Races of the Iqador Plane

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Humans – The Tinkerers

The humans of Iqador have a well-known love of gadgetry, whether it be something as simple as a spying glass to something as articulated as a Steam Mare-drawn brass carriage.

Human (namely, Veritan) technology can be best understood by the loose term “steampunk” (sometimes “Victorian futurism”).  Specifically, such technology explores the limits of mechanical engineering, as opposed to electrical.  Still, there are a number of notable differences between it and the iconic phrase used in our own world.

  • An emphasis on enhancing natural abilities, instead of replacing them. (Instead of steam locomotives and rifles, for example, Veritans developed Steam Mare coaches and assisted composite bows.)
  • A complete lack of airships. (Veritan technology relies heavily on the Steam Mare for transportation.)
  • Minimalist style for personal wear. (Equipment can be downright hot and uncomfortable.)

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Dwarves – The Historians

It’s sometimes said that to if you want to fix your plumbing, you hire a human.  If you want school your child, you hire a dwarf.

Though it is a playful jab between the races, it belies a large amount of truth. While others might horde gold or treasure, Iqadorian dwarves horde knowledge.

Dwarves will go to great lengths to protect their guarded knowledge, believing it to be the real legacy of their race.  “A book without a dwarf is still a book; a dwarf without his book is nothing.” Their famous deep vaults on their home continent house miles of etched stone tablets. Long after those on the surface have become extinct, these repositories of knowledge will remain.


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Elves – The Mystics

The continent of Iqador had its own aboriginal inhabitants, of course–none the least of were the Elves.  Arranged in numerous, smaller clans, the Elves were found scattered among Iqador’s forests in groups of roughly a hundred apiece.  They favored simplistic magic augmented by their knowledge of biology.  They were completely outmatched by the Veritans in numbers, technology, and cohesion.  Rather than being exterminated by their counterpart, the astute Elves quickly found ways to integrate themselves into the expanding civilization of the Veritans…trading their culture for their lives.  Still, in places well away from the paved roads of the empire, clans can still be found who hold to their ancient rituals and beliefs.

Elves today are found in almost every sector of Veritan life today, though their innate bents towards mystic knowledge are still quite obvious.  They may be met as librarians, apothecaries, weather diviners, tour guides for the seedier places in town, fortune tellers, soothsayers, or even (rarely) tinkerers.  Whereas the learned of Veritan boast their scientific and engineering prowess, the Elves secretly attract types of knowledge that can’t be learned in any book.


Josh P feb 9 2008Orcs – The Tribesmen

Also original inhabitants of Iqador, the Orcs are found in more sparsely-wooded areas, often hunting larger prey on the grasslands.  They are much larger than their woodland counterpart and enjoy honing their hunting abilities above all else.  Much of this has to do with the environment they live in.  Rather than collect berries or set traps for smaller animals, Orcs are forced to wander their grasslands in a constant hunt for food.

While not generally considered “book smart,” orcs can still be very clever and excellent field tacticians. A clan may spend days tracking herds of bison and setting ambushes, or deciding on the best place to stampede them over a cliff.  Orcs also arrange themselves in small clans like Elves and will rarely be seen in fighting numbers above twenty or thirty.  Still, they revel in taking down larger prey and are often seen banding together with members of other clans to kill a mighty mastodon or a ferocious smilodon.

Whereas the elves of Iqador valued their continued existence over their cultural heritage, the Orcs did not. When the humans came to Iqador, the Orcs were not as fortunate as the Elves. Understanding diplomacy only in terms of conflict, the Orcs were in constant war with the human settlers.  The humans had little patience for the “barbarians” that constantly threatened them and their livestock, and the Orcs were systematically eradicated from much of their original homelands.  Fortunately, the Orcs’ nomadic lifestyle, combined with some timely support from the Elves, stayed their extinction.  Many of their clans can still be found today, now wandering far away from human lands.


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A Common Ancestor?

In truth, Elves and Orcs share a number of pronounced physiological similarities. Less-informed humans might even mistake one for the other, if they have little traveling experience.  A theory that has gained popularity in the human lands of late is that Elves and Orcs actually share a humanoid ancestor, somewhere in the distant past.  This proto-aboriginal eventually split into two distinct lineages–one further honing their fighting ability on the plains, and the other turning to the development of their minds in the forest.

Strong evidence in favor of this theory, though not widely admitted, is the simple fact that all four Iqadorian races can interbreed–although some pairings, such as half-human/half-dwarves, are invariably mules.  Such marriages (and their offspring) are found at the edges of the empire’s holdings, where prejudice is less rampant.