There are no standard-issue runners in the Sixth World. Some runners have buzz cuts, some have glorious head of hair, some have polished horns. Some runners don’t quite make it to a meter and a half in height, others are well over two and a half meters. Most are in between. Some will shoot you in the face, some will punch you in the face, and some will look you in the eyes and charm you into doing what you know you shouldn’t. Vive la difference, right? Here’s where we look at some of the packages that contain the world’s mayhem, notably: dwarfs, elves, humans, orks, and trolls—not that there aren’t others.
Sixth World dwarfs are often accepted into mainstream society without being fully valued. The taller metatypes seem to be happiest when dwarfs fit the roles they have preconceived for them—sidekicks, drivers, mechanics, that sort of thing. It doesn’t help that their size helps them squeeze into vehicles that orks, humans, and elves might have difficulty with, ones that trolls couldn’t even consider using. Still, they get work and little direct hate. They’re treated nicely, but they can’t help but feel that they’re being, well, overlooked.
Dwarfs across the globe are dedicated to showing that they cannot be ignored.
Plenty of elves know that not every elf should be envied. If you’re an elf who is not rich, elegant, or graceful, you’re often viewed as a failure, someone who had all the gifts of life handed to them and somehow screwed them up. People think you automatically had it easy because you’re an elf. But elf society is not easy to survive.
The upper crust can be absolutely ruthless about enforcing their status quo, labeling those who don’t fit as malcontents and finding ways to cast them aside. The barrens of the major sprawls of the world have plenty of elves who were thrown out because they wouldn’t cave to what society wanted them to be. Their anger could burn the whole earth.
As the majority of the sentient beings of the world, humans create existing definitions of “normal,” and then some of them set out to abuse those definitions as hard as they can. The side effect of this is that many humans are caught up in the demoralizing machinery that the ruling corporate class has assembled, because they don’t fit into this artificial average.
They are grist for the mill, people to be chewed up and spat out in the name of greater wealth and power for the people at the top. Because they’re humans, and there are so many of them, who’s going to notice how they’re ground down, and who is going to miss them when they’re gone?
The shadows are full of humans who could not find a way to be normal or average.
Orks make people nervous, and people don’t like to be nervous. Their tusks, bone structure, and pointed ears mark them as something altogether else, and their strength and size clearly show the damage they could do. As humans have done for centuries, they address the thing they fear by pushing them aside, keeping orks from building collective strength, and crushing them with the sheer force of numbers.
Orks across the Sixth World are preparing for things to get worse so that they can survive and set about the work of making things better. They already have some enclaves carved out for themselves, and they hope those locales will be the starting points for societies that include orks instead of fearing them.
It’s not easy to live in a society where you look like the walking embodiment of everyone else’s nightmares. Being two to three times as large as everyone else doesn’t help much, either. It’s not a troll’s world, and most of the other residents of the world aren’t inclined to change that fact. Who wants to make space for imposing monsters? Trolls are going to have to force their way into a place in the world—of course, when they force their way in anywhere, they’re inevitably called vandals and destroyers.
A significant number of trolls have looked at the way the deck is stacked against them and decided they don’t need to play the rest of the world’s game anymore. They’ll stand aside and watch the world burn—and maybe throw on an extra match every now and then.
The people of the Sixth World come in an almost infinite variety of packages, doing all the things everyone else does. A dragon runs Saeder-Krupp. A naga runs Evo (and they have a free spirit on their board). A sasquatch is a Prince in Tír Tairngire. Pixies hack data networks, centaurs rock out on stage, gnomes roast your face with fireballs. And ghouls, vampires, and more haunt the sprawl streets at night. Watch this space for more information about these metatypes in the future!