Black Seas of Infinity
The Human Races of the Wyrd and the World
All of the PC races of 4th edition D&D exist within the Wyrd, but not all are represented on the tiny shard that you know as the World. There is no “Human” race as such in this setting. Instead, the term “human” is a broad category used to refer to any of a large group of races. These are the children of the Huma, the old gods, the special races who were chosen to be granted souls by the original Creators. Each race is unique, and they take many forms and have various cultures. They are largely the same as described in the D&D books and articles, and each is a separate and distinct species. A member of one of these races is called by the name of the race, but can also be referred to as a human, as that is a label applicable to every member of any race possessing a soul.
The following are the known, relatively common human races of the Wyrd, and notes as to their presence or lack thereof on the World specifically:
Humans: This is not a discrete race. Everyone is human. There are no people on the World or elsewhere who are “human” and not also one of the other races. I included it on this list for completeness in matching all of the D&D player character races in the rules.
Half-Elves (Gold or City Elves): These are the most distant offshoots of the original proto-fey race originally created by Corellon. This race lived in the Feywild (while that was still a discrete plane) and later individuated into several variants, the two most primary being the Eladrin and Gnomes.
Descendents of the Eladrin who had come to live in the old material plane adapted to it and became the Elves. The Elves themselves branched into three descendant races.
The first were the most similar to their original forebears, and are usually known as Green Elves or Sylvan Elves. Some people simply call this race “Elves” or even “True Elves” in a suggestion that of the three natural-world-native elvenkind, only the nature-dwelling Green Elves retain enough of their tie to Corellon to be considered pure descendants of the Eladrin.
The second were the Drow, or Dark Elves, a race adopted and changed by Lolth, becoming her chosen race.
The last, and most far-removed from the original Feywild bloodlines and culture, were the Gold Elves, also called the City Elves, or sometimes derisively slurred as “Half-Elves”, implying that they had departed so much from truly “elven” ways as to be only half the elves that their forefathers had been. These Half-Elves were the race chosen and guided by Erathis, and they grew to become the most populous and widespread race across all of the material worlds. They became the city-builders, the founders of nations and empires.
The place that plain Humans would ordinarily fill in a common D&D setting is instead filled by Half-Elves, who were the most universal and adaptable of all the human races, being the children of the goddess of civilization, Erathis.
On the World, Gold Elves remain the most common race, making up some fifty-five percent of the entire human populace. They are found all over the World, in nearly every village and other settlement. They are the dominant culture on the World, and their great capacity to get along with all other races and to create civilized societies have made the World a peaceful and productive place.
Halflings: Halflings are the second-most prevalent race on the World, making up a good eighteen percent of the humans living on the shard. These children of Avandra tend to be the most ready traders and travelers, and ply the Millwine River with an expertise matched by no other human race on the World.
Dwarves: The Dwarves, created by Moradin, are the third-most common race on the World, accounting for around eleven percent of the human population. They prefer the hilly or more mountainous areas, but have largely integrated their villages with the other races. They do not have any traditional old-world dwarven holds carved into the rock, but live in normal buildings, similar to the Gold Elves and Halflings.
Elves (Green or Sylvan Elves): See “Half-Elves” above for the history of the elven races. These are the Green Elves, and they are much less common on the World. Most of them live in or around one somewhat secluded forest region, with a handful of small families or individuals scattered about elsewhere on the World. They get along well with their neighbors, but mostly try to keep to themselves so that they may preserve their more naturalistic culture as much as possible. They only represent about six percent of the total population.
Dragonborn: The Dragonborn were created by Io, the progenitor dragon god who later died and was split into the gods Bahamut and Tiamat. They are fairly rare on the World, most of them living near one another, but alongside other humans, in one of the largest towns in the central river valley. Dragonborn account for around three percent of the World’s populace.
Tieflings: Tieflings are the children of Asmodeus, changed to become a separate race due to their infernal dealings. They were once Gold Elves, and ruled a great empire called Bael Turath. They are fairly rare on the World. As they can still interbreed with Gold Elves freely, creating a Tiefling offspring without requiring a second Tiefling parent, they are scattered about here and there among the other humans, but are considered a bit of an oddity, and somewhat exotic. Many people of the World tend to mildly distrust them. They only represent three percent of the population.
Gnomes: There are very few Gnomes on the World, just a few families, and they mostly live intermingled with the Gold Elves, Halflings, Dwarves, and other races. They have largely adapted to the culture around them, and make up a tiny two percent of the populace.
