Shadows of Aarn
The Peoples of Ambrethel
Humans are the most numerous species of Ambrethel, and live throughout the world, from the frozen steppes of the north to the humid jungles of the south.
- Westerlanders: Tend to be fair skinned, and tall compared to other humans. Hair comes in all shades, though some regions show a particular shade or texture dominant. Men may be clean0shaven or bearded; women tend to wear their hair long. Men (and some women) usually wear tunics falling as low as the knee, trews or hose and shoes or boots. Women wear long, single-piece dresses or long skirt and blouse combinations. Clothes tend to be heavier in colder climates; both sexes add cloaks in cold or wet weather; men (and some women) may add a doublet or jacket, a vest and/or a hood. The High Church is the dominant religion in the Westerlands.
- Mhorecians: Northern Mhorecians look and dress like Westerlanders, though their skins tend to be a little darker. Southern Mhorecians tend to dress more like Khorians, though they sometimes shorten the robes to the knee. The Hargeshite Faith is followed in some parts of Mhorecia.
- Khorians: The inhabitants of Vashkor tend to have tan or brownish skin and dark hair and eyes. Men usually sport beards and moustaches – bushy, often unkempt, among the peasantry; carefully trimmed, oiled and sometimes dyed among the nobility. Priests shave their heads and faces. Typical Khorian dress is a long robe, heavier and made of dark cloth in northern areas, pale or white and of lighter fabric in the south. Men’s robes are double-breasted and tied with elaborate sashes which indicate the man’s status and/or profession. Men’s robes may be long or short sleeved depending on climate. Women’s robes are always long sleeved; lower class women wear robes that button at the front, while higher class women, who have maids, button their robes at the back. Women may add a stole of heavy cloth or fur around their shoulders and arms in colder weather. Women also indicate status with jewllery (men wear no jewellery but finger rings). Sandals are commonly worn in the south, shoes or boots in the north. The dominant religion in Vashkor is the Hargeshite Faith.
- Vornakkians: The people of the Vornakkian peninsular have slightly ligher skin tones and sometimes lighter hair than Khorians, who they otherwise resemble. Clothing varies depending on where in the peninsular a Vornakkian comes from. In the north women wear long dresses, similar to Westerlands women, while men wear calf-length tunics with elaborate vests. In Vuran both men and women wear ankle-length tunics, though men’s are baggy and belted at the waist and women’s are cut to fit the figure and never belted. By decree of the Seven Sorcerers, men must only wear blue, green or brown clothing, and women must wear white, yellow, black or orange; red is reserved to the sorcerers and their servants. The Hargeshite Faith is common in some parts of Vornakkia.
- The Thunese: Despite their tropical home, the Thunese have pallid skins, which they protect from the sun with long clothing – usually a long, light-coloured tunic for both men and women, and light pants or skirts – and distinctive hats woven of reeds. Slaves wear little, sometimes just a loincloth. The Sorcerer-Priests of Thun wear long robes with arcane symbols in panels down the sides, and cover their heads with plain skullcaps. They favour reds, greens, blacks and gold.
- Kumasians: They have coppery-brown skin and their hair and eyes are usually dark, though hair is occasionally auburn. Men wear pants and a loose shirt, often left open at the front. Younger Kumasian women wear shockingly little by the standards of most other races – a short kilt hemmed above the knee and a short vest, both often elaborately embroidered. Older women wear long, single-piece dressed. Kumasians wear sandals or go barefoot, except in the colder northern coastal regions, where shoes or boots are usually worn.
- Indusharans: The people of northern Mitharia are brown skinned, with dark eyes and dark, usually black, hair. They tend to be shorter than Westerlanders, Khorians and Mhorecians. Men may wear little in warm weather, particularly poorer men, though some favour loose pants and vests. In cold weather they may add an ankle-lenth coat which buttons of the front. Women wear an elaborate costume made from two long strips of cloth; the longer wound round their hips as a long skirt, the shorter wrapped around their upper body, always leaving the midriff bare. The way a woman winds her upper wrap is an indication of her mood.
- The Thona: Though Ardunan scholars sometimes class then as Indurashans, the people of the high mountains of Thon-Sa are a separate race. Their skin tends to have am umber hue and their noses are often somewhat flat. The mountains are cold, even in summer, and men favour heavy, fur-lined clothes – undertunic, pants, and heavy, quilted knee-length jacket. Women usually wear heavy, brightly coloured robes, though noblewomen who rarely leave the home favour sheer dresses of light fabric.
- The Ulronai: The nomadic Ulronai wear whatever seems appropriate for the climate, though they seem to favour clothes similar to Westerlanders. Their eyes are usually blue, grey or green, and their hair brown, black or an unusual gray. Both sexes leave their hair long, though men wear theirs in a ponytail bound with a silver ring (it is a great disbonour if one is stolen), while women wear their hair loose. For more than 2,000 years, the Ulronai have been rovers, vagabonds and travellers. They are renowned as great fighters, whose battle magic enchances their martial skills, but are universally distrusted.
