Human Ethnicity and Social Class

Before I get ahead of myself I want to identify the terminology I will be using in this entry.

  • Ethnicity – Identify with an ethnic group via linguistic, heritage, a common culture which can include a shared religion.
  • Regional Population – A group of people in a given region who share common genetic markers which can include physical characteristics.
  • Physical Traits – Common traits in a group of people, Biological Anthropologists often call these phenotypes.
  • Proto-Culture – The Cultural group that preceded the current modern ethnic group in the form of exchanging cultural aspects or was an earlier stage of the current culture.

Human Proto-Cultures

Humanity is said to have first appeared from the south of Cantha, and eventually spread throughout the known continents of Tyria. From Cantha across the Unending Ocean all the way to Elona and continental Tyria. What however should be noted is that humanity did not simply rush to the north, but traveled in waves or migrations. Each of these migrations seem to have carried with them the earliest form of human culture and formed the basis of the societies that once created vast kingdoms across the continents of Tyria. These groups can be broken down into five known proto-cultures (since we have no evidence of relation at certain levels).


The Proto-Canthans
A group that traveled ahead of others and established settlements along the northwestern shores and the Island of Shing Jea. For a time these various clans and tribes existed as a loose confederacy until they were eventually united under the warlord Kaing who would become the first Lord Emperor of the Dragon, Kaineng Tah.


Arriving much later during the Pre-Imperial Era they would take up residence in the Echovald Forest. It would not be until Kaineng Tah’s son, Yian Zho, would they start to form the basis of the modern Kurzick House system of rulership.


Appearing in the southeastern portions of Cantha , the Luxons were also driven into uniting by Yian Zho. Historians believe they have found Luxon relics in the Crystal Desert, however, there are theories that those relics belong to the Margonites; alternatively, other theories suggest that Luxons and the early Margonnites were somehow related.


Humans would first travel north into the peninsula of Orr and then into the plains of Ascalon. Orrian culture would then evolve out of those who lived around the city of Arah, built by the Six Gods while the Ascalonians would appear from those who dwelt in the northern plains. They were said to have spread like a plague (charr point of view) when they arrived. Said to possess (by a jotun, Thruln the Lost, in Hoelbrak) primitive magic and later spread into the mountains. With Ascalon’s founding, they were united under King Doric, the first king of the united northern tribes.

“In the beginning, humans lived like grawl. The gods had not yet noticed them. Their magic was primitive: fire, earth, air, and water. My jotun ancestors helped them survive.”


They traveled out from the south and arrived in the Isles of Istan and the Elon valley. A few years later the first of the Primeval Kings reigns in Fahranur, the First City.

Continental Tyrian Ethnic Groups

They are those descended from the original migrants who came from the south and settle the plains of Ascalon. Eventually after the rise of Doric would see the tribes of man united into kingdoms with Orr gaining its independence in 2 AE. Over five centuries later the former Elonian colony of Kryta became its own nation and shared a common connection with the lands of Ascalon and Orr through the royal lineage of Doric.


The Ascalonians derive their ancestry from the original plains tribes that toppled the empire of the charr, and united under the rule of the fabled King Doric. They once dwelt in the rolling green hill country of Ascalon where the built many magnificent cities and fought a centuries long war with the charr. Ascalonians of that time were noted as being grim by their neighbors (a reaction to the war with the charr) and were quite defensive of their homeland. They were known for their magical arts especially through the Nolani Acadmy and sister acadmy in Drascir.

Ascalonian society was not purely militant, but it did have a somewhat militant feel to it leading up to the Foefire where the maddened King Adelbern unleashed a horrible curse upon his own people. Ascalonians can be compared to many militant societies across Europe specifically those found during the Middle Ages when war was frequent and often nearby.

Modern Ascalonians
The Ascalonians of modern Kryta are perhaps one of the most visually present minorities within the kingdom. They exist primarily in the Rurikton district and in the large Ascalonian Settlement found in the Gendarran Fields. Many Ascalonians seem to still believe that their lost homeland can still be retained and still hold onto their ancestral ideals. Many post-Searing Ascalonians were quite militant and harbored a deep hatred for the charr. This would be most evident in modern members of Ebonhawke, which is said to have maintained the purest bloodlines of lost Ascalon.

