Races of MK2K:
They're prolific and adaptive, equally at home with magic and tech, and capable of the best and worst that sentient life can achieve. They're also overrunning the planet, at least in the view of some other races. For good or ill, man is the dominant species on Earth, as he has been for centuries.
With the Curse of Metamor under control, the definition of "humanity" has become quite broad. Theriomorphs of all kinds are now broadly considered as human as anyone else, and the adoption of such forms is often done as a form of self-expression or a statement of family pride.
The Elves no longer feel the need to hide from humans, but they still value their privacy. Most Elves today are found in Quenardya, either in their homeland of Aelfwood or in small, insular communities elsewhere in that realm. Time seems to flow at a different pace where the Elves are in charge -- they just aren't as ambitious or hurried as humans, since they know they can look forward to a lifespan of centuries. Some Elves, particularly young ones who haven't yet gotten a firm understanding of their own near-immortality, are found living among humans, getting a taste of how "the other people" live. They generally stay in one place long enough to see a generation of human friends grow old and die, then move on to someplace else.
A central aspect of Elven life is the pursuit of an experience called Epiphany, a moment in which they gain transcendent insight into the nature of God. (Elves avoid the usual human titles for God -- Eli, Iluvatar, All-Father -- and stick with the generic term, especially since they no longer pretend to believe that the members of the pantheon are actual gods. They seldom talk about the reason for this, but some humans have theorized that the name of God is considered too holy to be uttered except in worship.)
The moment of Epiphany can happen anywhere, at any time, but it usually only comes after hundreds of years of searching and trying new experiences. However it happens, it is regarded as the single most important event in an Elf's mortal life, and those who have had such a moment are changed forever -- often so dramatically that they choose to pass beyond the Veil soon thereafter. No Elf in the last five hundred years has remained active for more than a century after experiencing his Epiphany, and many choose to pass on after no more than twenty years. The exact nature of the revelation is not something that Elves can describe to members of other races; they will simply say that the others have their own path to God, their own revelation, and it would be improper for them to describe to others a road that they could never follow.
Lutins have it much better now than they did a thousand years ago, but they still tend to live on the lower rungs of the social ladder, doing the blue-collar work that less hardy races find unpleasant. Unfortunately, large numbers of them are also found living on the Street, scraping through life in the urban jungle just as their ancestors did in the Giantdowns centuries ago. Some politicians exploit lingering feelings of resentment among the lutin population by using race-baiting tactics, accusing humans of racism and discrimination and offering themselves as the voice that "truly understands the working lutin's plight". Sadly, these tactics are often effective, and the lutins have become a nearly impenetrable voting bloc that these political opportunists put to good use. There have been numerous efforts toward promoting good will between humans and lutins, but they have a long way to go before reaching truly peaceful coexistence.
The lutins do have a homeland, Inu Lutinaka, which is an autonomous protectorate of the Metamor Empire. It takes up most of the Giantdowns north of Caralore and west of Taikroisa, but much of this land is ill-suited to agriculture and can support only a relatively small population. There are far more lutins living in human lands than in their ancestral homeland, despite the efforts of the Inu government to promote "homecoming" among their people. The wealth, job opportunities and fast-paced life of the Empire's big cities are a siren call to many lutins, even though they stand little chance of achieving more than modest success. Others wander even further abroad, taking jobs as sailors, mercenaries, or other sorts of hired help; as a result, lutins (and their half-human cousins, the Breed) can now be found in nearly every corner of the world.
Once known as half-Elves, this population has developed a distinct culture and identity all their own. This was probably inevitable, since half-Elves were always too long-lived to fit in well with humans and too short-lived to really be part of the Elvish community, either. The largest population of Silvaan is in Quenardya, but there are Silvaan communities throughout the Empire of Metamor as well.
Originally an abbreviation of "half-breed", this is a nickname applied to people with a mix of lutin and human blood. Like the Silvaan, some of them have formed communities of their own, but for the most part Breed end up either being raised as lutins or as humans. Many of the latter end up willingly submitting to the Curse of Metamor to hide their ancestry. The Breed are not very well-organized, and most end up out-crossing to full-blooded lutins or humans.
The nagas are a private, insular people, even moreso than the Elves. They seldom travel outside their homeland of Rukilia, and many details of their society and culture are completely unknown to outsiders. They comprise the three ruling castes of Rukilia -- priests, warriors, and merchants. They have many humans serving beneath them, but these humans are rarely given the opportunity to speak to foreigners about their lives or the lives of their masters.
The merfolk -- or Maeril, as they call themselves -- are still largely an agrarian society, relying on ancient aquaculture techniques to raise their food. However, there are those among the citizens of Maeriliala who are involved with the larger affairs of the world. The capital city of Neriisiliala, in particular, has long been active in promoting trade, eco-tourism and conservation efforts throughout the seas. The merfolk are generally peaceful toward other races, but Heaven help any unscrupulous corporation or government that pollutes or overfishes their waters...
