Nine Major Races
There are nine major races corresponding to the nine major alignments. This does not mean that if you are a member of that race that you must be that alignment. All it means is that the average member of that race is of that alignment, with one exception (explained below).
This also does not mean that there are only nine races; quite the contrary. It just means there are nine major races, i.e. races that are very numerous and popular.
Lawful Good: Dwarves
There is only one kind of Dwarf on Avlis as far as the rules are concerned, but from a roleplaying perspective, dwarves can be either Galdokin or Dubgaldokin. Galdokin are dwarves who live in Galdos, while Dubgaldokin are dwarves who hail from Deglos. Both Galdokin and Dubgaldokin are played exactly like the dwarves in the rules for NWN. The stature, manner, and coloring of the Galdokin are exactly that of the generic dwarf of the Player's Handbook. In appearance Dubgaldokin are much the same as Galdokin, except they are often tanned by the sun from being outside, and their ideals are often more openminded.
Although it is rare, the close proximity of the dwarves and gnomes sometimes produces unorthodox family units made up of a dwarven and gnomish spouse. These unions will sometimes bear children. Oddly enough, the children appear mostly dwarven, albeit slightly skinnier and lighter. Females however, do not grow beards when they are hybrid. These members of society are often referred to as "stone dwarves" because it is thought they look more like their Galdokin cousins. This is true to some extent because Dubgaldokin, although still dwarves, have changed a bit as well over the years. They became a bit more stockier and heavier than the Galdossian dwarves. When combined, the two races wind up making offspring closer in proportion to a Galdossian dwarf. The name "Stone dwarf" refers to the Galdokin xenophobic tendency to stay in their own isolated nation of stone. Galdokin often refer to the Dubgaldokin as "Grass dwarves" to reflect their more ebullient and sociable relations with creatures from the surface.
Neutral Good: The Fey
'Fey' is a term used to describe anything related to fairies and their kin (i.e. nymphs, sylphs, dryads, nixies, pixies, sprites, half-nymphs, half-dryads etc.). While the pureblooded fairies are identical to those described in D&D game literature, the half-fairies that are unique to Avlis each have their own special abilities that are dependent on their fey parent (these abilities are described in detail in Custom Races).
There are actually two classifications of fairy in Avlis – those made by the indigenous god O'Ma, and those made by the foreign goddess Titania. While most O'Ma fairies are Neutral Good, Titanian fairies lean more towards the True Neutral alignment of their creator. And while Titanian fairies cannot breed (you will only find female Titanian fairies on Avlis), O'Ma fairies can procreate with themselves as well as other humanoids (usually humans and elves). Friction due to this difference lead to the Fairy War, which blossomed into the Great War.
Two half-fey, half-nymphs and half-dryads, can be played as character races. For more information consult Custom Races. They are described in detail below.
Half-dryads are even more peculiar than full dryads because they have the blood of two races in them. The life-giving attachment to an oak tree that dryads possess is not shared by them. However, even half-dryads are staunch lovers of oak forests, and are almost impossible to tell apart from full high elves. Their exact features depend on their non-dryad lineage, but they always have hair that changes to a platinum blonde in the winter and a dark brown in the summer. On rare occasions, there is a tinge of green in their darkcolored hair in the summertime. Style of dress among them varies widely, but it usually takes after their non-dryad parent. Half-dryads can speak the language of dryads, the language of their other forbearer (in most cases), and the common tongue. In seldom cases, (10% of the time) they can speak the language common to all the fairy races.
Most often these beings are the product of an elven and a dryad parent. It is this type of half-dryad that usually winds up becoming a druid and dedicating their entire life to nature. On the other hand, if they have a parent from a non-nature emphasizing race, they tend to have severe conflicts in their life between their pull to the forest and their pull to fulfill another destiny. These types of half-dryads are often very sad and very confused individuals who constantly struggle to find themselves. Whatever their ancestry, they are always very individualistic people and are known to follow many different philosophies of nature. This often helps them to remain sane in their difficult life as a half-breed. Since their dryad parent will live as long as its oak tree, half-dryads inherit the longevity of their other parent. So, human half-dryads will live about eighty-to-ninety years, whereas Elven half-dryads will live much, much longer. This aspect of their race enables them to form many long-lasting relationships with people who live as long as they do. Out of all the halfbreeds, half-dryads who are half elven are the most accepted in elven society, and in some places they are even considered a blessing from nature. In any other place, human and elven half-dryads are almost always mistaken for high elves, even if neither parent is elven. The only ones who are not fooled by this are the high elves themselves.
