To better understand the various cultures in the Majestic Wilderlands I am presenting a series of quotes.
Gee those people from Sotur are sure the biggest busy bodies around, why every year you hear that someone from Sotur did this and did that. Not too long ago we had our third band of Soturites come to our village to slay the local wolf pack that was killing our sheeps. The first band did a fine job, but these others keep coming!
(Haldar in the Village of Finmark)
ABOUT THE CITY-STATE
The City-State? Why it is the greatest city in the North,
(Lolan on the ship Golden Ospery)
Magic, and more Magic. The City-State has the last word on Magic, aside from Viridstan of course. If you want any charm, talismen, or curse. The City-State is where it is at.
(Marcus, apprentice mage)
City-State is now the greatest rival to the Lion of the North! The Overlord and his barbarian horde has over run our old allies along the Estuary. But by Mitra's hand we will aid our brothers along the Tharian Coast in resisting the mad ambitions of the Overlord. I call on every Adventurer's Company in Sotur to aid in riding the Wilderlands of the menace of the Overlord.
(A proclamation read by the paladin Haldanus the Visible Lord of Sotur after the fall of the Viridstan Empire)
ABOUT VIRIDISTAN AND THE SUCCESSOR STATES
It is great that Viridstan has fallen. Why it was the Paladin Endless Star himself that killed every last one of those green bastards. Now their slaves are squabbling over the pieces of the Empire. It was great day for the Wilderlands when Endless Star took Viridstan on.
(Yeoman Barris from Endless Star's birthplace Modron)
You should go to the Viridian Empire right now! Why ever since the Paladin Endless Star killed every one of the Viridians, all of their palaces are ripe for the taking. But watch out for their former human and goblin slaves. They are fighting like terriers over the scraps. Me and my lads are forming a band to go over there in two months.
(Tovard a mercenary from Sotur)
ABOUT THE ELVES
Elves, mmmm, never mess with Elves if you ask me. Do you know they do not need to eat like you and I, they live on magic. That is why every elf are better than the best human wizard.
(Gerron a woodsman north of City-State)
Elf?, spitting on the ground, who needs a stinking elf!
(Grumman, a orc from Dearthwood)
Elves are damn uppity if you ask me.
(Thoron a dwarf from Thunderhold, while holding Grumman head.)
All things shall become as dust, thus all things are be cherished and loved while their music plays their short tune.
(common Elven saying)
ABOUT THE DWARVES
Greedy, SOB's I HATE HATE trading with them. This is my last trip to Thunderhold!
(The merchant Jarvis after returning with two sets of chainmail and four empty wagons.)
Never a more better friend, or a more terrible enemy.
(Lewellyn the Blue, Astrologer Royal to the Overlord of the City-State)
Dwarf? who needs a stinking dwarf!
(Grumman, a orc from Dearthmead just before Thoron's axe stroke)
To craft is the thing! To create is the highest achievement a Khuzan can hold. But woe to those whose life is destruction for they have the hatred of the Khuzdal.
(line from the Book of Stone)
ABOUT THE HALFLINGS
Huh Halfings? I think they are cute.
(Dierella barmaid at the Green Goblin Inn in City-State)
Pests! Everyone of them a pest.
(Nolan, owner of the Green Goblin Inn in City-State)
A Elf, never far from his trees and bow
A Dwarf, never far from his gold and stone
A Gnome, never far from his pets and scrolls
A Halfling, never far from his fire and stew.
ABOUT THE GNOMES
First we kill all the lawyers, starting with the Gnomes!
(A line in the The Merchant of Caelam a play by Willarn Shorehere.)
There got to be more animals in a Gnome's home than in the surrounding forest.
(Helon, ambassador to the Gnome Kingdom of Lightelf.)
To my heart are the Gnomes the closest of all save for my fellow brothers and sisters.
(Levsosal, Elven Prince of Irminsul.)
While we are in Gnome territory do not stray from the trail, do not hunt except with your sergeant's permission, and do not give gifts to any Gnome children. Any man violates these order will cause the entire caravan to be held responsible by the Gnomes and we will all suffer the punishment of their law!
(Master Levon, caravan master.)
Only when value is given for value taken does an action become meaningful.
(Common Gnome Saying.)
At this time Sotur was really Waterdeep.
The Green Goblin Inn was where most of players slept at when they went into City-State although they ate at the Seahawk Tavern. Their position on Regal Street funneled the players into those two establishments.
The Paladin Endless Star was a PC and got the final blow on the Emperor. And yes the fight was as tough as it sounded with the Emperor being a 28th level Magic-User and the Empress 26th Magic-User along with a raft of NPC in the low 20s and high teens. Basically the party played smart, in addition the Whitefire plot line was followed up and the Emperor and Empress didn't have all their magic items on them.
My elves are straight out of tolkein, end of story. Plus a little humor with Grumman the Orc.
My protrayal of Dwarves is pretty standard and nothing really shone about them until the late 90s when a PC played a dwarf named Zephrus Hammerguard. Somehow he took the standard tropes about dwarves and made them really cool.
Lewellyn is another one of those misspelling (Langwellan) that became canon in my Majestic Wilderlands.
Halflings are shire folks. Haven't done much with them. The two memorable Halflings were Zoldan the Battle Hobbit (along with his trusty friend He-Druid) circa 1983. And Toy of the duo Tinarretto (a elf) and Toy circa 1992. A very evil duo that literally cut a path across the Wilderlands.
Gnomes, my protrayal is an adaptation of the traditional Gnome and the Gnomes of the Deed of Paksenarrion by Elisabeth Moon. Moon's Gnomes are very legalistic, dispassionate, and do not believe in gift giving. Only a fair exchange of value will sastify them. Mine are soften a bit with their love of animals. You do not want to be caught trepassing Gnome Territory.
The Deed of Paksnarrion, The Legacy of Gird, and Lair's Oath are all very good books set in the same fantasy universe. I will warn you that the when you get to the village of Brewersbridge it will look very familar to old D&D hands.