Humans are much like humans on any other world. They range in height from four foot ten to six foot nine and are easily the most diverse race. Eyes range from blues to dark browns, physiques from fat to muscular and talents from the mundane to magical. While it may be possible to make generalities about certain races, humans pride themselves on their individual uniqueness.
This desire to make oneself more diverse than their counterparts has led many humans to adorn themselves to a variety of degrees. The better off humans often take to wearing jewelry, dying their hair any color under the sun with dyes made from forest flowers and decorate their bodies with additional dyes and semi precious to precious stones. Less financially fortunate humans often braid their hair, sometimes twining handpicked flowers into the strands and wearing polished stones in place of more precious gems.
With a refined structured culture, orderly Kingdoms and Provinces, soaring architectural dreams, music, art, knowledge and luxury, the Humans view themselves as just that, High Above all other Races, they alone seek the higher aspirations in life. Wishing to surpass mundane, though beauteous flesh, they seek the best artistes and artisans to create and fill their lives, their consciousnesses, raising them beyond all the material, luxurious world around them.
But, whilst they are here, a luxurious and material world it is indeed.
Cities, towns, even villages are created with a plan in mind, to create something as aesthetically pleasing as it is practical and convenient. Their structures are built of thick stone, each tightly fitting to its neighbors, with clay or mud to fill the chinks and cracks, to keep the warmth inside; something even more needed to counteract the chill of the thick stone. Inside, massive, ornate fireplaces warming large vaulted rooms, with fine silken tapestried walls and thick, brushed fur rugs. Deep padded chairs, to comfort them, of glowing polished woods scattered between low tables and deep, tall cases of leather-bound books of knowledge, poetry and literature. Such is the life of the noble, of the rich, of the most fortunate of the Human.
There are those who exist who built all this, who labored over stone, whilst blood and sweat mixed with mortar. Those who fell and those who died, there are those who walk upon the cold stone floor, forbidden to treat upon the soft, expensive furs, and those who bend in the fields, burning under the hot sun and working the ground side by side with hot animals; watching small children, perhaps one's own, walking, picking fruit and filling large baskets with women who work here then return to a cottage and create as much of a home as weary hands can.
There are still others, who walk on cobbled streets in leather bound feet and enter warm homes or workshops or merchant houses; and they trade, and they work, and they drink, and they sing, and they wench, and they sleep, and they fight. Others ride, trade and seek adventure, bitten by the need for eternal wanderings.
And so are the ways of the Human, varied and colored, seeking eternal wisdom and something greater than they, using the discipline and structure of their society to achieve greater heights than the others on this world; though there are those who mutter darkly of better ways to seek the heavens and those that continue may soon find the fires of hell.
Cities, Towns, and Villages
No matter which Province or Kingdom they originate from, Humans take pride in their buildings and their lands. Little is left to chance and each addition to an existing village or town is carefully planned. The only structures left to the inhabitants, and not to a council or administrator to approve are tiny peasant villages and scattered farmsteads. The Humans here have their pride too, and, without the benefit of architects and learned men, they do their best to create something lasting and worthy of their proud heritage.
A Human's childhood differs quite dramatically from whether their parents were farmers, craftspeople or nobles.
Farmer's children tend to be born with the aid of the local midwife or herb woman, although it is not unheard of for a male healer to deliver a child when no female aid is available. Farmers fall into the peasant class, which also includes craftspeople who skills are lacking, beggars, fishermen and hunters, etc. Children of this class often follow one of the professions within their social group. To rise within their society, which is rare, they can become a pampered mistress of the rich, or an addition to the royal court. Such peasant classes will often save enough money to send their children to a school in town, despite the hardship and bullying encountered by such children. If they learn well enough, the opportunity to be a scribe, and later, a scholar, if they earn a noble's favor if one of the few ways for a peasant child to attain a higher social station. Apprenticeships to craftspeople can be scarce as many have children of their own to teach the trade to.