Racism against charr is so deep for some that many of whom have formed the bandit-like Seperatist groups in lieu of the truce with the charr High Legions. In many ways Ascalonians pride themselves on their lineage and what they have accomplished since fleeing the kingdom they still pine for to this day.


General Physical Traits
Ascalonians were generally light skinned in appearance and had a variety of hair colors. Light and dark hair colors were quite prevalent among most Ascalonians.


Linguistic Traits
The people of Ascalon have a distinctly northern European flavor to their names and their architecture. Ascalonian runes are an outdated writing system that was once used heavily by the northern kingdom as a means of script and record keeping, despite commoners being illiterate.


Once a colony of Elona, Kryta gained its independence in 358 AE it has faced much turmoil since the renewal of the line of Doric through Queen Salma after the Krytan Civil War. Like Ascalon and Orr before it, Kryta was ravaged by the horrific era of the Guild Wars, and then the later theocratic rule of the White Mantle. For this reason, Kryta has generally been a hotbed of not only political, but also theological ideology for centuries. Historically, Krytans once saw the White Mantle as saviors, but later decried the cuild as its horrendous masters, the Mursaat, were revealed. It was not until the daughter of former King Jadon, Princess Salma, rose with the Shining Blade rebels and fought the Mantle in the Krytan Civil War that the nation was freed. After the removal of the faith of the Unseen Ones, the faith in the Six Gods was returned.


Modern Krytans
Krytans are a melting pot society made up of a mix of former non-Krytan’s who have slowly assimilated into the culture, and the majority population that was once ruled by the White Mantle. Krytans are noted as a particularly religious people as most humans in the kingdom of Kryta are devotees of the Six Gods. As a society, Krytans are divided into three social classes (something that affects all minorities) with family status being a partial determiner in how far one can rise in societies. As they are the majority ethnicity within the kingdom of Kryta, Krytan’s mark the largest cultural group and the most vivid ideal of humanity in the dragon-haunted era.

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Royal banner of the Kingdom of Kryta.

Most modern Krytans identify more as human than specifically as “Krytan,” in many ways they are what humans are today since they are the result of years of cultural intermixing.


Physical Traits
Generally Krytans had a dark tanned complexion and favored dark hair. Yet, in modern Kryta the mixing of humanity has led to many Krytans with varying appearances and phenotypes.


Linguistic Traits
Many Krytans of bygone Eras seem to favor a more Mediterranean or eastern Eurasian feel. Many of their names were quite varied in sound and overall this was most likely the result of the mixing of Elonian and Ascalonian societies in their history.


Orrians are descended from those who were originally brought to Tyria and were gathered by the gods as they built the holy city of Arah.

Living in the shadow of the gods and later becoming the caretakers of the buildings of Arah, the Orrians were a proud and pious people. They were said by some that they were the favored of the gods and it was their duty to maintain Arah after the Exodus in hopes that one day the divine bringers of magic would return. Content in their work, their nation began a downward spiral first with the Guild Wars and then actions of Vizier Khilbron who sank the magnificent nation beneath the waves in the act that would become known as the Cataclysm.

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An Orrian emblem.


Modern Orrians
Little is known about the Orrian people other than that there are few of them still left living in the lands of Tyria. A shattered people they once dwelt in a land crowned by the former home city of the gods themselves, beloved Arah. It was after the rising of Zhaitan that Orrians gained a stigma with the association with the undead hordes of the Elder Dragon. For this reason many Orrians do not openly state their heritage in fear of reprisal. Even though their homeland is lost, Orians would very like still draw upon their people’s faith and the idea of one day retaking their lost nation. While others would be far more interested in losing their heritage among the more visual aspects of humanity.

Orrians were once the favored of the gods, so in many ways this would reflect who they are today. With the rise of the undead did Orr lose the favor of the gods? Many might be attempting to find some sort of atonement for the horrors created by the undead.


