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People of Havenspire (looking for feedback)

Discussion in 'World Building' started by WooHooMan, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

    First off, sorry for the length.

    Second, I've noticed there's been quite a few threads lately about fantasy races, particularly about the cliche-ness of some of them. So recently, I decided to try to cobble together a setting featuring a bunch of races - some very conventional ones. But that's not something I'm use to doing and I'm a little worried about how it's turning-out. I figured getting some feedback from people who don't have any investment in my setting is a good way of figuring out how this setting is shaping.

    Here's a summary of all the races.
    Keep in mind, it's suppose to feel a little video-game-y, rpg-ish. However, I'm worried that it comes across as clustered and confusing. So, if you have any feedback or if you think I can drop a race or slim down how many races there are, please let me know.

    Havenspire: Eastern continent, main setting
    Middarth: Western continent

    === HUMANS ===

    The Vikings are the oldest people of Havenpsire, having migrated from the western continent of Middarth many centuries ago. They are a powerful, sea-faring people. They traditionally worshipped the pagan gods of Middarth but this practice has greatly fallen out of practice in the last few decades.
    The basic societal units of Vikings were clans centered in longhouses and mead halls. To this day, large Viking nations are rare while small kingdoms and tribes are scattered around north Havenspire.
    Real-world inspiration: Norse/Vikings (imagine that)

    The Paels are descendants of the Vikings. Unlike their sea-faring parent race, the Paels were more agriculture-focused and masters of both wood construction and metal working. They tend to be slimmer and shorter than Vikings with a lighter complexion. They generally dress in tunics, trousers and cloaks made of wool and linen.
    The Paellic social structure is based around class and kinship, with tribes ruled by kings. They were originally a loose collection of tribes before being united into larger kingdoms and nations or being integrated into other races’ nations.
    Real-world inspiration: Celts

    The Kalians, like the Vikings, were a race of Humans who settled in Havenspire after migrating from Middarth. While originally settling in large empire in the southwest, they were pushed through war onto the Kalia landmass. Their society now mostly consists of a handful of city-states and smaller kingdoms along with stateless nomads and barbarians. Culturally, they have more in common with the Ogrekin (see below) than the other Humans.
    Among the Humans, the Kalians have the darkest complexions - unsurprising for their desert homeland.
    Real-world inspiration: Medieval Berbers and Saharan nomads

    Finally, there are the Estarcians, a mix between the Kalians and the Paels and undoubtedly the youngest of all races in Havenspire. The Estarcian society is mostly built around densely populated city-states and kingdoms centered on trade and diplomacy. Due to their economic influence on other peoples, many cultural achievements can be credited the Estarcians, including literary and artistic innovations and the introduction of complex political structures and philosophical ideas.
    Real-world inspiration: Medieval/Renaissance West Mediterranean

    === ELVES ===

    The Gnomes, or “Nomad Elves”, are a diminutive race of Elves and are among the oldest people in Havenspire, perhaps second only to the Vikings. They stand roughly four feet tall and tend to have pale complexions. Living in the hills and grasslands, their culture originated with a semi-nomadic lifestyle, following the deer they hunted and later herded. In recent time, they tend to be “nomad” in name-only, preferring a more stable, agrarian culture. Since their early history, Gnomes have preferred a simple existence, living in harmony with nature. Many Gnomes go as far as to worship traditional animistic spirits in favor of traditional gods.
    Real-world inspiration: Tolkien Hobbits, I guess

    In the valleys between the Gnomish hills and Kota Mountains is the homeland of the Dale Elves, more commonly known as Dwarves. They are among the youngest of all Havenspire people with their culture borrowing elements from both the Gnomes and the Paels. Unlike the Gnomes, Dwarves prefer living in densely populated settlements and cities, preferring industry over agriculture. This is a necessity of their homeland consisting largely of wetlands and a large river system. Most Dwarf settlements are built on “dry patches” and rely heavily on trade.
    Physically, they are very close to Gnomes though they tend to be taller (averaging four to five feet) with a hardier build. Despite their unimpressive height, they have a reputation as fierce and enthusiastic warriors. The majority of Dwarves worship either the traditional Elfish animal spirits or the pagan Gods of Middarth.
    Real-world inspiration: None in particular

    Light Elves are the inhabitants of the Kota Mountains. They are a pale people (owing to their cold and cloudy environment) who average five and a half feet tall. They are a secretive people who are traditionally isolationist, nearly to the point of xenophobia. Most Light Elves practice an animistic or pantheistic religion, which includes the worship of animal spirits.
    They are well-known for their elaborate crafts, particularly with clothing and jewelry. Light Elf architecture is likewise impressive. There isn’t exactly a flare to it but it must take a great amount of creativity and ingenuity to build elaborate structures on the summits and sides of a mountain.
    Real-world inspiration: Southwestern Native Americans and Nepali culture, language is based on R’lyehian

    At the foot of the Kota Mountains live the Dark Elves. They average six feet, often with dark skin. Pale Dark Elves tend to have a greyer complexion. They almost uniformly have either white or black hair (colors which are notably absent among Light Elves).
    Like the Dwarves, Dark Elves are a new culture, borrowing elements from the Light Elves and Humans. The Dark Elves have a tendency to glorify violence, independence and ruthlessness. These tendencies have led many to believe the Dark Elves are among the most inhospitable people in Havenspire.
    Real-world inspiration: loosely on Dungeon and Dragons’ Drows and the Amish, kind of

    === OGREKIN ===

    The Ogrekin, occasionally called Orcs, actually consist of two separate people: the Ogres and the Goblins. Sometimes the Hobgoblins are considered Ogrekin. However, unlike the Humans and Elves, the two (or three) peoples are so well integrated that they are nearly one culture.

