An Introduction to Etrea
A world primer
It is the 28th of Terminus in the year 5346 of the Enervant Age. Around the world, a new year is about to be welcomed as dawn breaks on the final day. The Enervant Age began with a catastrophic event known as the Renewal. The memories of its sapient inhabitants were wiped, leaving them only with snatches and dreams of what came before. The world itself was stripped bare and create anew. Some remnants of before can still be found scattered across Etrea, with no clues as to how they survived the purge. No one knows what caused this event, or if it could one day happen again. Etrea is a planet in the Celestial Spiral, a solar system of ten distinct planets. It is understood to be the fourth planet from the sun, and is the only known celestial body to contain and support life. Although travel to the stars is a long way off, people around Etrea look up at the night sky and wonder.
An Overview of Sapient BeingsIt is generally accepted by scholars that the sapient beings in Etrea descended from a single, ancient species. Thousands of years of evolution, however, have separated these beings into four distinct species. Whilst the following is a rather simplistic overview of each of these - in practice, each species is actually split into multiple species - these four categories are broadly utilised in scientific and academic circles.
Humans are the most prolific and widespread of the sapient species in Etrea. They are a diverse people, with myriad cultures and values. Some humans live in large cities made of stone, some in smaller towns or villages, whereas others travel as part of nomadic tribes or spend their whole lives at sea. Humans have very little magic compared to their numbers. It is estimated that less than five percent of the population has some kind of magical talent.
Shapeshifters are humanoids that have the ability to transform into a second form. Whilst being able to shift into another mammal is the most common transformation, there are also a variety of avian shifters and some rare cases of reptilian ones. Shifters tend to group together in tribes. These are most often comprised of those who shift into the same animal. Some tribes, however, are formed of multiple animal types. There are also several mountain cities built by an alliance of avian shifters.
Like shapeshifters, dragons are humanoids that can transform their bodies into a second form. There are a variety of dragon species, each with their own unique features, but in general their second form is reptilian and about eight feet in length. They believe they are much diminished compared to the ancient dragons they believe once walked Etrea. Dragons tend to stick to their own kind and, in some places, have completely cut themselves off from others. However, in other places, some dragon clans have integrated with humans, and are a visible presence in their society. Dragons are the most magical of the sapient species of Etrea, with almost a hundred percent of their population displaying some kind of magical talent.
Merfolk are humanoids that spend all of - or the majority of - their lives in the water. This is a broad category, and many merfolk separate themselves further into different species. Many merfolk have a mixture of humanoid and ichthyoid features. Commonly, what would be legs are replaced by a long, powerful tail. The diversity of merfolk speciess, however, makes it difficult to describe what a "typical" merfolk would look like. In the far north, for example, exists a species of polar merfolk the size of whales. Merfolk generally keep to their own kind, though this is often due to the logistics of living in or under the water than any isolationist tendencies.