Hand in Hand

Sophonts of Saleh'Alire



The sophontic history of Saleh'Alire is muddy and difficult to determine at the best of times- and outright nonsensical, or downright indecipherable, at the worst of them. Still, there are many races which now call the Matetial, and a visit to any one of the great cities of Saleh'Alire (Ea'mon in Olienn; Rothshield in Tolara; or Bán Ródh in Castrillis) will quickly expose the average person to this multitude... However many there are now, though, each and every modern race is descendant from one of the four Ancient races that made Saleh'Alire their home at the beginng of known time.  

The Ancients


All across Saleh'Alire, the ruins of several ancient civilizations dot the landscape. These ruins provide Archivists and Archaeologogists, and others, with information about Saleh'Alire's past- and daring adventurers and Eplorers with treasure ripe for the taking.   Many of these ruins belong to ancients known as the Phet- the only known natives to the Material Plane, who crawled up from the very depths of the planet. Others belonged to Nom'Ythi- immigrants fleeing the First Dragon War of the Feywild, and the famine and almost certain death it promised them if they remaind. Those such as the The Ayeni, however, were Elemental Planar explorers who decided not to turn back when posed with new and unfathomable horizons. And even more belong to the Sa'Avi- an ellusive group of ancients about whom little is known, but who caused the destruction of the Weave.
▼ The Phet ▼
The original natives of the Material Plane; Parents the modern Giants, Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings- as well as the creators of the Warforged, and Gem and Metal Dragons.  
 
 
▼ The Nom'yth ▼
The First Extraplanar Settlers of the Material Realm; Parents of the Fae and Elves.  
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▼ The Ayeni ▼
The Last Extraplanar Settlers of the Material Realm; Parents of the Genasi and Humans.  
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▼ The Sa'avi ▼
Elusive Ancients about whom little is known; Parents of Beast Species such as the Mastosa and Tabaxi.  
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All of these ancients met grizzly ends during the Second Dragon War that took place on the Material Plane- or fell to related or indeterminate causes soon thereafter. Yet the information they left behind has been instrumental in the development of both mechanical and arcane technology within the world. And regardless of how they came here, why, or when, they are responsible for the diverse origins of those who inhabit Saleh'Alire today- from the diminutive Dwarves and hulking Giants, to the Elves (both Winged and non), horned Mastosa, and more.
 
Phylogenetic Tree
  Despite being descendant from the same four ancient species, however, sophontic relations among modern groups (and even between individual ethnicities within the same groups) have been far from smooth over the course of Aliran history... Indeed, over the centuries, a sort of heirarchial structure has developed. And while this has no true basis in any kind of science or fact, and is indeed based soley in prejudice, it doesn't stop it from invading every aspect of Aliran life- frequently pitting the various species against one another; leading to ostracization, slavery, and a number of troubles which plague the world.   The main belief behind this heirarchal system, is that those who are furthest from their ancestors, who retain the least of their traits, are somehow more "pure". the reasoning is that because their ancestors managed to destroy themselves (or, i nsome cases, nearly destroy the world), then a lack of similarity is better. This puts the most Humanoid of species at the top of the social food chain, and the most beastly at the bottom.  

The Civilized

 
The Civilized Species consist of several species which resemble their ancestors the least in regards to magical attunement and appearance. But it goes one step further to include those who have achieved a certain level of advancement in arcana, mechanical technology, and agricultural ability, and who have also developed strong sociocultural traditions easily distinguished from one another.   Perhaps what sets the Civilized Species apart from others the most (in their own minds), however, is the concept of morality- or, more specifically, the concept that there is a "good" or "right" way of behavior befitting "civilized people"; they consider themselves to have transcended the bestial, primal, and vicious natures they believe prevent others from living in harmony with one another.
▼ Dwarves ▼
Dwarves are an almost entirely subteranian Species that descend from the Phet- the only known natives to the Material Realm. Well known for their mining skills and craftsmanship (especially with metal) they are further divided into the Deep Mountain, Mountain, and Hill ethnicities.  
 
