Chronicles of Adar
Carlaean tradition has it that the first humans stepped from their longships onto the sands of southern Adar in the 751st year before the founding of the Carlaean Imperium. Many fleets arrived over the following decades, abandoning the southern islands and their cold, harsh climates in favor of Adar’s fertile lowlands.
As human settlements began to dot the southern coasts and move inland along the great rivers, they established relationships with the existing inhabitants of the land—mostly dwarves and elves. Most of these were amiable at first, as there was more than enough land to go around; the elves preferred their forests and the dwarves their hill and mountain citadels, leaving the arable grasslands and river valleys freely to the humans. Relationships soured, however, as human populations rapidly outgrew the mythic peoples around them and needed more and more land to support themselves.
Now, over a thousand years later, humans are the dominant race in the entire southern half of Adar. Human city states dot the land, and ancestral forests are checkered with sections of cleared land where farming villages have cleared out sections for new fields. In the east, city states have consolidated through treaties and conquest into the Carlaean Imperium and the Free Cities Alliance. In the west, most human city states still remain independent.
Southlanders, Highlanders, and Deori
A millennium of time in Adar has changed the humans who migrated there. Oral histories suggest that the first humans to reach Adar were mostly fair skinned. The people who identify as Southlanders are those whose ancestors remained mostly along the coast of Adar, and are still a fair skinned people whose hair is typically blonde or light brown. Highlanders are the descendants of those who settled in the river valleys and highlands of the middle of Adar, and most tend to have a slightly ruddier tone to their skin than their Southland cousins, with brown hair being more common than blonde. Nonetheless, the separation between the two in appearance is extremely minimal.
Deori, however, are the descendants of humans who mingled and bred with wood-elven societies early in the history of Adar. While there is not enough elven blood in the Deori people for them to be considered half-elves, they are extremely distinctive in appearance from other humans; they tend to have olive brown skin, hawkish eyes and noses, and dark brown or black hair. The Deori mostly live nomadic lifestyles in the northern highlands of Adar, tending sheep and moving from place to place within the grasslands. Because of their history, it is quite common for Deori to have strong relationships with wood-elven communities, and most half-elves are the result of relationships between an elf and a Deori human.
Horned head, prehensile tail, strangely colored eyes, and reddish skin—a tiefling is a frightening sight for those not used to them. Looking exactly like a devil from the illustrations in the Book of the Seven is the unfortunate fate of this rare human subrace. Tieflings are wholly distinct from humans in almost every way, and yet can still be considered human for one fundamental reason; every tiefling is born to human parents.
The true origin of tieflings is a matter of debate. Some call them the “Children of the Eighth” due to the story that they exist because of the touch of Asmodea, a fallen angel figure in Septarchine theology, on the human race. They are the objects of superstition, fear, and often persecution. A tiefling can in theory be born to any human couple, but their occurrence is extremely rare—generally less than one in a thousand. Sadly, the number who manage to survive their first days of life is even smaller; tiefling infants are commonly exposed at birth, especially in remote villages where they might be the first recurrence of “the curse” in generations.
Despite their appearance, Tieflings are no more prone towards evil than any other human; their treatment in broader society, however, can breed resentment, and ultimately a life of crime may be the only way they can keep themselves alive. Thus, many tieflings end up as part of organized crime syndicates like the Broken Ring.