The game area is a heavily human centric place and the vast majority of people are human. The main noble houses are human, as are most of the lesser houses and the people who populate towns and cities. Dwarves and Halflings are the largest minority races, with limited representation of other races. However, as always, half-elves and half orcs are disproportionally represented among adventurers.
There are seven major Noble Houses. Each (rightly or wrongly) claiming a royal heritage, and all with a slightly different outlook on life.
House Surtova have a reputation as bullies – historically they were traders, pirates and brigands from Ioberia who conquered much of Northern Brevoy and ruled with an iron fist. They aren’t liked very much by the other houses. They now rule Port Ice, a large city in the north-west – but also claim the title of King-Regent and are the most powerful noble house - by a long way.
House Garess was once a powerful house of Ioberian settlers, they were an ally, and subordinate, of House Surtova. They controlled the flow of metals through an arrangement with Clan Golka (a Dwarven Clan) and were a strong house. However, Clan Golka’s mines and holdings were lost, and House Garess has been diminished. Once strong and proud, they are now one of the weakest houses and are trying to find their new place in the world. They still control a large area of mountainous land in the west, from a small city known as Greyhaven, and still have an allegiance (some would say dependency) on House Surtova.
House Lodkova control the islands and coastal areas in the north-east, from a small city called Winterbreak, they have a reputation as fishermen and traders. Historically, they were Ioberian settlers and there is more than a little pirate in their background, which some say has seeped through to modern life. Much of their land was once ruled by the Surtova, and the two houses are still in completion as traders on the Lake of Mist and Veils.
House Orlovsky emigrated from the city of Orlov in Ioberia centuries ago, and can claim one of the longest noble pedigree of all the houses – and they know it. They established themselves in a northern mountain holding and ruled it as kings from their fortress town called Eagle’s Watch. Many years ago, part of their lands were conquered by the Surtova, and although the Orlovsky have recovered most of it, they still bear a bit of a grudge. With few trading resources and poor land, they are one of the weaker noble houses.
House Medveyd are another house of Ioberian Settlers, this time in the west of Brevoy. They came via mountain passes and paths through the Icerime Peaks and are a ‘rural’ house made up of smaller clans of farmers and hunters. While the Duke rules from a large fortified Town called Stoneclimb, the original clan structure remains and it is, perhaps, the most egalitarian of the Noble Houses. Never ruled by the Surtova, they were heavily influenced by the Aldori and have formal treaties with some of the Orc tribes along their borders. The whole area has a Celtic/Highland feel to it.
House Lebeda are one of the newest houses and only have about 200 years of history. When Choral conquered the region and unified Brevoy this area was a disorganized mix of Ioberian and Taldan settlers, each going their own way. The Lebeda only rose to prominence after the conquest. They are a house of traders and farmers, and have a merchant house that works the East Sellen between New Stetven and the rest of Avistan. They still retain elements from both cultures, are independent and are among the strongest followers of Abadar (the merchant god). They rule their region from a large fortified town called Silverhall, but have a significant presence in the capital city of New Stetven.
Mainly composed of Taldan settlers, House Aldori have a long history in this region and ruled the whole of the Rostland plain before Choral’s conquest. For two hundred years they have been in decline, but are now making a comeback. Countess Jamandi Aldori rules in East Rostland again, and they have a strong presence around the region, and many Aldori are based in the Free City of Restov, which was once their capital. They are farmers and ranchers, but proud and with a strong duelling tradition.
There are a number of other lesser noble houses, some with strong magical affinities, spread around the ‘free’ areas of Brevoy. Most, such as House Cartan and House Ventus, are based in New Stetven, although House Rogavia-Green and House Varn, both in the North East are worthy of Note. House Khavatorov is an Aldori offshoot, once aligned with Choral’s House Rogarvia, now much more aligned with House Aldori.
There are three cities and one province that don’t fall under the complete control of one of the noble houses.
New Stetven is one of the largest cities in the whole region, a metropolis, and right in the middle of Brevoy. It is nominally under the control of King Regent Noleski Surtova, although his grip on it is weak. It is a thriving, bustling place with many districts and businesses. It is a cosmopolitan city made up of people from all races – although the vast majority are human. However, there are people from all the major noble houses, a good number of lesser houses, and huge numbers of ordinary every-day folks, from all classes.
A large city in the south-east of the country, it was the capital of old Aldori nation of Rostland. Now it is a free city with its own Mayor and council. However, there is a very strong Aldori presence in the city and, politically, it is aligned with the other Aldori holdings.
The newest Free City, set in the heart of the Stolen lands and one of the main player bases in the game. It was settled and founded by PCs as a colony of Brevoy. While it is mainly populated by humans, it is an open and welcoming city for members of all races. It has its own mayor and council composed of PCs.
A province to the south of Brevoy, which was the original colony in the game area. It is ruled by an NPC Viscount and has close links with Tusk. Many PCs have their main holdings in Midmarch.
Fort Drelev, Varnhold and Old Keep are three other associated areas. Fort Drelev and Varnhold are Independent colonies, while Old Keep was founded by a PC and is associated with both Tusk and Midmarch. It is part of the playing area.
