Orrys: Survivors in a Shattered World
All racial statistic are the same as presented in the Players Handbook unless otherwise noted.
The Dwarves of Orrys were once the most powerful merchants and leaders of trade, holding a near-monopoly on mining precious metals and smithing the best weapons, armour, and artifacts in the land. After the Cataclysm and the collapse of trade and civilization in general, the Dwarves have withdrawn to their mountain kingdoms and sealed their borders.
Mountain Dwarves in particular, heirs of ancient kingdoms under the mountains of Orrys, have adopted a particularly isolationist lifestyle, their leaders deeming that they are better off without the help of other races, sealing their borders and reverting to self-sufficient and xenophobic society that generally does not welcome outsiders. Mountain Dwarves tend to be slightly shorter than their Hill Dwarf cousins (averaging 4’8”), and have dark hair and beards that they keep ties in intricate braids. They often wear intricately tailored clothing, and some wear ancestral jewellery as a symbol of their lineage.
Hill Dwarves have been less isolationist then their mountain cousins, though they do gather in tribal clans or nomadic war bands in the hills and badlands near the mountains. They tend to be larger (average height 5’)and more robust for dwarves, and have lighter coloured hair, ranging from silver to blond to red and brown, and tend to let their hair grown wild and unkempt. Their clothing is usually plain and functional.
Formerly seen as the most powerful race in Orrys, the Elves have also closed their borders not only to the world but to each other. Though many elf ruins lay abandoned or defiled across the landscape of Orrys, many hidden elven enclaves remain.
The High Elves, known as the greatest magic users and keepers of knowledge, have several cities and fortresses in Orrys that remain hidden thanks to powerful incantations. When the Cataclysm happened, a divide formed between the three races of elves, with the High Elves firmly believing that they should continue the way of life they have led for millennia. The Wood Elves wanted a return to an older, more natural way of life in the forests, and were expelled from their ancient cities. The Dark Elves, historically discriminated against for their close relation to the evil subterranean Drow, were similarly cast out, leaving the High Elves to keep their ancient enclaves. High Elves have slight frames and striking features, with light-colored hair and clad in finely-crafted and intricately patterned silk or cotton clothing.
The Wood Elves, or Wild Elves, have built towns and small cities in the trees of the remaining old forests of Orrys, adopting ancient druidic traditions. They fiercely guard their borders, and travellers have learned to stay clear of forests where the Wild Elves are known to waylay trespassers. There have also been rumours that they have replaced their traditional elven magic with darker, older practices and rituals. The Wood Elves are slightly shorter than their cousins and with a more athletic build, and have dark brown or black hair. Their clothing is usually simple and loose-fitting.
The Dark Elves came to the surface a few hundred years ago in a mass exodus from the Underdark following a civil war among the Drow. Rejecting the depraved practices of their evil, spider-worshipping cousins, the Dark Elves have lived with the association with the Drow to this day. In their time on the surface, they have struggled to overcome not only racial prejudice, but also their physical aversion to sunlight. Before the Cataclysm, they had built a small empire, specializing in trade and transport. While the subterranean Drow famously have ebony black skin, the surface Dark Elves’ skin has lightened to a dark tan, and they retain their white or silvery hair. Dark Elves’ clothing is known for its unique patterns and tailoring and was once sought-after throughout Orrys.
The Dark Elves of Orrys have the following racial traits, replacing the traits on p.24 of the PHB:
- Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma score increases by 1.
- Darkvision. As with other elves, you can see in dim light up to 60 feet as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light.
- Desensitized to Sunlight. Unlike their underground cousins, the Dark Elves have become acclimated to the sun, and do not suffer any penalty to Perception (Wisdom) checks while in direct sunlight.
- Dark Elf Magic. Same as in PHB.
- Dark Elf Weapon Training. You have proficiency with rapiers, shortswords, and hand crossbows.
- Dark Elf’s Insight. You are particularly sensitive to the feelings and motivations of others, and are considered proficient in Insight (Wisdom) checks.
Already accustomed to a life of living off of the land, Halflings have adjusted to life after the Cataclysm better than most races, considering that they have no standing army or unified centre of power. Though some Halfling settlements needed to be relocated, the little people of Orrys continued life nearly unchanged in their remote agricultural communities. However, where the Halflings were once welcoming to all outsiders not prone to stirring up trouble, modern Halfling settlements are now walled off with wooden palisades, have formed local militias and have set guards for the first time in living memory. Halflings, intent on holding onto their traditional way of life and family values, tend to now be suspicious of outsiders and close their gates to strangers. They are particularly suspicious of arcane magic-users, with the common Halfling belief being that arcane magic was to blame for the Cataclysm. Halflings living outside of these settlements are usually criminals or were otherwise ostracized for not following the traditional Halfling way of life.
