About Humanity in Panzoasia
As Dwarves are known as the “People of the Caves”, Elves are the “People of the Forest”, Gnomes are the “People of the Hills”, and Halflings are the “People of the Fields”, so the Humans of Panzoasia are considered the “People of the Sea and Stars”. Before the Invasions, all the large city-states above ground were located on rivers or shorelines, and inhabited by Humans. During the Reign of the Monsters, the Humans who lived in those cities took to the seas in great arks, living there for two generations. Some Humans still live a nomadic, sea-based life. These “Sea Folk” are allied with the Saganic Undines of the ocean – and sometimes even intermarry with them!
Humans dominate the national governments of all but two realms of the Ultimate West – Bythebia and Auddisland. In Bythebia, the interests of the Human population are represented before the Senate of Gold Dragons by a popularly elected Tribune. In Auddisland, a semi-hereditary Voivode (elected by the resident Human nobility) advocates for the Human population before the Dwarven King, and governs the northeastern region (which is majority Human).
The Appearance of Panzoasian Humans
Humans native to the Ultimate West usually have pale to olive complexions. Their hair can be blond, brown, black, or red, and their eyes can be brown, blue, green, gray or hazel. In the Ultimate North, Humans tend to have pale complexions, with light hair and eyes. Humans of the Ultimate South usually have complexions ranging from very dark brown to tan, with eyes and hair that tend towards dark colors. In the Ultimate East, Humans tend to have complexions that range from pale amber to deep tan, also with a tendency to dark eyes and hair. Many in the Ultimate East have uncreased, almond-shaped eyes (especially in Amikura, Hian, and Xidu), as do some in the Ultimate South (especially in Tezaca). Because they are all one People and freely immigrate, however, Humans from any region of Panzoasia can actually have any possible skin tone, eye color, and hair color. There are dark-skinned Fjaldarheimers, as well as some Tezacans with blonde hair and blue eyes.
Distinctive Characteristics of Human Culture in Panzoasia
Because the Invasions killed off many male warriors and leaders, the Human societies of Panzoasia are more egalitarian and inclusive than similar societies were on our Earth. No human society of Panzoasia currently practices slavery, although many did before the Reign of the Monsters.
Humans tend to glorify Elves (despite the fact that Humans had actually achieved a much higher level of technological advancement before the Reign of the Monsters). Having an Elven lover or spouse is regarded as a status symbol. Adopting Elven clothing, make-up, jewelry, and manners is considered high class – or pretentious, depending on the social setting. Wealthy Human children are often taught to speak Elven – albeit in a manner that native Elven speakers find archaic and stilted. Elves, for their part, generally find Humans interesting and attractive – and are especially fascinated by the way Human men and women can look so different from each other. Most Humans have at least one Elf somewhere in their family tree – and most “pure” Elves have at least one Human in theirs!
In modern times, most Human cultures consider burial at sea (or on an island in the sea) to be the most desirable. Burial in the ground on the mainland is definitely less prestigious. In the Ultimate West, those of Good Alignment considered it an especial honor if the boat that carries their corpse to its final watery destination sets off from the Sacred Isle of Albelon. The corpses of wealthy and important people are often embalmed where they died, and then shipped to Albelon.
Every Human culture enjoys ball games, board games, dice games, and card games. Humans are also known for their especial love of gambling and betting. Every Human culture endows their games with spiritual and philosophical significance – but also employs them as means to gamble. In the Ultimate West, the most common ball games somewhat resemble Field Hockey and Gaelic Football from our Earth; the common board games are essentially Backgammon, Checkers (Draughts), and Chess (with many local variations); the most common dice game closely resembles Craps; and the most common card game uses a pack that is oddly similar to the Tarot.
Humans keep a wide range of animals as pets. The close relationship between Humans and dogs is particularly noteworthy, approaching the level of affection the exists between Gnomes and burrowing mammals. Most dogs (other than Elven Dogs) will seek out Humans for companionship, in preference to any of the other Peoples. Additionally, only Humans among all the Five Peoples keep fish (and other aquatic life) as pets.
Throughout Panzoasia, Humans completely dominate the maritime trades (including sailing and fishing) and every other trade that requires long-distance travel – especially the spice trade. They also do most construction above-ground, as well as most large-scale agriculture. Humans are the primary practitioners of astrology. Humans invented glass, and human-made glass is prized particularly by Elves (who often trade it in turn to the Saganic Sylphs) and Gnomes (who employ it for lenses).
Alignment and Religion Among Panzoasian Humans
Before the Monsters invaded the lands of the Five Peoples, those Human societies who did not build cities worshiped at the Stone Circles which still stand in many places. Most of these Stone Circles had been sacred to the Neutral Powers of Life. In modern times, however, adherence to other Alignments – and worship of the corresponding Divine Powers (especially those of Destiny and Light) – is prevalent. Most of the ancient Stone Circles now stand abandoned, with only a few still being active religious sites.
The original Depradators were all Human. The humanoid Bogeymen – Goblins, Orcs, Gnolls and the like – actually tended to be Neutral in Alignment before the Depradator evangelists spread the worship of Darkness to them. In fact, the Reign of the Monsters was also the reign of the Evil Human Depradators – a fact that the Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, and Halflings do not forget.
While there is much social pressure in modern Human societies to profess allegiance to either Good or Law, in actuality the Good, Lawful, Chaotic, and Neutral Alignments are about equally represented among them. Unfortunately, a full 5% of Humans are Evil – the highest rate among any of the Five Peoples.
The Human Languages of Panzoasia
While all the Humans across a particular Region of Panzoasia (West, South, East, or North) may share a common language, each nation within that Region also has its own distinctive dialect (and accent). For example, the dialects of Human Common in both Corthis and Maeland are heavily influenced by Elven – and both the place and personal names in those countries are often Elven in origin. To a traveler from our Earth, the basic vocabulary of Western Common otherwise suggests a combination of Latin, Greek, Welsh, and German. Southern Common’s vocabulary seems to somewhat resemble a strange mix of Swahili and Nahuatl. The vocabulary of Eastern Common is oddly evocative of a mixture of Sanskrit and Mandarin Chinese. Northern Common’s vocabulary mildly suggests a mixture of Swedish and Russian words. The non-Human Peoples of Panzoasia also use the regional varieties of Human Common as trade languages.
Each of the four Common languages of Humanity uses a different writing system. Western Common is written in the same alphabet as Western Gnomish. Southern and Eastern Common shares pictograms with the corresponding varieties of Elven, and the runes of Northern Common are identical to those used by Northern Dwarves.