Races of Torn

The races of Torn are many, and each disparate culture of these races a product of the land’s geography, singular histories, and profound accidents. One cannot understand the races without knowing of the places that spawned them, but a general overview is as follows.

Changelings Comparable Cultures: Khmer Empire, Sumerians

Changelings, a mysterious race, are almost completely unknown to the rest of the world, mostly because it is impossible to ever know if a given individual is a Changeling or not. The few known Shapetakers are agents of Gone, and function within The Empire of the Sun as assassins, couriers, spies, and politicians. They are an educated race and speak Common, and exclusively worship Gone as their creator.

Favored Classes: Changelings are almost always rogues or bards, though sometimes sorcerers or warlocks. It is unknown what their culture values, but the most legendary Changeling heroes have been bards.

Deva

Comparable cultures: Modern tibet, Russian Orthodoxy

The Deva are a race that is functionally extinct. Before the Dark Day, this race of mystics was a real manifestation of divine power in the world. Before that event, Deva were able to reincarnate after death, a fact that dominated their culture to such a degree that most of them only paid lip service to the Gods that maintained the powers that allowed this phenomena. Once the gods vanished, the Deva realized they were a race incapable of sustainable reproduction and no longer gifted with reincarnation. Most have withdrawn completely from the world, though a select few have turned to worship of Gone, and these black-skinned Deva are feared mystics and agents of The Black One. The Deva are an educated race with an alphabet reminiscent of Elven, and speak that language and, rarely, Common. Most are athiestic, but some worship Gone.

Favored Classes: Deva, when they tell tales of their greatest heroes, most often tell of wise and segacious Wizards, or, before the Dark Day, pious Invokers and Clerics. It is rare, but there are tales of wandering Deva Swordmages who used their skills as divinely sponsored mercenaries. The most famous Deva of all time was Bok, the Wizard of The West, who claimed to be from beyond the Western Ocean.

Dragonborn

Comparable Cultures: Aztec empire, Egyptian

The savage Dragonborn are the dragon worshipping, cannibalistic leaders of the kobolds and lizardfolk tribes, ruling large city-states of stone in the Southern Hemisphere’s taiga, bordered on the North by the equatorial fungal swamps and the South by the rocky, barren wastes of the Frozen Lands. Prone to ritual sacrifice and highly superstitious, the Dragonborn are unique in the world in that they have a culture concerned with the cosmic order and balance and little else. An individual is not important in the soveriegn city-states of the Dragonborn, nor is a clan, family, town, or race. Instead, it is of great concern to the Dragonborn that the seven moons follow their determined path, and that the Sun maintains its rigid position in the Northern Skies, and that the nighttime Sky Aura continues its perpetual dance. In pursuit of this concern, ritual sacrifice of lesser tribes of races are vigorous in quantity. For this reason, they clash and war with the Eladrin and Dwarves often. They are an uneducated race without a written language, but have a complicated heiroglyphic alphabet that is represenative of their native tongue, Draconic, that appears entirely on the bas-relief carvings of their ziggurats and stone temples. They worship dragons, and have no followers of Gone.

Favored Classes: Most Dragonborn are fighters or thaneborn barbarians, though before the Dark Day they boasted a few paladin heroes of their Draconic Gods. The most feared and powerful of their race are almost always sorcerers. Draconic Sorcerers are seen as the paragons of their race, upholders of their nationalist pride and watchmen over the race of Coldbloods (which includes the lizardmen and kobolds). But Cosmic Sorcerers are seen as the most important figures of their culture, and the stewards of their futures.

Drow

Comparable Cultures: Vikings, Pirates

There are too few Drow in the known world to accurately paint a picture of their culture. What is known is that the sea-faring race of buccaneers, pirates, and coastal raiders thrive in any place where there is a measurable depth of water and a current to sail by. Visitors from the Eastern Oceans, small raiding parties and, somtimes, massive pirate fleets of sophisticated deep-ocean-faring-capable ships carry this race of amphibious conquerers from the coastal waters along the entire continent, though they favor the sun-drenched Northen Hemisphere. It is unknown where it is the Drow come from, though they speak fluent Elven and a few notable individuals have been heard speaking Common. It is known that they trade with and respect the Tieflings but war with the Eladrin, a curious relationship as the Tieflings and Eladrin are close trading partners and allies. While little is known of their gods, it is known that Drow heraldry predominantly features squid motifs, and that they revere the sea and storms in particular.