Half-nymphs are the result of an unusual union between an Avlissian nymph and a humanoid (usually a human or an elf, but there are exceptions). These beings are exceptionally beautiful, however they are not quite as beautiful as their nymph parent. Looking at a half-nymph is not dangerous, just pleasant. Their frame is usually a lot stockier than a nymph's. This is especially true if they are from non-elven decent. Clothing styles of a half-nymph can also vary depending on the culture they arose from. They rarely ever go nude, though, as their nymph relatives like to do. Half-nymphs usually speak the language of nymphs, the common tongue, and the language of their non-nymph parent. A few half-nymphs (20%) can speak the tongue common to all fairy races.
Half-nymphs have very little trouble fitting in with either society that they are derived from, unless they are half-evlen nymphs. In the latter case they can just barely get by in elven society. Full nymphs are not prejudiced against any race that is not evil, and so as long as the half-nymph is of a kind heart, they will be fully assimilated into nymph society. On the humanoid side of things, they use their incredible comeliness to get on the good side of their relatives, and thus get accepted. Some problems with half-nymphs will arise once in a while in elven society due to the slight xenophobia of the elven race, but these problems are nowhere near as big as the elven wariness of half-elves of human descent. The biggest conflict in a half-nymph's life, therefore, is an internal one. They are constantly torn between the urge to indulge in happiness, and the urge to have a serious impact on the world. Their nymph relatives tell them to be happy and let life drift by, whereas their human or elven relatives tell them to pursue a cause that will further something. This troubles them a lot of times, and often a half-nymph will go back and forth between the pursuit of happiness, and excellence. They have success more often with pursuing excellence than happiness, though, because they are missing the magical abilities of full nymphs that they use to amuse themselves and help others. A half-nymph's lifespan varies depending on what kind of non-nymph parent it has. This can cause some social problems as well. A half-nymph with a human parent will often live two hundred years, in which time they will see their human relatives die out, and they will age too quickly for their nymph relatives. On the other hand, a half-nymph with an elven parent will live roughly six hundred years. In that time, they will outlive their nymph relatives, and age a little too fast for their elven family. This is too often the case with a half-breed race. Half-nymphs of other humanoid descent experience the same cruel juxtaposition of life-spans as the usual half-nymphs.
Chaotic Good: Elves
Initially there were two types of elves on Avlis, and later on a third kind arose. The most common type of Elf, referred to simply as an Avlissian Elf, is generally akin to a high elf in 2nd Edition AD&D terms. Their skin tones range from milky white to a mild tan, although there are sometimes grayish or bluish undertones visible in rare individuals. Their hair can range from a deep black or blackish green, to a bright blonde or red, much like the human hair colors. The almond shaped eyes of these elves can cover the entire human range of blues, greens, and browns, but violet is also seen. All other statistics for physical stature and size, as well as game play, are identical to high elves.
Being close to nature, elvish society is loosely organized. Most individuals are concentrated in the elven nation of T'Nanshi. This nation is run effectively, yet informally, by noble families who take care of foreign affairs and the standing army only. All other affairs are usually taken care of locally by whatever system the given settlement or village has set up for itself. In many cases, there isn't much of a system needed at all. Elves are inherently reverent towards their elders and will usually defer to their word if there is a question of action.
Elven dwellings are often built in the trees, though they are also fond of beautifully camouflaged ground dwellings as well. Cities exist, but they are few, for most elves settle in extended family units somewhere out in the forest. Usually one of these units consists of about 20 to 30 individuals who work cooperatively to support themselves off the land. There are often one or two individuals in each of these bands that practice a trade, and make items to barter with other bands to get what they need.
In elvish cities there is the usual hustle and bustle of trade. However, most of the cities seem to exist as an outlet for the nobles to gather and discuss national affairs. Noble families will often keep luxurious tree homes in these cities in addition to their regular homes. Elven nobles do not pretend to hold claim over portions of land like humans do. They see themselves simply as individuals who have more money than average, and therefore have an obligation to protect their country. They do not claim any serfs or personal armies, although there are many who have followers that support their household in addition to the paid servants.
The other type of elf that was created initially by Dru'El is called the Light Elf, or more commonly the Ghost Elf.
Physically, these elves are much more thin and frail looking than Avlissian Elves, but their state of delicacy is a beautiful one. Their skin is almost always a bright yellow, or bright yellow with a very slight greenish tinge. From some angles, their skin almost seems to give off a faint glow, hence the name ghost elf.
