- The Vast is an endless swamp that exists beyond the Bulwark mountains. It is the source of wicked undead, terrible plagues and horrible monsters that prowl the countryside.
- It is considered rude to eat your own food while in mixed company. The Stone People had communal meals, sharing from each other’s hunt and the tradition has been passed on down the generations. Offer your bread to the man on your right, and someone else will offer you their’s.
- When you die, your soul is ripped toward the Vast to be devoured by the Spider-Demon Bazzarag. If you die with a weapon in hand, the cowardly Bazzarag will let you go.
- The Endless Ocean took ten years to cross by King Tybold Theramore and his people. There are other countries to the south of the Barrier Mountains, but they are war torn and suffer from a curse worse than the Vast. Trade is very limited by brave sailors who go south.
Dwarves – Local Dwarves are almost entirely from the Khordalum Clan. They have a strong sense of duty and see it as their destiny to fight back the evil of the Vast. Those that choose to leave the Bulwark almost always take up the path of adventuring. When a dwarf leaves the Bulwark, they will usually cut off their beard and give it to their closest family members, as it is likely they will never be seen again. If a dwarf returns with a beard longer than that he left behind, it is seen as a great honor to the family and earns the returned dwarf considerable prestige among his fellows.
Elves, Dark – Dark elves are rare, descended from the escaped slaves from the Underdark hundreds of years ago. They make their home in the village of Asheborn, which is almost exclusively populated by Dark Elves. They raid the nearby ruined dwarven strongholds, trading valuable ore to Blue Bay. The Dark Elves have a very evolved and complicated system of politics and status. To outsiders, it looks like they are murderous bastards that slaughter each other without reason, but in actuality a complex web of intrigue is being woven beneath the heavy forest canopy.
Elves, Wood – Wood elves are the most common elf in the Valley of Stone, though their tribes tend to stick to the southern forests or high in the mountains. Wood elves are fiercely protective of their forests, and seek to keep the spiritual taint of the Vast from spreading. They have the most number of shamans, druids and rangers. Wood Elves see strength as extremely important, and have the custom of punching each other when they meet. The strength of one’s punch is a symbol of respect for the elf he is punching.
Elves, High – High elves are the least common elf in the Valley. Only a few dozen sailed across the Endless Sea with Tybold Theramore, and only a few others have arrived in the hundreds of years since. Their population is so small, that most humans are shocked when they see one – many believing them to be only legend. The High Elves are actively seeking a way to open a portal to the Sylvan Realm, so that more of their kind can come to the verdant Valley of Stone.
Gnomes – Gnomes are somewhat uncommon in the Valley of Stone. This is due to their destruction at the hands of aberrations with the dwarves. The few that survived did so by fleeing to the surface, meeting with the Stone People and becoming part of their society. Although they are are part of civilization, they yearn to return to the burrows and mountains. Many have since joined with the Dwarves at the Bulwark, and have learned impressive engineering skills from the stone masons. Others play the role as entertainer and illusionist, travelling between villages to earn a few gold to keep a spring in their step and a warm meal in their belly.
Half Elves – Half Elves are sometimes the descendants of man and elf, but more often than not they are spontaneously born, a symbol of unity between the Wood Elves and the Stone People. Half Elves are intensely connected to the land, feeling the spiritual flow of the valley greater than anyone else. More so than any other elf, half elves are called to become adventurers, feeling the drive to seek out evil and stop it from spreading.
Half Orcs – Half orcs first appeared shortly after the first encounters between the Stone People and the Mountain Orcs. It is believed that nature tried to balance the two warring tribes, by making half orcs warriors born to the more weaker humans, and half orc peacemakers born to the orcs. Whenever conflict has become too great, the number of half orcs increases and the two sides usually abruptly end the conflict. Some say that half orcs are a work of an ancient druid, but the rumor is unsubstantiated.
Halflings – Halflings are the most common non-human in the villages and cities of the valley. They are kind, capricious little people who enjoy relaxing, eating a good meal and singing a good song. They can also be deceptive and cruel, when needed. Halflings have existed as part of the Stone People since they were slaves of the Dragon Lords. They escaped the great catastrophe with the Stone People, and have lived among them every since.
Humans – Most humans are descended from the original migrant tribe that became known as the Stone People. Strong bodied, sun-kissed skin and blonde, white or red hair being the most common colors. The whiter skinned, dark haired humans are mostly descended from those that traveled across the Endless Sea with Tybold Theramore.
Basic OOC Info
The cultures of the Valley are mostly early middle ages, with barbarian tribes almost as likely as small villages. The two exceptions to this are the cities of Crestfall and Blue Bay. Most village buildings are made of stone, with thatched roofs. Armor is rare and expensive. The best armor is made by dwarves. Mining is very limited due to the threat of Aberrations from below. In the most rural of areas, coins are not used but instead people are more likely to barter for goods and services.