Several dwarven kingdoms exist under the mountain ranges of the realm, but they are far from being at the height of their power. These ancient homesteads are beginning their long, slow decline into darkness and avarice, falling under the continued onslaught of their equally ancient enemies underground. However, for every dwarf that still lives under the mountains, clinging to their ancient homelands, there are two that have turned their back on the past and moved to the surface to join the rest of the races in the Alesian Empire.
While they have their ancestral homelands hidden in the forests both inside the borders of the Empire and in the frontier lands, the elves have always been a constant in the affairs of the Empire. Their long lives lead many of the youth to be prone to wanderlust in their younger years and many don’t find their way back to their homelands when they discover the sheer vibrancy of life outside of the borders of their hidden kingdoms and opt to stay. Of course, as they age they are forced to confront the fact that they are going to outlive their friends grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The gnomes keep their lands in the rolling hills to the southwest of the city of Alesia, and have thus always been a common sight in the Empire. Their naturally capricious natures can sometimes put that at odds with the rest of the Empire, but their contributions in both the mechanical and magical theory that drives the day to day affairs of the inner Empire cannot be denied. However, their extraplanar roots and somewhat eccentric natures tend to keep them from settling down in one place for very long, which seems to suit them just fine. There’s lots of places to explore in the realm.
As long as elves and humans have existed together in the realm, one side was drawn to the other. Humans are drawn to the ethereal beauty of the elves and the elves are often drawn to the vibrancy the humans live their short lives with. While this rarely leads to true love, it does often lead to short unions and children that share the racial traits of both their parents. Caught in the middle of two worlds, the half-elf tends to find an easier time existing in the faster paced human world than the more contemplative elven lands. The human side of their nature yearns for action. But there are those that don’t agree with the unions of elves and humans. Racism and bigotry are ugly things, and much like the half-orcs, half-elves can find themselves the target of distrust and outright hatred by some people, even though the national attitude towards them in the Empire is one of tolerance. As such, many half-elves tend to avoid the Empire, choosing instead to live in the relative freedom of the frontierlands.
While bands of orcs still make hell for people in the countryside and outside of the protective borders of the Alesian Empire, half-orcs are a common sight inside of the cities. Though often not born out of a loving union, those half-breeds that can reject their bestial nature and embrace civilization are accepted, though sometimes begrudgingly, into the towns and cities of the Empire. That isn’t to say that bigotry and racism don’t exist, because they certainly do, but it exists on a personal level. The national attitude towards them is one of tepid acceptance and tolerance.
Next to humans, the halflings are the second most common race within the Empire. Their strong wanderlust and nomadic nature keep them from having a unified homeland of their own and when the Alesians began expanding again, they quickly found many of the lands they traveled through under the rule of the new Empire. Knowing they couldn’t oppose the will of this ruling power, they instead bent with the wind and have lived among the Empire ever since. Some halflings find they’re able to live in the cities under the protection of the Empire while others have found the presence of the Empire has made the countryside much safer for those that still want to travel. Still, plenty of halflings took to the frontierlands as well to keep their personal freedoms intact.
You find humans everywhere. Of all of the races in the realm, the humans are the most populous. The fact that they are one of the shortest lived races probably has something to do with that. The Alesian Empire has always been a human endeavour, and the Emperor has always been human. To say that this hasn’t made things slightly easier for humans inside the borders of the Empire would be to ignore the obvious. But still, humans are a fickle creature, and many of them chafe under the rule of the Empire and head outside of their borders, if indeed they even lived inside of them to begin with.