So, what we need is some world history, races, cultures etc. I would like to avoid very long lived cultures as major players today, simply because they would really be quite alien. I like how that in Forgotten Realms, the Elves are basically out of the picture.
We want some back story as to how the current campaign world came to be. To me the beauty of the Kale’kin is they can explain a lot of the monsters and aberrations floating around. I for one, have this idea of a whole hidden forest of intelligent, man sized spiders. Still, I think what works best is a human-centered world, with changes on the edges. I am fine with funny foreheads, just not 200+ life spans.
And there is whole lot more, but this is a good starting point.
We are going to break down races into a few categories.
1) Core Races – These will be the major players in the world. They are what most people would play and likely the only races playable to begin with. They have diverse cultures and civilization with cities or something similar.
2) Pocket Races – These could be odd races that have limited habitat, old civilizations that have fallen and have few remnants left, etc. Things like the Sentient Spider-people. They might be playable someday, but not to start out and would likely have significant penalties(and advantages)
3) Spawn of Bhelair – Evil and dark creatures of the world for our heroes to defeat(only intelligent and creatures with some form of culture should go here–other monsters can go into Fauna
4) Other Races – These will catch anything else that doesn’t fit above and may add a category if something fills out.