The various dwarven kingdoms warred with Salassian Empire for centuries, and in every case, they eventually lost. In all but one case, the Empire routed the dwarves, forcing them to scatter or flee deep into the earth.
The dwarves of Mizgedat were allowed to take the knee, in a sense. The royal family was promised sanction, but was instead forced to help build the Endless Stair in Throneseat. It is assumed that the royal descendants are now dead, but some believe they still labor on the Endless Stair.
The purview over Mizgedat was given to the Rixian family.(see below in Half-Elf). The dwarves have been employed, but in a serfdom state, to mine the Blood Salt from the mountain. This is a delicate state, since the dwarves must be allowed remain a martial tradition to defend against the numerous dangerous creatures that come up from the depths of Mizgedat. Also, blood salt is a precious commodity, which much of the empire is dependent on, especially the imperial military. If the dwarves were able to seize Mizgedat again, it would be a serious blow to the Empire.
bloodlines: Most dwarves are hill dwarves. Mountain dwarves are those that have the royal line in them. That royal blood is either from the old royals of Mizgedat, or one of the scattered dwarven kingdoms of old.
worship: Dwarves are stubborn, and many still revere Moradin, lost as he is. Others have turned to gods that will answer their prayers. The most prevalent is a cult devoted to Asmodeus. These dwarves believe that Asmodeus can do for them what he did for their duergar brethen.
The elves of the Grey Empire have lost much. Their gods have been slain, and their great enemy, Lolth, has risen in power to rule the Abyss. Their forests have all been covered in snow and frost, and the connection to the Feywild is disjointed, if not lost.
The remaining elves have formed a new Winter Court on KhelekRash the Great Glacier. The Winter Court has never bent the knee to the Empress, and not for a lack of trying from the Imperial army. The summers are just too short on the glacier for any continuous campaign against the elves.
The elves have formed a key part of the imperial economy. The elves will create floating barges from FloatIce, and will fly up to Thunderhead to farm CloudFlesh. As a result, there is now a detente between the Winter Court and the Empire. The elves have grown dependent on Blood Salt and the Empire is fed with Cloud Flesh.
bloodlines: The royal court is composed of the High Elf line, but there is some intermingling with the more common Wood Elf line. Drow elves are killed on sight by the other elves, and are universally reviled by the remainder of the surface races as well. Everybody blames the drow for the cold, and it’s a common term to say “drowburn” instead of “frostbite”.
worship: The highest nobles of the Winter Court revere Torog, and are resisting his more “good” aspects at this time. They revel in torture of their enemies. The majority of elves seek to commune in their own way with the Green, hoping that some day, they will actually see a green forest dappled with sunlight.
Halflings can be found in every corner of the Empire. Much of this is as a result of their wanderlust nature. However, just as importantly, halflings have a special legal status in the Salassian Empire.
Two centuries ago, Executor Varjo granted the entire halfling race with a dispensation from the First Law. It is said that a halfling saved him when he was trapped and near death from the approaching sun.
As a result of this dispensation, halflings are permitted to read and write. They have become the scribes, bookkeepers and sages of the Empire. This is especially true in the vassal kingdoms, where they chafe at having to resort to a Salassian priest to write their letters and balance their ledgers.
This has also placed halflings as the most common moneylenders, bankers and merchants of the Empire. It places them in a precarious position, since they are readily outnumbered by the humans of any settlement they live in. All know of a halfling with money that was conveniently accused of foul wizardry. A mob of the peasantry is whipped into a frenzy, and burns the halfling alive. Just as conveniently, his assets are forfeited to the local lord.
bloodlines: The subraces of halflings are only mechanical. They are not recognized socially.
worship: The halflings have no consistent religious practice. They commonly will at least appear to worship the most popular local deity as a means of self-defense.
The dragonborn are a largely isolated race, having spent countless generations without either of their gods, Bahamut and Tiamat. They have largely retreated from the world, and gotten as far south, and warm, as they can. As such, they have collected in the chill desert of Bekilk di Iteshk.
These dragonborn have strongly felt the communal aspect of Io. Their clans have formed in collective manners, seeking to work as a group, for the group. They are highly egalitarian, and come to decisions by consensus.
Some dragonborn chafe at this, especially those driven to the extremes of alignment. These outcasts are shunned by their clan, and are the most common dragonborn to be seen outside the clans.
bloodlines: The silver/white dragonborn are the most common in the Grey Empire, as their natural resistance to cold gives them an edge.
worship: Most dragonborn revere Io, and have had no exposure to other deities.