The children of townspeople may often be allowed to attend school for a short period of time to learn writing and numbers. Most of them will inevitably follow their parents into a craft or into the merchant class. Some find employment at Court, as clerks, serving men and women, cooks, warriors, hunters and court entertainment.
Those born at Court are often thought the luckiest, although it is a mixed blessing. Very few noble's children grow up to enjoy the adventure of traveling the road. Many of them have politically advantageous matches for future marriage made for them when young, others take over their parents titles and places at Court, which bear with them the burden of administering and managing the lands. It is also considered impolite to absent yourself too long lest the Crown requires your aid in war or hardship. Traveling the road, to a limited fashion, can be achieved with the Crown's blessing if one goes as emissary or ambassador to foreign lands and races.
Although these are the main social classes, there are those suspended between classes or find themselves out of society's hierarchy forever. These can include those who have angered nobles, illegitimate children of social class crossings; although this is rarely a problem for a child born to a peasant mother, such illegitimacy is often found in the countryside, but frowned upon in some villages and many towns.
Society and Beliefs
There is possibly no greater mixed group than Humans. They have many similar and dissimilar qualities across the kingdoms and provinces. No matter where you go, the social ranking is there, as is the desire to build great towns and cities, to produce the best in craftspeople, scholars, knights and artists. The most common denominator though is the arrogant aloofness that holds Human societies to be above the other Races.
But the differences can also be as surprising. Religion is a diverse subject, with those who worship nothing to those who follow their deity to the extreme and live their lives devoted to upholding the values of their patron. This can be both good and bad, for the deities chosen by the Humans are as diverse as they, with their followers sometimes following the word of their god(dess) to the letter and others warping it for their own uses; although, with some of the deities worshipped by Humans, mortal perversions are unnecessary and often inadequate. Religious holidays are rarely found to be kept across an entire Kingdom or Province, and the clergy of many different beliefs can often be found altogether within a single one of the larger towns and cities.
The more mercenary of the provinces, involved more with trade, rarely have more than a few clergy, and the followers of such are less than devout, although the example set by these clergy is hardly exemplary in such places.
Humans, due to the 'purity' of their bloodline believe the other races to be inferior; though few who held such an opinion would make this statement outside the safety of their own Court or town. The peasant class hold this less true, at least openly, as they are keenly aware of their vulnerability in their lonely farmsteads. And there are always those individuals who stand outside of their culture and travel their own paths. It was once said best by a visiting ambassador, "Humans live for comfort, achievement, and, above all pleasure. At least they have their priorities right…"
Artisans can cross social boundaries with ease it appears, but only if they have excellent skills in their craft. Even then, many are painfully aware of the courtesies that must be observed if one is not to anger a noble. Many of those who excel in their field find traveling an excellent option, away from the rigorous social hierarchy and into the freedom of the road, after all, everyone always needs craftsmen, don't they? Although this is true, many villages the come across already have artisans of their own, and other individuals from a foreign area are greeted with suspicion, or even hostility, especially if one happens to be of another race or a half breed.
The social class with less difficulty intermingling with other Races is the Merchant class; whose business dealings may take them far and wide across many lands, and one must be open minded to purchase some of the exquisite merchandise to be found across the world. Merchants also find lying easy, as the customers they often return with the merchandise to are Humans and not often ready to accept some of the more beautiful and delicate items could be made by such alien hands.
Farming Fishing and Hunting
Those who farm and fish are members of the peasant class, though some landowners who have managed, by advantageous marriage or careful 'manipulation' rise through the social hierarchy until they are a form of lesser noble. Many of these people are still farmers at heart though and are rarely found at Court as the intricate courtesies and mannerisms intimidate them.
Hunters can often become, if they are good enough, additions to the royal court, or a lead hunter or groundskeeper for a rich landowning noble. Others, if they are young enough when spotted can be trained as noble and royal men-at-arms or bodyguards.
