Not all humanoids are essentially over-evolved hairless monkeys. Some are covered in fur and whiskers, while others bake their cold blooded scales in the heat of the desert sun. These beings are as smart as humans, even prouder, but they are magical beings; born from the heavens rather than from the earth. They are created in the image of mankind and beast, incorporating features of each, yet never fully belonging to either.
Genetically, these are incompatible with the other races and each other. A human cannot mate with a lizardkin, especially considering the fact that lizardkin lay eggs and don't actually possess the necessary equipment to mate monkey-style. Of course, this does not rule out the possibility of cuddling. Mentally, however, these animal races are every bit the equal of mankind, capable of the deepest love, the most respected honor, and even the vilest betrayal.
The known world is a single continent, surrounded on all sides save one with expansive seas. The continent connects to another via the Desert of Sand (not the most interesting name, but it's an accurate description at least). This desert is huge and harsh, uncrossable except to those who know it's ways. This bridge to the other continent is shielded by a humongous wall that completely blocks passage to the south. The Big Wall is as tall as a mountain, and nearly as thick. Nobody knows who built it, or why, and nobody has ever gone over it. Because of the way the Big Wall is situated with regards to the sun's path, one side of the wall is always casting a broad shadow. Though the shade's area will change throughout the day, the sheer height of the wall guarantees that there is always some shade.
In this small band of land under the wall's permanently dark half, live the Lizardkin - a race of primitive reptilian humanoids. They are split up into a number of tribes that are constantly at war. Few tribes venture beyond the shade, though there are neutral bartering towns found amongst most of the larger oasis locations. Lizardkin are able to speak Common with some difficulty - they tend to elongate and hiss their 's' sounds - but it is impossible for the other races to speak Forktongue, the lizardkin language. Most of the names in the Desert of Sand are actually direct translations of the ancient Forktongue names, dating back before they learned how to name things more interestingly.
Each tribe has their own form of government, though typically revolving around one of the classics. The shamanistic tribes rally behind the wise elders, while the warrior tribes tend be ruled by the biggest and meanest lizardkin (usually decided by killing the previous big, mean lizard king). Some tribes have a dynasty of leaders, dating back before time was recorded. Some tribes even practice a form of barbaric democracy, allowing each major tribe decision to be voted on by a show of tails.
Most lizardkin have no set religious beliefs, instead devoting themselves deeply to the concept of honor in battle. They believe that there is no greater deed than victory at any cost, and no greater honor than to die against overwhelming odds. Courage, strength, and honor define their society. Though these values have been corrupted over hundreds of years of tribal wars, eventually becoming the reason for these war's continued existence. They fight over water, women, land, honor, whatever. You name it and they will gladly kill for it.
Their scaled exterior is harder than armor, and slashing type weapons will merely glance off their scales without scratching them. Their tails are extraordinarily tough, capable of crushing a stone pillar if desired. With the lizardkin, you don't want to be within tail's reach if you can help it. They have adopted the spear as their weapon of choice, both for the unparalleled piercing ability and for the reach. Defensive gear, like shields and plate armor, are mostly worn for style or for ceremonial reasons.
The tails also factor into to their society quite a bit. It is seen as a sign of virility, and being blessed with a large tail is a good way for a lizardkin to get some tail himself. Lizardkin who lose their tails in battle can know no greater shame, and are shunned by their tribe and treated as beggars, if they are not exiled from the tribe in the first place.
Females are just as aggressive as males and enjoy completely equal status in lizardkin society. They tend to be a little bit thinner, be more curvier, and feature thinner, longer tails, but they are by no means any less dangerous or threatening than a male. Sexual intercourse is not unlike monkey-love, though the equipment is slightly different and the mating ritual far more animalistic. Once impregnated, the female will grow pregnant over the course of four months before laying eggs. These are buried in the desert, under the sand, and the young are expected to hatch and find their way to the tribe on their own. Any of them which gets eaten, lost, or otherwise disappears is considered too weak to function in the lizardkin society.
The lizardkin hate each other, so it might be expecting a little much for them to treat the other races with anything but contempt and violence. There have been a few attempts to place human outposts just inside the desert, but the lizardkin consider the desert their home, and these outposts were destroyed within months with no survivors. Travelling the desert, the common advice is to avoid being seen by the lizardkin at all costs. If you do have the misfortune of being seen, try to hide, because they can run a hell of a lot faster than you.