Though these elves look much weaker, they are really just as hearty as their cousins, although they do have a propensity for broken limbs sometimes under rough conditions. Dru'El created them as his personal touch to the elven race, and although they are fairly rare, they mix well with the other elven subraces. Half-breeds of these types are extremely rare because ghost elves do not often survive copulation with non-elves of a larger size. Their thin frames usually won't allow it.
The society of the ghost elves is largely the same as Avlissian Elf society. They occupy the same land, although no nobles of this race are found. The Ghost Evles are known to be even closer to nature than their cousins, and they particularly have an affinity for nighttime, when their skin seems to glow even brighter, like the moon and stars. Surprisingly, their family units do not often mix with their cousins. They mainly keep separate, yet always on good terms. They can be found in the cities very often, sometimes as tradesmen in fine goods. However, they rarely, if ever, leave T'Nanshi.
The third type of elf is the newest to arrive on Avlis in the grand scheme of things, though they have been around for a century and a half: The Drangonari Elves. Unlike the other two races, these elves were not created by Dru'El, but instead by the god Angadar. In life, Angadar was himself an elf, and he once ran with another elf who was what they call an "Avariel". On their travels, the Avariel made the unfortunate mistake of trying to kill Angadar, and she almost succeeded. In fact, she came closer than any other ever did. For this, Angadar was exceptionally angry, and after killing the Avariel, he vowed to make a mockery of her race one day. (Avariel are winged elves that once had established a small foothold on Avlis.) Thus he did, when he reached godhood.
Physically, the Drangonari look like Avlissian Elves, except they are covered by a reptilian green hide. Their eyes are yellow with slit pupils, and their hair is usually always black, should they choose not to shave it.
At one time, they had thick leathery wings, akin to an Avariel's, but during the war that brought about the extinction of the Avariel race on Avlis the Drangonari lost their wings in an unfortunate magical accident. Now they remain as scaly reptillians with no ability to fly. These elves are not native to T'Nanshi. They come from the nation of Drotid, to the east of T'Nanshi. This is where their main city lies.
Unlike the other kinds of elves, who are generally chaotic good on average, the Drangonari are more organized and devious. They tend to be lawful evil, although just like in all other cases, there are exceptions. Because of their lawful attitude, their society has a strict hierarchy. Breeding is everything, although an individual can reach great power through deeds of cunning... yet they will always be regarded as a second class citizen if their family is considered to be of inferior stock. The higher families usually claim to be direct descendants of Angadar, while the lower ones are often regarded as Angadar's direct magical creations. The degree of a family's bloodline goes down by one for every generation that marries into a magically derived family. Nowadays there are not any direct descendants of Angadar left... they have all met with unfortunate accidents. Yet families of 2nd and 3rd degree exist and are currently in control of the race. The Drangonari elves have no nation to call home, but they control a small portion of land inside Drotid, and they are constantly defending it against the lizard men who claim it.
There is yet another type of elf, the Sereg'wethrin, whose origins are shrouded in mystery. It is rumored that these dark-skinned elves were created by T'Nanshi to use as a secret military force. What is known is that the Sereg'wethrin have an intense hatred of humans and elves both, and that their training and conditioning makes them fearsome foes. It is rumored that they live in the Underdark, coming out occasionally to strike against human and elf cities.
Ghost, Drangonari and Avariel elves have been implemented as custom races on Avlis. For more information consult Custom Races.
Lawful Neutral: Dracon
Dracon are a race of four legged centaur-like creatures with elephantine bodies below the waist and humanoid dragon bodies above. They dominate the population of Toran Shaarda.
As of this writing, limitations in the NWN game engine have prevented dracon from being implemented in Avlis. Further racial information concerning dracon can be found in the 2nd Edition AD&D Spacefarer's Handbook.
True Neutral*: Humans
(* - actually, humans have no average alignment. They are balanced among all alignments.)
Humans proliferate Avlis. They can be found almost anywhere, but from a national perspective they make their homes in either the nations of M'Chek, the Kurathene Empire, Jechran or Tyedu. This is not to say that it's difficult to find a human native to any other place. There are plenty that were born outside the human nations.
Depending on their birthplace, humans can have very different cultures. The humans of Mikona and the Kurathene Empire have a very imperialistic attitude towards life, whether they are a commoner or a noble. Each member of society realizes that they have their place; they are either a subject or a master. Nobles of both of these nations have serfs and peasants that live on their land and pledge their loyalty to the local lord. City folk are usually an exception, and especially in Mikona, the city folk are loyal to the nation as a whole most often.... though they usually have a favorite noble.
