Veteran of the Western Wars -The expansive western border of Esylia is forever in motion, shifting back and forth as minor wars flare up and die out between the empire and its neighbors. The bulk of the empire’s military assets seem to be forever assigned to attacking or defending the rich farmland, rolling hills, and labyrinthine riverways far to the west. ‘A visit to the hills’ is largely inevitable for most soldiers within Esylia, since the near constant state of simmering warfare has an insatiable hunger for fresh men and women. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perception and Ride checks, and one of these skills (your choice) is always a class skill for you.
Bringer of Rust and Rubble – It has been generations since the empire forced the dwarves into subjugation following perhaps the bloodiest war in recorded history. A key factor in Esylia’s eventual success was the empire’s extensive use of constructs and golems. Untiring and utterly without remorse or pity, those strange arcane engines felled dwarf after dwarf until the deep tunnels ran red with blood. Many dwarves to this day harbor an understandable distrust of constructs, and those with a special proclivity for defending against the unliving machines are known as Wulthrungar, roughly translated as ‘bringers of rust and rubble’. You receive a +1 on attack rolls against creatures with the Construct type, and any weapon you wield counts as magic for the purposes of overcoming Construct damage reduction.
Tall-Wise – For the extended halfling clans that ply the rivers of the empire, the humans that crowd the landscape tend to be looked upon as a convenient meal ticket. The waterways are the vital arteries of imperial commerce, and the halflings have secured an ironclad monopoly upon transport of all sorts with their impressive flotilla of barges and skiffs. Even though bargaining and haggling come second nature to most halflings, some individuals possess a natural gift for fleecing the strange tall creatures that prefer soil under their feet. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Bluff checks when dealing with humans, and Bluff is always a class skill for you.
Grand Tourist – Gnomes have done an impressive job of insinuating themselves into every stratum of Esylian society, and as a result, the race as a whole tends to be well-read, prosperous, and cosmopolitan. For those families that can afford it, a time-honored tradition within gnomish families is the so-called Grand Tour. Teenaged gnomes set out for three years, traveling the empire far and wide to experience as much of the empire as they can (the breadth of one’s travels is often an indicator of the prosperity of a gnome’s familial wealth, and thus a common bragging right). Wandering gnomish youngsters, often with a trusted family servant in tow, are common travellers encountered on the roads and rivers of Esylia. Once per day, you may roll twice and take the better result when attempting a skill check for a skill in which you are trained.
Brackenwood Stalker – The Brackenwood stretches for hundreds of miles, a thick and imposing forest claimed by its mysterious elven inhabitants. Though the empire lacks official claim over the dense woods, and has adopted an unofficial policy of practiced ignorance towards the Brackenwood after consistent defeat, that hasn’t stopped human settlement from hedging in close against the borders. Farms encroach the forest edge, and woodcutters and charcoal burners harvest carefully, fearing the strange sylvan creatures that reside within. The elves have a reputation for moving swiftly and silently, appearing as though from the very trees themselves. Indeed, the elves who call the forest edges their home know that the best defense against ambitious humans is the breeding of fear and myth, and work hard to foster their popular image as silent hunters of forest twilight. You gain a +1 bonus on Stealth checks, and Stealth is always a class skill for you. This bonus increases to +2 outdoors during dawn and dusk.
Lambent Tutored – Scholarly pursuits are a central linchpin within Esylian society, and the citizens of the empire pride themselves on the quality of their learning and knowledge. While the wellborn and privileged can enlist the aid of private tutors and retained sages, the common people rely upon members of the Lambent. A quasi-religious order dedicated to teaching and the free distribution of knowledge, brothers and sisters of the Lambent are an order of wandering tutors. These traveling sages, known colloquially as Yellow Friends because of their marigold tunics, journey from place to place, teaching mayor and fieldhand alike the basic tenets of literacy, history, and math in exchange for food, shelter, and a promise to pass on their teachings as much as possible. You gain a +1 bonus on Knowledge (History) checks, and this skill is always a class skill for you. Additionally, you are fluent in Old Esylian.