02 - Race and Culture

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            While there are eleven distinct races and fourteen recognized cultures around the Sea of Tears, only a limited number are commonly found in the northern reaches of the Kingdom of Aetaltis. One is far more likely to encounter an atlan, drothmal, elliya, loriya, or tsverg in this frontier land than any other. Race, however, does not tell the complete story. Any such people encountered are more likely to be from the aetaltan, elori, icewalker, or malderg cultures than any other. This cultural heritage refines their appearance, mannerisms, and outlook beyond the physical nature of their race.

            In game terms, Racial Templates define a base set of characteristics and powers that are generally physiological in nature and possessed by all members of the race.  Cultural Templates define the skills all members of the culture learn while coming of age, as well as a list of Complications, Perquisites, and Talents many members of the culture often acquire.


           Choose one Racial Template to begin the character creation process. Each Template has abilities that result in a Total Cost of 20 Character Points. Each race tends to favor certain character types more than others based on these abilities.

            Atlan are ideal for any pursuit and represent the largest racial population.

            Drothmal favor physical pursuits and excel at those where their inherent strength and toughness is an advantage, although drothmal rogues and mages are not uncommon.

Character Creation Steps

1. Grab a blank Character Sheet

2. Choose a Racial and Cultural Template (20 points)

3. Choose an Archetype (25 points)

4. Choose a Disposition (15 points)

5. Choose a Background (10 points)

6. Choose Characteristic Sets (5 Sets; 50 points)

7. Choose additional Abilities (Skills, Talents, or Perks; 30 points)

8. Choose 50 points of Matching Complications

9. Purchase Equipment with 250 SP

The Nine Races

            Some Narosian scholars argue that there are only nine races in the Sea of Tears basin. They believe that it is incorrect to differentiate the elliya, loriya, and faelariya as distinct races since they are all elori. Some scholars even want to consider the tsaals and tsvergs subtypes of the tsvergaal race reducing the number of races to eight. While these arguments have merit, all races presented here are given their own entries.


Character Sheet Notes

            The easiest way to record Racial and Cultural Templates is to note in the abilities in the Powers and Equipment section on the second page of the Character Sheet. Then make a note of any Characteristic modifiers next to the Characteristics on the first page of the Character Sheet. If the Racial Template includes any special Movement Powers or Enhanced Senses, record them in the Movement and Senses blocks of the first page as well.

           Elliya are well adapted to nearly any pursuit, although they generally avoid heavy combat.

            Loriya tend to favor roguish pursuits, or anything where their unique abilities can be of value, including magic.

            Tsvergs tend to favor physical pursuits that rely on endurance rather than agility or speed.

            Some of the Templates include Complications. These Racial Complications are part of the Matching Complications required as part of Character Creation. They are not optional, as all members of the race in question bear the Complication equally.


           The atlan are an adaptable race with an insatiable drive to explore, discover, and investigate. They need to know why things work as they do and once they know they feel that it is their responsibility to try to improve on what they’ve discovered. This has led them to make many great discoveries but also caused a fair amount of trouble.

Appearance: The atlan are physically identical to the humans of Earth, including a significant range of skin colors, height, and general physical features. There is no social distinction based on appearance.

Height: 1.75m (5' 9")

Weight: 75kg (165 lbs)

Hair Color: Blond, red, brown, black

Eye Color: Blue, gray, green, brown

Skin Color: White to black


Cost      Ability

20         Adaptability: Choose 1 of the following options

            - Capable: choose 1 additional Characteristic Set plus 1 Background

            - Diverse Background: choose 2 additional Backgrounds

            - Diverse Training: choose 1 additional Disposition plus 5 points of additional Abilities

            - Flexible: choose 1 additional Characteristic Set plus 10 points of additional Abilities

            - Multi-talented: choose 20 points of additional Abilities

            - Paragon: choose 2 additional Characteristic Sets

Total Cost of Template Abilities: 20


            The drothmal are a race of powerful warriors that live and die by the sword. They maintain a strict code of honor and revel in hardship and trial. Drothmal see the challenges they face as the blessings of the god Droth. They will fight to the death for their companions and will confront any enemy no matter what the odds. 

            Appearance: Drothmal have flat faces, wide noses, heavy brows, and small ears that lie close to their heads. Drothmalen head hair is thick but most shave it to a topknot. This exposes the intricate patterns of spots that mark their skin from their foreheads down to the smalls of their backs. Additionally, drothmal exhibit a relative sameness in appearance compared to the amount of individual variety common in many other races.

