A Gathering Storm
Humans are the most populous race in the world: they build the largest cities, control the largest nations, and hold more fleets. Humanity also are borrowers of ideas; the settlements of the other races are largely homogeneous, but human leaders see the wisdom in hiring dwarven shipwrights, deva scholars, goblin tinkers, or any other journeyman that knows more about a profession than they do.
Deva are wandering holy people that can be found in far flung towns and aboard ships. Most deva spend their lives on a great journey, both spiritually and physically, as the deva mindset keeps them in constant motion in search of enlightenment.
A deva’s racial powers are not based on reincarnation, rather their power reflects an ability to tap into a universal consciousness via mental balance and meditation. This power is akin to a brief flash of inspiration. It should be noted that almost all deva do believe that their race experiences reincarnation, but this is a religious matter and not an absolute fact of their biology. Deva do not age; the oldest deva retreat from society, entering meditative trances that can last for centuries.
A deva aboard a ship may be a resident priest, a moral compass for the crew, or just an trusted adviser.
Dragonborn are instilled with a strong sense of pride and patriotism. This is not racism per se, but rather a strong sense of greatness: both as individuals and as a species. The dragonborn are warlike but not aggressive; the dragonborn homeland has never been conquered, thanks to the size of their navy and the prowess of their soldiers.
To be a dragonborn living among other races means you have either shunned or been shunned by your own kind, as most dragonborn would strive to serve their own people rather than live with barbarians.
Dwarves are proud, friendly, down to earth, and persistant to the point of stubborness. A dwarf can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and seldom anything in between.
Large, elaborate beards are a common fashion among both men and women. However, there is no stigma against having a shaved face other than amongst especially stodgy traditionalists.
Dwarves are surpisingly good sailors: they’re hardy and strong, used to cramped spaces, and their pride in craftsmanship extends to shipcraft.
Genasi are the progeny of humans and genie, and as such are not a common race. Genasi look mostly human, but with a glimmer of their elemental heritage. To be a genasi is considered a blessing, and they enjoy good reputation among humans.
Watersoul, Windsoul, and Stormsoul genasi all naturally take to ships; it’s considered good luck by sailors to have one of these genasi in a crew, as they regard them as children of the the sea.
Goblins get the short end of the stick: everyone else is bigger and stronger than they are, and a small person is an easy target. But for a race so small and unassuming, they have a big tendency for bravado that can border on a napoleon complex. Goblins have long ago realized their small size makes them unable to compete physically with the bigger races, and many goblin tribes have become protectorates under the human kingdom of Ishan. Those goblins that remain independent predominately live in small tribes and villages too small to be worth conquering.
Goblins find natural work aboard ships, their small frames, quick feet, and tiny fingers let them scurry through the rigging, doing jobs that larger sailors would find difficult.
Half-orcs live amongst tribal cultures of mixed human and orc population. As a race, the half-orcs are descendants of a former kingdom formed by the union of several orc and human tribes. These tribes intermarried over the generations, and the time their kingdom fell the line between the two races had all but disappeared.
Half-orcs have a less civilized culture than the other races, as well as a reputation for endurance and ferocity. Half-Orc society is small and totalitarian; local warlords rule with an iron fist but have not been able to unite the race under a single banner.
Half-orcs aboard ships are not common, but face no particular obstacles as long as they are able seamen.
Kenku are factional and businesslike. They’re mostly traders and craftsmen, and tend to hire other races to perform jobs they regard as distasteful: farming, warfare, and labour. The Kenku are independant, democratic, egalitarian, and lack any system of hereditary nobility or royalty.
Kenku have a reputation as schemers and ne’er-do-wells, and for small number of kenku this reputation is well deserved. Because of this, most kenku living among the other races are shunned by polite society. Luckily, sailors are tolerant lot with their own bad reputation; as long as a kenku can show respect to his shipmates, they’re often willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Known overwhelmingly as vicious warriors, minotaurs are feared throughout settlements across the seas. To the other races the minotaurs seem exotic and unusual, as the minotaur homeland is only visited by those with a deathwish.
Most minotaurs are privateers, taking whatever they want from foreign ships and killing those who stand in their way. Others find more peaceful work as sailors, trying to leave their people’s violent ways behind. Others still turn their natural skill in battle toward a good cause, or at least a legal one, serving as mercenary marines for foreign fleets.
Sometimes, there is a person so strong willed that nothing in the world can stop them. Sometimes, there is a criminal so vile that they have no respect for even the laws of nature. Sometimes, there is a person with a task so important that the universe itself won’t let it go unfinished. When one of these people dies, a revenant is created. A revenant looks exactly like the person they were in life, except that their bodies show signs of decay, and no amount of magical healing will remove the scar of the wound that killed them.
Revenants are regarded as monstrous by polite society, while sailors take the view that their supernatural protection extends to ships on which they travel, causing them to be welcomed aboard ships as good luck charms.
Born of a rare union between humans and elves, half-elves are a race born of two worlds but forced to live in only one. As humans and elves cannot linger long within each others’ worlds, half-elves are always raised by only one of their birth parents. Among human society, half-elves are treated with mild distrust: elvenkind is so foreign to humanity that most humans don’t know what to make of them.
Half-Elves possess a mixture of the features of both of their parent races, though they lack both the humans’ ability to grow facial hair as well as the elves’ webbed digits. As they have both lungs and gills, half-elves are able to breathe both air and water, though half-elves raised among humans move far more gracefully on land than underwater.
A peaceful, sea-dwelling race, the elves have little contact with the surface races. The elves once lived on land, but fled it after some great disaster. Though they still hold resemblance to the surface races, their biology has changed to the point that they cannot survive outside of water.
Elves resemble short humans with gills, angular faces, pointed ears, webbed digits, and a aquamarine cast to their skin.
Distant cousins to the goblins who left the land the conquer the seas, koalinths are a savage and warlike race. Normally, they do not threaten the surface races; metal, wood, cattle, and farmland are of little use under the sea. Sometimes koalinths a particularly violent leader will convince a band of koalinths to turn to banditry, sinking ships to pick gold from the wreckage.
Koalinths are burly green skinned humanoids with unusually long limbs, webbed digits, and sharp yellow fangs.