The furfolk are catlike humanoids, covered completely in fur (and I do mean completely), having whiskers and snout, a long tail, and a preternatural prowess that is unmatched by any species. The furfolk are a divided species. The females are slightly taller than the males, standing about five feet on average. The females are very sultry and arousing, able to stretch and contort their feminine form in deliciously feline ways. The male furfolk are slightly cursed, rarely breaking four feet tall and having the most adorable kitten-like face you've ever seen. With large, saucer-like eyes, they instill exactly zero fear in their foes and tend to give outsiders the urge to rub their bellies.
The furfolk are deeply religious as a society, with their matriarchal oracle leading the people in both government and faith. They pray to the feline goddess Pursis, to which they have built temples throughout their cities in the plains area, paying tribute in the form of milk and balls of yarn. Their police force and army, the Paladins of Pursis, require a strict code of chivalry, based on the moral teachings of their religious texts. Being a Paladin requires great mental fortitude and unshakable faith, and their pursuit of justice and law is unwaveringly strict.
Not being physically large or powerful, the furfolk rely instead on their cunning and dexterity. They prefer a lightweight saber (or two) to a broadsword any day. Unable to move with much effect in heavy armor, they've developed a combat style that emphasizes not getting hit in the first place. They are also exceptional with projectile weapons. Their ability with a longbow is almost poetic. Because of their deeply moralistic society, this combat art's core purpose is to subdue one's foe without killing. Killing is something that is a last resort, and only when there are the lives of others on the line. All Paladins are masters in this combat art and are formidable foes in battle.
Even the strict moralistic teachings of a god may be corrupted into usefulness when needed, and it isn't a rare thing for the path of righteousness to be twisted to some cause. There is an underground movement amongst the furfolk to take advantage of the mistaken impression that outsiders get. Posing as erotic dancers, or even as adorable sidekicks, these lowered expectations allows them to use their cunning and intelligence as spies, assassins and thieves. You can justify anything if there's money involved.
The furfolk society, especially the Paladins, condemn this behavior as a grave manipulation of the unalterable holy truth. They believe it is their duty to find these knaves and save them from their corrupt ways. As such, they prefer to apprehend their own rather than let them fall into the legal system of another society. There is a special group within the Paladins, called the Predators, that is dedicated to tracking down wanted furfolk and bring them back to the oracle. Still, in times of trouble, the furfolk religious government has sometimes embraced the corrupt ways of misrepresenting their intentions, letting their adorable exteriors mislead others to their benefit.
In their home cities, the furfolk are trustworthy, even going far out of their way to help strangers. So long as you don't jaywalk or break any of their many laws, you are welcomed and respected. However, outside of their cities, it is difficult to tell which furfolk are good and which ones are malicious. It is difficult to determine whether a furfolk carrying the symbol of the Paladins is indeed who he says he is, or impersonating one for some unknown, malicious gain. This being the case, people tend to look at the furfolk with suspicion and mistrust.
There is quite a slave trade going on involving female furfolk. They are used as prostitutes and dancers, and tend to be kidnapped quite often outside the safety of the furfolk's core cities. It is rare to see a female walking the lands of the outsiders without armed escort, and they are generally discouraged from leaving the home cities altogether. In addition to capturing and returning criminals, the Predators are also used to rescue enslaved cat girls. In some of the more barbaric societies, it is the kings and statesmen that own these slaves, making it extremely difficult to mount a rescue without killing, but there are no beings on the planet more dedicated and capable than the Predators of Pursis.
The furfolk actually have a fanbase which calls themselves the Furfriends. These are average, every day elves and humans which have become attached in some way to the furfolk. Perhaps they hate their lives and find solace in hiding in a fur suit, or perhaps they've just found their true calling in the strict moral code of the furfolk. Whatever the case, most everyday people consider the Furfriends to be kinda... weird, and thus this society's membership tends to be kept kind of secret. The furfolk find them exceptionally disturbing, though they find it useful to have these allies in all the major cities. They've started thinking of the Furfriends as a sort of furfolk franchise, relaying wanted notices and using their network to collect information on wayward kin.
Our Animal Friends
The lizardkin and furfolk couldn't be more different from each other. One is warm and cuddly, the other would probably slit your throat if you gave them a handshake. One is strong and tough, the other fast and agile. One torn apart by their beliefs, the other brought closer because of them. One feared and one worshipped.
The lizardkin and furfolk are different, yet they are married together by the simple fact that they exist as both man and animal, isolated from civilized society due to prejudice and purpose. They are too different in appearance for the other races to ever trust or accept them, though to the lizardkin, it's mutual.