Thin and wiry, the Aenwyn look slightly smaller in frame and height than the Volari, and feature long pointed ears. Their hair is often bright and colorful, ranging from bold reds to raven black among the males while among the females bright blues, deep greens, and virtually any other color imaginable can be seen naturally occurring. Their skin tone like most of the civilized races vary greatly, but most commonly ranges from a dark olive to brown.
Natural marksmen, the Aenwyn have an uncanny knack with the bow, quickly able to calculate distance, and wind in the blink of an eye, nearly as fast as they can draw an arrow, pull back the bow and loose the arrow itself. Stealth is also that comes naturally to them and tales from the War of Tears of Aenwyn ambushes leaves little doubt as to their effective use of their gifts.
The Aenwyn as a people are honest, which is why one should rarely trust anything one of them says. Perhaps an element of their Fae heritage, the Aenwyn are not physically incapable of lying, but few would scarce imagine the need to do so, they are instead far more fond of truthful, if vague or misleading, statements. So it is that many non-Aenwyn familiar with them always look for hidden truths and double meanings, they may not lie, but then they don’t need to. This in turn is all part of their great game, a cultural fascination with one-upmanship and politics played by the commoner and nobility of the Aenwyn alike. This trait also sees them mistrust most outsiders, as to them they are seemingly all liars, and thus not only dishonest, but poor players of the game.
Beyond their great game the Aenwyn are a fairly hedonistic people, a trait they share with the Sucari, often indulging in wild parties and intriguing substances, along with more corporeal pursuits.
Religion - The Aenwyn worship all the gods of Bethica, but have a particular fondness for Akriel, to whom they attribute courtly intrigue and the success therein; Ubaviel, for the decadent and hedonistic lifestyle many of them enjoy; and Zakzakiel, for the art of secrecy and mystery, and the unraveling of them.
The Aenwyn came to Bethica from the otherworld of Faerie, and like many of their kind found it an interesting place, but unlike others of their kind they chose to stay. They gazed upwards at the sky and say not emptiness such as on faerie, but the sun, the moon, and the stars. They lived a primitive life for some time, until they met the Qu’Venar, who taught them much. It is said their forms were malleable, and out of respect took on the shape of their teachers, mirroring them as closely as they could, though if this has any truth to it is unknown. In time they began to form a more advanced society of their own, and established their own realm away from the Qu’Venar that they might grow into a people of their own, but then came the Engamar. They came from the mountains cutting and taking their trees, and the Aenwyn were uncertain of what to do, and turned to the Qu’Venar for aid. The War of Tears that followed hardened the Aenwyn, and saw them grow into a mature people through pain and suffering.
In the long centuries since they have become masters of the wild places they call home, just as much as they are masters in their intrigue among the palatial estates in which they dwell.
Aenwyn do not often venture among the other races if they can avoid it, but some do so willingly in their younger years, wishing to explore Bethica and meet the many varied people of the realms. This doesn’t always work out to their favor, their honesty, others lies, and more open and hedonistic tendencies causing no small amount of trouble.
Domari: Weak and small would make for puny tributes.
Engamar: Never trust a Kendakh*, and never forget! * Bramaic insult, loosely translated as one without family, clan or race. Generally reserved only for Qu’Venar and Aenwyn.
Granben: Aenwyn know how to have a good time.
Navar: Cowards, fighting with bows from ambush, and twisting their words so even the truth is wrong.
Nekanians: Skilled marksmen and talented speakers, we can learn from them.
Sucari: We share a lust for life, pity our history stops us from sharing it together
Qu’Venar: Our brothers and sisters have grown much since first we met, and we are proud to still work and help guide them still.
Timbakni: These beings are far too emotional.
Volari: Tricky people, I swear they’ve found a thousand ways to lie without telling one!
Aenwyn: Beneath the moon, the stars, and the sun, we yet remain, playing our great game. So shall we endure when all others have passed.
Domari: We have heard stories, but such tales are likely exaggerated. Engamar: They are as stubborn as they are foolish, more likely to stand and burn than give way to a fire. Granben: The little folk seem to like to play into what people see, they might play the great game quite well if they wanted to.
Nekanian: An agreeable people, even if they do speak oddly of themselves.
Navar: If an arrow defeats you before you even know I am there, how strong can you be?
Sucari: Thieves, not only of goods, but land and works as well.
Qu’Venar: Our teachers are still wise, and we still yearn to listen and learn.
Timbakni: Why do they never smile, or laugh? It is disconcerting.
Volari: When it comes to the great game, they are… poor players.
The Domari are a unusual race which are entirely female, appearing as large Volari-like women, they are on average at least a half a foot taller than the Volari and tend to be muscular in build. They usually feature an olive to dark skin tones, though this can vary wildly based on the tributes own appearance.
Domari do not age, and none have been known to die of old age, this combined with the lethal nature of their procreation requires them to be very mindful of their numbers. To have a child a Domari must find a suitable tribute, who is then drained of their life force to fuel the pregnancy, and the resulting child may have similar features of both the mother and tribute, similar to births among other races. On Domarina this is a careful process, the tribute is culled from among male slaves reaved from along the coast, and the process is carefully overseen. Always when done according to the laws and tradition of Domarina the slave is given a fair chance to earn his freedom through ceremonial combat. If he wins he is freed, if he loses he is drained then and there.
Domari tend towards a highly regimented society with a caste system which includes the Pramyma, are the ruling and priestess class, the Heosos which are merchants and farmers, and the Dedroyles whom are a warrior caste. Because of their unusual mating and unknown lifespans the Pramyma take care in noting the population, ensuring that all new Domari come from sanctioned pairings. Taking a tribute without a writ of new life is illegal, and those who do see their child taken from them, often to either be exiled, or executed.
