Ways of the Seven
Demographics of Valua
Valua is the general term applied to the southern continent. The Valuan Empire occupies most of the large landmass, and it contains a wide variety of peoples whose cultures have been subsumed into the empire. Humans (56% of the total populace) are the backbone of Valuan society. Human warlords were responsible for the founding of the Empire almost a thousand years ago. In Valuan society, humans are subject to a system of social classes with a limited, but not nonexistent, degree of mobility. The major social distinction is between the upper-class patricians and lower-class plebeians. The patricians are divided into nine noble houses, each claiming to be descendants of a specific tribe from pre-Imperial days. The rest of the populace, the plebeians, are the descendants of the other inhabitants of Valua that resisted, and were conquered, by the growing Empire. Among the plebeian populace, there is a distinction between manual laborers, agricultural workers, craftsmen, and merchants, although the social ranking of these four classes is in constant flux. Valuan humans tend to have fair skin and dark hair.
Valuan high elves, or eladrin (13%), exist outside of the human social classes. They were integrated into the Valuan Empire as masters of magic and keepers of history and knowledge. For practical purposes, a high elf is about equal to a patrician human in terms of social and political power, although there is a complex set of rules that govern when eladrin must defer to human desires, and vice versa. One of the most important jobs held by the eladrin race is the maintenance and development of Imperial arcane magic. The Valuan Institute for Arcane Studies is the official Imperial school of magic, with campuses all over the Empire. Every eladrin mage is a member of the Institute and is responsible, to a greater or lesser degree, for teaching and researching magic, as well as monitoring the Empire for rogue spellcasters. However, members in good standing are generally free to take extended sabbaticals to search for new arcane lore or ancient knowledge. High elves are, on the whole, non-religious. Some may pay lip service to Valuan gods or to the god of magic, but clerics are practically unheard of. Overwhelmingly, the high elves have integrated seamlessly with the humans, and now the thought of one existing without the other would be unthinkable to most in the empire. The vast majority of high elves live in Erathir and Avandras, with most of that concentrated in the latter city.
Valuan half-elves (21%) are the children of humans and eladrin. They combine the adventuresome spirit of their human parent with the austerity and wisdom of their high elf parent. Interestingly, the gender of a Valuan half-elf is dependent on the parent: a male high elf produces a female half-elf, and vice versa. This is not true of half-elves born of a wood elf parent. Because they are not full-blooded eladrin, Valuan half-elves are not considered part of the eladrin caste and therefore adopt the social class of their human parent. The majority of Valuan half-elves are of the patrician class.
Valuan halflings (10%), also known as hobbits, are a peaceful, agrarian minority in Valua. They are considered citizens of the Empire, but in practice they are allowed to continue to live as they have for generations, in tightly-knit communities lead by elders from various halfling families. Valua makes little attempt to enforce their laws on halfling lands, mostly because they are not needed—-it is almost unheard-of for halflings to be disharmonious or rebellious.
Tieflings (3%) are a secret minority in Valua. Scholars have determined that at some point, hundreds if not thousands of years ago, some event introduced extraplanar blood into some humans, creating the first tieflings. The initial infusion of demonic blood has been diluted again and again as new generations of tieflings bred with humans, but no matter how little demonic blood a child inherits, the result is always a full tiefling. Most people do not know tieflings exist, or at the very least they do not know what causes tiefling characteristics. There exists a secret society of tieflings, the Order of the Shrouded Sun, which is devoted to educating tieflings about their heritage, researching the history of their race and the possible cause of their condition, and possibly finding a way to cure or expunge the traces of demonic blood.
2% of the population of Valua are immigrants from the Northlands and Sehrga Mountains, including dwarves, wood elves, and humans from the Northlands that have been naturalized citizens.