First of all, hello and welcome to any new readers I gained during the explosion of visits this weekend! Thanks again to Dyson for the props. I see he posted about Gus L today, who is also super deserving of everyone’s attention; if you aren’t already reading Dungeon of Signs, go check it out.
Secondly, it’s been a while since my last gaming history/nostalgia post, and I want to get going with some more of those soon. My plan is to start a series reflecting on West End Games’ Star Wars line and my time playing it (constantly) starting after Christmas.
Moving on, this is the beginning of a broad overview of the various races in the Age of Ruins setting. I’ll only include “monster” races if they are very important to the setting or if they exist in very large numbers. Just because a humanoid monster isn’t listed here doesn’t mean they don’t exist in the setting. Also, goblins, orcs, and the like are being described in my series of posts about the Night Children and are actually very weak demons in the setting as opposed to “natural” beings.
Despite various cultures telling different stories, many learned scholars believe that all races of men dwelling in the northern lands are descended from a single ancestor group most closely related to those still dwelling in the Atgur Reach. The belief holds that the darkness dwelling in the depths of the Atgur Brutal corrupted those who crossed the swamp to settle the north beyond the Reach, for despite their differences these people share a wicked legacy, whereas those who stayed in the Reach have, by and large, hewn to a somewhat more just society. Most commoners beyond the Reach would put no stock in such a theory, much as they would put no stock in any collective description of their races — they recognize no connection, and most certainly feel no sense of kinship.
Though precious little evidence survives of a time before this migration, no race of humans can trace their recorded history as far back as the denizens of the Atgur Reach. The word Atgur means something akin to “first people” or “only people” in their ancient tongue, and its use varies greatly based on context. The people are Atgur, the land is Atgur, and the kingdom is Atgur. Even the mighty city is Atgur, though it is often referred to by scholars as “Atgur Proper” to distinguish its role as the believed birthplace of human civilization (hence its sobriquet, “The First and Last City of Men”). The name of the great swamp, Atgur Brutal, translates roughly to “Killer of Men.”
While the great city sprawls over several dozen miles and houses millions within its walls, the vast majority of Atgur are farmers and ranchers who lead comfortable lives of relative bounty, owing to the region’s highly arable land — also, someone has to feed all of those city dwellers. As a people they are also noted for their skill in stone construction, particularly in crafting fortifications that have stood for thousands of years. Even the smallest of farming communities has at least one or two stone buildings that can count their age in centuries. This leads to many Atgur working as miners and masons, though their work is of such high quality that little upkeep is needed.
The Atgur are ruled by a patriarchal feudal monarchy which has been dominated by the Odyne dynasty for countless generations. They primarily worship the Virtuous Trinity, although acknowledgement of Malroth remains part of their common rituals and beliefs.
In terms of game statistics, the Atgur — and all Men of the North — should be treated as “standard” humans.