In most worlds, humans are the youngest mortal race in estimable history, having arrived on the world stage later and having a shorter lifespan than the dwarves, elves, and dragons. Perhaps it is their short lifespans that compel them to relentlessly strive for their goals during their lifetimes. Or perhaps it was to prove themselves to the other ancient races, building powerful empires with conquests and commerce. Whatever their motivations, human beings have often been innovators, successors and pioneers of the world.
Due to frequent migration and warfare, humans vary more in appearance than other races. Their physical characteristics vary: individuals range from 5 to 6 feet in height and 125 to 250 pounds in weight. Human skin color ranges from dark to white, hair color ranges from dark to blond (curly, frizzy, and straight), and males have beards that range from thick to thin. Many humans are of mixed non-human ancestry, and may therefore also have physical characteristics of elves, orcs, or other races. Humans live from the age of about 20 to the age of majority, and rarely exceed 100 years.
Variety in All Things
Humans are the most adaptable and ambitious of all mortal races. Their tastes, morals and customs may vary depending on where they live. They call settlement: building a city to live in, while these vast kingdoms stand for centuries. The lifespan of an individual human being is relatively short, but the history of any people or culture can last far longer than the memory of a single human being. Humans live entirely in the present (which makes them perfect for a life of adventure), but also plan for the future and strive to leave a legacy for future generations. Whether individuals or teams, humans are adept at seizing opportunities and are always ready to face political or social change.
Elves and dwarves only guard a place or a great secret as a duty, while humans justify these actions with a sacred order or custom. Dwarven clans and halfling elders pass on their ancient traditions directly to the next generation, while humans lay the cornerstones of history with a combination of things like temples, governments, libraries, and codes. Humans dream of eternal life, but (with the exception of a few who seek to escape the clutches of death by seeking paths such as immortal spirits or the ascension of the Holy Spirit) they usually simply allow their descendants to memorialize them after they die.
Although some humans may be xenophobic, human society as a whole tends to be inclusive. Human territories are much more accepting of large non-human populations than the number of humans living in non-human territories.
Exemplars of Ambition
The adventure-seeking individual human is representative of the ambition and daring of this bold and ambitious race of humans. They go to great lengths to gather strength, wealth, and prestige in order to win the glory of recognition from their peers. Being better than others is the goal of human competition, not a territory or team per se.
Everyone’s Second-Best Friends
Humans can mingle freely with each other and easily with other races. They are friendly with everyone, but may not have many close friends. Humans will usually serve as ambassadors, diplomats, arbitrators, merchants, and civil servants.
Dwarves. “They are sturdy and firm friends, and keep their word. Their lust for money, however, will likely be the reason for their failure.”
Elves. “Try not to walk into the forest of elves. They don’t like intruders, and you’re about as likely to be confused as you are to be shot as a hedgehog. However, if those elves can put aside their damn racial pride and get along with you as equals, you can learn a lot from them.”
Halfling. “Heads always hit the ceiling when dining in a halfling’s house, yet it’s really a great place for food stories plus a warm fireplace. If the Halflings had a bit of aspirations, they could probably do something really great.”
Human Names and Ethnicities
Unlike other cultures, humans have so many different folk characteristics that no one typical naming tradition can be unified. Some human parents give their children a foreign name, such as Dwarven or Elvish (which is somewhat unpronounceable), but most parents name their children according to the traditions of their region or the naming conventions passed down from their ancestors.
The material culture and personal characteristics of human beings vary dramatically from place to place. In the Forgotten Realms, for example, each part of the world has its own dress, architecture, cuisine, music and literature: Silver Marches in the northwestern part of the continent is very different from Turmish or Impiltur in the far east, and even more so from Kara-Tur in the distant Kara-Tur. Human physiology has evolved differently with the migrations of their ancestors, and thus a variety of human colors and traits may be found in the Silvermoon city-states.
Nine well-known human species exist in the Forgotten Realms, and over a dozen additional native races exist in the various regions of Feren. Members of these races have typical naming conventions and can be used as inspiration for your human characters in any world setting.
Operating mainly in the southwestern part of the continent of Feren, the Kalinsans are mostly shorter and slimmer than other humans, and have dark brown skin, hair, and eyes.
The Jundas are a slender race of straw-skinned people whose brown hair ranges from nearly blonde to nearly black. Most of them have green or brown eyes, although these traits are not very common. Humans of Jundas ancestry dominate the central part of the Ferran continent, around the Inner Sea.
The Damara people, who are found mainly in the north-western region of Ferrum, are of medium height and build and have a tan to white complexion. Their hair colour is usually brown or black and their pupils are of various colours, although usually brown is the predominant colour.
The Iluscans are tall white people with blue or blue-gray eyes and mostly raven-black hair. Those of the same species who live in the Far North, on the other hand, have blond, red or light brown hair.
The Murrans who dominate the eastern and southeastern coasts of the Inland Sea are generally tall and thin, with amber yellow skin, pupils that range from light brown to brown, and hair that ranges from auburn to dark brown. However, in the predominantly Murran territories, nobles and many other Murrans shave all their hair.
Usually found in the eastern part of the Inland Sea and often mingled with the Murrans, the Leathermans were generally short and stout, with dark skin, dark eyes and thick black hair.
The Recipients are the largest and most powerful race of people in the Karatu region of eastern Ferrum. Their complexion ranges from yellowish to bronze, and they have dark hair and dark eyes. The surnames of the Received People usually precede their first names.
The Tethers are widely distributed in the Sword Coast region of Sword Bay on the western shore of the Ferren continent, and they grow medium-sized bodies and stature, as well as dark skin, which can be slightly lighter in the northern regions of their species. They come in a variety of hair and pupil colors, but usually have brown hair and blue eyes. Most Tesselians will use the Jundas nomenclature.
Mostly sailing the southern shores of the Inland Sea, the Turamis are usually tall and sturdy, with dark reddish-brown skin, curly black hair and dark eyes.
Humans are hard to generalize about. your human character has the following racial traits.
Ability Score Increase. Add 1 to all of your stats.
Age. Humans don’t reach adulthood until they’re 20 years old, and rarely live past 100 years old.
Alignment. Humans don’t favor a particular camp. This group contains the best of the best and the worst of the worst.
Size. Humans vary widely in height, from just over 5 feet tall to over 6 feet tall. No matter how tall you are, you’re always medium sized.
Speed. your basic walking speed is 30 feet.
Languages. You can speak, read and write the common language and an additional language of your choice. When communicating with others, humans usually take it upon themselves to learn the other person’s language, which includes some obscure dialects. They also like to intersperse their speech with accents from other languages, such as orcish foul language, elven musical tunes, dwarven military trumpets, and so on.
Variant Human Traits
If your campaign uses the optional expertise rules described in Chapter 5, the DM allows you to use this variant of the trait and replace the human’s Ability Score Increase trait with one of the following traits.
Ability Score Increase. add 1 to each of two different traits of your choice.
Skills. You gain a skill of your choice as a proficiency.
Feat. You gain a Feat of your choice.