Primarily they live on the island of Domarina, where they are ruled by a high priestess of Dahlia, called the Grand Matron, currently this position is held by Diana, one of the eldest of the race, reputedly one of the first Domari. Previously Domari rarely left their island home unless exiled or on a spiritual quest in the name of their goddess, though in recent times more and more have chosen to leave and see the wonders of Bethica.
Religion - The Domari venerate Dahlia primarily, treating her as the highest of the gods, with others still given respect but considered lesser gods. Importantly Dahlia is worshiped primarily in her aspect of vengeance, with her other aspects down played on the island they call home. They view others depictions of her as heretical and blasphemous.
Statues and art on Domarina depict her as a beautiful woman wearing a wreath of black roses, and featuring a pair of large black bat-like wings
Domari are a race created by their goddess, Dahlia, upon her arrival to the second world. Originally extremely isolationist, they have slowly begun to have contact with the outside world, though the reputation of their mighty ships and lightning raids often precedes them.
Domari historically rarely leave their island, though this has started to change of late. Still, primarily those who have left it tend to be exiles, those on a spiritual quest, or those seeking breeding stock they can buy, kidnap or trick into returning to Domarina.
Occasionally you will now also find a younger Domari who’ve secretly left to explore the wider world, though they might also have others hunting them down to return them to the island.
Aenwyn: We have heard stories, but such tales are likely exaggerated.
Engamar: Strange folk on the southern isles, they don’t seem too interested in us, and we’re happy to see them keep it that way.
Granben: Don’t seem to bother us, we are happy for it to remain so.
Navar: They share much in common with us, but their evil bat god makes them poor company.
Nekanians: They take what they want by force regardless of honor or law? Must be related to the Sucari.
Sucari: They think they can take us? Let them catch our ships and try.
Qu’Venar: So mighty, so strong, so easily defeated by a single magic word.
Timbakni: Dishonorable women, raid us and then flee.
Volari: They say they take men they capture to paradise to father their children, more than a few seem to find the prospect appealing until they learn the truth.
Aenwyn: Weak and small would make for puny tributes.
Domari: We are the chosen of Dahlia, none are truly our equal, especially among those who allow males as more than the breeding stock they are.
Engamar: The stone folk are beneath our notice, and useless for any purpose of ours. Let them toil in the dirt and stone.
Granben: The little folk are beneath our notice, insignificant.
Navar: They show promise as tributes, and little else.
Nekanians: Potential for tributes, easy enough to capture when off alone.
Sucari: These pirates think they own the seas, they’ll learn sooner or later.
Qu’Venar: Too frail to be of use, but their magic is to be feared. Timbakni: Useful in their limited way, consider for tributes.
Volari: Numerous, some are viable for tributes.
Engamar are a short and stocky humanoid race, rarely growing over four and a half feet in height on average. Their bodies are thickset, more so than most others, with broad shoulders and limbs. Considered hairy by some of the other civilized races, they take pride in their hair and beards, often having complex braiding and decoration. Unlike some races their forms do not grow weaker with age, a dwarf retains his strength until his end. Even their hair does not grey until very near the end of their lifespan, retaining its luster and color for most of their lives.
Unique among the civilized races they do not give birth to their offspring, at least as other races know it. Instead they craft their children, carving them from sacred stone, called Engarite, mined deep from within the earth, and then infuse it with a part of their own essence to give it life. This act requires a dwarf to have lived a full life; those whom have never truly experienced life lack the vitality to infuse the sacred stone. This is why the greatest of Engamar heroes also tend to have large numbers of offspring. Though possible for a singular Engamar to create a child, most often the process of life forging involves an Engamar couple doing so together so that the child has a part of them both in it.
Engamar are also known to have a surprisingly adept palate, able to discern a great deal from taste, which combined with their excellent eye sight in both low light and total darkness allows them to be surprisingly perceptive.
Engamar society is one very closely tied to tradition and family, with importance placed on honor and reputation. No engamar is treated entirely as an individual; they are extensions of their clan unless exiled from it, either by force or by choice. In many ways it is this tight connection with each other that makes them a formidable people, it is difficult to break them apart, and engamar will almost always answer their kin’s call for aid. Because of intermarriage and long memories this results in most engamar, however distantly, having some loose connection to other clans, and these bonds make it nigh impossible to break up a unified engamar front. There are of course black sheep in any family, and certainly there are less reputable clans and individuals, but these are the exceptions.
Though most other races have certain ideas of engamar as being all greedy smiths who dwell under mountains, there is actually a fairly complex social structure most of the world never gets a close look at. After all, few really seek to live among them in their halls, and so most of their interaction is with the traders and merchants who go among the other races selling engamar wares, which more often than not is metalwork. If one is to dig deeper they will find a robust society filled with varied professions and roles. Farmers, tailors, carpenters, lawyers, and chefs are just a few of the professions that allow an engamar city to run; while stonework and metalwork are still among the most common professions, this is due to them being among the most common materials available to the engamar rather than any innate need for a engamar.
Religion - Engamar acknowledge the deities of Bethica, but do not venerate them as a whole. Engamar instead primarily practice a form of ancestor worship, a continuation of their culture’s focus on family. Occasionally an Engamar will become a priest and choose to follow a deity, but this is often supplemental, not in place of their veneration for their ancestors.
