Since it’s really long and explains our early ideas as well as I could now, I’m just going to dive right into the description of this group that I gave Erica back in late 2009-early 2010. Phil was better than me at the worldbuilding overall, but I’m pretty sure this one was me, doing my best to match his approach.

There are six parents and one young daughter present. Yes, I know that adding the five adventurers makes that a cast of twelve– we’ll do our best to minimize the strain there.

Erica, you asked earlier in the series’ development about how much skin-color-mixing there was in the human population of Gastonia. The characters shown here are part of the answer, representing the noble families of Pardo, Iwitani and Miyamoto. Only Pardo is a European-esque name (Spanish, actually), the other two are Japanese. The city does have aristocratic families with non-white roots, few in number but great in power, whose wealth ultimately stems from long-established trade routes in Arkerrra.

I’m a bit at a loss for what to call this Japanese-like race, since Arkerra has no Japan or Asia as such, and most other terms are considered insulting. (How is it that “white” and “black” are okay, but “yellow” isn’t? It’s not like ANY of the three are an accurate description of the skin color.) Let’s go with “Oriental.”

Since there are few Orientals in this region, their status makes them an attractive match, and Arkerran society tends to focus its racism on non-humans, intermarriage between Orientals and whites is fairly common. His Grace Iwatani is half-white, His Grace Miyamoto full Oriental. His Grace Pardo, Her Grace Iwatani and Her Grace Miyamoto are all white. Her Grace Pardo is black, a marriage arranged on one of His Grace’s business trips, but despite being somewhat out of place she carries herself as an aristocrat should. Naturally, the Miyamoto daughter is half-Oriental. The point of this giant melting pot is probably obvious: Arkerran society is well-advanced when it comes to equality between the skin colors, at least at the high status levels, and yet deficient when it comes to relations with dwarves, gnomes and elves, etc., even when they’re actively seeking HELP from same.

Each aristo family has a set of colors which they wear on almost all occasions. I’d suggest black and gold for Iwatani, red and blue for Miyamoto, and purple and gold for Pardo.

For all that, there is one feature which unites all the adults: they are all fairly plump, having enjoyed their share and more of the good things in life. Best will mention this later in some difficult-to-rewrite dialogue, so I’d like to keep that detail if nothing else.

Some of these ideas did not survive the transition between artists: we didn’t really see enough of Pardo, Miyamoto, or Iwatani to establish their “theme colors” in these early chapters, and Phil and I honestly forgot all about those when the characters became important again. But the skin-color diversity is something I’m glad we established early.