Races of M'dhavian
by Nuvynen the scholar
Some of the oldest scholarly works indicate that before the Schism, there was only one race. More modern scholars disagree with these early works, but without proof one way or another, both theories are equally valid. There was enough magic and chaos unleashed during the Schism that there is a remote possibility that there was only one "master" race, which those scholars asserted was the Human race. Excepting the fact that all of the scholars in question were of the human race, there are a few artifacts that lend weight to that theory. Doorways to ornate structures, utensils, and tools were all meant for people of one size. Nothing has yet been found of giant or dwarven or even pixie size.
Those who feel that there must have been more than the one race say that the lack of concrete evidence does not mean that such evidence does not exist, rather, it suggests that there are more artifacts and lost cities to uncover. These scholars also point to the fact that there are issues where various races simply are not physically compatible with one another. Those who believe in the "master" race are quick to point out that of all the races, humans seem to be the ones most compatible with all other races, though in some cases, the health of the partner would be a distressing concern.
While both have equally valid points, there is a third that I must point out, as a scholar of history. There seems to have been a trend where less intelligent creatures start to exhibit signs of self-awareness, and start using tools, and form societies. It is unknown what could possibly spark this formation of intelligence, but it has been demonstrated in a few cases, usually as a result of the subject being exposed to a strong spell and then breeding amongst its own kind. The creatures in question tend to remove themselves from their more animalistic kind, though they may retain most of the instincts. There they seek to become recognized as intelligent by the older races. I believe one example of this would be the goblin race. The goblins of the current age do look different from the oldest drawings of goblins, but they are recognizably the same race.
To follow will be a look at each of the known intelligent races and major distinguishing characteristics of each.
Humans are the most prolific and the most varied of all the races. In height, a full grown adult can be anywhere from four and a half feet tall to nearly seven, though most are roughly five and a half feet tall. Females are slightly shorter than males on average. Their skin color ranges from a pale cream color through very dark browns that can almost be mistaken for black. Hair color is a bit more difficult to categorize, as some humans color their hair with dyes. Young teens are most prone to doing this, as a way to rebel against the stratified culture, as they see their homes. Humans are a very adaptive race, and are able to live anywhere, though there are a few places where human settlements are not welcomed.
Dwarves are a short and stocky race, nearly as broad at the shoulders as they are tall. Most range from three feet tall to nearly five feet tall, and most are around four feet tall. All dwarves are bearded, and any dwarf without a full beard is either a child or an outcast. Their skin color ranges from a light bronze to a rich brown color, and they tend to have white, blonde, red, brown, or black hair. Most dwarves tend to be quite strong, and they tend to be more comfortable inside their mountain tunnels. The various groups or clans of dwarves can be difficult for an outsider to distinguish between, but there are enough signs that dwarves know at a glance where another dwarf hails from. Dwarves are excellent stonemasons and metallurgists, and their homes within the mountains can be quite elegant. A few dwarves can be found wandering away from the mountains, but most seem to prefer living within the western mountain range.
Elves are a slight and slender race overall, with graceful lines and pointed ears. They tend to be slightly shorter than humans, though there are a few groups of wild elves who are actually slightly taller. They tend to have green eyes with a slit pupil, fair skin, and light or dark colored hair, but it is rumored that they have the innate ability to alter those characteristics, even so much as to appear human. Elves are a magical race, and have homes in nearly as many places as humans, though elves can live for a few centuries and are not known to have many children. The largest elven cities are apart from other races, primarily in the vast forests. Elves are most difficult to spot when they are at home amongst the trees.
Minotaurs are a tall and powerfully muscled race, with the head of a bull atop a humanoid body. Most range from seven and a half feet tall to nine feet tall with blonde to black fur covering their powerfully muscled bodies. Minotaurs tend to stand aloof from human affairs. Proud, strong, and stubborn, they assert that at the time of the Schism, while mages were powerful and vengeful, certain of the mages combined forces to alter a tribe of humans to turn them into slaves to fight their battles. These first minotaurs were not as large or as set in their ways as modern minotaurs. Regardless of the origins of the Minotaur race they seem to have an affinity for and a resistance to magic. Culturally, any Minotaur showing an affinity for necromancy is destroyed at birth, though it is rumored that a few exist. The origin of Minotaurs was confirmed recently. They were created by magic to be the foot soldiers to fight for blood mages, but given free will, they rebelled. It seems the modern minotaur has come to terms with what was done to their far ancestors, and are proud to be what they are.
Pixies are a small and flighty race, though more aware of outside influences than most of their kin. Most stand anywhere between six inches and two feet tall, and have a wide variety of wings. Most have butterfly or mothlike wings, though occasionally feathered wings have been seen. Pixies are a very capricious race, and very strong in magic. Being small and nimble, they also make excellent pickpockets. Some are very knowledgeable about the affairs of the other races, and actively participate. Pixies tend to live in forests, but there have been enclaves found in most of the civilized world.
Goblins are a dark race, cruel and evil. Standing between three and five feet, with skin colors ranging from light green to dark brown, Goblins are a slight and small race. Goblins are considered canny, but not overly intelligent, and most cities ban Goblins outright or at least treat them with wary caution. Very few Goblins have ever been found to contribute positively to a civilization.
Gnomes are a small race with enormous noses. Most gnomes stand between two and four feet tall, and have as many skin and hair color varieties as humans. Gnomes are most known for their inventions, though not all are successful. Many a story exists of a gnomish invention destroying homes and even small cities. Gnomes can be found nearly anywhere there are civilized people.
Ogres are much taller than humans, standing between seven and ten feet tall, with skin colors ranging from light greens to browns, to even black in a few instances. Their hair color is nearly as varied as humans. Ogres tend to be aggressive and secluded, staying away from the more civilized races, with few exceptions. Most Ogres find sentient races a rare delicacy, and are able to manipulate necromantic energies with ease.
Giants are enormous creatures, easily standing between ten and fifteen feet tall. Some are flesh and blood, others seem to be made of different minerals found in their mountain homes. Giants tend to be a reclusive race, living in huts along most mountain ranges, though a few are seen wandering the lands. Some are seen as unfriendly, but in most cases, it is only because the giant in question feels his territory is threatened, as giants are very territorial.
Halflings are a small, slender race, standing between two and a half to four and a half feet tall. They look very much like fine boned human children, or like miniature adult humans. Halflings can be found in nearly any civilized area, though they are reputed to have little sense of property ownership, so make difficult neighbors. They are agile and quick, and many find themselves struck with a deep wanderlust.
Halfelves and halforcs are obvious half breeds of elven and orcish parents, respectively. Most interracial interbreeding produces viable offspring, though consideration for the size differences between parents should be considered. In most cases, the offspring is sterile, though in all cases, the child inherits the best attributes of both parents.
Rumors abound about a new race of intelligent creatures called Draconians. The blood mage Meyunt, who was recently defeated, bragged of his experiments on dragon eggs to create a perfect race of pawns for his army. He also claimed that the mistakes made in the creation of Minotaurs was fixed in the creation of these Draconians. None have been spotted yet, though there are those who wish to find these creatures.