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After the Great Chaotic War, the world was rife with magic. It was a wonderous time of rebirth and transformation yet the pulse of Ateraan quickened with the erratic flow from an over abundance of magic. A powerful aura vied for a foothold throughtout the lands and with it brought many mysterious occurrences. One of these occurrences was the birth of a race so imbued in magic that it was born of magic in itself and had the capabilities to harness, channel and balance the powerful energy flowing through Ateraan. From the pools of the collected magic found within the elements arose the alluring and magical race known as the Nymphs.
This beguiling and magical race can be found almost everywhere on Ateraan, from the mountains to the meadows, in all bodies of water and throughout the forests, but the one thing that all Nymphs have in common is that they are bound to the element that created them. Although rare, some Nymphs have been known to bond with the more primal elements like wind or fire. Whatever the element a nymph is bound to, it remains a focal point of their essence and some Nymphs are known to become quite ill when away from their element too long.
Nymphs are a charismatic and impish race known not only for their playfullness and carefree spirits but also for their grace and beauty. Although not possessed with great strength, they are wielders of powerful magic. Perhaps with thoughts of flight during their creation, nymphs have wings yet have lost the ability to fly. Most nymphs will proudly display their elegant wings but realize they are merely vestigial extensions of their bodies. The colorings on the Nymphs however are the most amazing of all the races. Exotic skin tones, hair and eye colorings reflect the element they are bound to which only adds to the captivating uniqueness of this race. A wood nymph for example, might have a deep brown skin and green hair, where a water nymph might have green skin and aqua blue hair.
Just as with varying hair, skin and eye color on a Nymph, so is their overall physique. Their height and weight can range greatly depending on the element that they're bound to. For example, a forest Nymph can be tall and willowly versus a mountain Nymph who can be squat and heavier set. No Nymph however is shorter than 2'6" nor taller than 6'4". A Nymph reaches adulthood at age 30 and has an average lifespan of 400 years.
Although creatures of nature and happy to live near their elements, many nymphs have adapted and can be found in all forms of society and professions. Their diet and clothing depends greatly on where they live. Nymphs of nature tend to dress in clothing provided by their element or nature while the society nymphs will dress in style like that of elves or humans. Very similar to dress is their diet. Nature Nymphs tend to be vegetarians while nymphs of society will be omniverous.
To live as a nymph is to never fully comprehend the life of humans or other creatures not affiliated to nature or magic. Nymphs closest affections tend to be toward elves because their lifespan and understanding of magic are in sync with their own. Centaurs seem too proud and large of stature for their liking and they recognize that they are distrusted by the Lykos and Felines. They tend to enjoy teasing Dwarves however and find them easily provoked and amusing but have learned not to push too far lest the dwarf becomes truly angry. Humans are an enigma to Nymphs for they seem always in a hurry with goals and ambitions that are difficult to understand. Gnomes and Nymphs however, have been known to show great rapport possibly due to matching playfullness and often times will find in each other willing participants in mischief.
As the night descends and the twin moons of Ateraan crest to a zenith in the sky, a lone howl can be heard followed by a syncopating chorus of many more rising in ceremonial challenge across the lands. Voices with a wolven strength rise up as an instinctive reminder to all whom listen that Lykan kind exists.
The true origin of Lykan is debated much by scholars. A more common belief is they were brought into existance by accident when an elf and wolf were merged together in a distorted shift of pure magic left in the wake of a Shattering of the Great Cycle. Many Elves refute this claim as pure myth. No matter what their origins, the Lykan have bred and forged a life of their own as a seperate race. They stand upright and have the sentience and intelligence of an humanoid while possessing the instincts and physical characteristics of their wolven ancestors. Perhaps because they are seen as an enigma of the hybrids, the Lykan prefer to stay out from under the scrutiny of society and tend to be loners, becoming fiercely territorial to the lands of the north where they roam.
A Lykos' physique can range from being wiry to hulking but usually averages a height of 5 ft 11 inches tall and weighing 185 lbs. All Lykan however have the same characteristics of fur covered bodies, canine muzzles, wolven teeth, ears and tails. Their fur usually resembles those of natural wolves with shades ranging from dunnish browns, black, gray, silver and white. They are known to have varying colors of eyes with shades of amber, brown, blue and gold being common. A normal Lykos will reach adulthood at the age of 15 and has an average life span of 70 years. The fur covered paws on Lykan still have five digits on each like that of the humanoid races which makes them very dexterous with tools and weapons.
