Races of Hawkstone Vale
Deva are extremely rare in the lands of Hawkstone Vale. At most, the total number of these earth-bound celestials can be counted on one hand. Deva do not keep any settlements of their own, and try to integrate themselves into other societies. Most goodly races and settlements welcome the presence of deva, seeing them as physical manifestations of the presence of the gods.
The dragonborn of Hawkstone Vale are the descendents of a kingdom that once ruled these lands long before the rise of humans, dwarves, and elves. These proud people still remember and cling to their ancient traditions and honor. Little remains of this once vibrant kingdom, although rumors persist of ancient ruins still hidden in the mountains.
The dragonborn of the valley tend to keep to remote, isolated villages in the mountains and foothills at the edges of the valley, such as Bahirin, in the Cairn Hills. It is uncommon to find more than a handful in most other settlements. Most dragonborn encountered outside their homes are mercenaries, soldiers, and adventurers.
Most of the valley’s dwarves come from Bronzehammer Halls, a dwarven mine and settlement in the hills around the Cairn Hills. A few dwarves hail from Baldorak, a dwarf kingdom in the Lakesrim Mountains. Dwarves in Hawkstone and other villages tend to be artisans and craftsmen. A once thriving dwarf fortress in the Redstone Hills was destroyed, literally overnight, by some unknown force. While most consider the site haunted and cursed, many dwarves still dream of destroying any lingering menace and recovering the wealth and power of their fallen kin.
The eladrin city of Merithalar resides on both the Gleaming Forest and in the Feywild, and is home to the majority of eladrin in the valley. The barrier between the worlds is thin here, with numerous portals linking the two planes. A fair number of eladrin have settled in human and elven villages and towns throughout the valley. These eladrin tend to be scholars, artisans, or craftsmen. There was once an eladrin city in the western valley, but was destroyed by an unknown force, causing many eladrin to flee and take up residence elsewhere. Some of these expatriate eladrin become adventurers, to defend their new homes against other dangers or to recover the lost magic and relics of their fallen city.
There are a few different elven villages and encampments scattered throughout the Gleaming Forest and the hills and plains surrounding the river valley. Nearly all human and eladrin settlements also count a fair number of elves among their populace, typically camps and roving bands living on the outskirts of town. These elves are often rangers and scouts who are stalwart protectors of their adopted homes.
Gnomes are an uncommon sight in the vale, the majority living in and around the Gleaming Forest. A few join smaller elven encampments or other villages, while some overcome with wanderlust travel the ancient roads that cross the land. They tend to be secretive and withdrawn if they don’t feel comfortable and many settlements may never realize that gnomes live nearby. When aware of their presence, most other races treat gnomes much like their larger fey cousins, the elves and eladrin.
Goliath are rare in Hawkstone Vale. These large, powerful humanoids are native to more mountainous terrain, the closest being the Lakesrim Mountains. Occasionally, either singly or in small groups, goliath travel to or through the vale, but only if great need drives them. While dwarves are more familiar with them and may tend to view these goliath favorably, most other races tend to keep the goliath at arms length, unsure of what to make of them. Very few races have much knowledge about goliath tribes.
Half-elves have a reputation as diplomats and shrewd bargainers, so many gravitate to the merchant trades or other jobs requiring travel and communication. Half-elves can be found in nearly any settlement throughout Hawkstone Vale, although they do not have any primarily half-elven communities of their own.
The waters of the land run through the heart of every halfling, so its said. The majority of halflings live and work within a few miles of the river or Lake of Wyrms, many of them on riverboats that carry goods from the valley to other parts of the world. The village of Westfork, on the Dragonwater River, has a large halfling population, one of of the few villages that aren’t predominantly human. Notoriously curious and given to wanderlust, halflings need little other excuse to go adventuring.
The great majority of half-orcs in the valley are mercenaries, bodyguards, or bounty hunters. They tend to favor the fighter, ranger, or rogue classes. As a race, half-orcs are uncommon in the vale, although they tend to become more frequently encountered the further north one travels. Northern half-orcs are more commonly barbarians.
The most numerous race of Hawkstone Vale, humans built the majority of the roads and settlements where most of the valley’s residents live. Most of the larger towns and villages are built upon remnants of an ancient human empire long since turned to dust. Human farmers, hunters, merchants and craftsman make up the preponderance of the common folk, although there are significant portions that engage in adventurous activity. Some merely seek to safeguard their homes and families while others seek riches and power in the numerous ruins that are scattered throughout the valley.
Shifters are very rarely found in the vale. Even in the Beast Plains where they are most numerous, their numbers are small. While many barbarian tribes claim to have the blood of beasts in their veins, at best maybe a handful of tribes can claim a shifter lineage. Most tend to favor the primal classes, while those more comfortable with civilization readily embrace the divine classes. Shifters as a rule distrust those who practice the arcane arts and a shifter who becomes an arcane spellcaster is all but unheard of.
Tieflings are rare in Hawkstone Vale. While many are travelers from other lands, those native to the valley are the descendents of ancient wizards who made deals with demons and devils in exchange for power. Haunted by their nefarious reputations, tieflings are generally mistrusted and viewed with suspicion. The nature of their infernal backgrounds polarizes them into two distinct groups. The first group welcomes their dark heritage, spreading fear and pain, while the second seeks to turn away from the darkness and embrace the light.
A few races exist in the valley beyond those available in the Player’s Handbooks and may be available for use as a player character. Almost all are races that don’t traditionally fit into standard society and will undoubtedly be subject to mistrust and discrimination. These races are by no means numerous and will only be available to one or two players at most. They may require additional role-playing from their players and will certainly require a more extensive background, but are offered for the sake of expanding options. If you want to play one of these races, ask your DM, and have a interesting and logical background ready to explain the character’s inclusion and participation into normal society. Your DM has final say in their allowance or rejection. These races may include some or all of the following:
A small clan of dark elves has rejected the ways of the demon goddess Lloth and has made their way to the surface in an attempt to live in harmony with their elf and eladrin cousins. The drow so far have been peaceable and have submitted to every question and test demanded of them. While perhaps not fully trusted, they have watchfully been allowed to settle in the westernmost hills, and even allowed to enter some of the more tolerant elf and eladrin communities. They are still the object of much animosity and discrimination, however. Whether the dark elves are truly repentant or if this is just an elaborate ruse, only time will tell.
A tribe of gnolls living on the southeastern shore of the Lake of Wyrms have forsaken the rapacious and murderous ways of their fellow gnolls and seek only to live a simple life embracing nature and the wild. They’ve engaged in friendly trade with some human and dwarven settlements and have even fought against other raiding tribes of gnolls. While far from being universally trusted, they have slowly garnered a grudging respect from their few trading partners.
Once more numerous in the western foothills near the Beast Plains, only a single minotaur tribe, the Thunderhorn Clan, still wanders their ancestral lands. A proud and honorable people with a well-deserved reputation for martial prowess, many of the remaining clan adventure or turn to mercenary work in an attempt to gain wealth and power to aid in the restoration of their people.
Warforged are an exceedingly rare race of sentient constructs, beings made of metal, wood, and other magical components, created as guardians or soldiers for powerful wizards from ancient times. Previously thought inanimate shells, some warforged bodies were recovered from long forgotten ruins and held for research and display. Some unknown power recently re-animated these few warforged. Their old masters now long since dead, these “reborn” warforged are now attempting to understand and become part of a society that is uncertain of them.
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