Nomm is a place of both wonder and horror, and even in a relatively quiet corner of the world, you have likely encountered beings other than members of the seven major races. Here is what any would-be adventurer know of the major “wild” races, which noted both for their obvious sapience (tool-using, possessing language, and so forth) and their relative lack of cultural development. Most believe that the ancestors of these creatures were little more than monsters, but that during the Fall of Nomm, a combination of magic and circumstance raised their to numbers to a somewhat higher level of sophistication. These beings are not wild animals, but their worldview seems so different that conflict is usually the outcome of any contact with other humanoids.
Orcs: Perhaps the closest to the “civilized” races in the sophistication of their society, orcs are also the oldest of the “wild” races, predating even the Fall of Nomm; one legend has it that the Edrei were the first handiwork of Tir, god of order, and orcs the first creation of Araj, goddess of chaos. In any case, these hulking, boarish humanoids have maintained their patriarchal and brutal society throughout history. Orcs have established communities, some large enough to be called cities; any agriculture is conducted by slaves from other races although there is a hunter class among the orcs along with warriors and shamans. Most of the energy of any orc community is spent toward conquest and expansion, in a cruel but perhaps not-so-distorted picture of typical humanoid pursuits.
One-on-one, a typical orc and an equivalent humanoid adventurer are a pretty even match, with a slight advantage to the adventurer.
Gnolls: Most people believe gnolls are all descended from a singe dog magically altered by a wizard or a sorcerer aeons ago; gnoll tradition has it that they are descendants of the wolf-devil (or wolf-god) Gnoghu. Gnolls live in small tribal communities, sometimes underground, hunting and gathering and making frequent war on their neighbors. With almost no trade or commerce, gnolls more frequently raid population centers to capture slaves and food (sometimes the same thing). Gnolls are usually skilled tacticians, although they often dispense with strategy when their bloodlust rises.
Gnolls generally keep to themselves, and see other races only as enemies or prey.
One-on-one, a typical gnoll is a bit bigger and stronger than an equivalent humanoid adventurer, who would be a little overmatched.
Goblins: These small humanoids seem almost apelike, with long arms that almost reach the ground, and are relentless raiders and thieves who have no craft, trade, or agricultural and who survive only by stealing from other communities (lending credence to the notion that they are descended from the monkey pets of alchemists). A band of goblins will cause unceasing trouble to any area, stealing tools, weapons, and supplies whenever the opportunity presents itself, until they are driven away or killed. Goblins are noted for the squalor of their living conditions – sometimes the wretchedness of their lairs will drive them away before the retaliatory attacks of the locals will. Goblins are not very good fighters, but they usually have the advantage of numbers on their side.
One-on-one, a typical goblin and an equivalent humanoid adventurer are a pretty even match, with a slight advantage to the adventurer.
Hobgoblins: Despite the similarity in name, hobgoblins have little in common with goblins. These burly soldiers look more like bipedal cats than apes, and have the clean and fastidious habits of felines as well. Their society is complex and makes use of a great deal of technology: besides using personal weapons and armor, hobgoblins build elaborate lairs with traps and defensive features, and use war machinery such as catapults when they can acquire it. Hobgoblins have been known to work as mercenaries for unscrupulous humanoids, or to wage tribal wars in order to acquire wealth and power. Hobgoblins often enslave or otherwise control goblin bands, although they find them personally distasteful; this may account for the similarity in names. Hobgiblins have little use for troglodytes and a distinct antipathy toward lizardfolk.
One-on-one, a typical hobgoblin is a little bit stronger than an equivalent humanoid adventurer, who would be slightly overmatched.
Bugbears: Neither bug nor bear, these brutish humanoids rove in hunting bands, cutting great swaths through Nomm and cleaning areas of game both large and small to fill their carnivorous appetites. Bugbears also have an appetite for the trappings of civilization: weapons and treasure are also targets of their hunts, seemingly for no purpose other than mere acquisition, since they have no developed trade and no social structure beyond the band. In any case, bugbears will attack any race or community of creatures, either to take their goods or to eat their livestock, or both.
One-on-one, a typical bugbear is a lot bigger and stronger than an equivalent humanoid adventurer, who would be clearly overmatched.
Lizardfolk: These humanoid lizards live in all sorts of environments, from marshes to coastal tidepools to dry deserts. One of the more civilized of the wild races, lizardfolk tribes often have a complex social structure, based on shaman-counselors, and a developed foreign policy with other lizardfolk tribes and occasionally with other types of humanoids (certain lizardfolk tribes have been know to establish trade with small cities). Most lizardfolk communities have little agriculture, relying on fishing, gathering and sometimes hunting small game, as well as organized scavenging, and are content to be left alone. Nonetheless, lizardfolk with a perceived causus belli – territorial infringement, control of scarce resources, insult or offense – often become formidable foes for humanoid settlements.
Lizardfolk have an unreasoning hatred of hobgoblins.
One-on-one, a typical lizardperson is a bit bigger and stronger than an equivalent humanoid adventurer, who would be a little overmatched.
Kobolds: These rather small creatures appear as doglike lizards, or lizardlike dogs, but are as unlike lizardfolk as dogs are unlike humans. Organizing themselves into small bands in underground or in-ground lairs, kobolds live to ambush and trap other humanoids for their goods; in particular, they are the bane of miners of any race, often infiltrating and infesting mineworks to pillage the equipment and stores. Engaging in rudimentary trade with other races and communities, kobold greed seems to know no bounds, even for (or especially for) items they cannot possibly use themselves.
One-on-one, a typical kobold and an equivalent humanoid adventurer are a close-to-even match, but with a distinct advantage to the adventurer.
Troglodytes: As hobgoblins are to goblins, trogodtyes are to kobolds, except that troglodytes are as foul as hobgoblins are fastidious. These spindly lizardlike creatures, besides emitting an offensive stench, seem to take little care of the underground warrens, with the exception of their egg-caves. Troglodytes have very little technology of their own, usually subsisting on gathered grubs and roots and fighting with natural weapons – claws – or clubs and spears; perhaps because of this, they prize manufactured weapons and will raid humanoid communities to obtain them. Sometimes, a tribe of troglodytes will attack a band of kobolds, taking all their booty and forcing them to steal more for the trogs. The antipathy between the groups is palpable.
One-on-one, a typical troglodyte is a little bit tougher than an equivalent humanoid adventurer, who would be clearly overmatched.
Sahuagin: Many folk still call these aquatic denizens “sea-devils,” a reference to their savagery and fierceness in battle. Looking like humanoid fish, these undersea creatures have a complex and well-developed society, complete with urban centers, organized agriculture, complicated social rituals, and a caste system – not bad for a race many believe has its origins in the aquariums of Old Nomm. Unfortunatey, rather than joining the family of races in in Nomm, Sahuagin society, marked by an extreme xenophobia, has become a series of isolationist and bellicose communities off the coast of the continent, interfering with trade, raiding coastal settlements, and generally waging constant war on what they call “dry-siders.”
One-on-one, a typical Sahuagin is a lot bigger, stronger, and tougher than an equivalent humanoid adventurer, who would be totally overmatched.
There may be other races, communities, societies, or nations out in wide, unexplored Nomm, but these are the creatures that almost everyone is familiar with and has likely even encountered.