The Iron Kingdoms is a Human-dominated campaign setting. Though fantasy stand-bys such as Dwarves
exist, the vast majority of the setting is populated by and run by Humans
. Humanity has long established several kingdoms for themselves: Cygnar
, the Protectorate of Menoth
, and even a number of the Scharde Islands
are populated by a majority of humans.
Men of the Northern Kingdoms
Hailing from the central and western areas of Khador
, the Khardic people are the most numerous in the Empire. The ancient Khardic Empire took its name from them, and the exhibit a nationalist pride in the old culture. They tend to be dark of hair and rough of features. Also, the Khards tend to be physically larger than most ethnic groups in Western Immoren
, and are known for their ability to endure hardship. Many claim that Khardic size is due to descent from the Bogatyri
, a race of mythic giants that supposedly were wiped out during the Ogroth Invasion.
Culturally, Khards tend to be jingoistic, a fact seized upon by Khador in motivating the country to war. They also are known for their fiery tempers, fierce pride, and unbending tenacity. Due to these traits, Khards are known for the powerful warriors that come from their people, a martial tradition that continues to form the basis of Khadoran society.
Most Khards speak Khadoran.
Men of the Central Kingdoms
Men of the Southern Kingdoms
Dwarves are more populous, prosperous, and pervasive than Elves in the Iron Kingdoms. They primarily live in the mountain nation of Rhul, to the north and west of the human nations. Rhul is not, strictly speaking, one of the Iron Kingdoms, but plays an important role in the politics and trade of the region. Dwarves in the Iron Kingdoms are still as strong and stout as their D&D counter parts, but while they are still considered to be master miners and metal-smiths, they are also considered to be one of the setting's premier authorities in the craft of gun-making.
Gobbers are a more civilized version of traditional D&D goblins. Gobbers fill game niches traditionally filled by gnomes and halflings, which are not present in this setting. They make for capable mechanics and alchemists.
Though present in the Iron Kingdoms, Elves are rare, reclusive, and xenophobic. There are two main groups of Elves, the Iosans (who maintain a strictly-guarded forest kingdom with no trade or contact with the outside world) and the Nyss (a small population of arctic Elves that engage in little commerce with other races, including the Iosans).
The elves of Caen inhabit the nation of Ios. Ios is located east of Llael. In addition to complete militaristic, political, and trade isolationism the Elves of Ios also harbor severe xenophobia. Paranoid and agitated by the outside world, they have secluded themselves to their kingdom for several centuries. In the recent times, with Iron Kingdoms beset by rampant warfare Elven activity has been on the rise. Usually spotted in unconfirmed scouting or spying activity, the Elves have most certainly taken notice and interest in the woes of the Iron Kingdoms.
The Elves of the Iron Kingdoms are somewhat less enlightened than D&D Elves. In keeping with the steam punk setting they also seem as magically inhibited as all other races on Caen.
The Nyss are the frosty northern cousins of the Iosan. Physically identical but separated widely by culture, the Nyss cultivate a hunter/gatherer society in the extreme north that has flourished in the past couple centuries.
The Nyss stray from the mold of typical Dark or Drow (D&D) elves. A better descriptor would be 'Feral Elves'. Their lives are not dissimilar from North Khadoric humans, aside from their immortality.
The Coming of Everblight
The Nyss are now in the hardest time of their history. Awakened from the frigid mountain tops, the dragon-spirit Everblight has begun his wave of conquest, destruction, and corruption. In addition to the creation of the dragonspawn, the first objective of Everblight was the mass corruption (blighting) of the Nyss. An unmitigated success, this windfall for Everblight has decimated the Nyss population and sent the few survivors clamoring south into Khadoran towns speaking of a nameless horror, often only to be killed by their ancient human enemies. Now, hardened by life in the north, and strengthened by Everblight's touch, the Nyss stand at the vanguard of a new and hideous wave of death.
Ogrun are a more civilized version of traditional D&D ogres. They have integrated quite well into dwarven society, though barbaric tribes still exist in some areas. Ogrun are the only playable race in the Iron Kingdoms with no aptitude for arcane magic. While barbaric ogrun do exist in the iron kingdoms, many have found a home living among the dwarves in the kingdom of Rhul.
Distant relatives of the more powerful trolls, trollkin, like ogrun and gobbers, can be found in Human cities, often working as dockworkers or stonemasons. However, there is still a large trollkin population that chooses to live a simpler life in the wilderness of Immoren. These trollkin live in a "kriel"(a group of families living closely together) and usually form tribes. Such Tribes are usually led by a group known as the "circle of stones," made up of the eldest and wisest of the tribe. A tribe also has a Shaman or priest who serves as the arbiter of all spiritual matters, although Shamans are also highly sought after to provide wisdom in more worldly matters. Trollkin sorcerers are born albino.