The races in Vosca will be both familiar and strange to those versed in the fantasy genre. We have everything you know and love, and also introduce unique traits to each race that color the world of Vosca.
"Humans pursue death with zeal because they know their mortality.
Deep down, they do not want to live long enough to die."
- Nikephoros, Helian Philosopher
Human beings, also called the Race of Men, the Hostoadin, and a host of other names and monikers, are the most populous and widespread race in the Tattered Realms, rivaled only by the Zells, and potentially the Goblins.
Humanity is a flexible race, and one that builds communities naturally. Humans form nomadic tribes and pastoral communities as easily as they form city-states and great empires. There does not seem to be an environment which they favor over any other; from burning deserts to frozen tundras, lush valleys to desolate wastelands -- anywhere men can live, men do live.
The Human tendency to build communities brings with it a sense of tribalism that often turns them against one another, and thus war is the one constant of Human civilization. Yet, so too have they contributed universally to art, philosophy, science and religious wisdom. The Human race is one of infinite potential, both for civilization and debauchery.
"Do you see those wretched creatures, slinking in the dark? Once upon a time, they too had hopes and dreams, and built great empires to challenge the gods. From mud and grime they came, to mud and grime we returned them. Take this lesson to heart. Human."
- Petraclius Volkanius, Helian Dux
The Goblins are a crafty, slight, subterranean race, driven into the deep places of the world in eras long past by other races invading their homelands and defeating them in battle.
Now the Goblins live brutish and violent lives in the deep places, struggling for survival against the terrors of the dark, and occasionally slipping away to the surface, to seek better lives among their historic enemies.
"Dwarvish social behavior is more consistent with that of carpenter ants than of men or Din. Their appearance is a trick. The smiling face on a cobra's hood."
- Igone Zorezai, Burdinadin Writer & Researcher
‘Encyclopedia Subterrania, Dwarves & Star-Nosed Moles’, Library of Glade Lagu
The Dwarves, or Fedarshin (as they are called by the Din), are a race of short, sturdily-built folk who live primarily underground in isolated strongholds typically called forts, or holds. The Dwarves do not fit in with other sapient races on Vosca.
They have a compulsive urge to dig, to scrape away dirt and to strike the earth, and seek out something in the deep. They combat these urges with obligation. Dwarves value anything that can keep them focused on life, even if the call of the depths is never far from their mind.
Dwarves also know, instinctively, when the moment of their death by age will be, down to the second. They do not know how, or where, but they know when. Many Dwarves, upon reaching an old age and knowing their time has come, will finally indulge in one final dig, heading down to die in the deep, as so many have done before.
"Zells are akin to humanoid, flightless bees. They are born from the hulls of ships, or from docks that are not meticulously cleaned; barnacles form on the pilings, and then turn into Zells. Zells live in community, choose the most long-eared among them as Captain, have wars, and make scrimshaw."
- Gavin of Illegon
‘Bestiary of Western Vosca’
The Zells, or Zellish Elves, or Sugaardin, are a race of humanoids who favor a maritime existence, and are telepathically bonded to their crews, as well as to the living ships on which they sail, called Zellislava.
They are immortal, so long as they are on the sea and part of a crew, and so most Zells avoid land when possible. Zells also have a strange attunement to the supernatural, drawing the attention of powerful spirits and even deities more easily than other races.
The Zells have ruled the seas of Mundus for countless eons, and can be found in every maritime role, from mercenary to merchant. Though at heart they are not as warlike a people as Humans are, the Zells have proven that on the high seas they have no equals, and certain groups of them are highly militant.
"I've been inside of an Iron Glade. The construction is admirable, though lacking in aesthetics. They bathe in rooms full of steam. Their halls are lit by panels of glowing glass, and the great towers stretch as far underground as above, but there is no personal element. It was not a home, it was an emergency shelter. A bolthole.
A temporary solution become terribly permanent."
- Zoph Escher, Lord of Kar-Ischil
‘On Elves’, Report to The Hurtsickle Society
The Burdinadin, or ‘Iron Elves,’ are a race of intellectuals and shut-ins who have sealed themselves away from the outer world within the great Iron Glades, huge metallic fortresses that shield them from the impurities of the outside.
They are gifted scientists, in large part because the same quasi-magical senses that made the outside world so intimidating to them can also be turned inwards, to analyze the subtle mechanics of natural law around them.
"The Ohanedin hate bows, did you know that? We all think of those feisty wood-elves with their bows, but they hate 'em. It's Zells what like bows. The stick-eaters don't like bows, 'cause you've got to be far away to use 'em. Can't enjoy it that way."
- Sir Roger Westridge, Knight of the Green Brotherhood
The Ohanedin are an Elvish race of fiercely individualistic and independent tribesmen from the northern hills, cliffs and forests of Iber. They treasure their freedom and their way of life, and fight ruthlessly and without restraint to defend their ancestral homes.
They are rightly feared by all who neighbor them, and are often (rightly) accused of the cannibalism, human sacrifice, and depraved tortures that befall those who trespass into their lands without license.
Conversely, they are also known for their nobility, iron-bound senses of honor, and undying loyalty to those who win their friendship, and many leave their hilly homelands to seek employment in the retinues of noble families. Some Ohanedin have acted as retainers, bodyguards and teachers for ten generations of the same noble human family. Their word is their bond--more literally than any human could hope to understand.
“The difference between our people, ultimately, is that of experience. You live for eighty-odd years and then expire like fruit. We live for as long as we can avoid the points of spears and bad cases of pneumonia. I would say thus that your defining attribute is urgency, and ours is caution.”
- Lord Thersites of Helion
On Vermin, For Vermin
The Orredin are a powerful and ancient race of Din, often called Helians, or High Elves.
From their floating city above the Broken Sea, they have ruled empires forgotten to man for eons. When humankind was still knapping spears from flint, the Orredin had already developed public sanitation, double-entry accounting, and several varieties of espresso.
Their traditions of intellectualism, philosophy, engineering, medicine and sorcery are all ages-long, and there is surely no race of men or Din more educated and sophisticated than they.
Of course, these great powers make them very arrogant, and given that few Orredin have ever stepped down from their ivory towers, most of them are in fact rather inexperienced in temporal affairs, and their extensive knowledge is not (as many of them believe) an actual substitute for experience and practice.
Though beings of terrible power and intellect, Orredin who venture forth on adventures and expeditions often find themselves rudely awakened to the hardships of everyday life--and those who survive are greatly strengthened by the revelation.
"Powerful worshipers of Genosis, Dessia, and Sartur may upon death find themselves returned to the realm of the living, free from the mortal coil. They have become deadly instruments of their god's will, and imbued with divine power. It is unknown how they are chosen, simply that they are."
Ascended Humans, or ‘Ascendants’ are Human beings who have returned from death changed. Their faith, dedication and willpower in life was such that they were able to achieve a sort of reincarnation, returned to the mortal realm through the patronage of a deity.
Ascendants are the immortal servants of their patrons, returned to see the will of their god done. No other race besides Humans can Ascend, and this has been the subject of many serious inquiries as to the nature of Humankind relative to the other races. The Orredin, for example, resolutely believe that the Ascendants are proof that Humans are actually Din, and that their Focus is dying.
Whatever the case, the Ascendants exist. They are proof that there is something in the Human spirit more powerful than death.
Dessian Silver Guard
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