Favored Classes: Drow marksmen rangers and dark warlocks are common, and the heroes of Drow often fall into those classes. A few famous Drow Bards have tales told of them. But the most famous of Drow are either Rogues or Storm sorcerers.

Dwarves

Comparable Cultures: Inuit, Siberian

The Dwarves are the extremophile survivalists of the Southern Pole, living a secluded lifestyle dedicated to enduring the relentless nighttime winters of the South. Though dour and serious necessitated by a culture based around ice, darkness, and winter, they nevertheless have a celebratory side that manifests whenever a great many of them manage to bump into one another. Under the constant dance of the Aura Lights in the perpetual nighttime sky, they outwardly wear only practical, heavy fur-lined clothing and have little need for metal, and so typically do not have a method of smelting iron. Instead, whale bone and stone are the Dwarves’ predominant resources. Semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers that live in stone-carved ice caves, Dwarves at some point revered many gods but now, out of sheer practicality, maintain a mainly tribal, primal religion that centers around nature. Their entirely nighttime arctic lifestyle has bred them to be stout, flat-faces, and strikingly pale. Albinos are not uncommon, and the birth of a White Dwarf – as they are called – is often a celebrated event. Dwarves are an uneducated race and have no written language – it has long since atrophied with no source of paper and no practical means of keeping stone tablets – but speak Dwarven.

Favored Classes: The hearty, tribal, spirit-revering Dwarves favor and prize the primal classes. The heroes in Dwarven legend are all stout Wardens that harness the frigid cold of their homeland as a weapon against their enemies, and insightful Shamans that call upon their protective spirits to guide their race. They also boast a few great hunters, immovable Fighters that bring down great beasts with no help.

Eladrin

Comparable Cultures: Modern voudisant haiti, Maori

The Eladrin of Torn are a people at war on all sides. The Eladrin that inhabit the fungal jungle-swamps of the equatorial regions of Torn were long ago cut off from the Feywild, and established a tribal lifestyle in the bayous along the equator from the Spine of the World to the Eastern Oceans. Once, long ago, it is said, they had many fine and noble gods that promoted art and magic and song. Now, it is known, the Eladrin worship no god but the spirits of the world and their ancestors. Some say they are demon-worshipers, though this is probably due to their predilection for collecting skulls from their mortal enemies, the Gnomes, and that they sometimes eat their fallen foes. They are farmers of the swamp fungus that grows all around them, which they trade with the island-hopping Tieflings for volcanic glass, which they prize for its hardness and peerless cutting edge. The Eladrin, too, revere dragons – particularly the green and black varieties – but only out of practicality that they frequently encounter them, probably more so than even the Dragonborn. Theirs is a culture based around vendettas and vengeance, and it is frequent to encounter an eladrin witch or warlock. The eladrin do have paper, but no written language (though they speak Elven and no other language), and as such are an uneducated race that only sometimes produces wizards. They worship no gods, though a few have defected to Gone out of practicality.

Favored Classes: The Eladrin of the fungal taiga swamps have a long history stretching back to the days when they still inhabited the Feywild in massive silver spires; their heroes are warlocks that make fell bargains with sources dark and fey, swordmages that practice a deadly swordplay as skillfully as they hurl spells of poison and acid, and the assassins of the swamps and trees of their heritage in rogues and rangers. Because they tend to horde trinkets, Eladrin also produce many Artificers. Because they lost their written language many generations ago, they rarely produce wizards, but the wizards that are in their legends are some of the deadliest and mightiest in history.

