Lizardmen are not native to Calandia, but arrived, for the most part, from the Nile Islands in the Third Great Migration.
All Lizardmen are bipedal and stand between 5' and 7'6" in height. Those Lizardmen most adapted to amphibious environments tend to be the largest, while the dryland-dwelling Lizardmen are, on average, smaller and lighter. Colouration tends to be hues of brown, grey and green and Lizardmen skin is as effectively armoured as toughened leather. Lizardmen may utilize bite, tail and claw attacks in combat, in addition to other weapons.
All lizardmen are able to swim and have nictating sheaths beneath the eyelid that allow reasonably good underwater vision. The fully amphibious lizardmen have a degree of buoyancy control, allowing them to rapidly sink and surface, though, that their dryland cousins cannot match.
Lizardmen society is matriarchal, with women filling the most important teaching, religious and leadership roles. Each egg-clutch owes allegiance to the clutch-mother of the family, and through her, to the egg-mother of the clan. Males are generally workers and warriors.
Worship of the Egg-Mother Sissilith is universal among lizardmen. In the creation story, she generates a single egg that breaks open, giving birth to twin children. The shell of her egg forms the solid barrier of earth and sky, while the yolk and albumen forms the seas, lakes and rivers. Of the twins, Shassa'ath sets the sun in place and guides and protects the dryland lizardmen, while Tsilssis moves the tides and flows of oceans and water-courses and guides and protects the amphibious lizardmen.
Almost all Lizardmen are to be found in the High Fens district of Plateau Province, mostly in the Amber Swamp. However, the dryland-dwelling Lizardmen are found also in the Drylands District.
Life expectancy for wetlands lizardmen is around 120 years, for drylands lizardmen it is 100 years.
Elves are long-lived, indeed rumoured to be immortal. Generally preferring to be forest-dwellers, they have bonds and attitudes to the natural world that range from sacred and honouring to violently protective.
They tend to have light skin, fair hair and pale blue, green or grey eyes. Males stand on average 6'0", while females average 5'9". Tribal elves are shorter in general by several inches and have darker skin and hair colouration. All elves have exceptional night vision.
Elves are monogamous, marrying for life. Each marriage will produce between one and four offspring. Family and social authority is shared equally between males and females.
Elves are found in all of Calandia's Provinces, but are most prevalent in Greenfang and White Peaks districts of Leopa Province. The Wood Elves of the Greenfang and Bentwood Forests maintain relatively open relationships with other species, but the Native Elves, who claim to be - along with the Burned Men - the first people of the continent are fiercely isolationist.
The most common elven religion is worship of the gods Ysera, Elune and Anarendl. Ysera, a glowingly beautiful figure who takes both male and female forms, continually sings the song of creation, and maintains peace, order and stability. Elune, depicted as a female child and associated with the moon, is the goddess of changes, seasons, tides, childbirth, harvest and other natural processes. Anarendl, depicted as a male child and associated with the sun, is the god of sociability. In his benign aspect, he governs relationship-building, alliances, trade and the like. In his terrible aspect, he governs warfare, enmities and intrigues. Each of these gods may have temples or household shrines dedicated to them.
The religion of the native elves is animism and ancestor veneration. Spirits of localities, nature and ancestors are seen as closely interacting (in unseen ways) with the visible world, and native elves have a variety of practices – shrines, offerings, talismans, incantations and the like – which they use to seek to influence these spirits. Some other elves have incorporated aspects of native religion into their own worship of Ysera, Elune and Anarendl.
Many elves have also adopted the religious beliefs and practices of one or other groups of Calandian humans.
Elves prefer to live in tree-top abodes, but have adapted to living conditions suited to every environment they occupy in Calandia.
Dwarves are short, stocky and generally physically stronger than their size might suggest. Most dwarf clans favour rocky highlands, hills and mountain caverns as their abodes. Dwarven metal workers and gemsmiths are widely regarded as second to none.
They have pale skin and black, red or brown hair. Males average 4'3" in height, with females averaging 4'0". Adult life expectancy is around 220 years. Dwarves have exceptional low-light vision.
Social organisation is in family and clan groups, with patriarchs as political and military leaders. Dwarves are polygamous and male dwarves who are fortunate enough to marry may take as many as 7 or 8 wives. Each marriage tends to produce only few children - often one or two, and at most three or four.
Dwarven religion is quite uniform across all clans and groups and revolves around the worship of the family of dwarven gods. In dwarvish religion, it was the procreative act of the first couple that brings to birth both the other dwarven gods and the world. As well as this pantheon, dwarves will often worship a clan deity, who may be a divinised ancestor.
• Degan – the Smith (Father)
• Endira – the Mother
• Teros – the Warrior
• Culan – the Delver
• Hadrian – the Traveller
Dwarves are concentrated in the East and South of Calandia, with the largest concentrations being in the Leopa Mountains in Leopa Province. There is a sizeable population in Thormar Province and the Marrahoe Mountains also. Since the time of Atrabiloran, dwarves have also risen to positions of importance in the military and political structures of the City-State.
It is thought that the cat-like Khajiti rose to sentience as a consequence of the Uttermost War. While they may once have ranged over much of Calandia, hunting, displacement and the alteration of climate and habitat, have restricted them to a few areas, particularly the Drylands District.
Khajiti are fairly uniform in colour - dun and tawny and are able to fight with retractable claws and teeth as well as whatever weapons they choose to master.
They tend to be loners, gathering in larger groups irregularly for particular trade, political and ceremonial purposes.
Their history of oppression and conflict has led most Khajiti to be at best suspicious of, and at worst actively hostile to, other people groups of Calandia. The term Khajiti (their own self-designation) means ‘the Forgotten’.
This self-perception influences not only their social interactions, but also their religion. Although they acknowledge the one they call the Great Spirit, they do not currently worship it, as they regard themselves as beneath its notice. However, in recent times, legends of a coming Ghost-Walker have arisen. The Ghost-Walker is a Khajit who, it is said, will be invulnerable to the weapons of man, elf and dwarf and who will range across the entire expanse of Calandia, extending the habitat amenable to all Khajiti. In these legends it is said that when all Khajiti have been on the Ghost-Walk, the Great Spirit will again deign to notice them.
It is thought that Centaurs rose to sentience in the aftermath of the Uttermost War. Centaurs herds range across the plains of Northern and Western Calandia. There are two types of Centaurs, the more common centaur, humans whose torsos join at the waist to the four-legged body of a horse and a rarer species of deer-centaur. These smaller Deer Centaurs are to be found only in the Greenfang.
Centaurs live in nomadic herds, consisting of twenty to thirty centaurs. Leadership of these herds is given to whichever elder the herd agrees has the required wisdom and strength.
Adult Centaurs generally stand between 6'3 and 7'5 tall from front legs to head (although Deer Centaurs are smaller, with an average range of 5'9 to 6'6). Both groups have a life expectancy of around 150 years. Colouration of centaurs varies from pure black or brown, to dappled, spotted and striped. A few albino centaurs have been known, but they are exceedingly rare.
Centaurs are known for their love of intellectual enquiry and generally trade for information, intelligence and stories.
Centaur religion centres around one they call 'Lis-Ael' (literally, 'Breath of the Wind'). Centaur scryers seek the guidance of Lis-Ael for the herd, and it is in response to this guidance that each Centaur herd will have specific sacred and taboo places.