I will be completely modifying those, somewhat per geographic area, because I think it makes more sense.
Species and their Cultures : There are 2 cultures per species.
Although there are no elves (or humans) in my world, these creatures are a mix of elf and feline characteristics. They can do everything a cat (or bigger feline) can, and are as resistant as our beloved vampires and werewolves. They have an athletic build. Almost no collarbone (easier to run on all furs when they aren’t shifted). Slit pupils (their eyes glow most of the time, both due to light reflection and bio-luminescence). Slanted eyes. Feline-like nose. Retractable claws on each finger : 5 fingers on hands and feet, opposable thumbs on both. Soles of feet, palm of hands and fingertips on feet and hands are darker than the rest of the fur. A long and prehensile tail. Pointy and moveable ears that are high on the head. Almost feline teeth with long canines, nose and mouth jutting out from the face, can open their jaw wide (like a cat). They walk digitigrade (on their toes, like cats and dogs). Furnished hair, very dense and very short fur (like an otter) : of muted fur color that comes in a variety of grays with “brighter” markings that are mainly on the back. Their fur color often reflects the color of their war form : a big form called the “warrior” or “war” form they can turn into ; it usually looks like a feline. The Aelfen have the same ability, but their form doesn’t look the same.
Wyldaeren of Gaia (Guardian or Warden) : Peaceful, tribal and amiable.
Also known as the “Warriors of Gaia”. Cruel and selfish to some, and generally very protective towards their environment and their own survival, they consider themselves guardians of nature, sacred places, life, ancestral traditions and way of living. They are very in-tune with nature and magic. They are dwelling in the huge forests of Wyrdaenia, nomadic (or half nomadic) and going from place to place. They can be found in tribes, in family clans, friends clan, or all alone. They are in general neutral and peaceful towards other cultures (except with the Nakaar, being considered as a threat, and probably some others that are obviously aggressive). They can be relentless and fierce fighters if they ever feel threatened. Most of the time, they hunt and gather fruits, cereals, vegetables (they have very sharp senses) but they can also keep herds of animals, and grow some cereals and vegetables for the most sedentary of them. They can also shapeshift in a form called the war form ; it’s resembles a feline most of the time. Most of the rituals, festivals and traditions stems from this culture. Often live alongside with the Korred, that they see as a sibling culture, complementary to theirs, in the same sanctuary. The furs they sell are usually of great quality, they also work fine leather. They are a matriarchal society, and thus are led by a matriarch “queen” or “alpha”, and two elders, while each tribe still has their own matriarch leader.
-At best : Friendly, outgoing and understanding. Acceptance of all cultures.
-At worst : Aloof, closed-off, snooty, snuffing out anything that isn’t like them, and engaging bloody wars.
Night walkers (Marche-nuit / Feldaeren) : Amoral and self centered…to downright evil.
Not numerous enough to have a capital on their own, there are still enough of them to start considering them as a sort of culture, and a real, rising threat. They are said to be at the origin of the Shadows of Chaos, a very dangerous order of necromancers, who have a tendency to upset the natural balance of life and nature, and general harmony in cultures. To many, they are only a bunch of twisted people. They are on horrible terms with the Guardians and others because of this. Wyldaeren are one of the strongest species, and these tend to severely look down on others they deem too weak. To a one, they are proud creatures, concerned primarily with their own grand schemes. They are very feral, cunning, wild, unpredictable and dangerous. Have also embraced necromancy to some extent, as a dark part of the world that must not go ignored, and they would not hesitate about using it (mostly in excess), taking the rituals of the Guardians and adapting them into twisted ways. Rumors circulate that they drink other humanoid’s blood as well. Dark magic is corrupting them even more. Usually live underground or in some other well-hidden area, specialise in stealth, sneakiness and ruthlessness. It is often said they have developed an over sensitivity for light and heat, although, this is only folklore and stereotype. They are at ease in whatever environment, like the others. Individuals from this “culture” are generally drawn to Nakkar and their seemingly confortable way of life, preferring to give up their original one and fully adopt theirs. These individuals are generally shunned from their original society, that they shun in return, too. They believe that combining technology with magic is a great idea that could develop even more their power. Contrarily to the Guardians, who care about the balance of the world, these only care for themselves and don’t have the same values or honor (if any). Often, and with good reason, associated with death, they are more out at night than others. They might take a shine to others, but at best, it’s the love a human feels for a pet, and descends down through the love an entomologist feels for a rare insect, continuing down through the love a glutton feels for prime rib…and you really don’t want to see what it’s like at its worst. Their society and customs, if they even have the inclination to associate, are often extravagant and elegant but amoral and inscrutable.