It is said that the engamar came from another world, but found themselves in the heart of Bethica, deep in the earth. There they carved out many great halls, slowly working their way up to the surface. When at last they found the sky, they were amazed and frightened by the vastness of it, and blinded and shocked by the brightness of the sun. Many retreated to the depths, but most stayed, fascinated by this new world and created the first Engamar settlements on the surface, in the region now named after them, the Engamar Mountains.
Not long after reaching the surface they began to explore and found many of the amazing things only seen here, such as the abundant plant life, and quickly found use for wood and other resources. A growing desire for this material was what led to the start of the War of Tears, a long and bloody affair caused by misunderstanding. The Qu’Venar and Aenwyn had attacked them, believing the Engamar were vermin, and massacred a settlement to stop their harvesting of wood. The Udorn Kingdom would not let this slide and began a war which they fought until both sides were exhausted of resources and men. The Qu’Venar like to say they offered peace, but never on terms the Engamar found satisfactory.
The Udorn Kingdom is the only Engamar ruled kingdom in Bethica, though the people have spread far among the lands of other races, and even created a few smaller city-states and settlements abroad.
Adventurers typically come in three types: The young engamar filled with wanderlust, or a desire to improve their standing or that of their clan; exiled engamar who have either been forcibly exiled due to some great shame, or left their clan due to some shameful acts on their clans part and seek to improve their now solitary standings; or greybeards who upon entering their twilight years seek one last adventure, or perhaps a worthy death.
Aenwyn: They are as stubborn as they are foolish, more likely to stand and burn than give way to a fire. Domari: The stone folk are beneath our notice, and useless for any purpose of ours. Let them toil in the dirt and stone.
Granben: Don’t take a joke very well, but fine once you get to know them. Navar: The small folk make fine goods, but seem a prickly bunch!
Nekanians: How can they claim the honor of others as well as their own? One must stand on his own.
Sucari: Easy enough alone, but mess with one and soon you’ve got a whole clan on your back.
Qu’Venar: The do’bria* are blind fools, they nearly destroyed themselves as well as us in their short-sighted stupidity. * Arathorn word for engamar meaning deep delvers wasn’t intended as an insult but has become one with time.
Timbakni: Different, but similar, we might not be friends, but they would make good allies.
Volari: They can be loyal friends, or tenacious enemies, try to make them the former.
Aenwyn: Never trust a Kendakh*, and never forget! * Bramaic insult, loosely translated as one without family, clan or race. Generally reserved only for qu’venar and Aenwyn.
Domari: Strange folk on the southern isles, they don’t seem too interested in us, and we’re happy to see them keep it that way.
Engamar: We are industrious, loyal, honorable, and steadfast in our friendship. Granben: Enjoy other people’s property a bit too much, but mostly harmless.
Navar: Big folk and we can admire their loyalty if not their pride and incessant need to call us small folk.
Nekanians: They forsake family and clan, and for what? Sucari: Bunch of thieves, the lot of them.
Qu’Venar: Never trust a Kendakh*, and never forget! * Bramaic insult, loosely translated as one without family, clan or race. Generally reserved only for qu’venar and Aenwyn.
Timbakni: Like us they value family and honor, and seem loyal, there is much common ground between our people.
Volari: They have potential, but don’t tell them I said so.
Granben are often referred to as the little folk, and standing at half or less the height of most of the civilized races of Bethica it is not surprising why. Their size combined with their seemingly irrepressible optimism and cheer often makes other see them as childlike, a sentiment that the Granben do everything to perpetuate. They are as varied in appearance as the Volari, with skin tone and hair color that runs the gamut, with brown hair and a dark tan skin tone being the most common. Their eyes are range in color from green to yellow or brown.
Though physically small, the Granben are not to be considered weak, or timid, indeed it is rare that one exhibits fear even in the most dangerous of situations. This perhaps only helps enable their other unique trait, a compulsion to steal things and explore. In most cases, this behavior is indulged as a racial past time, but some choose to revel in it, becoming skilled thieves and pickpockets in the process. Regardless of their intent, this has left them with a poor reputation among merchants and vendors among the cities in which significant populations of Granben live. Many will hide ‘Granben pots’ around their establishment, a small vessel holding valueless trinkets or stones, a concession that acknowledges the Granbens occasional urges and hopes they will avail themselves of such items instead of their valuable goods.
Granbens are unique in that their culture and society meld easily into the societies of those that surround them. A Granben living among the Timbakni would likely share much in their ways and beliefs, just as those among the Volari adopt their ways. The Granben are something of social chameleons that way, easily and quickly picking up on a societies unique elements and able to adapt to them with ease.
In the cases where they have established their own settlements, such as the Granben wood, they still keep fairly close to other settlements. There has never been any greater Granben civilization or authority; at most they might elect a village council if a settlement grows large enough to warrant it.
There are three characteristics that are pervasive throughout all Granben cultures however. First, is their sense of wanderlust and the casual acceptance thereof; and second, they will not steal permanently from members of their community. While many Granben casually thieve from their neighbors they will give any stolen good back before the third sunrise after they stole it, most often with a small ‘returning gift.’ These items they steal will also never be necessary to the person being stolen from. For instance a Granben on a lark may steal his friend’s antique vase but return it the next day full of flowers. Or, a Granben would not steal her best friend’s favorite dress right before a major festival but may steal it sometime before and hem a torn seam before returning it.