Elves

Comparable Cultures: Native Americans (primarily Tonkawa and Mohican), Mongol Empire

The Elves of the Middleland Steppes are nomadic, fiercely territorial, and resolutely xenophobic. The result of communities of the first Eladrin settling above the day/night line in the North Hemisphere, they have long ago shifted from a culture of revenge and vendetta to a society based around ownership. Nothing matters to an elf other than what he personally owns, and nothing is truley yours unless you can take it with you. They are a primal race, revering nature and the spirits in it, and forgot the names of the gods they once prayed to. The few gods they did worship were silenced utterly on the Dark Day. More than any other race – except perhaps humans – they fight amongst themselves mostly due to their cultural beliefs of ownership and theft. If an Elf wants something, he will take it and it will be his. This causes a lot of strife among even a single tribe, but usually it manifests more acutely in the minor disagreements of roaming territory between two elven chiefs. They speak the same language as their southern neighbors, the Eladrin, though they fear and hate their strange cousins (in no small part because an Eladrin would just as soon collect the skull of an Elf than anything else). They have no written language but do have a simple pictograph-based language for passing messages between the ever-moving tribes. They have no worshipers of Gone.

Favored Classes: The nomadic Elves of Torn sing in their smoke-filled drum circles tales of legendary hunter rangers with unmatched marksmanship, wise druids who took the shape of their many totem animals, and clever rogues that could trick the gods out of the gifts of fire and flint.

Genasi

Comparable Culture: Ronin of fuedal japan

The strange, mysterious, and ultra rare Genasi are an aberration, a strange mutation that occurs seemingly randomly at childbirth. A Genasi can be born of any race and any culture, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to this phenomena. A Genasi will reach full adulthood in six years, and live about as long as human, and so rarely have any more than a fleeting connection to their parent races. No two Genasi are alike, but the one unifying feature among this borderless people is a profound need to explore, travel, and discover. In this way they often get along with humans and tend to gravitate towards human settlements, but rarely stay for too long. If two Genasi meet it is a bittersweet moment, filled with a sense of belonging but an urge to keep moving. Two Gensai can breed, but there is no promise another Genasi will be born of this union, and it is typically a child of the mother’s parent race. Unable and undesirous to care for this new infant, most Genasi will leave their child with their home villages, and move on.

Favored Classes: Genasi wanderers are almost all swordmages, though they also produce artificers of no modest skill, and have one particular legend of a warlord who wielded a glaive of fire as hot as the Sun itself named Searblood the Blighted.

Goliaths

Comparable Cultures: Gauls,

The hearty, boisterous Goliaths are a mercenary race without a homeland or a culture to call their own. Consummate men-at-arms, Goliaths are rare in the world but found throughout its lands, in every society imaginable. A warrior race that reveres personal glory and victory, they have absolutely no concept of loyalty to anyone but themselves. Goliaths are unique in that they keep very large families only as long as it takes to train up a Goliath herd of childlren to be able to fight on his or her own, then sell them off to the first available bidder. This seems to suit the young Goliaths just fine. As a result, they have a respected reputation as being entirely impartial and independent of the world, despite being so thoroughly of it. It is not uncommon to see two Goliaths, often family to each other, fighting on opposite sides of a confrontation, and make extra effort to defeat each other. Because of their boastful nature, most Goliaths consider their race to be the best warriors in the world, peerless in combat, and will openly lament having to combat a “lesser warrior from a lesser race.” They speak Giant, as they originate from the Spine of the World where small tribes of their people test themselves in a rare example of Goliath cooperation with warring against the Giants.

Favored Classes: A mercenary people, Goliaths almost always end up fighters or barbarians, terrifying giants wielding huge weapons and scattering their foes aside with powerful strides. But a few rather famous Goliath Wardens are proud examples of their race, standing unmoved before tides of enemies, wading among them as giants of transformed stone and wood.

Gnomes

Comparable Cultures: Aboriginal, Pygmies

The other race that came through the veil of the Feywild into this world, Gnomes are the hated enemy of the Eladrin, and also inhabit the massive continent-spanning fungal jungle swamps of the equator. A cunning people, ruddy and prone to dark complexions and hair color, Gnomes are strikingly similar to Eladrins in culture but physically nearly identical to Halflings, for which they are often mistaken. This enrages your typical Gnome. The fact that they are often captured by slavers and sold in the North as Halflings is a subject of some soreness. Theirs is a culture based on deception and semi-nomadic, guerrilla-style hunting and gathering and theft. They do not have the grasp of fungal farming that the Eladrin do, but they are very adept at stealing those harvests. The mutual hatred between Gnomes and Eladrin is legendary, so much so that it has come to define the Gnomes, both to the outside world and within their own culture. The Gnomes once worshipped a dark goddess of chaos, deception, and mischief, but when she was silenced the Gnomes spat upon her name as a matter of course. To them, her final disappearance was the ultimate betrayal, the final expression of chaos manifest, and unforgivable. Because of their proximity, and because they largely parasitize the culture of Eladrin, Gnomes speak Elven, but, unlike their hated foes, have maintained its written form. As a result, they often produce wizards and are an educated race. Since the appearance of Gone, some have taken to his worship, but not many (his emphasis on orderly behavior and organization chafes with most Gnomes).

