With a world as diverse and intricate as that of the Young Kingdoms one should expect to find all manners of creatures, and all manners of people. The stories of the various Kingdoms are intertwining, and a small dose of these are included here as well as some information on the ways of each culture. The people of the Young Kingdoms stand before you, learn what you will...
Argimilite - Residents of the southern continent, these people have many ties to Lormyr.
Dharijorian - Natives of the western continent, they are known to be fierce warriors.
Dharzi - A once vanquished race, some of the beast-folk still survive in undead form.
Dorelite - Enemies of Chaos, the people of Dorel are always moving, living off of the land.
Filkharian - One of the wealthiest nations of the southern continent, its people are arrogant.
Human - A generic race, hailing from all places though none in specific.
Ilmioran - Composed of many city states ruled by a senate, many adventurers hail from here.
Jharkorian - A powerful western nation, Jharkor is often fighting skirmishes with Dharijor.
Lormyrian - A strong nation of the southern continent, the people of Lormyr follow Law.
Melnibonean - One of the oldest races, the folk of Melnibone are elegant yet insane and corrupt.
Myyrrhn - Hailing from another plane of existence, these winged people live in the far north-west.
Nadsokorian - From a fallen duchy of Vilmir, these folk are diseased beggars and thieves.
Nomad - Consisting of many tribes found throughout the Sighing Desert.
Oinish - Sister nation of Yu, the people of Oin are the poorest and most barbaric in the kingdoms.
Orgian - Bestial forest men of Org, they are the remains of the ancient Doomed Folk.
Pan Tangian - Yet another race native to another plane, this is a nation of chaotic sorcerers.
Pikaraydian - Warriors of the highlands, these folk are excellent hunters of the wild.
Sealord - People of the Isle of Menii; the Purple Towns, located south of the northern continent.
Shazarian - A nation of proud horse riders, Shazar is located on the western continent.
Silent-Lander - Inhuman folk of the Silent Land, they are descendants of the Doomed Folk.
Tarkeshite - A country of inner turmoil, the people of Tarkesh are divided into two cultures.
Vilmirian - A land of absolute order, the kingdom of Vilmir is the epitome of Lawful strength.
Wastelander - Consisting of primitive tribes, the people of the Weeping Wastes are simple folk.
Yurit - Sister nation of Oin, the people of Yu are the poorest and most barbaric in the kingdoms.
The Young Kingdom Races in a little more detail:
Argimiliar was once part of the Lormyrian empire, and still retains much of the grace, chivalrous ideals, and traditions of that earliest nation of the Young Kingdoms. Argimilites fall into two main categories, those bound by traditions, and those who seek change, usually country folk and city people respectively. All are renowned for their politeness and urbane manners. The city-dwellers of the coast are generally freethinking and liberated. The peasants and southern nobles seek a return to the past, to the worship of Law and the stability of days gone by.
Argimilites, with their philosophical upbringings and close ties to Law, are generally resistant to mental attacks, and are little effected by attacks of light. They are a wise, intelligent folk. Argimilites are good at all classes.
Dharijor, with her warlike knights and fierce corsairs, is the most powerful nation of the western continent. Little over two hundred years ago, Dharijor, like most of the west, was a Melnibonean dominion. Today Dharijor consists of scattered provinces bound together by the ferocious rule of King Sarosto, descendent of Atarn the City Builder, the nation's near-legendary founder. Sarosto is manipulated by the Church of Chaos, dominated by the Theocrat of Pan Tang.
The warriors of Dharijor are feared for their piratical deeds, and small bands of armed men also raid villages across the borders of Tarkesh and Jharkor. Dharijorians are a bloodthirsty people, and many consider violence their national past-time. Rich warriors wear gorgeous armor adorned with flowing plumes, while common troops wear iron armor, black and heavy. Most Dharijorians wear martial-style clothing, even those never engaged in war. Most Dharijorians are tanned and dark-eyed, their light hair often bleached by the sun. Scars, missing limbs, and other maimings are considered attractive, evidence of moral fiber and strength of character. Merchants are not much loved in Dharijor, and artists and poets rank below farmers, slaves, and dung-collectors.
