Sentient Races of the World

The SWATT universe is populated by many sentient species and races, of which six are currently available to play as characters. Other sentient races you may come across are described in the Bestiary along with some of the more notable animals of the Treasure Trap world. The following player guides give the information about these player races which might be known to a layperson. Should you wish to play a non-human, please email the refs to get the longer player guide for your own race and culture. You will also need to spend XP on the appropriate Racial Package when first creating your character.

Playing a non-human character has an associated XP cost and minimum physrep requirement. Humans are the most common race in the city, with elemental elves the next most common due to the prodigious colleges. Following these are true elves, kender and dwarves. Orcs are seemingly fewer in number, but this may be simply because they tend to avoid mixing with other social groups.

Humans [0xp]

* Humans have no special physrep requirements; you are already a human in real life.
* An unskilled human character has 3 Hitpoints-per-location, may call HALF (and only HALF) with any weapon up to 36'' in length, and may wear up to 4 points of armour.
* Kender may not use any weapons longer than 36''
* They may become spiritually awakened or learn magic.

Humans are the most common and diversely spread of the sentient races. Generally hardier than elves, but less tough that dwarves or orcs, they are the “jack of all trades” of society, some specialising in magic, some in swordsmanship, others become priests or rogues. Most humans are at least lay-followers of a god, though the extent to which this influences their behaviour varies greatly from person to person.

Dwarves [10xp]

Dwarves.JPG * The dwarven phys-rep is horns on the forehead or coming from the side of the head. The horns may be of any size, as long as they are clearly visible and that you are clearly identifiable as a dwarf.
* An unskilled dwarf has 3 hitpoints-per-location, may call HALF (and only HALF) with any weapon, and may wear up to 4 points of armour.
* Dwarves are resistant to (ie, take one degree less damage from,) all magical calls (this includes all coloured damage such as RED, GREY etc.)
* They may not become spiritually awakened, or study magic.
* They may buy fitness and fortitude without the relevant levels of Warrior, and must buy the Health skill at every level.

Dwarves are one of the less common sentient races inhabiting the Treasure Trap world, but according to their own lore they are the oldest. Small groups of dwarves can be found across most temperate regions of the world, although they are not fond of tropical or desert regions, and are rare in the northern principalities such as the lands of Norsca.

Known as Dwarves by humans and Smallfolk by elves, the race's own name for themselves, "Vera Natio", translates as "The (Only) Real People". They do not generally choose to integrate with the other races (finding little in common with them) although those dwarves who do choose to migrate to human or elven settlements are able to fit in satisfactorily, their long attention spans and love of hard work meaning it is not hard for a dwarf to find employment.

Historically, the dwarves ran a large empire from their capital city of Roma, in what is now one of the states of Italia. Dwarvish legends state that thousand years ago, the Romish empire was the most powerful nation in the world. It had been some time since the cataclysm that destroyed the dwarven gods, and the ancient scholars had moved beyond the superstitious worship of fickle divinities and built a society based on the science of alchemy and the superiority of the dwarven race.

Dwarves tend to have strong family ties, with undying loyalty to their tribe, lineage and immediate family although they are often also the first to criticise them. An unwary outsider thinking to join in with the fun will swiftly find that the dwarves close ranks against them, however, and savage wars have been fought over "What she said about our Mother".

Perhaps because of their imperial past, dwarves are often stereotyped as money-grabbing and obsessed with gold, a situation which many dwarves find confusing when surrounded by human greed and the kender love of precious metals. Most dwarves are fairly astute business people and careful with their wealth, but they are not a universally mercenary race.

Mining is a traditional dwarven occupation, with many families retaining a mine as a communal inheritance. Other trades include alchemy, blacksmithing and related forging, carpentry, stonemasonry and decorative metalwork, with all types of engineering being highly regarded in dwarven society.

Ancient dwarves claim that the dwarves were the ones who invented alchemy; certainly, it was a highly regarded and advanced art in the days of the Empire. There are secret arts of alchemy known in the Great Delves that are not taught to any being, and the reason the legions of the Empire were so effective in battle was not the mighty priests that led them but the potent combat drugs and healing potions carried and maintained by every legionary.

Very few people are opposed to dwarves as a species, but there are rumours and speculation about a niche black-market for harvested dwarven horns, which are said to function as a powerful aphrodysiac when powdered.

