Chapter 3: Races, Class, and Gender in the Light and the Darkness of ALIND
The various races of lighted realms exist in a vacuum of ancient history. Nearly all races, in many respects are ignorant of their history, or have filled in the gaps with superstition and myth. It can be difficult to sort out which race or culture has the correct version of the truth. Since finding out the history of the ancient world is central to the story of ALIND, playing different races can be a lot of fun. Consider your race carefully based on the information presented in this section. Race should be more than just another set of helpful stats, but about what version of the truth you want to investigate,and what part of the mystery of the world you’d like to identify with!
Celn Humans are the most populist of the humanoid races living within the light of Cellinor and beyond. Although various styles and customs abound throughout the known world and Wilds beyond, most humans can be categorized into a few versions. The typical Celn is hard to describe because they come in many shapes, sizes and temperments. One thing however binds them all, a strict adherence to The Order of the Flame’s holy doctrine. Whether they wish to do so or not. Living within the lights of a savage world means that Celns have access to a higher order of hygiene, dress and manner and as such they have a higher Charisma (+1 to charisma).
Orstman or Orlanders as they are known to Celns, are large, goliath humanoids. Standing on average at 7 feet tall, the typical Orstman can weigh between 200-250 pounds on average. Their mighty bodies provide them ample strength (+1) but they are not known to be either limber or gentle (-1 to dexterity).
Trebian-Trebians live in the outer wilds in tribes of 100s and sometimes 1000s. Rumors exist of large civilized areas, even cities deep in the northern jungles above the lands of Cellinor. However, these rumors are put to rest by the Order’s clergy and official decrees. The Trebian creation story for example, is one such cultural aspect that has permeated into Celn oral tradition but is ardently punished by the Order of Flame. Of course, this ban seems to only increase it’s popularity albeit secretively. Trebia, is currently in a state of war with Cellinor, but that is nothing new. As Celns carve out more and more Trebian lands, skirmishes and battles continue. The Celn War Council doesn’t see Trebia as a major priority at this time, their focus is on the South and the uncivilized races uprisings from giants, to orcs. Trebians have a dark complexion, are lithe and tall, quick and surefooted. The few that would be encountered in Celn lands would be servants. Not slaves, as slavery is outlawed in Celn lands. It might however, be hard to tell the difference between how the two were treated.
Sasser-Currently, little is known of the races to the West, beyond the still waters. What is known is that they are a sophisticated and technologically advanced society. Much information is unavailable to the commoner about what lies beyond, but there are rumors that the War Council, Borindin and the Order of Flame take the limited contact there very very seriously. A colony, known as Far Realm, has been established now to the West, and whether the Sassers are hospitable enough to entreat without resorting to war remains to be seen.
Blue elves are found along the Aluene River, north of Cillandar and into the Inner Wilds of the Realm. Early in the rise of King Borindin, they treated with Cillandar and now have declarations of recognition in place. Blue elves do not take in other races, although elves born and raised in the Kingdom may emigrate there. The elves of the Aluene manufacture many manner of items that Cellinor needs. However, recently, an envoy to the blue elves have not returned.
Green elves exist in several tribes throughout the outer wilds. Recently, new tribes of elves have begun to emigrate southward and have begun making entreaties with local garrisons. Trade, something the Celn nobility is desperate for with the elves, has finally begun. The green elves still keep to themselves, and the order of these exchanges is minimal at best.
Sand elves are known to exist in the Seas of Sands beyond the Eastern and Northern Celn borders of the known world. They do not officially speak with Celn expeditions, and major skirmishes have been recorded. Currently, the Shields are advised to bare arms on sight of them. Little else is known of the sand elves. Few if any live among Cellinor’s lighted cities, and if they do, they exist there in secret.
Sea elves are a legendary race that are told about in tales of Cellinor, Trebia and the Oorst. As rumors go, the Sea Elves live beneath the waves in the Western Sea in structures still intact, but submerged after the End Days. It is told in these stories, that they watched the destruction of the land above, and to this day, have no interest in the affairs above their domain.
Dwarves are often associated as rough, yet responsible, serious and grumpy. Laboring away, dwarves can be classified often as the grouchy old uncle at the family party. The dwarves of ALIND, are a bit different.
Celn lands incorporate a variety of diverse backgrounds. One of the chief races found there are dwarves. In fact about 10% of Celn population are dwarves, and that is even higher on the borderlands and in the inner wilds. Dwarves have adapted so well to Celn lifestyle and society that they are almost indistinguishable from Celn humans except for their size and stature, and of course their “attractiveness”. This gives many a Celn dwarf a bit of a chip on their broad shoulders. All Celn dwarves share a common myth of how their people entered and became a part of Celn society. That myth is known as the Throndian Arks.
