In FASA's Earthdawn role-playing game, races are divided into four broad categories: Horrors, Horror Creations, animals, and Namegivers. Namegivers are all intelligent, sentient, and capable of giving names to objects or people in a world where Names really do have power. PCs are presumed to be members of Namegiver races, and common wisdom says that since Names are an essential part of reality, Namegivers are the only ones who can truly work magic or shape the world. Unfortunately, there is no list of criteria which determine what is and is not a Namegiver, and no one has clearly defined the difference between Namegivers and their archenemies the Horrors. Cruel GMs may well take advantage of many players' tendencies to define Namegivers as "um, you know" by introducing races whose status is not at all clear.

There are eight commonly accepted Namegiver races in Barsaive, each of which has its own language:

  • Dwarves: Short, strong, and frequently a bit hairy, dwarves look a lot like one would expect. There are a number of respected dwarven engineers and librarians, who frequently assist in the administration of cities or empires, but there are no standard dwarven professions. Dwarves are fairly common, and have no uniting culture.

  • Elves: Beautiful, dextrous, and blessed with pointed ears, elves are another standard fantasy-universe staple. Elves in Barsaive are extremely long-lived, and most share a complex culture based around phases of life . The two main elven kingdoms are the Wyrmwood's Elven Court and the now multi-racial Thera. After the Scourge, there are also Blood Elves, whose culture centers around the renamed Bloodwood.

  • Humans: Humans are the most versatile race, known for being able to learn just about anything they put their minds to. They are extremely common, and can be found in any position that does not require non-human anatomy. There is no overarching human culture.

  • Trolls: Huge, strong, and horned, trolls tend to live in close-knit tribes fairly separated from the rest of the world. Although most are not really barbarians, many tribes make their living as raiders of one sort or another. Trolls form to be a small percentage of most major multiracial cities' populations.

  • T'skrang: Scaled, tailed, and infinitely variable, t'skrang are the lizardmen of Barsaive. They frequently live in large extended families or tribes, usually near water, but can be found in much smaller numbers in large cities. Individual t'skrang are not as versatile as humans, but as a race they are extremely varied, and one can find t'skrang of every size, shape, and color in most roles in life. Most t'skrang come from a riverboat trading backround, but there are also jungle tribes and mountain communities.

  • Obsidimen: Giant, mysterious, and literally made of stone, obsidimen are by far the rarest of Barsaive's races. Obsidimen are not born, but are rather exuded by a magical liferock that is the source for their entire clan. They can hold a range of professions, just like other Namegiver races. Most people know very little about them. It is unclear whether the liferock serves a purpose in obsidiman life other than in reproduction.

  • Orks: Quick-tempered, tough, and tusked, orks tend to have a bad reputation that they don't really deserve. Although they're usually considered ugly by other races, they're just as likely to be good, bad, or somewhere in between as any other race. There are a number of orkish raiding organizations, but as a race they are less likely to form close-knit tribes than the trolls are. Orks are one of the more common races, and have no coherent culture.

  • Windlings: Tiny, flighty, and fierce, windlings resemble nothing so much as a slightly barbaric fairy. About eighteen inches high and winged, windlings are slow chameleons- they will change colors to match the brightest objects in their surroundings over the course of a week. Windlings in cities will usually live on the top story of normal buildings interspersed with everyone else; outside of civilization, they tend to form tribal communities.

These eight species are what is normally meant by the Namegiver races. There is a great deal of debate as to whether dragons are Namegivers or Horror Creations, and there are several less common humanoid races whose status is uncertain. Very few people, however, have gotten close enough to a dragon to ask.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.