Races of the Northlands


    The primary race in the Northlands, humans came here as settlers from the now-fallen Nethryn Empire.  There are around 30,000 humans.  Human names tend to be rather conventional, with a given name followed by a family name.


    The dragonborn were native to the area, and were discovered by settlers who made friends with the tribes living on the coastal plains.  Some of the oldest tales of the dragonborn tell of a long-lost era when they were a mighty race controlling much of the Northlands, though no hard evidence exists of such a time.  Perhaps 5000 dragonborn are citizens of the Northlands, though there are also independent tribes living along the coasts.


    One of the races native to the Northlands, most dwarves hail from the underground land of Dal Ankor, access to which is jealously guarded.  Dwarves have played a vital role in the expansion and defense of the land, and around 2000 are citizens or permanent residents.
    Dwarves associate in throngs (clans) according to birth.  Throngs are essentially extended families of a single famous lineage; the oldest throngs are (according to the dwarves) thousands of years old, and new ones are quite rare indeed.  Dwarven formal names are an expression of clan and position.  For instance, "Tharok ut Angazi" translates literally as "Tharok, we are the Angazi", which is Tharok of the Angazi clan.  A clan leader would use the connective "shagat", while an elder would be "ulmut" (literally, "we are ancient").  Dwarves without clan are rare and considered outcast, and a dwarf who does not proudly claim his clan by using his full name will be treated as such by other dwarves.  For a dwarf to change clans is nearly unheard-of.


    The eladrin are the mysterious and largely reclusive cousins of the elves, living among them in the forests of Amaelendor.  Only a few hundred dwell within the Northlands, their purposes usually known only to themselves, though apparently to the general benefit of the realm.  Eladrin naming conventions follow those of elves.


    The elves of Amaelendor are an ancient, proud people, who like the dwarves have played key roles in the history of the Northlands.  Though few are permanent residents, there are generally upwards of a thousand living within the Northlands at any one time.
    Elves associate in thael, or groups of a common interest or goal.  Choosing one's first thael is an important part of the rite of maturity, but an elf may change thael many times during life, and thael may come and go as need requires.  An elven simple-name would be something like "Astimaar ap Druardis", or Astimaar of the thael Druardis (a thael primarily associated with care and maintenance of the forest).
    Formal names among the elves are an entirely new level of complexity.  In matters of ancestry, elves are matrilineal, so an elf who wished to identify themselves by means of ancestry would use the connectives el' (daughter of) or sul' (son of), which could be chained to the length required.  This, "Astimaar sul'Nethra el'Arnael el'Trianda" would translate as "Astimaar, son of Nethra who is daughter of Arnael who is daughter of Trianda".  Further complicating matters is the elven penchant for ignoring a strict accounting of generations, merely listing those ancestors one most wishes in order to strike a particular association in the mind of the listener.  "Astimaar sul'Elimane" is not literally the son of Elimane (an elven queen of old), but instead her 14th-generation descendant, and the name is given more to point out his royal heritage and honorable nature.  Such extreme variance in usage has caused great consternation among human scholars, and given rise to tales of elves living many hundreds or even thousands of years.


    As is to be expected, liaisons between elves and humans occur at times, and the descendants of these unions have formed their own families of note within the realm.  Though there are only about 500 or so half-elves resident, there are more who share the forests of Amaelendor and visit from time to time.  Half-elves generally follow the naming conventions of whichever of their parent races they most closely associate.


    Along with humans, there were halfling pioneers among the settlers, and their mercantile prowess continues to be important to the realm to this day.  They are also the most numerous race after humans, with nearly 7000 citizens in the Northlands.
    Halflings tend to combine given names with family and placenames, to reflect either birthplace or current residence.  Thus, one might have Selarund Halfmoon, or Selarund Halfmoon of Fallcrest, depending upon the speaker's need to more fully identify himself to the listener.


    Some number of tieflings also accompanied the original settlers, and though their numbers were not great their skills at diplomacy and negotiation were a major reason why the realm had excellent relations with the native races from its early years.  Unfortunately, the involvement of tieflings in events surrounding the Civil War led to numerous reprisals, and to this day the race is often less than perfectly trusted.  Only about a thousand tieflings live within the Northlands.


Return whence thou came