Linking Characters to the Setting, Race Guide – By Tom L. & Pigasus
East Asian: Chinese-style characters who know martial arts and run criminal triads probably come from Xiunhai-la, a series of islands literally suspended in mid-air on the far side of the world. Japanese-style characters such as samurai, ninja, geisha and others, probably come from Nipangui, an empire on the northern island chain of Panguro.
Black and African: Mwayambi is a continent west of Veth, where the setting takes place. Black humans and dwarves can be found there, living either in superstitious tribes or cosmopolitan cities. The Berjeron, a major power in Mwayambi, are the likeliest travelers to be found in Drache.
Middle Eastern: Aslar, to the south of Arangoth, is vaguely Turkish with beys and janissaries. Najjir, to the north, where the deserts are, is a major nexus of Arabesque and Persianesque life divided into many independent emirates who vie for influence. Off to the west is the Great Desert, full of nomadic Yosp and Sibdar tribes.
French, Italian, Mediterranean, Hispanic: People have Spanish names in Arrantiada, an island that’s included in the Pentland writeup. It’s a well-educated country, full of bards, academics and diplomats. Elluria, Emil and Tollor, their source countries are also full of Mediterranean European-like people.
Irish, Celtic and Gaelic: People with Irish names and demeanors can come from most places in the continent. Elluria to the south would be a good bet. Some of the wilderness elves have a Celtic, clannish behavior. Also, the Tuil Fionn people of Pentland have Gaelic-sounding names and are colonized by an England-like imperialist. Places in Northern Arangoth have been known to have Gaelic names, like Caern Rhia.
Roman, Imperial: The most Rome-like country in the setting is Alesia. It has its own small continent, which caps the south pole. Alesian embassies exist on the mainland. Another empire is Pentland, which is more like England and focused on naval superiority.
German, Scandinavian: Can come from Arangoth, as well as Thontaran, to the southeast. Thontaran is a strange case because it combines aspects of Vikings and the Mongols, only without a common warlord to lead them. Arangoth is probably a Germanic character’s best bet. Vikings may have to go with the Korthai, a water-faring pirate people.
Russian, Slavic: From Orjana, a cold, highly elevated land in the north.
Native/Tribal: The Khalars are mobile horse tamers from the steppes of Kahlara. The Thons are tribal and live mostly on herding animals. The Assi are a series of shamanic raider tribes that live in the borderlands of Eastern Arangoth. Nahuatl in the northwest is a bizarre time capsule of Aztec-like people preserved from an earlier time. The Shushan elves and Emshi nomads wander throughout Najjir.
Jewish/Romani/Diaspora: The Mingits are a scattered people whose homeland, along with that of Arangothians’ ancestors, the Igmerinds, was destroyed by hordes of marauding outlanders a thousand years ago.
Humans with unusual features: Certain groups are arguably human, but with a twist.
The Rashnaditz, a tent people living along the northern trade routes, have webbed feet, allowing them to traverse the fine sand of their home
Tuil Fionn are humans adapted to life at sea and are able to dive for extended periods.
Elves: can be from many places.
The obvious choice is Elvendeep, which formed when many different types of elves came together in the Soranion forest and built the Elfspire. It has very high culture but since it’s constantly under threat from orc invasion, it has a very survivalist, almost Israeli outlook on their belligerent neighbors. Elvendeep is allied with Arangoth for this reason.
Mazewood Elves are elite rangers and survivors from Elgar Forest, on the other side of Arangoth. Here, instead of orcs, the land itself is cursed and the elves have to survive undead, werewolves and other bad things on a regular basis.
Far Easten Elves from Panguro are all nobility at the height of their society and considered superior to humans and nearer to the gods in every way.
The Shushan are a group of brown-skinned elves who live in the deserts of Najjir as nomads. The Najjira humans discriminate against them frequently but the “dune elves” have a very old culture.
Drow aren’t usually called Drow in BDI. In fact, there are several underground civilizations of dark-skinned elves with whitish hair and drow-like traits, including the Vuulari and others.
The lilist Mikeul in Leturia, the Nimm bandits of Outer Arangoth, the elven amazons of the Aran Forest, and the elves of Myst are more examples.
Dwarves: are more Armenian than Scottish in BDI, unlike most fantasy settings
The closest dwarves live in Ruthmarna province in central Arangoth, where the gold mines are. Some Ruthmarnan dwarves live underground, others live aboveground and some spend half the year tending to their livestock aboveground before driving them into the caves for the winter. These dwarves are divided by families and also professional guild-clans and have Armenian and Georgian sounding names.
There are also scattered notes about another set of dwarven exiles living on the Isles of Myst. These dwarves practice the Lil philosophy and some of them have mental (psionic) powers even though they shun magic. There’s no setting entry on this one yet though. Other dwarves live in enclaves, throughout.
Orcs: most live in the huge, scary orcish empire called the United Clans or Zul Kiras
Most Zul Kiran orcs don’t lag far behind humans in intellect, discipline and military organization, which is bad news for everybody. They are grouped into clans, each of which specializes in a different type of mayhem. Once in a while, the orcish juggernaut goes to war against its neighbors.
On the other side of the continent is the small land of Bahr, a land of penal colonies and squabbling goblinoids and orcs. These are considerably less organized and form a great bulk of the bandits and thugs on that side of the world.
Finally, there are many orcs still alive in Alesia, where they fight constantly against the human legionnaires.
Dragons, Lizardfolk: Depending on type of dragon, they can be from anywhere. Pentland is likeliest. Pentland’s main island used to be a haven of dragons and dinosaurs. Most died out but many still remain and coexist with the humans. Some take trips abroad. The dumber dragons are ridden by humans.
Lizardfolk can be found near the Lake of Brine on the approach to Najjir as well as in Pentland’s forests.
Black Dragon Inn was founded by and named after a dragon from a different world.
Griffons: Arangoth’s world contains a ‘high’ breed of Griffon, one sentient and capable of transforming into human shape, as well as the better known breed. The high Griffons of the west are a formidable people, and have enslaved the men of their country and warred on the elves and men on their borders and beyond.
Arangoth’s Border Watch are said to fly upon their small number of ‘low’ or unintelligent griffons on necessary occasions.
Merfolk: The Tuil Oneidhae, who live underwater in a coral reef on Pentland’s territory, is a race of aquatic humanoids with fish-tails. Some of them can take human shape and walk on land temporarily. They cannot spend longer than a day outside the water.
Vampires, Undead, etc: Undead can be found pretty much anywhere. Most people in the setting have a “fire and pitchfork” reaction to obvious signs of undeath due to being terrorized by many zombie plagues and rapacious vampires in the past. That’s why the guards are very twitchy and have declared a bounty on vampire teeth.
Clever vampires, liches and other unholy creatures get around this paranoia by learning to conceal their presence and “playing live.”