Lineage represents the touch of magic in your blood, and can occur in many ways. Parents with lineage often give birth to children with their lineage while the offspring of a human and an Eternal Herald is always lineaged. It is also common for fully human parents to give birth to a lineaged child. Lineage can also occur for other reasons, for instance a child born in a primal forest, under the influence of the Realm of Spring might become a briar in later life while a child born during a great famine when Winter holds sway might be born a Draughir.
Creating a lineaged character
If you wish to play a character that is not fully human but you do not want to play an orc then you may select one of the six lineages that are available to a human character. Each lineage is linked to one of the six realms - so if you wish to have lineage then you must pick one of the six shown above, you cannot create your own lineage. Only humans possess lineage, Imperial Orcs are not affected in the same way by the magic of the Realms and do not generate lineage.
Lineage has no effect on your character's skills or abilities but each lineage has a list of trappings - physical and mental characteristics associated with the lineage. You need to decide how much lineage you want your character to possess. It is possible to have only the slightest touch of magic in your blood or to be very strongly affected. How lineaged your character is based solely on their appearance and the way you roleplay the character. If you choose to use most of the mental and physical trappings and to make any phys-reps large and impressive then your character is strongly lineaged (often called high lineage). If you only adopt one or two of the trappings and they are subtle or difficult to spot then your character is not strongly lineaged.
There is a section about attitudes to the lineages in each of the nation briefs. There are individuals of every lineage in every nation in the Empire, lineaged characters are considered human and for the most part they are fully accepted in most lands. The only exception are briars who enjoy a poor reputation as violent and confrontational individuals and suffer prejudice in most nations as a result.
Creating a lineaged group
Individuals with lineage often feel more comfortable in the company of others who share their lineage. Because of this, and the fact that lineage has some tendency to run in the blood, it is possible to create a group of characters who share a lineage. Such characters may have been born in similar circumstances or they may have chosen to seek each other out and work together. For instance, the members of a thane's hall in Wintermark may all be briars due to the presence of a powerful Spring aura in the area. Or a band of Dawnish knight-errants may all be Draughir, having chosen to quest for glory together.
Playing a lineaged character
Each lineage has a description of how the touch of magic influences the personality and attitudes of a character with that lineage. These are meant to be useful hooks to help you build an iconic and interesting character as well as a way to make lineage more interesting for those who interact with them. However it is up to you how you create your character, you are free to interpret these elements as you wish. Even if your character possesses all the physical trappings of a lineage, you don't have to roleplay the mental trappings of a lineage, it simply means your character's personality is not affected by the magic in their blood - that they do not have high lineage.
The Eternals are known to respond positively to approaches from individuals with high lineage of their Realm. In effect they see a character with high lineage as one of their own and a powerful and important lineaged character is more likely to be treated as an equal. This does not guarantee good treatment, it does not guarantee that the Eternal will respond positively, it simply improves the likelihood of being well received, particularly at first meeting. The Physical or mental trappings of high lineage are equally likely to help make a good first impression on an Eternal of the appropriate Realm.
Limits on lineage
There are only six lineages available and the physical trappings listed for a lineage are the only trappings that should be used. You should not mix physical trappings from different lineages or invent your own physical trappings - e.g. you cannot play a merrow with horns or a third eye - if you are considering phys-repping a trapping in an unusual or different way, please contact us to discuss it first.
No matter the circumstances of your birth or the way you came to possess lineage, your character must have been raised in the mortal world. Humans cannot survive for long unchanged in a realm, most that tarry too long become Heralds. For this reason you character's background cannot include anything more than a short trip to a realm, you cannot have grown up in a realm or have been raised there by Heralds or an Eternal.