                Height: 2.3m (7' 6”)

Weight: 150kg (330 lbs)

Hair Color: Black

Eye Color: Blue to gray

Skin Color: White to tan



Cost      Ability

5          +5 STR

-4         -2 DEX

3          +3 CON

-1         -1 INT

-2         -2 PRE

2          +2 PD

2          +2 ED

2          +2 REC

-1         -1 EREC

1          +5 END

2          +2 BODY

1          +2 STUN

2          Altitude Acclimation: LS (Expanded Breathing; Thin Air)

1          Dauntless: +4 PRE, Only To Resist Fear/Intimidation (-2)

-1         Drothmal Lifespan: 50 years

-1         Drothmal Metabolism: Eat/breathe/excrete 2x normal

2          Drothmal Will: +1 with EGO Roll

2          Heavy: Knockback Resistance -2m

1          Imposing Presence: +1/+1d6 Striking Appearance (vs. non-drothmal), Fear/Intimidation Only (-1)

1          Brutish Barbarian: +1/+1d6 Striking Appearance (when Negative Reputation is triggered), Fear/Intimidation Only (-1)

2          Long Stride: +2m Running

1          Survivor: LS (Safe in Terrestrial Cold (-3 Levels))

Total Cost of Template Abilities: 20


Value    Complications

10         Negative Reputation: Brutish Barbarians (Infrequently, Extreme)

Total Value Of Template Complications: 10


            Of all the races of Narosia, the Elori are the most closely tied to the power of magic. Every aspect of their existence is shaped by essence, from their view of life and death to the things that bring them happiness. Using essence is as natural to them as breathing and they remain a wonder, even among narosians. Once the rulers the entire Sea of Tears, today they live a simple existence, hidden away in deep forest glens and high mountain valleys. The elori race is endlessly varied, and they are found in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes. The most common forms, however, are the elliya, faelariya, and loriya, forms that are often considered separate races.

            Players must choose to be either Elliya or Loriya when choosing to be one of the Elori. 


            All elori exhibit at least one trait, demonstrating their continued bond with essence. While most do not possess more than one trait, some elder elori have developed all of them. Many of these traits change the appearance of the individual in very distinctive ways. Such Distinctive Features are considered Complications that are included in the character's total Matching Complications.

Cost    Power                                       

5          Beast-Kin:  +10 PRE; With Animals Only (-1)

            Distinctive Feature: Wild hair, cat's eyes


5          Essence Purity:  Power Defense 6 (Mystic Defense; +0); Against Sarkus, Dark Essence, And Fear Effects Only (-1/2) plus Life Support (Increased Longevity to 800 years)

            Note: This is visible in the character’s aura but is otherwise undetectable.


5          Essence Sight:  As Talent.

            Note: Elori can see into the essential plane, perceiving invisible objects, spirits, and essence auras.           

            Distinctive Feature: Golden irises


5          Hart's Blood:  +3m Leaping, Accurate Leaping; Accurate Leaping requires DEX or Acrobatics roll to land on any space smaller than 1m (-1/2) 1

            Distinctive Feature: Nub-horns on forhead


5          Keen Ears:  Targeting Hearing; Requires A Roll (PER roll at -2; -1)

            Note: The character’s ears are slightly longer and more defined than usual, but this is not significant enough to be considered a Distinctive Feature.


5          Moon-KinInvisibility to Sight Group, Concentration (1/2 DCV, requires concentration throughout; -1/2), Extra Time (Half Phase to Maintain; -1/4), Increased END (END x2; -1/2), Lockout (Any powers or abilities requiring the character's voice; -1/2), Must Hold Breath (-1/2), Requires A Roll (CON roll at -2, Only if defending or expending END or ESS other than this power; -1/2)           4 END

            Distinctive Feature: Gray and black streaked hair, dark eyes


5          Sun-Kin: Hearing Group and Normal Sight Images, Persistent (+1/4), Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2); No Range (-1/2), Always On (-1/2), Personal Images & Sounds Only (-1/2), Linked To Emotional State (EGO -1 roll to override; -1/2), Extra Time (Half Phase to Change, -1/4)            0 END

            Note: Sun-kin do not care if their illusions look real, in fact they often prefer that they look unreal.

            Distinctive Feature: Glamor always on, but may be subtle

5          Tree-Kin: Lightsleep, Forests Only (-1) plus Environmental Movement: Forest Running

            Distinctive Feature: Greenish hair & skin, green eyes


Value    Complications

5          Distinctive Feature: Concealable (Noticed and Recognizable, Not Distinctive In Some Cultures)

            Note: A character with three or more Distinctive Features should drop the Not Distinctive In Some Cultures aspect of the Complication, increasing the value of this Complication by +5 Character Points. Such characters are distinctive in any culture, even among the Elori.