Physical Traits
Orrians through a singular figure in Vizier Khilbron seem to have a dark tanned complexion and fairly Middle Eastern attributes.


Linguistic Traits
Orrian names such as Minos and Khilbron or even King Reza seem to draw upon not only Arabic, but also Persian influences. In other cases there is an almost Minoan feature to their names.

Elonians and Sub-Ethnicities

It was the Land of the Golden Sun, and to a land of vast culture and history. Elona was once home to the legendary Primeval Kings, an ancient line of royalty that had ruled in Fahranur, the First City for centuries. Much later the Elonians would see a period of time known as the Shattered Dynasty Era after the fall of the Grand Dynasty (second lineage to rule after the Primeval Kings). Only once again would they stand as a united land under the leadership of Turai Ossa until he left for to seek Ascenion in the Crystal Desert. Ever since, Elona was divided into the three provinces each ruled by their own governments – Clanmarshals in Istan and Vabbi, and a Warmarshal in Kourna.

[Image: 800px-Elona_unexplored_map.jpg]

It should also be noted that there were mentions of non-provincial specific tribes that wandered and dwelt in parts of Elona.


A people that lived in the Islands of Istan off the western shores of the continent, the Istani were a learned people who were ruled by a meritocracy. This means that those who showed ability were rewarded with upward mobility and at the top stood the Council of Elders. As a society forged through adversity and a near constant threat in the Corsairs, Istan was a naval power unrivaled by many in Tyria.


Once ruled by the Ossa Clan through the title of Warmarshal, Kourna was a militant province with a warrior ethic and nationalistic pride. For several years they enslaved the Veldrunner centaur pride until the event known as Nightfall. Kournans were note were not only a militant people they were the people of the great Turai Ossa, the man who originally defeated the lich scourge known as Palawa Joko.


Ruled by the plutocratic Clansmarshals, who were called princes and princesses, (basically anyone who could rise to power with enough wealth) Vabbians were known for their grand festivals and patronage of the arts. In many Vabbian festivals there were grand feasts, dramas and poetry readings. Vabbians were noted for their reverence for Lyssa.


Modern Elonians
Modern Elonians who mostly seem to dwell in the Ossan Quarter of Divinity’s Reach are primarily descended from those who fled when Palwa Joko began his conquest of Elona with the damming of the Elon river in 1135 AE. They would eventually settle in Divinity’s Reach after the Zhaitan’s rise in 1219 AE. From then on they tried their best to retain their heritage with what they could. Elonians come from a proud heritage especially with groups such as the Order of Whispers and the Order of the Sunspears. To this day this might easily be seen in the stalwart defenders of Kryta and those trying their best to maintain the rich history that was nearly lost when all three provinces fell to Palawa Joko.

Physical Traits
Most Elonians if not all possess dark skin to slightly deeply tanned skin. They have a distinctive African feel to their general characteristics.


Linguistic Traits
Elonians did have their own language to a point with words such as:

    Ahai – Hello

Many Elonian names are specifically North African with Istan being primarily Egyptian or Northeastern African and Kourna being more Eastern African. Vabbi was more Persian and/or Moroccan in design and linguistically speaking. Elonians also had their own complex alphabet.

Canthan Ethnic Groups

Cantha was perhaps the most diverse land ethnically and linguistically, even physically there were very vivid differences in how the three major peoples of Cantha appeared to each other. With the oldest recorded history in all humanity. This means that out of all the cultures of humanity Cantha has had perhaps the most information about the various changes to its society and those around it than any other human regional population.

Canthans (Imperial)

They are the citizens of the Empire of the Dragon and one of the oldest traditions in human history. Having survived cataclysmic events such as the Jade Wind and the eventual return of Shiro the Betrayer the Canthan people slowly became obsessed with their own identity. This began with the formation of the Ministry of Purity and then later the isolationist Emperor Usoku. Not only revering the Six Gods, Canthans also revered the ancestors of their families. This form of ancestor worship was later key in the ritualist profession. In other cases, Canthan society was highly stratified with bureaucratic Celestial Ministry that ran much of the day to day operations of the Empire. Cantha is also the originator of the assassin profession which most likely influenced the modern thief profession.