Because of this racial quirk, many Granben tinker with traps and alarms to try and make burglary more of a challenge for their friends, making them racial hobbies. Of course if a Granben accidentally sets off either in the middle of a friendly theft good manners requires them to leave deed unfinished. These cultural rules ensure that Granben can live at least mostly peacefully with the other races and their own kind. However, like any race there are always a few bad apples that completely ignore these social rules and Granben society does not take kindly to them. Also what qualifies as a “community” isn’t especially well defined. The community, in the Granben’s mind, of a small farming village may include the village and all farms within three days travel but in a major city a community may only encompass a neighborhood of half a dozen blocks leaving the rest of the city rich pickings.
With a race essentially made up entirely of thieves, the Granben have their fair share of detractors and enemies. The reason they aren’t completely run out of every town they inhabit is their third trait: Granben personalities are almost all highly naive and inquisitive. These traits are often seen by the other races as child-like and so they Granben are often given special consideration much like children are. Whether these traits really are almost universal among the race or most Granben are simply taught from a small age how to capitalize on the appearance of such, no one is quite sure. Whatever the truth may be, natural inclination or constructed ploy, it is highly effective in keeping the Granben in the good graces of the other civilized races.
Religion - Granben do not put much stock as a whole into religion, preferring to live more in the moment than dwell on such philosophical or religious issues. The exception to this is the god Malakh, with whom they share much in common, and he is said to often walk among them.
Granben are not for keeping their own histories but rather their bards and minstrels highlight the deeds of their kind in the general history of the society in which they live. These heroic tales tend to take some poetic liberties by most accounts but they are always great stories to tell around a campfire.
The other race’s histories tell of a time when Granben were just roving uncivilized nuisances, much like goblins but more curious than savage. It was the arrival of the gods, especially Malakh, which civilized them and made them capable of melding with the other races. Throughout all the races’ histories Granben have played a part, large or small, but as a people they have yet do something wholly and singularly of their own. Or, if they have, neither they nor anyone else has bothered to record it.
Granben are virtually all adventurers or traveling merchants at some point in their lives. The race has a natural wanderlust and so often its members will travel, especially when they are young. Granben are therefore not an unusual sight anywhere where travelers are permitted, and they are recognized nearly everywhere in spite of their relatively small populations compared to most of the other races.
Aenwyn: The little folk seem to like to play into what people see, they might play the great game quite well if they wanted to.
Domari: The little folk are beneath our notice, insignificant.
Engamar: Enjoy other people’s property a bit too much, but mostly harmless.
Navar: Little folk are not worthy challenges, must be careful to not hurt them by mistake.
Nekanians: The little folk are welcome, so long as they leave ones belongings where they find them.
Sucari: Don’t have anything worth taking.
Qu’Venar: They are not as naïve and childlike as they like to appear.
Timbakni: They lack discipline.
Volari: Tendency to steal, but mostly harmless.
Aenwyn: Aenwyn know how to have a good time.
Domari: Don’t seem to bother us, we are happy for it to remain so.
Engamar: Don’t take a joke very well, but fine once you get to know them.
Granben: We do what we must to help one another, and to get by in this world.
Navar: They seem to think we’ll break if they even look at us, happy to let them underestimate us.
Nekanians: Well, they speak funny, and like their space, but seem friendly enough.
Sucari: Another bunch of bullies.
Qu’Venar: Magic, I can do that too; look at this coin I found behind your ear!
Timbakni: Way too stiff to be any fun.
Volari: Treat us like children, but that can have its advantages.
These massive figures tower over all the other civilized races of Bethica, and are easily the strongest among them. Comparable in looks to an over-sized Volari, the Navar do differ in one other significant way aside from sheer size. Their skin tones range from a light tans to darker browns, with their eyes commonly brown or black.
Their skin is unusually thick compared to others, and is highly resistant to extreme temperatures, be they hot or cold, as well as to damage in general. This combined with their size makes them prized fighters or guards among those who can afford them as warriors or bodyguards, and few things strike more fear in an enemy than a vanguard comprised of Navar warriors.
To outsiders who have little experience they are a drunken, boastful, and arrogant lot who enjoy picking on the smaller races, but this isn’t the entire story. They are a proud race true, but loyal to those they serve and to the ones they would call friend; it is their love of competition that sees them challenge others, it just so happens all the other races are smaller than them. Beyond this none can deny the bravery and valiant defense a Navar will put up to save their family or friends, often willingly sacrificing themselves in the process.
Those Navar in their homeland live in a nomadic tribal society, a place dominated by five great tribes, the Gahal, Gibil, Rihat, Samium, and Zamana tribes. Each of these, along with the numerous lesser tribes, is led by both a chieftain and shaman who guide their people as best they may. There are often conflicts between the tribes, both to fight over resources, but also to test their strength against one another.
Hostile to outsiders, the Navar rarely trade with those not of the other tribes, and far too many such attempts turn violent, as past events have left them highly mistrustful of all but their own kind. Because of their past, gifts are seen as a great insult, an attempt to enslave them in debt to the giver.
Navar shamans venerate the same gods as the rest of Bethica, but tend to have their own imagery and names, mostly derived from great animals and beasts, this can vary even from tribe to tribe, but the most common interpretations are as follows:
Akriel they call the Proud Lion, and invoke the face of a lioness when depicting her. Would-be chieftains often seek to gain her blessing as a sign of their worthiness.
Amriel is known as the Wounded Wolf, and is often depicted as a wolf that is bleeding. She is invoked by healers, as well as those who would do anything in darkness.
Anpiel is called the Colorful One, and is often depicted as a frilled lizard of many colors. He has few followers among the Navar.
Coretha is known as the Falcon, and depicted as a falcon soaring high overhead. She is the war god of the Navar and is invoked by generals and soldiers alike.