Favored Classes: Clever and cunning, Gnomes naturally gravitate towards the inherently dishonest bards, and their most legendary leaders are Gnomes whose hooting songs haunt the fungal wastes to this day. They also naturally take to making bargains with fey and dark forces just as much as their hated enemies, the Eladrin, though they also gravitate towards spontaneously manifesting the abilities of a chaos sorcerer.

Half-Elves

Comparable Cultures: Kmher Empire, Sumerian, Mongols, Native American (primarily Hopi and Anasazi)

Clever, useful, and adaptive, Half-Elves represent everything that is just and good about the Empire of the Sun. To the human population of the world, Half-Elves represent taming the noble savages of the Steppes, and bringing out the best in them by breeding the bad out of them. Even though most humans and elves do not get along, half-elves are welcome in both cultures quite readily. Considered to be worthy cousins as long as they stay off their lands by the Elves, and considered to be the well-meaning but disadvantaged cousins by the humans, Half-Elves have adapted to fit into both cultures quickly. Though because of the obviousl condenscending viewpoints of their progenitor races, they are often very secretive, duplicitous, and harbor a distinct distrust for any race but their own. Accordingly, Half-Elves are very tightly night, and most of them in the world populate a single advanced city-state that marks the political border between the Empire of the Sun and the Wilds of the World (which is the Empire’s name for the rest of Torn). Half-Elves used to revere the same gods the Elves did, and shared some of the gods that the Humans worshipped, but now worship none but Gone, and even then rarely. They speak Human and Elven interchangably, and thus often act as diplomats between Humans and the rest of the world. Many of them speak Common.

Favored Classes: Half-Elves, the diplomats, couriers, and leaders of two races divided, find that the magic words twisted by bardic skill easiest to come by, though they feel equally at home in all classes and there are legends of half-elves of nearly every profession.

Halflings

Comparable Cultures: pre-Rome Jews, Christians before the reformation of Rome

Halflings are the slave-caste race of the Empire of the Sun and any lands where humans are the dominant race. Assimilated seamlessly into the human culture as that race’s servants, merchants, artisans, politicians, and administrators, Halflings enjoy a dual status as both servile and vitally important. They speak Human, but also write it, a fact that gives them an edge over the largely illiterate human race. In all outward expressions of their society they are identical to humans, though have a private, secretive culture amongst themselves that highlights an urge to some day be free of servitude and be the masters themselves. They sometimes are able to free themselves through deed or wealth, but almost always keep other Halflings as slaves once they do. Largely due to ignorance, most humans confuse Gnomes for Halflings and therefore believe that Halflings are from the fungal swamps, which is why a gathering of Halflings is called a “spoore.” Having long ago intertwined themselves into all aspects of human society, they are the hidden masters of its daily routines. Because they are educated, literate, and usually quite clever, they are the second most likely race to produce wizards. Halflings speak human, and a great many of them speak common. The Halflings within Empire lands worship Gone, and the rest have given up on the old gods now that they are gone.

Favored Classes: Culturally identical to humans, halflings only differ in that they are the traditional servant caste, and handle all the administrative and maintenance work in human city-states and villages. Therefore, halflings find themselves naturally drawn to the subterfuge-focused rogues and bards, though they feel just at home in any profession, just as humans do.

