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Humans need little introduction. They are one of the shortest-lived humanoid races, and yet possibly the most populous. They usually range from 5-6 feet tall, with rounded ears and skin coming in shades from light beige to deep brown.

Humans make up most of the population of Jaern, although they are not native to the planet. Humans, along with Dwarves, Elves, and Orcs, came to Jaern approximately 27 centuries ago on the Kaaren of Destruction from their home planet Torandor just before it was destroyed. In the past, Humans had looked upon non-humans with suspicion, distrust, or fear, but over time, these racial barriers have diminished, and now humans are known for being one of the most inclusive and welcoming races.

On Cahyali, humans do not make up as much of the population. They are believed to have originated on an unknown continent somewhere north of Shinneok, and came to Cahyali fleeing the Stormwing Calamity. Just like Jaern, humans nowadays live just about everywhere, blending in with those they coexist with and lending their ingenuity to the world.

Humans are known to be one of the most versatile and flexible peoples, capable of finding ingenious ways to adapt to their environment. They generally live to the ages between 60 and 84.


Dwarves are a short, stout humanoid race. They average four and a half feet in height and are usually heavier than their size would dictate. Dwarf males and females are generally built very similarly, and most every dwarf grows a beard. They are well known for their hardy constitutions, being resistant to many diseases and poisons - which may have led to their reputation of drunkenness.

Dwarves are a proud race whose culture prioritizes a strong work ethic. When working, work is the only thing on their mind. They take enormous pride in their craftsmanship, with dwarvish products being known far and wide across both realms for their quality and artistry. However, when day is done, they leave all thoughts of work behind them, and make a serious job of relaxing. Old caricatures of dwarves portrayed them as spending any time outside of work at the bar, telling war stories and flirting with anyone that came through the door.

Ancient dwarven myths and legends state that they were crafted in joint by T'or, god of law, and Isis, goddess of life. T'or carved the first dwarves from rock and stone, and Isis granted them the breath of life. Jaernian dwarves originally evolved within the subterranean chambers of Torandor, a much more hilly and mountainous world than Jaern - and historical records recall them being quite dissatisfied when they arrived on a world of oceans and islands, nary a rocky crag to be found. On Cahyali, their ancestral home is a land to the east, a polar mountainous realm known as Nidaheim. Nidaheim was lost in the Stormwing Calamity, and the oldest dwarven myth-songs lament its fall.

The dwarvish language is straightforward and richly descriptive, having many adjectives pertaining to color, texture, and shape. Its sound is bold and stout, with heavy use of consonants and long vowels. The script is angular and square, as the first Dwarvish was chiseled into rock.


Elves are a race of tall, slender, elegant humanoids, blessed with heightened senses of perception, sight, and hearing. They can judge visible distances with uncanny accuracy, a gift they purport to have been bestowed upon them by Ra. They average slightly taller than humans, with a more lithe build. Their ears come to defined points, with lengths and angles varying wildly. Their skin tones include all possible for humans, in addition to deep grays, pale white, and purples common amongst subterranean elves. Uniquely amongst the humanoids, they have green blood. The reason for this remains unknown to mortal scholars1).

Elves are creatures of the wild, and generally become very uneasy when they cannot see the sky. Jaernian elves with distinct lineages that trace back to Torandor may lack a soul (but still possess life force and a spirit), due to a calamitous plague known as Elvesbane that struck the race long ago. Cahyalian elves with ancestry tracing back to survivors of the Day of Solar Wrath are similar in their soullessness. However, a fair portion of elves today have recovered from these calamities, and have souls. (Note: When creating an elven character, it is an option to gain the Soulless trait.)

Elven communities typically live in harmony with the wilderness, and many are trained in the arts of hunting, weaving, and gardening from an early age. They take pride in their creations and charges, from small crafts, to pets or familiars, to great cities; and the majority of modern elves keep to the virtues of civilization and peace.

