In creating Fahrenguard, I am aiming to produce a world rich in history and culture, where not only is there an identifiable past to the realm, but each location, each people, have their story to tell. In a world of magic and technology, there is bound to be some overlap in ideas and historical events that will shape the world, but when does the fiction become too "historical" or "everyday" to be called anything but an alteration of past events and people?
I am finding the opposite of this to be one of my first big challenges when generating the cultural history of Fahrenguard. The races of the world are anthropomorphisms of mostly common animals found throughout our own planet, infused with a bit of magic and original ingenuity. Other than that, they're walking, talking versions of our furry friends (and enemies). Where the hurdle lies is in giving each race a uniqueness to them without straying too far from identifiable trademarks that we associate with the original species. Let's take a look at an example:
Beavers are known for their dams and homes in the middle of rivers; in the world of Fahrenguard, their equivalent race is a gatekeeper to the various provinces of the realm. Rivers are of much importance in the world, providing natural boundaries and defenses for these provinces. The beaver plays a mostly neutral role in controlling these access points, and generally keep to their own business. Where then does the real world tie-in appear? Are the bridges and dams they build of similar nature to ones we find here on earth, or are they great stone structures with intricate machinery? Will players be able to make the connection from this race to the beaver, or simply see them as river-dwellers who happen to look like them?
While creating races based off of real-world animals, I would like the player to have a connection to a race from their own impressions and understanding of the real animal. Will giving the race too much deviation from the true-to-life species cause players to label these creatures as knock-offs, or will they enjoy seeing a common river-dweller turned into a master of structural engineering?
However the races of Fahrenguard turn out, I believe you (the player) will find them intriguing, enjoyable, and fun to interact with.