Half-Orcs

Comparable Cultures: Ancient Rome, Three-Kingdoms era Chinese, Sumerian

Half-Orcs are rare, brutal reminders of the carelessness of the human libido. Because that parent race so often breeds true with every other race, it is not uncommon to see half-dwarves or half-drow when those people sometimes meet, but it was only once when humans dared breed with the savage orcs of the Spine of the World in the Northern Hemisphere. A single city-state of humans, themselves once a pious, godly theocracy, fell to a savage ruler who abolished the state religion and began spreading with force the worship of the world and its spirits. To subjugate his people, he struck a bargain with the neighboring Orc tribes: access to his people’s women, comely and fair, in exchange for keeping the children to raise a new force of cunning, powerful half-orcs to serve as his police and stewards of his religion. Unfortunate for his people’s women, the Orc chiefs agreed. Thus started the tradition of The Day of Trade: once a year, five women from families in the city are taken to the Orcs and made pregnant. The offspring are born within the city’s walls and trained from birth to be obediant, orderly, soldierly, and to worship the spirits of the world and its forces of nature. Though nearly all Half-Orcs can claim to be the product of such a union, ever rare once in awhile a Half-Orc will be born “in the wild,” a product of savage, often fatal rape. There are no Half-Orcs that follow Gone, and all Half-Orcs speak human.

Favored Classes: The engineered Half-Orcs of Torn are the soldiers, police, and jail keepers of the city-state they are born in. As such, they value the protective focus of Fighters, the destructive capability of barbarians, and the cunning savagery of Brutal and Ruthless Ruffian rogues.

Humans

Comparable Cultures: Empire of the Sun: Khmer Empire, Sumeria; All others, any pre-Renaissance culture.

The most populous race of Torn, humans represent every aspect of civilization, from organizational prosperity to brutal subjugation. Though there are many city-states that are predominantly human, to most of the world there are the humans of The Empire of the Sun, and the humans of everywhere else. The humans first settled the sun-drenched and fertile regions of the Northern Poles many ages ago, and because of that lands endless bounty became fruitful and multiplied faster than any other society. As a result, humans have spread across the entire continent of Torn, and have settlements and city-states and villages in all of its lands. Theirs is a culture of exploration, ambition, and conquest (though few would admit it), and are seldom content to rest on their accomplishments for long. One negative result of this ambition is the rise of the Empire of the Sun, a conglomeration of city-states that wields terrible power both political and militaristic. It is in this city that the God-Emperor Gone rules, and moves to conquer the rest of the civilized people. Humans all speak human, and a select few speak common.

Favored Classes: The most populous race of the world, humans find themselves at home in any environment alongside any race, and as such adapt easily to any profession or calling. Because most humans are not literate in their language, they rarely produce wizards, but the wizards among their race are the most feared and legendary, servants of Gone to a man.

Kalashtar

Comparable Cultures: Empire of the Sun: Khmer Empire, Sumerians; All others, any pre-Renaissance culture

The mysterious Kalashtar are unaware they are a unique race, a spontaneous mutation in humans that can breed fertile with them and hide among them undetected. Because Kalashtar apear identical to the ruddy-skinned humans of the Empire of the Sun, it has not been realised yet that they are distinguishable at all from the race that spawned them. To most humans, Kalashtar are simply particularly magnetic personalities with great wisdom and a propensity for brooding. Kalashtar freely breed with humans – and breed true when they do – but if they take elves as lovers produce half-elves. Again, this only adds to the belief that Kalashtar are a sub-race of Man. A handful of Kalashtar in a single city-state in the steppes of the Northen Hemishpere have begun to identify as unique, and seek to spread this belief to the rest of their people. Kalashtar are educated for the most part, and speak human. Some of them speak common, and they have as many worshippers of Gone as humans do.

Favored Classes: Because they have not yet distinguished themselves culturally from humans, Kalashtar heroes are of the same great varieties as humans are, though they find they have a knack for preaching and telling stories. Therefore, before the Dark Day, there were many Kalashtar clerics and bards, though now the few Kalashtar clerics that remain worship Gone exclusively.

Revenants Comparable Cultures: Khmer Empire, Sumerians

Revenants did not exist until Gone did. Revenants did not have a place in the world until Gone brought them here. All Revenants are Gone’s creations, his favored warpriests and paladins ritualistically sacrificed then reanimated in a blasphemous ritual. Each Revenant is personally created by Gone himself and gifted with unholy second life to complete his Works. All Revenants worship Gone.