Dahlia is unique, for she is not depicted as an animal, but as a flower surrounded by thorns, and is often called the Thorned One.
Galizur is known among the Navar as the Mad Bear, and is often used as a cautionary figure of losing yourself, or paired with the Curious Hare, where the hare often goes too far in his pranks or doesn’t listen and is devoured by the Mad Bear.
Habriel is mostly referred to as the Blessed Cow, and is most often depicted as a pregnant cow. She is often invoked as a blessing to one’s family or home.
Malakh often called the Curious Hare, Malakh is most often depicted as such. Surprisingly for a nomadic people they rarely venerate the god of traveling, instead often using tales of the Curious Hare to teach lessons of the dangers of childishness and pranks.
Mastema is the Horned One, and is usually depicted as a horned goat, not very popular among the majority of Navar, save for the herdsmen who work tirelessly to ensure their tribes are fed.
Nelchael is known as the Crow, he is seen as a harbinger of death and has few followers among the Navar people, but all pay him respect out of fear.
Raziel is known as the Great Stag, and is depicted as a flying golden antlered musk deer. He is seen as presiding over law and order.
Rehael is called the Ox, and is depicted as a red haired ox with horns of bronze. He is surprisingly seen as a god of ill-omen, relating to their past history with slavery.
Ubaviel is referred to as the Drunken Boar, most likely due to his connection to festivities, at which boar is a staple of celebrations among the Navar. He is well liked and often invoked by name to wish good fortune and happy times.
Zakzakiel is often called the Serpent, and is depicted as a small sea snake. He is considered strange and mysterious to the Navar and is rarely worshiped among them, though his name may be invoked as a curse.
Navar history is told mostly through oral traditions, tales of great heroes and terrible villains, and the telling can change from one tribe to the next. One common theme in all of them is their first meeting with outsiders. Here it is said the outsiders appeared as great friends, offering many gifts and promises, asking little or nothing in return. But the debt of their people to these outsiders grew and so they felt compelled to do as they asked of them, increasingly more and more as their debt grew. The cycle continues until the Navar find themselves slaves and a dark period comes over their people until finally they revolted, led by one of their own called Navar. He freed their people and united them into one great tribe until his death. This is why they now call themselves Navar, and why they are mistrustful of outsiders.
It is further said they searched long for an isolated home, wandering many years before finding the Navar Territories, since then they have remained an isolated people.
Navar occasionally hire themselves out, usually because they have no way to advance themselves within their own tribe for numerous reasons and hope that they can gain wealth and power which they can return with one day. Additionally some are exiled, usually for committing some crime, but occasionally to prevent political strife, such as when the elder son is not as favored as the younger, he may be exiled by his father so his younger brother is set to become the next chieftain. Beyond that some simply tire of life in the territories, and seek new challenges in the wider world of Bethica.
Aenwyn: If an arrow defeats you before you even know I am there, how strong can you be?
Domari: They show promise as breeding stock, and little else.
Engamar: Big folk and we can admire their loyalty if not their pride and incessant need to call us small folk.
Granben: They seem to think we’ll break if they even look at us, happy to let them underestimate us.
Nekanians: A worthy people, one hopes they provide a worthy challenge.
Sucari: Strength isn’t just about muscles you know.
Qu’Venar: All their physical might is nothing to the power of a single well-crafted spell.
Timbakni: They seek a challenge? They will find it.
Volari: For all their might they choose a primitive life, what a waste.
Aenwyn: Cowards, fighting with bows from ambush, and twisting their words so even the truth is wrong.
Domari: They share much in common with us, but their evil bat god makes them poor company.
Engamar: The small folk make fine goods, but seem a prickly bunch!
Granben: Little folk are not worthy challenges, must be careful to not hurt them by mistake.
Navar: We are no more prideful than we have right to be, and we shall not allow others to enslave us again.
Nekanians: They don’t always agree with us, but they seem to understand us.
Sucari: They respect strength? They respect me.
Qu’Venar: Magic isn’t to be trusted, and they are its masters. Makes sense we shouldn’t trust them either.
Timbakni: The dogs make for good sport, nearly big enough to make us break a sweat.
Volari: They look similar, almost easy to forget they are not younglings.
Large humanoids with feline features, such as their ears, and cat-like faces, the Nekanians are covered in a short fur which ranges from tan to black, and is always a solid color. They are thickly built and muscular, roughly of a size with the Volari, and feature eyes that are often green, yellow, or grey. They also have the unusual quirk of almost always referring to themselves in the third person.
Strong and proud they patrol their plains, an outpost of order and civilization before entering the wild and chaotic Sucari Territories. Their cities and towns are sprawling centers of civilizations, as their peoples need for independence sees them seek space from each other. Even a family compound with high walls might be further subdivided between different members. To their credit this makes fighting a battle for a Nekanians city one of the most difficult ordeals a military commander can undertake.
A warrior focused society, with great importance placed on honor and social standing. Nekanian honor is paramount, but personal in nature, rarely being affected by the actions of others, even friends and family. This results in a very independent mindset, with minimal focus on family or clan beyond how it can benefit the individual. This can make the Nekanians seem chaotic and divided, and often playing political games, but they can set aside such trivialities when threatened and responded with a surprisingly unified front against outsider aggression.
Because of their very individualized society, they are also among the most accepting and friendly of the civilized races, giving everyone a chance based on their own merits, not based on the actions of others just because they happen to be the same race.
