Humans are the most prolific builders on the continent of Espar. Despite having a population comparable to the Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings, humans spread across the continent and built settlements and cities in isolated pockets, leaving trails of architectural remains across the landscape.
Prior to the Fenlander Wars, the largest human nations were the Kingdom of Loran on the central plateaus and the Kingdom of Hega on the northernmost shore of the Western Sea, with a scattering of smaller states and tribes across the southern shores of Espar and hill land below the central plateaus. After the devastating invasions, the smaller settlements were all but abandoned as humans fled to the more militarized settlements in Loran.
Diet and Material Culture
Humans have a taste for fish and other foods of the lakes and sea. Salt, once relatively affordable for the transportation on these foods to more inland areas, has since become increasingly rare due to the collapse of the Hegan Salt Mines. This has led more inland-dwelling humans to become more reliant on other animals for their protein (mostly sheep and goat), though they still prefer fish when it is available.
Prominent crops grown by humans include corn, beans, and potatoes, although patches of nearly every fruit or vegetable found on the continent may be found on the farms of humans if the climate permits – a legacy of humanity’s previous wanderlust.
Modern human styles of dress may appear very eclectic to other races. Two centuries have brought some of the disparate modes of dressing common to the old human nations into line with each other, but strong traces of the old nations remain. Most humans wear clothing made from wool products, being the most readily available cloth-making material. Cotton, linen, and silk are all more difficult to acquire on the plateaus, and so are more expensive. The floral and mineral resources of the plateaus are rich in dye making materials – particularly deep vermilion and turquoise – so it is not uncommon to see even poorer citizens wearing brightly-colored garments. Both men and women wear trouser and skirt-style garments, though men’s clothing tends to be cut shorter in the leg, while women’s styles often have high collars.
Humans, because of the events of the Fenlander Wars, have had many of their traditions relating to family life and other social interactions thrown into chaos. This has resulted in a very messy settling on certain ‘generalities’, each of which have many exceptions. Humans are vaguely patriarchal, tracing family lines through the father. When humans marry, the spouse and any resulting children tend to be given the father’s family name. When children are born to a couple with different social rankings, the children are generally treated as though they are of the father’s rank.
One tradition which remained fairly constant between the many human settlements were the public religious beliefs. Humans belief in an extensive pantheon of gods, ruled over by nine (more or less, depending on the priest being asked) particularly powerful deities. These deities are believed to be actively present in the affairs of the world, and are worshipped at various cult centers across the former lands of Loran. Debates regarding the makeup of the leading pantheon and appropriate methods of worship have been present ever since the Fenlander Wars, but in recent days they have taken a much stronger tone, especially in the city of Ceylan, which is home to several prominent shrines and temples. The most commonly worshiped deities are listed below, along with their domains.
Ceremata: the goddess of knowledge, foresight, and death. Domains: Death, Knowledge, Magic, Protection.
Anduah: the god of fire and light. Domains: Fire, Healing, Law, Sun.
Nuruah: the goddess of the sky, weather, and sleep. Domains: Air, Travel, Water.
Soreen: the goddess of the sea and water. Domains: Animal, Chaos, Destruction, Water.
Aros: the god of prosperity and agriculture. Domains: Animal, Earth, Luck, Plant.
Larn: the god of the earth and gateways. Domains: Chaos, Earth, Luck, Travel, Trickery.
Lavin: the god of virtue, justice, and the underworld. Domains: Death, Law, Good, Magic.
Feleesh: the goddess of love and war. Domains: Destruction, Protection, Strength, War.
Milo: the god of society, relationships, and civilization. Domains: Knowledge, Luck, Protection, Travel.
Humans are prolific users of magic on Espar. Prior to the Fenlander Wars, large networks of priesthoods and schools of the arcane exercised significant control over the teaching and use of magic. Some schools, like the Revokian Tutelary, even had sizable political power at times. After the wars, most of these networks collapsed, contacts and connections having been killed or migrated. Previous networks consolidated their resources and members, resulting in the establishing of central training temples and academies in the new city-states.
Initially, the isolation of the city-states caused a similar isolation between groups headquartered in different cities. In the last 75 years, however, travel has become relatively more common and more safe, so new chapters of schools and priesthoods can be found in nearly all cities. The older schools in a city tend to be regarded more highly than the newer chapters, and some have managed to work their way into their home city’s politics again, mirroring the pre-war days.
While humans as a whole are very accepting of the use of clearly divine and arcane magics, nature-aligned and other sorts of magics are regarded with more suspicion. This is especially true in the cities of Ceylan and Kirnsburg, which have significantly less contact with other races than do the citizens of Neruvah.