Dharijorians are able to shrug off blows that would cripple other races, but due to their manipulation by the Church of Chaos they are vulnerable to Lawful attacks and charms.
The Dharzi are vanquished foes of Melnibone. Although they have been dead for a thousand years, the Lords of Chaos on occasion have allowed them to return to the mortal plane as undead creatures, and legends say that the Dharzi still haunt the Nameless Mountains, where deep caverns still hold their ancient burial chambers and places where they yet slumber. The Beast-folk, as they are also called (due in part, scholarship now suggests, to their bestial features and often savage natures), built an massive empire shortly after the fall of Quarzhasaat. One thousand years ago, war broke out between the Bright Empire of Melnibone and the Dharzi, culminating in the annihilation of the latter and the fatal weakening of the former. Melnibone began her long decline after that struggle, and humanity began to flourish.
Little is known in the Young Kingdoms about the Dharzi these days. Melnibone still remembers their fearsome qualities and supernatural powers, however. The Dharzi as a whole are an undead race, existent on the whim of Chaos and possessing dark sorceries. They are humanoid in form, but possess bestial features that vary among the individuals. Elric defeated them in an encounter by calling upon the aid of Grome Earth-king, who devoured them up in the ground where they belonged.
Inhabited by venomous black serpents and tribes of wild, whooping, chariot-riding barbarians, Dorel lies at the edge of the world. Its landscape consists of bare moorland, dotted with rocky outcrops, narrow rushing streams, and hardy twisted trees. Snow covers Dorel for over half the year, and even at the height of summer it is considerably cooler than the temperate lands to the north. Dorelites are feared as raiders throughout the south, their loosely federated tribes pillaging settlements across the continent, and venturing north in swift, slender vessels along the coast. They dress in crudely dyed plaids and tartans, kilts, trews, tunics and cloaks, adorned with buckles and straps. Dorelites have no cities, and only temporary encampments. The harshness of the land is reflected in their lives. Dorelites abandon the old and weak to the mercy of the elements. They take no prisoners. As wild and free as the wind, they worship Lassa, as a goddess of storms, and Grome Earth-King. Because of their proximity to the edge of the world, Dorelites fear and hate Chaos. They are exceedingly superstitious.
Dorelites see naturally in the dark, and due to their natural toughness they are resistant to poisons. They can withstand blows in combat that would kill most people outright. However, being superstitious, they tend to suffer more from chaos and elemental magic. Dorelites make excellent warriors, but are poor at most other classes.
Squeezed between sleepy Lormyr and energetic Argimiliar is the nation of Filkhar. Despite its small size, Filkhar is one of the richest countries in the southern continent. Because of the natural wealth of their country, Filkharians are arrogant. The small size of their nation may also account for this, its diminutive stature made up by the love in which its people hold it. Filkharians are known as gourmets and excellent cooks, to the point that their abilities are almost legendary. The Lords of Law are worshiped throughout Filkhar, and although Chaos is not outlawed, it is viewed as quaintly old-fashioned.
The youthful King Jerned, who is something of a fop, rules Filkhar. His fashion decrees dictate to the country, whether for pointed shoes, goatees, or ornate codpieces. The nation he rules is civilized to the extreme, its citizens fiery and impetuous, quick to anger and quick to laughter.
Filkharians, due to their worship of Law, are unaffected by holy attacks, and easily avoid bashing. However, they are easily led astray by Chaos. They make very good clerics and thieves.
Humans are the 'everyman' race of the Young Kingdoms, and are quite often adventurers. They represent no specific race, instead begin those who do not fit in with any of the local labels. From another world or plane yet look the same as the local Lormyrians and Vilmirians? You're a human. Although they have no special talents like the other races, humans are more versatile, being skilled in any line of work.
Humans may also train their primary stat higher than any other race, and are able to gain more benefit from magical devices.
The Lords of Law hold sway across the rolling, grassy plains and city-states of Ilmiora. The nation is ruled by a Council of Senators from the many such city-states that make up the country. Ilmiora is a young nation, its people energetic and open-minded. Much of the land remains wild and untamed. Because of the wide distances that separate its cities and towns, Ilmiorans have a well-developed sense of independence. Trade is common between city-states, although the average caravan must spend many weeks between destinations.
