MaskLand is a land that appeared via a temporary Warp (See Blue Fog). This land's arrival on Arth was witnessed by some SeaClan sailors. It arrived whole cloth, directly from their sphere. Unlike when the Elventi first arrived, the mask landers arrived with their lands and buildings intact. (Though there were some slight changes due to biomic divisions). Soon after their arrival, (within a week or two), a delegation from the Imperium arrived. They explained to the DiLord and his court where they were, what had occured, and that they were now part of the Imperial KnownWorld and under their protection (if they agreed to join the Imperium of course). They did not even imply any threats, the DiLord agreed and the MaskLanders became Imperial citizens.
The MaskLanders have a very feudal social structure: Farmers on the bottom of pyramid, Merchants on the next rung, Foreigners are wedged between merchants and skilled ones, Priests, Healers, and other Skilled Professions on the next rank, and Nobles on the top. When one dies, one is judged by the weight of one's obligations. If one is too heavy, one drops a rank when reborn. If one is light enough, one rises to the next rank. Thus life and death reinforce the social structure.
Each person is tied to the region (either biome or city) that they are born/ assigned to. Travelling beyond this region requires special requests and normally a noble of some rank to accompany you. Thus if a merchant travels to ThirdLand, they must bring a noble from their home region with them.
In terms of technology, they are only slightly ahead of most of the KnownWorld (Middle Rennaissance), though Antioch is now superior. They also have access to materials, not normally available to the KnownWorld. One of the most "trademark" MaskLander is their Silk. Made from an insect's coccoon, it is a highly elastic fabric that is black. (Think Lycra).
Magically they are slightly behind most of the KnownWorld, but their magics are very specific and tied to their religion. Each person can learn "heart magic" or spells tied to their inner self. (The higher their rank, the more likely that they know these charms). These spells amplify those inner aspects and give them outer form. If one is a hawk, one can learn heart magic to enhance ones eyesight, increase one's grip or ability to leap, and even fly. General magics are not normally practiced.
While they would seem to "fit in to the world" given this information, they are the most alien of all members of the KnownWorld. It all has to do with their religion.
Their religion, the worship of Danu, was a worship of faith, rather than respect/ miracle, on their homesphere. Upon travelling to here, they accepted that there were new and mighty spirits to respect, but continued to worship Danu and the principle of Masque. Now, they have found that the master of masques exists. Their worship empowers Danu and in turn, he empowers his priests. Most KnownWorlders do not understand why the MaskLanders would worship a mere master. They do not understand the word Masque.
Masque is the controlling abstract for the physical noun masks. In the MaskLander's home tongue, mask/ masque has many additional meanings beyond what a ThirdLander might mean by the word mask. The most important of which is the appearance of all things that are different than their core. "Nothing is what it seems on the outside" is the easiest way to view it. Thus Masques are somewhat deceptive and that one should never assume that what something is, is what it is truly is.
They use the name Danu for the Master of Masques. Danu is a deceiver (hiding truths), a revealer (exposing truths), teacher (leading those to truth), and the core of which the natural universe we can sense is merely a mask for what is really there. In short, Danu is associated with Ge-Em.
Part of the worship of Danu is the wearing of masks and disguises, which are both concealing and revealing. There is a complex iconary that MaskLanders use to express aspects of their inner self externally. Only one's family or confidants are allowed to see one without their mask. The various ranks of society wear different levels of masques.
Note: The wearing of masks has led to a great appreciation for theatrics in the MaskLands. It appears that everyone is a character/ player in a stage show, wearing a costume, everyday. This metaphor is accurate, as everyday everyone is playing out their roles. So they do enjoy a good story and stage show.
Peasants wear simple cloth masks and what ever clothes they have (usually a tunic and a pair of silk tights). These masks normally drape from the forehead, with eye cut outs, but other variations exist. Many of these are highly decorated with the assistance of priests, to show elements of themselves.
Merchants wear nicer versions of what peasants wear, soft masks and appropriate clothes. Some Merchants have taken to wearing costumes to enhance themselves. Most are reminicent of a harliquin, but others look more like halloween costumes. In fits of Hubris, some merchants are taking to making elaborate built up masks made of "soft materials". (Note Merchants includes retailers as well as importers/ exporters/ thirdmen).
Those of the Skilled Class, wear solid masks. These are made from a variety of materials, though intricately wood seems to be the most common. The Skilled classes tend to wear clothing appropriate to their various crafts in addition to their masks. They have a tendancy to coordinate their clothing with their mask, creating the costume/ uniform concept that pervades MaskLand.
Between the Skilled Class and the Noble Class is that of the Warrior rank. There are skilled warrior who work for nobles and lesser nobles who are also knights to greater nobles. Warriors constantly wear their warrior's regalea, fancy armor with a full face helm (usually with horns or addornment) with their weapons. These warrior's armors are combinations of plate, mail, strong layers of MaskLand silk holding things together and quieting. They are quite exotic looking.
Note: That the arts of war and command are the province of the noble class. Most warriors are lesser nobles, and will choose to dress like nobles in many cases. It is only skilled warriors, of non noble line that always wear their armor.
Those of the Noble Class are the most visable of the MaskLanders. In fact, when people say "MaskLander" people think of the nobles. Typically they are wearing full body suits of MaskLander Silk, accesorized with fur, feathers, padded shoulders, and exotic character boots. Their faces are carefully painted. Traditionally, a white field of the face is adorned with appropriate symbolic facepaint. They make quite a sight. These costumes and masks carefully enhance the noble's masque. (Also note that they will have 1-10 magical charms based on their masque).
For Example: A Noble who is a "cat", would have a black cat nose, wiskers, and the shape of cat's eyes pained in black on their whitened faces. Their suit would be black, with fur around the neck and wrists, and cat clawed boots and gloves. (The noble's charms would include seeing in darkness, dexterity, magic claws, talking with cats, super balance, and the ability to summon/ manipulate cats).
For Example: A female noble who personifies Love, might have their suit dyed a red tone. She will have a star over her right eye (showing her eye for emotion). There may be a heart cut out in the center of her busom. Her boots might be thigh high and have a "heart" motif. Any other accessories would have a similar heart motif. (Her charms would be toward empathic awareness and manipulation, possibly the ability to fortell someone's fate (to see if they are to have love)).
(Yes, if you know the RockBand Kiss, they will look a lot like a fully decked out member of the Kiss Army who are portraying themselves).