Lutins are short, hardy humanoids native to the steppes of the Northlands. The word "lutin" comes from their own tongue, and literally means "person"; their full name for themselves is The People of Earth and Ice. (They refer to humans as "The People of Fire".)
Lutins have skin that ranges in color from dark green to pale greenish gray, sometimes with splotches of darker color on a lighter background. Their ears are long and pointed, and their teeth are sharper than a human's, with prominent incisors in both the upper and lower jaws. Their hair is usually short and wiry, and ranges from medium brown to black, turning gray or white with age. Males do not have enough facial hair to grow beards, but they tend to have more body hair than the average human. Overall build tends to be stocky and muscular, with heavy bone structure; their arms tend to be somewhat larger and their legs shorter than the average human, giving them a somewhat stooped or hulking appearance. Height typically ranges from 122 to 168 cm (4'0" to 5'6"), with males being taller than females.
Native lutin culture is tribal, with adult males forming wide-ranging hunting groups (called Ice tribes) and females and children forming larger, semi-nomadic communities (called Earth tribes). The lutin homeland, Inu Lutinaka, is still home to several million lutins, but in the modern day there are far more lutins living abroad than in their ancestral territories.
The virtues most highly prized by lutin society are courage, perserverance, and what might be called spiritual awareness -- a sense of connectedness to nature and the spirit world. The vices they are best known for are aggressiveness, greed, and stubbornness.
Lutins are strong for their size and extremely hardy, showing extraordinary resistance to cold and physical injury. They are hard-working, and can do physical labor without rest for much longer than an average human. They are also a spiritual people, innately connected to the natural world; lutin mages and shamans readily master elemental spells of earth and ice, as well as totemic magic connected to animals and nature spirits. They form bonds readily with animals, both wild and domesticated. Lutins tend to form strong emotional bonds to leaders, ideals or causes, and will readily risk their own lives and well-being for the sake of something they truly believe in.
On average, lutins are not as intelligent as humans, and tend to have trouble with logical, critical thinking; they are more intuitive than rational. This, combined with their spiritual side, tends to make them superstitious and a little gullible. Lutins have been exploited at many times throughout their history by clever leaders who understood their culture and knew how to push the right buttons to trigger their natural zealotry; Nasoj was perhaps the most successful at this, as he was able to keep the lutin tribes under his control for at least thirty years.
Adult lutin males also tend to be chauvinistic and greedy, accumulating as much wealth and as many women as their station allows. (Lutin shamans are the exception to this; as part of the agrarian Earth tribe culture rather than the aggressive Ice tribe culture, they are comfortable with women in positions of power and tend to be more soft-spoken and thoughtful than other lutin men.)
Lutin males gravitate toward Blue Collar Urban jobs, where their strength and endurance allow them to be successful and their mental deficiencies are not much of a hindrance. They also thrive as soldiers, security guards, and in other positions where strength and intimidation are important assets. Many lutins also find work as enforcers and bodyguards in the Fringe sector, and they are common among swoop gangs as well. Lutins are sometimes found among the MCPD, where they are much more likely to become uniformed cops than detectives.
Lutin females are relatively rare in the City; even among "civilized" lutins, females are much more likely to be found running farming or ranching businesses out in the country, where they form large communities of women and children that are remarkably similar to the Earth tribes of ancestral lutin culture (though with all the usual amenities of modern civilization).
Lutins with magical aptitude usually apprentice themselves to a tribal shaman at a young age and grow to adulthood in the rural Earth tribe communities described above. It is rare for them to join one of the human-run mages' guilds, and those who do so are often looked upon with disapproving eyes by others of their kind, who see them as abandoning the spiritual heritage of their people. If a young lutin with magical potential does end up in the city -- usually because his or her mother was a consort to a city-dwelling lutin male -- he or she will usually either stay "on the leash" or end up as a rogue mage, learning magic on the Street rather than in a formal wizards' school.
Psionic aptitude is completely unknown among lutins, though a few individuals with mixed human and lutin heritage (Breed) have become psis. Such people are usually shunned and feared by lutin society, and end up becoming theriomorphs to hide their lutin heritage.