Ilmiorans are of average height and build, with fair skin and light brown to blonde hair. Clothes of red are traditionally worn at Ilmioran funerals. Ilmiorans are creative and imaginative. Both farmers and nobles alike wear intricately embellished garments of leather and suede, with caps of fur. Ilmiorans are most like the standard "human" race, but due to their closer ties with Law, there are not many who become mages. They do make good clerics, however, and they tend to be a wise race.
Jharkor is a powerful western nation, and her sizable navy and merchant fleets are commonly seen upon the seas of the Young Kingdoms. Jharkor is a young and vibrant country, consisting of several provinces ruled over by a variety of lesser nobles, who in turn pay fealty to the king or queen. At the beginning of the Elric saga, lean-faced Dharmit is king, but after his death in the Sack of Imrryr his sensual and sardonic sister Yishana takes the throne. The White Leopards are the bodyguards to the throne, an elite fighting force legendary throughout the Young Kingdoms for their tenacity and endurance.
Jharkorians are renowned for their suspicious ways and love of secrets. They are unused to open displays of magic, and still view sorcery as unnatural and probably evil. They are superstitious, and have a firm belief in the rule of the White Lords of Law. Jharkorians are tall, and tend to have dark coloring. The nobility dress in swirling silks and other fine clothes suited to their warm climate, while peasants wear drab, functional garments. For many Jharkorians, plots and secrets are a way of life. They make very good thieves and decent clerics.
Lormyrians are friendly, open folk, although superstitious, and dress in heavily embroidered linen, leathers, thick woolen garments, and furs. They are particularly large people, some it is said have reached 12 feet in height. They aren't too bright, however, and their huge size makes them more clumsy than the other races.
Lormyrians make the best warriors of any race, but are ill-suited for any other profession.
Lormyrians resist heat and cold with nary a mark, due to their huge mass. However, their slow minds make them extremely vulnerable to mental attacks. Lormyrians, due to their size and stamina, receive the fast healing and bash skills for free. (Only Lormyrians warriors receive bash).
The fold of Melnibone predate humanity, and share little in common with them. They are tall and slender. Their fingers are long, and their hair is fine. Melniboneans are proud and amoral, and they delight in every sensation. Melniboneans have slanted eyes and almost pointed ears, with sensitive eyesight and hearing. They delight in colors garish to human eyes and take pleasure in pain, especially that of others. Melnibonean ways often seem frightening or cruel to humans. With their delicate graces and refined tastes, Melniboneans are the most civilized of races in the Young Kingdoms, perhaps too civilized. They are a race without vitality or curiosity, beyond good and evil, content to exist in drug-enhanced pleasure as they have for centuries. Only tradition and worship of the grotesque and gorgeous gods of Chaos rule their lives.
Melniboneans make the best mages and priests of any race, but are also are gifted in every other profession. Melniboneans are proficient with swords and gain meditation because of their upbringing in the arts of magic.
The Myyrrhn are human-seeming except for their magnificent feathered wings. Men and women alike are slender and muscular, with delicate bones. They are broad-shouldered and deep-chested, their pinions springing from their shoulder blades. They Myyrrhn are pale skinned, with red to blond hair and green-gray eyes. Despite rumors, the Myyrrhn do not lay eggs, reproducing similarly to that of humans. The women have a much shorter pregnancy. Being used to the semi-arctic climes of their mountain homes, Myyrrhn are not much bothered by cold. They find hot weather unpleasant. In their own lands Myyrrhn wear only loincloths of fur.
The Winged Folk of Myyrrhn a powerful beings which are proficient in all classes. They are able to fly and use spears naturally and they heal much faster than other races.
The broken towers and sagging walls of Nadsokor blight northwest Vilmir, but even before one's eyes are assailed by its slovenly appearance, the pestilential stink which encloses the city of beggars has one retching and gagging. Centuries past, Nadsokor was part of Vilmir, but its citizens fled the city after a virulent pox claimed many. Neither the Lords of Law nor Chaos aided them against the ravages of the disease. Soon after the city's abandonment the beggar hordes began to move in. They claimed the city as their own. Nadsokor is infamous throughout the Young Kingdoms. From its decaying buildings, disease-ridden and malformed beggars creep out to beg and steal across the world.
