Of all the Children of the World, Humans are the most diverse. Whereas the differences between Elvish nations are barely discernable to outsiders, and Dwarves tend toward an uncanny unanimity in their features, a scholar who knew no better might mistake the Sons of Men for five great races, not one. There is no such thing as a "typical" Human, from the Northman, pale as snow, to the ebon skinned Irydni, difference is the rule. Scholars have identified six great Human tribes, although the passage of time has blurred the lines between them.
Mightiest of the tribes of Men, the Ethyreans are fair of skin, with hair tending towards deep brown or black. The chieftains of the Ethyreans became the first Kings of Men, and founded the Ten Kingdoms that Cambruin united. While not the strongest or most learned of Men, the Ethyreans have left the greatest mark on the World, and the Petty Kingdoms, humbled as they were by the Turning, are still the mightiest in the World.
Tall and strong, the Northmen are fairer even than the Ethyreans, with pale skin that rivals even that of the Elves. Invorr hair is bright, favoring either gold or fiery red. Feared and reviled as Barbarians and savages, the Northmen know little of reading, lore, or religion, yet take fierce pride in their heritage, and believe themselves to be High Men, the true heirs of the Titans.
Dark as the Northmen are fair, the Dark Sages of the South have skin that ranges from dark brown to the color of pitch. Only the Irekei, dwellers in the Burning Lands, are darker. Before the Turning the Irydnu kept to themselves, and only rumors of their ways reached the rest of Humanity. It is said that they are the wisest of all Men, and that Magic runs in their blood almost as freely as it does with the Elves.
The savage tribes of the Great Steppes are lean and short, with black hair and skin the color of honey. Most Men think the Howathi even more bestial than the Northmen, but there are few who can match their hardiness. The Horwathi are survivors above all else. Rumors persist of great empires beyond the Steppes, Horwathi Empires of silk and magic. Since the Turning, however, the trails to these lands have all vanished.
Stout Men of the Hills, the Gwendannen have ruddy, tan skin and dark hair. The Northmen and the Men of the Ten Kingdoms have long warred against the Gwendannen clans, and their numbers have dwindled. It is whispered that the Old Ways are still remembered among the Hill Folk, who revere the names of the Titans and worship alongside Druids in the deeps of the forests.
Quick and nimble, the lusty men of the Free Cities have brown skins tanned by the Sun, and dark curly hair. Passionate in war as they are in wooing, Taripontor do nothing halfway. Their craftsmen are among the greatest in the World, and they are master sailors. If the Men of Tariponto were not so busy feuding amongst themselves, they might make even the Petty Kingdoms tremble.
Obscure legends mention a seventh race of Men, forgotten history, a wandering tribe known as the Anomani. Very little is known of them, though they are believed to have been dark skinned and prone to revelry. Long extinct, Sages have named Anomani the "Lost Men." Ancient legends also claim that all seven of the Human nations are but shadows of their former selves. The First Men, which ancient fragments call the Ardani, were perfect in both form and faculty. The Ardani lived as Titans, masters of craft, war, and magic. These Titans, tales say, were destroyed long ago by the Elves. Today, the heirs of the Ardani are known as the Sons of Men, and all the glories they have wrought are but an echo of splendors long faded.
Scholars and Loremasters have long troubled over the question of Humanity's greatness. The Sons of Men are not the strongest, nor the smartest, or even the hardiest of the World's children, yet they have thrived in the harshest of climes, and prevailed in war over all the other races. While short lived (at least before the Turning), the Sons of Men are clearly the most fertile of the World's Children, and have recovered from disasters more quickly than other peoples. Humans may not be the greatest of the World's children, but neither are they the weakest, dullest, or most sickly. While most of the other races will surpass Men in one quality, in others they invariably fall behind. Some Prelates believe that Humans are uniform of spirit if not of body, with characteristics that are more balanced than those of the other races. Alchemists have furthered this notion, hypothesizing that Men offer the perfect balance of humors in their blood. The unlearned believe that the Sons of Men have built so much because they are the All-Father's truest children, wrought by His hand in His image, and proclaimed by Him to be the masters of the World. How then, they reason, can any stand against them?