Races and Cultures

Generally speaking, the descriptions from the PHB about the races stand. The following contains campaign relevant details, and the occasional contradiction of the PHB text. If you want to know specifically about the languages, they have their own page.

Dwarf, Hill

There are very few hill dwarves in Chepdale, mostly because getting there would usually mean travelling by ship and possibly through the high elven nation Tavarinor. Hill dwarves are, however, the most common kind of dwarf in the known world. They are less isolationist than their cousins, the mountain dwarves, and reap great profits from trade with other peoples. They do particularly well acting as middlemen between mountain dwarves and humans.
The greatest nation of hill dwarves is the Kingdom of Brundubar on a continent to the north, with the Sacred Mountain at its centre.
Hill dwarves usually speak Common even amongst themselves, reserving Khuzduhl for ceremonial and solemn occasions. Their names run along the standard dwarven names such as: Lit, Niping, Noin, Nor, Nyr, Onar, Regin, Thekk, Vigg, and Vit. Those are all male names, and female hill dwarves tend to take names from a far more modern human tradition: Akira, Delina, Edlyn, Hildur, Isolde, Kaya, Ramona, Rica, Silke, Tilda and Vanda.
Dwarves also have secret names in Khuzduhl, but these they never reveal to anyone, and do not even put them on their graves.

Dwarf, Mountain

A clan of Mountain Dwarves live in Nan Mehtar, in Fort Drycliff, one or two days' journey from Chepdale. They have a treaty with Tavarinor about mutual protection against orcs in particular and any other enemy in general. They have settled in such an inhospitable place, because they can mine mithril there, which they can sell with great profit to the elves. In this, the clan is quite unusual for mountain dwarves, who prefer to deal with other dwarves exclusively.
Which of the mountain dwarf lands is the greatest is hard to say, due to the great secrecy the dwarves prefer. The best known, however, is the Kingdom of Bizardîn, on a different continent north of Nan Mehtar.
Mountain dwarves speak their ancient tongue Khuzduhl to each other, and often do so even when there are outsiders around, who may think the dwarves rude to exclude them in such a manner. The dwarves have mastered Common, however, and can speak it at need. Their names run along the standard dwarven names such as: Andvari, Fræg, Hannar, Jari, Lofar, Rathsvith, Skafith, Skirfir, Sviur, and Virfir. Those are supposedly all male names, and it seems nobody has ever seen a female mountain dwarf. This gives rise to much speculation.
Dwarves also have secret names in Khuzduhl, but these they never reveal to anyone, and do not even put them on their graves.

Elf, High

The high elves of Tavarinor fought a war against hobgoblins in Nan Mehtar about two hundred years ago, driving the dominant Shadowsong hobgoblins out, and signing a peace treaty the hobgoblins grudgingly uphold to this day. Tavarinor lies north of Nan Mehtar, and its only trade route with non-elves goes through the valley. Since it is also an access point for orcs, giants and other dangerous monsters, the high elves keep a strong fortification called Lemyanost, which blocks the pass leading to their lands. The current great enemy of the elves are the orcs of Shargûldor, who try very hard to find any gaps or weaknesses in the elven defences. So far they have met only with disaster, but they are nothing if not persistent.
Once grown to full stature in fifteen to twentyfive years, elves cease to age, and have no upper limits to their lifespan. High elves are usually tall and athletic of build, not as delicate as the PHB indicates (think this). Their hair colour is usually either black or blond.
High elves speak the elven dialect Sindarin on a daily basis, but their names (of people and places alike) are all sufficiently important that they still hold to Quenya for those. Female names: Artiriel, Calirwen, Erumelde, Eruvanda, Hereniel, Laurea, Lerie, Melima, Mentiriel and Turwen. Male names: Andunor, Arolonto, Catanion, Elostor, Erunyo, Marto, Narion, Ortaron, Tauro, Turon.

Elf, Sylvan

Sylvan elves tend to live in nomadic tribes. Some prefer to roam within a single forest or other area that they consider their home, while others roam the known world. At most times there will be at least one sylvan elf tribe within the realm of Tavarinor of the high elves, and many sylvan elves take time away from their tribes to live with high elves (or even other races) for years before they rejoin their tribe. If their high elf cousins ever called for help, the sylvan elves would respond, and vice versa.
Once grown to full stature in fifteen to twentyfive years, elves cease to age, and have no upper limits to their lifespan. Sylvan elves tend to have brown or red hair, and are usually smaller and more lithe in stature than high elves or humans.
Sylvan elves speak the dialect Sindarin, and only rarely do they use Quenya. This also holds true for their names. Female names: Areth, Arvellas, Dureth, Glaeril, Haleth, Lavassil, Meluil, Mireth, Rovain and Tirnel. Male names: Aglar, Argalad, Baranor, Cellinor, Haradion, Logon, Melethron, Pelior, Raenion, and Raevon.


