” as the bond between the soul and the armor is far stronger. Instead, what is created is essentially living armor. The only sign of the possessing soul are the two white slits that serve as the creature’s eyes within the helm. Other than that, the spirit has no physical body. Granted supernatural strength and restless vigor in death, Viraaths are extremely difficult to destroy… unless one is adept at magic. Their soul is bound only to the armor that houses them, so if a wizard or priest could sever the bond between them, the spirit will lose its foothold in the living world and move on to its final destination. However, much like attempting to assault a wary Dydaen in melee combat, actually having the opportunity to cast the necessary spells against the Living Armor as it uses ages-old combat skills against the caster is far deadlier in practice. Takans call them “The Deathbound” in their own language as even the noble samurai of Takeshi can become Viraaths.
NOTE: This is not a complete list. There are many more species of beasts, animals, creatures, monsters, and abominations running around Lyannus.