Enduring the hazards of the wilds have made Lykos very hearty and able to sustain the elements. Though their strong powerful bodies are not as agile as some of the slighter races. Lykans teeth are sharp and their bites are powerful, a strength they use to their advantage in combat or defense. Lykan are carnivores and relish the hunt especially enjoying the commraderie of other Lykan within the pack as they stalk their preferred diet of wild game, mutton and beef. Ease of movement is important to a Lykan and its very uncommon to see a Lykan ever fully clothed, most opting to wear only items that are utilitarian or ceremonial depending on the individual's choice.
After the long past Hybrid War between the Lykos and Felines a deeper understanding of self was brought to light from the bloody battle. They realize that a fragile balance of existence lies between the hybrid races and it's not uncommon now to see them offering a helping hand and forming unspoken bonds with the Felines because of this. Both Centaurs and Dwarves are admired for their strength by most Lykos. The Lykan have a strained relationship with the Elves, as many of them refute the most popular theory of Lykan origins. Lykans are often cautious of humans yet find something oddly compelling about them. The general Nykan aloof attitude toward the Lykan confuses them and most other races that consider them cousins.
Although considered a young race, the Lykan have already carved a niche for themselves in the world. Their fierce territorialism, unconditional loyalty to those they trust and strength as warriors is unrivaled in history. Even though most are loners and form no organized villages or societies, they still prefer the heriarchy shown in packs or small clans. Males vying for dominance over these packs or clans can become very ceremonial if not deadly at times and are often said to be part of Lykan tradition and lore.
Although having originated mystically in the forests of Ateraan, most elves of Nordenland have made their homes in the great elven nation known as Quolinara. Elves populate almost every form of society, however, and it is not unusual to see some living in noble refined cities while others settling in with the natural tribal communities that are scattered throughout Ateraan. Elves are one of the old races, if not the original and oldest of all. Although unsubstantiated, it is claimed by them that the elves lived prior to the great chaotic battles began and saw the coming of the Gods to Ateraan.
Because most are respectful of nature and able to live in harmony with the local flora and fauna indefinitely, they often live in tree settlements or make homes using the natural elements around them. They are ever mindful to be careful to not take more than they can use nor enough to unsettle the local ecosystem. They have a very close relationship with nature and many see animals as a life form of nature, therefore choosing not to use their advantages against them unfairly. Some elves chose to eat a diet in which they do not consume the flesh of animals, but not all have chosen to take this path. Most elves have a strong affinity to the lands which created them. They will often times try to live in harmony with nature and even show indignation towards those they feel don't respect it.
The average height for an elf is 5 feet 10 inches tall while averaging around 150 lbs. in weight. The normal life expectancy of an elf is 500 years and they reach adulthood at the age of 80. At a glance the elves of Ateraan are similar to humans but with more slender and graceful features. The largest obvious physical differences are the pointed ears and much slighter builds. Elves are pale of skin and tend to lighter shades of hair and eye color, though darker hues of hair are not unheard of.
Elves are a very old and wise race and because of this they pride themselves as being great intellects and historians. Their long age affords them more intelligence and wisdom then many races. The slight build of all elves allows them greater agility and swift movement, but makes them weaker and much less hearty than other humanoids.
Though they are skilled in combat, they prefer resolving problems through diplomacy if possible and they attempt to hold a friendly or neutral relationship with most nations. Their strong desire to make known of their pure lineages and historical heritage may make them seem vain and they are often times regarded as being aloof by the other races. Older generations of elves regard the animal races with aversion, finding them either a perversion of true elven blood or nature. Despite their equine halves, elves have better relations with the Centaurs because of their shared intellect and affinity for gathering knowledge. Elves find nymphs charming because of their connection with nature, though do not consider them equal in other aspects. Their relationship with Malor is strained at best and hostile at worst because of their historic origins.
Among their other characteristics, elves are born with an inherent sensitivity to magic and many choose paths to pursue this natural talent. This innate ability springs forth often at a young age and all elves are found to have a talent for minor spells. A dedicated elven mage can learn and master a lot of magic during his or her long life.