Nobody in the general population realizes how powerful and influential the vamps really are, and most people would be terrified if they found out. Talia's servants control much of the world's commerce and industry, both legal and otherwise, and no level of elected government is free from their influence. They are drawn to large cities, where food is abundant and they can walk among mundanes in relative anonymity. Metamor City in particular, is a haven for them; while there are only 6 million vampires in the entire world -- barely 0.1% of the Earth's sentient beings -- 300,000 of them live in the City, making up 2% of its population. If it weren't for the fact that Majestrix Kyia is immortal, they would certainly have a puppet ruler in place by now. In many other nations in the world, they already do. That having been said, most vampires aren't really malevolent, just selfish. They want to ensure their continued comfort and well-being -- and since that depends to a great extent on the comfort and well-being of the mortal races, they actually end up doing a lot of good for the world. (Click here for more information about vampires in MK2K.)
The dragons are the wild card of the modern political stage. They seldom make their voice heard -- but when they do, the whole world trembles. Their foreign policy is simple: No one enters the Dragon Mountains without permission, including flyovers by reconnaissance aircraft. Violators simply are never heard from again. The dragons don't seem to have much in the way of technology -- indeed, their lifestyle doesn't seem to have changed much at all in the last twelve hundred years -- but their mastery of magic is unsurpassed, and no one doubts that a technological attack (such as a nuclear strike) on the Dragon Federation would be quickly neutralized -- and countered with a magical retaliation that would leave little, if anything, standing in the aggressor's homeland. Most major population centers have Mana Shields nowadays, but no one is very optimistic about their ability to stop the dragons' spells if it came to an all-out assault. Almost everyone is at least a little afraid of the dragons these days, and the fact that they are almost never seen outside their homeland only accentuates that fear.
It can't be denied: There are a lot of incubi and succubae in the world today, walking among humans undetected. Just how many there are is unknown -- they've gotten very good at masking their presence, even from Kyia -- but there are almost certainly more than we'd like to think, and their numbers are growing. Fortunately they seem to have opted out of the Great War, choosing to focus on enjoying themselves and perpetuating their own kind (though a few thousand work for Suspira, administrating and actively promoting her Church of Hedonism). If they ever felt threatened, though, and decided to act in unison ... well, the consequences are best left unimagined. (Click here for information on the types of fiends present in MK2K.)
The Plane-touched are those beings who are a mixture of mortal and divine blood. (Incubi and succubae don't count, because their mortal essence becomes fiendish during the transformation to adulthood.) These people are the result of centuries of celestials and fiends mingling and mating with humans and other races. Those with some celestial blood are called asimaars, and those with some fiendish blood are called tieflings. While their divine blood does give them some inborn tendencies toward certain kinds of behavior, their upbringing is really far more important than their genetics in determining whether any particular Plane-touched person is good, neutral or evil. All Plane-touched can learn to manifest some divine powers over time, such as light or darkness spells or minor healing or afflicting magic. Some are more powerful, particularly if the divine blood entered their lineage recently. (Half-celestials and half-fiends, of course, are the most powerful of all Plane-touched.) Most Plane-touched have at least some physical signs of their heritage, such as wings, claws, unusual eyes, small horns, etc. The Plane-touched, like Suspira's children, have largely opted out of the Great War, trying to live out their lives like normal mortals do. Some, however, enthusiastically embrace their heritage, dedicating themselves to the Lightbringers or one of the various organizations and cults set up by former members of the Pantheon. Some deliberately choose a life contrary to their heritage to prove that it doesn't control them -- there are several tieflings in the ranks of the Lothanasi (even though such agents often have difficulties working with holy weaponry). A few go rogue and use their powers for selfish or destructive purposes, forcing the Lightbringers to hunt them down and imprison or eliminate them.
Sidhe and other Fae:
The Fae are native inhabitants of the Dreamlands.
They include all sorts of faeries, centaurs, satyrs, leprechauns, ellylon, and
other magical creatures with ties to nature. The Sidhe are the most powerful
race of Fae, and have been their ruling class for countless ages. Ever since
the invasion of the celestials and fiends, however, their realm has been immersed
in a war of light and darkness that has rendered the Sidhe of the Seelie and
Unseelie Courts almost completely irrelevant. Faced with armies of devas and
balrogs marching into their territories, the Fae were quickly forced to take
sides, cooperating with one side or the other, or risk being destroyed in the
crossfire between two groups of outsiders that cared very little about neutral
bystanders. Over the centuries, the Sidhe have seen their lands slowly but inexorably
converted into battlefields and bases of operation for the exiled celestials
and fiends to fight out their differences.
Needless to say, the Sidhe are NOT happy with the Starchild.
There are groups of Sidhe and other Fae living on the Material Plane, either by choice or because they wandered through portals in ages past and have become stuck on Earth. Some of these don't care about what has happened to the Dreamlands; some have just tried to forget; and some have sworn vengeance on the Starchild and her kin for the way she effectively destroyed their world. The latter have become a group of very dedicated, very efficient, very bloodthirsty terrorists, and while both the Empire and the Lothanasi have struggled for centuries to put a stop to their activities, even the most successful "busts" never seem to catch the ringleaders. These Faery partisans fight to have the celestials and fiends removed from their plane (which leads to the question: where would you put them?), and continue to look for a way to tear a rift between the worlds large enough for the armies of Heaven and Hell to pass through, hoping that they will take their business to Earth where, as far as the Sidhe are concerned, it belongs. The rather static Earth would never survive the devastation of the Great War that has been visited upon the ever-shifting Dreamlands, but that fact is utterly uninteresting to the Fae. They just want their world back, without all those pesky celestials and fiends in the way.