Favored Classes: Revenants are always divine classes, be they invokers, paladins, clerics, or avengers.

Shifters

Comparable Cultures: Homosexuals in the 70’s, Lepers

Shifters are a pariah race, and the youngest distinct race to appear on the world of Torn. Until the Dark Day, there were no Shifters to speak of. At least, there were, they just appeared human in all ways. But, on the Dark Day, when the seven moons of Torn aligned, the wild hearts and spirits of the Shifter race roused and changed their bodies forever. Taking on bestial features, snarling and howling under the black sky, the Shifters went wild. Families were disrupted and ruined as fathers, mothers, and children long thought to be normal humans suddenly changed forever, fleeing the lights of civilization to run wild in the plains and steppes and forests of the Northern Hemispheres. Now, seven years later, Shifters shy from civilizations, hunted as betrayer savages and wanted criminals. They are not trusted by any race but find acceptance among the Elves and Tieflings. Because all living Shifters were born into human communities, some of them are able to read and are educated. All speak human, some speak Elven, and they have a small number of worshippers of Gone within the Empire of the Sun.

Favored Classes: Shifters have become nomadic and reclusive out of necessity, and so are drawn to the self-reliant classes of the ranger, the druid, the warden, and the rogue. Because they do not yet have a cultural identity, there are no legends among these pariahs.

Tieflngs

Comparable Cultures: Hawaiian, Aghori

Most of the world would never know that Tieflings existed if it were not for trade. A small, reclusive race that populates the island archipelagos off the coast of the Eastern Ocean, they only interact with the rest of the races of the world when it comes time for their trade boats to make landfall on the mainland. The tropical, volcanic islands in the Northen Hemisphere are rich and abundant in iron and volcanic glass, both prized materials for their hardness and sharpness. The wintery islands in the Southern Hemisphere boast the richest fishing waters in Torn, and a vibrant fishing industry has bloomed on those islands. Every few passes of the moons the Tieflings fill their boats with these items and make trade with the Elves, Eladrin, and Humans. On their home islands, the Tieflings worship the great volcanoes that created their idyllic island homes, and pay tribute to the sleeping primordials in their bellies with dark rituals of sacrifice. Tieflings speak Elven natively, and have their own written form of it. As a result, they more often produce wizards than other races. There are no Tieflings that worship Gone.

Favored Classes: The Tieflings of the archipelagos favor legends of cunning warlords who conquered many islands at once, insightful witches who bargained with the sleeping priomordials at the heart of their volcanoes, and of the legendary voodoo wizards who conjure visions and servants from beyond. The most legendary Tiefling wizard was a female named Akoala’a, who boasted among other feats the creation of her own island where she still rules as a lich chieftain of undying beauty and terrifying might.

Warforged

Warforged do not yet exist on Torn.

Wilden

Comparable Cultures: The druids of the British isles, Shinto animism

The strange, unknowable, fey Wilden are the stewards and shepherds of the sun-kissed woods and forests and wildernesses of the Northern Hemisphere. Small covens of these creatures seem to pop up where ever the civilized races encroach too far into the wild. Because there is so little known about these creatures, most encounters with the Wilden end in violence, and it is not always the civilized races that triumph. Humans in particular seem to have the most trouble with the Wilden, largely because their Empire of the Sun demands the most resources to sustain itself and expand. Elves also find themselves often at war with a sudden growth of Wilden, who seem to emerge from areas formerly thought uninhabited overnight with the aim of driving the Elves away. Strangely, this is one of the few races that has never crossed the equatorial border into the perpetual night of the Southern Hemisphere. It is unknown what language the Wilden speak, or what gods they might worship.

Favored Classes: There are no stories known of Wilden heroes, but the few encounters that are recorded seem to suggest that Wilden are almost exclusively practitioners of primal magic and members of primal classes. With their already inconsistent bodies, that seem to shift and change with mood and season, they make excellent wardens and druids, it would stand to reason.

Monstrous Races The following races, while not available for playing, do occupy the world.

Bugbears

Goblins

Gnolls

Hobgoblins

Minotaurs

Orcs

Races of Torn

One Dark Day StoryDaddy