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A note about language: no racial languages exist on Maroon, save for Dragonborn. Each region of starfolk speaks a local dialect, derived from the original Old Speran the First Folk spoke. Common to Vindulan and the provinces is High Speran, but beyond the wall, community of speech degrades as the distances between cultures increases.
Races may differ from those described in the Player's Handbook.
Halflings & Gnomes
Halfling and gnome are semi-derogatory terms for folk directly descended from or part of a self-named sect called the First Folk or Landers. A minority in Vindulan proper, they live on the outskirts in the south, in the Enclave, where they grow and consume exclusively food which (they claim) is descended from the seeds the colonists brought with them. The First Folk are obsessed with relics of the starfolk, defunct though those artifacts found invariably are, and organize in caravans to go searching for them. Exiled First Folk tend to keep together even outside the Enclave, and their deeply-rooted mores keep them from associating with tallfolk at any level beyond acquaintance. They trade primarily in crafts, especially musical instruments and fine textiles, producing some of the finest instruments to be had inside or outside the Cincture.
- Halflings belong to the Enclave, or have direct connections to it. The PHB Halfling is mechanically unaltered.
- Gnomes are invariably outcast, due to their innate magic. PHB "Rock gnomes" (known as Tinkers) are found in the Old Town and inner provincial holds, while PHB "Forest gnomes" (known as Free Landers) tend to settle in the provinces and in freeholds beyond the Wall. They are mechanically unaltered from the PHB.
- Cultural: The First Folk are extremely short of stature, but their fierce loyalty to what they call “humanity” drives them to continue in their way in the face of the larger folk around them. The laws of the Enclave are drawn around the survival not only of their flesh, but the soul that remains of the folk who came from the stars. The highest law forbids murder and execution of any sort, demanding ostracization and, if necessary, expulsion from the Enclave. Of the offenses worthy of expulsion, chief is the use of magic. A minority of First Folk are sympathetic to exigent circumstances, but they will choose to leave the Enclave rather than fight the upstream current of social mores. (Of special note, bards are a protected and, indeed, respected institution in the Enclave. Their words have profound effect; where mages and clerics are shunned, a bard’s music and skill with words are welcome in any taberna or hall.)
Humans represent the dominant ethnicity in Vindulan, both inside and outside the Cincture. Generations of life on Maroon have changed them, but they are recognizably congruent to their starfaring ancestors.
- Mechanical: Humans are living in a sea of alien biomass, fulfilling their driving passion to explore. Decrease your Constitution score by 1, and increase two other ability scores of your choice by 1. Gain one skill proficiency of your choice, and gain one general feat of your choice.
- Cultural: There is some unified culture amongst the various settlements, but beyond the common calendar and the generally held belief that humanity came from the stars, there as many expressions of life as there are freeholds. Wildy variant natural hair and eye color, as well as birthmarks of all manner, are a common occurrence. Prenatal and infant mortality have decreased commensurately with the recovery of the medical arts, both from the knowledge lost in the cataclysm of the Fall and difficulties adapting to the new ecosystem into which humanity has fallen. The further from the Wall they have settled, however, the greater the odds have stacked against them.
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Elves and Half-Elves
Early in Vindulan's history there are stories of settlers who attempted to strike out on their own, cut off from the nascent settlement by the Fall. Some say they did not die off or succumb to the predation of the new world around them, but instead survived and began to change, generation by generation. They developed pronounced physical differences from humans, such as elongation in ears, legs, and fingers, but there are marked changes also in their brains: a decreased need to sleep and a sensitivity to the "magic" reviled by the First Folks. Elf is the name by which the people of the Cincture most commonly refer to them.
Notable differences have developed among them; those living in the Shadow Hills have taken on a grey pallor, whereas the ones norside have broad birthmarks of wild variety and color on their bodies and a sensitivity to light.
- Mechanical: Elves and Half-Elves, like all mortal races, require sleep, though they need only four hours of it and have resistance to magical sleep effects. If an elf or half elf is affected by the sleep spell or another magical sleep effect, it gets a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the effect happens as normal. On a successful save, the effect is negated, and the target is aware of this. Elves' natural lifespans are longer than humans, but only by about 25 years. Half-Elves live about as long as humans, and instead of darkvision, have a racial feat chosen from elven, human, or Half-Elven racial feats.
- Cultural: "Half-Elf" is a term of stigma in Vindulan. Elven culture ranges from diffidently neutral to openly hostile to Cincture presence, or any disruptive settlement effort, as it upsets the balance they have struck with their adoptive ecology. The most virulent of animosity toward Elves is found among the Red Belt faction of the Council, who tend toward conquest of all starfolk societies under rule of the Cincture.