Elemental Elves [10xp]

The elemental elf phys-rep involves pointed ears, and significant coverage of all exposed skin with facepaint in the colour of that elf's element – it should be clear from across a large room that you are an elemental elf, and what element you are associated with. Solid-colour elves are encouraged, but the physrep may be represented by geometric or swirling lines, or even pictoral representations of that element. A particular elf's “pattern” may change between events, represented by the response of the magic within the elf's body to the shifting tides of magic in the vacinity and in their homes, as well as the individual elf's temperment and current emotional state.

  • An unskilled elemental elf has 2 hitpoints-per-location, 1 point of dodge, may call HALF with any weapon, and may wear up to 4 points of armour.
  • They are resistant to damage of their own colour, and weak to damage of their opposing element.
  • As half of their soul is composed of magic, elemental elves are resistant to all calls involving SPIRIT damage, and healing miracles are only half as effective on them. Some other miracles may work differently on them.
  • Elemental elves are limited in the amount of metal they can carry (in the same way mages are); they may carry at most 3-daggers worth (ie. 1 longsword, or 1 suit of full studded leather armour) before suffering painful magical discharge.
  • Elemental elves are affected by any call containing the words “SMITE ELEMENTAL”.

There are six races or cultures of elemental elf, named: High Elves, Pyrokin, Hydrokin, Aerokin, Tomten and Drow.
Elemental elves have pointed ears and stark patterns covering their skin in one of the six colours of magic. These patterns may shift and change with the patterns of the moon, and vary greatly from elf to elf. Some elves have skin in the colour of their element from head to toe, others have swirling patterns, others angular lines. The well-known legend of the Ritual of Elemental Soul explains that all six colours of elf were once a single race, the non-magical True Elves, before having half their souls ripped out and replaced by elemental magic. Now elemental elves breed true - baby elemental elves take on one of the elemental colours soon after birth in a process known as Quickening. While relationships between elemental elves and true elves are in general good, most elemental elves find that they cannot shake the reservations they have surrounding the fact that the True Elves around today did not join with their own ancestors in the sacrifice that saved the elven people, and have not been so gifted by the elemental lords and ladies.
All elemental elves have very long lifespans compared to humans. They tend to reach their late teens at approximately 90 years old (puberty being rather earlier) and then mature at approximately one quarter of the rate at which humans age - giving them an extended and relatively static adulthood before the eventual decline of old age.
When an elemental elf dies their body dissolves away leaving behind a small amount of the element that had made up half of their soul (a flash of light, a puff of air, small pile of shale etc). If a limb is severed it remains flesh briefly while it is within a few yards of the body but converts to the element if taken further away. This lack of a corpse has some obvious consequences, for example elemental elves cannot be raised as zombies.
Because of their cultural affinity to magic all six races of elemental elf are commonly trained in youth as mages of their own colour, even if they do not follow an academic lifestyle afterwards. It is known that elemental elves do not enjoy the touch of metal because of their elemental souls, and this is rumoured to also interfere with some miracles cast upon them.

High Elves

High Elves are also known as White Elves, Light Elves or Quenya (in their own language). This language - Quenyar - has been adopted as the elvish common tongue (much to the chagrin of the Drow, for whom the High Elves cherish a great disdain), though the high elves are often heard to remark to one another that the other colours speak the language with a barbarous accent; it is written using the Tengwar alphabet. Most of the High Elves will at least understand Common if they have been brought up in Brighthelm or have had to find work there, and after some argument (and the concession that High Elf professors need not lecture in Common) being able to speak common was added to the matriculation requirements for the Colleges of Magic.

Half of the soul of a High Elf is replaced by magical force from the Elemental Plane of Light, giving High Elves their distinctive white-patterned skin and hair. It tells you much that you need to know about High Elves that a fairly fashionable nonstandard spell is one to enhance the natural reflectivity of their skin and give them a very faint glow and halo. This may be the origin of the Brighthelm's phrase 'acting like the sun shines out of your arse'.

In Brighthelm as elsewhere, the insular High Elves tend to live together in closed communities. As a rule they are immensely proud of their racial heritage (it is said that Cailean, the elf who led the Ritual of Elemental Soul, became a High Elf) and see no reason to alter themselves to fit in with humans, whom they are also superior to, although they see them as an immature race with potential rather than scum. Most High Elves will speak to humans as if they were slightly backward children, especially given that elves have a much longer lifespan than humans and so to them most humans are barely teenagers. A few High Elves (usually the older and very young ones) are fairly naturalised into human society and may have friends outside of their own racial group. This is the exception rather than the rule, however.