Religion - Nekanians are not a grim race, but they do place a good deal of importance on their death. They desire a good death, which they view as one attained in honorable combat. Because of this the two gods venerated the most is Coretha and Nelchael. Others are given their due, but simply not seen to be as important in the day to day lives of the Nekanians.
The Nekanians were the third great exodus into Bethica following a disaster in the west known as The Gloaming. Theirs was according to the tales they tell the greatest of the western empires, expanding far and wide before the disaster. They had fought the longest, and hardest, before being forced to flee as a people eastward, and it is only thanks to the coming of the Timbakni and Sucari before them that they were not destroyed. They settled in the plains north of their cousins, a much reduced, but still proud people.
Nekanians often go out in the world, given their good relations with most races they find themselves able to travel freely and explore and learn. Sometimes elderly Nekanians go forth to seek their final battle, and with Coretha and Nelchael's blessing make it a good one.
Aenwyn: An agreeable people, even if they do speak oddly of themselves.
Domari: Potential for tributes, easy enough to capture when off alone.
Engamar: They forsake family and clan, and for what?
Granben: Well, they speak funny, and like their space, but seem friendly enough.
Navar: They don’t always agree with us, but they seem to understand us.
Sucari: Our cousins could be a powerful people if they could get over themselves.
Qu’Venar: It is a wonder the accomplish anything given their inability to function well as a group.
Timbakni: They claim honor without obedience or loyalty, I do not think they understand the word.
Volari: Strange people, but friendly to those meaning them no harm.
Aenwyn: Skilled marksmen and talented speakers, we can learn from them.
Domari: They take what they want by force regardless of honor or law? Must be related to the Sucari.
Engamar: How can they claim the honor of others as well as their own? One must stand on his own.
Granben: The little folk are welcome, so long as they leave ones belongings where they find them.
Navar: A worthy people, one hopes they provide a worthy challenge.
Nekanians: We must restore what was lost; until then one does what they can.
Sucari: Nekanian cousins have lost their way and do not know true honor.
Qu’Venar: Magic can be a powerful ally, but one must always rely on oneself.
Timbakni: Their notions of honor, like that of the engamar are strange, and they are far too trusting of their superiors. One must think for themselves!
Volari: They live so close together and there is so many, no room to move or breathe.
The reclusive and often mysterious Qu’Venari are tall, slender, and almost fragile looking. Their skin is white as alabaster or a light grey tone, and their almond shaped eyes glow a faint blue. They possess long ears that lean away from their face and come to a point. A scholarly race with a keen interest in learning, they are known for their knowledge of the strange, lost, and occasionally the forbidden. This combined with their strange appearances and tendency for a contemptuous disposition give them a somewhat sinister reputation among all other civilized races. Still, they are a patient, intelligent, and wise race that always look to play the long game, seeing the actions of other races as short-sighted and poorly thought out.
Qu’Venar society is that of an aristocracy, with an individual’s bloodline being of paramount importance. Bloodlines are very important as among them it is expected strong minds will give birth to children blessed in with intelligence. Therefore a great deal of marriages are arranged based not on love, or finances, but often on the best chance for powerful offspring, which in itself may also be a political move. In most Qu’venar settlements political power is based on detailed and long prestigious bloodlines.
Qu’Venar in general prefer the deep forests of the world, places where they can pursue their scholarly interests in relative seclusion.
Religion - The Qu’Venar give a grudging respect to the gods of Bethica, with the exception of Zakzakiel, to whom they have dedicated numerous temples. Other gods at most have shrines, usually a singular one with small representations of all the other gods. Habriel being one of the few who has their own shrines, given the importance of children in the culture.
Though among the first to make Bethica home, the Qu’Venar are said to come from another world, and were a group of explorers who upon finding this land adopted it as their own. If they were the first, or the second is difficult to say, but in time they met with others, the Engamar first, and later the Aenwyn. Their dealings with the Engamar were at first guided by the idea they were simple vermin, and they paid them little attention. When they met the Aenwyn they helped teach and guide them, sharing much of their knowledge of the land. When the Aenwyn then told of the strange creatures that had begun attacking their forests the Qu’Venar were quick to act and eliminate what they considered a nest of vermin. When the Udorn Kingdom learned of the massacre their gates opened, and a massive Engamar host marched out. The War of Tears followed, and it was long and bloody, and no side ever came out the clear winner, as slaughter begat slaughter. A few attempts were made early during the war by the Qu’Venar to find peace, for the massacre was born of ignorance not malice, but the Engamar refused every attempt. In the end all parties still hold deep resentment for actions that happened in the course of the war, and no true peace was ever declared, merely both sides ran out of the resources and will to carry on the fight.
Following the War of Tears, the Qu’Venar spent centuries retreating, becoming more insular in their deep woodland homes in order to rebuild, by the time they once again began to venture forth from their isolation they found Bethica changed, with Volari now dominating the land, and many other races now present. They still hold a strong bond with the Aenwyn, whom they consider akin to younger siblings, and rumors of their forbidden knowledge has spread even in their absence, making most fearful of their powerful enchantments.
Qu’Venar adventurers are often those seeking to learn more of the world, tired of the long isolation. Criminals are more often imprisoned than exiled, making such Qu’Venar rare. Occasionally students might be sent out to learn abroad, a chance to take the theories they have been taught and put them to practical use, especially among the more battle minded scholars eager to leave their mark.
Qu’Venar adventurers are often those seeking to learn more of the world, tired of the long isolation. Criminals are more often imprisoned than exiled, making such Qu’Venar rare. Occasionally students might be sent out to learn the use of their magic abroad, a chance to take the theories they have been taught and put them to practical use, especially among the more battle minded arcanists.