Originally in the myth of their creation, the Sons of Stone or dwarves as the other races refer to them as, are said to not have been born but rather spawned from the slivers of metals which fell from the Mighty Forger's hammer. Crafted from the metals deep within the mountains of the North, legend maintains that the dwarves were charged by their maker to tend and protect the Great Fires that boil in the belly of Ateraan. Whether this is true or not, most dwarves hold firm to this belief and other races are wary to discount it when looking upon their elaborate mountain mining systems, vast delved homes and halls, wondrous citadels and their mastery in the arts of mining and forgecraft.
The Dwarven nation, with its own king that rules from the capitol Jemeleon, is located in the Northern Mountains where most dwarves live in underground communities excavated by their workers. They are master blacksmiths and craftsmen and use their metals and crafted goods to trade for food with surface races, most often gnomes whom they share a kinship with. Dwarven hunting parties sometimes venture forth from their caverns to hunt for meat, but the only agriculture they practice is fungus gardening.
Dwarves are well known for their love of precious metals and jewels. Most will go to great lengths (contingent on their personal morals) to acquire such items and will be hard pressed to give them up. Apart from their weakness for wealth, however, Dwarves are a most noble race. To wield a blade in defense of clan or nation is the highest form of honor for a dwarf, to die while defending such makes one a legend to be carved in stone.
Dwarves reach adulthood at age 40 and the average life expectancy for this hearty and strong race is around 300 years. Dwarves are short, strong muscled, stocky humanoids. On average they stand around 4 feet 6 inches tall and average a weight of 180 pounds. Male dwarves sport beards upon maturity and keep them well groomed and trimmed but never shaved. It is not uncommon for a female dwarf to have beards of their own but many do not either from genetics or preference. Hair, eye and skin tones are comparable to that of humans but dwarves tend to have thicker, coarser hair.
Both male and female dwarves are known for their feats of strength and hearty constitutions. Avid brewers of fine strong ale, they are far better at stomaching their own brew than most races. Their solid, strong bodies make them very stable, but also not quick on their own feet. Dwarves use their powerful, stocky bodies to their advantage in battle often using it to slam into their foes. While attractive to each other, they're not found physically appealing to others not of their own kind.
Dwarves are liked by warriors of most races, being known for their courage and skill on field of battle. In that regard they personally find a stronger affinity with honorable lykos and trolahks, and consider many of them good brothers in arms. Being that gnomes are of a smaller stature and have a proclivity to live underground, dwarves view them as their smaller cousin race even if their quick demeanor can sometimes vex even the most steadfast of dwarves. Dwarves are generally distrustful of the more magical races, not having much magical aptitude of their own. Having healthy appetites of all kinds, both genders are known to mate with other races.
Dwarves can be seen in any form of society on Ateraan but most are witnessed as fighters for their fierce loyalty, expert swordmanship and unsurpassed bravery. Dwarves also make fine merchants as they tend to master the forge quicker and have a healthy knowledge of ores and gems. Statesman and politics are usually rare, for dwarves are often gruff and practical and prefer a straight forward brute force approach to problems over subtlety or stealth. Most dwarves have a healthy respect or sometimes even fear of magic. The race produces very few wizards; clerical magic is more common.
Having originated in the subterranean labyrinths of Ateraan, gnomes have thrived in their bustling underground cities and cave-like dwellings. Because of the necessity to maintain their underground lifestyles, gnomes have become masters at land moving and shaping which only bears proof when looking upon their concise and intricate systems of cites and burrowed neighborhoods.
However, not all gnomes dwell underground. Driven by their natural curiosity, through the course of time many gnomes have ventured out of their underground dwellings and have opted to build towns on the surface. Surface gnomes prefer to live near natural sources of energy (i.e., waterfalls, rivers, volcanoes, and natural springs). They also take advantage of other natural occurrences such as sunlight, heat, cold, forests and fuels in many ingenious ways.
Gnomes are a small and wiry race who are the ancestral cousins of Dwarves and about twice as mischievous. The average gnome is about 3 1/2 feet tall and weighs an average of 60 lbs. Their average life expectancy is 200 years and reach adulthood at 35. Most gnomes have common characteristics of large or elongated noses and large dark eyes. The beards on the males can vary but they tend to have shorter beards than dwarves. Their large eyes are suited for keen sight in the dark and they are very sensitive to light. Generations of gnomes that have lived above ground tend to see better in daylight, but their vision in the day is still not as good as other races that have primarily lived above ground. It is rare for gnomes to have anything but darker colored eyes, and their hair color can vary between darker shades of brown, black and red.