Nadsokorites spend much time staying aware of their surroundings, and can see into shadows easily. They are immune to the diseases they often carry around with them, and pay little attention to cold weather. Holy and light-based attacks are especially harsh on them. They get staff and maladictions free, and while they are not very healthy, they are wise and agile.
The beggar folk make excellent thieves and good clerics, and are decent mages.
The Sighing Desert, though a harsh environment, is far from lifeless. The Nomad Nations, a loosely organized group of far-ranging tribes, live throughout this arid waste. They are a tall, graceful, and dignified people who are famed for their courage, and for their skill with the scimitar. They have strong boned faces and deep-eyes, and are often dark-skinned, although some tribes have lighter, golden tans. They dress in silk pantaloons and loose shirts, coats of brocade or velvet, and flowing turbans and burnouses. Desert warriors wear armor of thick, leather-covered wood, and fur-trimmed caps of iron. They carry short bows, scimitars, and arrows fletched with hawk feathers. Elric thought their unique language, Lesh, older than Melnibonean.
The many clans of the Nomad Nations meet annually at the Silver Flower Oasis, named for the delicate blossoms flowering upon the cacti there. They have no gods, instead seeking enlightenment through meditation and self-awareness. They are resistant to heat and cold, due to the long time they have spent in the desert, and their meditative techniques make it difficult to dominate them with mental attacks. They are, however, unused to water and drown easily. They are a very observant people, and can often see things that others cannot.
Oinish / Yurit
Barbaric Oin and Yu, although two separate nations, are joined in many ways. As well as the poorest of the southern nations, there is but one city shared between the two countries, the seedy capital of Dhoz-Kam, straddling the banks of the river Ar. The eastern city was settled during the days of Lormyrian domination, and retains a faint air of decayed splendor in its cannibalized or ramshackle buildings of carved stone. Those foreigners who can stand the city make up much of its population, electing to live here so that they can exploit the Oinish and Yurits. The Oinish and Yurits themselves are a superstitious, primitive people, and live in fear of the demons they claim haunt their jungles. They are nomadic farmers, drifting from place to place as they exhaust the thin soil. They are squat and heavily built. Oinish, living closer to the harsh wastes of inner Oin, are resistant to heat and are tougher. Yurits, farther south in colder climes, are resistant to such weather and more dexterous. Oinish are not used to chill weather themselves, just as Yurits do not take heat very well. They get hide and sneak, respectively.
Squatting like some cancerous growth among the grasslands of Ilmiora is the kingdom of Org. Little is known of this nation, save that its people are squat and brutish, their bodies warped, their manners worse. Few Orgians cross the borders of their land, nor are they welcomed beyond. Unsavory legends are whispered of Org and its people, stories of necromancy and decaying malevolence. Many people hope that Org and its bestial, shambling inhabitants will rot away completely if left undisturbed. Not even the boldest of Ilmioran merchant-princes seeks trade with the Orgian capital, which is hidden deep within the ill-omened Forest of Troos. That capital is said to be haunted by horrors far worse than the people of Org themselves. The disturbing forest is a place of sinister rustling, seemingly without animal or insect life, where swollen, fleshy blossoms nod, and warped and unwholesome trees seem to stir of their own accord. Legend has it that the Forest of Troos is the last remnant of the previous Cycle, and that Orgians are the devolved descendants of the Doomed Folk. Despite the many herbs and magical plants rooted within Troos, few are brave enough to venture under the unpleasant forest canopy in search of them.
Orgians see naturally in the dark. Centuries of living in poisonous Troos has left them immune to most poisons, and they resist attacks of a Chaotic or necromantic nature. They are, however, vulnerable to fire and hate light. They receive second attack, mace, and curative free. Orgians are surprisingly intelligent, in a twisted fashion, and are strong, tough and dexterous as well.
The people of Org are good at most classes save clerics.
The all-too human nation of Pan Tang, like Melnibone, is not native to this world. During the earthshaking magic of the Dharzi War a thousand years ago, a rift opened between the Young Kingdoms and the brutal plane of the Mabden. The humans who were dragged through into the Young Kingdoms found themselves upon a bleak, storm lashed isle in a nameless sea. This shattered island of black rock and fused glass was called Pan Tang, and the Mabden became known as Pan Tangians.