▼ Gnomes ▼
Gnomes are a semi-subteranian Species that descended from the Dwarves themselves as they moved upwards towards the outside world. Known for Arcane technology and, now in recent years, their growing gunpowder technology, they're further divided into the Deep (also sometimes known as Cave), Rock, and Forest ethnicities.  
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▼ Halflings ▼
Halflings are a natural byproduct of Gnomes' further movement towards terrestrial life- just as the Gnomes were a byproduct of the Dwarves' search for sunlight. As a purely terrestrial Species, they have established themselves as great agrarians and pastoralists wherever they settle. Their further ethnic subdivisions include the Stout, Lightfoot, and Ghostwise ethnicities.  
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▼ Elves ▼
Elves are a complicated bunch descending from the Nom'Yth; advanced arcanists and great magical tacticians, they're the most long lived of all Aliran species, and can be further divided into the Winged, Ethereal, Shadow, Solar, Lunar, Timber, and Marine ethnicities- making them likewise the most diverse Species.  
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▼ Humans ▼
Incredibly stubborn with a strong adventurous spirit, and highly adaptable as a Species, Humans descend from the Ayeni and have come to inhabit nearly every corner of the world by now; the second most diverse- and frankly the most likely to fight amongst themselves, causing several cultural rifts over time- they include the Avi, Sari, Casti, Fereni, Ileri, Enethi, and Tameri.  
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  Despite this higher view of themselves, though, they are just as equally prone to sabotage, cruelty, and brutality whenever it suits them. Indeed, this egotistics view of themselves has no true foundation at all, and exists entirely within their own minds. It does not stop it, however, from having a very real and tangible, nad quite unfortunate, impact onf the world around them.  

The Flawed

 
Despite being equally as intelligent and advanced, simply in different forms and technologies, the so-called Flawed Species are called such because they're considered impure by the likes of the Civilized Species to whom they're closely related... And related they most definitely are; members of the Flawed Species are considered the cousins of the Civilized who didn't fully shed the "primal natures" of their ancestors. And in all cases their evolution actually predates those who now call themselves the Civilized.
▼ Fae ▼
Illustrious, beautiful, and charming Nom'Ythian descendants, the so-called Fae include the Dryads, Changelings, and Sirens- many of whom, thanks to years of persecution, are so ellusive as to now be considered extinct among the Civilized Species. Of course, rumors of a sighting surface every now and again- such as in the case of the Idrissan royal family of Faelkarstone being outed as Changelings in 6314. But no one knows for certain if any of these sightings are true (and no one truly cares to investigate).  
 
▼ Genasi ▼
Where the fae are all but considered extinct in most cases, the Genasi very much aren't. Indeed, while their cities themselves are often difficult to reach- choosing to sequester themselves away from the so-called "civilized life" in most cases- they're very much alive and well and, on an individual level at least, interact with the world regularly; ethnic groups along the Genasi closely follow the elemental lines for their Ayenian ancestors, giving rise to the Fire, Water, Earth, and Air ethnicities.  
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▼ Giants ▼
Giants are the smallest of the three Flawed Species, consisting of only two ethnicities: The Goliaths, and the Orcs, who split long ago over religious disagreements and could not be more different culturally; maligned by the world at large for their (fictitious) "violent natures", they exist in some of the harshest environments and rarely have contact with the outside world unless necessary.  
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  Most members of the Flawed Species experience varying levels of prejudice and discrimination from members of the Civilized. That being said, however, very few of them ever wind up as slaves or the like. Still, they experience high rates of violence, have higher rates of poverty, and most wind up taking on more dangerous professions; becoming adventurers and traveling from place to place, performing odd jobs in order to make ends meet.  