They are intelligent and quick, though not as naturally predisposed to be excellent fighters being weaker and less agile then some races. Gnomes are quick to learn the magical arts and gnomish children are almost always taught to summon the famous magical horns of the race. Gnomes have strong inclinations in the way of mechanics, kinetics and machines. Most of the machinery that has advanced on Ateraan can be attributed to their inventions. Often times a traveler will know they're coming upon a gnome community just by the bizarre and bold land shapes they see built by the gnome master crafters.
Gnomes are a trusting and friendly race and are very curious and inquisitive about others. It is often said that gnomes are too trusting and historians have blamed this tendency for instances in which groups of gnomes have been taken advantage of in the past. While gnomes are naturally open to most races, this feeling is not always shared. Some races generally find their absent-mindedness or antics unpleasing or even annoying. Ironically, most gnomes become so enthralled in their work, quest for knowledge, and curiosity that they hardly notice any shown dislike. Gnome scholars get along well with elves and centaurs that share their passion for knowledge. More playful gnomes tend to have a fondness for nymphs whom they see as whimsical and carefree and a possible cohort in pranks.
Gnomes are quick witted, whimsical at times and constantly questing for knowledge. Because of this driven curiosity and inherent thirst to know more about the world around them, most gnomes become masters of crafts at an early age. They take great pride in their long genealogy history and often times depict this through masterful art such as tapestries, statues and careful documentation. Even though small, gnomes tend to see things on a larger scale and even in their dress, they sport bold colors on their masterfully tailored clothing.
The journey of man as depicted in many history chronicles is one filled with diversity, conflict and destiny. Although the roots of man are still quite young compared to those of the elves or other long lived races, their history is still rich and remarkable. Being descendants of pioneers, conquerors, traders and politicians has paved a way for this race to be considered the most ambitious and diverse people on all of Ateraan.
Humans are the most adaptable and ambitious people among the races. They are diverse in their tastes, morals, and customs. Others accuse them of having little respect for history, but it's only natural that humans, with their relatively short life spans and constantly changing cultures, would have a shorter collective memory than that of the elves or centaurs. Because of their versatility and lust for knowledge of politics, humans are found in every form of society and guild. From minstrels to heroes to the worst of tyrants, there is no limit to what man can do well with his abilities, and he has more than enough ambition to do it.
Humans typically stand around 5 feet 8 inches and upon maturity can average a weight of 175 pounds. Thanks to their penchant for migration and conquest, they are more physically diverse than the other races with skin shades that run from nearly black to very pale, hair from black to blond and facial hair (for men) from sparse to thick. Their eyes are a variety but within normal colors of blues, greens and browns. Humans are often ostentatious or unorthodox in their grooming and dress, some sporting unusual hair styles, fanciful clothes and tattoos. Humans have short life spans, achieving adulthood at about age 17 and rarely living past 80 years old.
Scribed in the elven chronicles of lore in ancient times, it is first written of the sultry, vast jungles south of the elven nation and the discovery of a humanoid race with cat-like characteristics and abilities. Nestled in the secluded dense tropics, this graceful and sensual feline race flourished unhindered through time which is evident by their primitively elaborate villages found scattered throughout the jungles. Curious wooden statues in the likeness of the females of their kind can be found marking some village or tribes which may mean that they are clan/tribe territorial and possibly a matriarchal society which reveres the elder females of their race.
Territorialism and a sense of encroachment by their animal-like counterparts, the Nykan and Lykan, may be a contributing factor to the past conflicts and wars that are shared by them. While war raged between them in times past, it has been hundreds of years since the last known conflict after which a truce was declared. This pact was made out of necessity for it is known now that these races have diminished in numbers and they tend to hold to each other in an effort to avoid extinction. It is also known that after this pact was made, more and more felines have been seen leading nomadic lives and even settling in villages out on the plains. Some have extended themselves even more and because of their grace, demeanor and intellect, have found themselves welcomed into the finer societies on Ateraan.