The gnomes lost much what they elves did. Their forests and glades are gone, and their gods are slain or shattered. Over the centuries, a gnomish community began to form on the edge of the Yuan’sarran sea. The gnomes discovered numerous small automatons, splashing in the surf, seemingly drawn into the sea but reluctant to enter. They collected these machines, took them apart, fixed them, combined them, and generally tinkered away.
Over the generations, they have continued to build. They have been able to trade their creations far and wide, and then use their proceeds to build even more. They have built the Clockwork Kingdom of Mechanus.
bloodlines: The tinker gnome bloodline is the most commonly seen, but gnome society is intermingled with forest gnomes. Forest gnomes are dying breed, their very lifeblood crying out for a connection with the feywild but unable to attain it.
worship: The tinker gnomes worship their creations, but some have been known to revere a being called Primus. The forest gnomes cannot seem to help themselves, and revere the Green.
Before the empire, half-elves were scattered individuals. At the onset of the empire, there were only a small handful of remaining cities, and half-elves became concentrated in those cities for the first time in history. Some of these half-elves began to interbreed with other half-elves in lieu of humans, and the practice quickly became the norm. These families, living amongst humans, but outliving them dramatically, became serious powers in the Empire.
The Rixian family holds sway over Mizgedat, and is vastly wealthy from their trade in Blood Salt.
The Delcerys family is a family of bureaucrats in Throneseat, serving The Twenty. They are effectively the government of the Empire in many aspects.
The Restrana family has a massive trade and banking network, spanning the breadth of the Empire.
bloodlines: A half-elf character is born to one family, but will have many relatives in the other families. Marriages are arranged for best matches and to avoid in-breeding.
worship: The half-elf families revere Sala, and many half-elves are high in her clergy. Any other worship is kept very secretive.
The most common places for half-orcs is on The Maze That Walks. Numerous tribes of orcs and humans live there, and both have mixed members as well.
bloodlines: A half-orc character could be first generation, or a part of a long line of mixed-race progeny.
worship: The inhabitants of the Maze commonly follow Kord, or the Green.
Humans are the most populous race in the Empire, easily accounting for over the total of the non-human civilized races. Like humans in other worlds, they encompass a vast variety of attitudes and abilities.
bloodlines: Imperial humans tend to be fair skinned, fair haired. there is a strong streak of albinism.
worship: Humans vary widely in this regard, but those with relations to the Empire tend to revere Sala.
Tieflings were always very rare, but they had a great value to the Empire. The fiendish protection from fire of tieflings enabled them to reliably collect EverFlame from the lava flows of Mount Ruunyaheren. As everflame became more and more valuable to the expansion of the Empire, tieflings were rounded up and forced to serve as slaves in this collection effort. At some point in the early days of the Empire, their entire race was declared a slave race by law.
Tieflings now toil their entire lives on the mountain, and every effort is made to breed them true and fast. A tiefling adventurer is likely an escaped slave, or has managed to buy their freedom already. Regardless, they will invariably be viewed as an escaped slave, and treated as such by most.
bloodlines: The long servitude of the tiefling has made them more hardy. Tiefling characters have +1 Constitution.
worship: The slave tieflings are forbidden to worship. A free tiefling will have had little exposure to religions, so could revere any deity.
The undead armies of the empire a mostly filled with mindless corpses. However, some of the living soldiers are “rewarded” with further service in a process of mummification. The vital organs are removed and placed in canopic jars, stored in the Vault of Honor. The remaining flesh is dessicated and wrapped in enchanted linens. The ritual that animates the corpse leaves only a few memories of the soldier’s past.
Mechanics for Undead Legionnaire
Legionnaires are free-willed, but always have the looming threat that their canopic jars could be used against them.
If playing a Legionnaire, you should answer the following:
What do I remember from my past life?
Why was I subjected to this process?
Why am I not with my unit now?
The warforged are a new race, introduced by the gnomes of Mechanus. The ongoing war with the Shava’ran hobgoblins has created a need for soldiers beyond the undead legions. However, there are some in learned circles that are asking, “Where the souls are coming from to animate these warforged?”
Warforged characters are most likely very young, created in the last decade. You were probably created to fight hobgoblins, and are currently a possession of some military unit. As a result, you are deserter, or at least a wayward possession.
bloodlines: Warforged come from one of a handful of specific factories, with a forge mark and number clearly on their foreheads.
worship: Warforged are given no religious training and in general, revere no gods.