Song and Steel
Denizens of the Modern World
Denizens of the Modern World: A Compendium of Extant Races, 2nd Edition
Written by Sehk’Re’Tuar, Curator of the Maguffin Museum of Natural History.
Published by the Maguffin Anthropological Association.
While I strove to present the cultural practices of races in as impartial a manner as I could, it has been often challenging and sometimes impossible to remove all bias from the descriptions. Many of the races covered in this manual have little contact with other civilizations, so information on them is scarce and sometimes seems more like myth than fact. In such cases I have tried to include only the more persistent myths that are referenced by multiple sources, and I have done my best to note how common these beliefs are. Since any view of the races contained within must, by necessity, be partial, I believe it necessary to share a short autobiography. I hope that this will give the reader a better lens through which to see this book and detect any of my own bias that has tinted this work.
As of the time of this publication, I am in my 832nd year of a life devoted to research. I have always been fascinated by the incredible diversity of culture and form of the myriad creatures of this world, and this fascination has lead me to explore much of the known world. At the tender age of 159 I heard rumors of the Maguffin Museums, and I flew across the Sea of Aekros upon my own wings. Completely exhausted from the three day flight, I arrived at Halzendor – much to the surprise of the city’s militia. After some initial tension, I met with Baitin Maguffin, who was quite excited at the prospect of having a silver dragon working at his museums. I have since traveled to hundreds of archaeological sites, worked with thousands of fellow researchers, and been in contact with millions more creatures belonging to the races described within this book.
All anthropologists must consider how their presence alters the behavior of their subjects, and in my case the effect is usually quite noticeable. Rare indeed is a culture that doesn’t react to a dragon of no small size watching it, so I have often taken great pains to conceal my presence. This has kept me at a greater distance to the creatures I wished to study, and consequently I have had to use external sources more often than I’d like. My size has also prevented me from entering into the dwellings of most races, which has certainly made it difficult to study some races directly. My relatively long life and extraordinary capabilities have given me a bird’s eye view of the races’ cultural and historical trends, however, so I believe myself quite well suited to provide an overview of the inhabitants of this fantastic planet.