Chronicles of Vulcanica: Defiance
Races of Vulcanica
This page will detail the eight playable races of Vulcanica. Non-playable races will not appear on this page, but will surface elsewhere as necessary.
Cambions The result of an evil and damning pact, cambions exist as a horrible fusion of Human and Demon, capable of powerful, destructive magic.
Dragonkin Physically massive, Dragon-made mortals, created as enforcers and agents of Arkhosia, to carry out the Dragons’ will where they cannot.
Dwarves A short, hardy, and incredibly tough people, once the greatest smiths and masons in all of Vulcanica.
Elves A culturally diverse people, and cousin to both the dwarves and humans—not only in battle and suffering, but also in origin.
Fey The once-proud guardians of Vulcanica, now mostly scattered and hiding in the wilds of the world.
Humans The most populous of all the mortal races, humans have largely borne the brunt of the Dragons’ oppression, and are no strangers to their evils.
Orcs Feared warriors the world over, the fierce people of the southern marshes despise their oppressors, and grow thirsty for Dragon blood.
Vulcanii The true sons and daughters of Vulcanica (and a true rarity to behold), these mortals boast a connection with the natural world that not even the Fey can rival.
Whispers and rumors, passed in secret among those sympathetic to the Defiant, tell tale of a group of human mages who traded their souls for unspeakable power. Fed up with the limits of their magic and its uselessness against the Dragons, they contacted the powerful immortal Demons of the Abyss and brokered for their power. While none doubt the loyalty and fearlessness that these people must know, there are few who stand eager to meet the soul twisted and desperate enough to trade away a chance at the afterlife for some magical power. Little is known of these few mages (and few they are), but the tales speak of their cruelty, their malice, and their deep, unshakable hatred of all things Arkhosia…
A Cambion player character…
- …might have limited social skills, and may feel shamed or feared around others.
- …probably despises Dragons more than anything, and is willing to pay any price to see them destroyed.
- …almost definitely possesses a strong skill with magic—perhaps several different kinds.
Cambions are identical to Humans in size and shape (indeed, nearly all of them were born human), though the similarities end there. Their skin is often a deep crimson in hue (though some manifest a much darker—almost black—tone), and is often thick and leathery to the touch. Nearly all Cambions have a matching set of horns protruding from their forehead or temples, with some instead sporting small rows of horns along their cranium. In appearance, Cambions are often otherworldy beautiful, their facial structure and features betraying how demonically seductive they can be.
Though Arkhosia (Draconic for “Empire of Might”) is massive, the Dragons themselves are few in number. Too few are they to effectively run an empire that spans all of Vulcanica. The need arose for mortals, completely loyal to Arkhosia, who could manage the day-to-day minutia of running the empire, and thus the Dragonkin were born. Mortal in existence but Dragon in image and power, the Dragonkin are the only mortals that the Dragons have trusted with the secrets of their magic, and it is such that Dragonkin allies are highly prized by the Defiant and their company. That being said, such a powerful asset would be sure to attract much unwanted attention…
A Dragonkin player character…
- …might carry scars of betrayal, and harbor a bitter resentment towards their former masters. Or, perhaps, they’re just in it for the coin.
- …probably packs a mean punch, and isn’t afraid of using their tremendous size and strength to their advantage.
- …almost definitely has—at minimum—basic competency with the powerful and valuable Dragon magic.
Huge in stature and frame, the smallest of Dragonkin still stands a full head over the tallest Elf. Their broad shoulders and massive height makes Dragonkin as physically intimidating as they are in reputation, and their incredibly prominent draconic features only exaggerate that. They often sport a large pair (or set) of horns from the side or back of their head, and their mouths are frequently toothy and elongated. In lieu of skin, their bodies are covered in thick scales, and both their hands and feet end in large, sharp claws.
Once proud Kings and Queens of the legendary mountain halls, none feel the weight of their shackles more acutely than the stone-folk and iron-folk known as Dwarves. Today, the Dwarves spend their entire lives in irons, working in the mines and smithies of Arkhosia. Those few Dwarves unfortunate enough to carry the burden of their people’s history go to lengths to keep such proud heritage secret, well aware of just how far they have fallen. Theirs is a culture of shared loss, and though the candle-light of industry still burns in their hearts, their closest and dearest friend is their shame…
A Dwarf player character…
- …might be burdened with the mantle of Grudgebearer, and has been tasked with remembering and passing on the proud history of the Dwarves to future generations.
- …probably knows their way around a weapon or two, learned in secret from other Dwarves.
- …almost definitely has a strong smithing arm, and possesses a skill with stone and iron that many envy.
Much shorter and stockier than their Human or Elf cousins, the Dwarves are naturally a thick and hearty people, prone to building muscle and fat where other races might burn it off. Males are often covered in thick hair (bodily, head, and facial), while females tend to have long, healthy hair from their heads—often red, brown, and black in color. Like Humans, their skin is soft and frequently pale, though Dwarves who spend more than a century without direct sunlight (underground) often develop a deep brown hue to their skin, not unlike a very heavily-tanned Human.
Despite the stories, not all Elves are master hunstmen and sneakthiefs, living in seclusion deep in the forests. While it is true that some Elves have found existence in such a life (and that they tend to be very good at it), that is quite far from the norm. Like their cousins, the Humans and the Dwarves, most Elves live and die in bondage, servants to Arkhosia. Few races are as outspoken in their hatred of the Dragons, and few races suffer more at the hands of their oppressors. As is to be expected due to their long lives, they remember their lifetimes of suffering more acutely than most, and it is believed that there may still be some alive who remember the time before the Domination. Such Elves—should they exist—would no doubt be terribly bitter souls, more than willing to resort to desperate, even reprehensible means, to secure the Dragons’ downfall…
An Elf player character…
- …might remember a time when things were better, before the Domination was as complete as it is today, and likely carries a tremendous amount of anger because of it.