Total Value Of Complications: 5


            The beauty and magic of the elliya have inspired countless legends, poems, and songs among the non-elori of the Sea of Tears basin. One of three easily recognized types of elori, the elliya typically remain isolated in their hidden glades, venturing out into the greater world only when something of great importance forces them to do so. This has created an air of mystery about them that sets them apart from the other people of Narosia.

Appearance: Elliya have thin, graceful physiques and their movements are fluid and measured. They have high cheekbones, almond shaped eyes, and ears that come to a point at the top. Their hair is like spun silk and their skin is as smooth and clear as a babe’s. They traditionally wear their hair long and out, although they may wear it back or braided if necessity requires it. Elliya do not have any appreciable body or facial hair.

Height: 1.65m (5' 6")

Weight: 55kg (120 lbs)

Hair Color: Blond to white to silvery

Eye Color: Blue to grey

Skin Color: White to pale tan



Cost      Ability

-2         -2 STR

2          +1 DEX

1          +1 INT

2          +2 ESS

-1         -1 BODY

4          Elegant:  +2/+2d6 Striking Appearance (vs. all characters except other Elori)

5          Elori:  Choose 1 Eloren Trait

2          Elliya Metabolism:  LS  (Longevity: 400 Years)

-2         Elliya Metabolism:  Half REC for BODY Only

3          Elliya Senses:  +1 PER with all Sense Groups

3          Long Legs:  +2m Running plus +1m Leaping

3          Moonvision:  Nightvision; Requires Moonlight (Clouds/Shadows can obscure; -1/2)

Total Cost of Template Abilities: 20 


            Loriya are as wild as the wind and twice as changeable. Their emotions run close to the surface and they are driven by their passions. Loriya favor the Beast-Kin eloren trait and as a result many believe all loriya have a natural affinity with wild creatures and are adept at handling animals of all kinds.

Appearance: Loriya are often mistaken for elliyen children by those who don't know the elori well. The main difference is a slightly more mature appearance to the face, but even this is subtle and easily missed. Loriyen skin, hair, and eye color reflect the environment they were born in. For instance, those born in the forest might have deep green hair and brown skin while those born in the mountains could have slate gray skin and white hair. Loriyen males can grow facial hair, unlike most other elori, and it is often quite wild.

Height: 1.3m (4’ 3”)

Weight: 30kg (65 lbs)

Hair Color: Any

Eye Color: Any

Skin Color: Any



Cost      Ability

-5         -5 STR

6          +3 DEX

-2         -2 BODY

2          Elfin:  +1/+1d6 Striking Appearance (vs. all characters except other Elori)

5                      Elori: Choose 1 Eloren Trait

1          Loriya Metabolism:  LS  (Eat/Breath/Excrete 1/2 normal)

2          Loriya Metabolism:  LS  (Longevity: 400 Years)

-2         Loriya Metabolism:  Half REC for BODY Only

1          Loriya Senses:  +1 PER with Normal Hearing

2          Loriya Senses:  +2 with all Senses; Deception Only (Images, Illusions, Disguise, Concealment; -2)

5          Loriya Sized: +1 DCV, Size Modifier (1.3m, 30kg; +0)                    

2          Loriya Sized:  +1 with Stealth and Concealment; Size Modifier (-1/2)

3          Moonvision:  Nightvision; Requires Moonlight (Clouds/Shadows can obscure; -1/2)

Total Cost of Template Abilities: 20


Value    Complications

5          Physical Complication: Child-sized (Infrequently, Barely Impairing)

            Note: Loriyen clothing and armor is half normal mass but full price.

Total Value Of Template Complications: 5


            The stern exteriors of the tsvergs mask hearts that burn as hot as a blacksmith's forge. A history of hardship and betrayal has made them tough, wary, and practical, but when their passions are aroused tsvergs act on pure emotion.

Appearance: Tsvergs have barrel chests, thick limbs, and broad faces. They are physically strong and have remarkable resistance to pain, disease, and other hardships. Men and women wear their hair long and men grow long beards. Both sexes style their hair with intricate braids, the designs of which are representative of their clan affiliation. Tsvergic clothing is nondescript and utilitarian, normally dyed in deep earth tones.

Height: 1.4m (4' 6")

Weight: 60kg (135 lbs.)

