Razing the Dead
[Apart from some racism, you should be safe. Most of the time.]
o Human – Humans still dot the landscape in small pockets of remaining civilization. Unknown to them, they are allowed to continue, though not flourish, because of the Lich Lords’ need to replenish their troops, and that humans reproduce faster than many of the other races.
o Elf – The woodlands are still somewhat safe against the undead, but the elves have kept them so for a price. No one enters or leaves the woodlands controlled by the elves, whether living or dead. The only elves wandering the world are from what is now called Ashwood, where much of lush forest was burned in a magical showdown between their greatest masters and, if legends are true, dragons ridden by the undead Liches. Only small stands of ancient groves remain, and by the influence of the magical battle, even they are warped and twisted. The inhabitants within may not be undead, but they are certainly changed by the damage done to the landscape.
Within the elven lands, however, is an unfaltering isolationist mentality. The elves have adopted a stance similar to Israel – they are surrounded by powerful enemies on all sides and, if they must, they will kill anything that moves against them, whether living or dead, to ensure that their lands are maintained.
In some of the larger towns and foreign cities there are small pockets of elven civilization. They are different from their forest cousins, with far more in common with the humans that barely tolerate them in this metropolitan lifestyle. The humans suffer with their sharing part of their cities, but only if they stay in these tragic ghettos, “Elftowns” have lost more of their heritage and are looked on with disdain by most humans and their forest counterparts, that see these elves as having lost their way.
o Dwarf – upon the crumbling alliance between the humans, elves and dwarves, the several remaining dwarven kingdoms closed their mountain doors and sealed themselves within their vault-like kingdoms. They still continue battling attempts against their kingdoms from below, as the undead never need to fear the sun while in the depths.
Rarely a dwarven settlement still exists. Not all dwarves made it into the kingdoms below before the massive doors closed for a final time. Some dwarves cut a measure of life out in human lands, selling their trades to get by, but hardly well-received by humans, even when their work becomes more and more rare and highly sought after by those seeking the best in weapons and armor.
o Halfling – only small villages remain and those Halflings live in isolated internment camps. Mainly manufacturing centers, sweatshops that produce goods for the Empire. Before the camps began, the Halflings were carefree people, and actually supported the open rebellion against the growing strength of the would-be Empire. For their insolence they were enslaved and each town is patrolled by a faction of the Night Watch, where experiments are common into new necromantic spells and Halflings are forced, even by rape in some cases, to continue producing large quantities of offspring for them to keep the camps operational.
[You might be able to hide your racial traits – if not, you may not be safe]
o Half-elf – Elves have been secluded for so long that an elf and a human meeting up, let alone breeding together, are almost unheard of. When it does happen, however, the elves see it as a sign of impurity and weakening of the elven bloodline. Humans are slightly less judgmental, but that tends to fall on the general disposition of each locale. Regardless, most half-elves try their best to hide one part of their parentage, typically their elven side.
o Eladrin – Some elves decided to hide within their forest strongholds, others used arcane magic to retreat into the fae wilds, where they originated. They still send support teams back to the world with magical artifacts and replenish the soldiers of the woodlands, but these trips are becoming less and less frequent as the elven lords begin to lose faith in their hold in this world. They try negotiating with the woodland elves to return to the Fey Wild, but so far neither side is willing to fully commit.
o Revenants – With the increased frequency of necromantic magic in the world the occurrence of revenants has grown. These intelligent undead were formerly animated by the goddess of the dead when she was still actively worshipped, but no one can entirely explain why some souls refuse to give up on their lives and return to their bodies to finish whatever purpose they are destined to accomplish.
[You will undoubtedly be given negative attention in civilized towns and cities]
o Gnome – Even before the blight of the Endless the gnomes were seldom seen. After, they have completely withdrawn from the world and have no reason to allow others to know they exist. They have disappeared so completely that they have become nothing more than faerie tales told by parents to children, trying to bring a reminder of happiness in a dark world.
o Dragonborn – Already limited in number, the dragonborn disappeared to an island refuge far from the mainland, where they seek first to fortify themselves from invasions, then to pursue how to possibly rebuild their once proud empire. So far they have consistently refused to ally with any other race, so their limited numbers and long gestation periods have stalled any progress they may once have made. For hundreds of years no dragonborn has left the island and no one that tried communicating with them has had success.
o Half-orc – half-orc children are so infrequently allowed to live that few people are aware the two races can interbreed. Humans seldom survive the brutal rape that instigates the birth of the child and orcs, should they ever encounter a half-breed will do everything within their power to eliminate it.
o Tiefling – The devil-linked race fought valiantly when first targeted by the Empire. A catastrophic war, lasting for a constant string of weekly campaigns focused against the summoners of the Empire, with each side throwing waves of creatures and every arcane tool at the tieflings’ disposal before the Immortal March brought their glimmer of hope to an end. The remaining tiefling soldiers and arcanists fled the battlefield in a final explosion, laying waste to a once lush countryside and leaving only a barren, scorched landscape that still, hundreds of years later, is void of life. Since then the tieflings are strangely absent, despite still being seen as potential heroes and leaders for others to take down the Empire.
o Minotaur – The minotaurs were a divided people when the Empire came to their homelands. Many of their tribes suggested joining the ranks of the Imperial horde, after having been offered a special branch of their military where the minotaurs would have autonomy. The remainder knew that this would be nothing more than living in servitude and their pride and independence refused allowing them to join. This so split the homelands that a civil war for the future of the minotaur lands was placed in jeopardy. Battles were short and punctuated, with periods of retreat and rebuilding before launching back at each other in bouts of honor. Seizing the advantage, the undead joined the side supporting them and the rebellion of the minotaurs was cut short. Those surviving the assault left their homeland and sought hiding in the mountains and caverns surrounding their former homes.
[Only allowed with a brilliant backstory and an understanding you may have a short character life]
o Drow – The dark elves did not retreat into their caverns as many believe. During the first raids of the undead, the drow understood the calculations behind their assault and decided to preemptively strike before the undead tried claiming their kingdom. The resulting series of battles decimated a strong branch of the undead forces before they pushed them back into the caverns. In replenishing their numbers from the fallen drow, the undead masters followed the drow back into their cavern complex and collapsed much of their network around their most significant cities. Since then the drow have retreated to lick their wounds, but wait for a time to reveal that they are not as weakened as the undead believe. If anyone will inherit the night above it will be the drow.
o War Golem (War-forged) – There are whispered rumors of ancient magically driven war machines from a long-forgotten war. Many seek to find evidence that they not only exist but could still be stashed elsewhere. These golems could turn the tide on the undead threat, being immune to many of the tactics that the overlords use to enslave the other races.
o Genasi – Genasi have been actively hunted by the Empress since she took power. She has not exterminated them, as many of her advisers suggested, but has “enlisted” them as part of The Black Iron Gate.