Throndar according to ancient oral tradition, the dwarves attempted to outlast the darkening in a series of immense and well built fortresses hidden within their hills and mountains. During the end days wars, several of those “arks” were sabotaged and destroyed by Ket. Ket is a very real place to dwarves, unlike the metaphorical place that Celn humans describe. The few survivors of those arks however found their way to the Lighted side of the fight and helped the Lighted forces fight against the darkness. For their bravery, the goodly races included them amongst their own as the realm arose. For that reason, and although they do not live amongst them now, even the elves of ALIND treat the dwarves with respect and reverence. Minus an occasional jab about their rough eating habits, perhpas. As the stories tell, one (some stories tell of more than one, but they are much less spoken of) though remained and served it’s purpose throughout the darkening. It’s name is Throndar, and dwarves tell many tales of where it might lie, and of the wealth and beauty it would reveal to the world. It is often a dwarvish quest to search for the ancient city, although of course, none ever have found it. Many dwarves carry a weapon, shield, or breastplate with the symbol of the Ark as homage to this legend and a pride in their kinship. It is recognized in many forms, but the most simplest of forms is three intersecting circles.
According to Flame Doctrine, those who do not walk in the light, are tempted by the darkness. In this way, the halves of the world began. Although goodness can be found in their action, and thus given back into the Well of the Flame, these ancient races were once men, but were corrupted, twisted and turned by darkened deed. In this way, they are forever tainted and their kind is not considered equally as the lighted races of humans, elves and dwarves. Nevertheless, these “savages” of the wilds and of men’s darker side, can still provide aid and good things to the land, but they must be, as The Keeper of the Flame says, “watched over”. Other halves exist not listed here such as lizardfolk, kuo-toa, tieflings, or harpies. Even others like the faerie folk, pixies, brownies etcetera are often considered “darker halves” by Celns. According to the Order’s teachings, these creatures were not men once as the “lighter halves” were. Instead, they were darkened beings who became “manlike” in an effort to do the lighted races harm. Superstitious beliefs hold that Ket is to blame for their existence. The Order maintains they were simply created by men to battle each other. Some schools of thought in the clergy maintain that the ancient gods created them in order to punish mankind for his insolence during the fall of Kasille.
Halflings The most popular of all “halves” in ALIND, halflings are notorious merchants of the bizarre. Quirky and seen by many as “a cup half empty”, many live in small communities scattered in areas near larger cities. The halfling clans have established a large scale trade operation of magical and otherwise useful items found in ancient Kasillian ruins and structures. Since much of this is banned by official decree from the Temple Mount, the halfling trade is tantamount to the black market. All halflings speak a version of common that only they fully understand although their speech can be determined by a successful intelligence check. Halflings are quick witted, sure footed and have a tough skin because of the incessant badgering they recieve by the larger races of Gaia. They take little seriously, except their business enterprises.
Kenku Half man, half bird. The kenku race was recently discovered by parties entering the northern wilds in search of land to settle in. Little is known about them. Their very presence would be enough to entertain, astound and perhaps scare the common Celn.
Minotaur Have been among the Celns now for some years. It is said the first of their kind was found by Borindin’s expeditions into the wilds in the early years of his reigns. Now, there are few that have made their way by some fashion or another into the cities and towns of Cellinor. Many find their way into the battle arenas of the Challenge of Champions. Others sail west to distant isles like Xiladros wanting to escape the rigidity of Celn custom.
Dragonborn Once at war with the lighted races, the dragonborn have made peace with the realm’s customs, traditions and societal norms. Although they often keep to themselves, the various dragonborn that do live among humans are few. It is believed dragonborn live in tribes in very distant lands, but these stories never seem credible. They are often looked on in awe, and despite being a “half” to the people, they are in a way revered as the kin of dragons. There are many superstitions surrounding these “men of dragons”, but the most famous of them holds that once the dragons of the former age were destroyed, their kin was left to wander aimlessly. The world is still found to hold several actual dragons in the wilds and they are vicious and cruel. As Malorus has described, they are however, nothing like the dragons of ancient lore, who were believed to be smarter than men, and more powerful than the most brutal of beasts. The exception to this of course is Gulgol, whom Borindin slew. Celn tradition maintains, that after their destruction, the “dragons’ born” retained the nature of man, and belong in some small way to the brotherhood of the lighted races. The Flame has brought many into the fold of the Order as have the War Council into the ranks of Celn soldiery. Depending on their particular characteristics, different dragonborn have many different mannerisms and customs. There are several dragonborn legends that tell of their wanderings as a group. When one dragonborn encounters another of the same type, there is often an immediate bond of brotherhood only they seem to understand. They are fierce warriors, and have many ideals. Whatever that is, they are strict followers and difficult to dissuade.
