Warning: The following page contains game secrets intended for campaign designers. We cannot stop anyone from reading it, but if you are a player you should consider hitting your back button now, as you will probably enjoy learning these things more if you do it through the hints dropped at various places in the mainline campaigns.
Secret Lore of Wesnoth (until 1.14)
Note: for 1.16 onwards, see IrdyaCanonSecretLore.
Secrets of the Humans
The humans have no racial secrets.
The royal house of Wesnoth remembers that the Elves planned to betray the alliance they made with Haldric the Great soon after he landed on the Great Continent. This is why the Wesnothians themselves broke the compact during the war with the orcs that followed, a deed the royal house has never publicly explained and never quite lived down.
(Source: The Rise of Wesnoth.)
Secrets of the Elves
The elves conceal a central fact about themselves: the extent to which they partake of the faerie nature, the energy that is the source of Elven magic, varies greatly - so much so that it actually affects their biology. There are two life paths an elf can take, the "path of earth" and the "path of faerie"; which they go down is partly inheritance and partly choice.
Most elves walk the path of earth. Many elves, in fact, do not have the choice to walk the path of faerie; it is these "earthbound" elves who are closest to humans in nature, and the rare phenomenon of elf-human matings is almost confined to them. Elves on the path of earth can handle steel and cold iron, but the higher Elvish magics are barred to them.
A few elves walk the path of faerie. The higher magics of healing, clairvoyance, and life-shaping are open to them; some (almost always females) become physically transformed and develop faerie wings. They pay a price, however; on the faerie path, contact with ferrous metals becomes increasingly painful to elves, and disrupts their magic. For those far down the faerie path, even proximity to cold iron is disturbing.
The propensity to walk the faerie path runs in families, generally passing through the female line. Elvish legend hints that it is gradually declining.
(Sources: The South Guard, The Legend of Wesmere.)
Secrets of the Dwarves
The Dwarves have a technological secret: the firearms borne by the Thunderguard unit line.
The Dwarves have a far more important social secret: the existence of loremasters. Dwarves are intensely conservative and rule-bound, and loremasters are the memory of the Dwarves; they witness and they keep the law. They have the power to cast a dwarf out from society, a punishment much more shattering to a dwarf than ostracism is to a human.
Loremasters are held inviolate. No non-dwarf is supposed to even know they exist, let alone realize the extent of their power in Dwarvish society.
Connected to the social importance of the Loremasters' function of witnesses is that dwarves have a horror of concealment and disguise; to wear a mask is considered evil, and do important things where they cannot be properly witnessed is considered shameful. This last accounts for the ambiguous position of runemasters in Dwarvish society; their crafting skill gives them immense prestige, but the fact that they tend to work in solitude, unwitnessed, makes them uncomfortably deviant as well.
(Source: The Hammer of Thursagan)
Secrets of the Orcs
The orcs have no racial secrets as such, but they tend to be close-mouthed about their shamans and do not willingly allow members of other species near them.
(Source: Son of the Black Eye)
Secrets of the Drakes
While the legends of the other races of Wesnoth hint that drakes are the descendants of the great dragons of old, they do not grasp the truth of the matter. The Drake race originated as the juvenile form of the dragon, pre-empting adult reproductive capacity as species populations grew and the truly enormous hunting ranges required by mature dragons became less and less available. The circumstances that trigger full maturation into the draconic form have been half-forgotten even by the drakes themselves.
Secrets of the Undead
The "Mal-" that appears as a prefix in the names of many necromancers was supposedly first used by Malin Keshar, born 360YW, as abbreviation of his first name.
Unknown to most people, there was also the elvish Sage Mebrin, one of the few elvish necromancers ever, who took on the name Mal M'brin after becoming a lich. This actually happened just a few years prior to Mal-Ravanals rise, in 607YW.
While they were first to use it, it was only with Mal-Ravanal, the lich who nearly destroyed Wesnoth in the wars of 625-627YW, that it's usage became common among necromancers, as it signified membership in a lineage or tradition of necromancy founded by him.
It is unknown whether Mal-Ravanal was influenced by Mal Keshar.
(Sources: Turin, Descent into Darkness, The South Guard)