- …probably has great skill with blade, bow, and magic alike.
- …almost definitely feels a strong drive to avenge those brothers and sisters that have fallen at the hands of the Dragons.
Elves are the tallest of the mortal races (barring the Dragonkin), and are widely agreed upon to be the most “naturally beautiful,” with a tendency towards youthful complexion and thin, angular features. Their hair is often thin and straight, with a tendency towards blonder and whiter colors, and they usually prefer to grow it long. Physically the antithesis of Dwarves, Elves are often lanky and incredibly thin in form, with a healthy Elf being gaunt or emaciated by Human standards. Like Humans and Dwarves, most elves have soft and pale skin, though some (notably the “Druchii,” who draw their heritage to a nocturnal family of Elves) bear a much darker, ebony skin tone.
There was once a time when the Fey were trusted by the rest of the world, and valued as wise and powerful guardians of nature. That time has passed. When it became clear that they could do nothing to stop the Domination’s spread, they retreated to their ancestral forest, Valiraura, and hid away. They quickly became very xenophobic, and contact between them and the outside world all but completely disappeared over a matter of two-hundred years or so. Today, they are feared and mistrusted, seen as dangerous and spiteful forest spirits, prone to violence and abduction towards any who dare trespass. Though it is possible that they are simply misunderstood, it would take a great Fey hero, fearlessly exposing themselves as a bringer of good and peace, to establish such an opinion in the eyes of the people…
A Fey player character…
- …might be a very talented Shaman, with control over the natural world that any mage would envy.
- …probably has little experience with the hardships that other races have suffered at the hands of the Dragons, possibly causing them to come off as naive.
- …almost definitely understands the risks of travel, and takes great care in dealing with those it does not know well.
Long ago, far beyond the reach of any living being’s memory, the Humans existed as equals among their cousins—the Dwarves and Elves. So goes that the story, that the gods, bored with the lack of strife among the mortals, gifted the Humans with magic—a special magic, that only Humans could use. Today, Humans remain the sole mortals capable of using this magic (those that do being referred to as “Wizards”), and, despite its rarity, were unable to use it to fend off the Dragons in time. Now, they wear chains just as heavy as those on their cousins, and resent their oppressors just as deeply…
A Human player character…
- …might have a passing knowledge—or greater—of wizardry, a secret they are likely to keep to themselves for as long as possible.
- …probably possesses a wide variety of skills, in a wide variety of fields, and isn’t capable of capitalizing on their versatility.
- …almost definitely has strong feelings and passions (whatever they may be), likely much more so than any of their non-human companions.
Humans look like Humans.
It is said that Orcs are born with an axe in their hand and bloodlust in their heart. While it is, of course, an exaggeration, it would be ignorant to deny their natural affinity for battle and aggression—affinities only that much more reinforced by their culture. So great is their might in battle, that even a single battle-frezied Orc is enough to give all but the mightiest of Dragonkin significant pause. Their ferocity is matched only by, of all things, their admiration for the Dwarves. The two races share a bond unique in Vulcanica, in that before the Domination, there were no enemies more bitter and spiteful than the Dwarves and Orcs. And yet today, they stand together, bleed together, and die together as brothers, fighting in unison to strike down their Dragon foes…
An Orc player character…
- …might have a few Dwarven friends, which they likely keep close, and treat like family.
- …probably spent time (or continues to) in the mines and forges of Arkhosia, their natural strength and endurance being a boon to productivity.
- …almost definitely takes great pleasure in battle, and knows no greater thrill than destroying their enemies.
Broad in shoulder and thick in arm, “Orc” is the Burz word for “Warrior,” and the Orc people frequently live up to their namesake. Though only slightly taller than Humans, their large frames (and ferocious appearance) often makes them appear much taller than they actually are. Their teeth are large and thick, and frequently poke out of their mouth like tusks, which only contributes to their reputation as savages. In complexion, they are similar to Humans, though their brows are often heavy and they often sport a heavily exaggerated under-bite. Similar in texture to Human skin, Orc skin is usually a deep green or brown in hue, with a “pale” or extremely unhealthy Orc often taking on a slightly purplish tint.
Myths and legends tell of a people, powerful and wise in the ways of Shamanism, hidden deep in the forests and mountains of Vulcanica. So deep is their connection to the natural world, that they are actually capable of manifesting the physical traits of the “souls” of nature: Air, Earth, Fire and Water. Most people dismiss these stories as pure fantasy, saying that no such people could exist, and if they did, they would have been enslaved by the Dragons by now; however, some still believe, and every time they see a shadow move in the forest, they wonder…
A Vulcani player character…
- …might fear or dislike the other races. Maybe this is due to a lack of established trust, or perhaps this is due to something deeper.
- …probably possesses a mastery over Shamanism that extends far deeper than most mortals could ever hope to achieve.
- …almost definitely manifests one (but only one) of the Souls of Shamanism as actual physical traits: cold and clammy or hard and rocky skin, thick layers of fur, etc.
Without their Shamanism manifestations, Vulcanii might appear nearly identical to Humans. Similar in height, shape, skin tone, and hair color to the average Human, a well-disguised Vulcani may even be able to pass among them undetected. However, Vulcanii are born with strong manifestations of one of the five Souls of Shamanism, and they take a different form for each one. Where one might be able to pass as just being very very hairy (Animal Soul), another would find it nearly impossible to hide the myriad branches and vines that sprout from their shoulders and head (Plant Soul).