Pathfinder Steam Punk
Races of the Empire
Human’s run the gamut from nobility to pauper, wealthy merchant to lowly beggar, but no matter how low a human may be, he’s always higher than the Demi. The founders of the Empire, Humans did their damnedest to make things easy for themselves. Variable enough to find themselves in any and every position in the social strata of the cosmopolitan empire, Humans are near the most plentiful race within it, followed by the Goblins and Halflings soon after. (Human’s didn’t change at all in this setting)
With their race in decline over many centuries, the heights of their great kingdoms having crumbled to dust in disrepair, The elves of the Grey Coast accepted the fall of their people and sought a new life, one in harmony with the now flourishing races of man. The Grey Elves adopted quickly into the fledgling empire, becoming citizens and soon law makers. Due to their own egalitarian views the elves quickly snuffed out any signs of sexism the humans may have been harboring from their days of feudalism and now the Gentile benefit from the wisdom and beneficence of people of any gender. Though their addition to the empire was timely, it did not come without cost. As the elves engendered themselves to the humans, they lost a bit of the wisdom and kindness they were renowned for, and as such, a new social strata erupted among their ranks. Those who could not wield magic with proficiency were seen as less than the rest of their kind, and shunned, being said as to not live up to the grand legacy of the Grey Elves. (Grey Elf Nobles have the Arcane Focus alternate racial trait, while Grey Elf Commoners have the Envoy Alternate racial trait, and both have the Urbanite alternate racial trait).
The dwarves were a proud race of craftsmen and peerless warriors, founding enormous empires beneath great mountains of the world. But all kingdoms must fall, and in the case of the dwarves, it happened more literally than anyone would of predicted. In an event known only as The Cataclysm, 90% of the great dwarven halls and ruins came crashign down upon their heads, taking their great kingdom with it. The survivors gathered what they could from the wreckage of their homeland and fled to new empire of man. The political climate and social strata filled with Elves and Humans, the dwarves sought another path to power, one they had been known by for centuries, the path of gold. Setting up merchant guilds and craft houses around the remnants of their great clans, they set out to create a niche from themselves, but not all the clans did so ethically. Many of the clans sought gold for sure, but set up in the poorer districts of the great city, extorting the locals for the “protection” of their great clan warriors. And so the dwarves became members of the great empire of steam. (Dwarven Merchant’s replace Hatred with the alternate racial trait Craftsmen, Dwarven Criminals replace Hatred with the Gnome alternate racial trait Gift of Tongues. Both replace defensive training with the Half Orc alternate racial trait City Raised)
Halflings are the middle child of the Empire. A rural folk by nature, the halflings were content to live a life of farming and leisure on the outskirts of the human empire, producing the grains and wines and many staples of the fledgling nation needed to fuel its expansion. This peace could not last though, but it was not war that drove the halflings from their ancestral homes, but industry. Soon the empire flourished with the power of coal, and its factories out competed anything the halflings could do. Since they could not support themselves they were driven to the cities to seek a new life, to feed the machines that driven them from their homes. Halflings still live a gentile life, afforded rights others are not, but that does not mean their life is easy. many families came to the city with little to nothing to their names, and had to do whatever they could to support their large families, even if meant being in debt to the dwarves, and no one wants to be in debt to a dwarf.(Halflings have the Ingratiating alternate racial trait or Practicality alternate racial trait)
Goblins came to The Empire as the first of the “Demi”, the second class citizens of the empire. The goblins lived tribal lives amidst the caves of the Dagger’s Edge mountains, the range that extends to the south east of the empire, lying between it and the great plains and eventual deserts of the south. Amidst their caves and warrens they devised clever traps for rival tribes and would be invaders, but they never had a mind for metal working or forging, and so never really developed industry of their own. Dwarves are known for two things; their greed, and their memory, both of which came into play to change the course of goblin life forever. The Master of House Firebraid, Thaland the Second was curmudgeonly, intelligent, but most of all shrewd. He knew the new industry of steam would need a better fuel than wood or charcoal, and remembered the vast stores of the black rock Coal was under Dagger’s Edge Mountains. The only issue was the matter of a few goblins between him and his money. Making money exchange hands, Thaland insured The Empire’s expansion into the range mountains and brought the goblin tribes to heel with the mailed fist of The Empires Army. Removed from everything they had ever known, the goblins were displaced to the empires great cities, where they could work the forges and move the cogs of great industry. Now, generations of goblins later, the goblins have found their niche among the other races as innovators and hard workers. While the dwarves were fantastic craftsmen, their long life spans and even longer memories prevented much innovation and new ideas to flow among their kin. and so an uneasy social contract was bought between the two races; the dwarves would supply the means if the goblins could provide the ideas. (Goblins in this setting give up Skilled and Darkvision for the Gnome alternate racial trait Master Tinker)
Ogre’s are a race accustomed to servitude, It has been their lot in life for generations. In the hey day of the Dwarven empire, the Ogres were brought to heel and “civilized”. Reduced to a broken, shell of their former selves. Used to lift and move the great stones of the Dwarven cities, they were the prime labor force of industry in the dwarven world, and until The Cataclysm were seen as very little more than slaves. After the great event that tore down the civilization of the Dwarves, Ogre and Dwarf kind alike moved to the fledgling human empire as refugees, the ogre’s hauling everything of course. Their role in the empire hasn’t changed much, but they’ve come to be accepted by humans, halflings, and goblins among the lower echelons of empire society. When the dwarven kingdom fell, they left behind anything they could not carry with them, including trapped Ogres. Those that did not die in the initial catastrophe had to forage for themselves and eventually created their own small, tribal culture amidst the ruins of the dwarf forges and great halls. Because of they were unguarded and allowed to live how they saw fit, they began again to achieve what they were all those years ago before their enslavement and “civilization”. Ogre Magi are culled from birth in dwarf tradition, seen as mutants and unfortunate side effects of the breeding programs most Ogres are part of, but in the ruins of the dwarf halls, the Magi have returned, and lead their proud people to repair and fix the crumbling stone and bent metal so they might claim their just reward for centuries of enslavement.
(+4str, -2cha, and int. Ogre’s trade their Natural Armor bonus for the Second Class Citizen alternate racial trait, granting them a bonus to any diplomacy interactions where their status would come into play, putting the NPC’s starting attitude one step higher. This is meant to reflect their status as a slave race and how the other races treat them, this trait can not be used if the Ogre is trying to be “higher than his station” and in fact inflicts the opposite effect if he would be interacting with anyone who upholds the empirical standards of Demi.
Ogre Magi are unplayable at this time, unless the game starts at a higher level. If so, they might be allowed due to interesting social/political issues, do not recommend for “edges of the empire” setting)
Hobgoblins are the newest additions to the empire, and many of them have only been “inducted” for a few years. Tribal in nature they come from a far off continent known for its plentiful natural magic. Druids and rangers are common among their kind as they see themselves as tenders of the great wild jungles they call home. Especially Important to them is a the Heka Trees, enormous banyan like trees towering to amazing heights. These tree’s act as wells and fonts for the lands natural magic, collecting it and and spreading it throughout the land. The only thing the empire knows is that the sap of these trees burn hotter and longer than any other fuel they’ve ever seen, and if they can clear cut them, all the better to fuel their growing empire. Hobgoblins fought (and continue to fight) fiercely to defend their lands and sacred trees but the mailed, steam driven fist of the empire does not stop for anything. Uncomfortable within their place as Demi, Hobgoblins who’ve been in the empire the longest have started to speak of unrest and even rebellion, to fairly take the rights not given them.
(Replace the Sneaky racial trait with the Fearsome alternate racial trait)