Human Society and Economy
Much has changed since the Two Moons War in the late-500s. The "supply state," feudalty and rule by House came to an end as the two nations merged to survive the horrific aftermath of the Howl, Feratu, Rakshasa and Orc devastation. A new nation emerged, appropriately named Anselini, which means "new start."
In this new society, humans of Anselini has organized into a Republic and more closely as a capitalistic economy. This has come with its good and its bad. Increase in wealth has spread to many in ways that did not exist prior; however, thieving and corruption exist in quantities never seen before.
Guilds and organizations have grown in membership and power. Engineering has enhanced a lot over the last century. This may be recognized best by the miraculous achievement in Epidina Gate, where a dam and artificial tributary has been built to help regulate the inflow to the lake into the Brightrock River and managing water storage and irrigation. While this is a great feat, one must not confuse engineering advancements as a movement for technological replacement for magic. Religion and sorcery are still well-established practices which are used to aid in these contruction efforts. In fact without them, the dam would like never have been built at all.
A significant change in the criminal system has taken place among the humans during the last century. While banishment or work-service used to be common punishments, the move from tribalism forced a change in the judicial system. There are now Courts of Law, which are still quite theocratic. However, since a few extreme cases of exiling backfired as the outcasts joined an enemy-cause, a jailing process has been established. There still is a minor practice of indentured servitude for payments of debt, but slavery is still a forbidden practice.
The dwarves are an old race, predating man. Dwarves have very specific gender-based in their society.
A male has potentially three names. First is his given name. Next is the family or clan name. And finally is his warrior society name. However, not every dwarf will belong to a warrior society, but the majority do as it is a high honor among dwarves. Thus, Henack Beard-Maul would be from the Beard clan and a member of the Maul Warriors. However, if this same person had not joined a warrior class, then he would be known as Henack of the Beard Clan.
A title may be a prefix to a dwarf's name, but titles are simple in the dwarven society. One is either a Brethern, an Elder or holds a title of nobility, such as Prince or King. Every dwarf who belongs to a warrior class may be referred to as a Brethern. Those who have earned the title of Elder are those who have performed respected heroic deeds. Nobile titles are King, Queen, Prince and Lady; these are reserved for members in the direct lineage of the throne.
Dwarven women will usually remain with their mother's clan for their entire lives. Women are far from cloistered however. Dwarven men are often called the hands of the dwarves while the women are the feet. Women usually ontrol the finances and politics of their family. Women are commonly the most public face of dwarven society to other races, as they serve as traders, diplomats and craftswomen. Many renowned dwarven families have their matriarch represent them in the seat of the dwarven royal council. However, when war occurs, most women lose the weight of their voice among the council.
Young dwarves are raised by their mother and her extended family who live together in large clan holdings along with any husbands present. The biological father is commonly distant, being away on a military campaign or working in the mines. Yet it is a tenet of dwarven culture for the men to place a great deal of importance on being able to spend time with their children when they are not engaged with other activities. However, a male does not typically have authority as to how his children are raised.
Dwarves have darkvision, allowing them to see in the total darkness, but only to a range of about thirty feet with any percision. Because of this, the dwarves have exploited bluemoss, a flowerless plant that glows with a subtle blue luminescence, which does not interfere with darkvision. Strategic placement and planting of bluemoss allows for long-range vision in the underground settings of dwarven societies. It also provides reasonable comfort to surface-dwellers who visit these subterranean settings.
Elves have the reputation of being xenophobic. While some of that is probably deserved, there is much that is misunderstood about the sylvan race.
An elf is raised to be self-sufficent. This can be perceived as self-serving, even chaotic, by those not familiar with the culture, but elves truly have great compassion for others. However, a core principle of the elfin way is to rely on oneself and never turn to begging for survival. That said, it is equally important to assist those who do need help. That said; it an elf learns that the help that is being offered is taken under false pretenses, then future help will cease and possibly recouped in some circumstances.
Based on this philosophy, elves often give themselves titles to indicate the persons personally included in an elf's circle of responsibility. As all elves are self-sufficient, when one expands his or her compentency, a larger group becomes treated with the same regard as oneself. Thus, titles which would roughly translate to "Head of House" or "Leader of Village" are proclaimed, and they do sound elegant in the elfish language. With elves, a title works differently than how humans think of them. In human terms, a title is often associated with authority and rule over subjects. In elfin terms, a title is about the group who the self-titled person chooses to serve and protect.
The elves live mostly in forests. The architecture takes advantage of the trees, using larger ones as columns from which to build the construction of the community. When entering an area where several elves live, one will find wooden ladders leading upwards and staircases encircling sequoyia-sized trunks which make for passageways to gazebo-styled buildings in the trees. Rope and solid bridges connect these various tree rooms. As there are larger population in an area the more expansive and higher in altitude these connected tree buildings become. Some buildings exist on the ground as well, but the defensive strategy of an elfin community is to be able to retreat upwards, pull ladders and barricade stairs, then fire arrows and possibly ballistae upon the enemy.
The Orc Nation
Centuries ago, the orcs lived in clans and their culture was primarily built on the concept that "might makes right" and tribalism. However, over time, unification began to occur, and several clans joined together to create a larger imperialist civilization under the rule of a single Grand Chief. War-chiefs rule over geographic territories and have absolute powers in his or her province, but can be replaced by appointment of the Grand Chief or by "Mak'gora," a Death Challenge.
While rites of combat were a large part of social order, there also began to develop a second tier of distinction known as achieving success in an honorable way. What honor means to orcs is based on their ways and may not always seem to fit the definition to other races. Lying and cheating are definitely dishonorable behaviors to orcs; however, domination is highly revered, making "sportsmanship" not always common ground as perceived those outside the Orc Nation.
For the rank-and-file orc, the way of the warrior is the conviction. A true warrior fights to the death and would rather be killed than taken hostage. Being captured brings dishonor on himself and his family. Warriors and their families are responsible for each other's actions. In the traditional sense, orcs hold strength and honor above life. Often those of lower station consider it a duty to kill off a superior who is perceived as weak.
Marriage partners are chosen by the males during Run of the Flowers Festival in the springtime. Being selected to marry, does not denote submission for sexuality. Orcish mating rituals involve domination and combative attitudes. As a result, the wedding night can be rather combative, partly do to resistance but also due to eroticism. However, sexual relations are not exclusive to marriage in orc culture. Career consorts, known as "Gruiuk," are available for recreational sexual congress; however, even these relationships are consensual rather than open prostitution. Further, the number of dedicated sexual partners is limited to no more than three partners; otherwise, it is considered lecherous and dishonorable. As for cultural expressions, when an orc bites someone, it indicates they desire to mate. Thus, a non-orc biting an orc in actual battle is rarely perceived well.
Due to their eyesight, orcs build into the ground and use coverings as part of their architecture. Orc cities are known as "Holes." Builders attempt to use natural caves, grottoes and other terrain that provides shade. Even though needing to protect their eyes, orcs do not have a desire to live subterranean. There are too many surface opportunties which can be conquered and converted to their trends.