The Beastly

 
The Beast Species are any species capable of complex social order, thought, and technology, and has characteristics that resemble members of the Civilized or Flawed Species', but with animalic body features. They are considered by both Species to have only barely evolved, regardless of their technology level, social structure, or intelligence (and they are, in all cases, just as advanced)- being "no better than beasts".   Unlike the other species of Saleh'Alire, the origins of the Beastly ones ultimately remains a mystery. Some archivists, however, hypothesize that they were the results of Arcane experimentation by the Sa'Avi, and thus consider the Sa'Avi their ancestors in the same way that the Phet are the ancestors of the Giants. This hypothesis appears to be backed by the fact that nearly all Beastly species are endemic to Tolara and were found nowhere else prior to the fall of the Sa'Avi.
▼ Khenra ▼
A bipedal Jackal species with sleek black bodies, their Twin Bonds are agile- and brutal- fighters. And as they naturally prefer hot and dry climates, they regularly clash with the Ileri and Enethi for teritory in the Chisisi Desert and Rasha-Ui areas in Tolara.  
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▼ Tabaxi ▼
A bipedal Cat-like species renowmed for both their preference for solitude, and their love of water; often found in rivers, marshes, swamps, and delta regions such as the Nang Kap'ahu Delta, they especially thrive among the Tameri, Orcs, and Timber Elves of the southern peninsula of Tolara where most agree to simply leave each other in peace.  
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▼ Minotaur ▼
Half Bull, half humanoid, the Mastosa were originally endemic to the plains of Tolara. After the Second Dragon War, however, at some point they migrated to Rusatar- coming into conflict with the continent's Goliath population and resulting in what seems like a never-ending feud between the two groups.  
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▼ Arakoka ▼
Bipedal Avians of all shapes and sizes, with inteligences ranging from simple to complex- and speech patterns to mimic. Because of the nature of their needs, they're often found in floating cities coexisting with the Winged Elves who treat them more as estemed pets rather than as inteligent beings (let alone equals).  
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▼ Dragonborn ▼
While some believe the Dragonborn were created by the Dwarves in the Soul Forges alongside the Gem and Metal Dragons, in order to fight the Second Dragon War, there is no true evidence to support such beliefs. Still, it is undeniable that the Dragonborn look like, and are very likely modeled after the Dragons that once roamed the world.  
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Cover image: Reaching Hand by Min An

Comments

Author's Notes

▼ Please Read Before You Comment ▼
I absolutely love getting feedback on my setting and its worldbuilding. I love it even more when people poke and prod at it, and ask questions about the things I've built within it. I want both. I actively encourage both. And it makes me incredibly giddy whenever I get either. However, there's a time and a place for critique in particular- mostly when I've actually asked for it (which usually happens in World Anvil's discord server). And when I do ask for critique, there are two major things I politely request that you do not include in your commentary:   ➤ The first is any sort of critique on the way I've chosen to organize or format something; Saleh'Alire is not a narrative world written for reader enjoyment... It's is a living campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons. To that end, it's written and organized for my players and I, specifically for ease of use during gameplay- and our organization needs are sometimes very different than others'. They are especially diferent, often-times, from how things "should be organized" for reader enjoyment.   ➤ Secondly, is any critique about sentence phrasing and structure, word choice, and so on; unless you've specifically found a typo, or you know for a provable fact I've blatantly misued a word, or something is legitimately unclear explicitly because I've worded it too strangely? Then respectfully: Don't comment on it; as a native English speaker of the SAE dialect, language critique in particular will almost always be unwelcome unless it's absolutely necessary. This is especially true if English is not you first language to begin with. My native dialect is criticized enough as it is for being "wrong", even by fellow native English speakers ... I really don't want to deal with the additional linguistic elitism of "formal english" from Second-Language speakers (no offense intended).   That being said: If you want to ask questions, speculate, or just ramble? Go for it! I love talking about my setting and I'm always happy to answer any questions you have, or entertain any thoughts about it. Praise, of course, is always welcome too (even if it's just a casual "this is great", it still means a lot to authors)- and if you love it, please don't forget to actually show that love by liking it and sharing it around. Because I genuinely do enjoy watching people explore and interact with my setting, and ask questions about it, and I'd definitely love to hear from you... Just be respectful about it, yeah?


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