Folk of the Anvil Vale
A broad term that refers to the ancient races thought to have been stone and metal given life and breath in the dawning days of the world.
- Mountain Dwarf: Born from flint and granite and obsidian, mountain dwarves were a mainstay of the Great Clans, with eight of the Twelve being mountain dwarf clans. In these days of the Guilds, they weild somewhat less influence, although their might stands them in good stead in the militaries of the dwarven citadels.
- Hill Dwarf: Born from iron and tin and gold, there existed only one hill dwarf Great Clan for every two of their stouter kin. But, being fine craftsfolk and with a mind for mercantile efforts, the hill dwarves practically dominate the Guilds - easily three-quarters of the masters on the Guildsmoot are hill dwarves.
- Rock Gnome: Born from quartz and garnet and diamond, the rock gnomes are thought to have once been proper dwarves. But they were lured away into the Feywild, and by the time they found their way back, they'd been changed. As such, though they are not considered dwarves, they are still dwarrowfolk to the historians of the dwarven people.
- Stout Halfling: The stout halflings were never born of the Earth as other dwarrowfolk were, the stout-blood halflings came to the ancient dwarven homelands seeking shelter from a great cataclysm. The Dwarro-Crún took them in, promising them a place with their people, and that has been a compact dwarrowkind has honored ever since. Today, it is not uncommon to find stout halflings in dwarven settlements, or in hillside homes that delve deeper beneath the earth than those of their lightfoot kin.
- Earth and Fire Genasi: Occasionally, one among the dwarrowfolk are born with a greater than usual concentration of the deep power of their ancient forebears. These genasi usually look like dwarves, save with abundantly elemental seemings that cause them to stand out from their kin. Still, they are certainly considered proper dwarrowfolk, and many of them are encouraged to enter the service of the Urram Athair or to become runethane wizards.
- Human: Approximately as populous as the dwarves of the Vale, humans make up the majority of those who live in the Vale's settlements. The humans of the Vale have lived among the dwarves for so many generations, however, that they have absorbed dwarven culture in its near entirety, favoring beards and regarding skilled craftsmen as the first among them.
- Because while the offspring of unions between dwarf and humankind are humans, many humans of the Vales do have distinct dwarven blood in them. As such, humans of the Vale are permitted to take any of the dwarven Racial Feats from Xanathar's Guide to Everything.
- Half-Elf: Half-elves in the Anvil Vale are a relative rarity. Two-thirds or so of them come from the mingling of Valefolk with the winter elves who come out of the mountain mists to explore the Vale. The rest come from mingling with the Frostwood clans by human rangers and foresters who have established friendships with the Frostwood elves.
- Lightfoot Halfling: Though they are their own folk, in the minds of most Valefolk, halflings are "younger siblings" of humanity, as where one can be found, so can the other.
Though the Valefolk know to be cautious of the true giants, those folk who are considered lesser or "giantish" are welcome in the Vale to trade and even live.
- Firbolg: Originally hailing from the Frostwood, the firbolg of the Vale have lived there for generations, usually tucked away within the outer edges of the Thanewood or Grinnirwoods. They are largely loners, but welcome visitors.
- Goliath: Goliaths – often treated poorly by true giants – have made their homes in dwarven citadels for centuries. It is quite common to see a goliath strolling the wide avenues of dwarven citadels, although much rarer to see them in other Vale settlements.
- Elves: Most of the winter elves in the Vale come from Silvershield Vale, the strange mist-cloaked valley a short distance from Anvil Vale. When the moon sits fat and full in the night sky, the mists of Silvershield Vale part to reveal the great city of Ylistaloré, a winter elf city of the Feywild that sits too close to the world, crossing over on moonlit nights.
- The forests near the Anvil Vale house a number of elven clans, split largely evenly between vernal, summer, and autumnal folk, with a sprinkling of winter elves. Though they have been offered the protection of the Thane's Wall before, they prefer their lives of nearly constant conflict with the creatures of the forests. Like all elves, the Frostwood elves wait for the day when the Elven High Queen returns - not out of some kind of romantic nostalgia, but because they believe that only she can lead them to vicotry and the establishment of a safe homeland once more.
- Forest Gnome: The woodlands south of the Thanewall are home to several hollows, as small forest gnome villages are called, usually built around and even into interesting woodland terrain, such as a massive tree with tall arching roots, or a low-lying ravine along the forest floor.
- Shifter: Longstanding allies of the Frostclan elves, the shifters of the Frostwood are few in number. They occasionally emerge from the woods, mistaken for simple travelers or woodsfolk, to see the sights of the Vale before returning home.
Veteran mountaineers say that in the distant peaks of the Starfrost Mountains lies the mountain peak city known as Last Aerie. Last Aerie is inhabited by aarakocra and kenku, with the winged aarakocra ruling over the "wingless" caste: a designation that includes the kenku and other rare folk who have come to dwell there. Occasionally, someone from Last Aeries may find their way into the Vale, either borne on strange winds or as part of a deliberate flight from the highly stratified city.
- Aarakocra: The upper caste of the Last Aerie, the aarakocra hold the upper spires of the Last Aerie's structures, and pride themselves on never resorting to travel upon its dirty streets. While not all of them are necessarily cruel to the wingless, the aarakocra as a people work to ensure that their privilege and status remains intact over the wingless.
- Kenku: Forced to live within the lower reaches of the Last Aerie's streets and ground-floor buildings, the kenku of the city do much of the scut work and hard labor. While they are not technically slaves, and some canny kenku manage to wind their way up into positions of power and wealth within the city, the aarakocra fight them at every step.
In addition to the Frostwood clans of elves, there are several folk who dwell in the Frostwood, with varying degrees of peace with one another. All of them make journeys to Great Gate to trade for the goods of the Vale, however, and so it is not uncommon (in that town, at least) to see one or two of the following folk there. Sometimes, they even have reason to venture further into the Vale.
- Lizardfolk: In the low-lying deeps of the Frostwood is the swatch of marshland dominated by the warring lizardfolk tribes that dwell there. Occasionally, enterprising lizardfolk come to trade goods, either a year's accumulation of their tribal crafts, or the spoils of war that they wish to trade for more useful goods.
- Tabaxi: The southern edges of the Frostwood are home to several clans of the Tabaxi catfolk. Though they once maintained a long-standing war with the Frostwood elves, the last two generations have seen peace among the old enemies. With that, the Tabaxi have sent minstrels and merchants to the Vale, to sample its culture and goods.
- Aasimar: All but unheard of, aasimar are usually mistaken for humans until they demonstrate their strange celestial heritage.
- Dragonborn: Though practically unheard of in Anvil Vale, the reputation of the dragonborn is quite well known, and the rare few who visit are treated with respect, and no little amount of awe. Indeed, the only time that kobolds are permitted within the Vale by its folk is when they are part of the retinue of a visiting dragonborn.
- Half-Orc: Though the Vale's historians speak of orc-kind, there are no tribes of them anywhere close. All orcs and half-orcs who come to the Vale do so from very far away, and many folk won't actually know what to make of them at first sight.
- Tiefling: Infernal-touched outlanders who come to the Vale are likely to have a very unpleasant time, as suspicion is heavy against the works of the infernal realms, including those who are simply unlucky enough to have some in their ancestry. Heroic folk can gain acceptance, however, and there is a degree of grudging interest among the Vale settlements for tieflings who arrive as entertainers. They'll find no such welcome beyond Hammergate, however.