Aenwyn: Our teachers are still wise, and we still yearn to listen and learn.
Domari: Too frail to be of use, but their knowledge is to be feared.
Engamar: Never trust a Kendakh*, and never forget! * Bramaic insult, loosely translated as one without family, clan or race. Generally reserved only for Qu’Venar and Aenwyn.
Granben: Secrets, I know lots of secrets as well, I just don’t brag about it!
Navar: Weak, frail, best ignored lest they corrupt you with honeyed words.
Nekanians: Too reliant on secrets, best to rely on one’s own strength.
Sucari: Never trust someone who thinks they are smarter than you.
Timbakni: Sorcerers are rarely harbingers of good.
Volari: Long lived sure, but they don’t really live so much as watch it all pass by.
Aenwyn: Our brothers and sisters have grown much since first we met, and we are proud to still work and help guide them still.
Domari: So mighty, so strong, so easily defeated with the right knowledge.
Engamar: The do’bria* are blind fools, they nearly destroyed themselves as well as us in their short-sighted stupidity. * Arathorn word for engamar meaning deep delvers, wasn’t intended as an insult but has become one with time.
Granben: They are not as naïve and childlike as they like to appear.
Navar: All their physical might is nothing to the power of a single well-crafted spell.
Nekanians: It is a wonder they accomplish anything given their inability to function well as a group.
Sucari: Ignorant children, like all the rest.
Qu’Venar: This is our world; we simply tolerate the rest to live here.
Timbakni: Loyal, obedient, and ignorant, were they not so friendly with the Engamar they might have served our purposes.
Volari: So short lived, no wonder they rush everything.
Slender humanoids with feline features, notably the distinctively cat-like heads, the Sucari are covered in a short silky fur which is usually spotted or with stripes. Their fur is commonly yellow to orange, with spots or stripes that are commonly black. On rare occasions white furred Sucari have been born, and some younger Sucari take an interest in dying their fur all manner of colors. Their eyes are commonly yellow, to green, with occasional examples of grey.
Extremely agile, Sucari make their home among the forests in the south of Bethica, often establishing their homes in the tree tops of the Great Erevar trees. Trees that they also use to build their ships, the quick caravels that plague the shipping along the southern coasts, able to maneuver well and shallow enough to escape up river should they need to the Sucari have made such vessels a fearful sight.
Sucari have a very free form society, lacking any emphasis on law and order. Sucari follow strength, and little else, making the Sucari territory one of the most dangerous civilized regions to live in, but the Sucari wouldn’t have it any other way. If you want something you take it, and if the owner is too weak to stop you then so be it. This mindset is what sees many take up piracy or banditry, and become a general bane to the other civilized races who deal in trade. Sucari will remain loyal to strong leaders, but will quickly start to turn if they sense weakness.
Sucari are also a very hedonistic people, and tend to rarely pay heed to traditional boundaries among the other races. This has caused a number of incidents among the other civilized races.
Religion - Sucari are not a terribly religious so much as superstitious, but you will find a few devoted followers of Malakh, though most Sucari find him too childish or weak to be worthy; instead most of the faithful among the Sucari tend towards either Zakzakiel for his blessing and protection at sea, or Galizur for his general outlook, though even the least faithful will offer a minor prayer to them when appropriate.
The Sucari are said to be an off-shoot of the Nekanian race, the smaller, more agile Sucari originally being outcasts and criminals that were driven out, forced to adapt and survive on their own and eventually becoming a distinct race in their own right.
In Bethica the Sucari came after the Timbakni, the second of the three exoduses from the west. Theirs was an easier lot, the Timbakni having already weakened resistance along the way, and were eventually able to drive the Aenwyn who had settled in what is now known as the Sucari Territory out, and subjugated whoever stayed.
Sucari as a race who condone and even revel in piracy and thievery have as you might imagine produce a number of adventurers. They seek challenges and wealth by traveling the realms of Bethica.
Aenwyn: Thieves, not only of goods, but land and works as well.
Domari: A plague upon our waters, but they learned soon not to challenge us.
Engamar: Bunch of thieves, the lot of them.
Granben: Another bunch of bullies.
Navar: They respect strength? They respect me.
Nekanians: Our cousins have lost their way and do not know true honor.
Qu’Venar: Ignorant children, like all the rest.
Timbakni: They lack honor.
Volari: They can’t all be bad, but I’ve yet to meet an honest one.
Aenwyn: Weak children of the forest, they could not hold these lands and deserved to lose them.
Domari: Some really angry women, best to avoid.
Engamar: Easy enough alone, but mess with one and soon you’ve got a whole clan on your back.
Granben: Don’t have anything worth taking.
Navar: Strength isn’t just about muscles you know.
Nekanians: Our cousins could be a powerful people if they could get over themselves. Sucari: We do what we want, we take what we want. Stop us if you can, if not be happy we let you have what you do.
Qu’Venar: Magic? Now that’s cheating.
Timbakni: They think their honor and obedience is a source of strength? They’ll never see me coming.
Volari: A wonderful source of income.
Second only to the Navar in size among the civilized races, the Timbakni are powerfully built humanoids with canine features and heads. Covered in a fine fur that ranges from white, to brown; to grey, to black in color, and eyes that commonly are black, brown, yellow, orange, or red, they make an imposing figure that can be especially unnerving with their seeming lack of emotion.
Unique among the civilized races Timbakni can actually sense the aura of others of their kind, and by doing so will be able to tell how honorable they are. This is said to have been a gift granted to them by the goddess Akriel.
