Races and Cultures
Many races make Zarmina their home. The continent’s largest cities are melting pots of many different species and cultures.
Humans are actually not native to Zarmina, having emigrated from the continent of Sarlona thousands of years ago. However, since then they have come to dominate the continent, both in numbers and power. Humans founded the Five Nations, and most of them still live in those areas. The largest human populations are in Aundair, Breland, Karrnath, the Lhazaar Principalities, and Thrane.
The Kingdom of Galifar spread across the areas now known as Aundair, Breland, Karrnath, Cyre/Mournland, and Thrane collectively known today as the Five Nations. The breakdown of the Kingdom of Galifar was in fact what started the Last War.
Dwarves are native to the Mror Holds. The largest dwarven settlements are there, but they can be found throughout the continent. Strong familial and clan ties are the core of Dwarf society. Aside from being expert craftsmen and artisians, dwarves are also the financial experts of Zarmina, using the wealth of their mines as collateral for a successful banking system as administered by House Kundarak. The dwarves of Zarmina have mastered the art of corporate warfare and use it far more than bloodshed to meet their goals.
Elves are not native to Zarmina. There are three distinct cultural groups of elves that can be found on Zarmina:
The Aerenal elves come from the island subcontinent of the same name. There are no large settlements of Aerenal elves in Zarmina, but they can be found in nearly every major city.
The Valenar elves, or Tairnadal, have their home in the nation of Valenar. Valenar used to be a part of Cyre, but it was conquered by elven mercenaries during the Last War.
The members of the elven Dragonmarked Houses (Phiarlan and Thuranni) can be found throughout the continent, especially in cities that have Phiarlan or Thuranni enclaves.
Gnomes are native to Zilargo, and can be found throughout the continent. While typically friendly and charming, gnomes are also prone to engaging in deception and enjoy ‘games’ of intrigue. The scale of these games can be great or small, from discovering gossip about a fellow townsman to trafficking in state secrets. However, the other races tend to underestimate gnomes with their friendly ways and small stature. Above all, gnomes are an extremely social folk who work hard to keep their families and society intact. To that end, the gnomish House Sivis works in diplomacy and communications, helping to keep the greater society of Zarmina intact. From the smallest family and circle of friends to national treaties and major corporate contracts, House Sivis members work very hard to keep the continent connected.
Goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears once ruled most of Zarmina, before human settlement. Though only ruins remain of most of their empire, some are attempting to rebuild it in Darguun. Much like Valenar, Darguun was once part of Cyre, before it was captured by hobgoblin mercenaries in the Last War. Many goblinoids can also be found in the nation of Droaam. Goblins exist as an impoverished underclass in many human cities. Also, hobgoblins and bugbears employed as mercenaries by House Deneith are common in conflict across the continent.
Half-elves are common in Zarmina as a distinct race, called the Zarminar. Most are descendents of elves who came to the continent with the elven Dragonmarked Houses. Many Zarminar are associated with the half-elven Houses, Medani and Lyrandar. Due to their association with House Lyrandar, Zarminar can be found nearly everywhere in Zarmina.
Half-elves who are the children of human/elf couples are far less common, but they can be found in places with large human and elven populations.
Halflings are native to the Talenta Plains. The halflings that live there have a very traditional, nomadic, tribal lifestyle. Halflings who have migrated to large cities tend to be more cosmopolitan and human-like culturally.
Orcs and Half-Orcs
Orcs and their progeny, the half-orcs, have inhabited the western part of Zarmina for millennia. They can be found throughout the regions there, primarily in the Shadow Marches, the Demon Wastes, and Droaam.