-At best : Indifferent towards others’s lives / business. Or they would interact with others with either no thought to the consequences of their actions or delight in the mess they’re making of other’s lives.
-At worst : Empathy is an alien concept. They’re like otherworldly horrors with magic who kidnap others for torture, rape and slavery — or sometimes even worse things. Outright malicious or self-centered to the point of sociopathy.
They resemble the wyldaeren, except that they walk plantigrade (on the soles of their feet, like humans and bears) (or semi-plantigrade). Have a shorter and a bit bushier tail (wolf or fox-like). Skin can be tan / brown / dark purple / or blue all of which are muted colors. Have 5 fingers on hands, 4 toes on feet. Have a more complete collarbone and it’s a bit more difficult for them to run on all fours without being shifted… They have a less animal appearance than the wyldaeren.
Korred : Scholarly and feral.
Are lithe people with close affinity for nature, dwelling in the forest, they can move silently for observing their environment from a tree where they like to climb, making no sound and being hard to detect. Their cities are mostly made of wood and stone, and arrange in a way that let the trees and plants grow almost freely. They have a love for knowledge and magic. Most of the spells are researched at their prestigious “universities”. They possess the greatest library in the world one could dream of, recounting many subjects and especially magic. As of this day, they are the culture with the most books and records on magic, and are quite knowledgeable and advanced about it. Many Aelfen are scholars, and although quite proud of themselves, most are humble and quiet. They consider it their duty to guard this knowledge from ill-intentioned hands. They are the culture having the most cities (most architecture on Wyrdaenia is inspired by them), and most places to study at. Their society is a fine balance between their feral nature and intellectual, magical and philosophical values. They don’t have an army, per se, but have Sentinels, which are somewhat like town guards, and serve as an always ready-for-anything army when they are under attack. Usually are led by a council of elected officials (maybe 4 or 5 individuals), usually the most experienced and wisest people. The oldest is considered to be the “king” and often referred to for most problems. Can sometimes rule along with the “queen” of the Guardians.
-At best : Welcomes warmly newcomers able to find them in the mountains or forests (and can teach them stuff, if they show a desire to learn).
-At worst : Can appear completely hermetic, aloof and closed-off. Distrustful. Shunning. Aggressive.
Lumina(lf) : Snooty but kind and artistic…if you don’t get on their bad side.
They may be the most elegant of cultures, and at first sight, you’d never guess they have a feral side, too. If most of the other aelfen are humble about their knowledge and culture, these take it to an extreme, and often appear very proud and snooty, elegant, sophisticated and even vain. They can appear shallow, but are resourceful. Their feral side shows in that anything seems good to extend their knowledge, even learning one of the most controversial art : necromancy. Rush in a battle isn’t their speciality. They are skilled and like to seduce others only to get what they want. Seduction, bribery, trickery, blackmail, mind-control, intimidation, humiliation, and legislation have no secret for them. They are very experienced in camouflage techniques. They prefer more subtle ways of assassination, like poison, torture, killing from behind, etc... Despite all of this knowledge, they show an otherwise kind, lavish and peaceful face to the world, prefering to use these tatics for defense or for their enemies. Although there is always some lingering snootiness to them. They often have a very bad reputation, which is sometimes unfounded. They tend to keep to themselves and don’t like any interference in their lives or politics, preferring to trade. They are led by a warrior king or queen, who earns the throne through strategic superiority in battle. They enjoy art, music and merry making, skilled artists and jewelers can be found amongst them, and they like to have the most precious gems and metals around and on them.
-At best : Independent and snooty but peaceful. Artistic. Daydreaming.
-At worst : Lack of morals. Covetous, sneaky, deceptive. Manipulative, backstabbing jerks who are downright proud of it.
*Halfling (halfelin) :
The shortest species on Wyrdaenia, they are little in size and their muscles shows more, but they are also agile to move in such terrains. Skin is mostly orange with brown and muted / dark green variations. Stocky and well muscled, but agile and lithe too, to move in mountainous terrain with ease. Very hairy body as well as patches of fur on shoulders, elbows, forearms, knees and calf, sometimes around ankle, ridge of fur down to end of shoulder blades. Fur is is especially apparent when their articulations bend. Human-like teeth, except for the outer incisive which is canine-like but, no teeth are elongated. Claw-like nails. Plantigrade walking. Deer-like tail. Moveable Aelfen-like ears, but shorter. Human-like hands and feet, but a bit larger. Eyes are little, and slanting with a round pupil that can reflect light, but aren’t glowing like that of an Aelfen or Wyldaeren.