Tieflings In ALIND, tieflings are nightmares created by a tearing of the natural goodness or “light” in the soul of mankind. The most famous stories of tieflings involve Riftenaucht, or torn night, when it is believed that women, especially, come to a crossroads of darkness and light. There seems to be evidence that these abominations occur in both genders, but the Order maintains a different view.
Half-orcs Being the offspring of an orc, a creature of darkness, half-orcs are not able to remain in natural sunlight for any length of time. Their skin, like all denizens of the dark, literally burns. A fate they fear worse than death. Only due to their human heritage can a half-orc live upon the surface for any length of time, and even so, it is not comfortable for them. They work and labor in mines mostly, and have temperaments best suited to toil and soldiery. Several half-orcs have however gained notoriety, a testament to their will and brute survivalism. A skill they are proficient in automatically.
Giants, Ogres and Ogre kin: Giants are considered darker halves for good reason. They are unruly, cruel, often stupid and difficult to contend with. More beast than man, some have been domesticated for different purposes in Celn borders. The most unruly of all giant clans lie in the South, past and adjacent to Oorst lands. There, they seem to be pawns of darker societies, goblin and orc tribes especially, who encourage them in some fashion to attack Celn outposts. They are a difficult foe and many have abilities that are not yet understood.
Centaurs, Fauns and other halves: Other halves exist and are infrequently seen in the wilds. Their stories and customs are virtually unknown to Celns.
When playing a character in ALIND, it is important to note the gender and the affects that has on others around the player character. Celns believe that Riften’aucht, literally “tearing night” exists because of the dark nature of the world. Darkness is associated with death, lightness with life. In this sense, and since women are the sex that brings life into the world, they are susceptible in a way that men are not. Surely, halves and other menlike creatures found in the world were once born of them. Thus, women may be harbingers of light or darkness. In Celn lands, women are not seen as the “weaker sex” in any way shape or form. However, because of the Order’s teachings and the traditions of Riftenaucht, and due to the cultural norm and belief in the duality of feminine nature, females in the land are often ill treated.
Men in ALIND are not the men of our world. Commoner husbands, and fathers work alongside their women, and although they perform “heavier” duties, they are not seen as more important duties or tasks. Women are educated equally in Celn lands, and in Oorst and Trebian lands even more proportionally than men. However, men are considered as benign in terms of the darker and more superstitious faiths and beliefs of the world. They are considered stable, a rock against the storm of darkness and light, but this also implies a death to these matters. Men, are not vessels for the demons of Ket to persuade. Men are also not those who would lead us to the light. This is why members of the Order of the Flame, although often men, refer to the holy doctrine as “she”. For it is not a man who can create, or give life to something good, or something ill.
Playing a female is to play a character which is seen as many things, by many different groups. In summary, women in ALIND are physically equal to men. Where men are more muscular, they are lithe. Where men are stronger, they are more dexterous. In The Ballad of Light and Darkness, and in the Liberation Scrolls, women fought alongside men during the end days war. When the battle was won and the fighters returned, the women who had been noncombatants were killed. To this day, Celns maintain a belief that women were once weaker physically, but because only those females who fought would survive, they are now physically more capable.
Females in ALIND represent a metaphor, that is not appreciated by all. A secretive group which permeates towns and hamlets, cities and villages known as “The Shielded Mothers” exists. This group of women, believed to meet in secret, are hunted by the clergy and are said to undermine the authority of law by subverting the teachings of the Flame. A mythic figure, declared sacrilege by the Order and whose idols are destroyed wherever they are found is known as The Great Mother. The Great Mother holds special significance in the Trebian creation story. She is believed to be incorruptible, and represents a woman’s ability to not just be light and darkness together, but to be above it and a harmonious balance of both. The Order warns this balance is not achievable, and so the darkness within the great mother, must be cast aside.
Due to the nature of the world in ALIND, character classes are slightly and in some cases very different than in a typical D&D campaign setting. The major difference is the way in which experience is gained. Due to the nature of WILL in this world, “experience” is essentially an increase in “power”. As heroes rise, their names become idolized, their deeds heroic, their actions legendary. Essential skills and experience are learned by adventurers alike, but true power comes to the characters as their names and identities take on meaning, for good or ill, to others in the land.
Information about the various classes and their unique ALIND characteristics is listed below. To see the background, or summary of characters featured in our ALIND campaigns, please see the PC Folio arranged by Campaign in Part 4 of the Gazetteer.