Hal flings’ complexion ranges from dark tan to pale, and their hair varies as much as a human’s. Traditionally thought of as round and jolly, the average Halfling has had to tighten their belts since the Cataclysm, needing to work harder and eat leaner than they were previously accustomed to.
Though they had begun to make up the majority of Orrys’ population before the Cataclysm, Humans suffered the greatest losses during the fallout afterward. Many of their cities were shattered by the disaster, others fell apart from the inside once food shortages led to looting and the collapse of law. Now, many human towns and cities lie in ruin, and the survivors have taken up old tribal living, eking out an existence either in small settlements or in nomadic bands. Though once there were many different unique tribes and ethnicities of mankind, such divisions have bled away by necessity in the harsh world of Orrys.
Always adaptable, humans are often seen by other races as rash and unpredictable, their relatively short lives leading them to desperate measures. Being one of the shortest-lived races of Orrys, many humans living today have little memory of life before the Cataclysm, and though those who do try to keep their people together to retain a semblance of civilization, many young Humans form gangs of bandits and marauders. Modern humans tend to be pragmatic and do not often concern themselves with differences in race, as long as an individual is able to pull their own weight for the good of many.
The Dragonborn of Orrys are quite few in number, but had a reputation as being fearsome warriors and mercenaries, often stoic and aloof, detached from the politics of Orrys. Following the Cataclysm, many Dragonborn have decided to follow the example of their patron diety Bahamut, and have tried to uphold his tenants of law and justice, often in small bands of like-minded fighters or paladins. However, there are also rumours of small sects of Dragonborn taking up the cause of the draconic diety of greed and vengeance, Tiamat.
The Dragonborn of Orrys come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from thin and wirey to large and intimidating. Likewise, their coloration runs the full gamut of traditional dragon coloration, both chromatic (red, blue, green, black, and white) and metallic (gold, silver, bronze, copper, and brass), though this has no bearing on their alignment.
The Gnomes of Orrys have adapted well to life after the Cataclysm, mainly because they were mostly kept safe in their towns and cities built securely into mountains and hillsides. Though many settlements were damaged, the gnomes were quick to repair and adapt to their changed environment. Though trade with other races died off after the world changed, the Gnomes adapted to that as well, creating new technology to compensate for the losses and continuing as normal. Gnome society generally saw the new world as an interesting challenge to be overcome rather than the destruction of their way of life.
With the seclusion of the High and Wood Elves to their respective homes after the Cataclysm, many Half-Elves had a unique choice of having to choose between joining their Elven brethren or remaining outside among the other races of Orrys. Those that chose to stay in Elven settlements would find themselves living an easier live but treated as second-class citizens, while those among the other races have tended to gravitate towards positions of leadership in whatever communities they find themselves in.
Though traditionally ostracized from society before the Cataclysm, the physical prowess of the Half-Orcs has become a commodity in modern Orrys. Now sought-after as guards, hunters, and rangers, Half-Orcs’ innate aptitude toward wilderness survival has forced their neighbours to overlook their old prejudices. Some Half-Orcs have banded together banded together into nomadic tribes that protect wide swathes of wilderness, able to tame wild horses to aid them in guarding the plains of Orrys from marauders and trespassers.
The Tieflings of Orrys have a very long history. They are the heirs of the ancient and decadent human empire of Turath, which once spanned most of Orrys and lands beyond. Over a thousand years ago, the Turathi noble houses made pacts with devils from the Nine Hells in an efforts to expand their power further, which left them permanently changed into a semi-fiendish appearance, bearing horns, tails, and skin color that ranges from light grey, to pale white, to deep red. The Turathi empire eventually crumbled and its survivors lost their lust for power, but they remained branded by the other races of Orrys as criminals and degenerates. Most have traditionally treated them suspicion and fear, if not outright hostility. Not much has changed since the Cataclysm, as some believe that Tieflings loyal to the old Turathi empire summoned the falling star either as retribution for their ancient defeat, or as some part of a scheme to seize power again. However, many Tieflings only wish to survive, and are willing to work alongside others if they are willing to accept them.