Humans are the most populace race in the Hearthlands. Having once roamed over much of the continent, they now find themselves being pushed back toward the southern reaches, and their numbers been whittled away by starvation, disease, and constant attacks from the Hellfrost inhabitants.
There are four distinct branches of humans inhabiting the Hearthlands. In all cases, the plural form is the same as the singular (one Saxa, ten Saxa, for instance). Each of the four cultures is a general overview, for within each one exist numerous sub-cultures. The Saxa, for instance, were once a dozen or more peoples with a similar culture, but each with their own name and unique identity. The Anari invasion of their homeland, combined with intermarriage between the shattered peoples, wiped out many of these differences. They are remembered now only in song.
The Anari are town and city dwellers, and consider themselves culturally superior to the Saxa and Finnar, though their technology is no more advanced. For their part, the Finnar and Saxa see the Anari as soft, and doomed to extinction if the Hellfrost advances to cover the remaining land.
The Anari Empire once dominated the western continent, and even extended far north, into lands now hidden behind the Icewall. Decadence, hereditary madness in the Imperial family, and the terrible Blizzard War put an end to the great empire, and now the Anari are a fractured race.
Most Anari mages favor elementalism, though naturally those of the Magocracy practice only heahwisardry. Song magic is considered backward, a throwback to less civilized times. The Anari have few cultural deities, and individuals generally pick and choose their own preferred deities. Again, the Magocratic Anari are different, placing Maera above all others.
Anari fashions vary immensely by culture. Whereas the nobles of the Magocracy favor colored robes and leather shoes, for instance, the citizens of Aspiria prefer woolen shirts, heavy linen trousers, and knee-high boots.
Anari average 5’ 6” and have darker skin than the other human cultures. Their hair is dark brown or black, and their eyes are usually green or brown.
Names: (Male) Argius, Bron, Bovert, Delbaeth, Emeric, Gaidon, Garth, Howel, Patris, Rochad, Serin, Thosa; (Female) Aife, Armide, Branwen, Elianor, Emer, Liaze, Lusiane, Tangwenn Ursanne. Traditionally, Anari surnames are formed by taking the father’s name and adding ap-, such as Gobert ap-Patris. “Ap” simply means “child of.” This practice is slowly falling out of favor, especially in the towns and cities. More folk are adopting their trade as a surname (Smith, Tailor, Weaver), or simply throwing together letters to make completely new names.
The Finnar are a nomadic people, and have always lived in the colder climes. They have suffered little with the advancement of the Hellfrost, for as the snow and ice moved south, so did the Finnar, always one step ahead of disaster.
Pushed further toward the Hearthlands, the Finnar have come into confrontation with Saxa settlers, on whose lands the Finnar now live. No violence has erupted, but as food grows short, the two cultures find themselves competing for the same, sparse resources.
Like the taiga elves, with whom they have a generally good rapport, the Finnar prefer to live in tents. Made of felt wrapped around a wooden frame, they are warm even in the harshest winters, and easily portable by reindeer, the Finnar’s preferred beast of burden.
They are extremely pragmatic, a habit vital to surviving the frozen wastes, and do not waste resources caring for those whose fate is sealed. Nor do they offer hospitality to those not capable of looking after themselves in the wintry landscape.
Finnar mages typically learn song magic or hrimwisardry, the latter being seen as a natural form of magic among their people, and treated no different than elementalism. Ullr is the most popular god, with Freo and Eostre close behind.
Clothing differs little between the sexes, both favoring thick woolen tunics and trousers. Gloves, hats, and long socks (worn beneath felt boots) are considered essential during winter. During the brief summer, both sexes wear reindeer skin tunics and trousers.
Finnar tend to be short for humans, averaging only 5’ 6”, and tend toward dark hair. Their skin is usually brown, weathered by the raw winds and tanned by the sun reflecting off snow and ice.
Names: (Male) Arto, Kaiju, Konsta, Taneli, Tove, Vilho; (Female) Esko, Hannu, Kaari, Merja, Pirkka, Tyko; (Surnames) Aho, Hietanen, Jarnefelt, Paatalo, Petelius, Stenvall, Utrio, Waltari.
The Saxa are clannish folk, primarily living in small farmsteads and villages, though a number of Saxa towns exist. Most such towns are royal territories, and thus house the court, or trading centres.