The exception to this rule in the nation of M'Chek are the Human, Romini. These folk are akin to the gypsies in other campaign worlds, except for the fact that most of then they are staunchly neutral. Again, there are plenty of exceptions, but the average Romini is in it for the balance. Some are very subtle, while some are blatant about it... even keeping a mental tally of the good and evil acts they commit from day to day.
Consequently, the Romini are usually not trusted. If it wasn't for the fact that they are one of the favored peoples of the god Mikon, the government of M'Chek would probably not tolerate them. Living a nomadic life, the Romini are usually not found anywhere for long, although some factions have settled down in small areas throughout M'Chek. It is unlikely that these settlements will compose more than a few tents scattered about.
The humans of the Kurathene Empire are much like their cousins in M'Chek, except that each of their nobles is the ruler of his or her fiefdom, and that fiefdom is an independent country. The term "Kurathene Empire" is a loose one to define the whole contested area that was once a true empire. Romini are not plentiful in the empire, but other races can be in some spots.
The barren tundra of Tyedu breeds a different sort of human. Here life is very harsh because of the climate, and also because of the creatures that lurk everywhere. Humans in this land have no concept of nobility... might makes right. They can be of any alignment, but all will bow to the notion that the strongest survive, and the strongest should rule. Individual tribes dot the land, usually led by their toughest warrior. Often these warriors have a shaman backing them up. These people worship a myriad of gods and goddesses, and even local nature spirits at times. There is often a cohesive interplay between the laws of the gods, nature, and the warrior way within these societies.
Jechran is an oddity on Avlis, for the social hierarchy in this country is dominated by women. The nation of Jechran is often a tumultuous one. There is some organization among the tribes. Each sends representatives to a larger council body that governs national affairs, but each individual village or tribe also has autonomy. This paradox often leads to squabbles between tribes that can sometimes branch out into large wars. But these wars never last very long... a week maximum, but tribal grudges can persist for lifetimes.
Jechran is located at a point on the continent where the weather is sharply divided down the middle of their country. To the south is a tropical forest, but north of the forest it turns into a more temperate and slightly chilly climate. The women of this race have risen to the challenge and eked out a living by hunting the creatures there and plying crafts. The men of this race are subdued and their numbers are kept very low. Each village is only allowed to possess ten males and ten male children at any one time. When one of the male children comes of age, the oldest male is thrown out of the village and given a head start before the hunters go out after him. If he can escape the area, he gets to live... but he must never return to Jechran.
Humans from all of these nations are the same in terms of game mechanics. When making a human character you can include his or her nationality in the subrace category if you wish, but it not necessary.
Chaotic Neutral: Changelings
Changelings are just that – shapeshifters that can assume almost any form, even that of inanimate objects. Changelings have no nation of their own; they are too disorganized to form one. Instead they wander all of Avlis, skirting the edges of the societies of other races without ever fully entering them. Indeed, many people have encountered a changeling without ever knowing it.
Changelings have been implemented as a PC race on Avlis. For more information consult Custom Races.
Lawful Evil: Orcs
Physically, Avlissian orcs are the same as those described in D&D. But when the god Valok made the orcs of Avlis he favored subtlety, preparedness, and intelligence, and so gifted them with great intelligence, which in turn made them ambitious masters of strategy. Orcs are prevalent in the nations of Brekon and Dubunat, but can be found all through Avlis. They are strong in arm, but they are also strong in diplomacy and deal-making. It is said by some that making a deal with an orc is akin to making a deal with a demon.... any loophole that can be exploited, will be. Of course, this is wholy an average assumption of the population. As with any race on Avlis, there exist individuals of all alignments.
Orcs have been implemented as a custom race for play in Avlis. For more information consult Custom Races.
Neutral Evil: Lizard Men, Sahuagin
Lizard men and Sahuagin are exactly as described in D&D. They both inhabit the nation of Drotid, with the former being the dominant race. Lizard men have been implemented as a custom race for play in Avlis, and are also known as the Shaahesk. For more information consult Custom Races.
Chaotic Evil: Ogres, Giants, Giant-kin
Avlissian ogres, giants, and their kin are all the same as those described in D&D. While it is commonly known that these races can be found in Brekon, they also inhabit the mountains and hills of many other nations. Half-ogres have been implemented as a custom race for play in Avlis. For more information consult Custom Races.