Fighters-Fighters in and out of the realm are as they are elsewhere. However, Celn fighters must abide by the Flame’s rule of law. When life is taken, will is returned to the Flame in a sacred ritual. Do all warriors follow the code? Perhaps not, but they are wise not to discuss it. Fighters are often the most legendary of heroes. Their fame rises quickly, and thus do their powers. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Mustakrakish, Flemin, M.A.R.S., Lazuras, Abel, Lessa, Kassim
Rangers-Rangers, often from lands outside the lighted realm, do not adhere to the strict martial and social norms of the regions’ fighters. They don’t “fight fair”, and have amassed skills that make them just as deadly, in different ways. Rangers gain power, not always through fame, but in their protection of the wilds themselves. For therein lies an ancient power, one that they respect even if it’s not fully understood. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Taryn, Laetis
Barbarians-Barbarians are considered too chaotic for the Celn soldiery. Something about them breeds anger in a way that is dark in nature. As such, barbarians are unruly. They are often outcasts, who because of their very nature do not contribute to The Flame. In the early years in the current age, they were inquisitioned, but now they are accepted in small ways, within the forces of the King’s armies. The most famous barbarian, Bearclaw, is said to have changed Lord Borindin’s policy towards not just barbarians, but the race of half-orcs in his land as well. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Bearclaw, Telchar
Clerics, Paladins-No healing power has existed, or is known since the time of the gods, before the end days’ war. However, rumors do exist of healing powers that exist elsewhere, beyond the flame’s reach. Clerics who claim to heal in a fashion beyond the extent of the Flame are however considered enemies of the Order. Their very existence is a threat to the solidarity of this institution. Their arts subversive, cheap tricks. Clerics and Paladins of the Flame who specialize in healing are known as the Order of Silver. Those who administer the Order’s code are known as The Order of Crimson, or simply Inquistioners. A rare sect of clerics, only females, are known as The Order of Night. Schultar, Fritz, Thaedron, Casseiopeia, Malcolm
Monks-Monks are generally Celn outcasts, self imposed, or by official mandate. There exists on the borders of the realm, several known monasteries where it is believed different communities seek a balance between a tremendous dichotomy of the world. Where others see the realm as a light in the darkness, monks in ALIND see the light AND the darkness in us all. Where their power comes from, is not understood, except perhaps, by themselves. Featured Hero: Jasper
Rogues/Assassins-The lands of this world breed thievery. And thieves, rogues and assassins abound. Perhaps, it is no surprise that as a rogue gains ability, it is not just physical theft that they are after. As thievery is punishable by inquisition, rogues often refer to themselves as “adventurers”. Featured Heroes: Bolvist, Fereday, Maria, Smudge, Mavrik, Portia,
Wizards-Wizards are the greatest threat to the Order of Flame, but because of their intellectual contributions to the realm’s technological and magical advancement are considered “necessary evils”. In their constant search for more magic from the Kasillian age, they often uncover things that challenge the authority of the Flame’s doctrine. Their power grows from a variety of sources. What they discover is often their greatest treasure but it can also put them at odds with societal forces. Featured heroes from ALIND: Splendar, Hockenbrecht, Hyperion, Doromir the Explorimir
Sorcerers-Playing a sorceror is to begin the game with enemies from all sides. Sorcerors wield power in a frenzied way and do not follow the guidelines that wizards adhere to. As such, sorcerers are considered dangerous. They are abominations of the natural order between light and darkness. Many sorcerers are killed or die early on not understanding the source of their power or how to wield it, whereas those who make it through their early transition tend to stay in hiding, pretending to be wizards, and revealing their magic as controlled energy, when in reality, it is a wellspring of the untamable. Featured heroes in ALIND: Felix, Roscoe
Warlocks and Mage Knights-Warlocks are villains to the realm at best. At worst, they are Ketian demons who have come to the surface world to drag good folk off in the night. Playing a warlock is similar to a sorcerer. The source of their power, whether possession or some other natural state must be covered through story and lie. It is believed that most warlocks are found immediately at the time they manifest their powers. Mage Knights on the other hand, are usually thought to have been warriors who have developed powers through arcane research. Several of these mage warriors have become quite famous, including one Canton, now Governor of the colony of Far Realm. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Canton, Vexlan, Thunkeroy, Lars
Druids-Druids make exceptionally interesting characters in ALIND. Their interest in the natural and physical world and their understanding of it’s very “nature” seems to put them at odds with much of the Order’s and the realms’ codes and decrees. Druids gain experience as any other class does. However, unlike warriors who grow in power by deeds on the battlefield, or by a rogue’s theft, their ardent supporters are not people, but the world itself. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Mesilla, Horst, Sanjaya, See Bo
Bards-As in any campaign, bards tell of the deeds of others, and glorify their namesake in song. Yet, there do exist some who sing of deeds they themselves have taken part in. As will and power walk hand in hand in ALIND, a bard can quickly make a name, and much more of himself, or herself in the campaign world. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Tuatha Ulrecht, Jethro Q. Lamour, Chantecleer