Sacred Grounds Races
Race is an integral part of determining your character’s identity. There are several races in the world of Sacred Grounds, each with a unique appearance and culture. Each race has certain benefits, and some have the occasional hindrance, either through mechanical disadvantages, or by likely facing discrimination. Whether it’s the otherworldly Seraphim, the inscrutable Fae, the subterranean Grob, the incongruous Bara’kaa, or the illusive Vaniiri; each race has something memorable for a player to enjoy.
The Bara'kaa of Sholbara are an off shoot of humans that appeared early in Aularia's recorded history during the Dawn Wars. When a group of human soldiers found a broken tablet with foreign words etched into its surface, their leader held the tablet and found that he could understand the strange language. When he read it aloud, arcane and divine power was released from the tablet, cleaving through the middle section of the Aularian continent and turning it into the desert of Sholbara. All the humans in the affected area were unharmed, but were forever changed as magical runes began to appear on their skin and the skin of their children.
Viewed as a curse on the tribe, destined to corrupt those around them with the arcane. Hated by those that birthed you. Raised to believe that you’re the curse from the Wild Elves past, or the blight placed by the human's gods. Barely tolerated until you’re old enough to find food on your own, before being brought to the doorstep of a human city. That is the childhood of the City Elf. City Elves that survive the cruelty of their upbringing tend to find themselves as slaves, vagabonds or worse. In Capriana they are treated better from the government's viewpoint, though the populace's prejudice still manage to keep these outcasts down.
The Dwarves of Mag'duar, Kingdom of Earth, claim the Winter Forest all the way up to the Impassable Peaks as their land. Called the Winter Dwarves by humans, the Mag are a society divided by rural and urban culture with differing accents and outlooks. They are isolationist, a view only now starting to change. The Dwarves of Jorhaul'duar (yor-hall do-ar), Kingdom of Salt, make their homes on icy shelves or spend their entire lives aboard ships. Quite contrary to their Mag cousins, the Jorhaul have spent thousands of years sacking coasts and at one point nearly controlled the entire world because of their religious pursuits.
To be Fae in Aularia is to be both feared and afraid, greedy but impoverished, hateful but oppressed, and whimsical but wily. Fae are not native to Aularia. Their world was destroyed eons ago by an invasion from the Abyssal realm. For years they were enslaved in the Abyssal realm, trapped by a sentient, motile series of chains that would ferry them about the Abyssal realm to serve whatever purpose their servitors required of them. The always-watchful Everchain punishing them when they stepped out of line. At one point in Aularian history, the Abyssal realm was able to glimpse onto the world's surface. As the Abyssals prepared to assault the world, the Fae rebelled, staving off their enemies.
Grobs usually live in small communes with their families, but the race lives a violent lifestyle that often sees these communes broken up, resulting in many Grob gangs forming to survive. If one is lucky enough to have a strong family, they can survive harvesting water or mushrooms below the surface. For most though, the only choice is to join a gang and start calling people they aren't sure they can trust by the name "brother" or "sister." Skum are one of the lowliest classes of grobs, often bullied by the stronger and smarter types. This leads Skum to be very protective over what they do have and can keep for themselves, often coming off as defensive, territorial, and greedy.
The humans of Aularia are the most widespread and common of all of the races of Aularia. Jaejal herself, from the pantheon of the Church of En, landed on Aularia and dubbed the humans "Aularei," claiming that the elves were once the caretakers of the world, but they had failed, and it is now humanity's turn to be Aularia's keepers. In the first city, Aular City, the Aularei toiled and progressed under Jaejal's watchful eye, until both she and her protective wards were gone. Some had left long ago for the Old Kingdom, and others would eventually settle southward due to exploration or war, but always the humans are ever-moving, ever-looking forward, and ever-experimenting with new ideas.
Orcs were once the master’s if the Southern Continent, ruling a quit empire for nearly a thousand years. Until they appeared on the shores of the Aularian continent looking for a new home. They left no record of why they left their empire, simply came the lands of humans and swept upwards in what would become the Dawn Wars. The Orcs had been close to victory when the energy which would create the desert of Sholbara wiped out the warriors encamped there, effectively costing them the war. What few Orcs remained were offered a form of amnesty by Aresh, mandating that they work for 50 years of service to help rebuild his country.
When a ship wirth Jorhaul disappeared from the Ostlean Isthmus, the humans of the small village near the coast to rejoiced. Then, they saw what the cause had been: Abyssals. Their prayers were seemingly answered when, like a bolt out of the sky, Saphael. He had expected to be accompanied by a legion, but the rest had not made the journey. He sought out humans in the village. Touching their foreheads, coils of unbearably bright light ensnared their bodies. They fought back the incoming Abyssal invasion and sealed off the portal. The children of the Seraphim had the markings granted by Saphael as well. Though they did not display the same powers as the first generation.
The Sideshow are a race of quasi-undead from the dark shores of Myrcal. Until recently, they were slaves of the Ringmaster, a powerful undead creature serving some higher power called "The Specter," one of the three lords of Myrcal. What is known is that they were once mortal, probably human, had their living souls fused inseparably with ghosts of performers, and placed under the power of the Ringmaster. The Sideshow have vague memories of their time in the Horror Faire, knowing only that they were used to distract various towns in the colonies of the Sacred Grounds while the Ringmaster participated in whatever nefarious ends he had for the surrounding area.
It is theorized that the island once connected to the main continent and was the current home to tribes of nomadic humans. For reasons unknown, they were not wiped out in the Incursion and were instead altered. Taking on the characteristics of the very animals around them, these children eventually grew to adulthood and the elders died out. Lost as to how to organize their new culture, wise men and nature sages found ways to use the spirits to predict which traits would develop in different children, allowing tribes to essentially place the child with caretakers that would know more about the challenges each individual would face than their own parents.
Heirs to great lineage, the Vaniiri are said to be descendants of the mythical founder of Capriana, who granted select human tribe leaders in the south of Aularia great power over blood to aid them in a war against the savage Orcs. These humans, referred to as vampires in the myths, had offspring with humans and occasionally elves. These familial lines flourished for years, bearing the bloody mark of their ancestors across their eyes to forever brand who they were. Now, called the Vaniiri, some cultures still question how close their link may be to the vampire myths of old. Vaniiri certainly have no need to feed on blood as is told in vampire myth, but there are plenty of tradition-obsessed members of the race that want to act exactly as the stories of old portray their ancestors to.
Many pay penance for the sins of the past, but rarely does an event so horrific occur that the penance is paid by an entire race for generations. For the Wild Elves, this is what defines their entire modern culture. Once they were just called Elves, and they were the rulers of the world; rich, powerful, and quite comfortable keeping human and dwarf alike from moving beyond the working class. But that was thousands of years ago, before the Incursion. They have sworn off Arcane magic, embarrassed of their involvement in the Incursion, favoring instead the magic of Nature and the Divine. Looking to the Spirits and the world to guide them.