Drow.JPG The Drow are the most distinct of all the elven races, having been persecuted since the day of the Ritual of Elemental Soul which gave them their deep purple colour. Most Drow dwell beneath the earth's surface in the underdark. 'Underdark' is the Common translation of the Drow phrase for 'cave enclave of the Drow', and the Drow houses constructed Underdarks for themselves some time ago. In Brighthelm there is a trading post maintained with the help of an enclave in the Underdark. The city also attracts its share of lone drow.

Drow live in Houses, based on family and bloodline. The vast majority of drow are fiercely matriarchal however there are some groups of drow who do not follow this pattern. However, all drow will demonstrate utter loyalty to their house in most circumstances - a drow without a House does not exist and is a shunned unperson.

With half of their soul replaced by Elemental Magic of the Element of Darkness, Drow have dark purple colourations in their skin. They commonly have white hair, which makes them very distinctive in appearance unless it is dyed or covered by a dark hood. Due to the substitution of part of their soul Drow have a natural affinity with dark magic and most are dark mages.



The Tomten, also referred to as Grey Elves, Wood Elves and Mountain Elves, are the elemental elf race associated with the element of Stone. They are traditionally deliberate and accurate of thought and of action; it is the rare wood-elf that puts a foot wrong or makes a verbal gaffe. Their humour is clever, as is the work of their hands - they are the artificers among the elves, the carvers and artists and makers, and tend to have little patience for courses of action without tangible results (then again, mirth and a good time are worth making exceptions for). Tomten art is stunning to behold, but the race has produced not one original philosopher in twelve hundred years. Tomten are often accused of having little imagination, but this is not true; it is just that there are some things they do not see as worthy of their attention, and so they do not waste time thinking about them too hard.

Grey Elves have their own lands, in the great forests and steppes far to the east of Teutonia, but it is not uncommon to find one anywhere - sitting in one's lab or workshop and taking no notice of the world is a course of action that is likely to lead quickly to being overtaken by younger and more vigorous rivals, so the Tomten often travel in search of practical knowledge to add to their store. They love plants of all kinds, and when a Tomten finds a place they wish to stay for a few decades the first thing they are likely to do is set up a nice garden.

Tomten have grey patterned or mottled skin, and some even appear to have small rock-like protrusions and irregularities in various places on their body, reflecting the elemental Stone that makes up half of their soul and a good share of their body. The younger of the race tend to have earthy patches on their skin, and as they age the tone grows somewhat lighter and develops a weathered character. Their hair is typically brown or black, and worn in a utilitarian style, though as with the young of all races there is a period of teenage rebellion where any kind of colour is acceptable as long as it annoys their elders. Said elders merely give a tolerant smile and return to their magic or their gardening; the young elves will grow out of such a phase by the time they hit a hundred and fifty.


The Aerokin, also known as the Blue Elves, Cloud Elves, Wind Elves or Moon Elves, are the elemental elves associated with the element of Air. They are the dreamers among the elves, the singers and shapers, smiths of words and of subtle magic, seekers after perfection in all that they do and accomplish - an interesting story, of course, is more perfect than a true one if entertainment is what one is seeking. Though they might be termed 'flighty' by the worryingly intense and impatient humans, it is merely that if a thing is not important they will pay it as little attention as they can get away with, preferring as always to concentrate upon interesting things. In fact, they have a staggeringly long attention span - it's not uncommon for an aerokin to resume a conversation exactly where it had been left off when it was interrupted several days ago, and expect the other party to keep up without faltering. Other races often find this disconcerting, especially when they receive a reply by letter or minor magic to a question they raised in passing years ago.

Blue Elves tend to reside in the colder places of the world, as they do not feel the chill as much as some of the more hot-blooded races. If you see an elf deep in meditation upon a remote plateau, chances are it's an aerokin. Then again, just as air gets everywhere, so too do the aerokin. Their voices may not be as mellifluous as those of the hydrokin, but the songs they sing are often somewhat better written, and for this reason an aerokin bard can generally name their price with the right kind of employer. Just as the wind wanders, so do many of this race; the security of a permanent residence is nothing to one who has known the joy of flight and the freedom of being accountable only to oneself.

Aerokin have blue markings or patterns on the skin, reflecting the element of their heritage. Young aerokin, and those with less magical experience, tend to be the light blue of the horizon; as they age and grow more mighty, the tone of their skin deepens to the deep blue of a cloudless summer's day. It is not uncommon for an aerokin to exhibit several different blues in intricate patterns suggesting the swirl and flow of clouds, of which the woad patterns of the barbarians are but a pale imitation. Aerokin hair can naturally be any colour from blond through blue to purple, and in common with many elemental elves the younger members of the race enjoy using adventurous dyes and hairstyles or simply aping the styles of the humans.


