So, now that Losing Hold is in the beta readers hands I have some free time to work on my next series—a five-book fantasy! I’m in the process of worldbuilding right now.
One thing I’m struggling with, though, is creating fantasy races, and I’d love some feedback on the basics I added in this post below. Originally I wanted to have the common races—elves, nymphs, humans, were-people—living in my world, but then I got to thinking how they’re done so much at this point it’s hard to transform them into something different. (And that’s coming from a person who absolutely adores those races.) So I developed a history of my world where there had been those ancient races—elves, nymphs, humans, were-people— and all four races had every type of magic—nature, spirit/religious, animal, and energy—because they were blessed by the goddesses. Something terrible happened (of which I’m still working on) and those races were destroyed. A new generation of races appeared in their place, each one remembering their old race and having some qualities of their old races, but each race can only use one type of magic. Essentially, the magic was splintered.
I like this idea, but now I need to come up with the different races and it’s a bit of a challenge. Thus far I’ve come up with the following:
Race: Nemoras, descendants of the Nymphs
Magic Type: Nature
History: The Nemoras were born of the ashes of nature after the (whatever I’m calling the Big Bad Event). They are powerful folk, grove-dwellers, curators and protectors of all the natural resources, save the animals. In order to get any resource—trees, stone, water, fruits, vegetables, metals—the other races must come to the Nemoras. Because of this, the Nemoras have a good working relationship with the other races, save for one, the Divus. Each grove—regardless of its type—has at least three, if not more, Nemoras.
Physical Traits: Nox (they alternate between change genders as they age); Multi-colored skin representing the grove they protect (poison grove = purple skin, tree grove = green skin, stone grove = gray skin); Narrow eyes; Short hair
Characteristics: They are generally gentle creatures who deal (relatively) fairly, but they can become fierce when needed, especially when trading and protecting their groves.Their gender changes through a connection with their groves and they have no control over it until they turn a certain age when they can choose which gender they would like to have. They are able to come and go as they please, wandering as far away from their grove as they wish. They tend to be a bit haughty, because they feel like they have a lot of power holding the resources (and they do). The power gets to their heads, sometimes.
How they are similar to the Nymphs: They protect certain places in nature, and are associated in some way with that location.
How they are different from the Nymphs: They are not deities; they age with their particular grove; they can transfer from grove to grove (as long as it’s in the same type); they do not sing/dance (because they don’t have time for that kind of nonsense); they can choose to be male.
Race: Divus, descendants of the Humans
Magic Type: Spiritual/Religious
History: Originally from the islands where the ancient Humans lived peaceful lives dealing fairly with everyone and always asking for less than they needed, the Divus are explorers. They are seafarers and land roamers, always on the move, always staying in the darkness. (The daylight is dangerous after all, but they are seen as cowardly.) They rarely trade with the Nemoras because they can harvest food from the sea and are the only race that can do so. (Though they do feel like the Nemoras are greedy and the groves should be equally shared with everyone.)
Physical Traits: Male and Female; Very thin-skinned (get cuts easily); Nearly translucent; Overly bright eyes that seem to glow in the dark; Thin hair of varying colors; Thin build
Characteristics: Divus always wears armor (of some kind) so they don’t get cut. They worship the moon goddess. They will steal from the towns to get better food, weapons, clothing, but they are the traders of the world, who have tenuous deals with each major city and transport major goods back and forth.
How they are similar to the Humans: The roaming aspects are very human-like and the resourcefulness of getting things from the sea.
How they are different from the Humans: They have translucent, thin skin and overly bright, glowing eyes.
Race: Elu, descendants from the Elves
Magic Type: Energy
History: The Elu want to regain their place in the high towers like their ancestors. They are seen as lower class, hard workers, and do the grunt work of the towns and cities. They are the famers and the cleaners. They are out in the daylight doing the dangerous job of transporting minor resources to and from the groves. They want to move up in the world, but because of how they look it’s hard for them (which makes them annoyed).
Physical Traits: Male and Female; Dark-skinned; Tall; Very muscular; Tiny ears; Wide eyes (differently colored); Bushy hair (usually black or brown)
Characteristics: They are usually happy folk, getting joy from the friends and family around them, but they tend to grow sour when working. They learn quickly and are well known for their hard work ethic. They are very smart. They have a great relationship with the Nemoras and tend to protect them from the Divus. Their voices are light. Only a few have ascended to power.
How they are similar to the Elves: Their voices are similar, they are tall and smart, and they like working with nature.
How they are different from the Elves: They have dark skin and bushy hair, and are usually in the working class.
Race: Vagari, descendants of the Venators (were-people)
Magic Type: Animal
History: The Vagari are beast-tamers, held in high regard since the beasts of this world are highly dangerous (dragons, wyverns, basilisks) and usually hold high positions of authority in the cities. They cannot transform into the beasts like their ancient races could, but they do have characteristics of the beasts (strength, speed, scaled skin, tail, claws). Because of this, they also choose the path of guardians and warriors.
Physical Traits: Male and female; Light brown skin; Varying beast attributes
Characteristics: Even though they can be dangerous, they are usually friendly, loyal, and smart. They treat everyone fairly, even in battle. They like being around people.
How they are similar to the Venators: They have animalistic characteristics and can talk to animals. They also like being in “packs” or around a bunch of people.
How they are different from the Venators: They cannot turn into the beasts; they are not “wild” but are in positions of power and are at home in the city.
So…yeah. That’s what I have thus far. It’ll probably change as I write the characters and the story, but I wanted to get the basics down so I can see how they work together, where conflict would arise, and what kinds of plotlines could work.
I’d really love some feedback and some help in fleshing these out. What do you think of these races? What works and what could be changed? Comments, critiques, helpful suggestions are all welcome!
Let me know in the comments!