City on the Shoulders
A quick summary
There are five humanoid species in power on this continent: gnomes, halflings, dwarves, elves, and humans. The first two have been here much longer than the others. Humans have only recently begun to establish themselves. Some, but not all of these groups can interbreed.
In this game, I am opening up human, elf, gnome, halfling, human-elf, and halfling-gnome as no-questions-asked PC options. Anything else mentioned below is super rare and will therefore require you to make a diceless persuasion check against the GM.
When selecting your species, take at least one of their aspects (or a better one you think up yourself). Also, take a stunt where you can spend a Fate point to get a +2 on a roll involving any one of their five given specialties at any time. You do not need to choose between them at character creation. (See the skill list.)
Short and stocky; renowned artisans and craftsmen who place a high value on cleverness. They like to build their homes deep into hillsides, leaving public spaces in the open but digging multi-level private spaces for themselves. They worship many of their own minor saints and heroes in addition to the seven gods.
ASPECTS: Busy Hands, Eye For Detail, Saints Preserve Us, Hidden Depths, Let’s Make a Deal
STUNT: For a fate point, the “Gnome” stunt can grant a +2 bonus on any one of the following: Burglary, Crafts, Investigate, Rapport, or Stealth.
So named by the elves who first immigrated here, the multitudinous halflings (they call themselves lightfoots) prefer to live on the flat plains in small groups. They are fiercely territorial, but when approached properly there is no one more hospitable. Their day-to-day life tends to be highly ritualistic; they have many superstitious beliefs about luck, spirits, and divine favor.
ASPECTS: There’s a Ritual for That, Great Hospitality, Blood Ties, Read the Signs, Never Give In.
STUNT: For a fate point, the “Halfling” stunt can grant a +2 bonus on any one of the following: Athletics, Empathy, Lore, Politics, or Will.
In the Old World, the dwarves made up the bulk of the religious hierarchy. The rebels who that left that society behind were isolationist and, more unusually, atheist. To this day, they only leave their mountain labyrinths for such necessary evils as farming, spying, and selling their rich crop of gems. Most people have never met a dwarf, and never will.
ASPECTS: Cold Hard Cache, Stone Bones, Always On Guard, I Do What I Want, Dish It Out
STUNT: For a fate point, the “Dwarf” stunt can grant a +2 bonus on any one of the following: Endurance, Perception, Provoke, Resources, Will
Originally a jungle-dwelling people, though they are willing to live in colder climates so long as there are trees. Wild, graceful, and long-lived, elves love to tell the world’s oldest stories. They believe a great star they call the “Moon” used to exist in the sky, and that its absence accounts for many modern ills. There are numerous magicians among them.
ASPECTS: The Long Game, I Know These Woods, Magic in the Blood. Perfection in Everything, Calm as the Moon
STUNT: For a fate point, the “Elf” stunt can grant a +2 bonus on any one of the following:
The most recent settlers on this continent, squeezing in wherever they find room, both physically and culturally. They have formed a number of small kingdoms, independent but generally cooperative so far, and have a tendency to enjoy formality and pageantry. They no longer speak their native languages, but they do cling to the Old World “gods-only” religion.
ASPECTS: Self-Sufficient, Tell Me All About It, Eye for Heraldry, Make Yourself Useful, Cultural Assimilation
STUNT: For a fate point, the “Human” stunt can grant a +2 bonus on any one of the following: Deceive, Investigate, Politics, Provoke, Rapport
Species that are approximately the same size as one another can interbreed, though they, generally produce sterile offspring. Halfling-gnomes are not unusual, elf-humans somewhat rarer. Dwarf-anythings are genetically possible (as they are halfway between the other two size categories), but virtually unheard of for cultural reasons. Crossbreeds with greenskins are whispered about, but in the unlikely event that such a creature was actually conceived, they would be unlikely to survive long in society (especially greenskin society).
If you are playing a character of mixed species, construct your own racial stunt by selecting two specialties from one of your parent cultures and three from the other.
Also known on this continent are greenskins—the cousin species of orcs and goblins, who completely dominate the frozen lands to the north. The orcs are a fearsome, violent people, known for stealing or killing practically anything they can get their hands on. The few who have visited their lands and lived to tell about it report that they are every bit as technologically advanced as those to the south; what prevents them from just charging south and taking over is a mystery. As it is, in the warmer lands they seem limited to small strongholds, usually in the cold and secrecy of underground caverns. They are fiercely devoted to the Cloud. Catching sight of one another is generally reason enough for a greenskin and a beigeskin to fall into immediate bloody combat.
Goblins, the smaller of the two species, are both dependent upon and roundly abused by the orcs. They do not seem to have any independent culture of their own.
ASPECTS: Property of the Cloud, Greater/Lesser of Two Evils, Bred in the Cold and Dark, Instrument of Death, Extremely Pointy Grin
STUNT: For a fate point, the “Orc” or “Goblin” stunt can grant a +2 bonus on any one of the following: Endurance, Fight, Nature, Provoke, Stealth
Legend has it that the diversity of aggressive and unreasoning creatures in the hidden parts of the world is the result of blasphemous experimentation on the part of ancient Cloud priests. Half-intelligent creatures such as trolls and ogres are also believed to have been warped from smarter and more gentle progenitors, perhaps even on the level of those that now dominate the continent.
In very isolated areas, one occasionally finds small populations of half-humanoids, including such creatures as kobolds, gnolls, harpies, and centaurs. Some of these, especially the latter, have broken away from Cloud influence altogether.