Races... or lack there of.
So many settings have a plethora of exotic races, your lizardfolk tribe, your elves, your dwarves, your gnomes, your drow, and its all wrapped with a nice halfling bow. However, I decided to go in a different direction. Effectively there is but one race. Humans, Homo sapians, that bi-pedal tetrapod mammal. Part of this is my over all dislike of having effectively different species represent an entire culture. The other part is the dislike of races that live different lifespans. An Elven scholar could easily recount much of human history. In an 800 year Elven life, one could recount say the entire enlightenment, Industrial revolution, the black death, the renessiance and the crusades and we wouldn't need a historian, archeologists ect because we would have this guy who lived it. In just over two elven lifespans nearly 2000 years of human history could unfold. For the purposes of my world, everyone has the same basic lifespan abilities and is effectively human.
However.... Humans may very. Some humans are born under a specific star sign, or maybe the Gods have endowed them with a specific destiney. Maybe they are the sons and daughters of a cursed soul? Maybe mom or dad got their freak on with a God(dess)?
Some humans are born with a peculiar birth mark, some odd destiney, or by fate are tied to one of the four elements.
Flameborn (Elemental Fire):
Iceborn (Elemental Ice/Water):
Earthborn (Elemental Earth):
Windborn (Elemental Air):
Like the elementally blessed, some are of divine origin. Perhaps their Father or Mother is a Divine being? A God maybe? A powerful Demon? Whatever it is, these peculiar scions of the heavens... or hell... whatever your origins, your a bit more divine then one would imagine.
Misc. Ancestry/Blessing/or curses:
Generally born from those cursed to Vampirism. Legends hold a vampire that gorges on enough blood can physically reproduce. Sometimes though it is merely a pregnant woman surviving a vampires bite.
The world has many nature spirits and nature beings, some of which can reproduce with humans. Fey creatures, left over from the first world, are often hidden and mysterious, but some will venture beyond their hidden enclaves and seek out mortal men and women as lovers.
Others to come....
Q&A about Variant Humans
Q: Do these variant humans have unique appearences?
A: Generally its up to the player, though as a rule, usually nothing to odd. A Flameborn human may have almost bronze like skin, or red hair, maybe golden eyes. A Dhampir will certainly have a paler complexion, and fang like teeth, a Divine Human may have only a simple birthmark, A Feyborn may have slightly pointed ears. But ultimately its up to the player and the DM. Generally only the Dhampir have definitevely physiological difference to humans.
Q: Do these variant humans form their own Kingdoms?
A: No, or I should say not Kingdoms universally composed of said people. One Kingdom may be founded by a Vampire, whose Dhampir descendents continue to rule and form the noble aristocracy. However the births of said variant humans are so infrequent that there aren't enough to form a country of just Feyborn, Just Dhampir, ect.
Q: Do they have their own special Languages?
A: Some do. The All but the Dhampir have a specific languages they inheritly can understand. These being the magical languages of spirit beings, Outsiders ect. However languages in my world work a bit differently.
This world is fairly rough on language, in that "common," languages are non-existent. Traditional 3.5/PF worlds have typically racial languages. Dwarves speak Dwarvish, Elves speak Elvish, Humans speak Common. Well for one this is a world that lacks other races besides human. While Human's may vary, everyone is effectively the same species. Great! So they all speak Common right? No.
In this world languages vary by region and are usually specific to a nationality/ethnicity/region/empire. In that sense languages in this world mirror languages in our world, in that different people speak different languages.
Players begin play automatically getting their base language as their first language they were raised to speak. A big part of this is DM fiat and player character lore and backstory. A players starting language will depend heavily on where the character was born and thus what language he spoke originally.