The average gnome is a malicious trickster (think this), who likes nothing better than to take what belongs to others, especially outsiders. Those of less malign disposition tend to leave their homes, but often find people suspicious of their motives and methods. A few gnomes manage to set themselves up as tinkers in human areas, or trade in mushrooms, medicinal herbs, and the like. They learn to be sticklers for the rules and laws to protect themselves, or (it must be said) to abuse them.
Gnomes speak their own language, which they keep secret from outsiders. They tend to pick up Common too, all the better to cheat, swindle and scam outsiders.


There are no communities of half-elves, and they tend to remain with either humans or elves. They are very rare, but Chepdale has a high concentration of them (maybe two hundred), and they are not treated negatively here. But they tend to be viewed askance in other places.
They have no language of their own, and tend to learn both human and elven tongues. In the same way, their names usually come from one of their parents' cultures.


The origin of half-orcs tends to be tragic and violent. Their ugly temper is not improved by growing up among humans who fear it. Chepdale is a place generally quite welcoming of outsiders, but even here half-orcs find it hard to fit in.
Contrary to what the PHB says, PC half-orcs do not automatically know the orcish language. They are presumed to have grown up among humans, who would be unlikely to teach them orcish. Likewise, they probably have human names.

Halfling, Lightfoot

A culture of nomads, the lightfoot are traders and travellers by nature. They seek to avoid trouble, and are usually seen as harmless by those whose lands they travel in. They much prefer civilized lands to the wilderness, although crossing the wilds can be an occasional necessity, of course. They travel sometimes in families, sometimes in their hundreds. Some of them strike out on their own for various reasons, sometimes tragic ones. Nan Mehtar has not seen a large group of lightfoot halflings in living memory, as travelling here would take them through some very rough wilderness, or by ship, which they prefer to avoid.
Lightfoots speak their hafling language, Kuduk, but it is heavily influenced by the langauges they speak with outsiders - which they do a lot. Their naming convention is mostly human by now, although the occasional Stout name does get picked for whimsy or nostalgia.

Halfling, Stout

Often seen as somewhat backwards and sheltered, especially when compared to lightfoots, the reality is a little different. By skill and wisdom, the Stout clans have settled areas that see fairly few raiders. They prefer the safety of relative isolation to the advantages of trade and exchange with outsiders. Their apparent softness also belies a hardy people, who have survived in their current state for centuries. The other kind of Stout people think of are those who strike up an alliance with some trusty humans or dwarves. The idea is that the stouts do most of the farming, and the allies do most of the fighting. In such cases, the halflings tend to name their area something bland and innocuous, like the Shire, the Bailiwick or the Freehold.
Stouts speak their own language, Kuduk, but also know Common for its usefulness. Their naming convention is related to that of humans, but has its own nuance, especially with the many flower names given to girls. Female names: Belba, Bluebell, Daisy, Druda, Heather, Iris, Lily, Prisca, Rose and Tanta. Male names: Adelard, Andy, Bandobras, Doderic, Fastred, Gormadoc, Hob, Marcho, Nibs, and Rudolph.


Nearly all humans in the known world used to be part of the old Empire, which spread with war and intimidation for centuries. About a hundred years ago, the civil wars of the empire caused it to come apart, however, and old and new realms rose up and gained independence. The one closest to Nan Mehtar is the Kingdom of Longstrand, which profits greatly on being humanity's trading link with Tavarinor. Despite this, the rulers of Longstrand are somewhat less corrupt and warmongering than the average human ruler tends to be. If they weren't, the elves would likely cease trading with them, anyway.
Humans speak Common, but their naming traditions depend on what region of the world they live in. These lists are of names that belong in the Longstrand area. Female names: Branca, Carol, Emma, Freda, Geneva, Linda, Marlis, Mathilda, Roberta and Rosalind. Male names: Alfred, Burke, Cedric, Eberhard, Geoffrey, Hugo, Lewis, Stern, Reginald and Wilfred.


Humans with a heavy touch of the lower planes in their bloodline, tieflings are unfortunate individuals. Their natural tendencies run towards violence and deceit, and they look unnatural and frightening. They may have horns, black nails, unnatural hair, eye or skin colour, oddly shaped teeth, or similar striking features. None of this endears them to average society. Some tieflings manage to rise above all obstacles to become decent people, which may account for PC tieflings having a bonus to their charisma score.
Tieflings do not, as the PHB indicates, automatically know Infernal. They were probably born and raised among humans, and they would be little more likely to learn such a language than anyone else. Their names are also likely to be human.