Information about folks and races
  • Half-Orcs
    The Half-Orc is a product of a union between a Large Orc and a human.
    Often the Orcish parent is, or was a slave, which means that most of these individuals have inherited a mostly human culture. Physically they also fit in well among the humans, usually featuring only a slightly heavier build, bigger strength and sometimes the enlarged canines as evidence of their orcish parentage.
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    Orcs
    There are two different stocks of orcs known: Wild and Large Orcs.
    Wild Orcs are small and very primitive humanoids. They make up for their lack in stature and civilised weapons by ample amounts of wild violence. Their limited intelligence keeps them from becoming really dangerous, but in large groups they are a real menace.
    Large Orcs are the normal representatives of their race and have a majority over the other subraces. Because of their natural endurance and strength they are valued highly as slaves by various other races. Despite the prejudice caused by this, the Large Orcs possess a considerable intelligence and have developed an extravagant culture of their own.
    If he/she is only raised by the human parent, or by a purely human parenting couple (read the elven childraising customs), then the cultural outcome is usually a relatively normal child according to human standards, and only the physical attributes set him or her apart.
    High, Light, Dark and Winged elves are so reclusive, and “above” the world that they simply don’t intereact with humans in general, much less conceive a child with them. This means that almost all Half-Elves have a Grey Elven parent. There may be the very, very rare exception, but until now, this is completely unheard of.
    In such a case the family of the elven parent would actually seek out the child as well as the human parent to investigate the birth. Invariably they would suspect a union of force rather than love, and treat the child as an abomination.
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    Halflings
    In reclusive, out of the way parts of the country there are sometimes found these small folk.
    They prefer the quiet lifestyle in their small settlements and rarely leave them. They are and prefer to be unobtrusive, but not as withdrawn and reclusive as the non-grey elves, so the explorer or casual wanderer might suddenly walk into a quaint little village where he really didn’t expect one.
    In hilly country these villages often take the shape of burrows, but where the terrain is unsuitable they are just as happy living in houses. Halflings are a cheery, often carefree folk. Mostly they live as farmers, in small communities. Generally halflings are neutral to good in terms of alignment.
    Some say halflings are a subrace of humans, but nobody can confirm this and halflings invariably deny it claiming proudly that they are a full race on their own.
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    Dwarves… and Gnomes
    There are four different dwarven folks known: Mountain, Ice, City and Dark Dwarves.
    Mountain Dwarves make up the majority of the Dwarven races on the world. They are everything one generally assumes about dwarves: small, broad-shouldered, long-bearded, not very fond of speech, but all the more fond of ale and most of all: Gold!
    A strange subrace are the City Dwarves, who live in cities above the ground instead of the usual underground mountain halls and have adapted their culture to this lifestyle. They fit in much better in their chosen environment and as such get along better with humans. Catar has a small population of these dwarves.
    Ice Dwarves are tough and very resistent to cold. They live in gletchers. You won’t meet them in Catara.
    Dark Dwarves are a subrace of dwarves that live deep in the ground where the sun never penetrates. This suits them perfectly, because they have a strong aversion to light, which was honed over the centuries that they have lived down there. Note that Dark dwarves are neither dark skinned, nor generally evil.
    Contrary to what most humans think: Gnomes are actually not a seperate race. In fact, nearly every gnome has dwarven parents. In ancient times, when the first gnomes started to appear the early dwarves thought them abominations, weak and way too eager on thinking instead of mining.
    There are scary bedtime stories of how these gnomes were cast out by their dwarvish clan, shunned for their pecularity.
    Today all this is viewed as a myth: A Gnome is just another dwarf, although a special one: He is less stocky, more wiry, and usually a lot more apt to be a tinkerer, or even a spellcaster. Gnomes and dwarves mingle freely.
  • Elves
    The elves are the oldest race on the world, predating even the gods if one can believe their own legends and histories. During their long stay on the world the elves have developed certain subraces and various cultures as well:

    High Elves are the most ancient elves. They are aloof and very, very rare, to the point that nobody knows where and even if they still exist. Most people in Catara wouldn’t even know there’s such a thing as a High Elf.
    Light Elves are an offshoot of the High Elves originally that claim they are the High Elves and are only contradicted by their Dark brethren that claim the same (see below). They are rare in Catara to the point of non-existence and the general populace doesn’t even know of their existance.
    Dark Elves are also an offshoot of the High Elves that claim they are the real High Elves. Dark Elves are not to be confused with Drow; they are not dark skinned and a non-elf would not be able to tell a Dark Elf from a Light Elf or any kind of other Elf for that matter. Another Elf would know. They are called Dark because of their tendency to follow the darker and more sinister paths in life. Dark Elves are rare in Catara to the point of non-existence and not much is known about them.
    Grey Elves are a much younger race of elves. They are more outgoing than their brethren from the older races, and it is invariably a grey elf that you will encounter among other cultures as adventurers, merchants and travellers. They generally value art and knowledge very highly.
    Wood Elves have a close bond with nature and live their lifes withdrawn into the forests away from what we would call civilisation. The chances of meeting one are at best remote.
    Winged Elves are gracious and slender, and have feathered wings. Their cultural emphasis is alike to that of the Wood Elves in that they prefer a close bond with nature and don’t live in other cultures but their own. Their numbers are very low compared to the other elven races due to the rigors of recent wars and being a favored prey of dragons and other flighted creatures.