Goliaths: Kord’s chosen race, the Goliaths are quite rare on the World, living in a couple of small tribes high in the roughest mountains near the High Orcs, following their own ways. Only one percent of the humans on the World are Goliaths.
Githzerai: The god Vecna, prior to his true descent into madness, gave birth to the scholarly race of the Gith. After being enslaved by the Illithid for many generations, the Gith won their freedom and then split into two opposing factions, each of which became a separate race . . . the Githyanki and Githzerai. Capitalizing on the tiny seed of madness left within them by their Creator, the Illithid stripped the Gith of their souls. After they freed themselves, the Githyanki never recovered their lost humanity. The Githzerai, however, were able to do so, with the aid of Ioun. There is one small monastery of Githzerai atop a high mountain at the northern tip of the World. They make up less than one percent of the population.
Half-Orcs (High Orcs): Called by humans and other civilized beings “High Orcs”, these are the more evolved kin of the common, bestial orcs who were chosen by Gruumsh and granted souls, making them human. The non-human Orcs and their fellow monster races call them “Half-Orcs” in an attempt to degrade them, but this is not much of an insult coming from soulless beasts. High Orcs are capable of practicing heavy inbreeding without any genetic complications, so even a few of them can reproduce and remain viable for any number of generations. Only one extended family of High Orcs, less than one percent of the population, exists on the World, living high in the mountains far from most of the other human settlements. They only regularly have contact with the Goliath tribes, and the infrequent merchant who braves the rough terrain to trade with them.
Wilden: The Wilden are plant-like beings given humanity by Melora. There are less than half a dozen of them on the World, and they live alongside the Green Elves in their forest community.
Changelings: The children of Zehir, Changelings were an exceedingly rare race even before the Sundering of the worlds. Now, in most places, they are simply born among other races and cannot be distinguished from them. Most never even know that they are not the same race as those around them, and do not learn to tap into their true nature. If there are any Changelings on the World, they do not know it, and neither does anyone else. There is one exception, a man who has recently been awoken to his real racial heritage by the teaching of Avalokiteshvara.
Shardminds: When Ioun foresaw the coming end of the universe, she bolstered the barrier between the Inner Realm and the Far Realm with a divine construct called the Living Gate. Instead of choosing a mortal race to imbue with souls, as the other gods did, Ioun instead poured forth her essence into this Living Gate itself, granting it a super-soul of sorts, that it might hold strong against the encroachment of the Outer Chaos for as long as possible. When the planes and worlds were destroyed, the Living Gate was shattered as well, and some of the fragments of Ioun’s great construct retained enough soul-stuff to become sentient human beings of their own accord, living in crystalline bodies rather than organic ones like most mortals. Few of these Shardminds exist anywhere, and only one fell to ground on the World.
Revenants: Revenants are almost non-existent in the entire Wyrd, since the death of the Raven Queen. Occasionally a new Revenant will come into being spontaneously or through powerful ritual manipulation of wandering lost souls trapped in the Wyrd. There is only one on the World, brought into existence after many centuries of drifting as a spirit in the void by the intervention of Avalokiteshvara.
Devas: The Devas are former angels who were allowed to become a mortal race, becoming human in a joint effort by all of the old Creator gods in an agreement with the primal spirits. With one notable exception who has recently arrived from beyond the Wyrd, there are no known Devas on the World.
Kalashtar: The children of Pelor, no known Kalashtar live on the world.
Shifters: The children of Sehanine, no known Shifters live on the world.
Shadar-kai: The children of the Raven Queen, no known Shadar-kai live on the world.
Warforged: Created by human arcanists by placing the souls of living human beings into artificially-crafted construct bodies, no known Warforged live on the world.
Eladrin: See “Half-Elves” above for the history of the elven races. The children of Corellon, no known Eladrin live on the World.
Drow: See “Half-Elves” above for the history of the elven races. The children of Lolth, no known Drow live on the World.
Genasi: The children of Tharizdun, no known Genasi live on the World.
Gnolls: The children of Bane, no known Gnolls live on the World.
Minotaurs: The children of Torog, no known Minotaurs live on the World.
Others: There are other, lesser known human species in existence, but none of them live on the World.
Races by Percentage of Population on the World:
Gold Elf (Half-Elf) – 55%
Halfling – 18%
Dwarf – 11%
Green Elf (Elf) – 6%
Dragonborn – 3%
Tiefling – 3%
Gnome – 2%
Goliath – 1%
Githzerai – less than 1%
High Orc (Half-Orc) – less than 1%
Wilden – less than 1%
Changeling – unique individual
Shardmind – unique individual
Revenant – unique individual
Deva – unique individual
All Other Races – nonexistent