As worshipers of Chaos, the people of Pan Tang claim to be heirs to the sorceries of Melnibone, but they are blinded by their humanity and see only the evil of Chaos, and not its fey beauty. Pan Tang is a nation of sadistic, warped people, all of them quite possibly insane. The rest of humanity fears them as pirates and bloodthirsty priests. Pan Tang is a dominant power among the Young Kingdoms, more because of her black sorceries than for her military might. Like a warped reflection of Melnibone, her hated rival Pan Tang has but one city. Hwamgaarl is often called The City of Screaming Statues, after the twisted stone figures which dot its walls and rooftops. These statues are the remains of people who have angered the Theocrat, the Priest-King of Pan Tang. They have been turned to stone for their pains. Horribly they still live, trapped inside their rocky bodies, and their sobs and screams echo about Hwamgaarl incessantly, as do the roars of tigers taken from the northern jungles that now prowl the iron-paved city streets.
Pan Tangians can often see things which remain unseen to the visible world of most mortals, and because of their dark pacts with Chaos magic does not affect them as easily. They are adept at harmful and attack spells, and all have the opportunity to learn to use a whip for pure sadism's sake at an early age.
Pikaraydians wear kilts, skirts, tunics and cloaks of heavy wool, and paint their armor with ornate clan designs. Both men and women adorn themselves with striking tattoos. The people of Pikarayd are hunters who employ dogs of great cunning, trappers, farmers of oats and shaggy kin, or clever warriors. Chalal is well known for its archers, while the highland clans carry claymores with which they are wickedly proficient.
Pikaraydians make excellent fighters and priests, but are very poor mages or thieves.
Pikaraydians are very resistant to poison and disease, but cannot swim, and so are very vulnerable to drowning. They receive the berserk skill for free (if warriors), and can see in the dark with infravision.
The Isle of Purple Towns is one of the oldest nations among the mortal kingdoms. It is home to a bold race of sailors and merchants, renowned for honesty and seamanship. Although a precarious political balance exists upon the Isle between the old nobility and the new and powerful merchant class, this has not stopped the Isle of the Purple Towns from becoming a center of trade to rival Imrryr. Sealord traders are not smiled upon by Melnibone. Once a part of the Bright Empire, the Isle gained her freedom at the time of the Lormyrian rebellion some four hundred years ago. The long-bearded and leather-clad Sealords are to be found in every port of the Young Kingdoms, wherever there are ships to be sailed. They are considered the most trustworthy sailors of the Young Kingdoms.
Goldar of the Lords of Law is the main deity worshiped in the Isle, although Lassa of the Winds and Straasha Sea-King are both given deep reverence. The Sealords make good warriors and thieves, due to their hardy and rugged lives spent on the sea. They do not drown easily.
The lush plains of Shazar stretch across the south of the western continent. Sparse grasses wave in the constant sea breezes along Shazar's coast of cliffs and shingle beaches. The gentle uplands of the interior are thick with soft turf, and flowers in spring and summer. Fogs and heavy rains are common in Shazar, due to the proximity of the Boiling Sea.
Shazarian horses are acclaimed as the best steeds in the Young Kingdoms, and Shazarians are known as wild and clever riders. The knights of Dioperda and Aflitain are the best-trained cavalry in the land, and many a Shazarian lad or lass dreams of a career among their numbers. Horses are the pride and joy of Shazar and are held in high regard.
Shazarians share little of their culture with their neighbors Jharkor and Dharijor, and besides trade tend to reflect values that are closer to the nations of the southern continent. They consider themselves fairly civilized and dress in horsemen's leather when riding and simple yet elegant clothes when not. Shazarians are adept at beguiling, and can soothe and charm animals if given enough time.
The inhuman inhabitants of the Silent Land predate the rule of Melnibone, and even the Elemental Wars that gave the world the shape we know today. They are the last remnants of the Doomed Folk other than the devolved primitives of the Forest of Troos, who are unknown to them. Long ago the people of the Silent Land ruled the world, except that their world existed before that of the Young Kingdoms was born. Even after their rage destroyed the world, the Doomed Folk lingered on, warping everything they touched. The manipulations of the Doomed Folk caused the Myyrrhn to evolve from the beasts known as clakars.
