I remember everyone's favouritestest Toad having a go at someone on some other forum for saying that:
Fantasy doesn't have to be realistic.
Naturally it does. The most important stats are those of a basic human warrior, which sets the benchmark of reality upon which all other fantastical elements revolve around, yadda yadda yadda.
I wonder why the same shouldn't be said of the fluff. I haven't looked into the present fluff anywhere near as much as I should have, but I present my interpretation of some the races - often trying to mirror the real world through analogy, if only as an exercise in curiosity. I'm also interested in creating rational motives for every race - Dark lord is Dark, just don't cut it for Obscader no more!
Magic - The infinite powers mould the universe and as they do energy spray and residue seeps into reality. This exists outside of the laws of nature - it has to for the powers to be able to create anything new. As such, this energy, which we call magic, can be manipulated by the casters soul. Through learning of the powers and the nature of this energy (and of the laws), one can lock patterns of combining energy into runes of the Godtongue - thus creating spells.
Dark Elves - Believe that cruelty brings achievement. They will concentrate power in their cities through enslavement of other races in order to advance civilisation, understanding of magic and the level of technology. They are fiercely individualistic and deny the existence of empathy and altruism. Nonetheless, the discoveries of the Dark Elves can accidentally have a positive impact on the people of Arcana - such as the invention of more efficient water-wheels (a device Dark Elves used to make water torture more reliable).
Sylvan Elves - Have simplified their language, in accordance with nature. Having done away with metaphysics entirely, the Sylvan Elves have become closer to the world as it is. With the questions of philosophy removed from their minds, inside every Elf is an instinctual empathy for her immediate natural surroundings - this makes taming and whispering to animals of all sizes easy for her. The Sylvan Elves are utterly beyond morality (which has no place in nature) and only reluctantly use basic, but innovative, technology to protect themselves. Forever standing on the brink of extinction leads these Elves to impossible heroism and innovation - in short, they of all the races on Arcana have found their purpose.
Orcs - Were once a relatively peaceful race. When the Elves came they were quickly enslaved and manipulated - and the other races soon realised what a valueable resource Orcs could be. This in turn drove them to violence. The Elves often supplied them with captured weaponry in exchange for slaves and raw materials. The tribes started an arms race of strength - for only the physically strong could survive outsiders attacks and the cruelty of their own Orc cousins. They now have no learning and are often outmaneouvred and used by other races. Any Orcish tribes who do try to civilise themselves are quickly destroyed by their bestial neighbours. Orcs make up the majority of the slave population on Arcana. Perhaps one in ten thousand can read and write.
Goblins - Are paranoid, fearful little creatures, who exist to curtail that fear. Constant terror of death leads them to attack before being attacked and they will do anything to survive. They form Kingdoms to preserve themselves and all power gained is for survivals sake, not to conquer.
'Barbarians' - Humans untouched by Elven culture. They are egalitarian, close to nature and brave warriors. They call themselves river-folk or forest-folk. Some tribes see the new power of chaos brought to Arcana by Demons as compatible with the other magics they wield.
Amazons - A moon-worshipping matriarchal civilisation close to nature. They believe that women are oppressed by the present civilisations and believe women of all races should unite and rule - to prevent the violence and war brought by masculine rule. Close allies with the 'barbarians'.
Dwarfs - Despise change and the coming of chaos. They worship Dwarven ancestors of order and hierarchy. They are collectivistic. Live oblivious to the rest of the world, with the exception of certain humans who display traits similar to themselves. They have a strong sense of honour, which is born from the status-based, saving face culture they live in.
Demons - Demons live close to the powers, on vast amethyst sphere's which surround stars and feed off their power. They are creatures of learning and observation, who shun weapons and violence - after all, they are only threatened by the occasional Void Dragon. Demons are capable of shifting their shape, in accordance to an aspect of their dominant personality traits (i.e. a fiery temper'd Demon can become...a fire demon!) Demons are made of the same elements as Arcanian races, but in an odd combination, making them harder to slay. The Demons on Arcana are an exiled warmongering civilisation who became too powerful after banishing a circle of Star-Giants. They were almost entirely destroyed in their light-year long flight to Arcana. They plan to enslave the races of this world and return home to gain revenge. They brought with them the otherworldly chaosflux energy which seeps into the magic-web surrounding Arcana. More chaos energy is released everytime a demon is slain.
Underworld Civilisation - Humans who have made pacts with the Demons and serve under them. Their bodies and blades are imbued with otherworldly energy as a token of their immortal subordination.
Beastmen - Live in a forest mutated by a subtle demonic experiment. They take pride in their new forms for the strength they are given. Unaccepted by humanity, they find solace amongst Demons, who promise them a place when they return home. Beastmen form nomadic tribes which forever fight one another for dominance. A single bestial sage knows that their harsh fate was caused by the Demons the Beastmen so revere, and the Demons seek to silence him before he reveals their dark secret.
Lizardmen - Inhabit tropical places. The core of the race are Demons who reject their violent civilisation and live free in nature. Having lost their hatred of the powers and the demonic scribes who banished them, they have become ignorant of otherworldly events and their magical energy has drained away. Only a select few cold blooded races already inhabiting the jungles had magicians who would protect the exiles and taught their mages nature lore. Hundreds of years of interbreeding have formed a new race, who live in harmony with their cold blooded cousins.
How does power corrupt our hearts so surely?