    The Goblins are the older of the two Ogrekin, having migrated from Middarth to Havenspire over a millennium ago. They stand roughly five and a half feet tall. Their skin tones and features are extraordinarily varied. Their defining physical feature is their teeth. While humans and Elves have four canine teeth while Goblins have eight and tend to be more noticeable. Though traditionally nomadic and barbaric, they quickly established themselves as a militaristic people, at one point establishing one of the largest empires in Havenspire history.
    Real-world inspiration: Medieval Mongols and ancient Persia

    The Ogres are a much younger people. They are the largest race of Havenspire, averaging six and a half feet with a muscular build. Their skin tones are generally green or grey. Traditionally, the Ogre tribes lived a semi-nomadic existence, traveling along their homelands river system, raiding and pillaging their neighbors. In recent years, Ogres maintain their clannish societal structure but abandoning their past barbaric tendencies. In modern Ogrekin society, they are regarded as the “higher caste” above the Goblins and far above the Hobgoblins.
    Real-world inspiration: very, very loosely on Ottoman culture and American Biker culture

    Kobolds, sometimes called Hobgoblins (literally meaning “small Goblins”), are actually not biologically related Ogrekin in anyway. While the Vikings are the oldest civilized people, it is almost certain the Kobolds are the oldest race still in existence. They are small (averaging three feet) and reptilian in appearance. A notable aspect of the Kobolds is that they have very rarely integrated well into other societies. They are used as slave in Ogrekin and Elf society. Some “feral” Kobolds live in the wild outside of slavery.
    Kobold culture, be it “civilized or feral”, is centered on music, community and spirituality. Temperament-wise, the Kobolds are often regarded as extraordinarily friendly and enthusiastic.
    Real-world inspiration: very loosely on Dungeon and Dragons’ Kobolds

    Thematically, the races are designed to have a kind of dichotomy with each other…
    Sea-faring and warlike Vikings vs. stationary and stable Paels
    Cosmopolitan Estarcians vs. isolated Kalians
    Rural Gnomes vs. urban Dwarves
    Peaceful but secretive Light Elves vs. aggressive but open Dark Elves
    Caste-enforcing and war-loving Ogrekin vs. Underprivileged but friendly Kobolds
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
  2. Ryan_Crown

    Ryan_Crown Troubadour

    I don't see any real issue with what you've got there. I like how the gnomes and dwarves are off-shoots of the large Elven race, as opposed to being separate, distinct races. I think a lot of how well they work together will depend on the history of the continent. The first thing I would want to do (of course, this is just me) is to develop a fairly cohesive geography and history of the continent, so I knew how these groups got to where they are now, how their nations developed, and how they interact with each other now.

    If you can develop that, and it feels believable and cohesive, I'd say you were fine. And you might find that as you did that you did want to make changes because one group or the other no longer fit or didn't work as well with your history as you develop it as you thought they would. The only other question I would have is which races are most key to your stories, and which nation do you most expect your stories to take place in?
  3. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror


    The Undead inhabit the Ghostlands: a large wasteland separating Havenspire and Middarth. The Living Dead make-up the “society” of the Ghostlands and they are enemies to all people. In life, they were primarily Vikings and Paellic humans. What causes the dead to live is unknown (hint: it's because of divine shenanigans).

    To the far southeast of Havenspire is Shushogg: a landmass submerged in the sea. Its inhabitants are a race of fish-like humanoids called Undines. There are other, less common, aquatic beings – most of whom are still unknown. They are most likely monstrous and do not interact with other peoples though they do often come into conflict with the Ogrekin.

    Within Havenspire is Deboi: a single, giant and apparently slow-moving plant. The Deboi plant is the home of the Dryads, strange plant-like creatures. They are slim and agile and are roughly seven feet tall. The primary building materials of these people are amber, sap, vines, leaves, bark and so forth. Little is known about the life of Deboi’s peoples. It is believed that their society is anarchic or tribal, even feral.
    Deboi is currently - and very slowly - making its way though the Elves' homelands, bringing the Dryads into conflict with the (Dark) Elves.

    The Giants live in the area where the Kota Mountains and the Gnomish Highlands meet. They rarely interact with Light Elves or Gnomes but are bitter enemies to the Dwarves. They will attack any non-Giant who goes near them.
    Physically and ascetically, they resemble some kind of proto-Paellic or ancient Viking people. They stand at 9 feet tall.

    So, to summarize...
    Humans vs. The Undead
    Elves vs. Dryads
    Ogrekin vs. Undines
    "Halflings" vs. Giants
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
    bumblefish97 likes this.

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