The Shattered Lands
Races of the Shattered Lands
The Major Races
Even in wastes as lethal as those found on Astrid, life and even civilization goes on. Detailed below is a list of the major races that can be found across the deserts and in the mountains of the Shattered Lands.
Catfolk are simple, hardworking, and loyal. Their nation of Mandera lies on the southern most peninsula. The Catfolk of Mandera have always shown a natural ability to cultivate and care for the land. They are lead by Menhara, one of the four Druid Masters. When the ecology of Astrid finally collapsed, many Druids wasted away from the shock. But Menhara and her students were strong and of the thirteen only one perished. With their combined efforts they have returned their home to a lush savanna. Many outsiders seek to make a home here but few are allowed to settle. Those who seek to do so must acquire the favor of Menhara. She demands that those who wish to live amongst her people bring a great boon to Mandera as a show they are committed to the land.
Gruff and industrious as always, the twin Dwarven cities of Radak’ Gar and Radak’ Khan lie in the southern mountains of Athas. Dwarves, once known for their distrust of magic, have become the sole engineers of magic items in the world. Due to their longer life spans, Dwarven masters have been able to pass down their trade more easily than the other races.
The Dwarves were never a particularly magical race. To make up for this, they have learned to imbue items with magic in a manner similar to how an alchemist mixes extracts. This has made Dwarven wares comparable to pre-devastation magic, although they are often prohibitively expensive.
Many Fetchlings once populated the lands, drawn here by the abundant use of arcane magic. When the Mage King died however, many outsiders lost their foothold on the material plane and were exiled to their home. Only the strong, the clever, and the lucky remain. Those Fetchlings who do remain are trapped on the material plane; unable to return to and fro as they once could.
There is extreme prejudice against most outsiders due to their inherent capacity for magic. This has driven the Fetchlings underground. It is rumored that they currently dwell in mountain caverns near the Dwarven city of Radak’ Khan.
Similar to Fetchlings, many Gnomes vanished from the material plane when the Mage King died. While prejudice does exist toward the small population that remains, most grudgingly accept their presence as two of the four Druid Masters are gnomes.
Mischievous and pointlessly destructive, Goblins manage to flourish in the desert, often taking up residence in abandoned cities and ruins. They owe their survival to persistence and reproduction rates more than any kind of competence or survival ability on their part. Goblins are more closely related to the assassin vine than mankind and reproduce via spore cloud.
In spite of their small stature and careless demeanor, goblins represent a serious threat to unwary desert travelers.
Half-Orcs & Orcs
The orc population of Astrid is tribal and nomadic. No central leadership exists between the dozen tribes that wander the wastes since the disbanding of the Motsham’hi tribe. While there is still some skirmishing amongst themselves every now and then, they maintain a tenuous peace with the other nomads of the desert. Most tribes of orcs are led by the much smarter half orcs, who also often play a role as spiritual leaders.
Northern tribes live in the shadow of the Mount Durus mountain range. The mountains provide protection from the shearing winds and sandstorms and are also more heavily populated by desert life for hunting or taming. The same is true of the Southern tribes who reside near to the Gortrum Peaks. Orcs and their half-blooded brethren rarely venture into the cities due to racial prejudices. When they do, it is normally to trade for supplies that are hard to come by in the desert.
As the last remnants of the long dead elven race, half elves hold a strange position in the social strata of Astrid. Astrid’s Mage King (before his death) was the last Elf and had lived for nearly 2,000 years. Superstition, reverence, fear, and mistrust all surround the small population of Half-Elves that remain. They often hold positions of nobility, even in Dwarven regions.
The majority of Astrid’s Halfings live in Bree alongside a population of Humans, Gnomes, and even some Catfolk. Bree is a farming nation that has risen to relative prosperity with the aid of the Druid Master Drell. Drell is one of the few hundred Gnomes remaining in Athas and her considerable talent is stretched thin aiding in the maintaining of Bree’s struggling farmlands.
Humans can be found in most major cities. The bulk of the human population is to the north in the nations of Argus and Bree. Representing the largest population in Athas, humans fill most of the labor positions in cities. Humans are very religious and are often found running the Temples of Erathis though this is not universally the case.
Kasatha are a mysterious race whose lone city is located to the South East. They appeared shortly after the Collapse and next to nothing is known about them. Attempts to trade with them or even make contact is difficult as it requires traverse several hundred miles of uncivilised and pathless desert to reach their city. The few caravans that have made it have been turned away. Rarely, a Kasatha wanderer will make it’s way to one of the cities to trade for goods. They always pay in local currency, though it’s unclear how they came to possess it.
Due to their appearance in the lands of Athas so close to the time of the Collapse, many believe they may have had something to do with it. As it stands there are more rumors than truth surrounding the Kasatha.
Kasatha are very pale skinned, bipedal, and possess four arms. Each limb has four digits. They are a hairless race and each poses a unique protrusion of bone or cartilage from the tops of their heads. Theirs eyes are black with red irises.
When the naga population began to fade eighty years ago, their servant race, the Nagaji, were left without direction. They have become Nomadic and now wander the wastes. Many young Nagaji have begun to question this lifestyle and seek their own destiny.
Small populations of Oreads exist throughout the mountain ranges of Athas. They are an isolationist civilization and try not to get involved in the politics of other, younger races. Their largest population center is located in the Jagged Isthmus, a treacherous pass linking the north and south.
Descending from the wind itself, the Sylph tribes of the desert dance through sandstorms and thrive in the desert. Few people ever meet a Sylph, as it would mean a needlessly dangerous journey. The Sylph are a jovial people in spite of the deserts, and actually seem to enjoy living there. The tribes are ruled over by a patron Wind Elemental that they are said to descend from.