There are nine major races in Wu-Yu. For a brief overview, see below. For more detailed information, click on the appropriate race name.

The most populous of all races, the Goblinoids, form the working class labor of the Empire, and for nearly a millennium Dwarves were their aristocratic masters. However, horse-riding Orcs entered the Empire, first as raiders and then as mercenaries, and finally overcame the very lords they were hired to protect. Now Orcs are the undisputed masters of the Empire. Elves live in wandering, Gypsy-like families doing odd-jobs where they can. They are scorned by many, and forbidden to enter certain cities. Halflings are shrewd traders, plying the routes of both land and sea. Humans have yet to fully emerge upon the field of history. They remain barbarians of hill and steppe, but a peculiar rite of passage involving a sojourn sometimes leads them out into the wider world. Environmental pressures have been pushing the ape-like Vanara out of their jungle homelands. They now tend to congregate in ghettos of the larger cities, living as peddlers and petty thieves, much to the annoyance of other races. Gnomes are almost never seen in the Empire. Sequestered on the mountainous plateau of Trulkor with little outside contact, they are notorious among other races for their interest in the forbidden arts of sorcery. Finally, the rarest of all races is the cat-like Tabaxi. Not native to the Empire, they have recently appeared on slave ships coming from a fabled second empire far across the southern seas. All of them are slaves, and if you see tabaxi roaming about freely, you can assume they are either on errand or fleeing their masters.

Seven of the above races are recognized by Imperial theology as ni-tauma, or clay-races, with individual souls that reincarnate. The other two, Vanara and Tabaxi, are examples of tau-tauma, or earth-races, which lack souls and thus also lack certain rights and protections under Imperial law. All species not of the seven ni-tauma are considered tau-tauma.

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