Yaksha / Yakshini (Dwarves) : Generous and funny.
Often misunderstood, because of their way of living in the mountains, in giant natural enhanced caves, their castles are built into stone. They are known to be defensive and aloof with the world, though this is mostly a facade, and they can show to be friendly, loyal and courageous once one knows how to communicate with them and has formed solid bonds. As a result, not much of this culture is known. They love things that shines, especially gemstones and precious metals that they enjoy collecting for jewelry crafting. They consider themselves guardians of the treasures of Wyrdaenia, that they seek to protect. They live mainly high up in the mountains. They are rather good hunters. Their main capital is situated in Gaia’s Peaks, so they have a long tradition of knowing the cold environment, all the animals and plants that inhabit there, as well as a hunting and survival tradition. They are generally curious, generous and hospitable. They enjoy having some comfort to face the cold, as well as food, water, wine and beer. But they can be surprisingly adventurous too, and like to know what is happening to the world around them, and thus, explore. They are always up for jokes and fun, but are also disciplined warriors with a sense of honor and ethics. Giving, but not be able or not willing to keep one’s word (especially if it has good consequences), is considered and injure, and sometimes, a treason. They are led by two elected king and queen (usually the wisest of their people) ; they can be married, but if it’s not the case, and they can have personal lives outside the political sphere.
-At best : Great sense of honor. Loyal. Friendly. Sense of sacrifice. Humorous. Funny.
-At worst : Indifferent towards the world. Recluse. Aggressive. Apathetic. Excessive lifestyle.
Goblins (gold-eaters) : Cunning and inventive.
Are found worldwide. Like the yaksha, they aren’t very tall, but they appear slimmer. They are well known for their dexterity, intelligence and cunning. Of all the species originating from Wyrdaenia, they are the most technologically inclined group. They create weapons and have trap and explosive-filled lairs and warren-like fortresses in which they typically keep their gold, and other precious materials. They value wealth and are “led” by a guild who oversees activity of all goblins, including production, distribution of goods and services. They are neutral towards others, quick to spot a profit and will work for anyone who offers the greatest price. Meanwhile they would cut corners to reduce the cost of their activities, if they can get away with it. They do have a capital, but it’s more of a trading platform, and most goblins spend their lives traveling the world to search for even more wealth and clients. As a result, families are rarely heard of, although some goblins are taking pauses to create families, and when their child is grown enough to follow the parents, they travel in family until the young is aged enough to be on his / her own. Goblin families are usually far apart, but still communicate via letters and so on. Their approach to others is mostly one of profit, and they are sometimes prone to thievery.
-At best : Smiling and energetic. Friendly. Out going.
-At worst : Uncaring of others and only valuing wealth. Power-hunger.
The tallest species of Wyrdaenia (although Wyldaeren are very close in height). Are quite muscular, and can go from stocky looking to more lanky but athletic. Neck is usually thick and short. Round pupil (reflects less light than others). Skin ranges from brown, green, blue and gray. Have 4 fingers and 3 toes, with nails (no claws). No tail. Human-like nose. Protruding tusks from lower jaw. Ears are short, pointy, moveable.
Jotunn (also “the kind giants”) : Friendly and strong.
They are mostly living in wooden huts in the forests, and are half nomadic. They are opportunistic and will make anything their home. Live indifferently at night or day. Despite their powerful built, they are mostly known for being famous wizards amongst the ogre species. They revere the elements and all components of nature that they use. This doesn’t deprive them from strength, and they are expert hunters and have a great battle knowledge. They too, have a capital city, but a great deal of the population might be spread throughout the world, making their versatile knowledge of brute force and magic, useful for survival. Yet they are surprisingly peaceful, joyful and friendly, care for their children, and its people are well educated and even courteous. Their protective nature doesn’t stop at their family or community or clan, but can extend to their allies, as well. Honor is very important to them. Some are even known as poets and musicians. They enjoy merry-making and festivals. They can be rowdy, but they are overall good spirited.
-At best : Protective. Gentle and kind. Good-natured and easy going.
