These are otherwise known as "the Five Realms" - the faction of the Hounds is not a Realm, per se, but exists as part of all the other player factions.
Grown prosperous through an industrial revolution built in part on a foundation of resource exploitation and lower class labour, most Alteraanians ignore the mutterings of druids and peasants about the smog that clouds the skies. They are instead quite comfortable with the status that their industrial advancement has given them amongst the Five Realms, and that they are assuredly richest of the kingdoms.
To be a noble, either in parliament or not, is through mercantile aptitude or careful social climbing, providing you can also watch out for all the knives aimed for your back. For the rest of the Alteraanian society, daily life is centred around working a steady job that will put food on the table with the most common dream being owning land.
Alteraanians typically wear reds and purples with gold accents. Leonine or laurel motifs figure heavily and armour or jewellery are the most usual displays of wealth.
The largest of the Five Realms, the Draz’har are a nomadic, communal, self-sufficient society. Ruled over by Khans, who can be men or women, and unified under a supreme Il-Khan, an individual’s worth to their tribe is based on what they can contribute to their family and community, as a fighter, producer of food and through household tasks - regardless of gender. Exporting only when there is an excess, they trade in horses, alchemical mixtures, and aetherstones, and are careful to reserve anything their tribe can make use of.
No other army has defeated the Draz’har in large-scale warfare on the open plains, in part because Draz’har tribes are always ready to move on, and to fight. Though the Dra’zhar are famous for their horseback troops, the foot troops are equally fearsome.
Light, comfortable, and durable clothing in browns and reds with copper accents is the standard, with thick leather being the most common form of armour. Horse or geometric motifs are popular, and trophies are a sign of nobility or significance.
Descended from an ancient order of mage-knights, the Hounds are a hardened mix of vengeful hunters, pardoned criminals, and mystic archivists. Members rise through the ranks from the harsh life of a rank-and-file initiate to the even harsher life of a Witcher, and fulfill duties ranging from the hunting of monsters to fostering diplomacy and peace between the Five Realms.
After training, initiates will go through severe testing in order to become Witchers. Made chemically sterile, Witchers can never truly lay down their weapons and turn to a new life; the blood in their veins, the years of training, and the fear of normal citizens means that once a Witcher, always a Witcher.
Their common dress colours are black or brown, though other colours and accents will be included by Hounds working to be accepted in particular realms.
Korashur is a magocracy in which those who study or practise magic are seen as innately superior to those who do not and the most powerful lead the realm. Korashur maintains the largest slave population in the Five Realms, a resource it uses to support much of its society.
In Korashur one’s gender is irrelevant; the strength of an individual’s will is all that distinguishes them from others. Those who can understand and wield the mysteries of the arcane arts are elevated above all others, and those who fail the state are the lowest of the low.
The common colours in Korashuran dress are purples and blues with silver accents, with draconic or elemental motifs. Nobles and mages invest resources into enhancing their staves, wands, or other magical foci (or other magical items if the person is not a mage), and mages frequently have tattoos of arcane glyphs which they will display at any opportunity as signs of their prowess.
The people of Sachsenheim are proud and resilient, equally capable of wielding a sword, a plough, or a ship’s tiller, with a culture that deeply honours their ancestry and the courage and capability of the individual. Of recent lament is the occupation of Northern Sachsenheim by Alteraan in the wake of the last Crown War. Though the peace accord struck with their northern neighbours has effectively ceded it to their control, many Sachsens are anxious to reclaim it as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
The common colours in Sachsen dress are blues and whites with bronze accents, and eagle or runic motifs figure heavily in ornate outfits. The most common items that a noble or person of renown will invest resources into enhancing are their weapons.
The general style of dress is fairly consistent from upper to lower classes, with sturdy leggings and a comfortable shirt covered by a tunic or dress being the base outfit. Various leather belts, baldrics, bracers, and breastplates often worn for functional and aesthetic purposes, commonly embossed with ancestral designs. Armour for battle is commonly chainmail, though those with fewer resources or those who skirmish tend to prefer leathers.
The Empire of Valeria is renowned across the Five Realms and beyond as a land of virtue and righteousness, as well as a place of enigmatic rituals and arrogant knights. Valerians are a people devout in their belief in the goddess Chiera as the divine protector. The poor are given food and shelter even when they cannot afford it themselves, while any with means will give a share of what they have to the church.
Women in Valeria are held in high regard and it is the duty of a man to respect and protect and obey women to the utmost of his ability. Valeria is ruled by an Empress, considered to be the avatar of Chiera and through whom the Goddess’ will is done.The wearing of Masques within Valerian society is a prominent ritual engaged in by nobles and peasants alike. Reflecting the need in life to put a role and its responsibilities ahead of someone’s personality, the wearing of a mask stylised in some way to the role being carried out can be anything as simple as one that just surrounds the eyes, to a full face mask and hood.
Valerian colours are whites and greens with gold accents, with gryphon or solar motifs in ornate outfits, which involve a lot of frills and decoration. Heavily ornamented masks are the main show of wealth and importance.
Non Player Factions
Amongst the ranks of the aethereals, demons are the most well-known and problematic for the mortal races. From their conspiratorial manipulations of the hearts and minds of the nobility to all-out invasions of the Five Realms, their influence over humanity’s development stretches back as far as there are records or myths.
For as long as there is life, there is death, and what lives must eventually die. Standing as a grim testament to how false this belief is are the undead. Animated by the power of the aether through necromancy or other dark influences, the undead of Sarradar comprise a range of different ‘species’ from lowly ghouls to the dreaded liches.
Humans might like to lie to themselves and believe that of the mortal species they are inherently dominant over other life, but the truth is that there are far older species and powers that care little for their supposed civilisation and advancements. United by their mutual antipathy towards the ‘civilised’ races, the likes of dryads, goliaths, trolls and even mighty dragons fiercely defend what they still can, and ever keep watch on ways to reclaim what has been lost.
Other Realms exist in the history or current vicinity of the game setting. These include:
Aunwe - current realm
Caratas - current realm
Northern Kingdoms - current realm
Shenzhou - current realm
Ancients - historical realm