Fantasy City Project: Racial Make up and relations
I put up the Alchemie Guild material and I'm expanding on one or two character references I placed there.
Let's 'deTolkeinize' the setting a bit. We'll still have the usual assortment of favorite races, but let's tweak them a bit. Make them a bit more memorable by breaking stereotype.
(agreed, for all races, perhaps we can create multiple sub-races within each species)
Specifically, I see elves as the bad guys here. Not inherently evil or demon worshiping or anything classifiable as absolute damnable evil, but they aren't benefactors and they don't mind if the other guy loses so long as they win. They just used to be top of the food chain hereabouts until a human/dwarven alliance shunted away a good deal of their political power. Quite a few elves remember when they had their boot on the neck of the Gnomes and the other races kowtowed to them, and they LIKED it like that.
There are certainly exceptions, noble champions and kind mentor types, but by and large elves are aristocratic, rich, old guard and expect the other (inferior) races to know their place.
Specifically, up until about 40 years ago, Gnomes were largely slaves of the Elves. The cause of this was a war dating back more than 400 years ago.
While they are not quite as strong politically in the city, they have wealth, traditional power and an old boys network dating back 3 millenia.
The three main ethnic groupings of humans are Magii-gak, Vanir and Sophantii. There is little intra-species ethnic discrimination other than a slight reluctance of non-Magii-gak to marry or have children with Magii-gak.
Humans are the second shortest lived and second fastest breeding race in the city after Orcs. Longer-lived races form decades- or centuries long business, social and political links. As a substitute humans have a system of family honour designed to preserve reputation and connection through generations. Sons and daughters, especially the eldest surviving ones are expected to be follow in their father's and mother's footsteps (respectively) and act "pass on the honour to the next generation". Younger siblings are also expected to behave well but are given more latitude to take other paths.
Human society in the city is very socially conservative. Humans who leave the city and become successful are not generally censured for their unconventional behavior elsewhere, as long as it stops when they return.
Humans are generally neither discriminated against nor favored. Their social status and average wealth is about the median for the city, with Dwarfs, Pixies and particularly Elves being richer and more connected. This is the result of many human families joining with the Dwarfs against Elvish domination of the council resulting in much human advancement and enrichment though not as much as originally hoped. On the other hand Elvish retribution for joining against them is (so far) much more muted than had been expected.
Orcs are the fastest breeding and shortest lived race in the city. Their status is questionably the lowest in the city, economically, socially and legally. Originally they came to the city as war captives taken in the Foundation Wars. Fifty years later during the War For Flowers the city was desperate enough to offer then freedom if they enlisted, which 90% of the adult males and 70% of the adult females did. An attempt by the Elves to renege on that deal after the Battle at the Ican was betrayed by person or persons unknown. A full scale civil war in the city was only averted by human refusing battle and allowing the orcs to take vital positions.
Orcs are held to be stupid, brutish and uncultured. What they actually are however is intuitive, impatient and direct. Orcs get things done quick, if not necessarily as well as a elf, dwarf or even human could do it. Their ability to "hunch their way through" with knowledge they need not ever recall consciously makes them ideal scouts, talented field officers and useful spirit-magicians. Explaining what they're doing or did and why except in the most general terms is sometimes hard. They have to sort of scour their own subconscious and the effort tends to affect their language skills, especially for foreign languages. This is the source of the stereotypical "Grok hit right spot where not wobble." speech patterns known as 'Orcat' come from. They do however take on 'Orcat' speech patterns for ironic or insulting purposes when speaking to non-orcs. The best way to get respect from orcs is to recognise you are being insulted and how much and make clear you understand it. How big an issue you make of it is up to you.
Orc families consist of a dominant male, several of his wives, his brothers and mature sons or nephews each of which has at most one wife, and the children. Dominance is a combination of social and economic status, fighting prowess and success in competitive poetry improvisation (Thruk-ga). When the dominant male is challenged the family splits with most of the males staying with the winner. Some (generally lower status males) will leave with the loser to form another family.
Females exercise considerable control over finances, child-raising and other issues. Males who attempt to usurp that control can be ousted and sometimes even killed.
The pixies are a very new and very inexpirenced race originally isolated and vasltly wide spread throughout the most remote forrests of kingdom. Only recent journeys into the wilderness has brought them into the civilized world. They don't have any ethnics within them as their whole race is made up of one gene pool.
Most people don't know much at all about the pixies and are in general, just getting to know them so, socially they are "the new kids." Their other statuses are just being determined by everybody else's impressions on them.
The appreance of a pixie is a short, thin body with wings and diffrent hair/eye colors depending on the parents. They are an extremely peaceful race because they have never had to deal with the concept of war in their homelands. Althougth they are not natural fighters, they can be very skilled at pesky little spells and charms, but other than that they don't really have any major skills
The pixies have an interesting religion in which they belive the "Father f the Forrest" (god), created them and gave them thier land to use as they pleased. They also practice frequent "nature cerimonies" were they plant diffrent types of flowers to honor of their "Father f the Forrest" god.
The pixies have had it good at home with no wars or battles. They maintained a small, but perfect settlement within the deep forrest of the northern lands. A little bit unsure about moving into the large and busy city, they hope to make friends with the new people around them and let them get to know them better.