Hair Color: Black, brown, or red

Eye Color: Gray to brown

Skin Color: Tan to white



Cost      Ability

-4         -2 DEX

3          +3 CON

-2         -2 PRE

1          +1 PD

1          +1 ED

2          +2 REC

-1         -1 EREC

2          +10 END

2          +2 BODY

1          +2 STUN

-4         Short Legs:  -3m Running plus -1m Leaping

5          Short and Stocky: +1 DCV, Size Modifier (1.4m tall; +0)

2          Tsvergic Longevity: Life Support (Longevity: lifespan of up to 400 years)

3          Low-light Vision: Nightvision, Does Not Work In Total Darkness (-1/2)

2          Enhanced Healing: Regeneration (1 BODY per Week)

3          Hardy Constitution: +8 CON, Poison and Disease Only (-1 1/2)

2          Temperature Resistance: LS  (Safe in Terrestrial Heat/Cold (-2 Levels to +4 Levels))

Total Cost of Template Abilities: 20


Value    Complications

5          Physical Complication: Short (Infrequently, Barely Impairing)

5          Negative Reputation: Dour and Taciturn (Infrequently)

Total Value Of Template Complications: 10


            Every character must have a Cultural Template. This Template represents the culture he grew up in and the impact of that culture on his early life and personality. It is a part of who he is, regardless of how he chooses to act or what other cultures he adopts later in life.

            While it is possible to mix and match races and cultures in Narosia, the five most common found in the northern Free Provinces tend to originate with specific cultures as outlined below.

            Aetaltan tend to be atlan, although tsverg and drothmal have adopted this culture as well, as have a few independent Elori. This is the dominant culture of the Kingdom of Aetaltis.

            Icewalkers are always drothmal.

            Elori are very insular and only allow elori into the culture.

            Malderg tend to be tsvergic, although any atlan of Malador will likely be of this culture as well.

            Each Template may include Cultural Complications. These Complications are mandatory and often reflect how other people not of the culture perceive a member of the culture. Additionally, the culturally stereotypical Complications common to members of the cutlure can be found in Chapter 8 Complications. All applicable Complications are part of the Matching Complications required as part of Character Creation.


            The aetaltan culture is the descendant of the once grand society of the Aetaltan Empire. It is defined by its noble ideal of equal rights for all citizens and its never satisfied drive to expand. Its art, music, and architecture harkens back to the lost glory of the empire.

            Appearance: Broad flowing lines and bright colors are heavily used in aetaltan clothing although patterns are limited to simple geometric forms. Women wear dresses and men wear tunic and trousers, although on formal occasions men wear dignified robes. Women grow their hair long but keep it pinned up with artful ornaments. Men shave daily, regarding excessive facial hair as a sign of barbarism, and keep their hair cut short and close to the head.

            Preferred Government: Constitutional Monarchy

            Language (Dialect): Atlan (High)

            Patron Enaros: Alantra

            Favored Enaros: Phensral

            Values: Land, education, expansion

            Aversions: Ignorance

            Public Opinion: Advanced and enviable but pushy and patronizing



Everyman Skills

Acting 8-

AK: Home City or Locale 8-

AK: Pendroth Peninsula or Agthorian Plain 8-

Climbing 8-

Concealment 8-

Conversation 8-

CuK: Aetaltan (INT Roll)

Deduction 8-

Healing 8-

KS: Enarosian Religion 8-

Language: Atlan (atlan is native)

Language: Literate (atlan)

Persuasion 8-

Professional Skill: Job, Hobby, etc.11-       

Shadowing 8-

Stealth 8-

TF: Choose any one of Equines, Carts and Carriages, Rowed Boats, or Wind-Powered Boats

Choose one of Animal Handler, Bureaucratics, High Society, or Streetwise 8-

Total Cost of Template Abilities: 0


Value    Cultural Complications

5          Negative Reputation: Domineering (Infrequently)

Total Value Of Cultural Complications: 5



            The elegant elori culture has remained relatively unchanged since the end of the Age of Magic. It is steeped in ancient traditions and represents the inner spirit of the elori races.

            Appearance: Elori wear loose fitting gauzy clothing that flows about them like water. Even in cold climates the styles are the same, although in those lands the cloth is enchanted to protect against the elements. Men and women both grow their hair long and wear it loose. Delicate ornaments crafted in a graceful, natural style are used sparingly but to great effect.

