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Racesby Christopher Richard Davies
This is the start of my own attempt to bring Mystara into the 4th edition, as well as fixing some problems that I have with the world as described. My first step has been to bring the 4e races into Mystara. Wherever possible, I've aimed for a "simple" solution, rather than one which would require either extensive mechanical monkeying or the addition of more political entities to what's already a pretty complicated timeline.
The only race that probably needs to be "fixed" for Mystara is the gnomes. Frankly, I'd prefer to wait for the inevitable Dragonlance Player's Guide to bring back the tinker gnomes than try and muck around with the fey gnomes described in the Monster Manual to turn them into Mystara's steampunk gnomes.
Dragonborn: The Wyrmsteeth Mountains of Norwold are, as one might expect from the name, haunted by many hundreds of dragons. Unsuspected until relatively recently, however, was the existence of another species living among the dragons. Their origin is somewhat mysterious; some naturalists claim that they descend from the same stock as kobolds and troglodytes, while the legends of the dragonborn claim that they were born from injuries sustained by the Great One in some ancient battle.
The dragonborn have generally been the indentured servants of the dragon rulers of the region, but over the ages some of their clans have been freed from servitude, often when their overlords were slain or slew each other. With the increasing settlement of Norwold, these freed dragonborn have begun to have contacts with the human colonists. Some have moved out of their mountain homelands, seeking fortune and glory.
Drow: While the shadowelves are pale-skinned, rather than dark-skinned, they are otherwise (statistically) identical to the drow. Their unusual abilities, which they refer to as a cloud of shadows and the radiant flame, are the result of millennia of exposure to unusual emanations from soul crystals. They refer to them, somewhat accurately, as the "gift of Rafiel".
Eladrin: The "high elves" are born intermittently to more "common" elves, as well as breeding true amongst themselves. They are considerably more common in the Feywild than they are on Mystara, and there are said to be entire kingdoms of the high elves that no mortal eye has ever seen. The eladrin are generally revered by their elven brethren, though the form of that reverence varies from place to place.
For example, the elves of Alfheim respect and honour the eladrin, but don't automatically grant them any particular authority. In contrast, the eladrin rulers of the Shiye-Lawr elves of Alphatia maintain an absolute separation from their elven subjects, ripping eladrin offspring from their birth parents to be raised by more "appropriate" ones. Of the elf-clans of the Known World, only the Verdier elves of the Minrothad islands and the Belcadiz elves of Glantri don't have any eladrin among them; the reasons for this lack are not known.
Genasi: The original homeland of the Alphatians was located in a remote region of the Elemental Chaos, until it was rent asunder by conflict between those who embraced flame and those who embraced air. Today, among the genasi of Alphatia, all elemental aspects are embraced. Among the Flaem of Glantri, on the other hand, only the firesoul is ever accepted. (There are disturbing tales of what happens to infant Flaems who manifest the "wrong" elemental aspect.)
One peculiarity of the genasi is the fact that they can breed with humans. However, the children of such unions are always humans themselves, lacking any elemental aspect and resembling their human parent. Despite this, such human children are fully accepted as Alphatians, for what that's worth. (Unless they demonstrate some talent at arcane magic, or at least divine or primal magic, that's not a lot.)
Half-Elf: While the female children of the union of a human female and a elf male always appears to be human, they are actually half-elven in all respects. The same is true of the male or female children of an elf female and a human male, although the male children will appear to be more elven than a typical half-elf does. (For some reason, the male children of a human female and an elf male are always still-born.)
Tiefling: Over the last thirty-odd years, small clans of the creatures known as diaboli or tieflings have arrived on Mystara from ... somewhere else. They don't talk about it, much. While their appearance is rather daunting, most sophisticated people have had the opportunity to come to terms to it; only in isolated communities will it cause panic or disturbance. (Of course, all of Hattias counts as an isolated community ...)
The tieflings are originally from the Far Realm. (As such, they should have the Aberrant Origin racial trait.) They are most concentrated in Darokin and Glantri, though they can be found throughout most of the nations of the Known World. The elves of Alfheim are very watchful of the tieflings, recognising them as the "beast-men" who were led against them by Illodious centuries ago, though they don't automatically regard them as mortal enemies. (After all, they've come to terms with Darokin, who were also their enemies back then.)
Warforged: The method of creating these self-aware, living constructs was discovered late in the age of Blackmoor. Many hundreds of them were stored in subterranean vaults, in preparation for a war that never came. Some of these vaults were destroyed in the geological upheavals that accompanied the Rain of Fire, but others remained intact. Over the last century, dwarven miners have discovered and opened a number of these vaults.
Regarding the creatures within as kin, of sorts, to legendary Denwarf, the dwarves have befriended them and welcomed them into their society. Some warforged have travelled out of Rockhome and into other lands as well. The fact that Glantrian wizards have cheerfully torn warforged apart in hopes of finding out what makes them "tick" has done nothing to improve relations between Rockhome and Glantri ....