All the Young Kingdoms shun this place, and the existence of its inhabitants is a fear-haunted mystery. A handful of adventurers have entered the Silent Land. None have ever returned from its black mountains. The pale, scuttling residents dwell unseen and unknown in lightless warrens beneath these same mountains. Rarely do they ever prowl beyond the borders of their realm. The Silent Land was never part of the Bright Empire, nor did Melnibone seek to conquer this evil race.
Tarkesh is a land of contradictions. The far north of the country is mountainous and thickly forested, as is the west; fjords and a multitude of islets fringe the coast. The south and east of Tarkesh are more gentle, consisting of farms and grassy plains that become hot and dry in summer. Storms from the Pale Sea sweep the north of the country, with winters particularly fierce. Life is considerably harder in the mountainous parts of Tarkesh than it is in the southern plains, with little good land for farming. Northern Tarkeshites live by hunting, fishing, and raiding. Small straggling fields of barley sometimes provide them with a meager crop. Southerners subsist more upon trade, on rich harvests of wheat and barley, and their large herds. Tarkeshites wear colorful silks, bright wools and velvets, and brocades in the south. In the north, furs and thick woolen garments are worn instead. Southern warriors adorn their blue lacquered armor with nodding plumes, in the Dharijorian style, while in the north the fashion is rough and plain. Tarkeshites are uniformly short and dark. The men traditionally oil their hair and beards. Southern Tarkeshites feel themselves more civilized than their northern cousins, and have been heavily influenced by the styles of neighboring Dharijor and Jharkor. The northern people view their southern neighbors as effete weaklings and decadent city-dwellers, while people in the south see northerners as ignorant savages. There is considerable rivalry between the north and south of Tarkesh, and raids and minor wars often put settlement against settlement.
Many a northern warrior has sailed down the wild coast in a dragon-prowed longship and been killed in a raid, and many a southerner has been cut down by a northerner sea-axe.
Tarkeshites by career may be of any class, although mages are a little more rare than others. Both receive enhancement, due on the part of northerners to the physical stresses inflicted upon them by the environment, and on the part of the southerners upon their dealings with magics from their neighbors.
East of Vilmir stretches the vast, mist-shrouded plateau known as the Weeping Waste. After climbing its steep, rocky slopes, a softly-turfed plateau, green and damp, a place of eternal rains, greets the traveler. The waving sea of green is broken by silvery lakes and fens, and here and there by thick stands of woodland. Animals abound in the Waste, including mammoths, bears, and the predatory burrowing mole-worms. A nameless range of mountains and badlands separates the Weeping Waste from the Sighing Desert.
The barbarians of the Weeping Waste dress in furred caps, checkered cloaks, and thick garments of wool or fringed leather. They adorn their bodies with ritual scars instead of jewelry. Their curious tongue, Mong, has no written form. They display great skill in horsemanship, tracking, and bow craft. The tribes of the Waste are nomadic, roaming the green, rain-washed steppes. They worship a variety of nature spirits, including the elements, and revere their ancestors. They are suspicious of foreigners, and the more superstitious among them claim that only the Waste is the real world, and that beyond the clouds of mist and rain lies hell, the realm of Chaos.
Wastelanders have the opportunity to learn spear, and are good at finding food and water even in the most rugged of conditions. They are not easily-affected by cold. Wastelanders make good warriors and clerics.
Vilmir is the most technically advanced of the Young Kingdoms. The Vilmirian people do not encourage uniqueness and individuality. Cities and people alike are gray and drab. Great triangular walls enclose the overcrowded cities, echoing the temples of Law built of sandstone to a specified size and common height. The people of Vilmir are astoundingly average, save for the majority's fanatical devotion to Law. They dress in gray tunics, wear their hair short, and are themselves gray-faced and cheerless.
Vilmirians are superb mages and thieves, but have at best fair talent as warriors or priests.
Vilmirian's resist charm spells most effectively, due to their high intelligence. They are notoriously hard to spot, and so Vilmirian warriors and thieves receive the sneak and hiding automatically. They may see in the dark with infravision.