Races in Succession
In Succession, there are no non-human sentients... or, at least, no widespread ones. However, there are very marginally close cousins of humanity- closer than Neanderthal, but farther than any modern real-world ethnicities. These races might have widespread magical or semi-magical changes, or may be entirely mundane. There are, therefore, no "basic" humans. Some groups are ethnically exclusive, some are broader. Naturally, Capital is the most liberal city in the most liberal empire in the world, meaning that unless you make racial trouble, there won't be racial trouble... most of the time.
However, that is not the whole story. There are legends of other kinds of intelligence out there, but most of them are veritably false, such as the supposed existence of Faries, proved a logical impossibility in 1255. Possibly the magical mutation of individuals might explain some of the stranger creatures that are present, and it is true that occasionally a truly unique creature will emerge from the still-unknown wilderness, from the depths of the sea, or perhaps from the bowels of the earth.
Not a true race, but rather the kind of mix that only hundreds of generations in a melting pot of unusual size can produce. "Urban" can as a word represent the great nobility of the spirit of unity that pervades the city, or be said with the same utter disgust as "mutt". This is not, in fact, an equal mixing; the most obviously visible influences are Anthian, Rahanii, Ubuntu, and Chi... with occasional hints of other parentage. Frankly, no race is entirely "pure"- though some factions pretend to be. Urban people are simply too difficult to categorize.
A race that seems to be everywhere, Anthians have long been the rulers of society. For many centuries, the ruling families of much of the land around Capital have been Anthian, and to this day the ruling class has been of Anthian lines. Indeed, the former Emperor was a classical Anthian, possessing violet eyes, black hair, and the "Imperial Finger," the sixth finger (and toe) that marks members of the Anthian race apart. Not all Anthians are so stereotypical, naturally. Eye color varies from any shade of blue to violet, with the rare pale red. Hair color is either very fair or very dark. The skin tone of the average Anthian is very light, with more of a yellowing instead of a darkening in sunlight, and Albinism is slightly more common than average.
The dramatic revelation of the dispossessed noble's imperial toe has been so overused in popular plots that it has long ago been disregarded by serious playwrights.
In physical build, Anthians are have long been considered "perfect"... by themselves. However, they do tend to be of average height and weight when in reasonable health.
Socially, they are expected to be somewhat demanding and imperialistic. This can lead to strains in communication with the lower classes of society, no matter the race. On the other hand, Anthian families are usually comfortable, or strive to maintain the appearance of such, and thus education and social elevation come naturally to them.
Despite a historical bias, in recent decades, the nobility has not been overly dominated by Anthians; nor are they under-represented amongst the lower classes. An Anthian PC can be of any profession or class, a social flexibility that they don't often appreciate.
Red-haired, strong-backed hill-folk... traditionally. They usually have red hair, but it can be most colors, but they are identified in Imperial culture by their tendency towards green luminescence; some are born with glowing green skin patterns, but all will, when tattooed with certain inks, develop luminescence. The Rahanii have long been at odds with the Anthians; they are geographically close, with the Anthians settling on rivers and plains and the Rahanii living in the hills, forests, and moors. For many generations, Rahanii were treated as peasants for Anthian nobles. This has changed in the past century, but the stigma remains between the two groups.
Rahanii are physically shorter than Anthians, and though their hair is stereotypically very red, it can be any shade from a dark brown to a gold. Their skin tone has the same basic range as Anthians, but it tends to be darker, and it becomes richer in the sun. Their eyes are brown to green.
A figurative black swan. Kobolds appear quite alien, and differ from other humans in many subtle and overt ways. They rarely grow taller than three feet, making them shorter than even Vysokogorns. Their skin is covered in thin, leathery scales, or perhaps a scaly hide. Necromancers that have examined them reveal that Kobolds have substantially different skeletal structures- visible in their unusual flexibility and backwards-bending knees. They have a pronounced muzzle and reptile-like eyes, but they also have large, triangular ears- making them distinct from reptiles as well. They lay eggs like a reptile, yet suckle young. Indeed, even intellectually, they are a curiosity: They appear to have great difficulty learning normal languages, counting with numbers, or even comprehending social structure. And yet, they are able to communicate vast amounts of information quickly in their own strange language, they can process intuitively the relations of large numbers, and retain a personal genealogy though centuries with no formal records at all. One theory is that they are a cursed race that has performed some great evil in the past- indeed, it is a popular one. Others feel that Kobolds are natural, but alien to humanity, and might be equals in merit, inferior, or even superior.