The Timbakni also have an unusual fascination with art and fashion, and most Timbakni practice some form of artistic expression, often painting, but poetry is fairly common as well. Timbakni also take great joy and pride dressing in their finery and the nobility often host parties just so that they might compare and compete for best dressed.
Timbakni society is one of stoicism, honor, and obedience, which is reinforced by a caste system in their homeland which divides the timbakni into three classes: The merchants and farmers, the nobility, and the warrior caste. A fourth caste also exists to a degree, though is not officially recognized, and that is the non-caste, among which are beggars, criminals, and exiles. The timbakni live a highly hierarchal life, where one always is expected to obey those above them, no matter the cost, even one’s own personal honor, as disobedience would see one lose all honor, and reflect poorly on ones family as well.
Religion - The Timbakni pay respects to all deities, each according to the proper time and place, but favor Akriel and Coretha above all others.
The Timbakni first arrived in Bethica several centuries ago, the first of three great exoduses fleeing a great disaster in the west known as The Gloaming. They fought, fled, and traveled across the whole of the southern realms before finally settling in the Amersis Desert, a region no one else claimed or cared for. From there they built up their strength and tamed the wild jungles along the coast, eventually forging a strong and stable kingdom. There have since been a number of border disputes with the Nekanians, Sucari, and Volari, but nothing as serious as an outright war.
Many Timbakni choose to travel the realms, seeking to learn more of Bethica, and the wonders it holds, but for every Timbakni that goes willing there is usually another forced to flee. Those, criminal or dishonored, Timbakni that hope to find some way to live apart from their people, or regain that which they had lost.
Aenwyn: Why do they never smile, or laugh? It is disconcerting.
Domari: Useful in their limited way, consider for tributes.
Engamar: Like us they value family and honor, and seem loyal, there is much common ground.
Granben: Way too stiff to be any fun.
Navar: The dogs make for good sport, nearly big enough to make us break a sweat.
Nekanians: Their notions of honor, like that of the engamar are strange, and they are far too trusting of their superiors. Think for yourselves!
Sucari: They think their honor and obedience is a source of strength? They’ll never see me coming.
Qu’Venar: Loyal, obedient, and ignorant in the ways of sorcery, were they not so friendly with the Engamar they might have served our purposes.
Volari: They seem reasonable.
Aenwyn: These beings are far too emotional.
Domari: Dishonorable women, raid us and then flee.
Engamar: Different, but similar, we might not be friends, but they would make good allies.
Granben: They lack discipline. Navar: They seek a challenge? They will find it.
Nekanians: They claim honor without obedience or loyalty, I do not think they understand the word.
Sucari: They lack honor.
Qu’Venar: Sorcerers are rarely harbingers of good.
Timbakni: Through adversity we are forged stronger than before.
Volari: So many, all different, it is all so chaotic.
Volari are the most populous and wide spread of the civilized races in Bethica, with settlements and populations to be found in most areas. In most cases they are the race by which all others are judged based on the fact that virtually everyone in Bethica has seen and likely interacted with a member of them. Their skin tones range from a pale light tone, to darker browns, and anywhere in-between. Their eyes are commonly brown but can also be blue, black, and green, along with many variations in those shades.
The singular trait that stands out the most about the Volari is their adaptability, for they are quick to respond both to their environment and find ways to adapt their environment to their needs, the latter at times proving problematic with their interactions with some others. While some see them as weak, and others short lived, in reality the Volari have proven to be highly successful. Above all the other races theirs is the race with the farthest reach and most control over the world.
Volari are a diverse race with many different points of view and culture, however, the Volari do tend to favor an organized society that features a set of rules and laws. Different regions can be strikingly different, and the Volari are not above adopting ideas and cultural elements from other races to suit their needs.
Religion - Volari tend to venerate Raziel more than perhaps others, but only by a slim margin. Because of the diverse nature of their race one can find followers of virtually any god among their kind, and different gods can be favored in different regions.
The Volari are descendants of the first world, though they do not remember it. The Volari came with the gods themselves, a few chosen survivors set about on a new world. Over time since then they have spread far and wide, and multiplied in number.
Many Volari strike out to become adventurers, primarily as a way to improve their lot in life; farmers, second sons, and all manner of those who seek change will venture forth to take on the world in hopes of finding treasure or other rewards.
Aenwyn: When it comes to the great game, they are… poor players.
Domari: Numerous, some are viable for tributes.
Engamar: They have potential, but don’t tell them I said so.
Granben: Treat us like children, but that can have its advantages.
Navar: They look similar, almost easy to forget they are not younglings.
Nekanians: They live so close together and there is so many, no room to move or breathe.
Sucari: A wonderful source of income.
Qu’Venar: So short lived, no wonder they rush everything.
Timbakni: So many, all different, it is all so chaotic.
Aenwyn: Tricky people, I swear they’ve found a thousand ways to lie without telling one!
Domari: They say they take men they capture to paradise to father their children, more than a few seem to find the prospect appealing until they learn the truth.
Engamar: They can be loyal friends, or tenacious enemies, try to make them the former.
Granben: Tendency to steal, but mostly harmless.
Navar: For all their might they choose a primitive life, what a waste. Nekanians: Strange people, but friendly to those meaning them no harm.
Sucari: They can’t all be bad, but I’ve yet to meet an honest one.
Qu’Venar: Long lived sure, but they don’t really live so much as watch it all pass by.
Timbakni: They seem reasonable.
Volari: The entire world can claim theirs is the greatest race or civilization, and yet everywhere you’ll find us.