Player Character Races

Core Races

HUMANS in the campaign should be provincial-types. Greek or Roman characters (unless they're from Achaea or Italia) will probably be aristocratic; in any event they will probably not get along really well with other player characters. This is James' ruling and other DMs might not agree, but no PC beginning in Ægyptus will be allowed to be a Greek or Roman without a really good excuse.

The humans of the Roman Empire tend to be very bigoted, very ethnocentric. The Romans, of course, look down on everybody, as do the Greeks; provincial peoples may hate the Romans, but they also dislike non-humans. It was humans who built up the mighty Empire; by contrast, the demihuman races are seen as fairly insignificant at best.

DWARVES are found in mountainous areas across the Mediterranean. There are strong dwarvish kingdoms, made up of both hill and mountain dwarves, in eastern Ægyptus (Khamiz, Gorril, Gyaiok, and Tzavíakk) as well as the Sinai peninsula (Deiin), of which only Khamiz is governed by a Rome-appointed client king—the rest are independent. There is a huge dwarvish ghetto in Alexandria, including what is probably the largest population of so-called "sundered dwarves" (debased hill dwarves) in the Empire. There are also dwarven strongholds (not organized on such a large scale) in Italia, Scandinavia, Hispania, the provinces of Africa, Æthiopia, Galatia, Armenia, and Colchis (north of Armenia, just east of the Black Sea). There are powerful dwarven kingdoms along the west coast of Arabia and in the Carpathian Mountains of Scythia. There are very cultured dwarves in and around Mt. Parnassos in Greece, who in fact profoundly influenced the sculpture of human civilization there. There are also many dwarves in the Alps, these mainly "deep" mountain dwarves (who escaped the ice age by going down rather than south), including some strongholds in eastern Narbonensis and the Alpine provinces.

Of all the nonhuman races, dwarves are probably the most respected in the Roman world. Their industriousness, their craftsmanship, their organization, and not least their military prowess have earned them a certain amount of respect that is not accorded to most other races. However, they are considered to be completely humorless (which may not be too far from the truth), and generally not a lot of fun—a pretty boring lot.

Germanian dwarves (of the mountain dwarf subrace) are highly respected, especially in the region of the Alps. Their steadfast defense against the creatures of the underworld has created a mystique about the dwarves, who are treated like royalty the few times that they venture into towns. Of course, any dwarf who stays more than a few days is likely to wear down the population due to the lack of humor and the large quantities that they eat.

In Ægyptus, on the other hand, most humans have had contact only with the sundered dwarves—not a pretty or accurate picture of this noble race! They may be hard workers, but they sure seem dirty, and all their hard work isn't doing much to get them out of the ghetto. They may be great warriors, but they're subjugated by Rome as much as the rest of the Egyptian and African slobs.

ELVES dwell in fairly barbaric tribal units in much of the known world. Several nomadic tribes of high "plains" elves live in Germania (some of which have been conquered and enslaved by the Romans), along with separate half-elven tribes of ancient ancestry. Wood elves are scattered across Europe: in Gallia (Lugdunensis and Narbonensis), Pontus, and Cyprus. The tribe on Cyprus has lived in geographical isolation for several generations and thus has some distinct cultural patterns setting it off from other elves. There once were several tribes in Thracia, but they were all decimated by human conquest, and the survivors enslaved. Its only memorial is a large number of elven slaves in that region. Nomadic desert elves (also wood elves) are also found in the Arabian peninsula.

Of all the nonhuman races, elves are quite possibly the object of the most Roman hatred, not least because they are resisting assimilation into the Empire more fiercely than any other race. They are seen as frivolous and immature, weak and unmanly, cowardly fighters who resort to bows and disorganized tactics to hide their weakness. Their love for nature is seen as a bizarre fascination for shrubbery and disrespect for civilization. They are the epitome of what the Greeks always called "barbarian." Their preference for others of their own race, to the exclusion of others, gives even "civilized" elves an air of arrogance and haughtiness.

Drow are said to live deep below the wilds of Germania. Player character drow are not allowed in this campaign.