Reptile men with draconic features, Drakine are taller and stronger than most humans. They have short fangs, short claws and tails. They were the first civilised species of Arduna, and believe they are descended from ancient dragons and that they should rule other species. They regard the Seshurma, in particular, as weaklings born to serve. Drakine can be found almost anywhere on Ambrethel, though their core lands in Arduna are the realms of Basidrun, Vendrigal, Khorrin and Seldrion, east of the Free City of Aarn – all that’s left of their once mighty domains following the Drakine Wars. In Mitharia, the Drakine still rule the mighty Empire of Orumbar.
Most Drakine have brownish-copper scales, but their are some notable exceptions.
- Sunscales have lighter colouring, a coppery-golden colour which Drakien find attractive. Sunscales are often larger than other Drakine, and are believed to make good warriors. Most Sunscales are found in the Westerlands.
- Bloodscales have a reddish or reddish-brown hue. Drakine believe Bloodscales are creative, intelligent and kind.
- Rustscales have rust-like colour. akine believe they are unlucky and doomed, and sometimes ostracise them in case the bad luck is contagious.
- Nightscales are very dark brown, some almost black. Drakine believe they make powerful warriors, wizards and/or priests. In Orumbar, Nightscales are considered favoured by the gods.
Slender, fine-boned and delicate, Elves are the most long-lived of the sentient species. Their major homelands are heavily wooded: Elvenhome in Arduna and Shularahaleen in Mitharia. Smaller woodlands throughout Ambrethel may hold smaller Elven communities. Each Elven realm is ruled by an Rlvenking, though most acknowledge the ruler of Elvenhome as High King of the Elves. All Elves belong to one of 12 ancient clans, each of which is associated with certain careers or lifesyles (though there’s nothing to stop an Elf of any clan pursuing whatever career she chooses, clan specialty or not).
- Aladrethririamoril: Priests, spiritual leaders, philosophers
- Alanethalakaderi: Scholars, mages, historians
- Elebardasimin: Hunters, trackers, wanderers, archers
- Fendirililiqwan: Traders, travellers, adventurers
- Halfanuriameli: Water-lovers, swimmers, sailors
- Idensasoreni: Archers, warriors
- Klayethavarudim: Poets, bards, writers
- Nedranagorani: Guardians, wardens, judges
- Rathimanzeni: Smiths, wrights, craftsmen
- Satisralanori: Horticulturalists
- Urindarohesarin: The Royal House; nobles, kings
- Vanurishinaili: Engineers, architects
Rumours persist of an evil race of elves living deep underground. These “dark elves” are said to have dark skin and pale hair, and are thought to worship Mordak, the Lord of Shadows. Some say they attack surface settlements occasionally, though they’re supposed to dislike sunlight.
Dog-folk who originate in the far north and prefer cooler climate, though some live throughout Arduna, and a few even in northern Mitharia.
Leomachi (singular Leomachus (m), Leomacha (f)) are centaur-like, with the upper body of a man and the lower body of a lion. They dwell on the Makari Plains of Malegyon, in Mitharia, though some live in the Empire of Orumbar, Neshara and other nearby realms. Leomachi are carbivorous, though the can subsist on fruit and vegetables for a short time. They live as hunters and herders; status depends on the number of cattle owned. Leomachi dislike cold or wet weather, and dislike travelling on ships, so are rarely seen outside Mitharia or Kumasia. They are neighbours to and allies of the Pakasa. Leomachi society is organised into prides. Males generally hunt or herd, while females usually focus on child-rearing and hearth-tending – though it’s reasonably common for a leomacha to choose a life of hunting or herding instead. Like the Pakasa, Leomachi worship Oncazha, who manifests as a giant jaguar. Their language, which they share with the Pakasa, is called Rarshas.
Pakasa, the cat-folk, live close to the Leomachi on the Makari Plains in Malegyon. They dislike cold weather, though some have migrated to areas a little cooler than Malegyon, including Vornakkia and southern Mhorecia. Pakasha are furred humanoids with tails and clawed hands and feet. They walk digitigrade, and their heads resemble those of great cats. Most Pakasa resemble leopards, though there are two sub-races, the heavier Simburu (lion-folk) nd the leaner, faster Dumawe (cheetah-folk). Like their allies the Leomachi, Pakasa worship the Great Cat, Oncazha, and speak Rarshas. Most Pakasa live in villages focused on two or three large families, though those in human lands tend to live in towns. Pakasa have a strong sense of community. They are omnivorous, though have a distinct preference for meat; they often trade crafted good with the Leomachi in exchange for meat.
Lizard-folk who live in the jungles and tropical swamps. They claim to be descended from dragons, though the Drakine (who also claim dragon ancestry) angrily deny this.