Rural Canthans lived in small farming villages where others lived in the massively crowded city that was Kaineng City. Within the capital were several large criminal organizations that had sprung up from former simple street gangs. These gangs came to become a major nuisance for the Empire while the Ministry of Purity later helped to stomp out much of the criminal organizations’ influence. Assassin’s existed in individual guilds that could be hired by almost anyone. Often kept on retainers to eliminate rivals or threats to one’s clan or family.

Cantha also had a heavy astrological tradition with the Canthan Calendar being split into ages for specific animals whose meaning to Canthan culture corresponded to events of that time.

Some quick facts about Canthans:

  • Monastic tradition in profession training especially with places such as Shing Jea Monastery.
  • Ancestor Worship.
  • Some severe anti-human sentiment by the time of Emperor Usoku.
  • Noble families often favored the eldest son in acts of inheritance.


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Map of Cantha.


Modern Canthans
Modern Canthans once had an art district in Divinity’s Reach, but recently it was collapsed and is now referred to as the Great Collapse. They seem to be one of the smallest minorities in the kingdom of Kryta. Because of the isolation of the Empire no word has been heard from Cantha in over a century.


Physical Traits
Canthans have a distinct Asian appearance with almond shaped eyes, elliptical eye folds. Their hair tends to be dark and black where as their complexion is slightly tanned or generally light.


Linguistic Traits
Canthans had their own language (old Canthan) and their own writing system.

Some Canthan words:

Tahkayun – Assassin
Pahbahzhen – Formal Greeting


A forest people that once dwelt in the dark depths of the Echovald region, the Kurzicks were a clannish people. Appearing from the south after the arrival of the proto-Canthan culture, the proto-Kurzicks settled into the Echovald Forest where they later faced a near genocide by the acts of the Empire’s second ruler, Yian Zho. After the Empire and the Kurzicks negotiated vassal nation status, the Kurzicks slowly began to coalesce around a leading group of families that would become known as the Great Houses. These were Houses zu Heltzer, Vasburg, Lutgardis, Durheim, and Braur. The leaders of each House then attended the <a href=””>Council of Nobles</a>.Council of Nobles and meted out the law of the Kurzick nation. Several smaller Houses did exist and they seem to have been the basis of the Kurzick family. Through House Durheim’s records, many families can trace their lineage back to the ancient times of Cantha.

The Kurzicks were deeply attuned to the forest even as going as far as letting some of their people becoming nearly immortal defenders known as Juggernauts. In other cases they would live in grand cathedrals built for their house. Kurzicks were an especially devote and conservative people often wearing elaborate dress and sporting strange unique hairstyles. Their priests known as Redemptors led the faith of the Kurzick nation in the belief of not only the gods, but also an assortment of saints that the Redemptors acted as communers to.

Many Kurzick structures were defended by magical ward or enchanted stone entities. These were created by Stone Singers that keep the guardians under control. Reverence for the forest was a key aspect of the highly religious Kurzicks. Many in House Lutgardis were said to have helped heal the forest through song. Each Kurzick House had its own characteristics and identifiers. Usually each House connected itself with the Kurzick cultural focuses or art, music and religion.

For years the Kurzicks feuded with the Luxons of the Jade Sea over resources with the war only ending with the conquest of both nations under Emperor Usoku.

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Concept art of a Kurzick woman.

Modern Kurzicks
If they do exist, Kurzicks are not a large ethnic group and are probably one of the smallest. Their isolationist ideals might help them keep many traditions alive as any dissidents of Usoku’s rule were cast out from Cantha and sent to live in other lands.


Physical Traits
Kurzicks’s natural skin color is unknown as they all wore heavy white makeup while sporting interesting hair styles. They preferred dark colors and dark clothes.