The elven language is complex yet elegant, and non-native speakers report taking more than a decade to learn its many intricacies. It is lilting and melodic when spoken, and its script is pictographic, with a flowing form similar to cursive writing. The ancient form of Elvish, known as Geleik or Auric, is almost hieroglyphic in form and is sometimes still used ceremonially in modern times.


  • Lifespan: 350-400 years
  • Jaernian Populations: Worldwide, small groups
  • Cahyalian Populations: Worldwide, small groups

Gnomes appear very similar to halflings at first glance, but tend to be slightly taller, averaging in between four and five feet. Their ears are larger and more pointed, and gnomish men tend to grow more facial hair than halfling men.

The origins of gnomes are well-studied, and they trace their ancestry back to a group of halflings that left Cahyali for the fey realms of the Dreaming five thousand years ago. They spent uncountable years in this magical realm, carving out their own place to live and becoming suffused with the realm's magic. However, when an otherworldly threat struck the Dreaming in the early 8000s SF, the gnomes evacuated back to the Cefa'zisto, with some making it to Jaern and some returning to Cahyali.

Nowadays, gnomes have a reputation for being sharp and quick-witted folk. They are famous for their prowess in tinkering and artificing, and often find employment as inventors and craftsmen. The magical influence of the Dreaming remains mostly on their minds, making adaptability and learning second-nature to a gnome. Though not particularly common in any one area, an old Jaernian adage goes that “those who reject a gnome reject good luck”.


  • Lifespan: 100-150 years
  • Jaernian Populations: Worldwide, small groups
  • Cahyalian Populations: Ulos

Halflings are a short humanoid race, with large feet relative to their body size. They are about the same size as dwarves, about four and a half feet tall, but are normally much slimmer. Their ears come to a slight point, and most other aspects of their appearance are similar to humanity.

Halflings originated in Cahyali, in the archipelagos of Ulos. Scholars believe their ancestors trace to ancient humans and elves, but their eventual isolation on Ulosian islands led to a form of island dwarfism and an eventual evolution into what they are now. Perhaps due to a cruel twist of fate, they do not take well to the lurching and swaying of ships, and are prone to getting nauseous and seasick - despite their origins on the seas.

They are regarded as wise and carefree peoples, and are usually found on Jaern in large, nomadic caravans of a few dozen people that practice their trade while communally exploring the world around them; many people look forward to a passage of their colorful horse-drawn wagons, offering a chance to see unique crafts and hear the joyous music and dance. On Cahyali, they are often settled in the countryside, enjoying pastoral life farming and fishing in their own peaceful communities. Halfling culture emphasizes understanding, cooperation, and friendship, and it is rare to see a nation of halflings going to war.


  • Lifespan: Variable
  • Jaernian Populations: Worldwide, small groups
  • Cahyalian Populations: Itlan-Youali, Null Labyrinth, elsewhere worldwide in small groups

Although elementals may not be truly humanoids in the strictest sense, most scholars can't find a better place to categorize them. They come in a few distinct variations, with the vast majority following the lines of the four arcane elements: fire, earth, water, and air. The skin and hair of an elemental usually matches their magical type: for example, a fire elemental may have red or orange skin always hot to the touch, or an earth elemental may have hair that resembles crystal formations. Otherwise, they resemble one of the mundane peoples.

It is hard to pinpoint when the first elementals came to be. Most of them are descendants of mages that achieved ultimate heights of their art, interdimensional travelers who spent too much time on a particular elemental plane, or unfortunate victims of magical cataclysms. With time, rich magical energies were engraved on their very being, slowly changing them from humans, elves, dwarves, etc. into beings closely tied to magic itself. Many elementals nowadays are descended from such suffused bloodlines.

A few elementals in the world are “true” elementals; that is, a being hailing from the elemental planes themselves. These folk may or may not resemble a humanoid form (but are always considered humanoid for mechanical purposes).

Meta Note: one of the original creators of AQ was a fan of Star Trek, and elven green blood is actually a reference to Vulcans!
lore/races/humanoids.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/05 01:12 by quiddlesticks