After the Final War is a human world. There are no elves, dwarves, and so on. But there is a variety of different human cultures.
Cultures have been mixed together after the Final War, and there’s strength in the diversity of people in a community. Different cultures have different expertise, different forms of magic, and different attitudes. There are cultural clashes as well, but to survive in a changed and dangerous world, cooperation is key.
And then there are the enemies of humanity, the Ministers of the Nameless Emperor, the desecrators, who came from outside creation, those tainted by the Nameless Emperor, and other monsters. That’s something for another blog post.
The main cultures are:
Alari, the First People
The Alari formed the first civilisation in the world’s First Age, and in the Second Age acted as teachers of then new civilisations. Although as human as any other culture, they are ageless, dying only due to violence or misadventure. Despite that very few Alari remain, and they have no more children. You are one of the last.
Before the Nameless Emperor’s defeat, he held particular hate for the Alari, and they suffered ceaseless trauma in the Third Age. The oldest Alari no longer leave their homes, being in a state of permanent mourning for the world. But younger Alari still hold some hope, still use their people’s wisdom and magic to fight for the good of the world.
Ekeli, the Hunters
The Ekeli are almost as old as the Alari. They are not immortal as the Alari are, but live for centuries. To the other cultures, they are still a mysterious people, dwelling apart in the Hollow Hills, deadly hunters who make mysterious bargains. But as an Ekeli, you’ve gone out into the world to find something outside your original home. Your magic is effective, your skills at hunting monsters, the tainted, even subjugators perhaps even more so.
In the First Age, the Alari and Ekeli fought devastating wars between the opposing philosophies represented by the gods of Sky and Earth, who also fought. But now they regard each-other as cousins, with more in common with each-other than those of the younger cultures. Both have even drifted away from worship of the old earth and sky gods, instead focusing any religious attention on the original creator.
Kethians, the Fallen
Before the Final War, the Kethians were known for their truculent independence and industry. They lived in individual earldoms, often in conflict, only nominally answerable to a King. Some were heroic warriors, who fought for their lords, and as mercenaries for other causes, but they formed no large armies. Others were poets who sang sagas of the distant Second Age about romantic and doomed heroes.
In the Final War, the Kethians gained more of a sense of unity, but after a valiant fight almost all of them were enslaved by the Nameless Emperor. The Minister of Chains still occupies their homeland, and most Kethians are slaves there. Some have escaped, and fight for the freedom of their people.
The Mountain Clans
The Mountain Clans spent earlier ages apart from other cultures, in high places or cities beneath the ground. The bitter wars between the Clans were invisible to the dwellers on the plains and islands, the struggles against monsters in the dark unknown to other cultures. Now the underground cities of old are no more, and the Mountain Clans are very much a part of the world. Will they make a difference?
There are but three surviving Clans – the Feuerstein, Eisen, and Smaragd Clans. War between the other two Clans and the Smaragd Clan goes on, for the Smaragd Clan served the Nameless Emperor and continue to serve his cause now he is defeated.
Nisians, the Islanders
The Nisians are master sailors and boaters, on both the seas and rivers. They tend to be impulsive and hedonistic, and apart from their boats hold material possessions lightly. Through most of their history, many were pirates and raiders, though they were always also traders and messengers. Most make their home on islands, which protected them from the worst of the ravages of the Nameless Emperor. Indeed many fought on the Nameless Emperor’s side, for the Final War provided fine raiding opportunities.
But by the end of the Final War though, the Nisians fought with the other Free People, and drove out the Serpent, a Minister resident in their main island home of Nisi. Now, in the Fourth Age, they seek to atone atone for their role in the first part of the Final War. They are no longer pirates and raiders. Many Nisians on reaching adulthood join another community to serve them, in a custom called Renewal.
The Vespans, the People of the Evening
In the Second Age, the Vespan Empire spanned the world, but split into a Northern and Southern Empire, and war. At the end of the Second Age, magic both destroyed the most of the Northern Empire, and breached the walls between worlds, letting in the Nameless Emperor, his Desecrators, and his Ministers. Anything remaining in the North quickly fell.
The southern Vespans at first stayed out of the Final War, being far from the action, but then fought a holding action against him for most of the Third Age, on a knife edge even with the other free peoples as allies.
Now the Empire is no more, and the culture reduced to the once vast and mighty city of Vesper, the surrounding lands, and scattered outposts. But the Vespans hope to rebuild, to reclaim the world, and they still feel they have the weight of thousands of years of history on their side, of courage to drive back the Ministers of the Nameless Empire and their remaining forces.