Linguistic Traits
The language of the Kurzick and their names seems to be very germanic in basis. Old Kurzick itself can be heard in the Awakening Ceremony

“A sanctu al defender zu arboretum.”
“Par itzkein zein mysterium.”
“A eternum al arboreum.”
“Per edora resurrekti zu mortikum.”A rough translation is.

“A holy protector to defend the forest.”
“Equal in the mystery.”
“An eternal tree.”
“By which we resurrect the dead.


The Luxons were a nomadic sailing people that roamed the Jade Sea, and some believed to also roam the Crystal Sea. Luxon legends speak of a now-nameless home across the open ocean. They were a hardy people who favored personal strength of body and personality in their leaders. As a nomadic nation they built few long standing settlements except for a few outposts and the grand city of Cavalon. It was not until 459 BE when Emperor Yian Zho of the Dragon killed many Luxon Elders in mass executions that Luxons finally united into one people. Even after their vassal status was granted and their unification was not exactly complete.

The Luxons are a people split into clans of people identifying with one specific animal – known clans being the Crab, the Serpent and the Turtle (evidence suggests these are the only clans to exist at the time of GW1). Each clan was known for various things such as the Turtle Clan being masters of the siege turles; the Crab for their tenacity in mining the Jade of the Jade Sea; or the Serpent Clan’s ingenuity in engineering. At the top of the Luxon government was the Council of Elders who each year met to modify the “code” of Luxon law and tradition. All the clans in turn were led by captain who would choose a champion to participate in the Convocation (a large scale combat ceremony held every year), the champions then in turn had Seaguards who defended them when necessary. The leader of the Luxon Armada is chosen from the winning clan of the Convocation. Most Luxon issues were solved through dueling and combat.

Luxons worshiped primarily Balthazar and Grenth for their combative nature with Lyssa as a reference to the beauty of their structures. Besides the gods, the Luxons revered three demi-goddesses known as the Three Queens (Alue, Elora and Ione).

[Image: Luxon_Banner.jpg]
Banner of the Luxon Armada.

Modern Luxons
As a nomadic people the Luxons were eventually crushed under the armies of Usoku. If any survived they would have fled north into continental Tyria. Nomads often in society are at odds with settled society and usually keep to themselves. Those who survived may have melted into the pirate culture of Lion’s Arch or have taken to traveling across Tyria. Travelers or gypsy-like characters might find a good basis in the Luxons.


Physical Traits
Physically Luxons were often tanned, but on occasion could be slightly pale . Their hair was often dark and they wore many clothes that favored oranges, greens and reds. Their bodies were often tattooed on the face and chest with either dark colors or red. They also favored head wraps or face covering masks that came up from the neck.


Linguistic Traits
Like other human societies, the Luxons do not seem to put much empahsis on surname with singular names being more popular. Most Luxons seem to go by a singular name or by a title bestowed upon them. Most of their names seem to have a Greek or even possibly a sort of Italian feel.

Social Class and Government

When considering ethnicity one then must also consider the social class they are hoping to play. For this reason it is a good idea to quickly highlight and consider the differences in how the various social classes in Kryta interact on various levels.

Basics of Krytan Government

Kryta is a constitutional monarchy with the line of Salma (and in return line of Doric) acting as the Executive Branch while the ministry acts as a Legislative and a partial Judicial Body. Ministers are elected it seems for regional populations (one minister for each district of Divinity’s Reach) and for towns throughout the kingdom. Who gets elected depends upon wealth (in part) and what they can accomplish. Krytan towns seem to favor the existence of a council or a mayor.

The leader of the ministry holds the title Legate (currently held by Legate Minister Caudecus) and the position is selected by the Queen. Passing a law may happen through a simple vote, but the Queen has the right of veto leading some to say one must have her ear to pass law. Besides acting as an elective body of representatives ministers also oversee departments such as agriculture to help maintain the bureaucracy of the Kingdom.

The actual enforcement of law then falls toward the three military orders of Kryta: the Seraph, the Ministry Guard, and the Shining Blade.


