Karameikos and Beyond
Most of the humas from the Grand Duchy of Karameikos fall into two categories: Native Traladarans and those of Thyatian descent. Other inhabitants of the ducky include elves, gnomes, humans of mixed descent, a few dwarves and halflings, the savage demi-humans in their distant villages, and traders who’ve settled in Karameikos – and among that last category are representatives of practically every humanoid race and nation in the world.
The Traladarans, descendants of the native Traldar tribe of legend, tend to be fairly small (men average 5’ 9", women 5’ 3") and light of build. They tend to have pale complexions, brown eyes, and dark hair (deep brown to black).
In general, they are a very superstitious people – if you can call it superstition when it’s based on truth. They are great believes in good luck charms, omens and portents (palmreading, the reading of tea leaves or sheep entrails, interpretations of natural phenomena – if it’s a strange event, the Traladara consider it an omen), curses and evil eyes.
Outside the larger towns, education is not widely-spread. In the more rural communities, most villagers are illiterate, though often a village cleric will be lettered, (Player characters, being exceptional people, don’t have to worry about this; if you have enough Intelligence to be literate, you can be literate if you wish. If you prefer, because of the way you conceive your character, that he be illiterate, that is also your choice).
For the most part, Traladarans don’t care much for Thyatians. They see the Thyatians as the latest wave of bad luck which keeps the Traladarans from re-achieving their Golden Age. Since many of the original Thyatian arrivals were rotten land-grabbers, many of the Traladarans see all Thyatians as being the same. (If you don’t wish for your own character to feel this way, he doesn’t have to.)
Though the majority of the population of Karameikos is Traladaran, the court language is Thyatian. Thyatian is the language of official documents and trade and is basically the “Common Tongue” of Karameikos. Most Traladarans under the age of 30 speak Thyatian, usually with a distinct accent which marks their Traladaran origins.
Most of the nobles in Karameikos are of Thyatian descent, and a sizable proportion of the commoner population is of Thyatian descent.
Thyatians tend to be physically larger than Traladarans, men averaging around 5’11" and women about 5’5". The Thyatians have had centuries to interbreed with other nations, and so there is no one Thyatian look; hair ranges from dark blonde to dark brown, with ocasional redheads (including the Duke); eye color ranges from blues to browns and blacks. The Thyatians tan more easily in the sun than the paler Traldarans, who tend to sunburn easily.
The Empire of Thyatis is a large, flourishing empire with powerful armies, strong trade relations with the great nations of the world, lavish arts and entertainments, and a cultural standard equalled in few places in the world. So it’s naturla that many of Thyatian descent tend to feel superior to the native Traladarans. Among many of the Thyatians, there is a sentiment that Traladarns are superstitious and ignorant, and many feel that Thyatian spoken with a Traladaran accent denotes lack of mental ability (Again, this is a prejudice which you don’t have to foist on your own character if you don’t wish to.)
In the last thirty years, since the arrival of Duke Steffan and his followers, there have been born many children of mixed Thyatian and Traladaran sescent. Most of them are the children of Thyatian men who immigrated to the duchy, fought in the Duch’s army, then retired to wed local women. Very few are children of Thyatian women and Traladaran men.
A half-breed is likely to be somewhat taller than average for Traladarans, usually with dark hair and blue or light brown eyes. How he feels about Thyatian and Traladarans will depend on the way he was raised, but in most cases the half-breeds recognize that neither Thyatian nor Traladaran has any great advantage over the other; the half-breed gets along well with people of both backgrounds.
Most of the elves in Karameikos are of the Callarii tribe, a merry and hardworking tribe proficient in riverboating, riding, horse-trading, hunting and foresting.
Callarii elves are robust and healthy, with very pale hair (blonde to white) and blue eyes. They tend to wear tunics or robes of green with leaf-patterns embroidered upon them.
The elves are neutral toward humans in general. They become fast friends with humans who demonstrate honor and humor; they do not cooperate with humans who are pretentious, dishonorable or rude. Duke Stefan has a guard unit entirely composed of Callarii elves, which has given many elves the chance to meet him, and the Callarii are favorably disposed toward the Duke.
The largest gnomish community, called Highforge, is in the mountain foothills several miles east of the town of Threshold. It’s a large and secluded community composed of gnomes (and one allied dwarven clan); it is mostly self-sufficient but profits from trade with the southern humans.
The gnomes are well-disposed toward the Duke; they did not observe much of the Thyatian abuses against the Traladarans, but are well aware of the improvement of trade and communication which have resulted from the Duke’s building of roads throughout the land.
The gnomes have no preferences between Thyatians and Traladarans.
The dwarves living in the Grand Duchy are either members of the Stronghollow clan up in the gnome community, or are dwarven professionals who have immigrated into Karameikos — often acting as professional soldiers in the service of the Duke or one of his barons. When they do express a preference between Traladarans and Thyatians, the dwarves tend to prefer the company of Thyatians, who are practical people, and not superstition-ridden like the Traladarans.
The halflings in the Duchy are mostly immigrants from the Five Shires, drawn by the heavy trade in Karameikos and living sas professionals within the human communities of the Duchy. There are many halfling traders, craftsmen and inkeepers in Specularum, Kelvin and smaller communities. While there are no large halfling clans in Karameikos, the halflings have their own “subculture,” and many frequent taverns and other facilities which cater only to halflings. When halflings do admit a preference between Thyatians and Traladarans, they side with the latter, whom they consider life-loving, romantic, expressive people, instead of the Thyatians, whom they think colder and less sympathetic.