The Hydrokin, also known variously as Green Elves, Water Elves, Sea Elves, Meerälfen, Fish Elves, Merfolk and Draug, are the species of elemental elf tied to the element of water. Making up in forcefulness for what they may lack in numbers, they are a pillar of support to the Elven community wherever they may live; they are the organisers, the cool heads and yet often also the agents of change. The adage “still waters run deep” applies uncannily well to most hydrokin; water is the very image of persistence, and a Water Elf often conceals an iron hand of competence, acuteness and practicality within a velvet glove of unruffled serenity.

Green Elves are found almost all over the world, settling pretty much wherever they please, as long as the area contains sufficient water for their tastes. They prefer tropical regions where the air is moist and nothing ever freezes, but they are quite resistant to cold and the spread of their mostly-coastal villages extends as far north as Norsca and beyond. Water is not essential to the hydrokin – at least, no more so than it is for most humanoids – but they are never fully comfortable without a decent-sized body of water nearby, and even the most urbanized hydrokin tend to purchase houses overlooking docks and rivers, and even then will install a pond. It is said that it is they who are to blame for the outlandish and unhygenic idea of the indoor bathroom.

Although the average hydrokin is no more of a sailor than the average human, the romantic allure of a life on the ocean wave has an enduring appeal for those of this race. The greatest hydrokin sailors rival even the Sahagain for seamanship, and it's the rare green elf who hasn't imagined themselves retiring to sea at one time or another. The legends of Sea Elves common among coastal communities are not entirely false - though it is a rare day indeed when one of the elegant white ships comes within sight of a non-elven port.

Hydrokin have green features on all visible skin, reflecting the element that governs them, although this can be any shade from bright to dark or even mottled. Their hair is usually a muddy brown, although green hair is also quite common and black, white and blond-haired hydrokin have also been reported. In the main, their eyes are also generally brown, but blue, black, green and amber are all possible. Like humans, hydrokin come in all shapes and sizes; some are as round as raindrops, others willowy like waterweed, and most fall somewhere between the two extremes. Hydrokin speak a dialect properly called Hudric Elvish (or Doúr-y-ar, if you speak it yourself), which is comprehensible to anyone with a knowledge of Quenyar, though bristling with sibilants.



Pyrokin.JPG The Pyrokin are the species of elemental elf associated with the element of fire. Also known as Red Elves, Ember Elves, Feuerälfen, Blood Elves, Diskin, Fire Elves and Spark Elves, they are notorious amongst both the Elven and Human communities for their impulsive natures, hot tempers and habit of causing conflagrations wherever they go. They are traditionally the agitators of Elven society, the reason the long-lived Elves ever get anything done within the scope of a human lifetime, the most adept wizards and warlocks, and the artillery in times of trouble. As with all Elemental Elves, half their soul is composed of pure elemental magic - in this case, fire.

The Fire Elves claim that their race originates from Andalucia, a warm, mountainous region on the continent, and it is true that the ancient and beautiful cities of this area are inhabited almost entirely by Pyrokin, open-minded humans, and the results of these pairings. The finest worked obsidian comes from here, as does a particularly vicious species of hot pepper. Still, Pyrokin are found all over the known world – partially because of the vast usefulness of a capable fire-mage, but mostly because most Fire Elves are preternaturally curious and will explore (poke, dissect, colonize and eventually subsume) anything not actually under armed guard.

Pyrokin have red-patterned skin, which is usually a bright crimson or blood red in young individuals, darkening to a duller, brick-red shade with age, though most eventually succumb to some sort of magical “oops”. Their hair is usually a reddish brown, but may be red, orange, blond, black or white, and their eyes may be almost any colour from amber to black, though blue and green are rare. Many Pyrokin display sooty-black birthmarks or moles on their bodies, and some even have a yellowish tinge to the underside, whence the derogatory nickname fen’rith, Salamanders. They are in the main given to wearing fire-retardant clothes, such as those made of leather or heavy canvas, although they do tend to have a magpie streak and it isn’t unusual to meet a Pyrokin dressed top-to-toe in brightly-coloured silks and ostentatious jewellery, almost kender-style, with common sense giving way to a sense of aesthetics.

Kender [20xp]

The phys-rep for a kender is brightly-coloured snazz on the nose, and pointed ears. You are encouraged to wear bright, garish, and clashing clothing to represent typical kender fashion-sense.
An unskilled kender has 2 Hitpoints-per-location, 2 points of Dodge, may call HALF (and only HALF) with any weapon, and may wear up to 4 points of armour.
Kender are resistant to VENOM damage; this is a result of selection pressure through several generations of creatures who are inclined to drink things to find out what they taste like.
Kender may not weild any weapon of greater length than 36'' due to their short stature.
They may not be spiritually awakened or study magic, but may follow a god as a lay follower.