The Seraph
The Seraph are Kryta’s primary military force and also act as a policing entity within various parts of the kingdom. Each region of Kryta is overseen by a Captain who then speaks directly to the queen only. Seraph have the ability to not only enforce the Queen’s law, but also arrest and bring the accused to trial. Their jurisdiction mostly sits with the commons and the streets while a few in the Seraph have tried to enforce their law more over the ministry and nobility. This has led to a clash with the Ministry Guard which in many cases is directly loyalty to many in the nobility of the kingdom.


The Ministry Guard
The Ministry Guard is a service dedicated to protecting and upholding order for the ministry. Through most of its history the Guard has usually only accept those of noble birth into its ranks leading to a feeling of arrogance from those in the commoner class with many in the Seraph disliking the order for this choice. As the Seraph fight the centaurs the Guard extends its power within Divinity’s Reach. Usually the order only has jurisdiction over the ministry (it is able to claim power over anything related to the ministry) and this has led to clashes with members of the Guard and the Seraph.


The Shining Blade
Created from the original rebels that once helped topple the theocratic rule of the White Mantle, the Blade are the personal agents and bodyguards of the royal family. They act as the kingdom’s main center for espionage and intelligence, yet they are also able to supersede any other order under the decree of the Queen.

The Nobility

Nobles in Kryta seem to come from either rich families, or long standing blood lines related to important heroes. Nobles in Kryta do not control everything, but they do have their hooks in various places. Many ministers are nobles purely for the fact that nobles can get themselves elected a bit easier with their funds (this does not at all remove commons from becoming ministers). Nobles are best split into two groups: those of breeding and who can claim descent from existing aristocracy or heroes, and those akin to English landed gentry – a group gaining power through wealth and holdings. Many nobles are very likely descended from aristocracy that fled the Kingdom of Ascalon, Empire of Cantha and the lands of Elona. These older families then assimilated themselves into the various ethnic centers in the Kingdom of Kryta.

While some see themselves above the commons other nobles see themselves as the defenders of Kryta charged with maintaining order and good will. Nobles seem to speak in a more formal register specific with titles and respect to those of power and wealth (meaning don’t forget those important bloodlines!).

The Commons (Commoners)

Commoners are the backbone of Krytan culture and society. They are the ones who work the fields, work industry and in general are the largest visible population in the kingdom. Most have to deal with bandits and centaur threats, but they make do. Commoners often from out of the metropolitan life of Divinity’s Reach might find the internal politics and bickering of the ministry to be difficult or even overwhelming. Ministers elected from the larger common born populations often find their ability as representatives to be stalled by various political factions. Many commoners seem to favor a rougher register of speech over the more formal language used by the nobility.

The Street Dwellers and Outlaws

Those who dwell below the rest, the street people often lack a specific home or enough money to own land. Made up of street gangs, beggars, runners, and even country bandits they tend to group together for survival. Divinity’s Reach is home to several foul mouthed criminals who hold power in the streets and on the outside reside entire bangs of bandits who raid farmsteads. Street goers tend to be rough and prefer simple names and preceding titles than the more ethnically tied ones. Their speech is often much rougher and informal than the other social classes, often speaking with heavy threats to get the point across.

Ethnicity and Social Class

Considering all that is presented ethnicity will affect a character when combined with social classes. If you are an Elonian born noble, you are likely from the Ossan Quarter and will know other Elonians. Gangs might be ethnic with prejudice and rivalry growing between the two. Groups such as the Orrians will hide their identity while others like the Luxons will just be distant. Just because a group faces acculturation (the process of assimilation of a secondary culture into a dominant one) does not mean all traces are lost! People will Krytanize (becoming more Krytan) and others will not. It all depends on the family and individual. Even languages can exist for centuries as long as someone is willing to speak it.

Humanity in Tyria is vastly different and interesting. Learning more about one’s ethnic heritage helps humans to see where they come from in the face of the loss they have lost. One day Ascalon and Orr might rise again! Another day might see defeat of the black ships and the return of Canthan trade.