The nobles fall into two main categories, those with wealth and land and those with none or little. Those of the former category often do nothing or little with their time, aimlessly gracing the court, or decorating some party or another, making aimless chatter. Those of the latter often find employment as a court functionary or advisor to the Crown; others travel in hopes of finding their fortune and adventure upon the road and still others choose to take employment in some rich noble's house as an aide or companion to some bored spoilt rich noblewoman. Among the humans young attractive peasants are often sought after as the playthings of rich noblewomen, many noblemen find their entertainment outside of the household.
There are, as with everything, exceptions, and some young noblemen from both rich and poor backgrounds join the royal bodyguard or seek adventure further afield.
Men-at-arms are either trained fighters bound to a noble or royal family, or mercenaries (often court men at ill favor) to be hired for traveling merchants or those of the more pompous townspeople who feel they require it.
Nearly all train as fighters from early childhood, about four or five at the latest. They are adept at using amour and weaponry, some even delving into the magical arts to complement their warrior skills. It the men-at-arms at Court who are often the most vulnerable to ill favor as a noblewoman, or man, can make life very difficult following a refusal of favor, and there are many kinds of trouble to get into should such advances be accepted.
This includes such as scholars, clerics, scribes, cooks, cleaners, clergy, butlers and aides. Many are from the towns, educated or trained to be of service to those of higher station, and some few are of the peasant classes. If one is a 'pet' to a noble, then one can be of any social grouping, given the whims of the highborn.
The Unsociable Element
Like every society, Humans have their share of beggars, thieves, cutthroats, pickpockets and whores. Although whores may seem an unusual thing to include given the nature of our port town.
Pickpockets are normally the younger version of thieves or the desperate version of beggars (who often get caught thanks to a lack of skill and deftness). Thievery can be of varying degrees from trespassing and stealing, to those with enough gumption to sell a noble his own far flung tract of land, with forged papers to boot.
It is here that the more apt of the peasant class scribes choose to find employ. Forging papers is lucrative business for such a one; their employers or clients not always involving the backstreet elements of society.
The Civilized Edge:
Though elves may consider themselves the fathers of civilization, the Humans have long since claimed it as their own, spreading the principles of an orderly, productive society and using them to ever expand. As a result both city living and the trappings of politics and diplomacy are almost second nature to them, making navigating cities or civilized towns and dealing with their denizens a breeze, and giving them a keen edge at the negotiating table. Because of such skills city survival and navigation are known to almost every human.
Jack of all Trades:
An adaptable race, Humans display an ability to learn just about anything, and it is easy enough to find Humans dominating just about any field they set out to explore. Though fickle in their pursuits, this adaptability has been key in the seeming dominance of the Humans in the civilized world. As a result, Humans have the tendency to be able to learn both from a Master, or if time enough is invested, their adaptability allows them the ability to learn a new skill on their own, given the right environment and tools. But certain skills are just too challenging to learn without a master's help namely; enchanting, body arts, mithril smithing and valecite smithing.
Arrogance of the Majority:
Living in tight-packed towns and cities as they often do, its easy for Humans to put the other Races out of their minds; not so much forgetting about them as forgetting that they matter. Typically growing up and living surrounded by same or similar minded humans, its exceedingly common for skewed views of the other races to develop amongst them, often prejudiced and cruel. The races most distant in appearance from Humanity experience the worst of this, such as Minotaurs, Ogres, ect., humans tending to villainize them with little to no real cause. Used to being persecuted by them, many of these races have very little tolerance for Humanity.
And Master of None:
While Humans are one of the most expansive and diverse races, there are few true specialists amongst them. Though by no means restricted from mastering in a trade of their choosing, the works they produce at the master level will simply never -quite- compare to the masters of races more attuned to their craft, such as Dwarves with blacksmithing and stone-masonry, or elves with their fine artistry and delicately beautiful architecture. This means that anything produced by a human will be more than serviceable and it may even be considered to be beautiful and well made; until you place it next to something crafted by a master of another race.