This describes the eight races of the world in which From Gods to Gold takes place. There are three races of men that dominate the land at this point, though one is fading away and blending with the other races. The remaining five are more fantastic, and each is connected directly to some part of land.
The question of heritage and blood compatibility is something very important in this world, so the question of which race can have children with others is addressed here explicitly.
The High Mountain Men were the first men to arrive in what is now known as O'Kasus. They came from another place in the time before time, and then in the Paklish, took the mountain from the first ones. All but a few of these first ones then left, and the others are the fore bearers of the five fantastic races listed below.
The High Mountain Man is tall and strong, pale, and quite hairy though not quite furred. They appear quite brutish, but are actually quite intelligent, though they are not generally quick of mind. There intelligence is a slow and thoughtful type. The women of this race are small, delicate, and stunning. However, they appear less and less.
In the time of change, the High Mountain Men give birth to a girl rarely. The ratio of births has fallen each generation and now there is less than one girl for every twenty boys born. This has led to a serious decrease in High Mountain Men, and they are driven to cross-breed with other races. When a High Mountain Man has offspring with any other race, they get only a few qualities of their heritage and appear as the other race does. Women of the High Mountain Men can only have children with High Mountain Men.
No one is quite sure when the Valley Men became noticeable. Some of the Mountain Men moved down from the sacred mountain and into the fertile valleys, living in cooperation with the Wood Masters and Farm Keepers. Over the course of generations they became the Valley Men.
The Valley Man is tall and slender, with little body hair and somewhat golden skin. They appear quite weak but have strength that belies their appearance. These men are the thinkers of the men, and are always inventing new devices and contraptions. Most of the technology of the realm has been introduced by the Valley Men. The women of this race are similar to the men in height and build, with a great range of looks.
Unlike the mountain men they have no problems with their offspring and the ratio of girls to boys is nearly 1:1. Both genders can breed with any other race except the Forest Champions, and many half valley men and women are to be found all over the realm.
In the time before time, its is known that many Mountain Men were driven off by a great king for crimes against the realm. Many ages later their descendants have returned to the realm, having lived for ages on islands far to the east of O'Kasus. While for some time there were skirmished and social unrest with these new men, now all but the deepest grudges have faded and the men are part of the realm once more.
The Island Man is medium height and build, with some body hair and bronze skin. They appear hearty and often at the height of physical perfection, and their abilities usually match this impression. However they place little value on intellect, and would rather toil the day away and party all night, sparing time for only naps. The women of this race tend to be strong and fierce, but lovely all the same.
There are clearly more women than men in this species, with a birth ratio of 2:1 in favor of girls. The women have a powerful standing with the Island Men, and are usually the ones in position of power (This is not to say that women in the other species are without rights or power, for the record).
Island Men and Women can breed with any other race of man, and with the Farm Keepers and the Wise Ones. Only the Island Women can breed with the Wood Masters.
The Stone Hands have been in contact with the High Mountain Men since all recorded history. These people are short and tough looking people, and could almost pass for dwarfs of men if it was not for their red eyes that glow mildly in dim or less light. This isn't their only obvious physical characteristic though, in addition their hands are particularly grey and are covered with a tough and thick skin. It is in this way that they got their name, as their hands can handle immense heat and aren't cut be even sharp blades. One of their arts is crystal shaping, which they do by melting a red crystal and shaping it with their bare hands. The crystal also glows in dim or less light, and most believe it is the same material that makes their eyes so special.
It is unknown what races the Stone Hands will breed with, as they are quite closed-minded about such matters and keep to themselves. However, some Stone Hand women have had children with High Mountain Men, and these pairings result in offspring that appear as Stone Hands except they lack the red eyes (but have the hands).
The Wood Masters appear almost exactly like the Valley Men, except for the following: their skin is cast with an olive hue, their ears are a bit longer and pointier at the top, and they weigh almost half what they appear to weigh. They have lived in the trees of the forests of the realm since as long as all can remember. As their name suggests they are experts at both growing and crafting wood. The pinnacle of their achievement in this craft is the creation of the Skylarks, which are ships that sail in the sky.
The Wood Masters are the most secret of the races, and few ever get to enter their kingdom in the trees. While they are friendly and easy to deal with, they are most determined to keep outsiders out and will resort to force. To better facilitate their dealing with others, they have small towns on the ground at the edges of their lands.
The men of these people can breed with all the five fantastic races, and with the Women of the Island Men. The women can breed with any race.
These are small people, even smaller than the Stone Hands, and otherwise appear entirely like humans. However, they have keen senses, and the ability to move nearly silently even when carrying quite large loads. In the end though, they are best known for their impressive stomachs, able to eat several large meals a day (and quite willing to do so I might add). They are avid farmers and gardeners and run most of the food production of the realm. These people have settled all over and generally right outside the towns of the Valley Men, where their farms can prosper.
While they outwardly seem to be the least fantastic of the fantastic races, they have impressive and fantastic ability to mend. They do this passively, meaning just being in their presence heals and encourages growth. It may be something they secrete, or it might be old magic, so far know one knows. Its only been documented that this does indeed happen.
The Farm Keepers can breed with any race of man, but no other fantastic race excepting their own.
The Forest Champions are the most fantastic of the fantastic races, and are the only ones that don't breed normally. They have a wide range of appearances, and share only two traits overall: they are small like the Stone Hands and lightweight like the Wood Masters. Each individual Forest Champion has some animal aspect mixed into their form, ranging from wings to fur.
The peculiar, fantastic breeding method of the Forest Champion is as follows: They swallow a pearl of the forest (a special smooth river stone they must find) and then once they pass it, it is washed clean and given to their mate (or any gender). The mate then sleeps with it against their flesh for one moon, and then it is returned to their mate and that stone is buried by the same river. Nearly a moon later, a pre-adolescent Forest Champion crawls from the earth at that place, their offspring.
The Forest Champions are still fully sexual and can partake of any such action (usually doing so for pleasure) but can't breed that way.
The Forest Champions may breed with most any race, but the method doesn't always work unless both mates are Forest Champions. In essence, breeding with other races is a roll of the dice for them. Since the pearls of the forest are rare and special, this is a costly price to pay - a given Forest Champion may only find three such pearls in their lifetime.
To be explicit, the Wise Ones don't exactly live in the realm, they live around it and fly above it. The Wise Ones are a race of large birds that live on galleons of their own construction which sail about the continent that makes up the realm. However, once in the realm these birds often use ancient magic to take on human form, leaving a shroud of feathers which they later reenter and resume their normal form. In human form, the birds look very much like Valley Men except their eyes are all black with double-lids.
The Wise Ones are not a part of the realm in a distinct sense, but they love to meddle in its affairs. They have earned their title as being particularly long lived, so they tend to be quite wise. This doesn't mean they behave that ways always, but they do have many years of accumulated experience.
This race has little problem breeding with any other while in human form, except all Wise Ones take the male form when they use the ancient magic. The female Wise Ones simply become rather feminine men.