Because of the harsh existance of the wilds the average lifespan of a feline is 85 years, but it has been known for those that dwell in cities to live longer. In common feline society a khit is considered an adult at 16 years of age. Averaging a height of 5 feet 4 inches and reaching an average weight of 130 lbs, felines are mostly humanoid in appearance but are noted for their common characteristic of fur which can vary uniquely from each individual. Whether long, short, thick, thin, sleek or scattered in patterns in natural hues of blond, brown, black or red, all take pride in their coat and often times will go to great lengths to groom it. Most have tails, although some are born without, and the majority of felines have cat-like ears which are positioned higher on the head than a normal cat. Large luminous eyes which are often referred to as the gateway to a felines soul are widely variant but are seen more in natural tones of golds, blues and greens.
Proud and aloof, though very sensual and affectionate, curiosity is still a driving force for felines. Because of this driving curiosity most felines have been known to make decisions that were not wise nor intelligent. Although peaceful, felines are a proud race and their slim and quick bodies make them very agile combatants, though they are not known for their strength or fortitude. Graceful stealth, keen hearing and eyesight, distinct razor like canine teeth along with their honed claws with which all felines hold a natural skill, can make for a very formidable opponent. Its this same physiology that makes them the great hunters that they are and helps sustain their diet since all felines are carnivores. Fish, poultry and wild game seem to be the preferred food of felines.
Felines have very distinct likes and dislikes that they show through indifference or even disdain to the races that disturb them. Elves are viewed as braggarts, nymphs as frivolous, dwarves as too avaricious and they have no tolerance for a gnomes pedantic ways. They show a superficial dislike of the lykos and nykos although the races have an unspoken closeness, each understanding how the other feels as an endangered people. They also are more tolerant of centaurs who they view as another hybrid race, which gives them some common ground. Because of their sheer size and strength, Trolahks are avoided by the more cautious felines among them. They distrust humans due to their reputed rashness and love of conquest but often find something mysteriously fascinating about them.
While only conjecture on the part of lore historians, some believe that this race came about when a mountain lion was born with magical abilities and the power of intelligent thought. Some contribute this wondrous transformation to natural evolution while others maintain it was from stray magic during a powerful conflict between rival mages. Whether myth or fact, one may never know the advent of this mysterious and proud race now known to Ateraan as the Felines.
Out across Nordenland's vast Blue Ocean and surrounded by the Great Elemental Atoll, looms the magnificent land form known as Centaur Island. It is on this island, fed by the warm ocean winds with its lush rolling hills and fertile valleys, where the largest concentration of centaur make their home. Although secluded somewhat from the rest of the world, this small island nation is fabled to having the most prestigious and complete library on Ateraan and is known to be a worthy pilgrimage for scholars of all races.
Looking upon the intricate marble spires of the Centaurian Lyceum and and the wealth of knowledge, lore and history that is held within its vast vaults, it is easy to admire the magnificent architectural skills and intelligence this noble race possesses. Centaur take great delight in the pursuit of knowledge and especially in the recording of history, being even more meticulous in keeping their chronicles than are the Elves.
Centaur are a vital race of noble forbearance. Even though their origins are not known to the world and some only conjecture that they were brought into existence by some crazed magician in ancient times, many feel that the key to the Centaur origins is secreted away in the great Lyceum and this legacy is known only to Centaur themselves.
Centaur are powerful, graceful, poised and balanced, combining the strength of an equine body with the arms, hands, reason, superior knowledge and emotion of a human mind. They are thought to be the perfect blending of the best properties of both human and equine aspects. Their equine body parts are usually cast in common horse colors and their hair most notably shaded in black or browns but have been known to run the full gamut of natural hue. Their eyes are within human ranges, though the vast majority of centaur have brown eyes.
Majestic in appearance, a 25 year old adult centaur can average a height of 6 feet, 10 inches and weigh as much as 1900 pounds with an average life expectancy of 110 years. Because of their large equine frames, Centaur diet is very important to them and will tend to eat healthy vegetables and red meat in a conscious effort to nourish both their equine and human bodies.
Centaur are fickle with most races and tend to only form close bonds with those of any race they deem as intelligent as themselves. They respect elves for their long history and shared passion of record keeping but they are largely indifferent to the Lykos and Felines whom they feel have few scholars among them. They tend to view nymphs as flighty and scatter brained and often time find them irritating.
Traveling through Ateraan, one will find Centaur in almost any form of society or profession. Most, however, are found to be nomadic or cloistered within small clans and villages out on the open plains. Their fierce countenance, speed, agility and strength make them formidable warriors, their intellect and poised refinement make them a welcome addition to any noble society while even more follow the druidic path in life due to their deep respect for nature and the need to maintain the open lands which sustains them.