Whatever their nature, Kobolds have integrated with Capital society well, and with the empire as a whole somewhat less well. They are frequently slaves in mines and forges, anywhere they can work in the dark. In Capital, it is illegal to own any slaves (at the behest of several laborer's guilds), but bigotry against Kobolds persists. Still, they are talented workers, and those that cannot work live in the basements, gutters and sewers of the city, an unknown group of strangers in the ground.
Almost half of the Empire consists of Andaru nations and cities. Like Anthian and Rahanii states, Andaru settlements have grown prosperous and open in recent centuries... but there have been many conflicts between them and lands they are now a part of.
Andaru citizens are recognized by their dark skin tones... however, they vary more than Anthians do from this standard.
Masterful and ebon, a Lakinyeri can be recognized by perfectly black skin, and no hair. Those raised in good conditions are generally quite tall. However, Imperial society generally recognizes the defining trait of the Lakinyeri to be the presence of an additional pair of ribs, detectable under close scrutiny.
The Lakinyeri have a remarkable talent for languages
A desert people, they have remained quite mysterious to Imperial culture, unlike the familiar Andaru.
Distant coastal mainland people. The Cantii are most easily recognized by a sallow complexion and distinctive facial features. They are also slightly shorter than average. The only other physical trait of note is their exceptional ability to hold their breath, and often, slightly more webbing between fingers and toes.
PC Third People
Rarely seen in Capital, the primary people of a strange and distant land. Their scalp (and facial hair) grows colorful feathers in addition to hair. Anyone with this trait is usually recognized as largely of Third People descent. One thing which confuses outsiders is the great popularity of scarring amongst Third People. Most people who have lived in Third communities have at least one ringlike scar around a finger, or around an arm. Less commonly known about are those with great scars over the heart, liver, or lungs... These are the results of rituals only whispered about amongst outsiders.
Not all Third People have (successful) ritual scars, and many are cosmetically missing a portion of ear, or nose... or finger... The magical rituals involved in these are said to imbue one in some magical power, or perhaps treat illness.
Traditionalist Third People rarely interact with outsiders. However, Capital is home to a reasonably-sized population of Thirds who have assimilated into Urban culture. They DO make good physicians, but they are also skilled archers, boat-makers, and merchants, when they stick to traditional careers.
Physically, Third People are generally not as grub-like as the pale Anthians or Rahanii, nor quite as dark-toned as the Andaru. If not for the Feathers and slightly taller-than-average build, they wouldn't stand out in a normal city crowd. However, the feathers are a useful quirk when grown out, and their ritual scars are unusually tough; these can provide DR 1 for some specific situations.
A reclusive, beast-like people, the Krampa have only recently begun to integrate into society as free individuals... though occasional caged (but feral) individuals were kept as "pets" by the more barbaric rulers of history. Krampa are usually eight feet tall, or more, and possess vast strength and coarse black hair like iron wool. This woolly coat hides any features besides the prominent brow ridge, the fierce beady eyes, and the disturbingly large teeth. Despite the wild and aggressive nature of the average Krampa, they are not essentially violent or savage; however, they are coarse and usually have little exposure to civilization.
Originally inhabitants of the vast forested regions of the Empire, the Krampa have gradually migrated to other places, as often enslaved as free. They have at times been taken aboard ship as paid sailors- their strength more than makes up for lack of dexterity- they have been to almost as many ports as Rahanii sailors.
There is little need to distinguish between Krampa and others- either one is eight feet tall and covered in hair, or not. However, Krampa have a distinctive roar of sorts which others cannot easily duplicate.
While they are usually considered bestial, that is not the case with all Krampa. Individuals may be as gentle and even thoughtful as any other person, and indeed, when food is plentiful and there is little need for conflict, even totally "wild" Krampa do not attack without provocation. Where Krampa befriend smaller people, they form deep friendships, as fiercely loyal as can be imagined.