The Shadows of War
The Original Races
The elves originated in the forested northwest of Turgynn. Over time, geography separated the elves into three distinct subraces: high elves, wood elves, and dark elves.
The high elves developed on continental Turgynn throughout the forested northwestern territories. Their realm stretched from the very northwestern tip of the continent all the way to present day Lystar, plus Ammoth Island. The Feypeak Mountains further divided the high elves into the silver elves to the west and the golden elves to the east.
The wood elves developed on the Nymmyr Islands, north of continental Qualestyl. The high elves often call their isolated brethren the wild elves, as they perceive them to be less cultured. The wood elves living on the Nymmyr Islands are highly distrusting of the non-elf races, having very little contact with them.
Dark elves, also known as drow, were banished from the surface-world long before even the Versarian Empire arose for following the goddess Ogdah into evil and corruption. Their civilization now exists solely in the Underdark, and they are extremely rare on the surface.
The Elven Territories
The elven lands were divided into three territories within the Versarian Empire, with the silver elves and the wood elves given Qualestyl and the golden elves given Indoryl and Sardyl. But during the Great War, Sardyl was conquered and reconquered several times, with borders being redrawn every few years until the present-day borders were finally established at the end of the war. This led to a large mixing of humans and elves within Sardyl, as well as the foundation (or renaming) of several human cities. To this day, Sardyl is largely mixed, and it also contains the highest population of half-elves.
Since the Great War, Qualestyl closed its borders entirely and ceased all communications with the other kingdoms. As a result, silver elves and wood elves are far less common throughout the other kingdoms than are golden elves.
The dwarves originated in the snowy mountains of southern Turgynn. Over time, geography separated the dwarves into three distinct subraces: mountain dwarves, hill dwarves, and gray dwarves.
The mountain dwarves developed throughout the entirety of the tall, rocky, snow-covered Asultosh Mountains in the far south, all the way from the east to west coasts. Mountain dwarves may live on the surface or underground, depending on their standing within their clan; those with higher standing are afforded the warmth of the mountain. Mountain dwarves are largely distrusting of outsiders.
The hill dwarves live in the northern valley within the Asultosh Mountains. Many hill dwarves live on the surface, venturing underground only for mining or for the protection of a fortification. Hill dwarves are much more open to outsiders and travel, and are far more widely distributed throughout the other kingdoms of Turgynn.
The gray dwarves, also known as the duergar, are a race of dwarves who delved so deeply into the earth that they were corrupted by dark powers. They now dwell in the Underdark, and only rarely appear on the surface.
The Dwarven Territories
The dwarven lands were divided into three territories within the Versarian Empire, with the mountain dwarves given Thialtur and Galmur, and the hill dwarves given Fyltur. Since the Great War, Thialtur closed its borders almost entirely and ceased all communications with the other kingdoms. Only in far northeastern Thialtur is any passage through the kingdom allowed, but no city will allow for an outsider’s entry.
Dwarves are strongly dedicated to their clans and family. There are hundreds of clans throughout the dwarven lands, with each clan in turn swearing fealty to their king.
Humans developed largely in the central, hilly, plains areas of Turgynn, and during the Versarian Empire, this land was divided into the three territories of Versaria, Dviria, and Ensia, which stretched north into the southern deserts of present-day Zhevagg. During the Great War, humans conquered the kingdoms of Zhevagg, Kromakh, and Gromansh, reducing the orcs to roving tribes. Even so, these kingdoms are largely uninhabited due to the large deserts that fill them. Since the time of the Great War, humans have also traveled widely, and humans can be readily found in any of the ten kingdoms whose borders aren’t closed.
Orcs developed in the hot deserts of northeastern Turgynn, and during the Versarian Empire their land was divided into Zhevagg, Kromakh, and Gromansh. The harsh climate in which they lived caused them to develop an aggressive, harsh society in turn, and this aggressive nature is what led to their persecution during and after the Great War by the other races. Eventually, the orcs were reduced to roving tribes who nurture evil thoughts toward the other races. They have abandoned their civilizations and traveled throughout the rest of the open kingdoms, attacking the other races as though still engaged in war, though their highest concentrations are still in the desert kingdoms.
Gnomes mostly developed in the Feypeak mountains between Qualestyl and Indoryl, and this is still largely where they preside. Different preferences for where to live led to the development of two subraces, the forest gnomes and the rock gnomes.
The forest gnomes are a secretive people who live in the forested hills of the mountains. The forest gnomes are largely concentrated on the Qualestyl side of the mountains, but there are several communities on the Indoryl side as well. Due to their secretive nature, the native forest gnomes are one of the few peoples who are able to cross the Qualestyl border, thus maintaining contact between their communities.
The rock gnomes developed in the Feypeak Mountains themselves, keeping to higher altitudes. Since the Great War ended, however, rock gnomes have spread throughout the rest of the kingdoms, and several communities now exist in the Asultosh Mountains and even in the Shiibgah, Tiirzhai, and Jompalg Mountains.
Halflings developed in the area surrounding the intersection between Thialtur, Dviria, Ensia, and Galmur. They are a pleasant and affable race, and were more content to dwell alongside the other races than to demand their own territory during the Versarian Empire. Halflings have spread throughout Turgynn, but their largest communities are still in this southeastern area. Those who live in and around Stælya tend to be stouter and sturdier—the myth is that their distant ancestors bred with the nearby mountain dwarves—while those further north and west tend to be much more light of foot.
The Mixed Races
Half-elves are the offspring of mixed lineage between a human and an elf. Half-elves can be found throughout the kingdoms, but are most common in Sardyl and the surrounding regions where human and elven kingdoms meet. Half-elves often do not fit well within either human or elven communities, but tend to be more widely accepted in Sardyl due to their prevalence.
Half-orcs are the offspring of mixed lineage between a human and an orc. Half-orcs can be found throughout the kingdoms, but are most common in Zhevagg and Kromakh. Half-orcs can be found in orc clans, either using their human intellect to rule over their orc brethren or being abused by them, or in human cities, either prized for their strength or persecuted for their orc heritage.
The Spawned Races
The Great War spawned many evils in the pursuit of victory, one of them being the creation of two new races, the dragonborn and the tieflings, in order to attempt to turn the tide of war.
The dragonborn were created when powerful mages combined humanoids with dragons. Dragonborn were created from all of the chromatic and metallic dragons in an attempt to find the ones that were most powerful. Eventually, however, the dragonborn proclaimed themselves sovereign and broke free of their rulers. They now can be found throughout the realm, though they are rare and often met with fear. Some still work within society, while others have been driven to seek out a powerful dragon to serve, rejecting their humanoid heritage.
Tieflings were created when desperate humans attempted to strike a pact with evil gods and demons in exchange for power during the Great War. This pact marked them for all to see as infernal beings, and this has been passed down through generations. Tieflings can be found throughout the realm, though they are rare and often met with fear, suspicion, and even hatred.