The origins of Kender are obscure, especially because they are prone to making up fantastic stories about the origin of their race, along with everything else. They are famous for having no concept of property and boundless energy and enthusiasm, especially for 'shiny things'.
Kender usually start and end their lives in hidden cities full of Kender, which run on socialist lines - Kender produce things for the fun of it, and leave them lying around for other Kender to take as they want. Baby Kender are born in litters of about half a dozen, and grow to physical maturity in a matter of weeks. Very young Kender have an extremely short attention span, are almost pathologically drawn to 'shiny things', and are expelled from the cities to fend for themselves when they reach physical maturity. The predicted lifespan of a Kender is approximately 120 years but  very very few reach that age - Kender are a prey race. Those who do reach old age of about 100 or so tend to become much less exciteable in their latter years. Kender can have children any time after physical maturity, and all of a Kender's children are Kender - there are no Kender half-breeds, even if the partner was not a Kender. Instead of having one or two at a time, Kender have 'litters' of about half a dozen.

True Elves [10xp]

True%20Elves.JPG * The phys-rep for True Elves is pointed ears, which should be clearly visible, such that someone standing on the other side of a large room should be able to tell you are an elf at a glance.

* An unskilled true elf has 2 hitpoints per location, 1 point of DODGE, may call HALF with any weapon, and may wear up to 4 points of armour.

True elves, as the name suggests, have a shared ancestry with the elemental elves. At one time, all elves were True Elves, until the Ritual of Elemental Soul, in which the majority of elves living on Atlantis sacrificed half their souls to emprison the Dragonlords and form the elemental planes of magic. The true elves are descended from elves who for some reason did not take part in that ritual. Although relationships between elemental elves and true elves are nominally good, few true elves can really shake their reservations that the price paid by the elemental elves may have been too high, and that rather than a full soul a significant portion of their being is made up of dangerous raw elemental magic.

True elves are actually fairly rare, but have a significant representation in Brighthelm. Few practise or study magic, and some have taken up roles even among the priesthood of various temples. They look fairly similar to humans, except for their pointed ears, which vary greatly in size and shape between individuals even within the same family. The ears of all elves are quite sensitive, so while they may be temporarily hidden under a hat or a hood, it is both painful and itchy to do this for extended periods, and there are entire shops providing bespoke elven headgear with fitted earholes.

Orcs [15xp]

The phys-rep for orcs is a significant amount of green on the face coming out from around the eyes (and perhaps covering the whole face), with an addittional black scrunched marking around the eyes, representing the dark magic that is present in their bodies.

An unskilled orc has 3 hitpoints per location, can call HALF with any weapon, and may wear up to 6 points of armour. They count as having the "berserk" skill from the warrior tree, with a berserk trigger of "See a Jabberwocke". If an orc ever sees a Jabberwocke, they must immediately pursue and try to kill it, no matter what they are presently doing or how strategically poor the choice appears.

Orcs may still buy "berserk" if they have the appropriate pre-requisites, in which case it counts as a buy of the warrior skill "extra rage".

Orcs are resistant to BLACK damage, and weak to WHITE damage.

The Orcs as a people have only really started taking part in the integrated society of Brighthelm (and elsewhere across Albion) about 50 years ago – they are generally described as a very private people, who attach great importance to their own customs and traditions. Many citizens are distrustful of orcs, and there is a general impression that orcs and other kinds of uruk are “less civilised” than the other races protected by the law. Indeed, due to conflicts going back centuries from when orcs lived almost exclusively in mountain caves alongside the Jabberwockes, there are often incidents of violence between these two factions. However, Jaberwockes have not yet established themselves as a city-dwelling race and so these are mostly isolated incidents.

The city, outstanding in Albion as a bastion of multiculturalism, has more or less done its best to help the orcs become integrated into civilised society, though the church of the Aten are a notable exception, who do not relish having yet another magical race inside the walls to keep an eye on. Many many have found a place in the city watch or in various private militias, as they tend to value swordsmanship and be formidable warriors, if properly directed. Some have adopted worship of the gods, Mallan being by far the most popular devotion among orcs, though other orcs remain scornful of such things

Orcs are dark uruk, and can be recognised by their green skin and black band across their eyes. Their bodies dissolve into darkness once their soul has been laid to rest.

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