Even before the Blizzard War, the Saxa preferred this existence. Steads house entire extended families, sometimes numbering as many as 70 souls, and are protected by stout wooden fences, making them into miniature fortified villages.
Their culture is based on oaths of friendship and loyalty and the principal of hospitality, the latter extending even to enemies so long as they obey the age old customs and laws governing hospitality.
Saxa mages prefer song magic above all others. Those who do study elementalism prefer earth magic, and many never advance beyond that single element. Of the many gods worshipped, Eostre and Kenaz are most favored.
Saxa men favor loose woolen tunics and leather trousers. Boots are worn high, strapped to the leg with cord to provide a snug fit. Women wear long wool dresses fastened at the shoulder with ornate clasps. Cloaks are common among both sexes.
Saxa average just under 6 feet in height and have brown or blonde hair, blue or light green eyes, and paleskin. Men grow moustaches and beards, though unlike dwarves there is no social bias to these, and wear their hair long.
Names: (Male) Agdi, Cynric, Edwin, Gautrek, Leofric, Penda, Runolf, Seaxwulf, Skuli, Wiglaf; (Female) Aalfwynn, Eadgifu, Gytha, Isgerrd, Skjalf, Thorgerd, Wulfwynn, Yrsa. For surnames, Saxa add the suffixes -sunu (“son”) or –sdohtor (“daughter”) to their father’s name. For instance Cynric son of Odwin is known as Cynric Odwinsunu.
The Tuomi tribes once dominated the Battlelands, Borderlands, and stretches as far east as the Orcblood River. Never a cohesive people, they suffered constant attacks by the Anari during the early days of the Empire’s expansion and were all but eradicated in the Blizzard War. Today, they are the least numerous of the human cultures and confined to the Battlelands and Drachenlands.
A proud warrior culture, the Tuomi prefer to settle disputes with blood rather than words. Chieftains are typically the best warriors in the tribe. Diplomacy is left to priests.
Tiw, god of war, is highly favored among the tribes, as are the gods of nature, Eostre, Neorthe, Kenaz, and Thunor. Many mages are elementalists, though few join the Convocation, seeing it as imposing a false order on the power of nature. Skalds are not unusual, though they exist in far fewer numbers than among the Saxa.
Tuomi average around 5’ 4”. Both sexes wear their hair long and often dye it with natural dyes. Hair is rarely washed, as the Tuomi believe this weakens the brain.
Their natural hair color is blonde or light brown, and their eyes are generally green. Interbreeding with the Anari, and in recent times the Finnar and Saxa, has diluted the bloodline, and other hair and eye colors are more prominent than they were centuries ago.
Tuomi use woad and henna to create elaborate tattoos, some of which hold magical power. In game terms, a character taking a Combat Edge may add the “trapping” of it being a tattoo rather than a particular technique or ability he has learned. The design is left to the player’s imagination.
Names: (Male) Achivir, Arcois, Bili, Brude, Canaul, Gart, Volas; (Female) Aniel, Bannatia, Breth, Cailis, Ila, Olfinecta, Tamia. The Tuomi use nicknames instead of surnames (see below). With tribal affiliation being so important to their culture, they always add their tribal name afterward. Sample tribal names include the Argentocoxus, Bliesblituth, Canutulachama, Deocilunon, Muircholaich, and Tolarggan.
The Finnar, Saxa, and Tuomi often use nicknames instead of surnames. In large settlements this can be the only way of telling the many Edwin Wiglafsunus apart and avoiding confusion. Some nicknames are marks of respect or relate to a physical feature. Others are defamatory. A few even relate to crafts. Here are some example nicknames:
Bare-Legs (wears a kilt or has hairless legs), the Bold, the Brave, Deep-Minded (thinks a lot), the Feeble, Fosterer (takes in children from other clans, often as hostages to ensure peace), the Gossip, Gray-Cloak (grey-haired), Hairy-Cheek (big beard), the Hunter, the Little, the Noisy, One-Hand, the Peacock (a man who spends too much time on his appearance), Serpent-Tongue (a liar or gossip), Skinflint, the Smith, the Stubborn, Wartooth (a man who enjoys battle), the White (has a pale skin or is cowardly), X-Killer (such as Giant-Killer or Orc-Killer).