-At worst : Cold and indifferent. Brutal. Harsh. Absence of compassion.
Trolls (Berserkers) : Competitive and rowdy.
Trolls are tough, crude and rowdy, and are valuing strength, more so than the other cultures, such as (in the extreme) if you aren’t strong enough to defend what you have, then it didn’t belong to you in the first place. They are expert warriors, and are rather infamous due to their pirating and pillaging. They travel either by land or by boat. Although they are more like raiders than conquerors. Because of this, they are mistrusted by other races. They are not so much into scholarly magical knowledge as some other cultures are, but are researching the most efficient spells. The more powerful it is, the better. There is a tale that the trolls were at the origin of therianthropism. Physical abilities are held in the highest esteem, so their leaders are chosen from fighting and wrestling competitions. They are known for their invention of many competitive sports. Even amongst their own kind, or amongst others, they will challenge people, to see who is the better. If they lose, they are generally not resentful. They are ruled by a war-chief. Their young often learn their parent’s occupation or become warriors and hunters. They are famous drinkers and produce some of the finest beers on Wyrdaenia.
-At best : Energetic and dynamic. Restless. Friendly competitions. Doing idiot. Making jokes.
-At worst : Dominating and overwhelming. Blood-thirsty. Unruly. Violent.
Body is short and strong. Nakaar have more strength than agility. Big scales cover the front of the legs (except for the knee), arms, lower part of the belly. Normal scales cover the foreams, back of hands and feet, back of neck descending a bit on the back, but never past the shouderblades. Lots of accessories and golden jewels. Round pupils (doesn’t reflect light). Human nose. Elongated upper canines. Deer horns, that generally follow the curve of the head. Skin is between ocher and pink, the scales are a darker shade, or more rarely, another color (like blue, etc…). Human-like hands and feet with 5 fingers and 4 toes, except that they end up in hooves instead of nails. Round, unmovable ears.
Earth scarrers (écorches-terre) : Ambitious and technological.
They are an ambitious and technological culture. Their cities are usually full of noise and technology, just like their daily lives. Physically, they are considered the weakest species of Wyrdaenia, but they make up for it with technology and a bit of magic they are slowly learning back. They can be faulted for their arrogance and lack of friendliness or humor. They regard other cultures with a bit of fear, and most of the time, consider no one as really equal to them, though are strangely seeking to learn from these other cultures ; sometimes in the worst negatives ways ; to destroy them, or to learn the way they make war. The Nakkar are an alien species coming from no one knows where. Most were sick when they came, already dying, due to the pollution in their world, developing in them all kinds of sicknesses and unknown medical conditions to the species that inhabit Wyrdaenia. They use a lot of technology for anything, and especially relies on it for survival and efficiency, even in the most mundane tasks. They also tend to put it into their bodies to be stronger and fitter. The more they can develop, the better. In fact, some cultures are a pain for them, and they would rather have them as slaves than sabotaging their plans. They are mostly known for their technological inventions and destructive weaponry which they value the most. Are usually led by a king, and have a rigid hierarchy. Enjoy gold, and jewelry, precious gems and metals.
-At best : Outgoing and interested in others, and not only for destruction. Enthusiastic about using their technology to live in harmony with others and nature.
-At worst : Self centered, narrow-minded and seeking only personal interest in the detriment of others. Power hunger. Dominating. All pervasive and persecuting. Prone to enslave those they deem too idiot to serve for an other purpose. Conquer everyone else’s territory.
Nakkael (Nomads) : Demure and quiet.
This culture chose to abandon the destructive and pervasive life-style of their kin, making themselves closer to nature than ever before, grasping on the chance to start anew on a lush planet not yet polluted by them. They range from farmers to hunter-gatherers. They are rather quiet and peaceful, demure and hard-working. They tame animals for both work and sometimes, for entertainment, and usually form strong bonds with them, especially with their mount. Being the species that is the least in tune with magic (though, this is changing very fast) and the “weakest” physically, they tend to either steal weapons from earth-scarrers, buy from goblins or fabricate them, themselves. Their tamed animals help them too. They form scattered tribes across the world, often hiding from the other culture of their kin. They can be found worldwide, either in deep forests, mountains, underground, or more rarely, live among Korred and Guardian cities. They are led by village elders.
At best : Quiet. Peaceful. Amiable. Welcoming.
At worst : Shy away from everyone. No respect for other cultures, because of fear.