    A general note on Elves: As a non-elf in Catara you might meet an Elf sometimes, if rarely. This is in 99.99% of the cases a Grey Elf, but the non-elves don’t really know this. The knowledge about elves is generally not good enough to distinguish between the elf subraces, if they even know there are these subraces. An Elf is an Elf to them and thus most probably also to you.
  • This text focuses on the customs of the elves of Gildan, especially regarding their children.
    On Elves
    The elves of Gildan seem to be united for most foreigners. But in reality they are quite mixed and subjected to many schisms. The different elven folks are High, Grey and Wood Elves, all of them living separately. The High Elves have withdrawn themselves into the inner lands of Gildan long ago. They have quite an own way of living, marked by their near eternal life, and their lack of contact with mortals.
    High elven children are carefree and joyful creatures. The community will treat them as young children well until their 40th year. Only then they slowly begin to mature, a process that takes again 10 to 20 years. Humans often are deceived by this, as elven children of 20 years already look physically mature and are also using normal “grown up” speech. But from the elven viewpoint they are small children, as they lack the experience of hundreds of years.
    Elven children only stay with their parents for the first two years of their life. After these, they will be given to a befriended household. This is caused by the sharp distinction elves make between a “parenting couple”, and a “life couple”. Parenting couples are a necessity. These pairings are usually decided at birth for each person. When an elf matures, he conceives a child with his assigned partner, as a coming of age ritual. After the newborn child has been given away the parenting couple usually splits up again. Only can then both parties slowly start to become full members of elven society.
    The “life couple” is a pairing built out of love. Mutual affection, and the will to walk life’s path together is the force that keeps them together. As these couplings aren’t made for the purpose of conceiving children, the gender of the chosen partner is completely irrelevant for most elves. Only a tenth of these couples actually raise children, so those that form “families” often build up comparatively large ones. The children view the members of the households they are raised in as their family, even if they aren’t related genetically.
    Once a childraising couple notices that one of their adopted children has started to mature, they help it to find a mentor. This mentor will teach the child a profession, tailored to the young ones needs, interests and capabilities. Once the apprenticeship is over, the elf is considered mature.
    Often these apprentices get a special task assigned at the end of their apprenticeship. This task doesn’t need to be fulfilled at once, or even at all. Every elf can decide for himself if he wants to do it, and no one questions him if he doesn’t even start to think on it. It is not uncommon that several centuries pass before an elf even takes notice of that task.
    But should an elf actually start to do it, he will invariably bring it to the end, even if it takes his whole life to achieve. Those who manage to finish their task are considered to be masters of their profession, and enjoy the highest reputation amongst their kin.
    In general, elves stay in Gildan. Only occasional a few Grey Elves venture outside of the forests, for trade and adventure. Any elf seen in Catara will invariably attract attention.
  • On Half-Elves
    Half-Elves are the result of those rare unions between an elf and a human. Their cultural outlook depends mostly on the raising parent(s).
    If the raising parents are elven; he will undoubtedly be raised to know something about his elven heritage (if he can endure the normal elven upbringing that is). His/her human side often prompts an impatience with the elven upbringing which is traditionally well over 50 years. Young half-elves brought up in an elven household will invariably run into troubles when reaching their adolescence 30 years before their elven parents expect it…
    If he/she is only raised by the human parent, or by a purely human parenting couple (read the elven childraising customs), then the cultural outcome is usually a relatively normal child according to human standards, and only the physical attributes set him or her apart.
    High, Light, Dark and Winged elves are so reclusive, and “above” the world that they simply don’t intereact with humans in general, much less conceive a child with them. This means that almost all Half-Elves have a Grey Elven parent. There may be the very, very rare exception, but until now, this is completely unheard of.
    In such a case the family of the elven parent would actually seek out the child as well as the human parent to investigate the birth. Invariably they would suspect a union of force rather than love, and treat the child as an abomination.
  • Humans
    The human race is the most prevalent in Catara, but the humans have many cultural differences among themselves. Some human families claim that their bloodline is more “pure” than others and seek to retain that purity, even subscribing some special family traits and abilities to this higher blood. This tendency is often found among the nobility.
    Most humans however are of not in this group and claim no special abilities. The majority of the humans is what one could describe as commoners; city or rural folk that live a normal live.
    Humans however are a highly adaptable race with a surprising talent for survival in varying circumstances. It is not uncommon for the humans in a particular region to have adapted to strong influences from their surroundings and neighboring races. The result of such adaptations is often indicated with a specific indicator, for example “nomads”, “woodlanders”, “highlanders”, etc.

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