Tales of the Ruddy Spirits Taproom
The Human Cultures of Estodia
Humans are the foundation and cornerstone of the Great Kingdom of Estodia. They come from all regions and lands to meld their cultures and beliefs into a single great kingdom. Their diversity is their strength and their true culture. The humans of Estodia represent a number of distinct sub-cultures, each with their own unique fashions and characteristics.
Humans can fill any role and work in any profession. Some are known for their art and poetry while others are common laborers. They are brave knights, sly rogues, and brilliant wizards. In reality, humans can and do get involved in a all manner of exploits throughout the kingdom.
Great Kingdom of Estodia
The largest region in the great kingdom is also home to the current capitol of Estodia. The Estodians have a long, rich history that is said to stretch back to the time of the ancients. Once ruled by kings who grew their kingdom through conquest and war with their neighbors, they are now governed by a high king that is attended by a council of advisors. Many from Estad still believe in their superiority, maintaining a certain aloof formality over the other cultures in the kingdom. The Great Kingdom of Estodia has adopted many of the religious and cultural customs of those they have conquered. As such, there are often any number of holidays, festivals or celebrations going on each month in Estad.
Estodians are quite diverse in their appearance, but commonly have blond to brown hair and any normal eye color. They also wear a very diverse style of clothing from simple garments to very colorful, fancy clothing. The current style of the wealthy is dark, often black, dress suits. When really dressing up they will add black gloves, a cane, and either a top hat or bowler hat. Estodian, also known as the common tongue, is the primary dialect of Estad and the kingdom.
The Krishen Highlands is an hilly area of steppes, mountains and plateaus to the far north west. The people here were once strong fighters that held their lands for centuries before they finally fell to the kingdom. They survived so long because of their familiarity with the land and their unconventional tactics of fighting in small clans. Even today the Krish carry a reputation of being brutal fighters. Likewise they are still very possessive of their lands and will fight to the death to protect what they consider to be theirs. There are even rumors of some clans of the Krish that still live in the back country of the highlands.
The Krish are large and stocky, often with brown hair, but occasionally a few have darker hair or in some cases a lighter orange hair. They wear simple clothing, but almost always carry a weapon regardless of the situation. For formal occasions, they will proudly wear their clan kilt and colors. Due to their large intimidating frame, the make excellent guards and soldiers. They also continue to have strong clan ties and the clans will gather annually for athletic contests of strength and speed. They are also the only human clan in the kingdom that still practice the skills of harnessing their rage as a warrior. Krish is the primary dialect of the region.
Krish characters might consider selecting the Heart of the Wilderness human racial options in the Advanced Players Guide. They are also the main culture of humans in the empire that might favor the Barbarian class culturally.
The region of Stromburg is heavily forested territory settled among low hills to the west. The people are hard working but also jovial, often credited for the creation of several rich alcoholic beverages. They often gather in the local brewhaus after a long day of work. The region is also well known for its annual fall festival in which Brewmasters showcase their best brews of the season. Crowds gather from far and wide to the larger towns to enjoy a week of feasting, dancing, and of course drinking.
The people of Stromburg are a stocky lot, typically with dark hair and rough, square facial features. They dress in fairly basic clothing, but the men can often be recognized by their suspenders and short peaked hats. Women wear simple dresses and often braid their hair down their back. Stromburg has two main dialects, the more common Stromban as well as the northern dialect of Vladik. (Vladik was an old kingdom that was conquered centuries ago before Stromburg was taken by the Great Kingdom. The Vladik kingdom once lay along the mountains near the mountain holds of the dwarves.)
Lands of the East
Empire of Vestan
The Vestans trace their roots back to an ancient kingdom and an even older culture. They have a reputation to be fast allies and dangerous enemies. They have a friendly nature and are well known for their passions, both in love and in combat. While often not spoken to their face, they are also known for their hot tempers and quick decisions (not always for the best). The region of Vestan lies along the coast, but also reaches deep into the continent just east of Estad. There are plains, forests, and hills, offering a wide variety of land in the region.
Citizens of Vestan have black hair and caramel skin. They wear colorful clothing that varies from territory to territory within Vestan. The people celebrate life with a number of festivals (both secular and religious) throughout the year, but the also honor death and the spirits of their ancestors taking time in the early winter to remember and honor there dead. Many outsiders refer to this period as the Festival of the Dead. Considering its size, Vestan has a number of dialects. The most common is Vestan, but other dialects include Ilotan, Potilian, and Marean (all of which are dialects from conquered lands).
Hiellas is a small region in the badlands. Most of the citizens were once nomads that hid in the twisting caves of the area to avoid surface predators and aberrations that roam the bad lands. While they excel at survival, they tend to be mistrusting loners, even to the point of paranoid avoidance of any outsiders.
