NOTE: This page is being deprecated, see this page for complete racial background information and rules.
Humans make up the bulk of civilization within the Empire. They are commonly found throughout the world and are the dominant species by far. They are possessed of only moderate magical abilities, having only small numbers of sorcerers, wizards and other magic-users.
Half-elves are not, as their name might suggest, the offspring of an elf and a human. Rather, half-elves are the distant descendants of some intermingling of the two races aeons ago. They are now a discrete species in their own right, and are the second most common race in the Empire. They have a greater presence in the more civilized parts of the world, and are rarely seen in remote locales. Half-elves are more magically inclined than humans, and have a greater proportion of druids and sorcerers.
Elves are reclusive, aloof, and distinctly inhuman creatures. They are rarely seen in the civilized parts of the Empire, and generally show no desire to interact with humans and their political constructs.
The dwarves, like the elves, are relatively reclusive. However, dwarves tend to be somewhat more open to trade with human civilization, and occasionally open their underground homes for this purpose. They do not generally get along well with the other races inhabiting the world, and tend to be even more xenophobic than the elves. Dwarves tend to be less magically inclined than the other races, but are said to have ancient and powerful earth-magicks at their disposal.
The “Evil” Races
Orcs, goblinoids, giants, gnolls and other such creatures, although not always truly evil, are rarely friendly towards the civilized nations of the world. The violent and volatile nature of many of these creatures prevents them from forming any kind of unified civilization, and most tend to form small, disparate nomadic tribes. Their frequent clashes with outlying farmlands and villages has earned them a reputation as barbaric and bestial creatures, though in actuality many tribes in fact have quite sophisticated culture. Orcs, kobolds and some of the goblinoid varieties in particular demonstrate some of the first inklings of civilization, and a unified nation of any of these could pose a serious threat to the established balance of power in the world.
Although direct, obvious displays of magic are rare in the world, it undeniably has otherworldly connections. Interplanar portals, usually fleeting and temporary, wink in and out of existence in unseen corners of the land. Occasionally, something slips through from realms beyond.
Those descended from heavenly creatures or otherwise touched by some divine heritage, while exceedingly rare relative to the population as a whole, are by far the most common variety of planetouched creatures living amidst civilized society. Most can and do simply pass as humans or half-elves, and some even go their whole lives blissfully ignorant of their own ancestry. Few aasimar publicly advertise their heritage, but those who do often enjoy celebrity, thanks to both the inherent charisma and likeability that celestial ancestry tends to impart as well as a popular perception that such lineage is blessed with good omens for the community the aasimar lives with. Most aasimar, however, quietly content themselves with humble pursuits dedicated to the common good or self-enlightenment.
5th Edition - Aasimar use DMG 286-287, but lose necrotic/radiant resistance and gain acid/cold resistance.
Even rarer than aasimar, tieflings are nevertheless the second most common variety of planetouched. Most who live in the Empire are planar “immigrants”, since few bother to raise any children. Those rare individuals who are native-born tieflings are usually the illegitimate offspring of promiscuous planar visitors, and almost never have any contact with their planetouched parent. Tieflings rarely integrate with society well, since their inherently fiendish nature tends to predispose them toward antisocial behavior. Not all are outright evil, but even those who aren’t tend to be unlikeable and ostractized unless they are very diligent about blending into society.
Individuals with elemental ancestry (usually djinn) are extraordinarily rare, and the appearance of one is usually greeted with great fanfare and curiosity. The birth or arrival of an air genasi, for example, might be grounds for a regional holiday and the convening of local scholars and magic-users in an attempt to determine the meaning and ramifications of the event: Perhaps a great storm is coming this generation, or great political and social change. Whether such omens and their interpretations actually pan out is a matter of some debate within knowledgeable circles. In any case, unless the genasi lives in isolated seclusion from society, he or she will generally be unable to blend in or lead a normal life, as he or she will nearly always be considered an avatar of some great philosophical or religious calling.
Celestials, fiends, formians, modrons, gith, bariaurs, and others
True planar creatures of this sort are virtually unheard of amongst the common folk, beyond myth and legend. Few of these creatures have any real interest or stake in the material world, and consequently rarely stay here for long. On rare occasions, a fiend may be forced to take refuge on this plane, and may take up the guise of a cult figurehead if it needs to amass power. There are also the occasional rumors of more angelic creatures quietly hiding out on this plane away from prying eyes, although the motives and purposes of such beings is rarely understood.
Gnomes and halflings
Gnomes and halflings are not native to this world, but inevitably some slip through the portals now and then. On the rare occasion they interact with local societies, they tend to be treated as curiosities and oddities, and are generally thought to be stunted elves or humans.