            Preferred Government: Matriarchy

            Language (Dialect): Elori (Pure)

            Patron Enaros: Aelos

            Favored Enaros: Grethken

            Values: Tradition, etiquette, emotional honesty, the natural order

            Aversions: Indiscretion, intrusion, destruction of the natural world

            Public Opinion: Beautiful and interesting but distant and strange



Everyman Skills

Acting 8-

AK: Home City/Locale 8-

AK: Home Region 8-

Attunement (PRE Roll)

Climbing 8-

Concealment 8-

Conversation 8-

CuK: Eloren (INT Roll)

Deduction 8-

Healing 8-

KS: Enarosian Religion 8-

Language: Literate (Elori)

Language: Elori (elori is native)

Persuasion 8-

PS: Job, Hobby, etc. 11- 

Shadowing 8-

Stealth 8-

Choose One of Animal Handler, KS: Nature, SS: Herbalism, Survival 8-

Total Cost of Template Abilities: 0


Value    Cultural Complications

5          Negative Reputation: Failed Custodians (Infrequently)

Total Value Of Cultural Complications: 5



            The hardened individuals scratching out a life from the unforgiving tundra of the Icebound Plain are known as icewalkers. Their culture is one of strength and stoicism. To outsiders it may appear barbaric, but it is a way of life evolved out of necessity to aid in the survival of those living in the frigid northlands.

            Appearance: Icewalkers use heavy hides and thick furs to make their clothing. While the materials may be crude, the clothing is not. Every stitch remains tight and any wear on the clothing receives immediate attention. This gives the icewalkers a sharp, well kept appearance, despite the rough styles and materials used in their attire. Hair for both sexes is shaved to a topknot.

            Preferred Government: Tribal

            Language (Dialect): Drothmal (None)

            Patron Enaros: Droth

            Favored Enaros: None

            Values: Courage, combat skill, strength

            Aversions: Cowardice, weakness

            Public Opinion: Dangerous and uncivilized raiders and barbarians



Everyman Skills

Acting 8-

AK: Home Region 8-

AK: Icebound Plain 8-

Climbing 8-

Concealment 8-

Conversation 8-

CuK: Icewalker (INT Roll)

Deduction 8-

Healing 8-

KS: Enarosian Religion 8-

Language: Drothmal (drothmal is native)

Navigation (INT Roll)

Persuasion 8-

PS: Job, Hobby, etc. 11- 

Stealth 8-

Survival (Arctic/Subarctic) (INT Roll)

Total Cost of Template Abilities: 0


Value    Cultural Complications

15         Psychological Complication: Icebound Code of Honor  (Common, Strong)

            1. Give no curse to suffering

            Never curse pain that is brought upon you. Welcome it. Embrace it. Accept it as Droth's blessing. Show no sorrow for your suffering.

            2. Protect the clan

            Over all other promises, protect the clan with your life.

            3. Bleed your foes

            Give the gift of Droth to your foes by giving them suffering. Do not strike the final blow – leave that honor for Droth. He will know when their suffering is complete.

            4. Fight with honor

            Do not attack an unarmed foe. Do not surrender if you can still fight, but do not throw away your life to avoid the suffering of defeat. Show no mercy, for that is Droth's right alone.

            5. Share the Suffering

            If suffering is brought upon you, return the blessing to those who shared it with you.

5          Physical Complication: Primitive – Cannot Use Complex Machines (Infrequently, Barely)

            Note: This includes multiple sails, geared traps, clockworks, etc.

5          Physical Complication: Rural Uneducated – Non-wilderness Intellect Skills Limited To Familiarity (Infrequently, Barely)

Total Value Of Cultural Complications: 25



            When forced from the Deeplands the tsvergs were forced to make the surface world their new home. This mass exodus from known lands combined with the rejection of the Enaros helped to form malderg culture into one of independent, hard working people with a strongly cooperative spirit.

            Appearance: Maldergs wear plain cut clothing dyed in deep earth tones. They decorate their clothing and hair with steel ornaments forged into dramatic patterns of geometric angles and curves. Hair is grown long among both men and women and then braided. Men all wear beards that they braid as well.

            Preferred Government: Socialist

            Language (Dialect): Tsvergic (Pure)

            Patron Enaros: None

            Favored Enaros: None

            Values: Hard work, equality, cooperation

            Aversions: Laziness, religion

            Public Opinion: Industrious but gruff and opinionated



Everyman Skills

Acting 8-

AK: Home City/Locale 8-

AK: Malador 8-

Climbing 8-

Concealment 8-

Conversation 8-

CuK: Malderg (INT Roll)

Deduction 8-

Healing  8-

SS: Geology 8-

Language: Literate (tsverg)

Language: Tsverg (tsverg is native)

Persuasion 8-

PS: Choose one of Armorsmith, Crafter, Locksmith, Shipwright, Stonemason, Tinker, or Weaponsmith 11-

PS: Interest, Hobby, etc. 8-

Shadowing 8-

Stealth 8-

TF: Choose one of Carts and Carriages, Rowed Boats, or Wind-Powered Boats

Total Cost of Template Abilities: 0