Pharasma, Abadar, Erastil, and Gorum are the main deities worshipped. Pharasma has many followers in the countryside, Abadar is king of the cities and some merchant houses, Erastil is strong in the south-east, while Gorum is strongest among the noble houses in the north.
However, just about every faith is represented somewhere in Brevoy.
Dwarves are the second most populous race in Brevoy, and The Golka Clan were once ranked among the most powerful of groups. However, their main holdings were ‘lost’ about 15 years ago, and they are working their way towards recovery. The Golka are a super-clan - made up of a number of smaller clan and family groups (such as the Silverhammer, Bouldershoulder, Stigmar and Thaddeson families), who associated under one leadership. Now that leadership is gone, but the dwarves have a natural tendency to work together for the benefit of all Dwarves (That is what a LG racial alignment does for you). So there is a concerted effort to ‘better’ themselves and their race – still under the banner of ‘The Golka’.
While Dwarves are spread widely across the land, they all share a common 'traditional' things that all Dwarves consider to be part of their heritage. While not always a part of every day life, this Cultural Heritage often brings a smile to a Dwarf's face and makes them think of a barely existent 'Old Home'. It is also the themes that run through the 'Dwarf Bar', traditional festivals and meetings of old friends.
While there are no great Dwarven holdings any more, there are four places that have a good-sized population, although they are not, generally, a majority.
Brundeston is a small hill town, with some metal resources in the east of Brevoy. It is a free town with many Dwarves. It is the only place with a Majority Dwarf population and just over half of the residents are Dwarves.
Restov has a large Dwarven district known as Dwarf Town, with a majority Dwarf population and have their own representative on the council. Dwarf Town is renowned for its metalworkers, weaponers and armourers – Weapons and Armour from Dwarf Town are sought after.
Clan Golka used to have a very strong presence in Greyhaven, and the lost Mines were located in the Duchy. There are still a lot of dwarves there, working in various mines and foundries - but vast majority are working for humans from House Garess.
There are many dwarves in New Stetven, some work for other people, while a number run small businesses – normally associated with metal or stonework. While they do have a Dwarven Network, they keep a very low profile and rarely act together as one body. After all, this isn’t the time to upset the rest of the city, and especially not the King-Regent.
Halflings are everywhere – just not in very big numbers or in positions of authority. Many are servants, farmers, small holders, shopkeepers or even ship’s crew – but you can find Halflings in just about every form of employment. Many came from the south, fleeing tyranny and oppression – although many families have been here for two or three generations and are well settled now. However, there are still Halflings arriving in Brevoy and the Stolen Lands now, with most travelling north along the River Sellen trade routes, then making a final push into Brevoy via Jovvox, the gnome settlement to the south.
There is only one known half-orc settlement (in the far east of Stonewall) and that is tiny. However, there is a smattering of half orcs most places, with a few more in Stonewall and Greyhaven. As always, a disproportionate number of Half-Orcs leave home to seek their fortune – and many join adventuring parties.
The Medveyed of Stonewall have treaties with Orc tribes in the Icerime Mountains– or at least some of the smaller clans do. A number of villages have Half-Orc residents, and (although rare) Half-Orcs are not seen as ‘unusual’ in most of the towns.
Greyhaven ‘s territories extend into the Goluskin Mountains and there are frequent clashes between Orc tribes and the Greyhaven army. However, there are more peaceful interactions as well and, while half-orcs are treated with some suspicion, there are enough around that they aren’t unusual.
There aren’t all that may Half-Elves in Brevoy, because there aren’t many elves in Brevoy either. Even if they aren’t born there, most of the Half-Elves finish up in New Stetven or Restov – because that is where the action is, and they are both fairly cosmopolitan environments. Many are born in the cities as The Free Cities of Brevoy are always an interesting stop for Elves doing the ‘Grand Tour’. In the cities there are plenty of willing partners, of either gender, willing to help travelling Elves spend their cash. Which is one of the reasons why a lot of city half-elves come from broken homes. Some elves stay for longer, but few manage to live out a whole lifetime in the fast-paced human world, that doesn’t leave them time to think.
As always, a disproportionate number of Half-Elves leave home to seek their fortune – and many join adventuring parties.
The Metropolis of New Steven is busy, bustling and cosmopolitan. Half-Elves barely get a second glance, and often feel at home here.
Another large city, it is cosmopolitan and the laws aren’t particularly intrusive. Half-Elves do not stand out, and can fit into society fairly easily.
There are very few Gnomes in Brevoy. There is a colony to the south, at Jovvox, but very few fancy lining in an oversized, and over regulated, human world.
There are no Elven settlements in Brevoy, and the nearest Elven state is hundreds of miles to the south at Kyonin. Kyonin is an isolationist state and doesn’t allow other races into their lands, nor do its residents move to other nations, with short-lived populations. Many Kyonin Elves travel to see how the short-lived ones lives and behave - but they generally return to their homeland fairly quickly. Some, who become the parents of half-elven children stay for a while, perhaps 20 years or so, before they return. Many males don’t even realize they have fathered a child, and move from town to town and assignation to assignation - and there is never a shortage of company to help them spend their travelling money. Female Elves often have a similar lifestyle, but they understand the value of taking Night Tea regularly.
There are a few, longer term, more caring relationships, of course – but nowhere near as many as there are casual relationships.