Xin has a wide variety of life across its surface, though it varies from our own world in that mammals are far less common, being mostly supplanted by birds, reptiles, and oversized insects. The oceans as well are dominated not by fish, but by the realms’ resident draconian denizens.
However, the number of those that can be considered intelligent is more limited than many popular fantasy settings. There are a small collection of sophont species, and all seem to have naturally emerged at roughly the same time. Proposed explanations for this strange unlikelihood vary; the Empire claims this was the will of the Titans, the Ecclesiarchy claims the gods uplifted the various iterations of intelligent life, the Cult of the Exarch claims the outsiders are responsible for being civility to the savage native peoples they found upon arrival. Whatever the case, the options for player characters are limited to these presented choices:
(please note this is still very much a work in progress, and as such is subject to frequent and radical change without warning)
Balang – Playful arboreal hominids native to the northern half of the Great Mangrove, with disproportionate limbs that lend them a comical gait. Their society is well defined but not particularly restrictive. They primarily rely on farmed aquatic plants for food, and wild birds for meat.
Secrens – A vaguely french-inspired culture of a vaguely Secretarian avian macropods, who tend toward large agrarian communes more than any sort of formalized over-arching society. Four wing-esque limbs ending in hominid hands afford them limited gliding abilities but leave them rather inelegant on the ground, though their well developed tails allow them to perch, stationary, and utilize all four hands.
Meruba – Vibrant and passionate salamanders, with a mane of axolotl gills and thick crimson pseudo-chitinous hide. Their blood is full of an extremely caustic substance, Merubic Acid, which has rendered them not only an inedible but very toxic prey, leading to the development of a very laid-back worldview. It also has potent alchemical properties, though the use of it is strictly forbidden by both Empire law and Ecclesiarchy doctrine, along with any other substance extracted from sophonts.
Achatans – . You can’t even handle this much tiger, Tigurr. Bizarre even by Xin’s standards, the Acti are large, muscular hominids covored in short, thick fur. Physically they resemble a cross between an Amoy and Tasmanian tiger, with thick mucles and clawed paws, and a long sharp muzzle with a tremendous jaw range. Beneath the fur coat lies course, finely-scaled skin, and their mouths are lined with rows of jagged, grooved teeth. Their eyes are jet black multifaceted bulbous orbs, covered by eyelids split vertically, and as they approach, you notice the faintest persistent hum, not so much heard, as felt in the joints.
Ogrin – The result of the hybridization of Ciel and Meruba. Lanky but immensely strong and agile, vaguely reptilian with pebbly skin and covered in various places by ensiform protrusions of warped, chitinous feathers. By and large Ogrin are shunned by Ciel and Meruba society alike, as are the couples who spawn such offspring.
Cretens – Nomadic greek dwarf elephants, savanna/outback craftsmen. Two races: Spade Cretens have a flat, pig-like nose and longer spade-like tusks, somewhat flatter and wider, native to the greener flatlands and foothills of the north; Crested Cretens, native to warmer, dryer flatlands, have a protruding nose ridge that runs upwards to peak of the head, with many small, slit-like nostrils along the side, and have shorter, more traditional tusks;
Kiplings – Seemingly paradoxical hybrids of vegetarian jumping spiders and carnivorous giant katydids, these chitinous acrobats are natives of the southern coastal regions of the Great Mangrove.
Outsiders – Descendants of the original survivors of the Great Crash, the Hearthlings (Gnomes, Dwarves, and Hobbits) and Tallfolk (Orcs, Elves, and Humans) of the more common fantasy settings. All are the same species, just different version, essentially six distinct races arising from the common humanoid stock as expressions of the six primal elements that define Xin.