HALFLINGS of the lightfoot variety are found with some frequency in the fertile regions of the Nile delta, southern Hispania and Gallia Narbonensis, Sicily, and Asia Minor. Stout halflings dwell in the east, from Asia Minor down through Syria and east into Armenia. While certain of these stout halfling groups tend to be rather more barbaric and even warlike than most of their kin, others (particularly those in close contact with dwarves, as in Galatia) are quite sedentary and peaceful.

As far as Rome is concerned, the only useful thing about halflings is their beer, which certainly is remarkable. Otherwise, halflings are seen as short, insignificant, boring as anything, lazy homebodies. Of course, the stouts of the east present something of a challenge to these stereotypes, and human natives of these regions tend to have a lot more respect for this diminutive race.

Secondary Races

DRAGONBORN are native to Parthia, where they claim descent from the ancient Sumerian gods. Almost all Parthian dragonborn are descended from metallic dragons, whom they identify as the gods of ancient Sumer who helped Anu/Bahamut/Ahura Mazda defeat Tiamat during the creation of the world.

GNOMES live in the hilly areas across the Mediterranean world, though they are less common than dwarves. Rock gnomes have strong clans in and near Syria, smaller settlements in the foothills of the Alps, the Pyrenees, in northern Hispania, near Carthage in Africa, and along the Red Sea coast on either side. Other groups lead a nomadic life in the Arabian and Egyptian deserts. Forest gnomes are extremely populous in Germania.

The Roman world sees gnomes as pesky annoyances, never to be trusted. Besides that, they're short, they dig around in the dirt, and—for crying out loud—they talk to animals! On the other hand, they are notable craftsmen, like dwarves, and so they have at least the nominal economic respect of the Empire.

HALF-ELVES, of course, are not entirely uncommon, especially in urban areas. As mentioned above, however, there are also tribal units of half-elves in Germania which are independent of either human or elven society, and claim ancestry back to the time when humans were first created by elves.

Half-elves bear a heavy stigma in human society, since they are seen as being "tainted" with elvish blood. They are halfbreeds, contaminated, cursed—true outsiders.

HALF-ORCS are found wherever humans and orcs live in close proximity. Some of the desert tribes of northern Africa, for example, take pride in their fierce half-orc champions and leaders. Orcs are quite common in Spain (Lusitania and Tarraconensis), the Alpine provinces up into Germania, and the whole north coast of Africa, from Mauretania Caesariensis through Numidia, Africa proper, Cyrenae, Ægyptus, and into Arabia.

TIEFLINGS are the descendants of the Hyksos, a west Asian people found at various times across the region from Syria to Egypt. After invading Egypt about 1650 BCE, the Hyksos formed the Fifteenth Dynasty that ruled northern Egypt for the next century. The dynasty's founder, Sakir-Har ("the Reward of Har") made a diabolical pact with the god Set that transformed himself and his people into the first tieflings. It is possible that other tieflings have come into being through other means, either as groups or as isolated individuals, but the vast majority of tieflings living in Ægyptus, Africa, and the eastern Mediterranean carry the royal blood of the Hyksos kings in their veins. 

Other Races

These races are fully detailed on subpages in this section.

FAUNS are a race of woodland-dwelling people native to the forests of Gaul, Dalmatia, Macedonia, and Cyprus. Their society is rather barbaric by Roman standards, but they have their own standards of civilization and are a rather proud race. They are essentially human in shape, standing nearly six feet high, with bestial-looking faces, flowing manes of hair (including beards on the males), and short, goat-like tails. They do not favor clothing, but will wear it in their dealings with humans. Instead, they paint their bodies with natural colors, including bright reds and striking blacks which contrast with their light brown complexions. They have no horns.

HATTÍ are a reptilian race of nomads who once had mighty kingdoms in the heart of the African desert. They are now a nomadic race, memories of their ancient glory preserved in a rich oral tradition. They are shrewd merchants—various clans of hattí have become very wealthy by transporting cargo across the desert for human merchants—and many of them have successfully integrated into human society, despite their appearance and the prejudice of the Roman Empire.

KA'AN are a race whose small empire covers most of Russia and the Ukraine, stretching as far south as the Bosporan Kingdom. They are a cultured race, delighting in games and history. Their entire society is based on competition, especially of the social and political genre.

Subpages (3): Faun Hattí Ka'an