Age of Worms
Peoples of the Land
The many human invaders of the Flanaess have intermixed over the centuries; few pure racial groups exist now. On the fringes, however, there are still some lands where the inhabitants are almost unchanged from the racial stock of their millennium-old ancestors.
The Baklunish people have golden-hued skins, gray-green or green eyes, and hair ranging from dark brown to blue-black. The lands of Ekbir, the Tiger Nomads, Ull, and Zeif around the Drawmij Ocean are home to this pure Baklunish strain. Farther east, racial mixing results in modified appearances: the Wolf Nomads are Baklunish mixed with Flan (from the Rovers of the Barrens), and have correspondingly darker features. In Ket, mixing with both Oeridian and Suloise folk gave rise to folk with pale yellow or golden-brown/tan skin.
The original human occupants of the Flanaess had bronze complexions varying from coppery tones to deep brown. Their eyes were dark brown, even black, or rarely amber. Likewise, their hair was always dark brown or black. The Flan are now scattered to the winds. The Rovers of the Barrens have no land to call their own; the Tenhas, pure Flan and proud of it, are enslaved by Iuz or have fled to the south; the Flan folk of Geoff and Sterich have likewise fled south and east from their homes. In the Theocracy of the Pale, Flan/Oerid descendants are lighter of skin and hair than pure Flan, and are a handsome people. Perhaps within a handful of generations, almost all Flan blood will be found only in such blends.
The Oeridians have fairly dark skins, varying from tan to olive colors, but their hair color runs the range from honey blond to black, with brown and auburn the most common. Their eye colors are likewise variable. Pure Oeridian stock is thus less easy to spot with the casual eye than most races, but it can be seen most readily in Furyondy, Perrenland, and in the east and south of the Great Kingdom.
The Suel were scattered to the margins of the Flanaess in the distant past, so it is small wonder that most Suel blood has been intermixed with other racial groups. The Suel are fairskinned, some being almost albino, with red or blond (even platinum blond) hair and blue, gray, or violet eyes. The barbarian peoples of the northeast are the purest example of original Suel stock, but the Suel also dominate the Scarlet Brotherhood and the eastern islands of the Aerdi Sea.
On the main continent, the Duchy of Urnst has the largest (proportionately) enclave of Suloise. Anomalous populations of Suloise are found in Hepmonaland and the Almedio Jungle; while many have developed tanned skins with heavy freckling, pale and albino faces that look utterly incongruous in the steaming jungles can still be seen.
As one would expect, elven folk are found in woodland and forest, dwarves in hills and mountains, and so on. Demihumans are also drawn generally to major Free Cities such as Dyvers and Greyhawk. And there are certain lands in which demihumans are of major importance.
These diminutive folk typically identify strongly with the good nations of the Flanaess. They are not numerous, and have no lands of their own. It is not surprising that they look to the larger folk (and other demihumans) for protection and alliances.
Gnomes tend to take a similar view. Their hilly homes have been threatened by the humanoids in particular; many have been driven into the plains of human-dominated lands where they seek help to re-establish their old heartlands. Many, too, co-exist with elves in the woodlands; where the elves are active in working with human interests, so are the gnomes. Hill gnomes often share living space with dwarves, and are a brave, tough folk who are loyal to their neighbors and fight side by side with them.
These stout folk of the Flanaess are strong and stubborn people. In some lands, they need help, but are often too proud to ask for it outright; besieged Irongate, the exiled mountain dwarves driven into the Good Hills of Keoland, and the Ulek dwarves who suffered at the hands of the Pomarj humanoids are all examples. Some of these clans feel themselves to have been wronged; the Ulek dwarves are angry with the elves of Celene for not giving them aid, and there is strain between them and the elven-dominated Duchy of Ulek, which sympathizes with the dwarves and yet dares not rebuke Celene openly.
Elsewhere, the strong mountain folk are better placed; in Urnst, which has emerged strong after the war, dwarves are learning that the old glory of Nyrond needs their help even to sustain its own shadow. In Sunndi, the dwarves ally with the elves and gnomes, each experts at defending their own terrains, to keep their enemies at bay.
Elves of the Flanaess are more divided. Bright Veluna has a strong elven presence that works unstintingly for good. Nyrond and Furyondy elves are vigilant against evil. The elves of the Highfolk bow no knee to Iuz, but the rulers of Celene are divided and currently favor isolationism. In Sunndi, the gray elves are warlike, aggressive, and hostile; in Lendore, the dominant high elves are philosophers, mystics, and otherworldly. There is no simple racial division within the elves, either; it is not the case that high elves are more inclined to be actively opposed to the evil of the Flanaess than gray or wood elves. What can one say of this timeless people? Some are the greatest hope of the Flanaess, while some
seem to do nothing as the world threatens to collapse about them.