In the Service of the Queen
(From the Blue Rose Core Rulebook)
Humans are the most common people on Aldea, even in cosmopolitan Aldis. Human adaptability has allowed them to spread far and wide across the world, inhabiting lands alongside all the other peoples and making new homes for themselves in the harshest environments. Because they are so widespread, humans also have the most diverse range of cultures, with the other peoples managing to maintain a degree of sameness in their communities due to their smaller and more tight-knit nature. The major lands and cultures of Aldea described in Blue Rose include the following.
Aldis, Kingdom of the Blue Rose
The people of Aldis, the Kingdom of the Blue Rose, are the most diverse, accepting, and well-educated in all the known lands, and have worked hard to achieve all of these things. Their ancestors overthrew the tyrannical rule of the Sorcerer Kings with the aid of the rhydan and the spirit known as the Golden Hart. Now a sovereign chosen by the Golden Hart rules over Aldis with the aid of nobles selected by rigorous testing and arcane proof of their goodwill using the legendary Blue Rose Scepter.
Aldins tend to have dark, often wavy or curly, hair and brown eyes. Hazel, green, gray, and golden eyes are common, especially among those with arcane talents.
These are generalizations, since the population of the Aldin heartland is so diverse that someone born and raised there could have almost any appearance.
The Forest Folk of the Pavin Weald
The forest folk of northern Aldis learned to survive in the vast woodland of the Pavin Weald and its surroundinglands from their allies, the rhy-wolves. The forest folk have keen senses and a way with animals. A talent for animism arcana is also common among them. They tend to have blond or reddish hair and fair complexions. Their men are often heavily bearded and have abundant body hair. Brown, blue, and golden eyes are the most common, with the latter being seen as a sign of “wolf-kin,” who usually have the Animism talent.
Islanders of the Southern Shores
Living on the southern shores and islands of Aldis and the Scatterstar Archipelago, islanders often learn to swim before they can walk, and are adept at avoiding hazards and making do with the resources available to them. They tend to be a bit stockier and darker skinned than other Aldins, tanned and often weathered by a life on the water. Blue, green, or blue-green eyes are common, and some islanders have bluish, greenish, or golden tints to their hair or skin from a trace of sea-folk heritage.
The Theocracy of Jarzon
Citizens or refugees of a rigid theocracy, Jarzoni quickly learn to control their outward emotions so as not to slight Purist priests, who teach their doctrine to every Jarzoni child. Jarzoni are generally light skinned and sometimes freckled. Brown, blond, and red hair are common, and redheaded Jarzoni often possess arcane talents (making it a mark of pride or shame, depending on one’s perspective). Brown, blue, green, and gray eyes are common.
Albinos are slightly more common in Jarzon than elsewhere, perhaps tied to some distant vata ancestry. Such pure white coloration is considered auspicious by Purist priests. Since albinos usually have arcane talent, they are often inducted into the priesthood.
The Kingdom of Kern
The humans of Kern learned the necessities of survival under the cruel yoke and lash of the Lich King. They understand the value of subtlety and cooperation, and those who survive past childhood are toughened by their hard life. Kerns descend from a hardy mountain stock, so they tend to be tough and wiry. Dark hair and eyes are common, as is pale skin—or at least a pallor compared to normal skin tone, since many Kerns live and work at night and rarely see the sun even during the day, given the almost continuous pall hanging over their homeland.
The Matriarchy of Lar’tya
Some distance from the shores of Aldis lie the tropical volcanic islands of the Matriarchy of Lar’tya. The people of the Matriarchy are divided into strict cultural castes. Some of the middle caste look much like the Aldin refugees from which they are descended, while the upper and lower castes, descendants of the native inhabitants of the islands, have dark brown skin, kinked or curly black hair, and brown or golden eyes.
Although on friendly terms with Aldis, Lar’tyans are sometimes baffled by the Blue Rose Kingdom’s egalitarian attitudes, and have their own cultural notions about people’s proper roles in life, based on their status at birth.
The Riders of Rezea
The proud people of the plains of Rezea are born to the saddle and learn to live off the land that is their birthright. Their tempers are as infamous as their skill at arms is legendary. Their hawk-like profiles add to their fierce reputation. They hold horses sacred and breed the finest in all the land. The rhy-horses are their allies, and the bond-mates of the greatest riders.
Most Rezeans are deeply bronzed by their outdoor life, and they tend to have straight black hair, worn long and occasionally braided. They typically have dark eyes, although some mixing with other peoples, particularly along the Aldin borderlands, has led to lighter eyes and hair in some Rezean people.
Wandering in their brightly painted wagons, Roamers are a rootless, free-spirited folk, known for their love of life, dance, and sometimes mischief. Their ancient homeland was devastated by the rise and fall of the Empire of Thorns, so now the roads and their caravans are their homes. They are expert traders and can charm many folk out of a few coins. The gift of visions and second sight is common among them.
Roamers tend to be slighter than Aldins, with similar olive skin but curlier hair. Black or chestnut hair are most common, along with black or brown eyes, although hazel and green eyes are known, particularly among Roamers with the Visionary talent, or “the Sight,” as they call it. However, given their tendency to occasionally adopt outsiders into their caravans, a Roamer may have almost any appearance.