Hiellians have dark hair, often black, but occasionally with hues of dark blue or purple. They have pale skin and pale eyes, commonly blue or grey. Even though they now live in small villages along the borders, they still tend to wear greys that would blend into the badlands. Hiellians is the primary dialect of the region.
North Eastern Tribes
The north eastern tribes were technically conquered by the Vestan Empire, but the empire has never had a firm governance of them. Many of the north eastern tribes still live deep in the north eastern plains or deserts and do not consider themselves part of the empire.
The Olla are a number of plains and eastern desert tribes. They are dark skinned and many still roam the plains hunting wild game and surviving in the harsh environments. However, the majority have settled in small tribal villages and follow their own unique customs. Even with the majority still out on the plains, there are a few that live in the empire either descended from conquered prisoners or just to move away from their tribal existence. In the larger cities, most find jobs as laborers, but a few rise above and enter the scholarly arts. Even with their tribal heritage, the Olla are probably the most resilient and resourceful of all humans and can fill almost any role.
The Olla have dark skin from chocolate to ebony black. The tend to keep short cropped hair and dark eyes. Their dress will either reflect the style of their tribe or the city in which they were raised. Based on their heritage they tend to disdain swords and prefer to rely on spears. They also tend to be superstitious of magic in general.
Olla characters gain +2 on all Survival skill checks. The Olla language varies from tribe to tribe, but the base language is typically referred to as Ollan.
The Sihr are a nomadic desert people that live along and in the north eastern deserts. While there are a number of towns, usually along the coast, there are also uncounted nomads that live and traverse the great desert. The Sihr are an independent people with a fiery disposition. Though they are officially part of the empire, they do not consider them self ruled by the empire. They tend to make great traders and can procure just about anything that is in demand. As such they tend to most commonly be merchants and mercenaries.
The Sihr have tanned skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. They dress is light colored clothing that tends to billow at the cuffs. They also have a twisted cloth that covers their head and face to keep the sun and sand from their mouth and nose. They also tend to favor curved swords and dirks.
Sihr characters gain +2 on all Survival and Ride skill checks, but have a -2 on all Diplomacy skill checks against everyone except other Sihr. The Sihr speak a unique dialect simply called Sihrian.
The Far West, Beyond the Mountains
Across the great mountains to the west lies a foreign land of riches and wealth. Their culture is strange and ancient. Many rumors have come out these lands of strange deamons and powerful dragons. In recent years a few sea trade routes have been established bringing silks, spices, and other unique goods to the great kingdom, but a trade route across the mountains has yet to be found. However these trade routes are constantly under threat of attack from the Joon-Ho a savage band of nomads and pirates that call the mountains and far western lowlands home.
The Joon-Ho are more a people than a kingdom or region. They are nomadic and live in the mountains and lowlands between the dwarven holds and the Zhan-Yi region to the east. They are known for their brutal savagery and often attack trade traders that pass through their region. They live in large tent-like yurts in family groups that make up a larger clan. They are often expert horsemen and excellent marksmen from horseback. Rarely does a Joon-Ho leave his family or clan and very few have ever been seen in the great kingdom.
Joon-Ho wear rough clothing, often made of leather, hide or furs. They have dark hair and deeply tanned, well weathered skin. They have dark, tilted eyes and the men often wear long facial hair around the mouth and chin, but not on the cheeks and jawline.
Joon-Ho characters are extremely rare and must have GM approval. They are not appropriate for the current campaign. Joon-Ho characters gain +5 to Handle Animal and Ride skill checks, but also have a -5 on all Diplomacy and Sense Motive skill checks against everyone except other Joon-Ho. The Joon-Ho speak a rare dialect that is difficult to learn by outsiders called Hodin.
The region of Zhan-Yi lies along the edge of Far Western Lands. It is part of a larger area with an ancient culture based on honor and excellence. They have beautiful works of art, graceful dance, and deadly martial arts. There is rumor that the Zhan-Yi claim to be descended from the dragon in their ancient past. While not much of their culture is known within the kingdom, it is still respected and revered within the empire, making the goods that come from the west highly sought after and very expensive. The Zhan-Yi currently have established trade routes that bring silks, spices, rare precious stones, and exquisite works of art into the kingdom. All of these goods are very highly priced within the kingdom and hard to come by.
The Zhan-Yi have fine features and pale skin. They tilted eyes that tend to be dark, but can have a wide range of colors. Their hair is dark, but fades to grey, silver, ore even pure white with age, which is a sign of prestige and honor. In the empire, they wear robes of fine silk and soft shoes. Occasionally they will be accompanied by guards that hide their bodies behind a square scale armor and their faces behind a twisted daemon mask.
Zhan-Yi characters are extremely rare and must have GM approval. They are not appropriate for the current campaign. Zhan-Yi characters gain +2 on all Diplomacy and Sense Motive skill checks against everyone except other Zhan-Yi. They are also the only race that can choose the monk, ninja, and samurai classes. The Zhan-Yi speak the foreign tongue of Yi.