Shadow of the Firstborn
The Races of Rohir are seperated into three categories: The Elder Races, The Younger Races, and The Outsider Races.
The Elder Races
The first sentient life to appear on Rohir, the Elder Races never knew their creator. Instead, they were subjected to the whims of the capricious Elder Gods. Only vague descriptions and stories of these races survive to this day.
As the name suggests, The Firstborn were the first creatures to set foot on Rohir. They were said to stand a little over seven feet tall, and had glowing patterns on their skin that changed colour with their mood. Since they were much smaller in stature than their rivals, the Firstborn relied on their cunning to survive. It is said that Firstborn scientists were responsible for most of the discoveries (and associated devastation) from the great war.
Majestic and powerful, the Dragons ruled the skies of Rohir from the moment they hatched out of the first eggs. As a society, they were very much divided by bloodlines. While the Gold Dragons were unmistakably the rulers, each colour held supremacy in one particular area of society, and the intricacies of who was in charge in any particular situation were incomprehensible to their future allies. While the Firstborn gained magic in the form of spells that could be cast, the arcane energies of Tommak's rift seemed to alter the Dragons, giving them powerful innate abilities that were passed down through generations.
By far the most bloodthirsty of the Elder Races, the Giants quickly gained the favour of the Elder Gods. With most Giants standing well over 18 feet tall, they used their long reach and brute strength to carry the war to their enemies. As the only one of the Elder Races immune to the alterations of Tommak's rift, the Giants instead were granted dark powers by the Elder Gods to level the playing field, and birth the Orcs and Humans.
The Younger Races
Unlike their forbears, the Younger Races know exactly how, and why they were created. While many of them eventually rebelled against their creators, most Younger Races still view the Elder Races with awe. This duality of rebellion and respect has created most of the political problems of modern day Rohir.
As the eldest and longest lived of the Younger Races, Elves generally have a calmer and less narrow view of the world (though many other races would simply call this being pompous). Their centuries spent administering the empire of the Firstborn and the Dragons left them with a respect and desire for order, except for the Wood Elves who emphatically rejected all the trappings of the old world. Though they sit and shake their heads at the antics of the other Younger Races, many Elves secretly crave the excitement that comes from dealing with the outside world.
Like their predecessors the Dragons, much of Dragonborn society is split along colour lines. Each colour of Dragonborn traces their bloodline back to a 'Scion,' a dragon who gave their essence to create 13 Elders (eight Female and five male) of a particular colour. While Dragonborn of any colour may one day ascend to the ranks of high nobility in the Empire or Northern Kingdoms, all dragonborn must show honour to the elders of their colour, particularly the Matriarchs. Many a foreign diplomat has come away confused after a Duke or Duchess changed their minds after discussions with an old peasant woman.
Most Orcs seem to have a chip on their shoulder, which mostly seems driven from the perception that 'they weren't good enough' for the giants, necessitating the creation of humans. After the day of fire, most of the Orc tribes migrated as far north and east as they could, settling the land of Gralkir, and chasing away all outsiders. Much of Orc society is built around constant tests of ability, with only the strongest and brightest given positions of authority. Though they have signed alliances with the other Northern Kingdoms to stand against the Aldarian Empire, few orcs are willing to leave their homes, except on official business. The greatest punishment for an orc is exile.
Humans are regarded as a bit of a wildcard by the other races. Not only were they created by combining the essences of all other species, but it was a human who was responsible for the great rebellion, and it is said that a human mage was responsible for the day of fire. In the centuries since the disaster, human civilisation has splintered, forming many different and distinct forms of society and government. It is often said that the only constant of humanity is that it is always changing.
The Outsider Races
There is only one thing that all the Outsider Races have in common: They were all fleeing devastation in their homelands, and found themselves stranded on Rohir after coming through some sort of rift. While the elders of the various races still long for their homeland, their children have never known another world, and strive to become an important part of Rohir's future.
The Dwarves are the most isolationist race in all of Rohir. Settlers first made contact with the Dwarves of Blackhold while settling the lands now known as Petrea. While the dwarves seemed reasonably friendly, they refused to let any outsiders into their mountain cities. While that policy has relaxed a little over the last couple of centuries, it is still extremely rare for any outsiders to be granted access. The Dwarves of Stormpeak take their isolationism to extremes bordering on xenophobia. Very little is known about their society, but Dwarven craftsmanship is known throughout every land – in fact, modern day Petrea might not even exist if not for the trade in Dwarven gadgets and weapons.
While Eladrin closely resemble Elves in their appearance, their solid coloured eyes often prove disconcerting when meeting outsiders. An innately magical race, the Eladrin seem to produce a strange magical aura that permeates their entire country of Tei'lar, creating a temperate paradise in the middle of the harshest climate on the continent. This effect also seems to penetrate southwards into the forests of Ashan, and creates the warm winds that make Tonaris such a lush growing area. The Eladrin are governed by a council of elected officials, led by a First Minister. When contact was first made with the settlers from the Younger Races, the Eladrin quickly decided to join the growing alliance to ensure their independence. While they are a powerful race, they are also few in number and slow to reproduce.
Few people can say that they've ever seen an Avariel, and even fewer could claim to have spoken to one. The Avariel closely resemble their Eladrin cousins, apart from the enormous wings that sprout from their back. It is said that Avariel are able to speak with spirits of the natural world, and that they play games with air elementals up in their mountain eyries. Very little is known about their society, other than the fact that they fled to Rohir with the Eladrin – and the Eladrin refuse to say anything more in the matter. Visitors to Tei'lar claim that the Avariel fly down to Tei'lar for certain festivals, but no outsider has been allowed to attend.
The Halflings were the friendliest of the Outsider Races, but this was also their downfall. Small in stature, the Halflings soon found themselves being bullied by the larger races settling in the south of the main continent. With the help of some sympathetic Dragonborn, the Halflings left the main continent, settling in the Yytha islands to the south. There, they discovered cacao trees, which could be harvested to create chocolate. Halfling traders sold this new found bounty on the mainland, and soon found themselves swamped for orders. Unfortunately, this also brought unwelcome raiding parties – but the Halflings soon learnt to use the jungle to their advantage, and the raiders all started disappearing. A rich merchant republic soon sprouted, and the Halflings had secured themselves a place in world politics.
Though most of the Younger and Outsider races have worked hard to live together in relative harmony, there is very little interbreeding. Mixed race children are usually met with disgust and derision, and will always be viewed with some sort of prejudice. Because of this, most choose to try and fit in with one of their parents cultures, even pretending that they are 'pure blooded.'